A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Work like a beaver

see Beaver

Work like a dog

An old simile for working very hard, like a sheep dog, or similar, who works tirelessly until the job is done, dates from the early 1700s.

Work like a Trojan

To work like a Trojan means to work very hard and to call someone a Trojan or a real Trojan is to commend someone on a job well done. As mentioned in...

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Work one’s socks off

To work extremely hard where ‘socks off’ has become an intensifier denoting to the extreme or utmost. The expression dates from the mid-20...

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World is your oyster

Like so many expressions, the source is Shakespeare. The world is your oyster is said to another person to indicate that there is a world of relativel...

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World on one’s shoulders

see Atlas

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web, more often referred to as ‘the web’, is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘the Internet’, but mistakenly so. The World Wide Web...

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World’s oldest profession

It is generally acknowledged that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession but no one knows who established this as fact, if indeed it is a fact....

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Worm ones way into

To insinuate one’s way into a relationship or a situation in order to exploit it for gain or special favour, dates from the 17th century and derives f...

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Worm turns

The worm turns means that even the weak will do their utmost to reverse a previously adverse situation. The old proverb, from at least the 1500s, is “...

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Worry wart

A worry wart is a person who frets or worries excessively. The expression originated in America and its usage is still chiefly American, although it i...

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Worsted is fine, high quality woollen yarn dates from the 13th century. It is named after Worstead, a town in Norfolk where it was first made.

Worth a continental

see Not give/worth a continental

Worth one’s salt

This expression usually appears in its negative form of not being worth one’s salt. It goes back to Roman times when salt was such a valuable commodit...

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The British slang phrase ‘wotcha cock’ is actually short for the very dated ‘wotcha cock sparrow/sparrer’. Wotcha is in fact a contraction of the medi...

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