meaning and origin of ‘red in tooth and claw’

UK, 1857—characterised by savage violence or merciless competition—from Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘In Memoriam’ (1850), in which ‘red in tooth and claw’ refers to Nature’s brutality

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the probable origin of ‘monkey business’

UK, 1835—mischievous or deceitful behaviour—alludes to the proverbial playfulness of monkeys—probably modelled on Bengali ‘bãdrāmi’; cf. modern Sanskrit ‘vānara-karman’, from ‘vānara’ (monkey) and ‘karman’ (action, work, employment)

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‘like a million dollars’ vs. ‘like thirty cents’

USA—‘to look, or to feel, (like) a million dollars’, or ‘(like) a million bucks’: to look, or to feel, extremely good, or extremely attractive (early 20th century)—sometimes used in contrast to ‘like thirty, or 30, cents’: cheap, worthless (late 19th century)

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meaning and origin of ‘the milk in the coconut’

‘the milk in the coconut’: a puzzling fact or circumstance; alludes to the question of how the milk got into the coconut—of British-English origin (1832), not of American-English origin as stated by the Oxford English Dictionary

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adolescence: ‘the awkward age’ – ‘l’âge ingrat’

UK, 1832—‘the awkward age’: the adolescence, when one is no longer a child but not yet properly grown up, a time of life characterised by physical and emotional changes—translates in French as ‘l’âge ingrat’, ‘the thankless age’

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the phrase ‘age before beauty’ and tales around it

USA, 1850—indicates that precedence should be given, or deference shown, to an older person—in extended use: an invitation to somebody (not necessarily older) to go first when passing through a door, etc.—pays a compliment to the person giving precedence

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