A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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see Keep/put something on the backburner


Answering back impudently to someone in authority, backchat is thought to be an informal British expression, deriving from the military and dates from...

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Backdoor trot

British slang for diarrhoea dates from the late 19th century. Backdoor has been a euphemism for anus since the 18th century. Hence, 'a gentleman or us...

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Today backlog means arrears but this meaning only dates from the early 20th century. Before then, it meant something held in reserve. Going further b...

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Backs to the wall

Sometimes expressed as backs against the wall, this expression is from warfare and dates from the 16th century. It now means any desperate, last ditch...

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Bacon is modern, 21st century American slang for the police, a development from pig/ pigs, which dates from the 1960s. See also Bring home the bacon a...

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Bad apple

see Rotten apple

Bad ass

American slang for a bad, dangerous person, dates from the 1950s.

Bad blood

The origin of this well-known metaphor for ill feeling, animosity or antipathy between people has its roots in the ancient practice of bloodletting in...

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Bad books

see Good/bad books

Bad carpenter always blames his tools

see Bad workman always blames his tools

Bad day at the office

see Tough day at the office

Bad hair day

This American expression was given significant prominence when it was used in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1992 when Buffy says to the one-ar...

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Bad hat

Describes a rascal or scoundrel and the expression is British from the late 19th century. Quite why the word ‘hat’ is used in this context remains obs...

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Bad news bear

A bad news bear is a person who brings bad news or bad luck, an American expression that derives from the 1976 comedy movie The Bad News Bears starrin...

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