A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Tickled to death

A somewhat gruesome hyperbole in that it means exceedingly pleased or delighted and is first cited from the early 19th century.


Tiddler

Something very small, either a child or a small fish, dates from the late 19th century. The OED says that it may be related to ‘tittlebat’, which is a...

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Tiddly

Tiddly means slightly inebriated is first recorded in Punch magazine 1895 and may derive from an obsolete word tiddle that dates from the 1500s meanin...

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Tiddlywink

British rhyming slang for drink, tiddlywink/drink, dates from 1880.


Tidy sum

A considerable amount of money this colloquial use of tidy dates from the early 19th century. See also Pretty penny.


Tie someone in knots

To confuse or bewilder someone dates from the latter half of the 19th century.


Tie the knot

To tie the knot means to get married and this notion of a knot or bond, implicit in the word wedlock, has long been associated with marriage since the...

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Tiff

British colloquialism for an outburst or petty quarrel dates from the early 18th century and is of unknown origin.


Tight

Tight as in drunk dates from 1830. Tight, as in stingy or miserly as in tight-fisted is originally American and dates from 1805. Tight, as in close, s...

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Tight as a drum

Tight as a drum means taut, secure, close fitting, sometimes in the sense of watertight and dates in this sense from the mid-19th century. It derives...

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Tight as a tick

Tight as a tick means drunk, dates from the mid-19th century, from the allusion to a tick, a blood-sucking insect, engorged with the blood of the anim...

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Tight corner

see Corner


Tight fisted

Tight fisted means stingy or miserly and is originally American dating from 1805, from the obvious allusion to holding onto money within tightly close...

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Tight lipped

Tight lipped means speaking very little, close-mouthed, sometimes implying cross or annoyed, is originally American and dates from c. 1880.


Tight rein

To keep a tight rein on someone is to control them closely, as one would with a horse. The expression dates from the 1500s and is the opposite of givi...

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