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

Acronym for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning, the latter for people who have not made up their minds about their sexual orientatio...

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Acronym for 'leg before wicket', a term used in cricket when the ball strikes a batsman on the pads or legs, and if, in the umpire's judgm...

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Lead balloon

A simile for a flop or failure for the obvious reason that a lead balloon cannot stay aloft, first attested in America during the 1920s but only came...

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Lead on, Macduff!

This has been a popular misquotation since the late 19th century. The original and correct quotation is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth Act V, Scene VII. “...

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Lead someone a merry dance/chance

To lead someone a merry dance or chase is to mess them about and waste their time, and dates from the 1500s.

Lead someone up/down the garden path

This metaphor means to deceive or mislead someone and dates from the early 20th century. It is not known who coined it but it is thought to derive fro...

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Lead with the chin

see Leading with the chin

Leading edge

The very latest, most up-to-date, the phrase dates from the 1970s. See also Cutting edge.

Leading light

Leading light in the sense of moral or expert guidance dates from the 19th century, but its origin as illumination to lead the way in the dark is like...

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Leading question

A leading question is a question that guides the respondent to an answer pre-planned by the questioner and dates from the early 19th century.

Leading with the chin

Approaching an issue or situation naively and defencelessly, an Americanism that dates in the figurative sense from the 1950s but its earlier literal...

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Leaf from someone else’s book

see Take a leaf from someone’s book


see Take or have a leak

Leap of faith

Attributed by most to Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) the Danish theologian and philosopher who used the metaphor to describe the way in which religious...

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Leap Year

So-called since the 1400s because anniversaries or fixed feast days after February in such a year, leap or jump by two days not one. If one’s birthday...

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