‘am I bovvered?’: meaning and origin

UK, 2005—used rhetorically to express indifference to, or a lack of concern about, something—originally (2004) a catchline used by Lauren, a teenage girl interpreted by the British comedian Catherine Tate in the British television comedy series The Catherine Tate Show

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‘a fart in a spacesuit’: meaning and origin

UK, 1980—denotes someone or something that is unwelcome, unpopular, etc.—first recorded in a remark by the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, but perhaps originated in Royal-Navy slang

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‘morning, noon and night’: meaning and early occurrences

UK, 1741—all day, incessantly—also, in early use, ‘morn, noon and night’—different from the juxtaposition of the nouns ‘morning’, ‘noon’ and ‘night’, which refers to an action taking place first in the morning, then at noon, and finally at night

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‘London to a brick’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1909—(horseracing) a bet is sure to pay off; (in extended use) something is a very strong probability—from the notion that the punter is so confident of winning the bet that he is prepared to put the whole city of London on a horse to win a brick, i.e., a ten-pound note

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‘another brick in the wall’: meanings and origin

a small component of a much larger structure, system or process; an insignificant individual within a large population or community—commonly associated with ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, the title of a three-part composition by the British band Pink Floyd in their 1979 rock opera ‘The Wall’, but has been used since 1867

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‘person from Porlock’: meaning and origin

UK, 1888—a person who interrupts at an inconvenient moment—alludes to a visitor from Porlock, in Somerset, England, who, according to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), interrupted him during the composition of ‘Kubla Kahn’

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origin of ‘how are you off for soap?’

UK, 1816—a meaningless bantering phrase—originated in a print published in June, satirising the fact that a bill on additional taxation on soap had been brought in unobtrusively in May by the Chancellor of the Exchequer

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‘Alexandra limp’: meaning and origin

UK, 1869—a limping gait affected by some members of fashionable society in imitation of Alexandra of Denmark, who developed a limp after contracting rheumatic fever in 1867—‘Alexandra’ was used to form compounds designating things popularised by, or associated with, Alexandra of Denmark, consort of Edward VII

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‘in mothballs’ | ‘out of mothballs’

USA—‘in mothballs’ (1892): in a state or period of inactivity, disuse, reserve, storage or postponement—‘out of mothballs’ (1905): back into activity, into use

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