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
Home James and don’t spare the horses

This was the title of a popular British song in 1934 by Fred Hillebrand and this instruction to the chauffeur of a motor car is a parody on the days o...

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Home truth

An indisputable fact or basic truth that usually causes some discomfort, dates from the early 18th century, but makes use of the figurative sense of h...

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Honest as the day is long

The meaning is obvious, although why honesty should be associated with something that has only a 24-hour duration and not something longer, is anybody...

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Honesty is the best policy

Certainly, the idea or concept at the root of this maxim is very ancient, which has prompted some etymologists to give the source as Aesop’s Fables (c...

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Honeymoon

Forget all the myths about the groom or sometimes the bride and groom drinking honeyed mead for the first month of their marriage to ensure fertility....

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Honk

To vomit British slang dates from c. 1950 and is of echoic or imitative origin. Possibly by association, it also means to stink.


Honky tonk

This American expression usually refers these days to a ragtime style of music, usually played on a piano, hence honky-tonk piano and this meaning dat...

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Honky/honkie/honkey

Pejorative black American term for a white person dates from the early 1970s. The origin is unknown but one suggestion is that honking is the noise th...

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Honour bright

British colloquial expression that means upon my honour used to affirm that what is being said is true dates, according to the OED, from 1819. It is r...

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Hoo-ha

A fuss or commotion dates from the 1930s thought to derive from Yiddish hu-ha meaning the same thing.


Hooch

American slang for liquor dates from the late 19th/early 20th century and is an abbreviation of Hoochinoo, an Alaskan tribe of Native Americans who ma...

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Hood

Abbreviation of hoodlum is from c. 1930. Hood is also a shortened form of neighbourhood, which is African-American slang from the late 1980s.


Hoodie

Sometimes spelt hoody is short for hooded sweatshirt and can mean either the garment or the young, usually male, people who wear them. The word made i...

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Hoodlum

Originally this was American slang for a young rowdy street ruffian c. 1871 and by 1877 came to mean a young criminal gangster. The origin is unknown...

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Hoodoo

American alternative version of voodoo dates from the late 19th century but refers specifically to a person or thing that brings bad luck. See also, h...

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