meaning and origin of ‘Mrs Grundy’

from Speed the Plough (1798), by Thomas Morton; Dame Ashfield is constantly fearing to give occasion for the sneers of Mrs Grundy, her unseen neighbour

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meaning and origin of ‘to a T’

‘with minute exactness’—UK, 1693—probably a shortening of synonymous ‘to a tittle’ (1607), ‘tittle’ meaning ‘a small mark used in writing or printing’

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‘to see a man about a dog’

UK, 1865—vague excuse for leaving to keep an undisclosed appointment, or, now frequently, to go to the toilet—perhaps originally with allusion to dogfighting

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‘to don’ – ‘to doff’

coalesced forms of the obsolete phrasal verbs ‘to do on’ and ‘to do off’, meaning respectively ‘to put on’ and ‘to take off’ (an item of clothing)

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origin of ‘ado’

from ‘at do’ (meaning ‘to do’)—construction ‘to have’ + pronominal object (e.g. ‘much’) + ‘at do’ led to ‘ado’ reinterpreted as a noun qualified by an adjective

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