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
What for

see Give someone what for

What goes around comes around

Sometimes in the form of what goes round comes round means that for every action, there is a consequence, which can be good or bad. It is a fairly mod...

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What the doctor ordered

see Just what the doctor ordered

What's what

see Knowing what's what


A modern form of 'what's-his-name', a phrase used when one cannot remember the name of person. 'What-his-face' dates from the mid-1960s.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

There is a whole host of proverbs that proclaim that what is good for a man is equally good for a woman and they all date back to The Middle Ages and...

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What’s potting?

This expression means, ‘what’s going on?’ or ‘what’s happening?’ and derives from the 18th century use of the word pot in the sense of to make or manu...

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What’s up Doc?

Bugs Bunny made this catchphrase popular from the Bugs Bunny cartoons and comic strips that started in the late 1930s. The catchphrase itself was firs...

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Almost a nonsense word with various spellings, except that it is in fact a compressed form of ‘what you may call it' and describes something, the name...

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Whatever floats your boat

see Float someone’s boat

Wheel has come full circle

This was coined by Shakespeare in King Lear, Act V, Scene III, when Edmund says, “Thou hast spoken right, t’is true; the wheel has come full circle; I...

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Wheels within wheels

This expression signifying a complexity of forces or influences is taken from the Bible, Ezekiel 1:16. “As it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.”

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When in Rome, do as the Romans do

Modify one’s behaviour and manners in accordance with local practice. This saying was coined by St Ambrose (c. 340-397 AD) when he wrote, “Si fueris R...

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When it comes to the crunch

see Crunch

When one door closes/shuts, another one opens

The earliest citation found for this is Fernando De Rojas (c.1465-1538) in La Celestina Act XV, “When one door closes, fortune will usually open anoth...

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