European precursors of the American ‘Indian summer’

The name ‘Indian summer’ (late 18th century) reflected the fact that to the Europeans living in the New World, this was a newly-discovered local phenomenon. But similar phenomena were already known in the Old World by various names.

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the Shakespearean origin of ‘sea change’

from ‘Full Fathom Five’, Ariel’s song to Ferdinand in ‘The Tempest’, by Shakespeare, where ‘sea change’ denotes a change brought about by the action of the sea

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the Shakespearean origin of ‘salad days’

‘salad days’: days of youthful inexperience—coined by Shakespeare in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’—alludes to the raw (green and cold) vegetables used in a salad

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origin of ‘good wine needs no bush’

first recorded in ‘As You Like It’, by Shakespeare—from the former practice of hanging a branch or bunch of ivy as a vintner’s sign in front of a tavern

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origin of ‘cloud-cuckoo-land’

a realm of fantasy, dreams or impractical notions—1856 as ‘cuckoo-cloud-land’—from the name of the city built by the birds in ‘The Birds’, by Aristophanes

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meaning and origin of ‘forty winks’

early 19th century—probably a jocular application of ‘forty’ as an indefinite term for a large number—‘wink’ in the sense of ‘a closing of the eyes for sleep’

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meaning and origin of ‘Mrs Grundy’

from Speed the Plough (1798), by Thomas Morton; Dame Ashfield is constantly fearing to give occasion for the sneers of Mrs Grundy, her unseen neighbour

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