A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Thin as a rake

see As thin as a rake


Thin end of the wedge

By definition, the thin or pointed end of a wedge is the smallest part, hence the meaning of this expression as being hard-done-by, getting the worst...

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Thin ice

see Skating/treading/walking on thin ice


Things are not always what they seem

An ancient proverb from Roman times, non semper es sunt quae videntur. It first appears in the writings of Phaedrus c. 8 AD.


Things that go bump in the night

Unexplained and unnerving sounds heard at night derives from an anonymous Scottish prayer c. 1800, “From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasti...

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Thingummy/thingummy-bob/thingummy-jig

Nonsense words used when one cannot recall the exact name of a thing or person. They derive from the word ‘thing’. According to the OED, it all starte...

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Think outside the box

To think outside the box is to think creatively or innovatively outside of accepted norms, and has become something of a cliché these days, especially...

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Thinking cap

Put on one’s thinking cap is a metaphor for giving something or other due thought or consideration. In this form, it dates from the early 19th century...

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Third degree

To give someone the third degree is to subject them to intense interrogation and the expression is American from the late 19th century. Since The Midd...

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Third man

Third man is a fielding position in cricket behind the slips and on the boundary. It was so-called because usually a slip was pushed back to this posi...

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Thora Hird

British student rhyming slang from the late 1980s for a third class university degree, Thora Hird/third, after Dame Thora Hird, the British actress (1...

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Thorn in the flesh/side

This figurative expression for a particularly troublesome obstacle or problem is attributed to St Paul, Corinthians II, 12:7, “there was given to me a...

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Those who are about to die salute you

This was what the gladiators used to say in the arena in Roman times and was first recorded by Suetonius in his history Life of Claudius c. AD 70-140....

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Three sheets in/to the wind

To be three sheets in the wind means to be drunk or inebriated and is first cited in this sense from 1821. The origin is nautical from the days of sai...

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Threshold

This word has been in existence since Anglo-Saxon times, c 900. In its original form it was ‘trascold’ or ‘trescold’ where the first syllable meant to...

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