A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Now or never

An old, anonymous Latin proverb nunc aut numqam dates in English from the 1500s, possibly before.


Nudge nudge

see Wink wink


Nuke

US military slang for nuclear weapon first attested in 1959. The verb, to attack with nuclear weapons, is attested from 1962. Nuke meaning to heat or...

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Number is up

When one’s number is up it means doomed to die, British army slang from WWI, with allusion to a soldier’s military number or dog tag.


Nurdle

This word is perhaps best known in Britain as a cricketing term when batsmen will sometimes nurdle the ball around the ground for ones and twos. Batsm...

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Nut case

see Nut/nuts


Nut/Nuts

Since the 1500s, nut has enjoyed a figurative meaning for a problem and gave rise to the later metaphor tough/hard nut to crack. By the mid-18th centu...

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Nutmeg (a goalkeeper)

Since about the 1970s, to nutmeg a goalkeeper in Association Football is to score a goal through the goalkeeper’s legs. There are many theories about...

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Nuts and bolts

The basic or essential fundamentals of something; dates from the late 1940s.


Nutshell

see In a nutshell


Nutter

British colloquialism for mad person dates from the late 1950s derives from nuts meaning crazy.


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