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
On the cards

If something or other is on the cards, it means that it is likely to happen and this usage dates from the 18th century, from the practice of foretelli...

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On the carpet/Carpeted

Today we think of a carpet exclusively as a floor covering or figuratively as a covering resembling a carpet e.g. a carpet of snow, but during the 17t...

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On the cusp

Cusp is an old word from the 16th century meaning point or edge. To be on the cusp means to be on the point of achieving or doing something. Its ori...

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On the dot

Means on time, punctual or exactly accurate and derives from the dots on a clock or timepiece. The expression dates from the late 19th/early 20th cent...

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On the fly

This phrase originally meant 'on the wing' and probably derived from bird shooting, but in some Scottish and Northern England dialects, 'on the fly' m...

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On the front foot

see On the back foot


On the gad

see Gad


On the horns of a dilemma

see Horns of a dilemma


On the house

On the house means that the house or establishment is footing the bill, dates from the late 19th century.


On the lam

US expression meaning on the run, usually from the law, derives from a slightly earlier American slang word lam, meaning to run off; dates from the la...

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On the money

Meaning on target, accurate, on the mark, this expression dates from at least the 16th century and derives from archery where a coin was placed in the...

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On the nail

see Pay on the nail/pay cash on the nail


On the never-never

see Never-never


On the piss

To go on the piss is to embark on a hard-drinking spree, British slang since the early 20th century c. 1910.


On the QT

QT is simply short for quiet and 'on the QT' dates from c. 1870. It is preceded only by a few years by the full phrase ‘on the quiet', which dates fro...

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