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
For a song

If something is bought or sold for a song, or if something is going for a song, it means very cheaply or for next to nothing. After all, what does a s...

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For Africa

For Africa is South African informal that means in abundance, large numbers or in excess as in these examples: “Crowded? There were people there for A...

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For all money

see For my money


For crying out loud

This is what is known as a minced oath or euphemism for ‘for Christ’s sake’ used to express annoyance or impatience. Although now prevalent on both si...

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For dear life

A phrase that means as if one’s life depended on it. It dates from the mid-1700s. See also For the life of me.


For my money

Colloquial for in my opinion with the sense of being so sure that one is willing to stake money on it, dates from the 17th century. Sometimes, for eve...

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For my sins

This expression is usually used trivially or self-effacingly before saying or admitting something rather grand or impressive about oneself e.g. “For m...

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For Pete’s sake

A minced oath or euphemism for St Peter’s sake although some sources dispute this and maintain that Pete is simply a random name instead of for God’s...

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For the birds

If something is said to be ‘for the birds’, it means that something is trivial or worthless. It is originally an American expression and first makes i...

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For the life of me

A mild oath in which one swears on one’s life that something or other is or is not the case, dates in this form from the mid-1700s but first attested...

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For the love of Mike/Pete

A minced oath, which in its full form would be, for the love of St Michael or St Peter although some sources dispute this and say that Mike or Pete ar...

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For toffee

see Toffee


For whom the bell tolls

This phrase was coined by John Donne in Devotions written in 1623. The full quotation is, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in man...

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Forbidden fruit

From at least The Middle Ages, this was the common expression for the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in spite of the warning from God not to do so. Refer...

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Foregone conclusion

An obvious, predetermined outcome; this common everyday phrase is attributed to Shakespeare in Othello c. 1604, Act III, Scene III, “But this denoted...

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