‘Generals January and February’: meaning and origin

personify January and February as army commanders, especially in reference to winter as detrimental or destructive to a military campaign—apparently coined by Russian Prince Alexander Menshikov in 1855, during the Crimean War

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‘General Winter’: meaning and origin

personifies the winter season as an army commander, especially in reference to winter as detrimental or destructive to a military campaign—UK, 1777, in reference to the War of American Independence

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‘Absurdistan’: meanings and origin

a country characterised by absurdity—originally used of Czechoslovakia—the suffix ‘-istan’ (in country names such as ‘Pakistan’) is used as the second element in satirical names denoting, in particular, ‘a country characterised by [the first element]’

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‘Londongrad’: meaning and origin

a nickname given to London, which has, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, attracted Russian oligarchs—also used earlier in reference to Communism—modelled on Russian city names such as ‘Leningrad’ and ‘Stalingrad’

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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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‘Siberian Express’: meaning and origin

American English—a surge of extremely cold air which causes rapid falls in temperature and severe wintry weather in central and eastern areas of the United States and Canada—after ‘Trans-Siberian Express’, the name of a railway running from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan

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