Tag Archives: USA
campus

campus

  (click on image to enlarge) In June 1520, Henry VIII and King Francis I of France met near Calais at the Field of Cloth of Gold (camp du Drap d’Or in French) in an attempt to strengthen the bond between the two countries. Each king tried to outshine the other, with dazzling tents and […]

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picayune

picayune

  front page of The Daily Picayune, 21st September 1909, New Orleans, after a hurricane – photograph: nola.com       Originally, in southern United States, especially Louisiana, a picayune was a Spanish half-real, and in later use a 5-cent piece or other coin of little value. In his diary, on 4th November 1804, the […]

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Scotch mist

Scotch mist

  Scotch mist over the path in Bealach Dubh beneath Sgòr Iutharn photograph: John Lucas – geograph       Scotch mist is a thick drizzly mist of a kind common in the Scottish Highlands. The term also has the general meaning of a steady drizzle. It was defined as “a sober, soaking Rain” in […]

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to cut to the chase

to cut to the chase

  Keystone Cops photograph: Shades of gray       MEANING   Originally American, the phrase to cut to the chase means to come to the point.     ORIGIN   In cinematography, to cut a film is to make it into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order. To […]

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cold call

cold call

  photograph: Which? – Ten tips to stop cold calls     The noun cold call denotes an unsolicited visit or telephone call made by someone trying to sell goods or services. Here, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (1989), cold means without preparation, preliminary performance, etc. It was originally an American usage; the earliest quote in this dictionary is […]

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whisky

whisky

  A Nip against the Cold – 1869 by the Scottish painter Erskine Nicol (1825-1904)     Whisky, or whiskey, is a spirit distilled originally in Ireland and Scotland, and still chiefly in the British Isles, from malted barley with or without unmalted barley or other cereals, in the USA chiefly from maize or rye. […]

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ladybird

ladybird

  ladybird on strawberry leaf – photograph: nutmeg66       A coccinellid is a beetle of the family Coccinellidae. The genus name Coccinella is from Latin coccineus, scarlet (cochineal, a scarlet dye, has the same origin). This family includes the ladybirds (ladybugs in American English).The scientific name of the common European seven-spot ladybird is […]

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innuendo

innuendo

  detail of the US one-dollar bill The eye and the pyramid shown on the reverse side of the one-dollar bill are in the Great Seal of the United States. The Great Seal was first used on the reverse of the one-dollar Federal Reserve note in 1935. The Department of State is the official keeper […]

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bridegroom

bridegroom

  Imogen discovered in the cave of Belarius by George Dawe (1781-1829)     MEANING   A bridegroom is a man on his wedding day or just before and after the event.     ORIGIN   The Old English noun brýdguma meant bridegroom. It was composed of brýd, bride, and guma, man. (The element guma […]

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spin doctor

spin doctor

  William Safire photograph: Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image     MEANING   A spin doctor (also spinster) is a spokesperson employed to give a favourable interpretation of events to the media, especially on behalf of a political party. And a spinmeister is a spin doctor, especially an accomplished or politically powerful one.   […]

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