origin of ‘gas and gaiters’

coined by Charles Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby (1839) in a comic passage in which an insane speaker makes a series of nonsensical statements

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origin of ‘pink’

The noun ‘pink’ for the flower is perhaps short for ‘pink eye’, ‘small or half-shut eye’ (cf. French ‘œillet’, ‘carnation’, diminutive of ‘œil’, ‘eye’).

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a fly in the ointment

  “I think we may say everything’s more or less oojah-cum-spiff. With one exception, Jeeves,” I said, a graver note coming into my voice as I gave Gus his second helping of kipper. “There remains a fly in the ointment, a familiar saying meaning—well, I don’t quite know what it does mean. It seems to […]

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posh

  One of the earliest instances of posh is from a cartoon in Punch, or The London Charivari of 25th September 1918. An RAF officer is talking to his mother: “Oh, yes, Mater, we had a posh time of it down there.” “Whatever do you mean by ‘posh,’ Gerald?” “Don’t you know? It’s slang for […]

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