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
Chicken out

To refrain from doing something out of fear, an Americanism first cited from the 1940s. See also Chicken


Chickens coming home to roost

The complete expression is, ‘curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost’ and there is evidence to suggest that the simile between...

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Chief cook and bottle washer

Person in charge of all operations, usually of a menial nature dates from the late 19th century, thought to be of military origin.


Child’s play

Is something that is very easy to accomplish, dates from at least the 14th century where it is used by Chaucer in The Merchant’s Tale c. 1387. “It is...

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Chill/chill out

American informal meaning to relax or take it easy dates from the 1980s and derives from the very much earlier cool, which is Jazz argot from the 1930...

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Chin music

American slang for idle talk or chatter dates from the late 19th century. More recently, the expression has found its way into cricket, via the Caribb...

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China

Rhyming slang for mate or friend, china plate/mate, dates from the late 19th century and is still popular. After it was introduced by British troops d...

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Chinaman

A cricket term dates from c.1933. A Chinaman is a ball, bowled by a left-arm spinner that spins from off to leg to a right-handed batsman. In other wo...

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Chinese cut

An unintentional cricket shot where the batsman attempts to drive the ball on the off side but it takes the inside edge and flies down towards fine le...

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Chinese whispers

This expression has come to mean a cumulative error derived from mishearing or misreporting. The OED dates this meaning from 1964 as it appeared in th...

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Ching

British slang for money, now making its way around the English-speaking world. First attested from c. 2003 and alludes to the sound a cash register ma...

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Chinwag

Informal British expression for a chat or gossipy conversation dates from the late 19th century.


Chip in

This American expression meaning to contribute or interject verbally is from the mid-19th century and is thought to have originated from the use of ga...

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Chip off the old block

This expression dates back to at least 1621 in the form of chip of the same block when it appeared in Sermons by Robert Sanderson, the Bishop of Linco...

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Chip on the shoulder

To have a chip on one’s shoulder means to harbour a grievance or to have an inferiority complex and dates from the mid-19th century. There are two the...

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