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15

According to the following source, the origin appears to be a pun of PI ( Private Investigator) and was first used with specific reference to private investigation in a 1938 Detective Stories Magazine. A One story you mention links it with the Pinkerton detective agency, the first anywhere, which was founded by Allan Pinkerton in Chicago in the ...


8

When you change gears in a manual transmission, you are connecting an entirely different gear to the drive shaft to provide drive. The idiom refers to this switch to a different, discrete mechanism, not the change of speed that can result. After all, it's quite possible to drive the same speed in different gears.


3

I couldn't find anything on the etymology of the idiom, but in common parlance let's switch gears or 'change gears' usually means changing the subject. I think this has less to do with the way a transmission works (changing gears changes speed) and more to do with feeling the change of gears. You can really feel gears switch, especially with a bad driver! ...


1

A click was used as a refernce on mortars, machine guns and some artillery early on in the military. The T&E mech. when moved 1 click would change the strike or impact 1 meter at a distance of 1000 meters. This info. found in the FM's on the above equipment. One click or klick when talking about distance on a military map is 1000 meters or one KM ...


1

"I'm chief cook and bottle washer" meaning: I do everything from A-Z; one man show; especially self employed. Chief cook is the top job in a kitchen; bottle washing is endless, mindless work that anyone can do. If you're doing both, it implies you're also doing everything in between. can also be used sarcastically: "He's chief cook and bottle washer ...


1

It wasn't merely a sexual reference; more of a play on words since there used to be (and still are in a few places) Christmas clubs, in which everyone paid a small amount each week and received a hamper at Christmas, and bottle clubs, in which the reward for your subscription was a bottle of whisky. So presumably the lady in question had received a package ...


1

In the 1828 AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE you can read definitions for pudding: "what bulges out, a paunch." So a pregnant woman had a "bulge" for her tummy same as a "paunch." I was just watching "Last Tango in Halifax," a British sitcom, and the phrase "he put her in the pudding club" was used as it if was commonly understood.


1

The reason that the term "Camp Followers" has become so synonimous with "prostitute" originates in the civil war with Joseph Hooker, a general in the Union army who was known for allowing his troops to consort with prostitutes and for allowing them to follow his army. The term "Hooker" did not originate with him, but it certainly became popular because of ...


1

If Miriam O'Callaghan had only had the presence of mind to be quoted as saying "I've grown better-looking with age", a tremendous number of electrons would not have had to suffer a futile and inglorious death.


1

Fresher is a perfectly acceptable British word for someone in their first year at university, especially just just starting. It's perhaps somewhat informal but really slang. Another term for a fresher is first year. Freshman is the US equivalent. Whereas freshman may be used by extension for a novice or amateur, I've not seen fresher used this way. ...



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