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
Ballpark

Originally, from the late 19th century, this is an American term for a baseball stadium. Its figurative sense of a reasonably accurate approximation d...

Read More


Balls in the air

see Too many balls in the air


Balls out

To go balls out is to act with maximum speed or vigour and the origin is thought to be a male anatomical vulgarism, most probably American, from WWII....

Read More


Balls-to-the-wall

Usually used as an adjectival phrase as in a balls-to-the-wall effort meaning an all-out, maximum effort. The expression is first cited in the militar...

Read More


Balls-up

A blunder, mistake or error dates from the late 19th/early 20th century and the exact relevance to balls or testicles remains obscure. See also Cock-u...

Read More


Bally

A minced oath or euphemism for bloody dates from the early 19th century.


Ballyhoo

Derogatory fanfare or publicity without substance dates from the early 19th century and is of American origin. The source is unknown. Theories that it...

Read More


Baloney

This is an American expression, usually used as an interjection, meaning rubbish or nonsense, which dates from the late 19th/early 20th century. There...

Read More


Bamboozle

This word meaning to deceive or mislead by elaborate means is of unknown origin. There are several theories about its origin but none of them are prov...

Read More


Banana republic

Banana republic is a pejorative term for a politically unstable country that relies on primary productions like bananas. It was coined by the American...

Read More


Banana skin

A banana skin, figuratively, is potential hazard, problem or slip-up, from the allusion that old, rotting banana skins can be dangerous and cause a fa...

Read More


Banana/bananas

The Portuguese discovered this fruit in West Africa and borrowed the word from some local African language as long ago as the 16th century. People, ho...

Read More


Band of brothers

The source is Shakespeare Henry V Act IV, Scene III, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”


Bandana

Describes a large, coloured necktie or headscarf; the word made its way into the English language during the mid-18th century. It is not of Hispano-Am...

Read More


Bandy/bandy-legged

Bandy was an early form of tennis, still prevalent in the 1500s, but now no longer known. The word derives from the French bander or bande meaning to...

Read More


back to top