‘to talk through (the back of) one’s neck’

1890s—to use extravagant words or language not substantiated by fact; to talk nonsense—occurs in particular in stories by the British authors Ernest William Hornung (1866-1921) and Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975)

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‘get on your bike’ (exhortation to take action)

UK—since 1981, has been associated with a speech by the Employment Secretary, Norman Tebbit, at the Conservative Party conference, in which he exhorted the unemployed to go and find work, like his father, who had “got on his bike and looked for work”

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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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‘barbecue stopper’: meaning and origin

Australia—a controversial current-affairs topic—the image is that such a topic is likely to interrupt a barbecue with loud debate—coined in 2001 by the Australian Prime Minister John Howard during his re-election campaign

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the various meanings of ‘razor gang’

a violent street gang armed with razors—in extended use, a group or body responsible for making cutbacks—in particular: 1) (British English, railway slang): a team of investigators seeking ways of improving economy and productivity; 2) (Australian English) a parliamentary committee charged with investigating and reducing government spending

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‘prosecco socialist’: meaning and origin

UK, 2001—used as a self-designation by persons with left-wing political views who think of themselves as being better in touch with reality than champagne socialists are—coined after, and in contrast to, ‘champagne socialist’

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‘chardonnay socialist’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1985—a person who espouses socialist ideals while enjoying a wealthy lifestyle—coined after the synonymous expression ‘champagne socialist’—popularised by Emerald City (1987), by the Australian playwright David Williamson

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‘the ant’s pants’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1928—an outstandingly good person or thing—variant of the synonymous jocular expressions, of U.S. origin, based on various parts of animals’ real or fanciful anatomy and other attributes, such as ‘the bee’s knees’ and ‘the cat’s whiskers’

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