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
Wet behind the ears

Wet behind the ears is a metaphor for a novice or beginner and the evidence seems to suggest that this is an American expression from the early 20th c...

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Wet blanket

Since at least the late 1600s, wet blankets were used to extinguish fires. By the mid-19th century it had become figurative for a person who threw a d...

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Wet fart in a trance

see Fart in a trance

Wet nurse

Originally, from the early 1600s, a wet nurse was a woman employed to suckle the infant of another, the opposite of a dry nurse who looked after an in...

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Wet one’s whistle

Whistle has been a jocular name for the mouth or throat since The Middle Ages. To wet one’s whistle is simply to have a drink of something. This expre...

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A fair whack meaning a just portion or share is British slang and dates from the late 18th/early 19th century, presumably from having whacked or cut s...

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Whack off

American slang for male masturbation dates from the early 20th century. Most of the words connected with male masturbation have an association with sl...

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In the sense of describing something unusually large or big, as in ‘a whacking great rump steak’, is British slang from the early 19th century. See al...

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What a tangled web we weave

see Oh what a tangled web we weave

What for

see Give someone what for

What goes around comes around

Sometimes in the form of what goes round comes round means that for every action, there is a consequence, which can be good or bad. It is a fairly mod...

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What the doctor ordered

see Just what the doctor ordered

What's what

see Knowing what's what


A modern form of 'what's-his-name', a phrase used when one cannot remember the name of person. 'What-his-face' dates from the mid-1960s.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

There is a whole host of proverbs that proclaim that what is good for a man is equally good for a woman and they all date back to The Middle Ages and...

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