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
Come up against a brick wall

see Brick wall

Come up or turn up trumps

Come through in a triumphant, winning way derives from playing cards where trumps are a suit of cards designated as having a higher value than other s...

Read More

Come up smelling of roses/violets

Come through difficulties unscathed dates from the late 19th/early 20th century.

Come within a hair’s breadth of

see By/to/within a hair’s breadth

Come within a whisker of

see By/to/within a hair’s breadth

Come within an ace of

Means almost or very nearly and dates from the early 16th century. During The Middle Ages, an ace or one was the lowest score one could throw with a d...

Read More

Comedy of errors

A ludicrous or farcical series of events dates from the early 1600s and, along with much ado about nothing, the only Shakespearian expressions that de...

Read More

Comes out in the wash

see All comes out in the wash

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

Much as we would all like to believe that this was an actual quotation signifying a moment of historical importance, it is not. It has in fact become...

Read More


This common colloquial word describes a punishment or fate that eventually comes to those who deserve it. It has been in use since the 19th century an...

Read More

Commentators’ curse

This is the often-witnessed phenomenon where a TV sports commentator talks up the prowess and skill of a sportsperson, only for that same sportsperson...

Read More

Common or garden

This adjectival phrase means ordinary in the sense of describing something or someone as undistingushed and hardly worth a comment. The expression is...

Read More

Compare apples with apples

Means to compare like with like or to make a valid comparison as opposed to comparing apples with oranges, which would be an invalid comparison. The o...

Read More

Compare apples with oranges

Means to make an invalid comparison, see compare apples with apples.

Comparisons are odious

A well-known expression by the 14th century has been repeated by many writers since, including, Fortescue, Shakespeare, Donne and Swift.

back to top