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 as snow

This expression is so old and so often cited that it is difficult to nail down an exact origin. Suffice to say that the Bible, Chaucer, and Shakespear...

Read More


White elephant

White or albino elephants were, and still are, venerated in many Asian countries, especially Siam (now Thailand). The rulers of Siam had a habit of gi...

Read More


White lie

This use of the word white in this expression is a prime example of how the colour white always used to be synonymous with good things and the colour...

Read More


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,...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


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...

Read More


back to top