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14

The Dictionary of Catch Phrases states that the original form of "You know what thought did?" is: What did thought do? and was exemplified in 1738. LADY ANS: I thought you did just now. LORD SP: Pray, Madam, what did thought do? It's also seen in Lincolnshire Traditional Sayings And Proverbial Expressions. When a child says "I thought ...


13

The references given in a comment (in thefreedictionary and urbandictionary) suggest the meaning, "to feel unhappy or strange because you are in a situation that you are not familiar with", but provide no sense of why it should mean that. It is a reference to classical elements, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire; as, for example, a fish out of water is out of its ...


12

This appears to be the result of two apparently unrelated wellerisms. I see, said the blind man Eric Partridge's A Dictionary of Catch Phrases (1986) says: I see, said the blind man. An elab. and humorous way of saying 'I understand', but implying, of course, that although one understands, one doesn't fully do so—as indeed, the dovetail (which R.S., ...


10

As far as I can tell from Google Books, this is an exclusively British idiom. It is used of those (primarily the rich and the young) who enjoy freedom from want or responsibility and behave as if they are unconscious that they were merely born into this freedom and that others (the poor and adults) are not so fortunate. The earliest appearance of the phrase ...


10

It had a specific nautical meaning in the 19th century. From the OED: I. 35. †f. Naut. In the imperative phrase make it so, by which the commander of a vessel instructs that the time reported to him (e.g. the end of a watch and spec. noon, when sights are taken to determine what was formerly the start of a ship's day) is relayed to the crew (see quots. ...


8

Not being aware of the origin, I had to do a little searching and, to my amusement, came across a an entry on wiki.answers that references the A-Team using this in a T.V episode; you can check the link for complete text if you wish, but the following information is all we need to take from that article: ...interesting but you may rest assured the ...


8

This is mainly due to the alliteration of the phrase: "Going to hell in a handbasket", "going to hell in a handcart","going to hell on a Harley", "going to hell in a handbag" and '"sending something to hell in a handbasket" are variations on an American alliterative locution of unclear origin, which describes a situation headed for disaster without ...


7

Someone's "element" refers to their bailiwick of expertise or comfort. A doctor might be in her element in the operating room but out of her element in a garage. The quote from The Big Lebowski can be interpreted as "This situation is not something you are comfortable or qualified to deal with."


7

The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest citation for the use of viral in the sense of ‘involving the rapid spread of information’ is dated 1989. The earliest citation actually including the verb go is as late as 2004: Their petition also went viral, gathering half a million signatures in a few weeks.


7

In quite a few places throughout the world, transportation by water is an economic necessity. In those areas that have a cold climate, that water often freezes in winter, making transport by ship impossible. Specialized ships with reinforced bows can often be used to break that ice and make it possible for normal ships to use the waterways again, enabling ...


6

Ralph's answer has got the meaning. As to the origin... there is a website, www.thedailywtf.com, which has daily posts of really idiotic and messed up coding practices. Usually the story is obviously terrible in a certain way. However, people say "Well, the real wtf is..." meaning, the thing that is really messed up.. and they point out something more ...


6

Maybe its origin will explain it pretty much. It came from "Standing around like a lost lemon". Phrase Finder here: Standing around like a lost lemon" is cited in Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British" as a "more ladylike version" of "standing about like a spare prick at a wedding," defined as "unwanted, useless, idle, esp. ...


6

The form were is a past subjunctive, and it is used in a construction that is common in hypothetical situations: He would kill me if he were able. She behaves as [would be fitting / etc.] if she were upper class. The phrase is theoretically short for as [it would be if] it were [so], though it is uncertain whether that is really where it came ...


6

Matt's idea that the phrase might have a different meaning in each saying seems probable to me. I've been slightly more successful searching for see a pudding crawl on its own (without the laughing part). And it is a lot more frequent with creep than crawl. There's a peak in the early 19th century for see a pudding creep because it was used in an essay by ...


5

In British English, take a punt means bet; it is an informal phrase, though. Its origin is early 18th century, from French ponte ("player against the bank"), from Spanish punto ("a point"). In Australian, take a punt is an informal phrase for "attempt to do something."


5

This term comes from a number of American mechanical devices, and "omatic" is short for "automatic." The so-called "Veg-o-matic" was an automatic vegetable slicer. "Mince-o-matic" was an automatic meat mincer. And "read-o-matic" would be an automatic reader (machine).


5

This was a common one in our house while I was growing up. The next line was "Followed a muck cart, and thought it was a wedding". I've no source, but a quick googling suggests we weren't the only ones.


5

I think there’s another meaning besides the one cited by VonC, and that is more or less equivalent to “in a manner of speaking” or “so to say”. It’s not commonly used but one example of this usage can be found in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: [Context: Dumbledore just came back from a secret mission where he had been forced to drink poison in ...


5

From the Longman dictionary after a fashion not very much, not very well, or not very effectively: 'Can you speak Russian?' 'After a fashion.' That differs considerably from the main meanings of "fashion": something that is popular or thought to be good at a particular time. a style of clothes, hair etc that is popular at a particular ...


5

These are economics / economic history terms. Given that the article is about unemployment I think the Great X referred to here is "The Great Depression", and the recent coinage "The Great Recession"...hence, "The Great...whatever this is." As for "double-dip", that refers to the economy going down sharply, then rising, then falling sharply again. The shape ...


5

No. Zugzwang is a chess term (as I suspect you may already know) meaning a state in the game when a player can't make a move without ruining his position: no alternative is acceptable. You know what Catch-22 means, as you demonstrate in your previous question. And you asked about Catch-33 there as well. Maybe you should wait until you are satisfied with an ...


5

AFAIK, the standard version of this phrase is: "So I see," said the blind carpenter as he picked up his hammer and saw. This play on words is known as a Wellerism: Wellerisms, named after Sam Weller in Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers, make fun of established clichés and proverbs by showing that they are wrong in certain situations, often when ...


5

There are a few questions on this site with helpful terms including this one: "Steamroller" to describe a person as very determined "Unstoppable" is very straightforward "Relentless" is good too as is the related "unrelenting" Definition of "relentless" from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: showing or promising no abatement of severity, ...


4

Here is a favorite of mine, from 1953...


4

From Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I, 1596: FALSTAFF: Faith, and I'll send him packing Found here.


4

The earliest reference I found was about tennis in 1898, but the importance of using the wrist to control a movement instead of placing all bets on the strength of the arm predates it by at least a hundred years in fencing. Basically, although it might not be an "official" idiom you'd find in a reference book, I've seen it constantly used to mean – ...


4

The phrase definitely predates Dorothy Sayers (who used the phrase in Whose Body) and Josephine Tey (who used the phrase in Daughter of Time). The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang, Eric Partridge, has the following entry for the phrase, and suggests it came into use between 1630 and 1800, the former date also predating Samuel Wesley: (S.E. = ...



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