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
Forever and a day

Coined by Shakespeare in As You Like It (c.1598) Act IV, Scene I, line 151. Rosalind says, “Now tell me how long you would have her, after you have po...

Read More

Fork out/over

British informal for to pay out or give over dates from the early 19th century and derives from the manual labour of working with an agricultural or g...

Read More

Forked tongue

The expression, white man, speak with forked tongue is generally acknowledged as an anonymous Hollywood scriptwriter’s coinage from the early 20th cen...

Read More


This word, which is a shortening of fourteen nights dates back to before the 12th century and reflects the old Germanic custom of counting in nights i...

Read More

Fortune favours the brave

This ancient proverb is found in the writings of Terence (c.190-159 BC) and in Virgil (70-19 BC) Aeneid, Book X, “Audentes fortuna iuvat.” Latin for f...

Read More

Forty winks

Take a short nap usually in the daytime; dates from the early 19th century but why forty winks? No special reason except that forty has frequently bee...

Read More

Foul one's own nest

see Never foul one's own nest

Foul play

see Cry foul

Found dead

see Would not be caught, found or seen dead

Found wanting

If someone or something is found wanting it means deficient or lacking the ability to achieve the required standard or result. This usage of wanting d...

Read More

Four corners of the Earth/world

The expression "four corners of the Earth" is mentioned in the Bible, in Revelation twice, 7:1 and 20:7, and also in Isaiah 11: 12, and Ezekiel 7:2. T...

Read More

Foxes wedding

see Monkeys wedding


A sexually attractive female is American slang from the late 19th century.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn

This famous line is from the 1939 movie Gone with the Wind starring Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara. Rhett Butler deli...

Read More

Free rein

To give free rein is to give people their head and let them do as they wish, as one would with a horse. The expression dates from the 1500s and is the...

Read More

back to top