A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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High and dry

To be left stranded, with no help or recovery dates from the 18th century and derives from nautical language when boats and ships are left stranded or...

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High as a kite

Drunk, intoxicated, an Americanism dates from the 1940s. From the obvious allusion to flying a kite up in the sky.


High dudgeon

A feeling of anger and resentment dates from the mid-16th century and dudgeon in this sense is of unknown origin. The OED lists another dudgeon and da...

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High Five

A form of celebration when two people slap the opposing palms of one hand, or sometimes both, together with arms raised. There are many claimants for...

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High horse

A person who mounts his or her high horse is someone who adopts a superior attitude. To tell someone to get down from their high horse is to urge them...

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High jinks

British expression for lively merrymaking and boisterous pranks dates from the 16th century when it was a drinking game with the loser performing sill...

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High jump

To be in for the high jump is to be in big trouble derives from British police slang for capital punishment or hanging from the late 19th century.


High on the hog

To live high on the hog means to enjoy an affluent and luxurious lifestyle. The expression is American, dates from the early 20th century and refers t...

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High roller

This American expression first attested from the 1880s describes an affluent spender, a big player or gambler, from the connotation of rolling gamblin...

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High, wide and handsome

This expression is originally American and can have a variety of meanings depending on the context. It was probably first used in America from the mid...

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Highbrow

Highbrow can be used as a noun to describe an intellectual but can also be used adjectivally as in highbrow literature. It is an Americanism that date...

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Highfalutin

American slang meaning absurdly pompous or bombastic dates from the mid-19th century of obscure origin, but perhaps deriving from fluting where high-p...

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Highjack

see Hijack


Hightail it

US slang first attested from the late 19th century as in to hightail it out of here, meaning to leave quickly. It derives from animals, horses, deer e...

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Hijack

Sometimes spelt highjack but more usually as hijack, an Americanism that dates from the 1920s, specifically the prohibition era, when shipments of liq...

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