A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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B line

see Beeline


US college slang for an attractive young woman, dates from the early 20th century.


Back as in to support something or someone or to place a wager derives from the back or spine, which is the central support column of human and animal...

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Back against the wall

see Backs to the wall

Back down

Withdraw from a position or a commitment, an American expression that dates from the mid-19th century.

Back in the day

An American expression that refers to an unspecified time in the past is first attested in this specific form from the 1960s.

Back in the saddle/on the horse

To be back in the saddle or back on the horse is a metaphor for being back in control or managementk of a job, task, mission or assignment that may ha...

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Back of beyond

An expression that describes a remote, isolated place, is often wrongly supposed to be of Australian origin, probably because Australia has many such...

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Back of one’s hand

see Know like the back of one’s hand

Back off

Retreat or cease annoying someone, an American expression dates from the 1930s.

Back on the horse

see Back in the saddle/on the horse

Back to square one

Means to start again from the beginning and despite the many claims that the expression is British, the first citation is American from the Economic J...

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Back to the drawing board

“Ah well, back to the drawing board” was the jocular caption of a Peter Arno cartoon that first appeared in New Yorker Magazine in 1941. It depicted a...

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Back to the grindstone

see Nose to the grindstone


Backbone, when referring to the spinal column dates from the 1300s, but it has been a metaphor for firmness and strength of character since the mid-19...

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