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
Halloween

Halloween is a contraction of ‘All hallow even’ the eve of All Hallows Day, hallow being an obsolete, Old English word for a saint, hence the modern A...

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Ham (actor)

A bad or second-rate actor derives from an abbreviation of the 19th century American phrase ‘ham fatter’, denoting something that is second rate and d...

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Hammer a nail in someone’s coffin

see Put a nail in someone’s coffin


Hammer and tongs

To go at something hammer and tongs is to go at it with the utmost exuberance, zest or enthusiasm. The figurative use dates from the late 17th/early 1...

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Hampsteads

Rhyming slang for teeth, Hampstead Heath/teeth, dates from the mid-20th century. Hampstead Heath is area in North London.


Hampton

This is rhyming slang for prick (penis), from Hampton Wick/prick and dates from the late 19th century. Hampton Wick is a place name in the Greater Lon...

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Hand and foot

see Wait on someone hand and foot


Hand in glove

To be in league with or to be on intimate terms with somebody dates from the 17th century. It was listed as ‘hand and glove’ in Catalogue of English P...

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Hand in the cookie jar

see Cookie jar


Hand over fist

Hand over fist means quickly or rapidly as in ‘making money hand over fist’, and acquired this figurative meaning from the mid-19th century. The expre...

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Hand, foot, and finger

see Wait on someone hand and foot


Handicap

This word is a contraction of ‘hand in cap’, which then became ‘hand i’cap’ before evolving into the current word handicap by the mid-17th century. ‘H...

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Handle

Handle, meaning a name or nickname, is an Americanism and dates from the 19th century. To get a handle on something to acquire a basis knowledge or un...

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Handle someone with kid gloves

see Treat someone with kid gloves


Hands down

To win hands down means to win easily and is first cited in the early 19th century from horseracing when a winning jockey would relax his hands downwa...

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