A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Sewn up see All sewn up

see All sewn up

Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll

This catchphrase has passed into the language and has come to epitomise the world of popular music. Most of the lyrics and subject matter of popular m...

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Shack up with

Shack meaning a cabin or shanty dwelling dates from the late 19th century, probably a derivation of ramshackle. To shack up with someone, meaning to c...

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Shade as in lamp shade dates from the late 18th century. As in to win by a narrow margin dates from the mid-19th century. Shade is also American slang...

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American informal for sunglasses dates from the 1950s.

Shades of

As in expressions like ‘shades of what happened before’, this use of shade means nuances or undertones of similarity and dates from the early 19th cen...

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Shadow of doubt

see Beyond/without a shadow of doubt


When used colloquially to mean disreputable, or of dubious character, it dates from the mid-19th century, from the allusion of being dark or shadowy.

Shag/shagged out

Popular British vulgarism for sexual intercourse and according to some sources dates from at least the 16th century. Its first appearance in print is...

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Shake a leg

Meaning to hurry up or dance is from the late 19th century.


Shamble is an old Anglo-Saxon word for stool or table and by the 1300s it had become a stall or table for the display and selling of meat. By the 1500...

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British slang for disorderly or chaotic dates from the late 1960s/early1970s, a portmanteau word, which derives certainly from shambles and possibly f...

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As in shammy leather, a soft pliable leather made from the skin of Chamois, a European breed of mountain goat/antelope from which shammy is a perverse...

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Derives from the Hindi chhampo, which is the imperative form of the Hindi word for press, dates from c. 1762 when shampoo originally meant a rub or a...

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Mixture of beer and lemonade or ginger beer and is first cited from the late 19th century as a shortened form of ‘shandygaff’, which dates from a litt...

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