A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Chiefly white Zimbabwean slang for a Black African dates from the mid-20th century, and derives from the Matabele word umuntu meaning people.

Murder of crows

Murder has been a collective noun for crows since the 15th century due to the superstitious association of crows with death because of course they fee...

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Mush is Standard English, probably a variation of mash, for any soft or pulpy food and is first cited in this sense from the early 19th century, altho...

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British armed services jocular slang as in Mustapha drink or Mustapha crap (must have a) dates from the 1930s and derives from the popular Arab name.


South African informal for medicine derives from the Zulu umuthi for medicine and dates from at least the 19th century.


US slang for a stupid, ignorant blunderer, an abbreviation of muttonhead, dates from 1910. Again, originating from America, it can also mean a small d...

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Mutt ‘n Jeff

Rhyming slang for deaf, Mutt and Jeff/deaf, dates from the 1940s, derives from the comic strip characters Mutt and Jeff created by Bud Fisher in 1907.

Mutton dressed as lamb

A derogatory metaphor for an older woman trying to dress and act younger dates in this form from the early 19th century but is preceded by a slightly...

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Muttonhead/mutton headed

A dull-witted stupid person, derives from the well-known stupidity of sheep and dates from the late 18th/early 19th century.

My arse

Vulgar expression of surprise or disbelief, dates from the late 19th century. Some sources maintain that my aunt is the genteel version.

My aunt

Mild expression of surprise that dates from the late 19th century. Some sources maintain it is a polite form of my arse, which is much older. Sometime...

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My dogs are barking

My dogs are barking meaning my feet are tired is an American expression that dates from the 1950s. Dogs has been both American and British slang for f...

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My eye

My eye or all my eye are retorts to someone talking rubbish and are the equivalent of retorting, “Nonsense!” It dates from the early 19th century and...

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My foot

An expression of disbelief, similar to my eye, but appears later, from the late 19th/early 20th century. The relevance and meaning of foot in this con...

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My giddy aunt

This exclamation of surprise derives from the archaic meaning of giddy as mad and is first recorded from the late 19th century, although aunts have be...

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