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

The slang or informal use of motherless started in Britain, possibly Ireland, as an intensifier meaning extremely as in motherless broke or motherless...

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Mountain to climb

To have a mountain to climb is a metaphor for having to face an insurmountable or difficult task and in this metaphorical sense dates from the late 19...

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Mountain won’t come to Muhammad..

see If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad..

Mountains from molehills

see Molehills into mountains

Move a muscle

Commonly expressed in the negative i.e. don’t move a muscle or without moving a muscle meaning to remain perfectly motionless or to be unhelpful. The...

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Move mountains

see Faith can move mountains

Move/shift the goalposts

Means to change the rules to make something easier or more difficult to achieve, depending on the context, dates from the 1970s and is of American ori...

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Movers and Shakers

People with influence who can typically shape events; the phrase was coined by British poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy in an 1874 poem entitled Ode, “Yet we...

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According to the OED, is first attested from 1913 and is of American origin, an abbreviation of moving picture. See also Flick.

Movie trailer

see Trailer, movie


A very old Anglo-Saxon word from before the 11th century meaning to cut down grass or crops with a scythe and more latterly with a machine; sometimes...

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Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you

This is certainly not a famous quotation. Famous last words are usually recorded for posterity, but these, in a sense, were first words and not famous...

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Much ado about nothing

A great deal of fuss over nothing of importance; it was of course the title of one of Shakespeare’s plays written in 1599 and the expression has survi...

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Much of a muchness

This odd expression meaning very much alike or more of the same thing is attributed to Sir John Vanbrugh in his play The Provoked Husband, which was p...

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Mud in your eye

Eric Partridge has this as a British officer’s toast from the muddy trenches of WWI c. 1915. One would like to believe it.

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