‘poacher turned gamekeeper’: meaning and origin

a person who now preserves the interests that he or she previously attacked—UK, 19th century—but the notion occurred in Chaucer’s Physician’s Tale and ‘the greatest deer-stealers make the best park-keepers’ in The Church-History of Britain (1655)

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‘Coggeshall job’: meaning and origin

any muddle-headed business—UK, 1813—the stupidity of the people of Coggeshall, a small town in Essex, England, has been proverbial since the mid-17th century

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meaning and origin of ‘Vicar of Bray’

one who changes their principles to suit the circumstances—from a vicar who was twice a Catholic and twice a Protestant from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I’s reigns

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meaning and origin of the phrase ‘to run the gauntlet’

                                           SOLDAT PASSE PAR LES BAGUETTES. Un des chatiments du soldat dans un camp c’est de le depouiller nud jusqu’a la ceinture sa chemise pendante sur ses chausses et le faire passer entre deux Rengées […]

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meaning and origin of ‘Hogs Norton’

The name Hogs Norton, also Hog’s Norton and Hogsnorton, denotes a fictional town renowned for its uncultured and boorish inhabitants. It has often been used in depreciative phrases suggesting that someone is a native or inhabitant of this town. These phrases have variously associated the name: – with present-day Hook Norton, a town in Oxfordshire […]

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