meanings and origin of ‘dead-cat bounce’

from the notion that even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a sufficient height—UK, 1981: a rapid fall in the stock market with hardly any reaction—USA, 1985: a rapid but short-lived recovery in the stock market after a sharp fall—hence, 1992: any spurious success

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How a murder popularised ‘sugar daddy’ in 1923.

from ‘heavy-sugar daddy’ (USA, 1923), popularised by the murder of Anna Keenan (a.k.a. Dorothy King), who was a ‘heavy-sugar baby’, i.e., a woman ‘coated’ with ‘sugar’ (i.e., money) by a ‘daddy’ (i.e., an older man)

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‘to use one’s loaf’ (‘to use one’s common sense’)

First recorded in The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, Yorkshire) of Friday 26 August 1938, the phrase ‘to use one’s loaf’ means ‘to use one’s common sense’. Here, ‘loaf’, a shortening of ‘loaf of bread’, is rhyming slang for ‘head’.

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How a life jacket came to be named after Mae West.

From the name of the American film actress Mae West, renowned for her generous bust, the informal noun ‘Mae West’, attested in 1940, denotes an inflatable life jacket, originally as issued to Royal Air Force aviators during World War II.

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Anglo-Indian origin of ‘loot’ (goods stolen in war)

UK, early 19th century—private property taken from an enemy in war—originally an Anglo-Indian noun, from Hindi ‘lūṭ’, from Sanskrit ‘luṇṭh-‘, ‘to rob’—came to be also used as slang for ‘money’ and to also denote ‘wedding presents’

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origin of the British-English word ‘bonkers’

British English, first recorded, apparently as army slang, in 1945—probably from ‘bonk’ (= a blow on the head) and the suffix ‘-ers’ as in ‘ravers’ (from ‘raving mad’) and ‘starkers’ (from ‘stark mad’)

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‘to go to Peg Trantum’s’ (to go to one’s death)

First recorded in 1694, ‘Peg Tantrum’ was chiefly used in the phrase ‘to go to Peg Trantum’s’, meaning ‘to go to one’s death’. This word is perhaps from ‘Peg’, rhyming form of ‘Meg’, pet form of the female forenames ‘Margery’ and ‘Margaret’, and from ‘tantrum’.

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