‘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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‘a sprat to catch a mackerel’: meaning and origin

1747—a small outlay or risk ventured in the hope or expectation of a significant return—a metaphor from fishing, in which sprats are used as bait to catch larger fish—in early use with the words ‘salmon’ and ‘herring’ instead of ‘mackerel’

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the authentic origin of ‘red herring’

Red herring, used in laying trails for hounds to follow, was misunderstood as a deliberate attempt to distract them, hence the figurative use of ‘red herring’.

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meaning and origin of ‘the fourth estate’

MEANING   the fourth estate: the press; the profession of journalism   ORIGIN   The first known user of the expression, designating the ordinary people, was the English author and magistrate Henry Fielding (1707-54) writing, under the pseudonym of Sir Alexander Drawcansir, Knt. Censor of Great Britain, in The Covent-Garden Journal of Saturday 13th June […]

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