‘aerial ping-pong’: meaning and origin

derisive appellation given to Australian Rules (football), because the ball is often kicked high into the air, requiring players to leap and catch it—Australia, 1945—slang of the Australian armed forces during World War II

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‘where the rubber meets the road’: meanings and origin

USA, 1956—where the important facts or realities lie; where theory is put into practice—originated in the jargon of the advertising business, in which ‘let’s get down (to) where the rubber meets the road’ meant ‘how much is it going to cost?’

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history of ‘Emma Chisit’ and ‘Strine’

Australia, 1964—‘Emma Chisit’: ‘how much is it?’ (allegedly coined by English author Monica Dickens, who reportedly misunderstood the question posed by an Australian)—‘Strine’: Australian pronunciation of ‘Australian’ (coined by Australian author Alistair Morrison)

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‘things are crook in Tallarook’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1941—used of any adverse situation—based on the rhyme between ‘crook’ (meaning ‘bad’, ‘unpleasant’, ‘unsatisfactory’) and ‘Tallarook’, the name of a town in Victoria—sometimes followed by ‘there’s no work in Bourke’

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‘if my aunt had balls’ | ‘si ma tante en avait’

used to rebuke an unrealistic conditional—USA, 1808: ‘if my aunt had been my uncle, what would have been her gender?’—France, 1843: ‘si ma tante était un homme, ça serait mon oncle’ (‘if my aunt were a man, that would be my uncle’)

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