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
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

This was the famous catchphrase of Muhammad Ali c. 1963.


Float someone’s boat

To float someone’s boat is to excite, arouse, or turn someone on and is sometimes used in a sexual sense. This Americanism dates from the early 1980s...

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Flog

Originally British army slang to sell illicitly, army stores etc, dates from the late 19th century. Now has colloquial status meaning to sell somethin...

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Flogging a dead horse

Engage in a pointless, counter-productive pastime, a waste of time, an Americanism dates from the early 19th century from the obvious and pointless al...

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Florin

Before the decimalisation of the British currency in 1971, the florin was a coin of the value of two shillings and co-existed for a while at the new v...

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Flotsam and jetsam

This expression now means odds and ends. As an experiment, try typing flotsam and jetsam using MS Word. It will underline the expression and suggest t...

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Flounder/flounder and dab

British rhyming slang for cab, originally a horse-drawn cab and later motorised, derives from flounder and dab/cab. It is one of the oldest examples o...

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Fluff/fluff one’s lines etc

To fluff something, as in to fluff a golf shot, or fluff a simple penalty shot in football or rugby, means to make a failed or inept attempt at someth...

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Fluke

A fluke in the sense of a piece of accidental luck or good fortune dates from the mid-19th century when it was specifically a colloquial expression fo...

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Flummox/flummoxed

To be flummoxed is to be confused or bewildered and dates from the early 19th century. Charles Dickens used the word in Pickwick Papers (1837). The OE...

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Flutter

British colloquialism for a light bet or a wager dates from c. 1870, perhaps from the expression fluttering a coin, which during the 19th century mean...

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Fly

As in a 'fly person' or a person who is 'a bit fly' is an adjective that describes a knowing or artful person. According to the OED, it is slang that...

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Fly a kite

Slang from the early 19th century meaning to raise money by means of a promissory note or cheque, particularly one that is worthless. See also Kite/ki...

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Fly by the seat of the pants

Improvise, adjust and correct as one goes along, an Americanism that has its origins from the early days of flying when there was little or no instrum...

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Fly in the ointment

A small but irritating problem that threatens to spoil everything, the source is the Bible Ecclesiastes 10:1, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the ap...

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