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
Wish the ground would open and swallow me up

This hyperbole is frequently heard when people wish to escape from an embarrassing situation by disappearing suddenly. It dates from at least the 1500...

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Witch hunt

Witch hunts in the literal sense went on from the Early Middle Ages to the 1700s. Today of course, the expression is only used metaphorically as a per...

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With a pinch of salt

see Pinch of salt


With bells/knobs on

‘With bells on’ is a British colloquialism that dates from the late 19th century and means ‘and all the rest’ or ‘with all the extras’. The variant ‘w...

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With flying colours

see Come home with flying colours


Within a hair’s breadth

see By/to/within a hair’s breadth


Within a whisker of

see By/to/within a hair’s breadth


Without a leg to stand on

see Not a leg to stand on


Without moving a muscle

see Move a muscle


Without the shadow of a doubt

see Beyond/without a shadow of doubt


Without turning a hair

see Turn a hair


Wizard

British slang for superb or excellent, especially when used as an exclamation, first attested from c. 1920, but rarely heard these days. See also pran...

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Wobbly

British slang for a bout of erratic, bad-tempered behaviour dates from the 1970s.


Wog

British slang for a foreigner of the darker skinned variety and dates from the mid-20th century. It is most probably not an acronym for ‘wily (or wort...

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Woke / Stay woke

'Woke', the past tense of 'wake', and the slogan 'stay woke' are originally African American expressions that signify an awareness of racial prejudice...

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