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
Surfing the Internet

This common and well-known expression that means browsing or searching for information on the Internet was coined by an American librarian at the Univ...

Read More

Surrey glide

see Chinese cut


Suss as in to suss something out or to have something sussed, derives from an abbreviation of the word suspect. It was originally underworld/police sl...

Read More

Swallow does not make a summer

see One swallow does not make a summer

Swan song

The fable that swans sing shortly before their death is extremely ancient. Plato (c.428-438 BC) makes mention of it in his Dialogues, as does Chaucer...

Read More


see Down/up the swannee


These days, it is an adjective mostly used to describe a genre of action-adventure films involving period costume and sword fighting. The films of Dou...

Read More


SWAT is an acronym for Special Weapons and Tactics. SWAT teams are elite paramilitary units employed by US law enforcement departments. The first SWAT...

Read More

Swear blind

To swear blind is first cited from the early 20th century and means to swear that something is true, emphatically and vehemently. Blind here is used a...

Read More

Swear like a trooper

To use bad language excessively; dates from the early 18th century. Cavalrymen, especially non-commissioned troopers, were notorious for their coarse...

Read More

Sweat blood

To sweat or exert oneself to the extremity, dates from the late 19th century.

Sweat bullets

To sweat profusely with heavy beads of sweat, which resemble bullets; a metaphor dating from the early 20th century.


The garment dates from the late 19th century, so-called because it was worn after sweating from sports or exercise to prevent cold. See also jersey an...

Read More


‘The Sweeney’ is British rhyming slang for the London Metropolitan Police Flying Squad, a specialised fast-reaction police unit, Sweeney Todd/Flying S...

Read More

Sweep something under the carpet/rug

To conceal something, especially something you have done wrong dates from the mid-20th century. Carpet is more often used in Britain, while rug is mor...

Read More

back to top