a WWI phrase: ‘san fairy ann’ (‘that doesn’t matter’)

An expression of indifference to, or resigned acceptance of, a state of affairs, ‘san fairy ann’ jocularly represents the French phrase ‘ça ne fait rien’, meaning ‘that doesn’t matter’. It originated in army use on the Western Front during the First World War.

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origin of ‘to sit below the salt’

The phrase ‘below the salt’ originated in the social differentiations materialised by the former custom of placing a large saltcellar in the middle of a dining table.

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the Christian-Latin origin of ‘Noël’

French—from the noun use of the Latin adjective ‘natalis’ (from Christian-Latin ‘natalis dies’, ‘day of birth’), denoting the festival of the nativity of Christ

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origin of ‘vamoose’

from Spanish ‘vamos’, ‘let us go’—first recorded as ‘vamos’ in ‘Every Night Book; or, Life after Dark’ (London, 1827), by the English author William Clarke

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the uncertain origin of ‘cockney’

originally ‘pampered child’, later ‘town-dweller regarded as affected or puny’—origin uncertain—probably not the same word as ‘cokeney’, literally ‘cock’s egg’

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