A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Tinker’s damn/curse/cuss

The full form of the expression is something or someone is not worth a tinker’s damn or tinker’s curse or tinker’s cuss. Take your pick. They all mean...

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Tip

In the sense of a gratuity dates from the early 1700s and derives from the act of literally tipping coins into someone’s hands. Tip in the sense of us...

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Tip of the iceberg

This a metaphor for the smaller, perceptible part of something, especially a problem or difficulty, which is in fact much greater. According to the OE...

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Tip one’s hand

Reveal one’s plans or intentions, often unintentionally, dates from the mid-19th century; an American expression that derives from accidentally tippin...

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Tip someone the wink

To tip someone the wink is defined by the OED as a glance or significant movement of the eye, often accompanied by a nod, expressing command, assent,...

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Tip-top

Tip-top in the sense of the highest point or pinnacle dates from the late 16th/early 17th century but in the sense of finest quality dates from the mi...

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Tipping point

The tipping point, sometimes known as the moment of critical mass, is the critical point in a situation, process, or system when a significant and oft...

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Tipple

To tipple originally meant to sell liquor and is first cited in the year 1500. By 1547, tippling-houses were places where liquor was sold and consumed...

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Tipster

A tipster is a person who makes a living or profession from providing tips, especially in horseracing, dates from the late 19th century. See also Tip.


Tipsy

Intoxicated dates from the late 16th century derives from the allusion of being unsteady on one’s feet and therefore liable to tip over.


Tirade

A tirade is a protracted verbal rant or rave; a long and vehement speech laced with invective. The OED gives a first citation as 1801. It derives from...

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Tit

Tit meaning a female breast is one of the oldest slang words in the language and dates from the 11th century, from Old Germanic/Anglo-Saxon roots. The...

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Tit for tat

This expression means like for like as in retaliation or reciprocation. There are two theories about its origin. Some sources maintain that it is a co...

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Tit-bit

In the 16th century, it would have been written as ‘tyd bit’ where ‘tyd’ was a dialectical word meaning soft or tender. By the 17th century, the spell...

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Titch

This common word for a small person dates from the 1930s and has a fascinating origin. It derives from a popular musical hall performer in Britain, Ha...

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