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
In a spin

see Flat spin


In a stew

see Stew/stew in one’s own juice


In a tizz/tizzy

see Tizz/tizzy


In a trice

Means in a short moment or in a very short space of time and, in the form of ‘at’ a trice, dates from the mid-15th century. In a trice first appears i...

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In at the deep end

see In the deep end


In black and white

In the sense of a written record, to get something in black and white dates from the 14th century.


In cahoots

Originally American in origin, the word cahoot meaning a company or partnership dates from c. 1818. According to the OED, the origin is unknown but be...

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In clover

The shrub clover was and still is highly prized as pasture for cattle and since the early 1700s, to be ‘in clover’ has been a metaphor for living a li...

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In cold blood

Many expressions in English derive from the perceived temperature of blood. We talk of doing something in hot blood or in the heat of passion. Sometim...

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In for a penny, in for a pound

A metaphor for committing all one’s resources to achieve a goal; dates from the late 17th century when the difference between the value of a pound and...

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In full cry

In hot pursuit or extremely determined, originally used to describe a pack of hounds, dates from the 1400s.


In full swing

Any activity at its height or in total operation dates from the 1500s and probably derives from bell ringing.


In good nick

British colloquialism that means in good condition dates from the late 19th/early 20th century. Its derivation is probably related to nick meaning the...

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In hot blood

see In cold blood


In lieu of

This expression meaning in place of or instead of is a direct borrowing from the French lieu meaning place. The expression has been in use since the 1...

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