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
Desperado

A desperado is an outlaw or reckless criminal and derives from the Spanish adjective desperado meaning despairing or without hope. Its first use in En...

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Deuce/deuced

Deuced bad luck is often used as an exclamation, usually to describe misfortune or mishap and is perhaps more acceptable to some ears than damnable ba...

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Devil is in the detail/details

Derives from the earlier expression ‘God is in the detail/details’ meaning that finding God, goodness or perfection in some task or project requires t...

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Devil makes work for idle hands

Old English proverb from the 16th century meaning that idleness leads to sinfulness.


Devil take the hindmost

Meaning that anyone who lags behind is doomed or will get no aid. It is first recorded in Beaumont and Fletcher’s 1620 play Philaster, “The devil take...

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Devil to pay

The allusion here is to some pact with the devil, in the sense of having to pay the devil for services rendered. It is usually used in the form, “Ther...

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Devil to pay and no pitch hot

see Devil to pay


Devil’s advocate

To play devil’s advocate means to plead or argue the opposite case, not necessarily to refute it, but to test its validity. It derives from Medieval L...

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Devilled

A culinary term dates from the late 18th century and refers to food, especially steaks, chops, kidneys etc that have been devilled. Devilled is used f...

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Diamonds are forever

This was the title of one of the James Bond novels written by Ian Fleming in 1956, subsequently made into a 1971 movie starring Sean Connery, in which...

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Diatribe

In the 16th century, anyone working on a diatribe would be working on a dissertation or a discourse of some kind. It used to be a word with no adverse...

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Dibs

see First dibs


Dice/dicey

Dice as a verb meaning to race or drive a car dangerously dates from the early 1950s and was originally connected with grand prix racing where drivers...

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Dick

Dick has been short for Richard since about the 13th century and the reason remains obscure because the etymology of the name Richard springs from a c...

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Dickens

This mild slang expletive from the 16th century originally stems from Dicken or Dickon, diminutives of Dick, which besides being a common name was als...

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