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
Knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

This is Oscar Wilde’s famous definition of a cynic in Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) Act III. The full quotation is, “What is a cynic? A man who knows t...

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Knuckle down

Meaning to apply oneself studiously and conscientiously to the task at hand and dates in this sense from the early 19th century. It derives from the g...

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Knuckle sandwich

A knuckle sandwich is a US colloquialism for a punch in the mouth from a clenched fist, as one would eat a sandwich. The expression dates from the ear...

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Knuckle Under

Meaning to concede or admit defeat, from the act of kneeling with the knuckles on the ground, whether forced or voluntary, as a sign of surrender, dat...

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Knuckle-duster

A metal instrument that protects the knuckles while adding force to a blow struck with a closed fist. It was originally US criminal slang, dating from...

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Knucklehead

A knucklehead is a dull, stupid person; an Americanism that dates from the 1930s, from the allusion that stupid people press their knuckles to their f...

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Kowtow

To act in an obsequious manner dates in English from the late 18th/early 19th century from the Chinese k’o-t’ou, which means, knock head and is the an...

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Kremlin

Kremlin is Russian for fortress and would be the equivalent of castle in English. Since the 1920s, it has become a metonymy for the Russian government...

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Kudos

From the Greek kudos meaning fame, glory or renown, entered the language as British university slang in the late 18th century.


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