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 turn

see On the bounce


On the wagon

This expression means abstaining from alcohol and is American dating from the turn of the 19th/20th century. The expression began life as ‘on the wate...

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On thin ice

see Skating/treading/walking on thin ice


On tick

To get something on tick is get it on credit and has been a British colloquialism since the mid-1600s. Tick here is an abbreviation of ticket, the tic...

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On your bike

British catchphrase that first appears in print from the 1960s means, go away or be on your way and sometimes get away with you (in disbelief). Since...

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Once bitten, twice shy

The origin of this almost Darwinian principle is now lost to us but the concept of avoiding painful experiences is most certainly very ancient. Willia...

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Once in a blue moon

The notion of a blue moon has been around for a very long time. During the 18th century, if someone said, “I’ll marry you when the moon is blue” it me...

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One door closes/shuts, another opens

see When one door closes/shuts, another door opens


One fell swoop

see At one fell swoop


One foot in the grave

Means very old or close to death and was coined by Plutarch (46-120 AD) in Morals of the Training of Children, “An old doting fool, with one foot alre...

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One for all, all for one

see All for one, one for all


One for his nob

see Nob


One for the road

A drinking proposition that urges a final drink before the journey home. It was originally a British expression that soon took hold on both sides of t...

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One good turn deserves another

The intrigue here is not the meaning that kindness should be repaid with kindness but rather the origin. It is fist cited as an old English proverb fr...

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One in the eye

Meaning a misfortune, setback, snub or insult dates from the late 19th century. David Cameron, as reported by Sky News 30 July 2012, on hearing that t...

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