‘honest Injun’: meaning and origin

used as an interjection to assert truthfulness, honour or sincerity—USA, 1851, as ‘honest Indian’—perhaps alludes to the fact that, in their past interactions with Europeans, Native Americans had to give assurance of their good faith

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notes on ‘no joy without alloy’

also ‘no joy without annoy’—meaning: there is a trace of trouble or difficulty in every pleasure—was already a common proverb in the late sixteenth century

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‘oojah’: meanings (and origin?)

UK, 1917—used when one cannot think of, or does not wish to use, the name of a thing; by extension, a useful implement, a gadget—origin unknown

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‘porky’ (rhyming slang for ‘lie’)

In British English, the noun ‘porky’ (also ‘porkie’) is short for ‘porky pie’ (also ‘porkie pie’), which is an alteration of ‘pork pie’, rhyming slang for the noun ‘lie’.

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‘powfagged’: meaning and origin

meaning: ‘extremely tired’—origin (Lancashire, England, 1859): from the noun ‘pow’, variant of ‘poll’, denoting ‘a person’s head’, and the adjective ‘fagged’, meaning ‘extremely tired’

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notes on the noun ‘Goddam’

designates an Englishman—originated among the French, from the fact that they regarded the exclamation ‘God damn’ as characteristic of the English—the Middle-French synonym ‘godon’ may be etymologically unrelated

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sense evolution of ‘rhubarb’: from theatre to nonsense

UK—‘rhubarb’ is colloquially used to denote ‘nonsense’—originated in the theatrical practice consisting for a group of actors in repeating the word ‘rhubarb’ to represent an indistinct background conversation or the noise of a crowd

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‘contronym’: meaning and origin

a word with two opposite or contradictory meanings—coined by Jack Herring in 1962—Joseph T. Shipley had developed the same notion in Playing With Words (1960); he called it ‘autantonym’

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‘the ant’s pants’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1928—an outstandingly good person or thing—variant of the synonymous jocular expressions, of U.S. origin, based on various parts of animals’ real or fanciful anatomy and other attributes, such as ‘the bee’s knees’ and ‘the cat’s whiskers’

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