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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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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see Change tack/change of tack


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


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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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 hike

An impolite way of telling someone to go away or leave. US informal that dates from the 1940s.

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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