A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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To do something chop-chop is to do it smartly, briskly, with alacrity. Its origin is early 19th century from Cantonese Pidgin English chop, meaning qu...

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Chopped liver

Trivial, insignificant, derives from American Jewish informal from the mid-20th century as in, “do I look like chopped liver to you?” Chopped chicken...

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British slang for penis, a metaphor for an aggressive weapon, which the penis can sometimes be one supposes, dates from the 1940s. Chopper is also inf...

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A portmanteau word coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass (1872), a combination of chuckle and snort.


Chow is both a verb and a noun and is slang for to eat or food of any kind. It dates from the mid-19th century, and was probably first used by sailors...

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Chuck up

Australian slang for vomit dates from the late 19th century, sometimes inverted to ‘up chuck’.


British informal meaning pleased, delighted or satisfied dates from the mid-20th century, derives from Northern dialect meaning plump and therefore sa...

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This familiar colloquialism for a friend has an interesting origin. Its first citation is from the late 17th century and was originally used by Oxford...

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To throw up, Australian slang dates from the 1920s. There are two theories about its origin. The first is that it is an abbreviation of the naval expr...

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A cinch is now informal for something that is very easy to do, or a dead certainty. The word is originally of American origin from the mid-19th centur...

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Cinque Ports

Pronounced sink as in kitchen sink and not the French cinque, which of course means five. The historic confederation of the original five ports was se...

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City Slicker

Mostly used in a disparaging sense by small-town, rural people to describe a worldly, untrustworthy, nattily dressed urban dweller. It is an Americani...

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Ckoked with ambition

This expression was coined by Shakespeare in Henry VI Part I, Act II, and Scene V. “Choked with ambition of the meaner sort.”


see Drop a clanger


Now a vulgar term for venereal disease but in the 16th century, it was a perfectly respectable way of describing the same thing, deriving from the Old...

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