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
Daredevil

Literally, someone who is prepared to dare the devil and the word is first attested from the late 18th century when it was originally used to describe...

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Dark Continent

see Darkest Africa


Dark horse

This expression derives from horseracing where a dark horse was one that was unknown to bookmakers and punters alike. Thus, there was no form or infor...

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Darken someone’s door/doorstep

To darken someone’s door or step is to be an unwelcome or unwanted visitor. It is usually expressed in the negative e.g. “Never darken my door/doorste...

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Darkest Africa

The coining of darkest Africa is attributed to none other than Henry Morton Stanley the American journalist and adventurer who is perhaps most famous...

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Darkie/darky

Originally, American slang for a Negro, which dates from the late 18th century, generally anglicised by the mid-19th century. It is also the mainly Br...

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Darn/ darn it

An American euphemism or minced oath for damn, which dates from the late 18th century.


Dash/Dashing

A dash was originally a violent blow or impetuous action of some kind and dates in this sense from The Middle Ages. Dash signifying a small portion of...

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Dashboard

Originally a wooden board or a leather strip placed horizontally in front of the driver and passengers of a horse-drawn vehicle to prevent dashes or s...

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David and Goliath

A David and Goliath contest is one that seems heavily mismatched, with the implication that the seemingly weaker opponent will triumph. The allusion i...

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Davy Jones’ locker

In seamen’s mythology, Davy Jones’ locker is the bottom of the sea, the resting place of dead mariners but exactly who the original Davy Jones was is...

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Day late and a dollar short

This expression means too little too late, and is obviously an American expression from the use of the word dollar and dates from the late 19th centur...

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Day of reckoning

The source is the Bible where the day of reckoning is another form of the Day of Judgment, mention of which appears throughout the Bible.


Daylight robbery

This expression has only been around since the early 20th century and therefore has nothing to do with the window tax imposed by William III in 1696,...

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Daylight/daylights

The figurative use daylight in the sense of a perceptible and significant space between two things e.g. between two sports scores or between two runne...

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