‘Temptation’ in the Lord’s Prayer

‘Temptation’ in the Lord’s Prayer

  Notre Dame du Port – Clermont Ferrand (France)         To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man ...

The resistible rise of Marine Le Pen

The resistible rise of Marine Le Pen

     The new, reassuring face of old extremism       Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Gospel ...

La langue française est-elle sexiste ?

La langue française est-elle sexiste ?

    You can read the article in English here Vous pouvez lire l’article en anglais ici       Considérons les termes français suivants, avec leurs équivalents anglais :   ...

Highlights

point-blank – de but en blanc

point-blank – de but en blanc

  Gunner’s quadrant Quadrant consisting of two arms of unequal length joined ...
to buttonhole

to buttonhole

            The verb buttonhole not only means ...
a fine kettle of fish

a fine kettle of fish

            The word kettle is from Old ...

Latest News

to play fast and loose

to play fast and loose

  “Prick the garter” or “pitch the nob”. A gambling and cheating game common at fairs, and generally practised by thimble-riggers. It consists of a “garter” or a piece of list doubled, and then folded up tight. The bet is made upon your asserting that you can, with a pin, “prick” the point at which […]

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the last straw

the last straw

  Thomas Hobbes       The last (or final) straw is a further difficulty or annoyance, typically minor in itself but coming on top of a series of difficulties, that makes a situation unbearable. This is from the phrase the last straw that breaks the (laden) camel’s back, a reference to the carrying of […]

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deadline

deadline

  The prison-pen at Millen This pen was built of large logs driven in the ground, with sentry posts on the top, at short intervals. [...] Just inside of the palisades was a light rail fence, which marked the “dead-line”, or a boundary beyond which no prisoner was allowed to pass, under penalty of death […]

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to put on one’s thinking cap

to put on one’s thinking cap

  the Considering Cap original illustration for The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes     The phrase to put on one’s thinking cap (meaning to ponder a matter or problem) seems to have originated in the USA. Its earliest attestation is in the Boston Masonic Mirror dated 13th March 1830: Fools sometimes ask questions which cause […]

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one’s best bib and tucker

one’s best bib and tucker

  biberon Robert – France – circa 1880       The phrase one’s best bib and tucker, meaning one’s smartest clothes, was originally used only of women’s clothes.   A bib was a piece of cloth, usually the upper part of an apron, worn between throat and waist. A tucker was a piece of […]

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Hartino to feggaraki

Hartino to feggaraki

          Χάρτινο το φεγγαράκι  Hartino to feggaraki Paper moon   Music: Manos Hadjidakis – Lyrics: Nikos Gatsos Singer : Nana Mouskouri   Click on the arrow for music   La lune est en papier Et le bord de l’eau imaginaire Mais si tu croyais un peu en moi Tout deviendrait réalité   […]

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every cloud has a silver lining

every cloud has a silver lining

  Anna Maria Hall & Samuel Carter Hall in the late 1860s         The proverb every cloud has a silver lining means that every difficult or sad situation has a comforting or more hopeful aspect, even though this may not be immediately apparent.     In 1840, the Irish novelist known as […]

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to rule with a rod of iron

to rule with a rod of iron

  William Tyndale         A rod is a wand or staff as a symbol of office, authority, or power. This is exemplified by the name Black Rod, which designates, in the United Kingdom, the chief usher of the Lord Chamberlain’s department of the royal household, who is also usher to the House […]

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spare the rod and spoil the child

spare the rod and spoil the child

   Frontispiece and title page of a 1744 edition of Samuel Butler’s Hudibras       The phrase spare the rod and spoil the child (in which and implies a consequence) means that if children are not punished when they do wrong their personal development will suffer.   The precise words are first found in the […]

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far from the madding crowd

far from the madding crowd

  First page of Dodsley’s 1775 edition of Thomas Gray’s Elegy illustration by Richard Bentley         The phrase far from the madding crowd means private or secluded, in allusion to Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (published in 1751), by the English poet Thomas Gray (1716-71). When he composed this poem, Thomas […]

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