A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Curiosity killed the cat

This expression means that inquisitiveness can often have dangerous consequences. The expression was originally ‘care killed the cat’ when the word ‘c...

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A niggardly, churlish, bad tempered person dates from the late 16th century; The OED gives 1577 as the first citation. Despite many attempts to link i...

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Currant bun

Rhyming slang for the sun, currant bun/sun, sometimes also used for son; dates from the 1930s.

Curry favour

This expression has nothing whatsoever to do with Indian food. In The Middle Ages, curry meant to prepare, groom and equip horses, from the Old French...

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Curtain raiser

Originally, from the late 19th century, c. 1886, a curtain raiser was a short, one-act play that preceded the main play in the theatre. Now it has com...

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When we say it's curtains for someone or something, it means the end, demise, and sometimes the death of someone. Curtains used in this sense dates fr...

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British army slang for an easy job or task dates from the First World War c. 1915 and derives from the Hindi khuzh meaning pleasant.


British slang for drunk

Cut a dash

see Dash/dashing

Cut a rug

American slang for dance is first attested from 1942.

Cut above

Cut is used here in the sense of a measure, level or a stage. In the old days, notches or cuts made at intervals along a piece of wood were used as me...

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Cut and dried

Means completed and pre-arranged with the connotation of lack of spontaneity and freshness. The expression dates from the 18th century and derives per...

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Cut and run

Cut and run was originally a nautical expression from the 18th century meaning to cut the anchor rope, without waiting to haul the anchor in, and make...

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Cut and thrust

A spirited contest with rapid changes of advantage, cut and thrust is one of those fencing terms that have made their way into the language of debate...

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Cut corners

To do so something in the easiest, fastest, or cheapest way, but not necessarily in the best way, dates from the late 19th century. It derives from th...

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