‘flat out like a lizard drinking’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1930—a humorous extended form of ‘flat out’, meaning ‘with the maximum speed or effort’ (apparently with wordplay on ‘flat out’, meaning ‘lying stretched out’)—has occasionally been used in the opposite sense

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‘the ant’s pants’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1928—an outstandingly good person or thing—variant of the synonymous jocular expressions, of U.S. origin, based on various parts of animals’ real or fanciful anatomy and other attributes, such as ‘the bee’s knees’ and ‘the cat’s whiskers’

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‘the first cab off the rank’: meanings and origin

Australia, 1952—the first in line; the first in a series of people or things to arrive or appear; the first to take advantage of an opportunity—refers to cab ranks (i.e., designated areas where taxicabs line up to wait for business), which operate on a first come, first served system

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‘it’s moments like these’ | ‘Mintie’

Australia, late 1920s—With reference to the slogan used in newspaper advertisements for Minties (peppermint-flavoured sweets), the phrase ‘it’s moments like these’ is applied to anyone in extremity, and the name ‘Mintie’ denotes a source of comfort.

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‘Hughie’ (Australian usage): meanings and origin

1906—a familiar name jocularly given to a fanciful deity reputed to be in command of the weather—especially occurs in the phrase ‘send it down, Hughie!’, used to ask that deity to send the rain down from the heavens—also, in the surfers’ lingo: the god of the waves

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‘dadchelor party’: meaning and origin

USA, 2009—a party given for a man who is about to become a father, attended by men only—‘dadchelor’: a blend of ‘dad’ (i.e., ‘father’) and of ‘bachelor’ in ‘bachelor party’ (a party given for a man who is about to get married, attended by men only)

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‘(as) game as Ned Kelly’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1907—very spirited or brave—refers to the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly (1855-1880), leader of a band of horse and cattle thieves and bank raiders operating in Victoria, who was eventually hanged in Melbourne

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‘Fremantle doctor’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1873—a refreshing sea-breeze that blows into Fremantle and Perth after hot weather, especially in the evening—Fremantle is a port city in Western Australia, near Perth—with reference to the action of an onshore breeze against diseases, ‘doctor’ denotes, in Western Australia and in the West Indies, a cool sea-breeze which usually prevails during part of the day in summer

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