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
Barney

Barney has been British slang for an argument, a fight or trouble in general and dates in this sense from the late 19th/early 20th century. This meani...

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Barnstorming

This expression is American from the early 19th century and is a combination of barn and the figurative sense of storm as in excitement or commotion....

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Barrack

This word meaning to mock or jeer an opponent, especially in a sporting context, dates from the late 19th century. Although there is still some contro...

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Barrel of fun/laughs

This informal, collective noun for fun or jollity is originally American and dates from the early 19th century. Barrel of fun was given a boost during...

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Bash/bash on

Bash meaning to strike with a blow dates from the 16th century and the OED says it derives from combining the words bang and smash. In the late 19th/e...

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Bat an eye/eyelid

Usually occurs in the negative as in did not bat an eye/eyelid, which means to show indifference or lack of reaction. Bat is an old word from the 1400...

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Bat out of hell

Some claim that it can be traced back to Aristophanes The Birds 414 BC. “Then that bat of a Chaerephon came up from hell to drink the camel’s blood.”...

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Bated breath

Means holding ones breathing in expectation of something important or dramatic and as such it is one of the most frequently miss-spelt phrases in the...

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Bath

see Take a bath


Bats in the belfry

A glorious expression that describes madness or eccentricity has been around since the late 19th century and the earliest citations indicate it is of...

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Battle cruiser

Rhyming slang for boozer (pub), battle cruiser/boozer dates from c. 1940. Before this, it was battleship and cruiser then battle and cruiser, which bo...

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Battle of Waterloo

see Won on the playing fields of Eton


Battle royal

This expression dates from the late 1400s and originates in a military context denoting a battle on a grand scale or of great strength and size. It wa...

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Battle-axe

The spelling in America would be battle-ax and it is originally American slang from the late 19th/early 20th century for a formidable or domineering w...

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bcc

see Carbon copy


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