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
Rough and tumble

Originally, a free-for-all fight without any rules, dates in this sense from the late 18th century; figurative as in ‘the rough and tumble of politics...

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Rough diamond

A rough diamond or a diamond in the rough describes a person who, despite an uncouth manner or exterior, has a good heart underneath, dates in this se...

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Round and about

see Around and about


Round Robin

A sporting tournament, in which all competitors play against one another in turn, dates in this sense form the late 19th century. Before this, as reco...

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Round the bend/twist

Mad, crazy, insane dates from the 1600s, derives from bending or twisting something out of true.


Round the houses

see Around the houses


Roundhouse

A roundhouse punch in boxing is a wild, swinging punch dates from the late 19th century. The origin is American where roundhouses were the circular bu...

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Roving eye

A widespread amorous interest in the opposite sex dates from the 18th century.


Row of beans

see Not worth a hill/row of beans


Royal

Royal as an adjective has been used to denote large size or scale since the late 1400s, as in a royal mess or a royal feast etc. From the allusion tha...

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Rozzer

British slang for police officer dates from c. 1870. It is thought to derive from the Scottish dialect rooser meaning ‘braggart’ or the Romany roozlo...

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Rub of the green

Rub of the green is simply a synonym for luck and is a very old expression, which derives from the game of lawn bowls from at least the 17th century a...

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Rub salt into the wounds

Means to make an already painful experience even more painful and dates from late 19th century when salt was no longer rubbed into wounds as a matter...

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Rub shoulders

To rub shoulders means to come into contact or make acquaintance with someone. It dates from the mid-17th century from the obvious allusion to physica...

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Rub up the wrong way

Means to irritate or annoy someone and dates from the late 19th century. The expression derives from rubbing a cat or dog’s fur in the opposite direct...

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