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
Rock the boat

To do or say something that causes a problem or stirs up trouble dates from the early 20th century and derives from the obvious allusion to upsetting...

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Rock/Rock up

British informal for to arrive, often unannounced or unexpectedly. Dates from the 1960s and derives from rock ‘n roll in the sense that it replaced ro...

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see Off one’s rocker

Rocket science

In its current figurative sense, rocket science has come to signify something that is difficult or hard to understand. It is often used in the negativ...

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Rocking horse manure/shit

Something that is very rare or scarce, American slang dates from the 1970s.


In America, rocks can mean precious stones, ice cubes and, equally precious, testicles. The precious stones connotation is from the late 19th/early 20...

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Rocks in your head

Mad, crazy, insane, an Americanism dates from the late 20th century.

Rod for one’s own back

see Make a rod for one’s own back

Rod of iron

see Rule with a rod of iron


Roger has been slang for penis since the 1600s, deriving from Old Norse/Germanic words where roger means ‘spear’. As a verb meaning to copulate with a...

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Roll in the hay/sack

see Hit the hay/sack

Roll out the red carpet

see Red-carpet treatment

Roll with the punches

Means to skilfully absorb aggression and deflate a situation. This figurative use dates from the 1950s from an earlier boxing term from the 1940s.

Rolling in money

This metaphor for having so much money that one could repeatedly turn over and luxuriate in it dates from the late 1500s. Perhaps the earliest example...

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Rolling stone gathers no moss

An ancient Greek and Roman proverb first mentioned in the works of Publius Syrus, also referred to as Plublilius Syrus, c. first century BC, Maxim 524...

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