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
Learn the ropes

see Know/learn/show someone the ropes

Least/less said, soonest mended

Similar to least or less said the better, this is first attested in English in John Heywood Two Hundred Epigrams (1556), “little said soon amended”. S...

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Least/less said, the better

see Least/less said, soonest mended

Leave in the lurch

see Left in the lurch

Leave no stone unturned

Leave no stone unturned is one of the many adages that the medieval scholar Erasmus translated from Greek and Roman sources. It means, of course, to m...

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Leave something in the tank

A metaphor with many different versions e.g. ‘nothing left in the tank’, ‘little left in the tank’ etc, which mean that reserves or supplies of almost...

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Led Zeppelin

see Lead balloon

Left field

If something comes out of left field, is out in left field, or comes from left field, it means odd, bizarre or unexpected. The origin is generally ack...

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Left holding the baby/bag

see Holding the baby/bag

Left in the lurch

Is to be abandoned or placed in a difficult situation without help, dates from the 16th century. It derives from an old medieval board game of French...

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Left in the tank

see Leave something in the tank

Left wing (in politics)

see Left/Right wings (in politics)


Left-footer is a British expression, probably of Ulster or Scottish origin, and is derogatory for a Roman Catholic. The first citation is obscure. Som...

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Left/Right wings (in politics)

The terms left and right as applied to politics or political viewpoints started off in France c.1789 during the French Revolution. The presiding offic...

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Leg pulling

Colloquial expression for befooling or kidding dates from the late 19th century but became Standard English by the early 20th century. During the 1930...

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