Tag Archives: books-magazines-newspapers
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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fly-by-night

fly-by-night

  Linda maestra! (Pretty teacher!, published in 1799), by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)     The noun fly-by-night, or fly-by-nighter, denotes an unreliable or untrustworthy person. As an adjective, fly-by-night means unreliable or untrustworthy, especially in business or financial matters. However, the term seems to go back to the idea of witches flying on their broomsticks by night. At least, […]

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dogsbody

dogsbody

            A dogsbody is a person who carries out menial tasks for others.   Originally, dog’s body was contemptuous naval slang for a pease-pudding boiled in a cloth.   The author of Life in an Indiaman, in Chambers’s Papers for the People (1851), explained: Peas-pudding (alias dog’s body) is often […]

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gazette

gazette

      Venetian gazeta       In A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (1611), Randle Cotgrave gave the following definition of the French word gazette: A certaine Venetian coyne scarce worth our farthing; also, a Bill of Newes; or, a short Relation of the generall occurrences of the Time, forged most commonly at Venice, and thence […]

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budget

budget

  bulga – from Dictionnaire illustré latin-français (1934), by Félix Gaffiot       MEANING   The following definition of budget is from the New English Dictionary (i.e. Oxford English Dictionary – 1888 edition): A statement of the probable revenue and expenditure for the ensuing year, with financial proposals founded thereon, annually submitted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on behalf of the Ministry, […]

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tennis

tennis

  Jeu de paume – France – 17th century     Paulme: feminine. The paulme of the hand; also, a ball; (and hence) also, Tennis (play;) also, the Palme tree. from A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (1611), by Randle Cotgrave     Fourthly, the inside of the Uvea is black’d like the walls […]

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to have an axe to grind

to have an axe to grind

  photograph: An Ax to Grind: A Practical Ax Manual – Federal Highway Administration     Of American origin, the expression to have an axe to grind (American spelling ax) means to have a private reason for doing, or being involved in, something. It has often been attributed to Benjamin Franklin¹. For example, the New English Dictionary (NED – 1888), as the Oxford English […]

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