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
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...

Read More


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...

Read More


Back to the grindstone

see Nose to the grindstone


Backbone

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...

Read More


Backburner

see Keep/put something on the backburner


Backchat

Answering back impudently to someone in authority, backchat is thought to be an informal British expression, deriving from the military and dates from...

Read More


Backdoor trot

British slang for diarrhoea dates from the late 19th century. Backdoor has been a euphemism for anus since the 18th century.


Backlog

Today backlog means arrears but this meaning only dates from the early 20th century. Before then, it meant something held in reserve. Going further b...

Read More


Backs to the wall

Sometimes expressed as backs against the wall, this expression is from warfare and dates from the 16th century. It now means any desperate, last ditch...

Read More


Bacon

Bacon is modern, 21st century American slang for the police, a development from pig/ pigs, which dates from the 1960s. See also Bring home the bacon a...

Read More


Bad apple

see Rotten apple


Bad ass

American slang for a bad, dangerous person, dates from the 1950s.


Bad blood

The origin of this well-known metaphor for ill feeling, animosity or antipathy between people has its roots in the ancient practice of bloodletting in...

Read More


Bad books

see Good/bad books


back to top