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
Pull the other leg (one), it’s got bells on

see Leg pulling

Pull the pin on something

To pull the pin on something is to abort or end a relationship or project etc, and this figurative use dates from the late 1920s. The pin is not thoug...

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Pull the plug

To withdraw support and thereby terminate something dates from the early 20th century. Originally, this expression was in reference to 18th century fl...

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Pull the ring out of something

To pull the ring out of something is to overdo something or use excessive, unnecessary behaviour or language. For example, in response to excessive cr...

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Pull the wool over someone’s eyes

To trick or deceive someone, the first known citation is American from c.1839 but the origin is obscure. One theory is that it derives from the habit...

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Pulling teeth

Pulling teeth is a metaphor that describes a very difficult and arduous task, especially trying to extract information. It is an Americanism that date...

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Pump jockey

US informal for a service station attendant, inter-changeable with gas jockey, dates from the mid-20th century. See also Disc Jockey


Pumped is US informal for excited as in pumped full of enthusiasm and adrenalin; dates from the 1980s, and can be accompanied by a fist pump.


see Pleased as Punch

Punch above one’s weight

To punch above one’s weight is to perform beyond expectations, and this figurative usage dates from the mid-20th century. It derives, of course, from...

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Punch drunk

A state of befuddlement or disorientation first used in the context of boxing in the early 20th century to describe a boxer who has taken too many pun...

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Punch line

The origin of this phrase as the final, dramatic line of a joke or story is unknown but it is thought to be of American origin from the late 19th/earl...

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Punch one’s way out of a paper bag

An American expression that is usually used in the negative form. For example, a person might say of another, “When up against it, he couldn’t punch h...

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Punch someone’s lights out

see Put someone’s lights out

Punch the air

see Air punch

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