meaning and origin of the verb ‘MacGyver’

USA, 1992—to make or repair (something) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand—also used figuratively—refers to Angus MacGyver, the lead character in the U.S. television series MacGyver (1985-92)

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‘“Hell!” said the duchess’: meanings and origin

originated (1915) as the jocular beginning, destined to grip the reader’s attention, of a hypothetical novel or short story—soon (1919) came to be also used either without precise meaning or as a jocular exclamation

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‘wogs begin at Calais’: meaning and origin

1947—is used to express an attitude of insularity and hostility to foreigners attributed to the British—a shortening of ‘golliwog’, the derogatory and offensive noun ‘wog’ designates a non-white person

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‘singing milkshake’: meaning and origin

1979—nickname given, in particular, to singer Olivia Newton-John—alludes to the type of popular music that (like a milkshake) is discarded as soon as it has been consumed

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‘overpaid, overdressed, oversexed and over here’

Australia and U.S.A, 1944—purportedly applied by the British and the Australians to the U.S. soldiers stationed in their respective countries during World War II—British self-deprecating retort: ‘underpaid, underdressed, undersexed and under Eisenhower’

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‘not to have two yachts to rub together’

applied to a rich person complaining of having insufficient means of existence; to a person who is merely free from financial worry—USA, 1936—coined humorously after ‘not to have two pennies to rub together’

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