A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Since the early 17th century, this word has been used in a slightly derogatory sense, as a collective noun for miscellaneous, superfluous or over-comp...

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Pardon/Excuse my French

An apologetic expression that follows a swear word or profanity and asks to be excused or pardoned, in a coy attempt to pass it off as French. It was...

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Park a darkie

Australian slang for defecate, also sometimes expressed as ‘choke/strangle a darkie’, dates from the late 20th/early 21st century.

Park the bus

To park the bus is a football (soccer) term, which means to play an ultra-defensive style of play with the objective of denying the opposing team any...

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From the Aleutian parka, a weatherproof jacket with hood, as first worn by Aleuts and Eskimos, dates from the late 19th century.

Parking lot

The American equivalent of the British car park dates from c.1920, where spaces for cars are divided into lots or portions.


British colloquial word for nippingly cold or chilly, which according to the OED is of unknown origin and first attested from 1898, but Eric Partridge...

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Parson’s/Pope’s nose

It is hard to believe that during the 18th century this part of the chicken was considered one of the choicest and hence reserved for the parson shoul...

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Part and parcel

Part and parcel is one of those largely meaningless phrases favoured by law books. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the expression dates back to the...

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Part of life’s rich pageant

see Life’s rich pageant

Parting is such sweet sorrow

This was coined by Shakespeare when Juliet said it to Romeo at the end of Act II, Scene II in Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet c. 1594.

Parting shot

A final word or act delivered just before leaving, dates from the early 19th century and derives from the earlier, literal use of firearms while retre...

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Party animal

A party animal is someone who is always ready to party enthusiastically and for a long time. The expression is American from the 1970s.

Party piece

A well-rehearsed and often repeated performance of some sort reserved for social gatherings. The OED dates the expression from the early 1960s.

Party pooper

A party pooper is one who spoils or does not join in the festivities and is American slang from the 1940s, related to ‘pooped’, which is also American...

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