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Joking Apart

A: Alan Ayckbourn Pf: 1978, Scarborough Pb: 1979 G: Com. in ...

Phrasal Verb

Phrasal Verb   Quick reference

The Oxford Companion to the English Language (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Language reference, History of English, Linguistics
Length:
2,955 words

...literally in The milkman brought in the milk , figuratively in The prime minister brought in a new policy . Only in the second sense can bring in be matched with introduce (itself originally metaphorical in Latin): not * The milkman introduced the milk , unless a joke is intended. Jokes and cartoons are often based on a deliberate confusion of phrasal-verb meanings: as when someone says, ‘ Put the kettle on ’ (taken to mean heat some water in a kettle for tea), then notes with appreciation, ‘Mmm, it suits you’ (crossing over to putting on clothes and...

Scots

Scots   Quick reference

The Oxford Companion to the English Language (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Language reference, History of English, Linguistics
Length:
4,432 words

...or restore the full Scots of a dwindling minority of rural speakers to its former central position. Even after its 20c renaissance, Scots remains restricted to a narrow sphere of literary uses and it makes only a marginal appearance in the media, in comic strips, cartoons, jokes and columns in the popular and local press. None the less, although English is dominant, it remains permeated with features from Scots. Pronunciation (1) Like other Northern dialects, Scots displays the results of many early divergences from the Midland and Southern dialects of...

Stand

Stand   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...the feet apart and the hands joined behind the back (unless arms are being carried). Stand easy! In military drill, a position in which relaxation is permitted, short of moving away. In the Royal Navy a short break during working hours is called a ‘stand easy’. Standing committee A committee formed in the house of commons so as to represent the different parties according to their relative strength in the House. They are appointed for the session to deal with bills in the committee stage. Standing Fishes Bible, The See under bible . Standing joke, A A...

Christmas

Christmas   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...part of Christmas celebrations in the UK and Commonwealth countries, the cracker is a cardboard tube wrapped in decorated paper which is held at either end by two people and pulled apart. The cracker splits with a bang produced by friction on a chemically impregnated strip of card, and releases a small toy or other novelty, a paper hat, and a motto or (typically very bad) joke. In one tradition, whoever is left with the larger portion of the cracker gets to keep the contents, while in another, each person keeps the contents of their own cracker. The cracker...

One

One   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...as in ‘a wife in a thousand’, meaning a perfect wife or one who exactly suits the speaker’s ideas of what a wife should be. One in the eye or on the nose A blow on the named part of the body. ‘One in the eye’ is also used figuratively for a telling blow. One-liner A short joke or witty remark. [US president] Reagan’s substitute for strong emotions seems to be humor, both memorized and spontaneous. He is a walking repertory theater of show-biz anecdotes, one-liners, elaborate routines. One-man band Properly, a street entertainer who plays several...

Out

Out   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...to cover the ‘outing’ of a public figure in relation to other aspects of his or her life unrelated to sexual orientation, e.g. as the holder of an unpopular or widely ridiculed opinion. Soft Ken Clarke has been ‘outed’ as a Lib Dem by Nick Clegg at the party rally. The Deputy PM joked: ‘We have five ministers in the Cabinet. Well, six if you include Ken Clarke.’ Mr Clegg hailed the Justice Secretary’s liberal plans for criminals, admitting the support was ‘probably the kiss of death’ for the Tory’s career. Out in the cold Ignored or neglected. Out like a light...

As

As   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...if he was not there they could not be so wicked as they be.’ As the actress said to the bishop or As the bishop said to the actress A response to an unintentional double entendre . The phrase dates from the music-hall era, when stand-up comedy abounded in ‘bishop and actress’ jokes. The association of the two types is either so unlikely or so potentially scandalous that the interpretation of a remark will be either innocuous or indecent. The rejoinder is often prompted by an entirely innocent reference, as: ‘I’ve never seen one like that before’ (‘As the...

Hampstead

Hampstead   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011

...is the hidden life of London. Wild. al alvarez : ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ ( 1968 ) Hampstead Heath Lido See Parliament Hill Lido . Hampstead Heath sailor A jocular term for a landlubber or a very poor sailor – i.e. someone who is sick before the ship leaves port. The ‘joke’ is that, apart from a few bathing pools, the heath is dry land. Hampstead Ponds See Highgate Ponds . Hampstead Set A term originally applied in the 1950s to a group of supporters of Hugh Gaitskell ( 1906–63 ), leader of the Labour Party ( 1955–63 ). The group, opposed by Aneurin...

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