A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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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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My love is like a red, red rose

This was coined by Robert Burns (1759-1796) in his poem A Red, Red Rose, stanza 1, which is probably why red roses today symbolise love or passion, as...

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My old dutch

Affectionate British term for wife that has nothing to do with the Dutch because it is in fact a shortened form of duchess and the expression my old d...

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My sainted aunt

A variation of my giddy aunt as a mild exclamation of surprise dates from the early 20th century.


My word is my bond

In its Latin form, dictum meum pactum has been the motto of the London stock Exchange since 1801. In English, the adage has been around in various for...

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My word/Oh my word

In reality, this harmless colloquialism expressing amazement or admiration started out as a minced oath, where ‘word’ is substituted for ‘God’. St Joh...

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