‘Fiji uncle’: meaning and early occurrences

Australia, 1888—defined by Wilkes in A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms (1990) as “An imaginary rich uncle overseas, backing some venture in which the unwary may be persuaded to invest.”

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‘wogs begin at Calais’: meaning and origin

1947—is used to express an attitude of insularity and hostility to foreigners attributed to the British—a shortening of ‘golliwog’, the derogatory and offensive noun ‘wog’ designates a non-white person

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‘not to have two yachts to rub together’

applied to a rich person complaining of having insufficient means of existence; to a person who is merely free from financial worry—USA, 1936—coined humorously after ‘not to have two pennies to rub together’

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‘lager lout’: meaning and origin

UK, 1987—a young man who behaves in an unpleasant or aggressive manner as a result of drinking (typically lager) excessively—lager, a pale beer, is favoured by the young as opposed to the dark, traditional bitter English beer

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‘in clover’: meaning and origin of this phrase

UK, 1710—in ease and luxury—refers to the use of clover as fodder, as explained by Samuel Johnson in A Dictionary of the English Language (1755): “To live in Clover, is to live luxuriously; clover being extremely delicious and fattening to cattle.”

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early Australian uses of ‘more front than’

denotes effrontery—‘front’ denotes self-assurance, but the word that follows ‘than’ puns on ‘front’ in the sense of the façade of a building, the part of a garment covering a person’s front, etc.

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