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
Without the shadow of a doubt

see Beyond/without a shadow of doubt

Without turning a hair

see Turn a hair


British slang for superb or excellent, especially when used as an exclamation, first attested from c. 1920, but rarely heard these days. See also pran...

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British slang for a bout of erratic, bad-tempered behaviour dates from the 1970s.


British slang for a foreigner of the darker skinned variety and dates from the mid-20th century. It is most probably not an acronym for ‘wily (or wort...

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Woke / Stay woke

'Woke', the past tense of 'wake', and the slogan 'stay woke' are originally African American expressions that signify an awareness of racial prejudice...

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Wolf in sheep’s clothing

This expression from the New Testament is commonly used to describe someone who is not all that they seem, or who has an ulterior motive usually to th...

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Woman of easy virtue

see Easy virtue

Won on the playing fields of Eton

The complete quotation is, “The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” It is attributed to the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) from...

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Won’t wash

If something won’t wash, it means its veracity or validity will not stand up to close scrutiny. The expression dates from the late 19th century from t...

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British slang for money that dates from the 1980s; thought to be derived from a Romany word wongar meaning money.

Wont (as is one’s wont)

As is one’s wont means according to one’s habit or custom, where wont is a largely archaic word from the 1300s deriving from the Anglo-Saxon wonen or...

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see Have the wood on or over someone. See also Touch/touching wood

Wooden walls

This metaphor for ships obviously only lasted until ships ceased to be made from wood during the latter half of the 19th century. The metaphor is very...

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Word is my bond

see My word is my bond

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