‘tough titty’: meaning and origin

USA, 1888—used as a way of telling someone that they will have to accept a situation they do not like because they have no choice—the noun ‘titty’ denotes a teat, and, in the phrase, the image is of sucking a tough teat

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‘to come a gutser’: meanings and origin

Australian soldiers’ slang, 1917—literally: to fall heavily; figuratively: to suffer a failure or defeat—‘gutser’ (Scotland, 1901): originally denoted a belly flop—derived from ‘gut’ in the sense of the belly

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‘chocolate teapot’: meaning and origin

UK, 1967—something or someone that is utterly ineffectual—especially in phrases such as ‘as much use as a chocolate teapot’—variants: ‘chocolate kettle’, ‘chocolate fireplace’ and ‘chocolate fireguard’

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‘the land of fruits and nuts’: meanings and origin

U.S.A, 1932—also ‘the land of nuts and fruits’—a humorous, sometimes derogatory, appellation for the U.S. state of California—refers to California’s agricultural bounties and to Californians regarded as being ‘nuts’, i.e., crazy

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‘handbags at ten paces’: meaning and origin

UK, 1978—(soccer players) a confrontation that does not lead to serious fighting—based on the cliché ‘pistols at ten paces’—the substitution of ‘pistols’ with ‘handbags’, which evokes women fighting with their handbags, expresses the histrionic character of the confrontation

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‘mahogany reef’: meanings and origin

USA, 1924—(jocular, nautical) a bar, i.e., a counter in a pub, restaurant, etc., across which alcoholic drinks are served—also used as the name, or nickname, of an actual drinking establishment—skiers’ corresponding phrase: ‘mahogany ridge’

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‘bark mitzvah’: meaning and origin

USA, 1966—a (13th-birthday) party held for a dog—a blend of ‘bark’ (the sharp explosive cry of a dog), and of ‘bar mitzvah’ (the coming-of-age ceremony for a 13-year-old Jewish boy), or ‘bat mitzvah’ (the equivalent ceremony for a Jewish girl)

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