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
Elephant in the room

This expression originated in America during the mid-20th century and is a hyperbole that describes a patently obvious but socially embarrassing or aw...

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Eleventh hour

At the eleventh hour has come to mean the last possible moment and in this sense it effectively means the same thing as the last minute. The eleventh...

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Elvis has left the building

"This has become an ubiquitous catchphrase that only began to take off in the early 1980s, some years after the singer's premature death in 1977, aged...

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Empty vessel makes most sound

Foolish or witless people are the most noisy and talkative, an old English proverb that dates from the 1400s where the vessel concerned is a drinking...

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End of one’s rope/tether

see At the end of one’s rope/tether

End up with egg on one’s face

see Egg on one’s face

Ends of the Earth

The expression 'ends of the Earth' is mentioned in the Bible, Zachariah 9:10, which indicates the expression is very old, probably much older than Wil...

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Enemy of my enemy is my friend

An ancient proverb which suggests that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common enemy. The earliest known expression of the c...

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Enfant terrible

The literal translation of the French phrase is terrible child but since the mid-19th century it has been used in a figurative sense for an outspoken,...

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The name was acquired from the Germanic tribe, the Angles, first mentioned in Tacitus (c. AD 100) as Anglii. They invaded Roman Britain in 477 and gav...

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England expects…

Horatio Nelson’s famous flag signal before the Battle of Trafalgar 21 October 1805 was, “England expects every man to do his duty.” It is said that Ne...

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Englishman’s home is his castle

This is not so much a proverb as a basic principle of English common law and is attributed to the English jurist Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634). “For a m...

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Enough is as good as a feast

This old English proverb first appears in Heywood’s Proverbs (1546).

Enough room to swing a cat

see Swing a cat

Enough to make a cat laugh

see Make a cat laugh

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