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
Rome was not built in a day

This is an old proverb that means important projects need time. Its origin is not known but it first appears in English in John Heywood Proverbs (1546...

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Rook meaning to cheat or swindle, or a person who does so, dates from the 16th century and derives from the bird, who like the jackdaw, is known for i...

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A rookie meaning a raw recruit or novice was originally a British army colloquialism from the late 19th century, possibly deriving from the word recru...

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Room to swing a cat

see Swing a cat

Root and branch

This idiom derives from forestry where to remove a tree, root and branch, is to remove it completely. Therefore, to affect any change root and branch...

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see On the ropes


Ropy as a word meaning having the form of or suggestive of rope has been around since the late 1400s, but its modern colloquial meaning of poor or inf...

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Rose among thorns

This phrase was coined by the Roman historian Amianus Marcellinus (330-395) in History, book XVI, chapter 17, to point out that beauty can exist or co...

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Rose by any other name

This was coined by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II. The full quotation is, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any othe...

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Rose-tinted spectacles/glasses

Sometimes used in the expanded version of living or viewing life through rose-tinted spectacles (glasses in the US), this expression for sublime optim...

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Rosy Lee

Rhyming slang for tea, Rosy Lee/tea, dates from the late 19th century but enjoyed new impetus in the 20th century because of Gypsy Rose Lee the famous...

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Exclamation meaning rubbish or nonsense dates from the mid-19th century with the obvious allusion to rotting or decaying material i.e. rubbish. Hence...

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Rotten apple

A rotten or bad apple has long been used as a metaphor for an unsavoury person of questionable character. It derives from an old proverb that one rott...

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Rotten egg

see Bad/rotten egg

Rotten in the state of Denmark

see Something rotten in the state of Denmark

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