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 by one’s wits

see Out of one’s wits

Live by the sword, die by the sword

The actual quotation is, “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” meaning that violent or nefarious actions will reap similar reward...

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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...

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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...

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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.


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...

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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....

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Local derby

Just as it is always pleasing to find new, genuine first citations for idioms, it is even more pleasing to find new, authentic evidence for their orig...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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