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
Thief in the night

see Like a thief in the night

Thin air

see Into thin air

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...

Read More

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...

Read More


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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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....

Read More

back to top