‘to go to Specsavers’: meaning and origin

UK and Ireland—used of someone who makes a mistake because of poor eyesight—refers to the British optical retail chain Specsavers Optical Group Ltd, in particular to its advertising slogan, ‘should’ve gone to Specsavers’

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‘neighbour(s) from hell’: meaning and early occurrences

UK, 1993—USA, 1987—the words ‘—— from hell’ are suffixed to nouns often referring to everyday life, such as ‘holidays’ and ‘neighbour(s)’, to make phrases denoting an exceptionally unpleasant or bad example or instance of ‘——’

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‘the order of the boot’: meaning and origin

dismissal from employment—UK, 1882, as ‘the noble order of the boot’—‘the boot’ refers to kicking somebody out—the phrase puns on two acceptations of ‘order’: an authoritative command and an institution founded for the purpose of honouring meritorious conduct

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‘Mr Fixit’: meaning and origin

USA, 1906—a man who fixes something, especially a man who, often illicitly, arranges matters or sets up deals—cf. ‘fixer’: one who, often illicitly, arranges or adjusts matters

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‘Mr Nice Guy’ | ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’

USA—‘Mr Nice Guy’ (1952, first used of Perry Como): a pleasant, selfless, thoughtful person—‘no more Mr Nice Guy’ (1960): used to express that one has decided to stop being considerate of others and instead act exclusively in one’s own self-interest

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‘useful idiot’: meaning and origin

UK, 1864: a naive person who can be manipulated to advance a political agenda—USA, 1948 (1946 as ‘useful innocent’): with reference to a communist strategy designed to gain political power

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‘funny bone’: meaning and origin

UK, 1826—a place behind the bony point of the elbow at which a knock results in a sensation of tingling pain—in early use was perhaps partly punning on the homophones ‘humerus’ and ‘humorous’

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‘globaloney’: meaning and origin

USA, 1943—nonsensical or absurd talk or ideas concerning global issues—blend of ‘global’ and ‘baloney’—coined by Clare Boothe Luce in her maiden speech to the House of Representatives

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