A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Groovy/in the groove

Groovy as a general term of approbation derives from black American slang of the 1930s and originally referred to music that was well liked. The term...

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Shortened forms of grotesque, British slang that dates from the early 1960s. Grot is usually applied to ugly women, mercifully not used very much thes...

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Ground Zero

Dates from 1946 when it was first used to describe the epicentre or point of impact of an atomic (nuclear) explosion. More recently, it has been used...

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Grounded in the sense of being denied privileges is American from the 1930s and derives from pilots who were literally grounded i.e. banned from flyin...

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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is an expression mainly used in North America to describe an event or a situation that continually repeats itself. It derives this meani...

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Growl and grunt

see Grumble and grunt

Grumble and grunt

Rhyming slang for the vagina, grumble and grunt/cunt, dates from the 1930s. Also appears as 'groan and grunt' and 'growl and grunt'.


US military slang for a low-ranking infantryman. It is thought to have originated during the Vietnam War, although some sources maintain from WWII. 'G...

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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 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


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


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, 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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