‘Mr. Plod’: meaning and origin

UK, 1963—‘Mr. Plod’, also ‘P.C. Plod’, ‘Plod’: a humorous or mildly derogatory appellation for a policeman or for the police—alludes to ‘Mr. Plod’, the name of the policeman in stories by the English author of children’s fiction Enid Blyton

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‘brown bomber’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1950—a traffic warden in the state of New South Wales—‘brown’ probably refers to the colour of those traffic wardens’ uniform—‘bomber’ may refer to the fact that many of those traffic wardens were originally war veterans; or perhaps to the Australian-English use of the noun ‘bomb’ for an old car

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Spanish ‘costa’ in invented place names

In reference to the names of various stretches of the Spanish Mediterranean coast which are popular with British holidaymakers, the Spanish noun ‘costa’ is used humorously as the first element in various invented place names.

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‘kompromat’: meaning and origin

compromising information collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting or manipulating a person, group, etc.—borrowed from Russian (Soviet secret police) ‘kompromat’, from ‘kompro-’ in ‘komprometirujuščij’, meaning ‘compromising’, and ‘mat-’ in ‘material’, meaning ‘material’

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‘Eve-teasing’: meaning and origin

India, 1958—euphemistic appellation for verbal or physical sexual harassment of a woman by a man in a public place—refers to Eve, the first woman in the biblical account of the creation of the world, who is seen as a temptress

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‘dine and dash’: meanings and origin

USA, 1975—to hastily or furtively leave a restaurant, cafe, etc., in order to avoid paying for one’s bill—also used as a noun, especially as a modifier—has also been used of meals eaten quickly

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‘soft Mick’: meaning and origin

Lancashire, England, 1939—used in similative and comparative phrases such as ‘as —— as soft Mick’ and ‘more —— than soft Mick’, the noun ‘soft Mick’ (also ‘Soft Mick’) indicates a great quantity or degree

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‘999’ (British emergency telephone number)

‘999’ denotes the telephone number used to contact the emergency services in the United Kingdom. This telephone number was introduced in 1937 by Walter Womersley, who was then the Assistant Postmaster-General.

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‘lower than a snake’s belly’: meaning and origin

USA, 1893—utterly despicable—jocular extension of ‘lower than a snake’—refers to the use of ‘low’ to mean ‘despicable’, and to the use of ‘snake’ to denote ‘a treacherous or deceitful person’

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