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

Spirited, energetic and animated, feisty is a unique American word that has spread throughout the English-speaking world and dates from the late 19th...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Fiddle-fart about/around

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


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


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

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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...

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