origin of ‘according to Hoyle’

‘according to Hoyle’: according to plan or the rules—early 19th century: from the name of Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), English writer on card games

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origin of ‘by a long chalk’

‘by a long chalk’: in a great degree, by far — 19th century, from the practice of using chalk to mark up the points scored in a game

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origin of ‘Boxing Day’

from the verb ‘box’, ‘to give a Christmas-box’, i.e. to give a gratuity or present to tradespeople and employees—originally a box in which money was collected

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origin of ‘once in a blue moon’

‘Once in a blue moon’ is a development from ‘once in a moon’, meaning ‘once a month’, hence ‘occasionally’—‘blue’ is merely a meaningless fanciful intensive.

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padoodle (one-eyed car)

padoodle (USA): exclamation shouted by a person who spots a car with only one working headlight, which entitles this person to kiss or hit someone else

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pigs might fly

The original form of this phrase was ‘pigs fly with their tails forward’. Also: the French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish equivalent expressions.

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the various meanings of ‘earthling’

Before being a science-fiction term used by aliens to refer to an inhabitant of the earth, ‘earthling’ denoted an inhabitant of the earth as opposed to heaven.

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contredanse

  plate 19: La Trénis, Contredanse source: gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque Nationale de France from the 1931 reprint of the caricatures published under the title of Le Bon Genre (1827 edition), including Observations sur les modes et les usages de Paris; the following comment about La Trénis accompanies this plate: (Année 1805.) Cette danse porte le […]

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cold call

            FREE! For the Salesman who wants to add at least $50,000 to his income every year           “Cold Call Selling”                     the great new approach that turns                   […]

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blotto

  The adjective blotto, which has mainly been used to mean drunk, originated in World War One British military slang. It is first recorded in this sense in the chapter Slang in a War Hospital of Observations of an Orderly: Some Glimpses of Life and Work in an English War Hospital (London, July 1917), by Lance-Corporal Ward Muir: The words […]

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