‘La Stupenda’: meaning and origin

the nickname that the Venetian opera audience gave to Joan Sutherland when she sang Handel’s Alcina at the Fenice Theatre on 21 February 1960—Italian ‘è stupenda’ translates as ‘she is stupendous’

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the magic million target

UK, 1883—The word ‘million’ in itself has something magic about it, and the belief exists that a special reward awaits the person who collects a million bus tickets, or a million used postage stamps, etc.

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‘punkie (lantern)’ | ‘punkie night’

Somerset, England, 1931—‘punkie (lantern)’: a lantern made by setting a candle in a hollowed-out mangel-wurzel—‘punkie night’: a night, in late October, on which punkies are paraded—‘punkie’: perhaps an alteration of ‘pumpkin’

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‘the Emmaville Express’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1976—nickname of Australian sprinter Debbie Wells (born 1961), who is from Emmaville, in New South Wales—alludes jocularly to ‘express (train)’, denoting a train that stops at few stations and travels quickly

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history of ‘Emma Chisit’ and ‘Strine’

Australia, 1964—‘Emma Chisit’: ‘how much is it?’ (allegedly coined by English author Monica Dickens, who reportedly misunderstood the question posed by an Australian)—‘Strine’: Australian pronunciation of ‘Australian’ (coined by Australian author Alistair Morrison)

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‘coconut (black)’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1981—used by some Aborigines of those who are considered to have betrayed their Aboriginal identity in order to be accepted into the white Australian society—the image is that (like the coconut, dark on the outside, but white on the inside) those Aboriginal ‘betrayers’ are outwardly black, but inwardly white

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‘nanny state’: meanings and origins

the government or its policies viewed as overprotective or as interfering unduly with personal choice; a state characterised as having such a government—first coined in 1952 by U.S. journalist Dorothy Thompson—recoined in 1965 by British politician Iain Macleod

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