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
Brown study

A brown study is a state of abstraction or deep thought and the expression dates from the early 16th century. Brown is obviously a dark, gloomy colour...

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Browned off

British military slang for disgruntled and fed up dates from WWI according to Eric Partridge who also maintains that the expression has earlier (late...

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Brownie points

Brownie points are merit scores that are earned through good deeds or behaviour. It is originally an American expression that dates the 1950s and that...

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Brush-off

To give the brush-off is to rebuff or dismiss rudely, an American colloquial expression from c. 1941.


Bubble and Squeak

Any fried or baked mixture of leftover cold meats and vegetables dates from the late 18th century and so-called because of the supposed noise it makes...

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Buck

No one knows for sure why a US dollar is called a buck, but there are several theories. One is that it comes from the game of poker during the 19th ce...

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Buck stops here

see Pass the buck


Buck the system or trend

This American expression means to go against or fail to imply with a system or trend. It dates from the early 20th century and derives from buck in th...

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Buck up

To buck up can mean various things depending on the context. It can mean to cheer up or it can mean to hurry up, get a move on, or improve one’s statu...

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Bucket List

A list of things to do, places to see before one dies. The expression originated in America during the early 21st century and was popularised by the 2...

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Buckle up

Buckle up as a phrase dates from the early 1500s, and until swords were generally discarded as weapons of war during the 19th century, it meant 'prepa...

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Buckshee

Buckshee meaning gratis, free or for nothing is the modern variant, dating from c.1916, of the original baksheesh, which dates from the early 17th cen...

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Bug

Bug as a general name for an insect dates from the 1600s. Bug as an obsession, in expressions like “bitten by a bug” for something or other, dates fro...

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Bug off

Bug off, meaning to go away, get lost, or leave quickly, is American English that dates from the mid-20th century. Probably derives from the British E...

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Bugbear

A fear or sometimes an annoyance dates from the late 16th century when it was first used in English folklore to control fractious children at bedtime....

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