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
Dud/duds

‘Dud’ in the sense of something that fails to work or function dates from the early 19th century, and two such items would both be ‘duds’, but ‘duds’...

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Dude

‘Dude’ is American slang and now generally refers to a guy or a fellow, as in ‘a cool dude’, a term of approbation, which became popular surfer slang...

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Dudgeon

see High dudgeon


Due diligence

Due diligence is an expression usually used in law or business to mean reasonable care and caution in buying, selling, investigating, or giving profes...

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Duff/Duffer

Since the mid-18th century, a duffer is one who peddles sham or fake merchandise. From this, the adjective duff took on the meaning of something that...

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Duffel/Duffle

Some of us will remember the duffle coats with toggles that were popular during the 1960s. Duffle is an anglicised form of Duffel, the town in modern...

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Duke of York

Rhyming slang for fork, Duke of York/fork, dates from the late 19th century. See also Dukes.


Dukes/duke it out

Dukes is American boxing and street fighting slang for fists, dates from the mid-19th century and gives rise to the expression ‘put up your dukes’, wh...

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Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

Like carpe diem this aphorism from the Roman poet Horace (65-8 BC) is better known in the original Latin than its English translation, “It is sweet an...

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Dull as dishwater

see Dull as ditchwater/dishwater


Dull as ditchwater/dishwater

Alliteration is the driving force in this well-known simile for dullness or boredom, which of course stems from the torpor or stagnation of water in a...

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Dum Dum bullet

A soft-nosed bullet that expands on impact so-called because of the bullets typically manufactured at the British military arsenal at Dum Dum near Cal...

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Dumb / Dumb as an ox / dumb ox

Dumb is US colloquial for foolish or stupid, and dates from 1823. Dumb as an ox is a simile for a stupid person that dates from the late 17th/early 18...

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Dumb bell

A dumb-bell is an exercise weight, rather like the heavy, iron clappers of a church-bell but without the bell-shroud and therefore dumb because it mad...

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Dumb waiter

A small, manual elevator built into large houses or hotels for removing dishes etc from rooms. Sometimes a side table or trolley for reserve plates an...

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