Idioms

Idioms

Zounds sometimes Swounds

An archaic expression of surprise rarely heard these days, but common enough in literary work since the 16th century. It is a contraction of the oath,...

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Mojo

Mojo is an African American term for a lucky charm or magic spell, and has broadly come to mean magical power that gives people confidence and control...

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Falling off a log

See Easy as falling off a log

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Gutter-snipe

Derogatory term for a low-class person, literally a gatherer of refuse from the gutter, a street urchin, first attested from 1869.

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In or out of someone's hair

Means to be, or cease to be, a nuisance or a problem to someone. From the allusion of getting something stuck in one's hair, which can be problema...

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Food for thought

Something to ponder. Something that requires careful consideration. Dates from the late 19th century. Perhaps derives from 'having something to ch...

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Every now and then

Repeatedly, at short intervals, dates from the mid-17th century. 

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Picky

Picky means choosy or fastidious when it comes to making choices, as in pick and choose. Picky in this sense dates from the late 19th century, and is...

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Every one in a while

From time to time, less frequently than every now and then, US colloquial, dates from the early 19th century.

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LBGTQ

Acronym for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning, the latter for people who have not made up their minds about their sexual orientatio...

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LBW

Acronym for 'leg before wicket', a term used in cricket when the ball strikes a batsman on the pads or legs, and if, in the umpire's judgm...

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Under one's own steam

Of one's own accord, without assistance. From the obvious allusion to steam-powered engines that seem to continue working of their own accord once...

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Get up a full head of steam

Go or arrive at maximum speed or power, derives, of course, from steam engines where 'head' refersto the piston being driven by the steam and...

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Head of steam

See Get up a full head of steam.

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Plonk

Mainly British, Australian and New Zealand informal for cheap, average quality wine. The expression originated amongst Australian soldiers during WWI...

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