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Cliches and expressions give us many wonderful figures of speech and words in the English language, as they evolve via use and mis-use alike. Many cliches and expressions - and words - have fascinating and surprising origins, and many popular assumptions about meanings and derivations are mistaken. These cliches, words and expressions origins and derivations illustrate the ever-changing complexity of language and communications, and are ideal free materials for word puzzles or quizzes, and team-building games These cliches, words and expressions origins and derivations illustrate the ever-changing complexity of language and communications, and are ideal free materials for word puzzles or quizzes, and team-building games.

Cliches and expressions are listed alphabetically according to their key word, for example, 'save your bacon' is listed under 'b' for bacon. Some expressions with two key words are listed under each word.

These derivations have been researched from a wide variety of sources, which are referenced at the end of this section.

I'm not able to answer all such enquiries personally although selected ones will be published on this page. Argh the shortest version is an exclamation, of various sorts, usually ironic or humorous in this sense usually written and rarely verbal.

More dramatically Aaaaaaaaaargh would be a written scream. Aaaarrrgh there are hundreds of popular different spelling variants typically expresses a scream or cry of ironic or humorous frustration. The word itself and variations of Aaargh are flourishing in various forms due to the immediacy and popularity of internet communications blogs, emails, etc , although actually it has existed in the English language as an exclamation of strong emotion surprise, horror, anguish, according to the OED since the late s.

The OED prefers the spelling Aargh, but obviously the longer the version, then the longer the scream. In this respect it's a very peculiar and unusual word - since it offers such amazing versatility for the user. There are very few words which can be spelled in so many different ways, and it's oddly appropriate that any of the longer variants will inevitably be the very first entry in any dictionary.

Spelling of Aaaaarrgghh there's another one.. Repetition of 'G's and 'H's is far less prevalent. Notable and fascinating among these is the stock sound effect - a huge Aaaaaarrrgghhh noise - known as the Wilhelm Scream. The sound effect was again apparently originally titled 'man being eaten by an alligator'. Please note that this screen version did not directly imply or suggest the modern written usage of Aaaarrrgh as an expression of shock - it's merely a point of related interest.

The frustration signified by Aaargh can be meant in pure fun or in some situations in blogs for example with a degree of real vexation. The powerful nature of the expression is such that it is now used widely as a heading for many articles and postings dealing with frustration, annoyance, etc.

The main usage however seems to be as a quick response in fun, as an ironic death scream, which is similar to more obvious expressions like 'you're killing me,' or 'I could scream'. To some people Aaaaargh suggests the ironic idea of throwing oneself out of a towerblock window to escape whatever has prompted the irritation. That said, broadly speaking, we can infer the degree of emotion from the length of the version used. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgh clearly has a touch more desperation than Aaarrgh.

The use of Aaaaargh is definitely increasing in the 21st century compared to the 20th, and in different ways. Often the meaning includes an inward element like Homer Simpson's 'doh', or an incredulous aspect like Victor Meldrew's 'I don't believe it', and perhaps in time different spellings will come to mean quite specifically different things.

Interestingly the web makes it possible to measure the popularity of the the different spelling versions of Aargh, and at some stage the web will make it possible to correlate spelling and context and meaning.

For now, googling the different spellings will show you their relative popularity, albeit it skewed according to the use of the term on the web. I suspect that given the speed of the phone text medium, usage in texting is even more concentrated towards the shorter versions. At the time of originally writing this entry April Google's count for Argh has now trebled from 3 million in to 9.

At Dec Google's count for Argh had doubled from the figure to Can you help find the earliest origins or precise sources of some relatively recent expressions and figures of speech? Here are a few interesting sayings for which for which fully satisfying origins seem not to exist, or existing explanations invite expansion and more detail.

Let me know also if you want any mysterious expressions adding to the list for which no published origins seem to exist. Gold does not dissolve in nitric acid, whereas less costly silver and base metals do. The use of nitric acid also featured strongly in alchemy, the ancient 'science' of attempting converting base metals into gold.

An 'across the board' bet was one which backed a horse to win or be placed in the first three, or as Wentworth and Flexnor's Dictionary of American Slang suggests, across the board meant a bet in which " Additionally it has been suggested to me that a similar racetrack expression, 'across the boards' refers to the tendency for odds available for any given horse to settle at the same price among all bookmakers each having their own board , seemingly due to the laying off effect, whereby the odds would be the same 'across the boards'.

I can neither agree nor disagree with this, nor find any certain source or logic for this to be a more reliable explanation of the metaphorical expression, and so I add it here for what it is worth if you happen to be considering this particular expression in special detail.

The basis of the meaning is that Adam, being the first man ever, and therefore the farthest removed from anyone, symbolises a man that anyone is least likely to know. Out of interest, an 'off ox' would have been the beast pulling the cart on the side farthest from the driver, and therefore less known than the 'near ox'.

This extension to the expression was American Worldwidewords references the dictionary of American Regional English as the source of a number of such USA regional variations ; the 'off ox' and other extensions such as Adam's brother or Adam's foot, are simply designed to exaggerate the distance of the acquaintance. Alligators were apparently originally called El Lagarto de Indias The Lizard of the Indies , 'el lagarto', logically meaning 'the lizard'.

Initially the word entered English as lagarto in the mids, after which it developed into aligarto towards the late s, and then was effectively revised to allegater by Shakespeare when he used the word in Romeo and Juliet, in It seems ack S Burgos that the modern Spanish word and notably in Castellano for lizard is lagartija, and lagarto now means alligator.

Cohen suggests the origin dates back to s New York City fraudster Aleck Hoag, who, with his wife posing as a prostitute, would rob the customers. Hoag bribed the police to escape prosecution, but ultimately paid the price for being too clever when he tried to cut the police out of the deal, leading to the pair's arrest. In describing Hoag at the time, the police were supposedly the first to use the 'smart aleck' expression.

The Old French word is derived from Latin 'amare' meaning 'to love'. Traditionally all letters were referenced formally in the same way. The ampersand symbol itself is a combination - originally a ligature literally a joining - of the letters E and t, or E and T, being the Latin word 'et' meaning 'and'. The earliest representations of the ampersand symbol are found in Roman scriptures dating back nearly 2, years.

If you inspect various ampersand symbols you'll see the interpretation of the root ET or Et letters. The symbol has provided font designers more scope for artistic impression than any other character, and ironically while it evolved from hand-written script, few people use it in modern hand-writing, which means that most of us have difficulty in reproducing a good-looking ampersand by hand without having practised first. The theory goes that in ancient times the pupil of the eye the black centre was thought to be a small hard ball, for which an apple was a natural symbol.

Logically the pupil or apple of a person's eye described someone whom was held in utmost regard - rather like saying the 'centre of attention'. Strangely Brewer references Deuteronomy chapter 32 verse 3, which seems to be an error since the verse is definitely Erber came from 'herber' meaning a garden area of grasses, flowers, herbs, etc, from, logically Old French and in turn from from Latin, herba, meaning herb or grass.

The word history is given by Cassells to be 18th century, taken from Sanskrit avatata meaning descent, from the parts ava meaning down or away, and tar meaning pass or cross over. In more recent times the word has simplified and shifted subtly to mean more specifically the spiritual body itself rather than the descent or manifestation of the body, and before its adoption by the internet, avatar had also come to mean an embodiment or personification of something, typically in a very grand manner, in other words, a " The virtual reality community website Secondlife was among the first to popularise the moden use of the word in website identities, and it's fascinating how the modern meaning has been adapted from the sense of the original word.

The idea of losing a baby when disposing of a bathtub's dirty water neatly fits the meaning, but the origins of the expression are likely to be no more than a simple metaphor. Wolfgang Mieder's article ' Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater' full title extending to: Murner, who was born in and died in , apparently references the baby and bathwater expression several times in his book, indicating that he probably did not coin the metaphor and that it was already established in Germany at that time.

Thanks MS for assistance. Later the use of bandbox was extended to equate to a hatbox, so the meaning of the phrase alludes to someone's appearance, especially their clothing, being as smart as a new hat fresh out of a hatbox.

In more recent times, as tends to be with the evolution of slang, the full expression has been shortened simply to 'bandbox'.

In the US bandbox is old slang late s, through to the early s for a country workhouse or local prison, which, according to Cassells also referred later ss to a prison from which escape is easy. These US slang meanings are based on allusion to the small and not especially robust confines of a cardboard hatbox. I am additionally informed thanks V Smith that bandbox also refers to a small ballpark stadium with short boundaries enabling relatively easy home runs to be struck in baseball games.

The bandbox expression in baseball seemingly gave rise to the notion of band's box in a small theatre, which could be either an additional or alternative root of the expression when it is used in the baseball stadium context.

The idea is that as workload permits, sectors can be combined and split again without having to change the frequencies that aircraft are on. You may have noticed that for a particular 'SID' 'standard instrument departure' - the basic take-off procedure you are almost always given the same frequency after departure.

By 'bandboxing' two adjacent sectors working them from a single position rather than two you can work aircraft in the larger airspace at one time saving staff and also simplifying any co-ordination that may have taken place when they are 'split'. To facilitate this the two frequencies are 'cross-coupled'. This means that the controller transmits on both frequencies simultaniously and when an aircraft calls on one, the transmission is retransmitted on the second frequency.

Therefore the pilots are much less likely to step on one another and it appears as if all aircraft are on the same frequency. Then when traffic loading requires the sectors to be split once more, a second controller simply takes one of the frequencies from the other, the frequencies are un-cross-coupled, and all being well there is a seamless transition from the pilots' perspective!

I am therefore at odds with most commentators and dictionaries for suggesting the following: The 'bring home the bacon' expression essentially stems from the fact that bacon was the valuable and staple meat provision of common people hundreds of years ago, and so was an obvious metaphor for a living wage or the provision of basic sustenance.

Peasants and poor town-dwelling folk in olden times regarded other meats as simply beyond their means, other than for special occasions if at all.

Bacon was a staple food not just because of availability and cost but also because it could be stored for several weeks, or most likely hung up somewhere, out of the dog's reach. Other reasons for the significance of the word bacon as an image and metaphor in certain expressions, and for bacon being a natural association to make with the basic needs of common working people, are explained in the 'save your bacon' meanings and origins below. Additionally the 'bring home the bacon' expression, like many other sayings, would have been appealing because it is phonetically pleasing to say and to hear mainly due to the 'b' alliteration repetition.

Expressions which are poetic and pleasing naturally survive and grow - 'Bring home the vegetables' doesn't have quite the same ring. According to Allen's English Phrases there could possibly have been a contributory allusion to pig-catching contests at fairs, and although at first glance the logic for this seems not to be strong given the difference between a live pig or a piglet and a side of cured bacon the suggestion gains credibility when we realise that until the late middle ages bacon referred more loosely to the meat of a pig, being derived from German for back.

Whatever, the idea of 'bringing home' implicity suggests household support, and the metaphor of bacon as staple sustenance is not only supported by historical fact, but also found in other expressions of olden times. Given so much association between bacon and common people's basic dietary needs it is sensible to question any source which states that 'bring home the bacon' appeared no sooner than the 20th century, by which time ordinary people had better wider choice of other sorts of other meat, so that then the metaphor would have been far less meaningful.

In other words, why would people have fixed onto the bacon metaphor when it was no longer a staple and essential presence in people's diets?

Fascinatingly the establishment and popularity of the expression was perhaps also supported if not actually originally underpinned by the intriguing 13th century custom at Dunmow in Essex, apparently according to Brewer founded by a noblewoman called Juga in and restarted in by Robert de Fitzwalter, whereby any man from anywhere in England who, kneeling on two stones at the church door, could swear that for the past year he had not argued with his wife nor wished to be parted from her, would be awarded a 'gammon of bacon'.

Seemingly this gave rise to the English expression, which according to Brewer was still in use at the end of the s 'He may fetch a flitch of bacon from Dunmow' a flitch is a 'side' of bacon; a very large slab , which referred to a man who was amiable and good-tempered to his wife. This meaning is very close to the modern sense of 'bringing home the bacon': Brewer says one origin is the metaphor of keeping the household's winter store of bacon protected from huge numbers of stray scavenging dogs.

In that sense the meaning was to save or prevent a loss. The establishment of the expression however relies on wider identification with the human form: Bacon and pig-related terms were metaphors for 'people' in several old expressions of from 11th to 19th century, largely due to the fact that In the mid-to-late middle ages, bacon was for common country people the only meat affordably available, which caused it and associated terms hog, pig, swine to be used to describe ordinary country folk by certain writers and members of the aristocracy.

Norman lords called Saxon people 'hogs'.

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In this respect it's a very peculiar and unusual word - since it offers such amazing versatility for the user. There are very few words which can be spelled in so many different ways, and it's oddly appropriate that any of the longer variants will inevitably be the very first entry in any dictionary.

Spelling of Aaaaarrgghh there's another one.. Repetition of 'G's and 'H's is far less prevalent. Notable and fascinating among these is the stock sound effect - a huge Aaaaaarrrgghhh noise - known as the Wilhelm Scream. The sound effect was again apparently originally titled 'man being eaten by an alligator'. Please note that this screen version did not directly imply or suggest the modern written usage of Aaaarrrgh as an expression of shock - it's merely a point of related interest.

The frustration signified by Aaargh can be meant in pure fun or in some situations in blogs for example with a degree of real vexation. The powerful nature of the expression is such that it is now used widely as a heading for many articles and postings dealing with frustration, annoyance, etc. The main usage however seems to be as a quick response in fun, as an ironic death scream, which is similar to more obvious expressions like 'you're killing me,' or 'I could scream'. To some people Aaaaargh suggests the ironic idea of throwing oneself out of a towerblock window to escape whatever has prompted the irritation.

That said, broadly speaking, we can infer the degree of emotion from the length of the version used. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgh clearly has a touch more desperation than Aaarrgh. The use of Aaaaargh is definitely increasing in the 21st century compared to the 20th, and in different ways. Often the meaning includes an inward element like Homer Simpson's 'doh', or an incredulous aspect like Victor Meldrew's 'I don't believe it', and perhaps in time different spellings will come to mean quite specifically different things.

Interestingly the web makes it possible to measure the popularity of the the different spelling versions of Aargh, and at some stage the web will make it possible to correlate spelling and context and meaning.

For now, googling the different spellings will show you their relative popularity, albeit it skewed according to the use of the term on the web. I suspect that given the speed of the phone text medium, usage in texting is even more concentrated towards the shorter versions. At the time of originally writing this entry April Google's count for Argh has now trebled from 3 million in to 9.

At Dec Google's count for Argh had doubled from the figure to Can you help find the earliest origins or precise sources of some relatively recent expressions and figures of speech? Here are a few interesting sayings for which for which fully satisfying origins seem not to exist, or existing explanations invite expansion and more detail.

Let me know also if you want any mysterious expressions adding to the list for which no published origins seem to exist.

Gold does not dissolve in nitric acid, whereas less costly silver and base metals do. The use of nitric acid also featured strongly in alchemy, the ancient 'science' of attempting converting base metals into gold. An 'across the board' bet was one which backed a horse to win or be placed in the first three, or as Wentworth and Flexnor's Dictionary of American Slang suggests, across the board meant a bet in which " Additionally it has been suggested to me that a similar racetrack expression, 'across the boards' refers to the tendency for odds available for any given horse to settle at the same price among all bookmakers each having their own board , seemingly due to the laying off effect, whereby the odds would be the same 'across the boards'.

I can neither agree nor disagree with this, nor find any certain source or logic for this to be a more reliable explanation of the metaphorical expression, and so I add it here for what it is worth if you happen to be considering this particular expression in special detail. The basis of the meaning is that Adam, being the first man ever, and therefore the farthest removed from anyone, symbolises a man that anyone is least likely to know.

Out of interest, an 'off ox' would have been the beast pulling the cart on the side farthest from the driver, and therefore less known than the 'near ox'. This extension to the expression was American Worldwidewords references the dictionary of American Regional English as the source of a number of such USA regional variations ; the 'off ox' and other extensions such as Adam's brother or Adam's foot, are simply designed to exaggerate the distance of the acquaintance.

Alligators were apparently originally called El Lagarto de Indias The Lizard of the Indies , 'el lagarto', logically meaning 'the lizard'. Initially the word entered English as lagarto in the mids, after which it developed into aligarto towards the late s, and then was effectively revised to allegater by Shakespeare when he used the word in Romeo and Juliet, in It seems ack S Burgos that the modern Spanish word and notably in Castellano for lizard is lagartija, and lagarto now means alligator.

Cohen suggests the origin dates back to s New York City fraudster Aleck Hoag, who, with his wife posing as a prostitute, would rob the customers.

Hoag bribed the police to escape prosecution, but ultimately paid the price for being too clever when he tried to cut the police out of the deal, leading to the pair's arrest. In describing Hoag at the time, the police were supposedly the first to use the 'smart aleck' expression. The Old French word is derived from Latin 'amare' meaning 'to love'. Traditionally all letters were referenced formally in the same way.

The ampersand symbol itself is a combination - originally a ligature literally a joining - of the letters E and t, or E and T, being the Latin word 'et' meaning 'and'. The earliest representations of the ampersand symbol are found in Roman scriptures dating back nearly 2, years. If you inspect various ampersand symbols you'll see the interpretation of the root ET or Et letters. The symbol has provided font designers more scope for artistic impression than any other character, and ironically while it evolved from hand-written script, few people use it in modern hand-writing, which means that most of us have difficulty in reproducing a good-looking ampersand by hand without having practised first.

The theory goes that in ancient times the pupil of the eye the black centre was thought to be a small hard ball, for which an apple was a natural symbol. Logically the pupil or apple of a person's eye described someone whom was held in utmost regard - rather like saying the 'centre of attention'.

Strangely Brewer references Deuteronomy chapter 32 verse 3, which seems to be an error since the verse is definitely Erber came from 'herber' meaning a garden area of grasses, flowers, herbs, etc, from, logically Old French and in turn from from Latin, herba, meaning herb or grass. The word history is given by Cassells to be 18th century, taken from Sanskrit avatata meaning descent, from the parts ava meaning down or away, and tar meaning pass or cross over.

In more recent times the word has simplified and shifted subtly to mean more specifically the spiritual body itself rather than the descent or manifestation of the body, and before its adoption by the internet, avatar had also come to mean an embodiment or personification of something, typically in a very grand manner, in other words, a " The virtual reality community website Secondlife was among the first to popularise the moden use of the word in website identities, and it's fascinating how the modern meaning has been adapted from the sense of the original word.

The idea of losing a baby when disposing of a bathtub's dirty water neatly fits the meaning, but the origins of the expression are likely to be no more than a simple metaphor. Wolfgang Mieder's article ' Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater' full title extending to: Murner, who was born in and died in , apparently references the baby and bathwater expression several times in his book, indicating that he probably did not coin the metaphor and that it was already established in Germany at that time.

Thanks MS for assistance. Later the use of bandbox was extended to equate to a hatbox, so the meaning of the phrase alludes to someone's appearance, especially their clothing, being as smart as a new hat fresh out of a hatbox.

In more recent times, as tends to be with the evolution of slang, the full expression has been shortened simply to 'bandbox'. In the US bandbox is old slang late s, through to the early s for a country workhouse or local prison, which, according to Cassells also referred later ss to a prison from which escape is easy.

These US slang meanings are based on allusion to the small and not especially robust confines of a cardboard hatbox. I am additionally informed thanks V Smith that bandbox also refers to a small ballpark stadium with short boundaries enabling relatively easy home runs to be struck in baseball games. The bandbox expression in baseball seemingly gave rise to the notion of band's box in a small theatre, which could be either an additional or alternative root of the expression when it is used in the baseball stadium context.

The idea is that as workload permits, sectors can be combined and split again without having to change the frequencies that aircraft are on. You may have noticed that for a particular 'SID' 'standard instrument departure' - the basic take-off procedure you are almost always given the same frequency after departure. By 'bandboxing' two adjacent sectors working them from a single position rather than two you can work aircraft in the larger airspace at one time saving staff and also simplifying any co-ordination that may have taken place when they are 'split'.

To facilitate this the two frequencies are 'cross-coupled'. This means that the controller transmits on both frequencies simultaniously and when an aircraft calls on one, the transmission is retransmitted on the second frequency. Therefore the pilots are much less likely to step on one another and it appears as if all aircraft are on the same frequency. Then when traffic loading requires the sectors to be split once more, a second controller simply takes one of the frequencies from the other, the frequencies are un-cross-coupled, and all being well there is a seamless transition from the pilots' perspective!

I am therefore at odds with most commentators and dictionaries for suggesting the following: The 'bring home the bacon' expression essentially stems from the fact that bacon was the valuable and staple meat provision of common people hundreds of years ago, and so was an obvious metaphor for a living wage or the provision of basic sustenance.

Peasants and poor town-dwelling folk in olden times regarded other meats as simply beyond their means, other than for special occasions if at all. Bacon was a staple food not just because of availability and cost but also because it could be stored for several weeks, or most likely hung up somewhere, out of the dog's reach.

Other reasons for the significance of the word bacon as an image and metaphor in certain expressions, and for bacon being a natural association to make with the basic needs of common working people, are explained in the 'save your bacon' meanings and origins below. Additionally the 'bring home the bacon' expression, like many other sayings, would have been appealing because it is phonetically pleasing to say and to hear mainly due to the 'b' alliteration repetition.

Expressions which are poetic and pleasing naturally survive and grow - 'Bring home the vegetables' doesn't have quite the same ring. According to Allen's English Phrases there could possibly have been a contributory allusion to pig-catching contests at fairs, and although at first glance the logic for this seems not to be strong given the difference between a live pig or a piglet and a side of cured bacon the suggestion gains credibility when we realise that until the late middle ages bacon referred more loosely to the meat of a pig, being derived from German for back.

Whatever, the idea of 'bringing home' implicity suggests household support, and the metaphor of bacon as staple sustenance is not only supported by historical fact, but also found in other expressions of olden times. Given so much association between bacon and common people's basic dietary needs it is sensible to question any source which states that 'bring home the bacon' appeared no sooner than the 20th century, by which time ordinary people had better wider choice of other sorts of other meat, so that then the metaphor would have been far less meaningful.

In other words, why would people have fixed onto the bacon metaphor when it was no longer a staple and essential presence in people's diets? Fascinatingly the establishment and popularity of the expression was perhaps also supported if not actually originally underpinned by the intriguing 13th century custom at Dunmow in Essex, apparently according to Brewer founded by a noblewoman called Juga in and restarted in by Robert de Fitzwalter, whereby any man from anywhere in England who, kneeling on two stones at the church door, could swear that for the past year he had not argued with his wife nor wished to be parted from her, would be awarded a 'gammon of bacon'.

Seemingly this gave rise to the English expression, which according to Brewer was still in use at the end of the s 'He may fetch a flitch of bacon from Dunmow' a flitch is a 'side' of bacon; a very large slab , which referred to a man who was amiable and good-tempered to his wife.

This meaning is very close to the modern sense of 'bringing home the bacon': Brewer says one origin is the metaphor of keeping the household's winter store of bacon protected from huge numbers of stray scavenging dogs. In that sense the meaning was to save or prevent a loss. The establishment of the expression however relies on wider identification with the human form: Bacon and pig-related terms were metaphors for 'people' in several old expressions of from 11th to 19th century, largely due to the fact that In the mid-to-late middle ages, bacon was for common country people the only meat affordably available, which caused it and associated terms hog, pig, swine to be used to describe ordinary country folk by certain writers and members of the aristocracy.

Norman lords called Saxon people 'hogs'. A 'chaw-bacon' was a derogatory term for a farm labourer or country bumpkin chaw meant chew, so a 'chaw-bacon' was the old equivalent of the modern insult 'carrot-cruncher'.

See also 'bring home the bacon'. It's simply a shortening of 'The bad thing that happened was my fault, sorry'. The word bad in this case has evolved to mean 'mistake which caused a problem'. It's another example of the tendency for language to become abbreviated for more efficient and stylised communications. In this case the abbreviation is also a sort of teenage code, which of course young people everywhere use because they generally do not wish to adopt lifestyle and behaviour advocated by parents, teachers, authority, etc.

For new meanings of words to evolve there needs to be a user-base of people that understands the new meanings. Initially the 'my bad' expression was confined to a discrete grouping, ie. Now it seems the understanding and usage of the 'my bad' expression has grown, along with the students, and entered the mainstream corporate world, no doubt because US middle management and boardrooms now have a high presence of people who were teenagers at college or university 20 years ago.

I am also informed thanks K Korkodilos that the 'my bad' expression was used in the TV series 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', and that this seems to have increased its popular mainstream usage during the s, moreover people using the expression admitted to watching the show when asked about the possible connection.

Additionally thanks M Woolley apparently the 'my bad' expression is used by the Fred character in the new Scooby Doo TV series, which is leading to the adoption of the phrase among the under-5's in London, and logically, presumbly, older children all over England too. There is it seems no stopping this one.. Also, thanks J Davis " There's a common Mexican phrase, 'Mi malo', which means, literally, 'My bad', and it may be where this comes from, since it's a common phrase here in Southern California, and was before Buffy was ever on the air..

Furthemore, thanks J Susky, Sep " I'm fairly sure I first heard it in the summer, outdoors, in Anchorage, Alaska - which would put it pre-Sept If you know more please tell me. A still earlier meaning of the word was more precisely 'a jumbled mixture of words', and before that from Scandinavia 'a mixture'. Skeat's dictionary provides the most useful clues as to origins: Scandinavian meanings were for 'poor stuff' or a 'poor weak drink', which was obviously a mixture of sorts.

In Danish 'balder' was noise or clatter, and the word danske was slap or flap, which led to an older alternative meaning of a 'confused noise', or any mixture. Certain dictionaries suggest an initial origin of a frothy drink from the English 16thC, but this usage was derived from the earlier 'poor drink' and 'mixture' meanings and therefore was not the root, just a stage in the expression's development. Balti is generally now regarded as being the anglicised name of the pan in which the balti dish is cooked, a pan which is conventionally known as the 'karai' in traditional Urdu language.

The mythological explanation is that the balti pan and dish are somehow connected with the supposed 'Baltistan' region of Pakistan, or a reference to that region by imaginative England-based curry house folk, who seem first to have come up with the balti menu option during the s.

Indeed Hobson Jobson, the excellent Anglo-Indian dictionary, 2nd edition , lists the word 'balty', with the clear single meaning: Further confirmation is provided helpfully by Ahmed Syed who kindly sent me the following about the subject: In larger families or when guests visit, the need for larger pots arose.

Balti dishes originate from Pakistan, customarily cooked in a wok style pan outside hotels and people's homes. The process is based on boiling the meat of chicken or goat on low heat with garlic and chilli powder in some cases until it is tender and the water reduced to a sauce.

Then fresh tomatoes, green chillies, ginger and spices are added, and the meat is fried until a sauce is produced. Renowned as an extra spicy dish, the Balti is revered by young and old. See also the derivation of the racial term 'Gringo', which has similar origins. Another school of thought and possible contributory origin is that apparently in Latin there was such a word as 'barba' meaning beard.

A Roman would visit the tonsor to have his beard shaved, and the non Romans, who frequently wore beards barbas , were thereby labelled barbarians. Ack AA for the beard theory. I am additionally informed thanks S Walker that perhaps the earliest derivation of babble meaning unintelligible speech is from the ancient Hebrew word for the city of Babel meaning Babylon , which is referred to in the Bible, Genesis Many people seem now to infer a meaning of the breath being metaphorically 'baited' like a trap or a hook, waiting to catch something instead of the original non-metaphorical original meaning, which simply described the breath being cut short, or stopped as with a sharp intake of breath.

The expression appears in Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice as bated , which dates its origin as 16th century or earlier. The word bate is a shortened form of abate, both carrying the same meaning to hold back, reduce, stop, etc , and first appeared in the s, prior to which the past tense forms were baten and abaten.

And if you like more detail ack K Dahm: On the battlefield the forces would open up to a broad front, with scouts forward to locate the other side, the main lines, and one or several reserves to the rear. The cavalry, or mobile force, would be separate and often on the outer edges of the formation. Each side would line up in a similar fashion, allowing for terrain and personal preference between the width of the line and the depth. When the opposing lines clashed, there would be a zone between them where fighting took place.

Since there would be differences in ability and local strength, the lines would often bend and separate. The front lines formed by each force could also be called battle lines.

The soldiers behind the front lines wesre expected to step up into the place of the ones ahead when they fell, and to push forward otherwise, such that 15th centruy and earlier battles often became shoving matches, with the front lines trying to wield weapons in a crush of men.

The classic British Army of the Colonial and Napoleanic eras used a line that was three men deep, with the ranks firing and reloading in sequence. Since it took between 40 and 60 seconds to reload, that meant a volley fired every seconds, which proved devestating to the opposing line.

This formation and similar ones were used until the American Civil War, and later by other European powers. What ended the practice was the invention of magazine-fed weapons and especially machine guns, which meant that an opposing line could be rapidly killed. After the Great War, dispersion became the main means of fighing, with much looser units linking side to side to protect each others flanks, which became the WWII paradigm. There are various suggestions for the origins of beak meaning judge or magistrate, which has been recorded as a slang expression since the midth century, but is reasonably reliably said to have been in use in the 16th century in slightly different form, explained below.

Beak - a justice of the peace or magistrate. In the 19th century the term beak also referred to a sherif's officer English or a policeman, and later beak was adopted as slang also by schoolchildren for a schoolmaster.

I am informed on this point thanks K Madley that the word beak is used for a schoolmaster in a public school in Three School Chums by John Finnemore, which was published in In the First World War being up before the beak meant appearing before an elderly officer. Brewer's slang dictionary suggests beak derives from an Anglo-Saxon word beag, which was " Brewer also cites an alternative: In considering this idea, it is possible of course that this association was particularly natural given the strange tendency of men's noses to grow with age, so that old judges and other elderly male figures of authority would commonly have big noses.

Other theories include suggestions of derivation from a Celtic word meaning judgement, which seems not to have been substantiated by any reputable source, although interestingly and perhaps confusingly the French for beak, bec, is from Gaulish beccus, which might logically be connected with Celtic language, and possibly the Celtic wordstem bacc-, which means hook.

Partridge says that the earlier form was beck, from the th centuries, meaning a constable, which developed into beak meaning judge by about , although Grose's entry would date this development perhaps years prior.

And finally to confuse matters more, Cassells Jonathan Green slang dictionary throws in the obscure nevertheless favoured by Cassells connection with harman-beck, also harman, which were slang terms for constable combining harman meaning hard-man it is suggested, with beck or bec , from the mid 16th century. As with several other slang origins, the story is not of a single clear root, more like two or three contributory meanings which combine and support the end result.

Earlier versions of the expression with the same meaning were: According to Chambers, Bedlam was first recorded as an alternative name for the hospital in , and as a word meaning chaos or noisy confusion in , evolving naturally from slightly earlier use in referring to a madhouse or lunatic asylum.

Thanks S Taylor for help clarifying this. Bees have long been a metaphorical symbol because they are icons everyone can recognise, just as we have many sayings including similarly appealing icons like cats and dogs.

Earlier references to the size of a 'bee's knee' - meaning something very small for example 'as big as a bee's knee' - probably provided a the basis for adaptation into its modern form, which according to the OED happened in the USA, not in UK English.

Neither 'the bees knees', nor 'big as a bees knee' appear in Brewer, which indicates that the expression grew or became popular after this time. Based on Nigel Rees' well researched and reliable dating of for first recorded use, it is likely that earliest actual usage was perhaps a few years before this.

It's certainly true that the origin of the word bereave derives from the words rob and robbed. It's true also that the words reaver and reiver in Middle English described a raider, and the latter specifically a Scottish cross-border cattle raider.

However the word bereave derives says Chambers from the Old English word bereafian, which meant robbed or dispossessed in a more general sense.

It's a very old word: Reafian meaning rob appears in Beowulf The 'be' prefix is Old English meaning in this context to make or to cause, hence bereafian. The 'be' prefix and word reafian are cognate similar with the Old Frisian North Netherlands word birava, and also with the Old High German word biroubon. These and other cognates similar words from the same root can be traced back to very ancient Indo-European roots, all originating from a seminal meaning of rob.

Incidentally Cassells says the meaning of bereave in association with death first appeared in English only in the s, so the robbed meaning persisted until relatively modern times given the very old origins of the word.

Thanks J R for raising the question. In fact the expression 'baer-saerk' with 'ae' pronounced as 'a' in the word 'anyhow' , means bear-shirt, which more likely stemmed from the belief that these fierce warriors could transform into animals, especially bears and wolves, or at least carry the spirit of the animal during extreme battle situations.

Thanks Cornelia for this more precise derivation. This derivation is also supported by the Old Icelandic word 'Beserkr', meaning 'bear-shirt'. I am additionally informed thanks F Tims that: By their account, the 'bar-sark' was worn only by members of the Norse chieftan's personal bodyguard, they being the most ferocious, and thus the most feared, of the Vikings plundering eastern Scotland and the hapless Dane-mark.

So, according to the book, the term does not apply to all invading Vikings, just the more obnoxious. In the book, also, the Norse word 'bar' or 'baer', as the case may be means 'wolf', from the hide of which the shirt was made, so it would be a 'wolf-shirt' Champions - Professed fighting men were often kept by kings and earls about their court as useful in feud and fray. Harald Fairhair's champions are admirably described in the contemporary Raven Song by Hornclofe - "Wolf-coats they call them that in battle bellow into bloody shields.

They wear wolves' hides when they come into the fight, and clash their weapons together These baer-sarks, or wolf coats of Harald give rise to an Old Norse term, 'baer sark', to describe the frenzy of fight and fury which such champions indulged in, barking and howling, and biting their shield-rims Voltaire wrote in If this is best of possible worlds If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?..

Another famous writer of his time, though less renowned today American James Branch Cable, , might well have contributed to the popular use of the term when he used it in his novel 'The Silver Stallion' in , when he created a frequently repeated ironically amusing expression in its own right: The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true..

The fact that the quotes feature in the definitive quotations work, Bartletts Familiar Quotations first published and still going bears out the significance of the references.

Related no doubt to this, the s expression 'biblical neckline' was a euphemistic sexual slang term for a low neckline a pun on the 'lo and behold' expression found in the bible. Thanks Ben for suggesting the specific biblical quote. It is both a metaphor based on the size of the bible as a book, and more commonly a description by association to many of the particularly disastrous epic events described in the bible, for example: The slang 'big cheese' is a fine example of language from a far-away or entirely foreign culture finding its way into modern life and communications, in which the users have very awareness or appreciation of its different cultural origins.

This would suggest that some distortion or confusion led to the expression's development. It's easy to imagine that people confused the earlier meaning with that of the female garment and then given the feminine nature of the garment, attached the derogatory weak 'girly' or 'sissy' meaning. I received this helpful information thanks N Swan, April about the expression: Hence perhaps the northern associations and s feel. A catchphrase can get into the public vernacular very rapidly - in a very similar vein, I've heard people referring to their friends as a 'Nancy Boy Potter', a name taken directly from the schoolmaster sketch in Rowan Atkinson's mids one-man show Kipling reinforced the expression when he wrote in that the secret of power ' It's the liftable stick.

The term is found also in pottery and ceramic glazing for the same reason. Takes the biscuit seems according to Patridge to be the oldest of the variations of these expressions, which essentially link achievement metaphorically to being awarded a baked confectionery prize.

Heaven knows why though, and not even Partridge can suggest any logic for that one. Incidentally, the expression 'takes the biscuit' also appears thanks C Freudenthal more than once in the dialogue of a disreputable character in one of James Joyce's Dubliners stories, published in Rather than bullets, historic accounts tell of men bitting down on leather straps when undergoing primative medical practice. Biting on a round metal brass bullet would have been both a potential choking hazard, and extremely hard to do.

However in the days of paper cartridges, a soldier in a firing line would have 'bitten off' the bullet, to allow him to pour the gunpowder down the barrel, before spitting the ball bullet down after the powder, then ramming the paper in as wadding. This would have left a salty nasty-tasting traces of gun powder in the soldier's mouth. So, 'bite the bullet' in this respect developed as a metaphor referring to doing something both unpleasent and dangerous. If you can offer any further authoritative information about the origins of this phrase please let me know.

With hindsight, the traditional surgical metaphor does seem a little shaky. When the rope had been extended to the bitter end there was no more left. Nowadays it is attached through the bulkhead to a sturdy pin. The term 'bitter end' is as it seems to pay out the anchor until the bitter end. A man was placed forward and swung a lead weight with a length of rope. A difficult and tiring task, so seamen would often be seen from aft 'swinging the lead' instead of actually letting go.

The origin also gave us the word 'bride'. Strictly for the birds. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable certainly makes no mention of it which suggests it is no earlier than 20th century. The term alludes the small brains of birds, and expressions such as 'bird-brain', as a metaphor for people of limited intelligence. The balls were counted and if there were more blacks than reds or whites then the membership application was denied - the prospective new member was 'blackballed'. In addition I am informed by one who seems to know To vote for admitting the new person, the voting member transfers a white cube to another section of the box.

To vote against, a black ball is inserted. One black ball is enough to exclude the potential member. See also 'pipped at the post' the black ball was called a pip - after the pip of a fruit, in turn from earlier similar words which meant the fruit itself, eg pippin, and the Greek, pepe for melon - so pipped became another way or saying blackballed or defeated.

These, from their constant attendance about the time of the guard mounting, were nick-named the blackguards. These various explanations, origins and influences of the 'black Irish' expression, from a range of sources including Cassells, Hobson-Jobson, Oxford, Chambers, historical writings on Irish history, specialist online discussion groups, are as follows:. In summary, despite there being no evidence in print, there seems to me to be sufficient historical evidence as to the validity of the Armada theory as being the main derivation and that other usages are related to this primary root.

I say this because: Also the Armada theory seems to predate the other possible derivations. From this point the stories and legends about the Armada and the 'black Irish' descendents would have provided ample material for the expression to become established and grow.

Following this, the many other usages, whether misunderstandings of the true origin and meaning ie. A simple example sent to me thanks S Price is the derogatory and dubious notion that the term refers to Irish peasants who burnt peat for fuel, which, according to the story, produces a fine soot causing people to take on a black appearance.

The 'black Irish' expression will no doubt continue to be open to widely varying interpretations and folklore. I am also informed thanks C Parker of perhaps another explanation for the 'Mediterranean' appearance darker skin and hair colouring notably of some Irish people and giving rise to the Black Irish term, namely the spread of refugee Spanish Moors across Europe, including into Ireland, in the 8th, 9th and 17th centuries.

If anyone knows of any specific references which might support this notion and to link it with the Black Irish expression please tell me. Nor sadly do official dictionaries give credence to the highly appealing suggestion that the black market expression derives from the illicit trade in stolen graphite in England and across the English channel to France and Flanders, during the reign of Elizabeth I It is true that uniquely pure and plentiful graphite deposits were mined at Borrowdale, Cumbria, England.

And there was seemingly a notable illegal trade in the substance. In the 16th century graphite was used for moulds in making cannon balls, and was also in strong demand for the first pencils. The Borrowdale mine was apparently the only large source of pure graphite in Europe, perhaps globally, and because of its military significance and value, it was taken over by the Crown in Elizabeth I's reign.

The mine and its graphite became such a focus of theft and smuggling that, according to local history thanks D Hood , this gave rise to the expression 'black market'.

Frustratingly however, official reference books state that the black market term was first recorded very much later, around This is a pity because the Borrowdale graphite explanation is fascinating, appealing, and based on factual history.

However, while a few years, perhaps a few decades, of unrecorded use may predate any first recorded use of an expression, several hundred years' of no recorded reference at all makes it impossible to reliably validate such an origin. We might conclude that given the research which goes into compiling official reference books and dictionaries, underpinned by the increasing opportunity for submitted evidence and corrections over decades, its is doubtful that the term black market originated from a very old story or particular event.

If there were any such evidence it would likely have found its way into the reference books by now. The expression black market is probably simply the logical use of the word black to describe something illegal, probably popularised by newspapers or other commentators. The word black is a natural choice and readily understood for describing anything negative, theatening or illicit, and has been used, in some cases for centuries, to describe all sorts of unapproved, sinister or illegal things - e.

The first use and popularity of the black market term probably reflect the first time in Western history that consumer markets were tightly regulated and undermined on a very wide and common scale, in the often austere first half of the s, during and between the world wars of and more so in Further to the above entry I am informed thanks Dr A Summers, Mar of another fascinating suggestion of origin: The market town of Crieff in Perthshire was the main cattle market up till , but at the start there was opposition from the Provost in Perth, so there was an illegal trade in cattle before it became the official Drover's Tryst or cattle market.

The cattle were known as The Black hence the origin of the regiment The Black Watch, a militia started to protect the drovers from rustlers so the illegal market was known as the 'black market' Legend has it that whoever kisses the blarney stone will enjoy the same ability as MacCarthy.

When a person is said to 'have kissed the Blarney stone', it is a reference to their having the gift of persuasion. Another interpretation thanks R Styx , and conceivably a belief once held by some, is that sneezing expelled evil spirits from a person's body.

A contributory factor was the association of sneezing with the Black Death Bubonic Plague which ravaged England and particularly London in the 14th and 17th centuries.

In more recent times the expression has been related ack D Slater to the myth that sneezing causes the heart to stop beating, further reinforcing the Bless You custom as a protective superstition. Perhaps also influenced by African and African-American 'outjie', leading to okey without the dokey , meaning little man.

Various references have been cited in Arabic and Biblical writings to suggest that it was originally based on Middle- and Far-Eastern customs, in which blood rituals symbolised bonds that were stronger than family ones. However the expression has certainly been in use for hundreds of years with its modern interpretation - ie.

In this sense, the metaphor is such an obvious one that it is likely to have evolved separately from the supposed 'blood brothers' meaning, with slightly different variations from different societies, over the many hundreds of years that the expression has been in use. The modern expression bloody-minded still carries this sense, which connects with the qualities of the blood temperament within the four humours concept. The mild oath ruddy is a very closely linked alternative to bloody, again alluding to the red-faced characteristics within the four humours.

Oxford Word Histories confirms bloody became virtually unprintable around the mids, prior to which it was not an offensive term even when used in a non-literal sense i. In terms of a major source or influence on the expression's development, Oxford agrees largely with Brewer's dictionary of phrase and fable, which explains that the use of the word 'bloody' in the expletive sense " Rowdy aristocrats were called 'Bloods' after the term for a thoroughbred horse, a 'blood-horse' as in today's 'bloodstock' term, meaning thoroughbred horses.

Clearly, the blood-horse metaphor captures both the aristocratic and unpredictable or wild elements of this meaning. The use of blood in this 'aristocratic' sense would have been reinforced by other similar metaphors: The blue blood imagery would have been strengthened throughout Western society by the idea of aristocratic people having paler skin, which therefore made their veins and blood appear more blue than normal people's.

It is commonly suggested thanks B Bunker, J Davis that 'bloody' is a corruption of a suggested oath, 'By our Lady', which could have contributed to the offensive perception of the expression, although I believe would not have been its origin as an expletive per se.

Whatever, extending this point thanks A Sobot , the expression 'By our Lord' might similarly have been retrospectively linked, or distorted to add to the 'bloody' mix.

The flag is a blue rectangle with a solid white rectangle in the middle; 'peter' is from the French, 'partir' meaning 'to leave'. Additionally, ack G Jackson , the blue and white 'blue peter' flag is a standard nautical signal flag which stands for the letter 'P'. The letter 'P' is associated with the word 'peter' in many phonetic alphabets, including those of the English and American military, and it is possible that this phonetic language association was influenced by the French 'partir' root.

This table meaning of board is how we got the word boardroom too, and the popular early s piece of furniture called a sideboard. See also the expression 'sweep the board', which also refers to the table meaning of board. In this sense the expression also carried a hint of sarcastic envy or resentment, rather like it's who you know not what you know that gets results, or 'easy when you know how'.

Since then the meaning has become acknowledging, announcing or explaining a result or outcome that is achieved more easily than might be imagined. Nowadays the term 'bohemian' does not imply gypsy associations necessarily or at all, instead the term has become an extremely broad and flexible term for people, behaviour, lifestyle, places, atmosphere, attitudes, etc. Thus, a person could be described as bohemian; so could a coffee-shop, or a training course or festival.

Bohemian is a fascinating word - once a geographical region, and now a description of style which can be applied and interpreted in many different ways. The sense is in giving someone a small concession begrudgingly, as a token, or out of sympathy or pity. The giver an individual or a group is in a position of dominance or authority, and the recipient of the bone is seeking help, approval, agreement, or some other positive response. It is a simple metaphor based on the idea of throwing a hungry dog a bone to chew on a small concession instead of some meat which the dog would prefer.

The metaphor also alludes to the sense that a bone provides temporary satisfaction and distraction, and so is a tactical or stalling concession, and better than nothing.

It is not widely used in the UK and it is not in any of my reference dictionaries, which suggests that in the English language it is quite recent - probably from the end of the 20th century. According to various online discussions about this expression it is apparently featured in a film, as the line, "Throw me a bone down here International Man of Mystery' , from a scene in which Dr Evil is trying to think of schemes, but because he has been frozen for years, his ideas have either already happened or are no longer relevant and so attract little enthusiasm, which fits the expression's meaning very well.

I am further informed ack P Nix " It most certainly appeared prior to the Austin Powers movies since the usage of it in the movie was intended to be a humorous use of the already commonly used expression. It is also commonly used in the United States as 'Toss me a bone. In Argentina we use that expression very often. It is not pityful pitying at all It may have a funny meaning too I'm not sure of the origin of this phrase, but it was used in in French in 'The Law' by Frederic Bastiat. Here it is translated - 'The excluded classes will furiously demand their right to vote - and will overthrow society rather than not to obtain it.

Even beggars and vagabonds will then prove to you that they also have an incontestable title to vote. They will say to you: And a part of the tax that we pay is given by law - in privileges and subsidies - to men who are richer than we are. Others use the law to raise the prices of bread, meat, iron, or cloth. Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man's plunder.

To obtain this right, we also should be voters and legislators in order that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class, as you have organized Protection on a grand scale for your class. Now don't tell us beggars that you will act for us, and then toss us, as Mr. We have other claims. And anyway, we wish to bargain for ourselves as other classes have bargained for themselves!

The extract does not prove that the expression was in wide use in France in the mids, but it does show a similar and perhaps guiding example for interpreting the modern usage. The gannet-like seabird, the booby, is taken from Spanish word for the bird, bobo, which came into English around There seems no evidence for the booby bird originating the meaning of a foolish person, stupid though the booby bird is considered to be.

The sense of booby meaning fool extended later to terms like booby-trap and booby-hatch lunatic asylum , and also to the verb form of boob, meaning to make a mistake or blunder i. I am informed thanks Mr Morrison that the wilderness expert Ray Mears suggested booby-trap derives from the old maritime practice of catching booby seabirds when they flew onto ships' decks.

The US later early 20th C adapted the word boob to mean a fool. The ultimate origins can be seen in the early development of European and Asian languages, many of which had similar words meaning babble or stammer, based on the repetitive 'ba' sound naturally heard or used to represent the audible effect or impression of a stammerer or a fool.

It is probable that this basic 'baba' sound-word association also produced the words babe and baby, and similar variations in other languages. The mainly UK-English reference to female breasts boob, boobs, boob-tube, etc is much more recent s - boob-tube was s although these derive from the similar terms bubby and bubbies.

Separately, thanks B Puckett, since the s, 'boob-tube' has been US slang for a television, referring to idiocy on-screen, and the TV cathode-ray 'tube' technology, now effectively replaced by LCD flatscreens. Incidentally a UK 'boob-tube' garment is in the US called a 'tube-top'. Returning to boobs meaning breasts, Partridge amusingly notes that bubby is 'rare in the singular Bubby and bubbies meaning breasts appeared in the late s, probably derived from the word bub, both noun and verb for drink, in turn probably from Latin bibire, perhaps reinforced by allusion to the word bubble, and the aforementioned 'baba' sound associated with babies.

My thanks to John L for raising the question of the booby, initially seeking clarification of its meaning in the Gilbert and Sullivan line from Trial by Jury, when the judge sings "I'd a frock-tailed coat of a beautiful blue, and brief that I bought for a booby Men who 'took the King's shilling' were deemed to have contracted to serve in the armed forces, and this practice of offering the shilling inducement led to the use of the technique in rather less honest ways, notably by the navy press-gangs who would prey on drunks and unsuspecting drinkers close to port.

Unscrupulous press-gangers would drop a shilling into a drinker's pint of ale, which was then in a pewter or similar non-transparent vessel , and if the coin was undetected until the ale was consumed the press-gangers would claim that the payment had been accepted, whereupon the poor victim would be dragged away to spend years at sea. Pubs and drinkers became aware of this practice and the custom of drinking from glass-bottom tankards began.

The 'bottoms up' expression then naturally referred to checking for the King's shilling at the bottom of the tankard. This expression is a wonderful example of how certain expressions origins inevitably evolve, without needing necessarily any particular origin. There might be one of course, but it's very well buried if there is, and personally I think the roots of the saying are entirely logical, despite there being no officially known source anywhere. Partridge for instance can offer only that brass monkey in this sense was first recorded in the s with possible Australian origins.

Cassells says late s and possible US origins. The OED is no more helpful either in suggesting the ultimate source. Allen's English Phrases is more revealing in citing an source unfortunately not named: In fact the expression most likely evolved from another early version 'Cold enough to freeze the tail off a brass monkey', which apparently is first recorded in print in Charles A Abbey's book Before the Mast in the Clippers, around , which featured the author's diaries from his time aboard American clippers fast merchant sailing ships from The switch from tail to balls at some stage probably around the turn of the s proved irresistible to people, for completely understandable reasons: The notion of a brass monkey would have appealed on many levels: And aside from the allusion to brass monkey ornaments, brass would have been the metal of choice because it was traditionally associated with strength and resilience more so than copper or tin for instance ; also brass is also very much more phonetically enjoyable than iron, steel or bronze.

It simply sounds good when spoken. Zinc and platinum are complete non-starters obviously. So it had to be brass. The choice of monkey - as opposed to any other creature - is also somehow inevitable given a bit of logical thought. Certain iconic animals with good tails can be discounted immediately for reasons of lacking euphonic quality meaning a pleasing sound when spoken ; for example, brass horse, brass mouse, brass rat, brass scorpion, brass crocodile and brass ass just don't roll off the tongue well enough.

No good either would have been any creatures not possessing a suitably impressive and symbolic tail, which interestingly would effectively have ruled out virtually all the major animal images like cow, elephant, pig, bear, dog, rabbit, lion, tiger, and most of the B-list like rhino, giraffe, deer, not to mention C-listers like hamster, badger, tortoise, all birds, all fish and all insects.

It will only take you 15 to 25 minutes. Always feel free to email Chris about anything at chris sexwithstrangersshow. You can also tweet at him: Find him on Snapchat: And message him on Fetlife: Chris chats about gay bathhouses with a handful of people, including the manager of Club Philadelphia and a woman who attended bisexual night at Hawks PDX.

Kevin Allison from the Risk! Podcast also returns to share some of his experiences at bathhouses and sex clubs around the world. And Steamworks Chicago gets discussed quite a bit. Please email Chris if you think you're a good fit for a future episode: Chris chats with Kevin Allison from the Risk! Life Lessons From a Clown Fetishist for more information on clown sex. Watch this video for more insight into prostate massages. On a more serious note, the two stories from Risk!

Dealing with domestic abuse are The Monster and the Man and Unbreakable. For more on that issue check out episode of the Savage Lovecast , this techdirt post , this Vox story , this Guardian piece , and the Lawfare post mentioned on the show.

Also check out the Allure article Cindi recommended: Finally, don't forget to check out consentculture. It was suggested that Jen is the only parent featured in the show. That is not true.

Cindi is both a parent and a grandparent. Chris travels to the Thai cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai to chat with sex workers and others with insights into Thailand's sex industry, including members of EMPOWER — the country's oldest and largest sex worker organization. We also recommend The Third Gender a documentary by Vivienne Chen about the Thai trans community, which is available for free on Youtube.

For more on this community check out the Wikipedia page for Kathoey. Terra Burns returns to update us on her continued fight for the human rights of sex workers in her home state. Amber Batts, currently on parole for sex trafficking despite never trafficking anyone , tells her story. This episode also features stories about the intersection of drugs and sex work. You can support Tara and CUSP's efforts to make it illegal for Alaskan police officers to sexually penetrate people under their investigation here , and you can read more about convicted rapist and former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins here and here.

Chris travels to New South Wales, Australia where sex work is decriminalized to interview local sex workers about their lives. To learn more about the decriminalized sex industry in New Zealand check out this study from the University of Otago, which surveyed sex workers. The government of New Zealand also released this exhaustive report in And while you're clicking on links, follow Chris on Twitter.

He just joined as SexWithChris. In this follow-up to episode 31, Chris chats with several people who fetishize disability. He also interviews an able-bodied woman who believes she should be a quadriplegic and derives sexual gratification from pretending to be one. And a few podcasters also join the conversation: Check out the episode of Disability After Dark mentioned in the show here , and go here for the full version of the GimpHacks episode excerpted in this show.

Lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals, and queer-identified women sound off on everything from scissoring to strap-ons. Porn star Chanel Preston returns to discuss shooting girl-girl porn. Other returning guests include Ames Bex, who shares how sex is different now as a trans man than it was back when he identified as a lesbian. Comedian Quinn Quintana returns to talk about fisting ladies and the many changes that have occurred at Kink.

Fan-favorite Shayla also returns to make her 4th appearance. This episode features people with physical disabilities talking about the able-bodied world's tendency to erase their sexuality, using Tindr in a wheelchair, disability-related sexual superpowers, and much more.

Comedian Spring Day makes her triumphant return. She and her boyfriend, comedian Tim Renkow , both have cerebral palsy and talk frankly about their sex life. The fetishization of disabled people, often called devoteeism, also comes up in this episode. We also talk about the role sex workers sometimes play in enriching the lives of people with disabilities.

Check out Rachel Wotton's Ted Talk exploring this topic. Other articles mentioned on the show include this Vice piece about Hand Angels, this guide to sexual positioning devices , and a fascinating obituary published by Salon about Mark O'Brien.

Finally, Ryan Lythall can be reached at rythall me. Chris chats with 6 men who, collectively, have purchased sexual services well over times. Articles referenced in this episode include Salon's "How risky is Oral Sex? Chris travels to Amsterdam to chat with couples and sex workers spending Valentine's Day in De Wallen, the world's most famous red light district. Chris is joined in this episode by listener Taylor Hernowitz, who helped Chris interview women working in window brothels and couples exploring voyeurism at the Sex Palace Peep Show.

This episode also features representatives from a number of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people working in the sex industry, including PROUD the official union of sex workers in the Netherlands, the Red Umbrella Fund , which supplies grants to sex worker-led organizations around the globe and is headquartered in Amsterdam, and the Prostitution Information Center located in the heart of De Wallen.

Don't forget to check out the CNN article mentioned on the show: You can find the episode of Reply All Chris referenced here. Don't let the Chinese intros for these episodes fool you; the interviews are in English.

The original upload of this episode had a technical glitch that created audio gaps when played on certain speakers. That has been fixed. If you have any issues, please delete the file and download it again. If troubles persist, download or stream this episode here at sexwithstrangersshow. We apologize for the inconvenience. Michael Stabile from Kink. Jerry Barnett, the free speech activist and author of Porn Panic: Sex and Censorship in the UK , helps us understand what's happening across the pond.

And it's not encouraging! British porn sensation Harriet Sugarcookie and her business partner Tommie round out this episode by sharing their thoughts on censorship, their unique approach to making pornography, and the healing power of harrietsugarcookie. Chris chats with people in the feederism sometimes also called feedism fetish community. All 4 featured guests get off on gaining weight as well as encouraging others to pack on pounds.

Two of these guests also work as professional fetish models. Mainstream discussions of the sex industry have mostly revolved around human trafficking. In this episode we explore why that narrative is misleading and harmful.

Go here to help fund legal efforts to fully decriminalize sex work in the United States and here to listen to Keyana's full testimonial. Maxine not Terra interviewed Keyana; Sextraffickingalaska. We regret these errors. Quinn and Chris spent hours exploring kink.

Ames Bex makes his second appearance on the show. This time he talks about directing porn and his ongoing transition into manhood, both legally and physically. Ames also has a podcast of his own called Mister Bex Talks Sex.

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