A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Jump the queue

Push in front of others in a queue, dates from the mid-20th century. The US equivalent is jump the line.


As in a jumped-up person meaning pretentious and arrogant, dates from the early 19th century, and derives from the allusion of someone jumping or risi...

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Jumper as the name of a loose, outer garment dates from the mid-19th century. It has nothing to do with the physical act of jumping. The OED says it p...

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Jumping Jehoshaphat

An American minced oath often used a substitute for Jesus Christ, dates from the mid-19th century. Jehoshaphat was an ancient King of Judah.


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Jungle is a word of Indian origin from the Hindi jangal originally a dry, arid wasteland but in Anglo-Indian usage any wild, overgrown tangled vegetat...

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Jungle bunny

British armed services slang for an Afro-Caribbean person dates from the 1950s.


Originally, in the early 18th century, junk meant a lump or piece of anything. The etymology is uncertain, but the OED ventures it perhaps derives fro...

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Junket is an old word for a feast or merry-making and dates from the mid-1500s. As a word for a schoolboy spree, it enjoyed a revival in Britain durin...

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US slang for drug addict dates from about 1923, from junk, which was also US slang for narcotics in general in the early 1920s, but is less heard in t...

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Just deserts

This familiar expression meaning a deserved outcome or comeuppance is often misspelt as desserts and indeed Just Desserts is the title of a recipe boo...

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Just the ticket

Exactly what is needed; dates from the early 19th century of disputed origin but most likely a winning ticket in a raffle or lottery.

Just what the doctor ordered

This expression describes something that is exactly what is needed or wanted and appears to be of American origin with the obvious allusion to a medic...

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