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
Sell something for a song

see For a song

Sell/Selling like hot cakes

In great demand and selling fast dates from the mid-19th century when freshly baked cakes and pies sold quickly at fairs and markets, as indeed they s...

Read More

Send packing

Dismiss someone summarily and ignominiously as with all his or her belongings dates from the 1500s and was a common expression in the time of Shakespe...

Read More

Send someone away with a flea in their ear

see Flea in the ear

Send up

Originally, an American expression for committing someone to prison as in sending someone up for five years and dates from the mid-19th century, becom...

Read More

Sent to Coventry

To be ostracised and shunned for some transgression or other dates from the 18th century. Its origin is obscure but common sense suggests it must have...

Read More

Separate the men from the boys

Means to distinguish between mature professionals and mere novices. The expression is of American origin and dates from the 1930s. It is ascribed by s...

Read More

Separate the sheep from the goats

Separate or sort out the good from the not so good, the source is the Bible, Matthew 25: 32, “Ass a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”

Separate the wheat from the chaff

Means very much the same thing as separate the sheep from the goats and, moreover, is from the same source - the Bible. It is implicit in Jeremiah 23:...

Read More


see Months of the year

Septic tank

Australian rhyming slang for a yank, septic tank/yank. It was first used to describe American armed services personnel who were stationed in Australia...

Read More


Means the occurrence or development of events by fate or chance in a satisfactory or beneficial way. The word was coined in 1754 by Horace Walpole (17...

Read More

Serve someone up on toast

see Toast

Set in stone

An ancient metaphor for something that is permanent and cannot be changed. It is centuries old and exists in many different languages and cultures. It...

Read More

Set out one’s stall

Like a street trader with a stall, it means to be organised, display one’s credentials and get ready for business, frequently used in British sporting...

Read More

back to top