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
White telephone

see Big white telephone


Whited sepulchre

A whited sepulchre is a metaphor for a hypocrite or for someone who appears virtuous but is in fact morally corrupt. The source is The New Testament,...

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Whiter than white

This is not an advertising slogan for a washing powder. It is a seemingly nonsensical hyperbole for someone who is morally pure and beyond reproach an...

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Whitewash

The figurative meaning of a cover-up or concealing something dates from the late 18th century. In sports informal, to whitewash means to defeat the op...

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Who loves ya, baby!

This was the catchphrase of Kojak, the tough New York police lieutenant played by Telly Savalas in the 1970s TV crime series of the same name. For a w...

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Who pays the piper, calls the tune

see Call the tune


Whole ball of wax

The only thing we know for sure about this expression is that it is originally American, that it first appears in American newspapers in the 1880s, an...

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Whole bang shoot

‘The whole shoot’ is British military slang for the whole lot or everything and dates from the late 19th century. In this regard, very similar to US m...

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Whole caboodle/kaboodle

see Kit and kaboodle


Whole enchilada

An enchilada is a Mexican corn tortilla, rolled up, filled with a variety of spicy ingredients, and served with a chilli sauce. Enchilada is the past...

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Whole hog

This is the oldest of many expressions that use the word whole to mean completely, all the way or the whole lot. Go the whole hog dates from the early...

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Whole nine yards

This relatively modern American expression from the 1960s meaning ‘all the way, completely, everything, the whole lot, the works’ is one of the most t...

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Whole shebang

The whole shebang is an American expression that means the whole lot and dates from the late 19th century. The OED states that the etymology of sheban...

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Whole shooting match

The whole shooting match is an American expression that means the whole lot dates from the late 19th century and derives from US military slang.


Whole world and his dog

This expression describes a huge, uncountable crowd and dates from the early 19th century but appeared earlier in a slightly different form when Jonat...

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