A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Rumpy pumpy

The rhyming couplet, rump pumpy, is jocular British slang for sexual intercourse, and dates from the late 1960s. It is not known who actually coined t...

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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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Run circles/rings around someone

Means to outclass and overcome an opponent and dates in this figurative sense from the late 19th century. The expression derives from hunting during t...

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Run for one’s money

see Give someone a run for their money.

Run interference

To run interference means to help clear the way for another, deal with problems, obstacles etc and dates from the early 20th century. The expression d...

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Run of the mill

Figurative for merely average, ordinary, an American expression that dates from the late 19th century and originally alluded to ordinary, unsupervised...

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Run ragged

Give someone such a hard time so as to exhaust them and give them the appearance of being reduced to rags. The expression dates from the early 20th ce...

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Run the gauntlet

This expression has nothing to do with gauntlet as in glove. There are two distinct etymologies for the word gauntlet. The first and oldest is gauntle...

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Run up a red flag

see Red flag

Run with the hares and chase/hunt with the hounds

Means to pursue two opposing causes or objectives, clearly a very difficult task; an old English proverb that dates from the mid-1400s.


To give someone the run-around is to deliberately mislead or confuse them, an Americanism that dates from the late 19th century.

Running scared

Running scared is an American expression that means so frightened as to run away from whatever is causing one’s fear. It dates from the 1940s.

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