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
Off to hell in a hand basket/handcart

see Going to hell in a hand basket/handcart

Officer and a gentleman

This phrase is attributed to Rudyard Kipling Under the Deodars (1888) “He became an officer and a gentlemen, which is an enviable thing.”


see In the offing

Oh dear

see Dear/dearie me

Oh my word

see My word

Oh what a tangled web we weave

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practise to deceive” is the complete quotation from the novel Lochinvar (1808) by Sir Walter Scott. It has pas...

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Oily rag

Rhyming slang for a fag (cigarette), oily rag/fag, dates from the 1930s.


Sometimes spelt 'okay', takes pride of place as the most widely used expression in the English language. For the British, it may come as a surprise if...

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Okey dokey/dokes

Informal, light-hearted versions of OK that date from around 1930.

Old as Methuselah

Here is a trivial pursuit question for you. How old was Methuselah when he died? The answer, according to the Bible, is 969 years. The expression, as...

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Old as the hills

Most hills are indeed very old and the first reference to this hardly amazing fact is from the Bible, Job 15: 7, “Art thou the first man that was born...

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Old Bill

No one knows for sure why London’s Metropolitan Police are called the Old Bill. The police website at www.metpolice.co.uk gives thirteen possible orig...

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Old crock

see Crock

Old fogey

Old fogey, sometimes spelt 'fogy', meaning an excessively old-fashioned, staid person dates from 1780, according to the OED. 'Fogy' did appear a few y...

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Old hat

Old fashioned, passé, outdated, dates from the early 20th century when hats were a strong statement of fashion. Therefore, an old hat was more than li...

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