meaning and origin of ‘red in tooth and claw’

UK, 1857—characterised by savage violence or merciless competition—from Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘In Memoriam’ (1850), in which ‘red in tooth and claw’ refers to Nature’s brutality

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the probable origin of ‘monkey business’

UK, 1835—mischievous or deceitful behaviour—alludes to the proverbial playfulness of monkeys—probably modelled on Bengali ‘bãdrāmi’; cf. modern Sanskrit ‘vānara-karman’, from ‘vānara’ (monkey) and ‘karman’ (action, work, employment)

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‘like a million dollars’ vs. ‘like thirty cents’

USA—‘to look, or to feel, (like) a million dollars’, or ‘(like) a million bucks’: to look, or to feel, extremely good, or extremely attractive (early 20th century)—sometimes used in contrast to ‘like thirty, or 30, cents’: cheap, worthless (late 19th century)

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origin of ‘Stepford’ (robotically conformist or obedient)

robotically conformist or obedient—from The Stepford Wives (1972 novel by Ira Levin and 1975 film adaptation by Bryan Forbes), in which Stepford is the name of a superficially idyllic suburb where the men have replaced their wives with obedient robots

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meaning and origin of ‘the milk in the coconut’

‘the milk in the coconut’: a puzzling fact or circumstance; alludes to the question of how the milk got into the coconut—of British-English origin (1832), not of American-English origin as stated by the Oxford English Dictionary

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How poverty and war produced ‘latchkey child’.

originally: a child wearing the house key tied around their neck and staying in the streets while their mother is at work—USA, 1935: a poor Afro-American woman’s child—USA & UK, WWII: a child whose mother was engaged in war industry

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