‘gory details’: meaning and origin

informal and often humorous: denotes the explicit or most intimate details of something—originally (USA, 1859) referred to accounts or representations of acts of violence and bloodshed

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‘Lushington’: meaning and origin

UK, 1819—has been used in various jocular phrases referring to alcohol consumption—punningly alludes to ‘lush’, which, as a noun, denotes alcoholic drink, and, as a verb, means to consume alcohol—‘the City of Lushington’: a convivial society, consisting chiefly of actors, which met at the Harp Tavern, London

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‘william-nilliam’: meaning and origin

1907—whether one likes it or not; haphazardly—a humorous variant of ‘willy-nilly’, after the personal name ‘William’ (‘William’ being familiarly shortened to ‘Willy’)

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‘to pass the parcel’: meaning and origin

UK—(used of a group of people) to keep passing the initiative or responsibility from one person to another, so that no action is taken—refers to a party game in which a gift wrapped in several layers of paper is passed around a circle of players to the accompaniment of music, the losers in successive rounds being those holding the parcel when the accompanying music stops

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‘parting shot’ | ‘Parthian shot’

‘parting shot’ (1817); ‘Parthian shot’ (1822): a sharp, telling remark, act, gesture, etc., made in departing—‘parting shot’: literally the final shot fired at the moment of departure—‘Parthian shot’: refers to the Parthian horsemen’s habit of shooting arrows backwards while in real or pretended retreat

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‘lead in one’s pencil’: meaning and origin

USA, 1927—denotes male vigour, especially sexual—with wordplay on ‘penis’—interestingly, via an alteration of the Latin diminutive ‘pēnĭcillus’, denoting literally a little tail, hence a painter’s brush or pencil, ‘pencil’ is derived from Latin ‘pēnis’, denoting literally a tail, hence the penis

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‘open and shet, sign o’ more wet’: meaning and origin

USA (New England), 1868—alternately sunny and cloudy conditions usually indicate rain—the adjective ‘shet’ is a variant of ‘shut’—it was perhaps in order to provide a rhyme for the adjective ‘wet’ that the variant ‘shet’ was chosen in the proverb

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an Australian use of ‘boots under the bed’

has been used to denote evidence of a de facto relationship affecting a woman’s eligibility for Social-Security benefits—refers to past practices of field officers inspecting homes and bedrooms

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