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
Rub-a-dub

Rhyming slang for pub (public house), rub-a-dub/pub, dates from the late 19th century. Rub-a-dub-dub is a nonsense expression dating from the late 18t...

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Rubber

Originally American slang for condom that dates from the late 19th century because 19th century condoms were in fact made from rubber (latex condoms w...

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Rubberneck

To rubberneck is an American colloquial expression that means to look about or stare with over-curiosity and dates from the late 19th/early 20th centu...

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Ruby Murray

Rhyming slang for a curry, Ruby Murray/curry, dates from the early 1960s. Ruby Murray was a popular British singer in the 1950s.


Ruckus

A row, quarrel or disturbance is of American origin from the late 19th century but has now passed into Standard English. The origin remains uncertain...

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Ruddy

Ruddy became an inoffensive euphemism for bloody from the late 19th/early 20th century but the original word is Old English from before the 1100s and...

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Rug

American theatre slang for a wig or hairpiece dates from c. 1940.


Rugger

Rugger is upper class student slang for rugby and is probably one of the first examples of what lexicographers call ‘The Oxford –er’. Soccer from asso...

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Rule of thumb

Means a rough and ready estimation, measurement or way of working and dates from the 17th century. Therefore, it has nothing whatsoever to do with any...

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Rule the roost

To rule the roost is to dominate, to be in control and dates in this form from the 18th century. Before this, from at least the early 1500s, the expre...

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Rule with a rod of iron

Means to manage or govern with strict or harsh discipline. The source is the New Testament Revelation 2: 27 “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron...

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Rumble

US slang for a street or gang fight dates from the 1940s.


Rumbled

Rumbled is British informal for being found out or caught out, especially when doing something dubious or illegal. It dates from the late 19th century...

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Rumpo/rumpy-pumpy

Rumpo and the repetitive rhyming couplet rumpy-pumpy are both British slang expressions for sexual intercourse. Both expressions gained popularity the...

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Run around like a headless chicken

Dash around without purpose; this expression will be as old as the practice of slaughtering chickens that often run, jerk and move after decapitation....

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