A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Heart on one’s sleeve

see Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve

Heart to heart

Usually in the form of a conversation between two people, an intimate, frank and sincere exchange, dates from the early 19th century, coined by Sir Wa...

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Heath Robinson

If something is a bit Heath Robinson or is a Heath Robinson device, it usually describes an absurdly complicated contraption, especially one that has...

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Originally, a nautical expression dates from the 14th century, used communually by sailors at work, pulling up anchors, hauling on sails etc. To give...

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Heavy going/weather

To make heavy going or heavy weather of something is to struggle or complicate matter, usually unnecessarily and dates in this figurative sense from t...

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heavy weather

see Heavy going/weather


A vogue word that means great or awesome used mainly by adolescents since c. 2000.


Poor old Hector of Troy, once thought of as a hero of the Trojan War and who, according to Homer’s Iliad, was killed in single combat by Achilles. Fro...

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Hedge one’s bets/Hedge fund

To hedge one’s bets is to take protection against potential losses, dates from the latter half of the 1600s. The figurative meaning of hedge as a barr...

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This is an American expression dating from the early 1920s for an unpleasant, sometimes scary, negative feeling about something or someone. Its etymol...

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American slang for a low, contemptible person dates from the early 20th century and derives from earlier 19th century American slang, ‘heeler’, who wa...

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Held hostage to fortune

see Hostages to fortune

Hell for leather

Flat out, at break-neck speed, dates from the late 19th century and is a hyperbole derived from riding a horse so hard that it is hell or extreme dure...

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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

The actual quotation is, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” The source is William Congreve The Mou...

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Hell in a hand basket/handcart

see Going to hell in a hand basket/handcart

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