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
Bang

Slang for sexual intercourse dates from the 1930s.


Bang for one’s buck

This American expression means value for money. Its origin, however, was literally more bang i.e. more firepower for the taxpayers’ money. According t...

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Bang on (target)bang up to the mark

This British expression is thought to have originated with bomber crews during the Second World War. In America, the expression bang up to the mark me...

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Bang to rights

This expression is not heard or used very much these days but it means fair and square as in being caught or being beaten bang to rights and dates fro...

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Banger

British slang for sausage dates from the early 20th century, so-called because if sausages were cooked on too high a heat, they were liable to explode...

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Bank on it

The expression you can bank on it meaning you can trust or have confidence in something dates from the late 19th century. The allusion of course is to...

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Bankrupt

This word first appeared during the 16th century and is a combination of bank and the Latin ruptus meaning broken. The word bank derives from the Old...

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Banzai

Somewhat infamous Japanese battle cry used during WWII by suicidal Japanese soldiers. In fact it literally means ‘10,000 years’ and was a cry used by...

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Bar

British slang for a pound sterling dates from the late 19th century. Eric Partridge maintains it comes direct from the gypsy word bar deriving in turn...

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Bar none

Without exception; dates from the mid-19th century and is an abbreviation of barring none, which is much older and dates from the Middle Ages.


Bar of soap

see Know from a bar of soap


Barbecue

The origin of this word comes from the island of Hispaniola, modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The natives there had a method of drying mea...

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Bare bones

The bare bones means the essential, basic facts or components, without any added frills, as in expressions like, “Give me the bare bones” or “Let’s ge...

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Barefaced lie/liar

In the 16th century, barefaced meant simply shaven or without a beard but by the 17th century, its meaning had shifted to shameless effrontery. Theref...

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Barf

To vomit, throw up, US college slang dates from the late 1940s. It is thought to be echoic i.e. resembling the sound of vomiting.


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