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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origin of ‘to crawl out of the woodwork’

USA, 1930—‘to crawl, or to come, out of the woodwork’: of an unpleasant or unwelcome person or thing, to come out of hiding, to emerge from obscurity; the image is of vermin or insects crawling out of crevices or other hidden places in a building

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‘to fall off (the back of) a lorry’ (‘to be stolen’)

UK, 1953, humorous and euphemistic—‘to fall off (the back of) a lorry’: of goods, ‘to be acquired in dubious or unspecified circumstances’, especially ‘to be stolen’—variant with ‘truck’ came into use later in Australian and North American English

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origin of ‘bobby’ and ‘peeler’ (‘police officer’)

UK, 1844—‘bobby’: a policeman—from ‘Bobby’, pet form of ‘Robert’, in allusion to Robert Peel, who, as Home Secretary, established the Metropolitan Police in 1829—cf. ‘peeler’ (1816), originally a member of the Peace Preservation Force in Ireland established in 1814 by Robert Peel

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‘bag lady’ (whose worldly wealth is in shopping bags)

Of American-English origin, ‘bag lady’, or ‘shopping-bag lady’, denotes a homeless woman, often elderly, who carries her possessions in shopping bags. The earliest instance that I have found is from The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) of 19th June 1971.

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