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
Free-fall

An uncontrollable descent or decline as in expressions like, “the economy is in free-fall” is thought to derive from the language of early parachuting...

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Free-for-all

A competition, dispute, or brawl, open to all-comers and usually with no rules. Also a chaotic situation, lacking rules and structure, dates from arou...

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Freebooter

A pirate or lawless adventurer who lives off plunder, anglicised during the late 16th century from the Dutch vrijbuiter which means free booty. See al...

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Freelance/Freelancer

One who works at set or hourly rates rather than employed fulltime. It was originally written as two words and was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his n...

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French cut

see Chinese cut


French kiss

A passionate sexual kiss with tongues touching or inserted in mouths, the phrase dates from the time of the First World War and reflects the general B...

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French letter

Slang for condom dates from the mid-19th century because condoms back then were folded like envelopes and were described as French because of the prev...

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Fresh fields and pastures new

A hackneyed expression meaning new areas of interest or activity derives from a misquotation from Milton’s Lycidas written in 1638. Milton actually wr...

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Friday

see Days of the week


Friend in need is a friend indeed

There is distinct cynicism in this ancient proverb, namely that friends needing our help suddenly become very friendly indeed. This cynicism, however,...

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Frightened out of one’s wits

see Out of one’s wits


Frisbee

Back in the late 19th century, US college students were throwing empty, circular pie tins made by the Frisbie Baking Company of Connecticut. They were...

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Frog in one’s throat

This expression dates from the late 19th/early 20th century and is a metaphor for the hoarse croaking sound one makes when one has to clear phlegm or...

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Frog-march

A slang expression from the late 19th century, so-called because it describes the method of carrying a drunken or refractory prisoner face downwards b...

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Frog/ frog and toad

Rhyming slang for road, frog and toad/road. It is one the oldest examples of rhyming slang and dates from 1859. Like most rhyming slang, it is frequen...

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