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
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 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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Swing a cat

Usually used in the sense of not enough room or space to swing a cat and is generally thought to be a reference to the cat o’ nine tails. Naval shipbo...

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Swing the lead

To swing the lead means to malinger or shirk work and this usage and meaning dates from the early 20th century. Some sources maintain the origin is na...

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Swings and roundabouts

This is a shortened version of the fairground proverb, “what you lose on the swings, you’ll gain on the roundabouts” which first came into use during...

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Swipe

Derives from sweep, hence to take a swipe is to deliver a sweeping blow with one’s fist or with an oar, a baseball bat or cricket bat and dates from t...

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Switch on/switched on

see Turn on


Swiz/swizz

British slang for a fraud or swindle dates from c. 1875. The origin is unknown but is thought to be an abbreviation of swizzle, a corruption of swindl...

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Swizzle stick

A swizzle stick is special cocktail stick for stirring alcoholic drinks dates from the late 19th century. It is now the only existing swizzle, a collo...

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