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
Final straw

see Last/final straw


Find a needle in a haystack

see Needle in a haystack


Find someone or something wanting

see Found wanting


Fine and dandy

Means first rate, splendid or excellent and is first attested in this sense from the late 19th/early 20th century. Before this, from the late 18th cen...

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Fine fettle

To be in fine fettle means to be in good order or condition and the expression dates from the 18th century. Fettle is a Middle English word dating fro...

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Fine words butter no parsnips

see Butter no parsnips


Finest hour

This phrase has passed into the language meaning the pinnacle of achievement. In this sense of course it was first used by Winston Churchill in a spee...

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Finger in every pie

Involved in everything dates from the 16th century, perhaps an allusion to the old anonymous nursery rhyme Little Jack Horner. Cervantes used the expr...

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Finger in the dike/dyke

A stopgap measure dates from the late 19th century and derives from the story of the little Dutch boy who saved his town from flooding by stemming the...

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Finger on the pulse

This expression derives from the medical practice of taking someone’s pulse. It has been used in the figurative sense of staying abreast with latest d...

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Fingers crossed

The crossing of fingers to form a crude cross as a symbol of luck or good fortune is very ancient and pre-dates Christianity although it certainly rec...

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Fire and brimstone

Generally used figuratively these days to describe any fiery or incendiary speech and this usage dates from the late 18th/early 19th century. The orig...

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Fire in one’s belly

A phrase that describes unquenchable ambition or desire to succeed dates from the 19th century, perhaps from the uncomfortable feeling of extreme hung...

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Fire on all cylinders

see Firing on all cylinders


Fire someone

As in to dismiss or discharge from employment, was originally American slang from the late 19th century but is now part of Standard English. It derive...

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