A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Do or die

This expression has had common usage since time immemorial, probably long before it was adopted as a motto by the Barclay family in Norman times and c...

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Do someone in

see Do/do for/do in

Do the business

Do what is required to get the job done, sometimes with unsavoury connotations, British informal from the late 20th century. See also mean business an...

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Do the dirty on someone

An abbreviation of play a dirty trick on someone to treat someone scurrilously dates from the late 17th century.

Do the hard yards

see Hard yards

Do the honours

To act as host in introducing people, or serving food and drink, dates from the mid-1600s.

Do the trick

Achieve one’s purpose, dates from the early 19th century. Trick in this sense means a particular way of working or doing something.


Do-able and its companion, get-able or gettable, sound like modern buzzwords for tasks that can be done or objectives that can be achieved. Not a bit...

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Do/do for/do in

As a verb, do in the sense of copulate dates from the early 1600s whereas do in the sense of swindle dates from a little later during the mid-1600s. T...

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A doddle is any endeavour that can be accomplished easily without any great effort. It has been used in this way in Britain and other English-speaking...

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As in dodgy or a bit dodge means suspect or doubtful. The phrase a bit dodge is quite modern, from the mid-to-latter-half of the 20th century whereas...

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An unattractive woman, American slang dates from the 1950s, but can now be applied to a man too. Long before this, from at least the 1600s, dog could...

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Dog and bone

Rhyming slang for telephone, dog and bone/phone, dates from the mid-1940s.

Dog and pony show

An ostentatious presentation, an American expression, dates in this pejorative sense from the mid-20th century. Small-town America in the late 19th ce...

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Dog collar

A stand-up, stiff collar, especially the reversed collar of a clergyman, dates from the mid-19th century.

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