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

As a nickname, Stonewall was the name given to Confederate General Jackson who stood with his men like a stone wall, at the First Battle of Bull Run i...

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Stony broke

see Broke

Stool pigeon

This expression first made its appearance in America meaning a police informer in the early 19th century. It is thought to derive from the horrendous...

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Stop and smell the roses

To stop and smell the roses means to take time out to appreciate the good things in life. It is thought to be of American origin from the early 20th c...

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The figurative use of this word as in 'cooking up a storm', or as Jerry Lee Lewis once sang, 'loving up a storm', is American from as long ago as the...

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Storm in a teacup

This figurative expression meaning to blow something out of proportion dates in this form from the early 19th century, but the concept itself is a ver...

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A straight as in a straight flush in poker is attested from c.1840. To take an alcoholic drink straight or straight up, without a mixer, water, soda e...

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Straight and narrow

The straight and narrow is the conventional or law-abiding route, although one would be excused for spelling it ‘strait’ and narrow because that was t...

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Straight as a die

Die is the singular of dice, but from the late 1600s, a die was also a stamp or a mechanical device for shaping metals, coins etc. It is this meaning...

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Straight from the horse’s mouth

From the highest authority or from the best source, this was originally an American expression first cited from the early 20th century. In horseracing...

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Straight from the shoulder

Straight from the shoulder means direct, forceful, honest talk or opinion and dates in this sense from the late 19th century. The origin is pugilism w...

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Straight out

To come straight out with something is to tell it like it is with no restraints and is an American expression that dates from 1840.


According to the OED, strait-laced is descriptive of persons “excessively rigid or scrupulous in matters of conduct; over-precise; prudish” and dates...

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Straw that broke the camel’s back

see Last/final straw

Straws, clutching/grasping at

see Clutch/grasp at straws

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