A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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The writing is on the wall

see Writing is on the wall

The year dot

This expression dates from about the mid-19th century and simply means a very long time ago, so long ago that the exact year cannot be specified. Writ...

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Them apples

see How about them apples

There are two sides to every story

see Two sides to every story

There but for the grace of God go I

This quotation, which is often used as an aphorism to celebrate being spared from some misfortune or other is attributed to the 16th century Protestan...

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There is always something new out of Africa

see Always something new out of Africa

There’s the rub

A typical 16th century expression meaning, there’s the problem or difficulty frequently used by Shakespeare throughout his works. See also rub of the...

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Thereby hangs a tale

Thereby hangs a tale means, “There is a true or interesting story behind that” and is thought to be a pun on the word tail. Shakespeare uses the expre...

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They that live by the sword

see Live by the sword, die by the sword


Thick as in a thick voice or to say something thickly is to speak in a hoarse, guttural way, sometimes choked with emotion, and dates from the 1500s,...

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Thick and fast

Rapidly crowding, coming on so quickly that they run together dates from Old English times, pre-1150. Thick as in a thick voice or to say something th...

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Thick and thin

see Through thick and thin

Thick as a plank/as two short planks/as a brick

Wood or timber as an inanimate object has long been used as a simile for lack of intelligence or stupidity in humans e.g. blockhead or wooden-headed....

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Thick as thieves

This use of thick means intimate, conspiratorially close, in the manner of plotting thieves, dates from the early 19th century.

Thick ear

As in to give someone a thick ear i.e. to give someone a blow to the ear so as to make it swollen, dates from the late 19th century.

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