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
Sweep the board

To sweep the board means much the same thing as to make a clean sweep and means to win everything going. It dates from the early 19th century and deri...

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Sweeping changes

Drastic, widespread or comprehensive changes; sweeping in this sense dates from the late 18th century and derives the older literal meaning of sweep m...

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Sweet and honourable to die for one’s country

see Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori


Sweet as a nut

This British expression expresses a superlative of any kind but the origin is obscure. A well-known cricket commentator was heard to say recently, “He...

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Sweet FA or Sweet f-all

see Sweet Fanny Adams


Sweet Fanny Adams

Since the early 20th century, the expression, sweet Fanny Adams, from the initials FA, has become sweet FA, which is generally understood in Britain a...

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Sweet nothings

Sweet nothings are whispered endearments or words of affection shared between lovers. It sounds Shakespearean but in fact sweet nothings are of fairly...

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Sweet smell of success

Coined in 1957 by Ernest Lehman (1915-2006) a screenwriter who wrote screenplay adaptations for many Hollywood movies, including 'The Sweet Smell of S...

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Sweet tooth

To have a sweet tooth means to be fond of sweet-tasting foods or beverages. The OED maintains the expression is first attested from 1591 but other sou...

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Sweetie pie

Sweetie pie is an American term of endearment that dates from the early 20th century. Sweetie, as the diminutive of sweet, has been around since the 1...

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Sweets for my sweet

This expression meaning sweet things, not necessarily sweets or candies, for one’s loved one was coined by Shakespeare Hamlet Act V, Scene I, “Sweets...

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Swell

A swell can mean a stylish, elegant, wealthy person of high social standing and dates in this sense from the late 18th/early 19th century. There it re...

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Swept the board

see Sweep the board


Swimmingly/swimmingly well

Swimmingly means moving smoothly with ease, as a good swimmer might, and this figurative usage dates from the early 17th century. During the 19th cent...

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Swing

Slang for to hang, as in by the neck, since the early 18th century. Take a swing at i.e. to strike or attempt to strike someone dates from the early 1...

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