‘rocking-chair job’: meaning and origin

USA—1901 as ‘rocking-chair work’—1907 as ‘rocking-chair job’—a sinecure, i.e., an office or position providing an income or other advantage but requiring little or no work

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‘the land of fruits and nuts’: meanings and origin

U.S.A, 1932—also ‘the land of nuts and fruits’—a humorous, sometimes derogatory, appellation for the U.S. state of California—refers to California’s agricultural bounties and to Californians regarded as being ‘nuts’, i.e., crazy

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‘doona day’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1996—a day spent in bed in order to restore one’s spirits; an unscheduled extra day’s leave from work, taken to alleviate stress or pressure and sanctioned by one’s employer—from ‘Doona’, a proprietary name for an eiderdown or duvet, hence a generic term for any eiderdown or duvet

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‘handbags at ten paces’: meaning and origin

UK, 1978—(soccer players) a confrontation that does not lead to serious fighting—based on the cliché ‘pistols at ten paces’—the substitution of ‘pistols’ with ‘handbags’, which evokes women fighting with their handbags, expresses the histrionic character of the confrontation

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‘mahogany reef’: meanings and origin

USA, 1924—(jocular, nautical) a bar, i.e., a counter in a pub, restaurant, etc., across which alcoholic drinks are served—also used as the name, or nickname, of an actual drinking establishment—skiers’ corresponding phrase: ‘mahogany ridge’

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‘birth-control glasses’: meaning and origin

USA, 1986—ugly spectacles, in particular army-issue spectacles—the image is that those spectacles are so ugly that nobody would want to make a baby with somebody wearing a pair—also ‘BCGs’

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