A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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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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Headstrong, rash, impetuous person dates from the mid-17th century.


A showy, vacuous, impetuous person, an American expression dates from the 1920s. Its earlier reference to shooting, either recklessly or expertly, is...

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Literally, one whose spur is hot from impetuous, fast-paced riding dates from the 1400s, hence one that is impetuous or fiery-spirited, which dates fr...

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House divided against itself, cannot stand

The source is the New Testament, Matthew, 12:21, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided again...

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House on fire

see Get on like a house on fire

House proud

A house proud person is someone who takes pride in keeping their home clean, tidy, and well organised. The expression dates from the early 19th centur...

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How about/how do you like them apples?

American expressions of delight and triumph, usually inviting admiration or praise for something one has achieved or acquired, rather than a reply. So...

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How are the mighty fallen

The source is the Bible, Samuel II, 1:25, “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!” It is repeated two verses further on in 1:27, “How are t...

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How long is a piece of string?

Rhetorical question, to which there is no answer, dates from the early 20th century.

How many beans make five?

See Know how many beans make five

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