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 quiet

see On the QT


On the rack

To be under great stress and has been used in this figurative sense since the early 1500s with the obvious allusion to the medieval instrument of tort...

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On the razzle/on the razz

see Razzle-dazzle


On the right/wrong tack

To be headed in the right/wrong direction, derives from sailing, the figurative use of which dates from the late 19th century.


On the right/wrong track/path/road

To be headed in the right/wrong direction, the figurative sense of these expressions dates from the late 19th century.


On the ropes

The current figurative meaning of being on the verge of defeat or in dire straits dates from the 1950s. It derives from boxing when a boxer is up agai...

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On the same hymn sheet

see On the same wavelength


On the same page

see On the same wavelength


On the same wavelength

Means to strike a rapport with or understand another person perfectly, derives from the early 20th century from the early days of radio broadcasting....

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On the shelf

As meaning without prospects of marriage, usually applied to women, dates from the early 1800s.


On the skids

see Skid row


On the smell of an oily rag

see Live on the smell of an oily rag


On the spin

see On the bounce


On the spot

see Put someone on the spot


On the trot

This expression from trot as in running can mean either ‘on the go’ which dates from the late 19th century or ‘in quick succession’ which dates from t...

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