‘nuppence’: meaning and origin

no money, nothing—UK, 1864, in a text by the British scholar D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson—from ‘n-’ in the determiner ‘no’, meaning ‘not any’, and ‘-uppence’ in ‘tuppence’

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‘squeeze pidgin’: meaning and origin

China, 1849—extortion—from ‘squeeze’, denoting a forced exaction or impost made by a Chinese official or servant, and ‘pidgin’ in its original sense of business

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‘pan-loafy’: meaning and origin

Scotland, 1941—of a person, manner of speaking, etc.: affectedly refined or cultivated, pretentious—from the fact that a pan-loaf (i.e., a loaf baked in a pan or tin, having a hard, smooth crust), being more expensive than a plain loaf, was considered a sign of affluence

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‘Mexican standoff’: meaning and origin

a situation in which neither side in an argument or contest can win—in early use: a situation in which a person loses their money, but saves their life—origin: an 1876 story in which a Mexican bandit robs a traveller from the USA, but lets him escape with his life

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‘toffee-nosed’: meaning and origin

UK, 1914—snobbish or supercilious—refers perhaps to ‘toff’, denoting a fashionable upper-class person—the image is perhaps of someone who, considering themself superior, keeps their nose high in contempt for the lower classes—cf. the form ‘toffy-nosed’ (1919)

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