‘kippers and curtains’: meaning and origin

UK, 1934—used of a person who pretends to be well-off despite having little money—the image is of a person who has expensive curtains on the windows of their house, but subsists on a diet of inexpensive fish

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‘to have a tiger by the tail’: meaning and origin

UK, 1826—to find oneself in a situation that has turned out to be difficult to control but cannot be got out of—the image is that someone holding a tiger by the tail can neither keep hold of it nor let go of it with safety

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‘the Ham and Egg Parade’: meaning and origin

UK, 1880—a promenade at the seaside resort of New Brighton, in north-western England—alludes to the fact that cooked ham served with eggs was a popular dish at New Brighton’s eating-places

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‘the big smoke’: meanings and origins

Australian English, 1848: any urban area (said to be of Aboriginal origin)—Irish and British English, 1862: Dublin and London—alludes to smoke as characteristic of an urban area

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an Australian use of ‘grasshopper’

1950—‘grasshopper’ and its shortened form ‘grassy’, typically used in the plural, denote a tourist, especially a visitor to Canberra—the image is that a coachload of tourists is similar to a swarm of grasshoppers

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