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
Wind someone up

To wind someone up is British informal to tease or provoke someone. It dates from the 1970s and the allusion is to a clockwork toy over which one has...

Read More


Wind up

see Get/put the wind up


Wind your neck back in

This expression can mean slightly different things depending on the context – from not to rubberneck or stare, to not to take a risk (the opposite of...

Read More


Windbag

A term of contempt for a voluble, over-talkative person, dates from the early 19th century. See also Gasbag.


Window of opportunity

An opening to accomplish something or achieve an objective, dates from the 1970s and is of American origin. During the 1960s, NASA established the phr...

Read More


Windy

Windy meaning flatulent, long-winded or verbose dates from the 14th century. Windy meaning to be in a funk, dates from the early 20th century. See als...

Read More


Wine, women and song

This clichéd somewhat sexist mantra for alcohol-infused revelry has existed for centuries in many different languages and cultures, therefore its orig...

Read More


Wing (as in to wound)

This expression derives from bird shooting where to shoot a bird through its wing will generally bring it down but not kill it. The same notion was tr...

Read More


Wing and a prayer

see On a wing and a prayer


Wing it

To wing it means to play something by ear (in its figurative sense) or make it up as one goes along. The expression derives from the world of theatre...

Read More


Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more

A British catchphrase that has become a hallmark for sexual innuendo. It was first aired in a 1969 comedy sketch during the BBC (British Broadcasting...

Read More


Wink/wink of sleep

Wink of sleep is usually expressed in the negative, e.g. could or did not sleep a wink, and this usage dates from the 14th century, where a wink mean...

Read More


Wipe the floor with someone

To wipe the floor with someone is to inflict a humiliating defeat, and is originally an American expression that dates from the late 19th century. It...

Read More


Wipe/wiping the slate clean

see Clean slate


Wire

see Down to the wire


back to top