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
Posh and Becks

Modern, 21st century, rhyming slang for sex, Posh and Becks/sex, from Posh Spice and David Beckham.


Post-haste

Means quickly at great speed and derives from the 16th century habit of writing ‘Post Haste’ on the outside of letters that had to be delivered urgent...

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Pot calling the kettle black

This notion of being critical of another when the criticism might apply equally to the criticiser, dates from at least the 1600s when all cooking pots...

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Pot luck

Take one’s chance dates from the 1500s and derives from being invited for a meal at the last minute and having to share whatever is in the cooking pot...

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Pot/Pot shot

Pot meaning to drink is from the 16th century and is a transference of meaning from the pot or vessel in which drink was served. Pot meaning to shoot...

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Potboiler

A potboiler is a cheap work of art, book, or movie designed to make quick money. ‘Boiling the pot’ is a late 18th century expression for making a livi...

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Pound of flesh

Pound of flesh is a metaphor one’s due recompense that is assiduously exacted and it was coined by Shakespeare in Merchant of Venice Act IV, Scene I,...

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Pound seats

To be in the pound seats is to be in a very good position with everything going well and appears to be a South African expression dating from the days...

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Pound sterling

see Sterling


Pour oil on troubled waters

These days, this old proverb is seen as more of an environmental disaster but the calming effect of oil on water was known to both the Ancient Greeks...

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Pour one’s heart out

Express one’s innermost thoughts and feelings, the source is the Bible Psalms 62:8, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before...

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Powers that be

People often talk about the powers that be in an abstract sort of way and mean authorities of some kind. Very few, however, realise that they are quot...

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Prang

Colloquial English for a car crash, in most cases a minor one. The word is Royal Air force slang c.1940 for a crash but also meant an attack on enemy...

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Prat/prat about

In current British usage, prat is a slightly more intense form of twit, a foolish, ineffectual person and dates from the 1980s. Prat about which means...

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Press the panic button

see Panic button


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