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legless (‘drunk’) earlier than 1975

The adjective ‘legless’ is used a slang term to describe someone who is extremely drunk, particularly someone who can no longer stand or walk. The earliest example we can find of [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 18 December 2014 18.13
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Comments: 4

the Trade earlier than 1916

In nautical slang, the Submarine Service used to be referred to as ‘the Trade’. The Royal Navy launched its first submarine in 1901, but undersea warfare was not well regarded in all [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 5 November 2014 16.08
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Comments: 6

well in earlier than 1997

People have been described as being ‘well in’ (on good or close terms) with another person or group since 1781. But a more recent development, at least in British and Irish colloquial use, is being tracked by the OED, specifically [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 2 October 2014 17.33
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Comments: 6

FLOTUS earlier than 1983

FLOTUS (an acronym for ‘First Lady of the United States’), is a slang or jargon term for the wife of an American president, on the model of POTUS (President of the United States) and SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States). The latter terms [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 23 July 2014 15.10
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Comments: 2

Mathematick Rules unknown source

OED editors are revising the word dialler n. and have researched a previously unrecorded sense, ‘a maker of, or expert in, sundials’, for potential inclusion. In attempting to find the earliest evidence for this sense, we encountered a mystery. Alice Morse Earle’s 1902 book Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday includes, as an epigraph to Chapter [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 3 April 2014 20.16
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Comments: 7

skive earlier than 1919

Bryn provided evidence of an earlier sense, which has now been dated to 1885.

One military slang word from the First World War which has become a core part of modern colloquial English in the UK is skive, meaning ‘to avoid work’. Our first quotation at present is from a 1919 magazine article, which lists ‘some of the most universal and expressive Army terms’: ‘To skive’, to dodge a [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 21 February 2014 15.23
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Comments: 5

Sam Browne (‘an officer’) earlier than 1919

Sam Browne belts, designed by Samuel James Browne and originally worn by commissioned army officers, were first used in the 19th century. From the term Sam Browne belt arose the U.S. military slang term [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 31 January 2014 15.03
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Comments: 4

Zeppelins in a cloud earlier than 1925

Bryn provided evidence from 1909.

Zeppelins, which were widely used for reconnaissance and bombing in the First World War, must have captured the imagination of soldiers, and one of the more colourful phrases originating in the war is ‘Zeppelins (or Zepps) in a cloud’ [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 31 January 2014 13.00
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Comments: 9

Eyetie earlier than Aug. 1919

One notable feature of the vocabulary of the First World War is the number of (often offensive) terms coined for soldiers of different nationalities. One of these is [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 30 January 2014 16.35
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tank earlier than 1930

Bryn provided evidence from 1918.

Military tanks were a major invention of the First World War: developed during 1915 and first put into commission in 1916, they immediately captured the interest of the public, and tank entered into numerous compounds and phrases. However, we have not found [...]

Posted by OED_Editor on 30 January 2014 10.34
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Comments: 3