‘ye gods and little fishes!’: meaning and origin

expresses indignation, disbelief or amazement—USA, 1818—expanded form of the exclamation ‘ye gods’—perhaps a reference to the miracle of the loaves and fishes fed to the five thousand in the gospel of Matthew

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‘to give a raspberry’: meanings and origin

‘raspberry’: a rude sound (suggestive of breaking wind) made by blowing with the tongue between the lips, as an expression of mockery or contempt—UK, 1888—‘raspberry’ (short for ‘raspberry tart’): rhyming slang for ‘fart’

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‘Roman holiday’: meaning and origin

an occasion on which enjoyment or profit is derived from the suffering or discomfiture of others—UK, 1836—alludes to the description of a gladiator dying in a Roman arena in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1818), by Byron

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‘Bunburying’: meaning and origin

UK, 1895—the use of an imaginary person as a fictitious excuse for visiting a place or avoiding obligations—from ‘Bunbury’, the name of an imaginary character in The Importance of being Earnest (first performed in 1895), by Oscar Wilde

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‘prunes and prism(s)’: meaning and origin

a prim or affected facial expression or manner of speaking; affected mannerisms, superficial accomplishments—originally, in Little Dorrit (1857), by Charles Dickens, a phrase spoken aloud in order to form the lips into an attractive shape

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‘Bardolatry’: meaning and origin

excessive reverence for William Shakespeare—1901, coined by George Bernard Shaw—from ‘the Bard’, an epithet of William Shakespeare, and the combining form ‘-olatry’, forming nouns with the sense ‘worship of’, ‘excessive reverence for’

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