A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Nerve-racking/wracking

Unlike the expression, rack one’s brain, where wrack would be incorrect, when it comes to nerves, both ‘rack’ and ‘wrack’ are correct. Nerve-racking m...

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Nest egg

Nest egg as in savings or investments set aside for later use derives from the notion of placing a false egg in a chicken’s nest to induce and encoura...

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Never bring a knife to a gunfight

see Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight


Never foul one's own nest

This is a very old saying that urges one to never harm or endanger one's own interests, from the obvious analogy of a bird besmirching its own nest, a...

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Never look a gift horse in the mouth

see Gift horse


Never say die

A never-say-die attitude is one that never accepts defeat and dates from the early 1800s.


Never say Never

This is attributed to Charles Dickens in Pickwick Papers (1837).


Never shit on one’s own doorstep

A vulgar saying that urges one never to harm or endanger one's own interests, and dates from the late 19th century. It's a more modern but less tastef...

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Never the twain shall meet

Describes a situation where things are so far apart that unity or agreement is impossible, attributed to Rudyard Kipling The Ballad of East and West (...

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Never-Never

To buy something on the never-never is a British colloquialism for hire purchase, with the implication that one never stops paying, dates from the ear...

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Never-Never Land

The fictitious home place of Peter Pan from J. M. Barrie’s popular play Peter Pan (1904) and hence a synonym for a sense of dreamy unreality. Perhaps...

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New broom sweeps clean

New overseers or managers make drastic or comprehensive changes. This was already an old proverb when it appeared in John Heywood Proverbs in 1546. Se...

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New York minute

A moment or perhaps a few seconds at most, this American expression dates from the 1950s based on the allusion to the fast, hurried lifestyle of peopl...

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Newfangled

This expression dates from the 15th century in the sense of something newly in fashion or newly invented. Shakespeare used it in this sense in several...

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News

News as a word dates from the 15th century and was originally the plural of new, but is now regarded as a singular noun. (Newsreaders do not say here...

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