A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Leg to stand on

see Not a leg to stand on


To be drunk or inebriated, a British colloquial expression that dates from the 1960s.


British slang for sexual intercourse, usually used by males rather than females. A shortened form of  'to get one's leg over' which h...

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British and American informal for something that is worthless or not the genuine article as in, for example, ‘the car I bought was a lemon’ dates from...

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Leopard cannot change its spots

see Can the leopard change its spots?


This name for one-piece, tight-fitting women’s wear derives from the 19th century French trapeze artist Jules Léotard (1838-1870) who first wore such...

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Less said the better

see Least/less said, the soonest mended

Lest we forget

This phrase appears on nearly every memorial, epitaph or commemoration to those who have given their lives in war. It was coined by Rudyard Kipling in...

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Let bygones be bygones

This expression dates from the early 17th century and means the same as let the past remain in the past in the sense of holding no grudges. A bygone i...

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Let fly

Means to hurl a missile, to fire or shoot at something, or vehemently express an opinion. All these meanings and uses date from the 16th century.

Let it all hang out

To be relaxed and uninhibited is American from the mid-1960s.

Let off steam

see Blow/let off steam

Let off the hook

see off the hook

Let one’s hair down

To dispense with formality, relax and have a good time, dates from the mid-19th century when women in particular would generally wear their hair pinne...

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Let sleeping dogs lie

This is a very old proverb meaning do not stir up unnecessary trouble, In the 1300s, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “It is nought good a sleeping hound to wa...

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