A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Horses for courses

People perform better in some environments than others. The expression is British and derives from horseracing in the late 19th century where horses w...

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Rubbish or nonsense, American slang that dates from the early 19th century, much the same as bullshit. See also For the birds.

Hostages to fortune

Sometimes appears in the form of not being held hostage to fortune which means refusing to be placed in a compromising or perilous situation. The sour...

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Hot air

see Full of hot air

Hot and bothered

Earliest citations for this expression describing a state of agitation and anxiety are from the 1920s. Therefore, it may well have been coined by Rudy...

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Hot button

To press the hot button or buttons is to accelerate or fast-forward an issue; an American expression that dates from the early 1960s. It also has sexu...

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Hot dog

This famous American snack, a hot, Frankfurter type sausage in a long bread roll has spread all over the world. The name first made its appearance in...

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Hot foot

To set a hot pace, move quickly dates from the 1400s.

Hot potato

A hot potato is a contentious or controversial issue that one might drop like a hot potato. Both expressions date from the 1850s.

Hot to trot

Ready, willing and eager to get going, originally for sex and then later by extension for any activity. It derives from US black jive talk in the 1950...

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Hot under the collar

Annoyance or anger from the uncomfortable heat of anger under one’s collar or around one’s neck, dates from the late 19th/early 20th century.

Hot water

To be in hot water is to be in trouble, dates from the early 16th century.


see In cold blood


Originally, early 1600s, a bed of earth heated by fermenting manure for raising or encouraging plant growth, figurative use and meaning for the rapid...

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A medley or jumble of different things dates from the 1400s and derives from the Old French hochepot, from hocher to shake, literally to shake the pot...

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