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
Coin a phrase

The use of the word coin as in the coining of words and phrases dates from the 16th century. It means to create a new word or phrase just as to coin m...

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Cold as stone

This simile for expressing coldness, whether literally or figuratively, was used by Shakespeare in Henry V (1598) Act II, Scene III, “and all was as c...

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Cold as/colder than a witch’s tit

Despite bogus attempts to attribute this saying to witch-hunts from centuries ago, where witch-hunters would look for tell-tale marks on witches’ brea...

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Cold blood

see In cold blood

Cold comfort

This oxymoronic phrase means hardly any comfort at all and first appears in early English alliterative poems during the 14th century, as “cold was his...

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Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey

There have been many unproven attempts to attribute a naval origin to this expression. There is rather more evidence that the expression is a literal...

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Cold feet

Many people say, “You know the old saying, cold hands, warm heart” only it is not that old, dating only from the early 1900s.

Cold hands, warm heart

If you have cold hands, it is said that you have a warm heart. It simply means what it says. Many people say, “You know the old saying, cold hands, wa...

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Cold light of day

To view something in the cold light of the day is view it dispassionately and objectively without prejudice. The expression dates from the late 19th c...

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Cold shoulder

To give someone the cold shoulder is turn away from them dismissively. The expression dates from the early 19th century.

Cold turkey

This American expression from the early 20th century was first used within the context of alcohol and drug rehabilitation, when going cold turkey was...

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Colder than a witch’s tit

see Cold as/colder than a witch’s tit


To make a collar is to arrest or capture and dates, according to the OED, from 1613 i.e. the first citation. The word derives from the Latin collum me...

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Sometimes referred to as a touch of the collywobbles, which the OED describes as a pain or looseness in the bowels. The expression dates from the earl...

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Colonel Blimp

see Blimp

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