A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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North American slang for a stupid, clumsy person dates from the early 1960s and derives from the Yiddish klots meaning a wooden beam, hence blockhead,...

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Knacker’s yard

A place where horses were slaughtered, dates from the early 19th century and now refers to any place of dereliction. See also Knackered and Knackers.


British colloquial expression for tired and exhausted since the 19th century and derives from knacker, which meant to slaughter a horse, hence knacker...

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British slang for testicles since the 19th century or perhaps a little earlier, deriving from the Middle English word knack, now obsolete, meaning to...

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Knee-high to a grasshopper

An American expression first recorded in 1851 that means very small and is usually used in the context of children e.g. the last time I saw you, you w...

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Knee-jerk reaction

An automatic, unthinking response to a situation dates from the late 19th century with allusion to the patellar or knee-jerk reflex, caused by strikin...

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British slang for the act of sexual intercourse while in a standing position; dates from the mid-19th century. The expression was popularised again in...

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British slang for a party, especially with dancing, dates from the 1940s, connected with the popular song Knees up Mother Brown (1938).


Now means a trifle or a trinket and dates from the late 17th century. Before this, knack on its own meant a clever or ingenious way of doing somethi...

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Knickers in a knot/twist

This British colloquial expression from the mid-20th century means getting needlessly flustered or concerned about something as in; don’t get your kni...

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Knife to a gunfight

see Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight

Knight in shining armour

This is of course a metaphor for someone who comes to the aid of another in a chivalrous or gallant manner. The first known citation is in a poem by H...

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Knight of the road

This expression has been around since the 1660s when it was used to describe a highwayman. From the early 20th century, it has been used as a euphemis...

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Knives are out

If the knives are out for someone, it means that person faces hostility or harm to reputation, standing etc. Obviously, the knives here are metaphoric...

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Slang for penis since the late 19th century from the similarity of the un-erect penis to a doorknocker or doorknob. See also Bonk.

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