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
Down in the mouth

Morose and glum dates from the 1600s and refers to the corners of the mouth being turned down when people feel like this.


Down on one's luck

To be down on one's luck is to experience a time of ill-fortune, dates from the early 19th century.


Down the chute

Alternative expression to down the drain dates from the early 20th century, where a chute or slide is really an open pipe or drain. In Australia, from...

Read More


Down the drain

Lost, wasted, a British colloquialism from the late 19th century.


Down the hatch

An American drinking toast that means down the throat and is first attested from the 1930s, It derives from obvious nautical origins where the hatch o...

Read More


Down the pan

Alternative expression to down the drain from the early 20th century where the pan referred to is of course the lavatory pan.


Down the tubes

The American equivalent of down the pan from the mid-20th century, where the tubes are the soil pipes that run from the lavatory pan.


Down to a “t”

see To a “t”


Down to brass tacks

see Get down to brass tacks


Down to the bone

see Cut/pare something to the bone


Down to the wire

When a game or contest of some sort is described as going down to the wire, it means that it is going to be so close that the outcome cannot be foreca...

Read More


Down/Up the swannee

It appears that down the swannee or up the swannee variously spelt 'swanee', 'swannie', or 'swanny', sometimes with one 'n' sometimes with two, are Br...

Read More


Drag

In the sense of a tedious or tiresome person or pastime is American from the early 19th century. In the sense of men dressing in women’s clothing, thi...

Read More


Drag one’s arse/ass

Vulgar form of drag one’s feet from c. 1920.


Drag one’s feet/heels

Metaphor for being slow, lazy or unenthusiastic dates from the early 20th century.


back to top