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
Sabotage/saboteur

The origin of these words meaning someone who deliberately breaks or destroys something derives from the French sabot meaning a boot. During the 19th...

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Sack/sacked

see Get the sack and Hit the hay/sack


Sackcloth and ashes

To wear or don sackcloth and ashes is to be contrite and sorry for some transgression and dates in this figurative sense since the 16th century. It de...

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Sacred cow

A tenet or belief so strongly established that it cannot be questioned or criticised derives from the esteem in which the Hindu religion holds cows. D...

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Safe as houses

Perfectly safe, dates from the mid-19th century. The origin is obscure. Some sources maintain the meaning is literal; houses are generally safe struct...

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Sail close to the wind

In its purely nautical sense, dating back to the 15th century, sailing close to the wind is a very fine line between rattling along at a good rate of...

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Sail into someone

To sail into someone means to attack boldly, either physically or verbally. Its origin is obviously nautical and the expression has been in use since...

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Salad days

This figurative expression for days of inexperienced youth or sometimes better days is pure Shakespeare. They are Cleopatra’s words in Antony and Cleo...

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Salad dodger

British and Australian slang for an obese, overweight person who typically avoids healthy foods, dates from the 1990s.


Salary

This 17th century word meaning remuneration for services rendered has its origin from Roman times and derives from the Latin salarium, which in turn d...

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Salmon and trout

Rhyming slang for snout, which is slang for a cigarette, thus salmon and trout/snout. Salmon and trout is also used to mean stout, a type of beer and...

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Salt of the earth

This phrase from the New Testament is used in a praiseworthy sense to describe people with good basic human qualities. In ancient times, salt was a ve...

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Same boat

To be in the same boat means to be in the same circumstances, predicament, or sharing the same fate, from the obvious allusion that everyone in a boat...

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Same difference

This oxymoron has become popular since the mid-20th century. Same difference actually means no difference. For example, a friend might say to another...

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Same old, same old

An informal way of saying that life or things in general are dull, routine and boring; this usage is not attested before the 1970s when it is thought...

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