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
Live high on the hog

see High on the hog


Live in the lap of luxury

see In the lap of luxury


Live on the smell/sniff of an oil/oily rag

Survive or get by on very little income, appears to be of Australian/New Zealand origin and dates from the 1950s. The expression was later applied to...

Read More


Living soul

The origin of this expression, usually used in the context of there was not a living soul to be seen or don’t tell a living soul, is the Bible, Genesi...

Read More


Living the life of Reilly/Riley

see Life of Reilly/Riley


Loaf of bread

Rhyming slang for head, loaf of bread/head, dates from the late 19th century, but is now almost Standard English in phrases such as use your loaf.


Loaf/loafer

To idle, dawdle or laze about, hence one who does so, an Americanism that dates from the early 19th century. The OED maintains that it is “probably fr...

Read More


Loan shark

A loan shark person is a person who lends money at exorbitant interest rates and is an American expression first attested from the early 20th century....

Read More


Local derby

A local derby is a sporting contest between rivals from the same city or district and the first citation is from the early 20th century. It derives fr...

Read More


Lock horns with

To become embroiled in an argument or conflict is of American origin from the early 19th century, after the way bulls, stags and other horned animals...

Read More


Lock, stock and barrel

Means the whole thing or the complete package and dates from the early 19th century with the allusion of course to early firearms, which were generall...

Read More


Locum

A locum is a physician or clergyman standing in temporarily for another. It is an abbreviation of the Latin locum tenens, which means ‘holding the pla...

Read More


Loggerheads

To be at loggerheads with someone is to be in dispute or conflict and the expression dates from the late 17th century. Tracing it back, in Shakespeare...

Read More


LOL

Acronym for laugh out loud used mainly in written, digital communications like text messaging and email. The OED found instances of its usage dating f...

Read More


Lolly/lollipop

Lolly is an abbreviation of lollipop, a form of boiled sweet usually on a stick, and dates from the mid-19th century. Lollipop is first attested from...

Read More


back to top