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
Handsome is as handsome does

This means that goodness or success is defined by good or successful acts, and was already an old English saying when first cited in John Ray English...

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Hang fire

Meaning to delay, hesitate or hold back and dates in this figurative sense from the late 18th/early 19th century. Before this, to hang fire goes back...

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Hang in

Hang in means to persist with something despite adversity, is originally American and dates from the 1960s.


Hang out

Hang out means to frequent, stay at a place, or reside, is originally American and dates from the early 19th century.


Hang up one’s hat

Call it a day; to finish work, sometimes to retire from work, is originally an American expression that dates from the 19th century. American men were...

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Hang-dog look

A hang-dog look is a furtive, guilty or apologetic expression on someone’s face and dates in this sense from the late 1600s. In those days, a dog refe...

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Hang-up

Hang-up as in a psychological fixation is American from the late 1950s, whereas to hang up the phone dates from the early 1900s.


Hang/hang it

Hang as in to spend time or relax, is American teen slang from the late 1950s. To 'get the hang of something' is also American from c. 1834 meaning to...

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Hanged

As in, hanged if I know, dates from the 16th century, a synonym for damned if I know. Hanged or damned sounds fairly terminal either way.


Hanging by a hair or thread

see Sword of Damocles


Hanging by a single hair or thread

see Sword of Damocles


Hangover

This word for the adverse after-effects of alcohol is owed to the Americans who first began using it in the 1890s, from the allusion to something that...

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Hanky panky

This phrase meaning frivolity, sleight of hand or sexual impropriety dates from the early 19th century and is a reduplication of hanky (short for hand...

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Happy as a clam

This is an American expression that dates from the early 19th century. Some have suggested that when a clam has been opened there is a similarity to a...

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Happy as a pig in clover

An American metaphor for extremely happy, which dates from the mid-19th century. One presumes when pigs are not wallowing in their own filth they like...

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