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

Everyone knows what a dunce is, but not everyone knows that it derives from the name of a 13th century Franciscan scholar called John Duns Scotus who...

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A blockhead or stupid person, according to the OED, probably derives from the Dutch donder meaning thunder, in the sense of reverberating sounds, whic...

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These days this item of clothing is usually made from denim and has a bib-like flap that covers the chest, held in place by shoulder straps. Dungaree,...

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To dip or submerge a biscuit or doughnut in a hot beverage to soften it is an Americanism that dates from the 1860s, from the Pennsylvanian German dun...

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Dustbin lids

Rhyming slang for kids, dustbin lids/kids, dates from the 1930s. See also God forbids.

Dutch courage

The false courage obtained from alcohol, one of the many derogatory Dutch phrases in the English language that grew out of the Anglo-Dutch rivalry for...

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Dutch treat

see Go Dutch, Dutch courage

Dutch, my old

see My old Dutch


This expression describes an attitude or person that is staunch and unbending and dates from the 17th century when it originally referred to wool that...

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Dying duck in a thunderstorm

Healthy, living ducks look miserable in the rain never mind dying ducks in a thunderstorm. To look like a dying duck in a thunderstorm is to look mise...

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