‘my giddy aunt!’: meaning and origin

UK, 1890—the dated jocular exclamations ‘my giddy aunt!’, ‘my sainted aunt!’, etc., express surprise, consternation, etc.—they are extended forms of the exclamation ‘my aunt!’

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‘Oxford comma’: meaning and origin

a comma immediately preceding the conjunction in a list of items—1978—named after the preferred use of such a comma in the house style of Oxford University Press

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meaning and origin of the phrase ‘to sell a pup’

Frequently used in the passive, the phrase to sell someone a pup means to swindle someone, especially by selling something of little worth on its supposed prospective value. And to buy a pup means to be swindled. The expression is first recorded in 1901. That year, several newspapers gave its most likely origin; for example, the column From Day to Day of The Daily […]

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