‘passion-killer’: meanings and origin

UK—anything which discourages or inhibits sexual activity—originally (1943, British military slang): the sturdy, practical and unattractive underwear issued to female service personnel

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‘Frankenstein’s monster’: meaning and origin

also ‘Frankenstein’—a creation over which the creator loses control, eventually being destroyed by it—UK, 1822—alludes to ‘Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus’ (1818), by Mary Shelley

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‘to come a cropper’: meanings and origin

(literally): to fall heavily; (figuratively): to fail completely—UK, 1847—‘cropper’ may be derived from ‘crop’ in the phrase ‘neck and crop’ (1791), which originally referred to a heavy fall

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‘curtain lecture’: meaning and origin

a rebuke given in private by a wife to her husband—1625—from the idea that, in order to conduct herself properly, a wife was to rebuke her husband in secret only, i.e., in the privacy of their curtained bed

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‘cannon fodder’ | ‘chair à canon’

soldiers regarded simply as material to be expended in war—‘cannon fodder’ (1847), said to have been coined after German ‘Kanonenfutter’—French ‘chair à canon’ (1814), first used in reference to Napoléon Bonaparte

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‘honest Injun’: meaning and origin

used as an interjection to assert truthfulness, honour or sincerity—USA, 1851, as ‘honest Indian’—perhaps alludes to the fact that, in their past interactions with Europeans, Native Americans had to give assurance of their good faith

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