between the devil and the deep blue sea

early 17th century, with ‘the Dead Sea’ and ‘the deep sea’—originated in the image of a choice between damnation (‘the Devil’) and drowning (‘the sea’)

Read More

‘shiver my timbers’

British, 18th century—a mock oath attributed to sailors, meaning ‘may my ship’s beams be broken into pieces’—early variants used by Tobias Smollett

Read More

the rise of the ‘pin-up girl’

‘pin-up’—US, 1941, in ‘pin-up girl’, denoting a woman being the subject of a picture that a serviceman displays on a locker-door, on a wall, etc.

Read More