Showing 1-10 of 16 entries tagged


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blue-arsed fly

The first evidence for the metaphorical ‘blue-arsed fly’ in the OED’s entry comes from a 1970 quote attributed to the Duke of Edinburgh. The r-less ‘blue-assed fly’, however, is attested from at least 1932. Why such a discrepancy? […]


The word ‘bimble’, meaning ‘to move at a leisurely pace’, is sometimes said to have originated amongst British soldiers serving in the Falklands […]


This colloquialism for ‘extremely easy’ was added to the dictionary in 2002. OED editors posted an appeal for earlier evidence in our print newsletter back then, and we haven’t given up. We’re…


​Now familiar from police procedurals and television crime dramas, the term ‘SOCO’ (scenes of the crime officer) originated in the jargon of Scotland Yard. The first example in ​OED’s ​entry is from […]

blues and twos

‘Blues and twos’ is a British slang term referring to the blue flashing lights and two-tone siren of a police car or other emergency vehicle which is […]


Since the mid-1980s, ‘numpty’ has been used as a mild term of abuse in Britain. The earliest evidence […]

gap year

In Britain, a ‘gap year’ is a period of time taken by a student between leaving school and starting at university, which is typically spent working or travelling [..]


In British use, luvvie is a humorously depreciative term for an actor, especially one regarded as effusive or affected. The reference is to a stereotype of  thespians habitually addressing people…

something for the weekend

Traditionally, a British man on a visit to his barber might be asked if he wants ‘something for the weekend’; in other words, if he would like to buy a condom in addition to his haircut.

jolly hockey sticks

‘Jolly hockey sticks!’ is a phrase used in humorous representations or imitations of a manner of speech associated with English public schools, expressing (or mocking) boisterous […]

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