a British phrase: ‘to go like a bomb’

from the image of a speeding explosive projectile—primary meaning (of a motorcar, an aircraft, a motorcycle, an animal, a person): to move very fast—later (also ‘to go down like a bomb’ and ‘to go down a bomb’): to be very successful or popular

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‘Barney’s bull’: meanings and early occurrences

Australia, 1834—used in various phrases, in particular as a type of someone or something in a very bad state or condition—also in the phrase ‘all behind like Barney’s bull’, meaning ‘very delayed’ or ‘backward’—origin unknown

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‘kippers and curtains’: meaning and origin

UK, 1934—used of a person who pretends to be well-off despite having little money—the image is of a person who has expensive curtains on the windows of their house, but subsists on a diet of inexpensive fish

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‘the Ham and Egg Parade’: meaning and origin

UK, 1880—a promenade at the seaside resort of New Brighton, in north-western England—alludes to the fact that cooked ham served with eggs was a popular dish at New Brighton’s eating-places

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‘to pile Pelion upon Ossa’: meanings and origin

1609—to add to what is already great, also to add difficulty to difficulty—Pelion and Ossa are two mountains in Thessaly—in Greek mythology, two giants, Otus and Ephialtes, tried to pile Pelion and Ossa on Olympus in order to reach the gods and overthrow them

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‘Red Sea pedestrian’: meaning and origin

UK, 1912—humorous: a Jewish person—refers to the Crossing of the Red Sea, as recounted in the Book of Exodus—coined on various occasions by different persons, independently from each other

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sense evolution of ‘rhubarb’: from theatre to nonsense

UK—‘rhubarb’ is colloquially used to denote ‘nonsense’—originated in the theatrical practice consisting for a group of actors in repeating the word ‘rhubarb’ to represent an indistinct background conversation or the noise of a crowd

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‘soft Mick’: meaning and origin

Lancashire, England, 1939—used in similative and comparative phrases such as ‘as —— as soft Mick’ and ‘more —— than soft Mick’, the noun ‘soft Mick’ (also ‘Soft Mick’) indicates a great quantity or degree

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‘chardonnay socialist’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1985—a person who espouses socialist ideals while enjoying a wealthy lifestyle—coined after the synonymous expression ‘champagne socialist’—popularised by Emerald City (1987), by the Australian playwright David Williamson

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