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
Female of the species is more deadly than the male

This expression derives from the title of a poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1911, The Female of the Species.


Femme fatale

Theatrical term for an attractive and dangerous woman, who brings about disaster and tragedy, dates from the mid-19th century from the French for fata...

Read More


Fence

To fence is to purchase/sell stolen goods with guilty knowledge, or a person who does so. It was originally British slang that dates from the early 16...

Read More


Fergie time

This has now become a popular British expression for so-called injury or stoppage time that football (soccer) referees add on at the end of a match. T...

Read More


Fever pitch

A state of extreme agitation, excitement or intensity, the expression dates from the mid-19th century. Pitch is used here in the sense of a high level...

Read More


Few and far between

Not in abundance, scarce, i.e. at widely spaced intervals, dates from the late 17th century.


Fiat lux

see Let there be light


Fickle Finger of fate

The unpredictable and capricious nature of chance or fate, an Americanism popular in college circles during the 1930s. Sometimes the alliteration is e...

Read More


Fiddle / On the fiddle

From the finger movements of playing a fiddle, to fiddle took on the meaning to tamper with something in an aimless, frivolous or idle manner. Fiddle...

Read More


Fiddle-faddle

Faddle is simply a nonsensical reduplication of fiddle and fiddle-faddle means to mess about with trivial or trifling matters and dates from the late...

Read More


Fiddle-fart about/around

American slang for fooling about or wasting time dates from the 1950s.


Fiddlededee

This is simply another nonsensical variation of fiddlesticks and dates from the late 18th century.


Fiddlesticks

Since the late 15th century, a fiddlestick was undoubtedly a violin bow but from about 1600, its plural fiddlesticks became a mild interjection meanin...

Read More


Field day

To have a field day is to enjoy oneself or excel in a brilliant and exciting manner and in this figurative sense dates from the early 19th century. Th...

Read More


Fifth column

A fifth column is a subversive, clandestine group working from within an organisation or country with the objective of bringing about its downfall. Th...

Read More


back to top