A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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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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Slang term for a stupid person, usually only applied to men, dates from the 1960s, but the practice of using the word ‘head’ as a suffix is originally...

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Dicky is a British colloquialism that means not functioning properly, as in ‘a dicky heart’, or it can mean unwell as in ‘feeling a bit dicky’. Both t...

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Dicky bird

Children’s talk for a small bird dates from the late 18th century but the origin is obscure, perhaps echoic of the sounds that small birds make and oc...

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Dicky bow

Another name for a bow tie dates from the mid-19th century, probably derives from its association with dicky as in a detachable shirtfront.

Dicky seat

Sometimes called a rumble seat was the foldout seat at the rear of some early automobiles dates from the early 20th century but why dicky remains obsc...

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Did not turn a hair

see Turn a hair


Diddle in the sense of to cheat or swindle dates from the early 19th century and derives from Jimmy Diddler, a fictional swindler in the popular farce...

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Diddly squat

see Squat

Die is cast

As in 'the die is cast', meaning that a crucial and probably irreversible decision has been taken. The most obvious derivation is from the throw or ca...

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Die wondering

This catchphrase is usually in the negative form of not to die wondering or the injunction don’t die wondering, which of course means to get on with w...

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A die-hard is a person or attitude that resists stubbornly to the last, from the literal sense of resisting until death. Thus, people had been dying h...

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Die, as straight as

see Straight as a die

Different strokes for different folks

Some sources attribute the coining of this phrase to Muhammad Ali in 1966 when describing his repertoire of punches, as was quoted in a US newspaper a...

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Dig as in to like or understand something is Black American slang from the 1930s.

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