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
Yarn

see Spin a yarn


Yarpie/yarpy

Pejorative slang for a white male South African derives from the Afrikaans Japie, which is a diminutive of Jaap which in turn derives from the Afrikaa...

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Year dot

see Since the year dot


Yebo

South African informal for yes, derives from the Zulu yebo meaning yes, which although probably centuries old in Zulu, has only become part of mainstr...

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Yellow

Yellow or yellow-belly meaning cowardly is of American origin from the mid-19th century. It is thought that the expression yellow-belly may have been...

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Yellow peril

This refers to the largely irrational and unfounded Caucasian fears prevalent during the late 19th/early 20th century for the oriental people of China...

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Yippee

see Whoopee


Yob/Yobbo

Yob meaning a street ruffian is originally British back slang from the word boy and the OED gives its origin as dating from the mid-19th century. Yobb...

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Yoghurt/yogurt

Although this familiar dairy product dates back to 6000 BC and Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies lived on it during their conquests in the 12th century, th...

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Yonks

British slang for a very long time dates from the 1960s, perhaps derived from donkey’s years.


Yorker

This is a specialist term from the game of cricket. It describes a ball bowled in line with the stumps, landing at the batsman’s feet, with the object...

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You and whose army?

This retort is usually used in response to a threat that is unlikely or incapable of being carried out. It is uncertain whether the origin is British...

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You bet/you betcha

These Americanisms dating from the mid-19th century are short for you can bet on it. They are used mainly in common speech as intensifiers to add assu...

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You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink

see Take a horse to water


You can’t have your cake and eat it

see Have your cake and eat it


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