A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Hotshot

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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Hotspur

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


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


How the mighty are fallen

See How are the mighty fallen


How the other half lives

An old English proverb, the full version of which is “Half the world knows not how the other half lives.” It appears in Jacula Prudentum (1651) by Geo...

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How to win friends and influence people

This expression was popularised as the title of a famous self-help book written by Dale Carnegie and published in America in 1936. It is not certain i...

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How’s tricks?

British informal expression dates from the 1920s meaning, How are things going?


How’s your father

Originally a British euphemism for a sexual encounter as in how about a bit of how’s your father? dates from the early 20th century and was popularise...

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Howdy

This American contraction of how do you do dates from the mid-19th century.


Howler

An error so glaring that it may be greeted by howls of disbelief, dates from the late 19th century.


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