‘the order of the boot’: meaning and origin

dismissal from employment—UK, 1882, as ‘the noble order of the boot’—‘the boot’ refers to kicking somebody out—the phrase puns on two acceptations of ‘order’: an authoritative command and an institution founded for the purpose of honouring meritorious conduct

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‘Mr Fixit’: meaning and origin

USA, 1906—a man who fixes something, especially a man who, often illicitly, arranges matters or sets up deals—cf. ‘fixer’: one who, often illicitly, arranges or adjusts matters

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‘Mr Nice Guy’ | ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’

USA—‘Mr Nice Guy’ (1952, first used of Perry Como): a pleasant, selfless, thoughtful person—‘no more Mr Nice Guy’ (1960): used to express that one has decided to stop being considerate of others and instead act exclusively in one’s own self-interest

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‘useful idiot’: meaning and origin

UK, 1864: a naive person who can be manipulated to advance a political agenda—USA, 1948 (1946 as ‘useful innocent’): with reference to a communist strategy designed to gain political power

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‘the whole caboodle’: meaning and origin

USA, 1839—the whole group or set of people, animals or things—origin unknown—perhaps from the Dutch expression ‘de hele kit en boedel’, meaning ‘the entire house and everything in it’

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‘the whole boodle’: meaning and origin

USA, 1814—the whole group or set of people, animals or things—corresponds to modern Dutch ‘de hele boel’ (earlier ‘de hele boedel’)—‘boodle’: from Dutch ‘boedel’, estate, property, a large quantity

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‘cahoot’: meaning and early occurrences

southern United States of America, 1827—used almost exclusively in the phrase ‘in cahoots’ (in early use ‘in cahoot’, ‘in cohoot’), meaning colluding or conspiring together secretly—origin unknown

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‘the eighth wonder of the world’: meaning and origin

1613—used hyperbolically of any impressive object, etc.—also applied ironically to a self-satisfied or arrogant person—refers to the seven wonders of the world, i.e., the seven most spectacular man-made structures of the ancient world

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