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
No flies on me/you

No flies on you means that you are wide awake, sharp and well organised. It appears that the expression is originally Australian and was being used in...

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No fool like an old fool

This adage appears in John Heywood Proverbs (1546) in the form of there is no fool to the old fool. It first appears in its more common form there is...

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No great shakes

This expression dates from the early 19th century and means average or mediocre and derives from shaking dice and throwing them poorly. It is usually...

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No holds barred

Means without restrictions or rules and derives from all-in wrestling during the late 19th century when even dangerous holds would sometimes be allowe...

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No love lost

This familiar expression was coined by Ben Jonson in Every Man Out of His Humour (1599) Act II, Scene I, “There shall be no love lost.”


No man is an island

This famous expression was coined by John Donne in Devotions written in 1623. The full quotation is, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man...

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No names, no pack drill

This expression derives from the British Army and means that if people are not named there can be no recriminations or censure. It dates from around t...

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No news is good news

An old saying that dates from the 1600s.


No oil painting

To say that someone is no oil painting means that he or she is not very attractive. A British colloquialism from the late 19th/early 20th century.


No peace for the wicked

The source is the Bible, Isaiah, 48:22, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”


No price

see Pay the price


No question

In the sense of undoubtedly, dates from the mid-1400s.


No questions asked

In the sense of accountability or explanation not required, dates from the mid-19th century.


No respecter of persons

When one thinks about it, this is an odd construction of words frequently used to describe someone who has no respect for anybody. It is in fact a dir...

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No rhyme or reason

This phrase is used to express a lack of good sense or reasonableness and dates from 1664, according to the OED.


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