A-Z Database

A-Z Database

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
T- Shirt

The T- Shirt is so-called because of its shape, which resembles the letter T when lying flat and is first cited in America from c. 1920. Before then,...

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T.N.T

Acronym for tri-nitro-toluene, a high explosive compound first prepared by the German chemist Julius Wilbrand in 1863 as a yellow dye. Its explosive c...

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Tack

see Change tack/change of tack


Tackle

The word tackle meaning equipment or apparatus dates from The Middle Ages but since the 18th century it was also slang for male genitalia, which one s...

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Tadger

British slang for penis, North Country, possibly Yorkshire, dates from the late 19th or early 20th century, of unknown origin.


Tadpole

The larva of a frog or toad, consisting of a head with a tail, dates from the late 14th/early 15th century, and derives from ‘toad’ + poll, meaning he...

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Tail

As in slang for the posterior, backside, and also the female pudenda, dates from the 14th century. Tail as in the reverse side of a coin dates from th...

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Tail between one’s legs

An ancient metaphor for submission or being shamefaced, derives from the observation of dogs who drop their tails down between their hind legs when su...

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Tail end

The very last part of anything and dates from at least the 14th century. It is a quaint tautology because there is very little difference between the...

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Tail up

see Have one’s tail up


Tail wagging the dog

Tail wagging the dog is a metaphor for an unimportant or trivial factor controlling or dominating a situation. The expression dates from the 1870s and...

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Tails, as in the reverse side of a coin

see Heads or Tails


Take a bath

American informal meaning to suffer a defeat or financial loss dates from the first half of the 20th century and derives from many similar gambling me...

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Take a horse to water but cannot make it drink

You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink is a very old proverb meaning that people, like horses, will only do what they have a mind...

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Take a leaf from someone’s book

Means to follow or imitate someone’s example, dates from the late 18th/early 19th century and the word book here is used in the metaphorical sense of...

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