Tag Archives: drinks
small beer

small beer

        MEANING   person(s) or matter(s) of little or no importance     ORIGIN   Since the early 14th century, the adjective small has been used to mean of low alcoholic strength. For example, The Forme of Cury¹, a roll of English cookery, compiled around 1390 by the master cooks of Richard […]

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babblative

    MEANING   having a tendency to babble; loquacious     ORIGIN   This adjective is composed of the verb babble and the suffix -ative. The English suffix -ative is from the French -atif (masculine), -ative (feminine), from the Latin -ativus, consisting of the adjectival suffix -ivus appended to past participial stems in -at- […]

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one’s best bib and tucker

    MEANING   one’s smartest clothes     ORIGIN   This phrase was originally used only of women’s clothes. A bib was a piece of cloth, usually the upper part of an apron, worn between throat and waist. A tucker was a piece of lace or linen worn in or around the top of […]

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maudlin

maudlin

   Mary Magdalene kneeling within a Stabat Mater scene Kreuzigung (Crucifixion – 1868), by Gabriel Wüger (1829-92)       MEANING   foolishly tearful or sentimental     ORIGIN   In the Christian Church, the Magdalene designates Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus, who cured her of evil spirits. She witnessed the Crucifixion and Jesus […]

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one over the eight

    I suppose it wasn’t often that the boys of Market Snodsbury Grammar School came across a man public-spirited enough to call their head master a silly ass, and they showed their appreciation in no uncertain manner. Gussie may have been one over the eight, but as far as the majority of those present […]

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to take the mickey

    MEANING   British (informal): to take the mickey (also micky, mick, mike) out of someone: to tease or ridicule someone     PROBABLE ORIGIN   Rhyming slang is a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases, typically with the rhyming element omitted. For example apples, short for apples and pears, […]

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cock-a-hoop

cock-a-hoop

  cock-throwing in The Four Stages of Cruelty: First Stage of Cruelty (1751) by William Hogarth (1697-1764) - image: Tate Galleries       MEANING   extremely and obviously pleased, especially about an achievement     ORIGIN: UNKNOWN   This adjective is from the 16th-century phrase to set cock a hoop, to set (the) cock on (the) hoop, […]

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Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

  Advertisement in the magazine Life – 17th March 1961 The Bloody María (anything vodka can do, Ronrico Rum can do better) The difference between a Bloody Mary and a Bloody María is the difference between Mary and María. María is Mary set to music. A Bloody María is easy to make. Simply use Ronrico […]

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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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muggins

muggins

  a Toby jug by Ralph Wood the Younger (1748-95) photograph: Victoria and Albert Museum     MEANING   A muggins is a foolish and gullible person. The word is often used humorously to refer to oneself.     ORIGIN   In colloquial usage since the mid-19th century, this word is perhaps a use of […]

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