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
Guinea

British gold coin first issued in 1663 when it was worth 20 shillings. It acquired a worth of 21 shillings in 1717 and was last coined in 1813. It was...

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Guinea pig

The animal commonly known as a Guinea pig is neither from Guinea, a region in West Africa, nor is it a pig. It is in fact a rodent from South America....

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Gully

Gully is a fielding position in cricket located in the channel or gully between cover point and the slips.


Gum up the works

see Up a gum tree


Gumshoe

Early 20th century American expression for a plain-clothes detective derives from the rubber-soled shoes they wore.


Gun/guns

In the sense of to accelerate an automobile engine, dates from the 1930s, and may have derived from earlier WWI pilots’ jargon, ‘to give i...

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Gung-ho

Gung-ho, spelt with or without a hyphen, means enthusiastic, zealous or excessively eager. The OED precedes this definition with the word ‘unthinkingl...

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Gunslinger

Another term for a gunfighter from American westerns, both movies and books, this Americanism first appeared c. 1920 but no one knows how or why the w...

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Gusto

This word meaning enthusiasm or particular liking, relish or zest dates from c. 1629 and is an Italian loanword, deriving from the Latin gustus meanin...

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Gut feeling/gut reaction

see Guts


Gutless

see Guts


Guts

Meaning spirit or courage is first attested from the late 19th century, while gutless meaning the opposite first appears c. 1915. To hate someone’s gu...

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Guts for garters

This expression is usually in the form of a very serious threat as in to have someone’s guts for garters. It is a particularly gruesome metaphor and o...

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Gutted

The literal meaning is eviscerated but it has become a vogue word since the 1980s for devastated or extremely disappointed, most frequently used by Br...

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Gutter-snipe

Derogatory term for a low-class person, literally a gatherer of refuse from the gutter, a street urchin, first attested from 1869.


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