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
Jiff/Jiffy

see In a jiff/jiffy


Jiggery-pokery

Jiggery-pokery means dishonest or deceitful goings-on, as in the sentence, “I could not be sure, but I suspected there was some sort of jiggery-pokery...

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Jim-jam/Jim-jams

Jim-jam is what the OED likes to call “a fanciful reduplicated formation with vowel alternation”, like flim-flam, flip-flop etc. Jim-jam originates fr...

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Jiminy Cricket

An American minced oath for Jesus Christ dates from the early 20th century, also a famous Walt Disney character since 1940. It is doubtful Disney woul...

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Jimmy Riddle

Rhyming slang for piddle, i.e. urinate, Jimmy Riddle/piddle, dates from the late 19th century and does not derive from any known person.


Jingle

As in the jingle of bells, spurs, keys etc dates from the 14th century and is purely imitative or echoic in origin. Jingle in the sense of a catching...

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Jink

Scots dialect word meaning, to move in a sudden, quick manner dates from the early 18th century. Rugby commentators talk of players setting off on a j...

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Jinx

In Greek mythology, Iynx, from whom the word is derived, was a nymph, the daughter of Pan. Her speciality was love potions, one of which induced Zeus...

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Joanna

A piano, rhyming slang Joanna/piano, where piano is pronounced ‘pianna’, dates from c. 1912.


Jock/jockey

Jock is a Scottish nickname for John since the 1500s, also informal for any Scottish soldier from more or less the same time. Jock was also slang for...

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Jockey for position

To manoeuvre in such a way as to gain an advantage, a phrase borrowed from horseracing and used in this figurative sense since the late 18th/early 19t...

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Jockstrap

Sports undergarment for men since the latter half of the 19th century, an American invention, derives from the slang meaning of Jock for penis. See al...

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Joe Cocker

Rhyming slang for 'shocker' meaning a mistake or error of some kind. Joe Cocker/shocker, dates from the late 20th/early 21st century, and derives from...

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Joe Soap

Rhyming slang, Joe Soap/dope, a stupid person, now generally refers to Mr Average, the British equivalent of the American John Doe, often used mistake...

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John (toilet)

This American expression for the toilet dates from around 1930. Many theories abound, most of them revolving around manufacturers’ names starting with...

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