origin of ‘decent’ (sufficiently clothed to see visitors)

USA, 1911—‘to be decent’: ‘to be sufficiently clothed to see visitors’; often as a coy or jocular enquiry ‘are you decent?’—originated in the question asked when knocking at the door of an actor’s or actress’s dressing room in a theatre

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origin of ‘Dutch treat’ and ‘to go Dutch’

USA—‘to go Dutch’ (1907): to have every participant pay their own expenses, or share expenses equally—via ‘to go Dutch treat’ (1887), from ‘Dutch treat’ (1873): a meal, etc., at which each participant pays their share of the expenses—from a German practice

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“the very pineapple of politeness” and other malapropisms

from the name of Mrs Malaprop, a character who confuses long words in The Rivals (1775), a comedy by the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan—character named after ‘malapropos’, from the French locution ‘mal à propos’, literally ‘ill to purpose’

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‘Hands down’ originated in horse racing.

19th century—The adverb ‘hands down’ originated in horse racing: a jockey who is winning comfortably is able to lower his hands and relax his hold on the reins.

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the theatrical origin of ‘claptrap’

first half of the 18th century—‘clap trap’: a use of language designed to capture (i.e. trap) a theatrical audience’s applause (i.e. clapping)

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