A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Nose out of joint

To put someone’s nose out of joint is to dislocate or hurt their feelings and dates in this figurative sense from the 1600s. It can often be just as p...

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Nose to the grindstone

This expression has many variants. We have been keeping or holding our noses or other people’s to the grindstone since the early 16th century. The all...

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Nosey parker

This expression for an overly inquisitive and prying person is first recorded in the late 19th century, which puts Matthew Parker, who was Archbishop...

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British slang for food dates from the late 1950s and derives from the Yiddish nashn, (Middle High German naschen) meaning to chew or nibble.

Not a happy bunny

A British expression that means a person so described is decidedly unhappy or annoyed about something. It is first attested from the late 1980s/early...

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Not a happy camper

see Happy camper

Not a hope in hell

No chance at all, the first citation is American from c.1923.

Not a leg to stand on

Without any support or credibility, dates from the late 1500s.

Not a patch on

Nowhere near as good as, something so inferior that it could not even serve as a patch on a garment, dates from the mid-18th century.

Not a prayer

No chance at all, where not even a prayer would help, the first citation is American from c. 1941.

Not a sausage

Nothing at all, derives from rhyming slang, sausage and mash/cash, which is first attested from c. 1870, according to Eric Partridge. Not a sausage or...

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Not a snowball’s (chance in hell)

No chance at all, the expression is of American origin from c. 1931.

Not all that glitters is gold

see All that glitters is not gold

Not all there

Mentally deficient, dates from the mid-18th century.

Not as black as one is painted

Means not as bad as one is made out to be dates from the mid-1500s.

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