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
Weight of the world on one’s shoulders

see Atlas

Well heeled

Well-heeled is an American expression from the latter half of the 19th century for wealthy or rich and derives from the notion that wealthy people can...

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Named after Sam Weller and his father, characters in Charles Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) and has come to mean a style of speech or expression typic...

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Wellies, an abbreviation of Wellington boots, has been around since the 19th century but during the 1970s, the word became popular as a verb, as in “I...

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Went for a Burton

see Gone for a Burton

Went to see a man about a dog

see See a man about a dog


To be a ‘wet’ is public school slang from the late 19th/early 20th century for a weak and ineffectual person. Eric Partridge maintains it is a more po...

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Wet behind the ears

Wet behind the ears is a metaphor for a novice or beginner and the evidence seems to suggest that this is an American expression from the early 20th c...

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Wet blanket

Since at least the late 1600s, wet blankets were used to extinguish fires. By the mid-19th century it had become figurative for a person who threw a d...

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Wet fart in a trance

see Fart in a trance

Wet nurse

Originally, from the early 1600s, a wet nurse was a woman employed to suckle the infant of another, the opposite of a dry nurse who looked after an in...

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Wet one’s whistle

Whistle has been a jocular name for the mouth or throat since The Middle Ages. To wet one’s whistle is simply to have a drink of something. This expre...

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A fair whack meaning a just portion or share is British slang and dates from the late 18th/early 19th century, presumably from having whacked or cut s...

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Whack off

American slang for male masturbation dates from the early 20th century. Most of the words connected with male masturbation have an association with sl...

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In the sense of describing something unusually large or big, as in ‘a whacking great rump steak’, is British slang from the early 19th century. See al...

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