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
Turn up trumps

see Come up or turn up trumps

Turn-up for the book/books

A turn up for the book is something completely unexpected and surprising and dates from the 1930s. It derives from horseracing where the book is the b...

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This expression dates from the 16th century and describes someone who switches allegiances and goes over to the opposition. This was indicated by lite...

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Meaning foolish or idle chatter dates from the late 18th century. It derives from earlier and now archaic words like twattle and twittle where a twatt...

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Originally, twat is a British vulgar word for vagina dates and from the 17th century; sometimes appears as twot. The word was resurrected from the lat...

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In the sense of to understand or cotton on dates from the early 19th century, according to the OED, but adds that the word goes back to the late 18th...

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Twinkle toes

The expression twinkle toes describes a person who is light on their feet, a good dancer but has also been applied to football (soccer) players, dates...

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Twinkling of an eye

see In the twinkling of an eye

Twist around one’s (little) finger

see Wrap/twist around one’s finger


A twit is British slang for a foolish, weak, ineffectual person; in spoken usage from the late 19th/early 20th century and first attested in print fro...

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Two bites at the apple/cherry

To take two bites or a second bite at the apple or cherry (these two fruits appear to be interchangeable) means to get a second chance or opportunity...

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Two heads are better than one

Meaning two brains working on the same problem is better than one is a very old proverb that appears in John Heywood Proverbs (1546).

Two left feet

This expression illustrates the ancient and traditional prejudice to all things left. Logically, two right feet would be just as awkward as two left f...

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Two peas in a pod

Means closely similar, almost exactly alike, and dates from the 16th century, from the fact that two peas from the same pod are virtually indistinguis...

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Two shakes of a lamb’s tail

Often shortened to ‘two shakes’, as in “I’ll be with you in two shakes”, means “I’ll be with you in a very short while.” The earliest citation appears...

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