Tag Archives: dogs
Derby

Derby

  recruitment poster for the Derby scheme       The Derby is an annual flat race for three-year-old horses, founded in 1780 by the twelfth Earl of Derby (1752-1834), and run on Epsom Downs, in Surrey, England. The result of the first Derby, which took place on Thursday 4th May, was published in the London […]

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dog in the manger

dog in the manger

  The Dog in the Manger, from The Fables of Æsop selected, told anew and their history traced (1894), by Joseph Jacobs – illustrated by Richard Heighway       MEANING   A person who prevents others from having or using things even though he or she does not need them     ORIGIN   […]

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give a dog a bad name

give a dog a bad name

  John Ray (1627-1705) by unknown artist – after 1680 photograph: National Portrait Gallery     A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Old Testament, Proverbs, 22:1 (King James Version – 1611)     The catchphrase give a dog a bad name means […]

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February

February

      February is from classical Latin Februārius, a noun use of the adjective in mēnsis Februārius (mēnsis = month). This adjective is from the plural noun februa (singular februum), meaning means of purification, expiatory offerings. The Roman festival of purification and expiation was held on the 15th of this month. The origin of […]

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no room to swing a cat

no room to swing a cat

  The theatre of punishment on board a Royal Navy warship around 1800 A man has been lashed to a grating (a hatch cover open for ventilation) to be flogged with the infamous cat-o’-nine- tails. The marines are drawn up on the quarterdeck with loaded muskets to ensure the punishment is carried out. Another man […]

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Yorkshire tyke

Yorkshire tyke

  The Trial of the Notorious Highwayman Richard Turpin Thomas Kyll’s pamphlet, published 10 days after Turpin’s execution on 7th April 1739, provides an eye-witness account of the trial.       Yorkshire tyke, or simply tyke, is used as a nickname for a person from Yorkshire.   The noun tyke is from Old Norse tík, […]

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tit for tat

tit for tat

  original illustration for The Spider and the Flie (1556), by John Heywood     The phrase tit for tat means an equivalent given in return or retaliation. The expression seems to be a variation of the obsolete and more comprehensible tip for tap, in which both tip and tap meant a light but distinct blow, stroke, hit. The phrase therefore meant blow for blow. The words tip and tap first […]

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‘dog’

‘dog’

      The word dog is from Old English docga, of unknown origin. The generic name, in Old English and in the Germanic languages, was hund (Modern English hound), from an Indo-European root shared by Greek kuōn, kun-, and Latin canis, dog.     GENERIC TERMS FOR DOG   – Germanic languages: German Hund, Dutch hond, Danish and Swedish hund. […]

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a hair of the dog

a hair of the dog

  A hair of the dog is an alcoholic drink taken to cure a hangover. It is from a hair of the dog that bit you, formerly recommended as an efficacious remedy for the bite of a mad dog. The first recorded use of this phrase in English dates back to 1546. In his Proverbs, Epigrams and […]

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On proverbs

  In Notes & Queries (2d series, vol. 12, July-December 1861), A. De Morgan wrote, under the title Raining cats and dogs [also read here]: The derivation kata doksa will not do for the whole phrase, which, when I was a boy, was “cats and dogs, and pitchforks with their points downwards”. The phrase seems to be […]

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