By Eric Partridge
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Additional resources for A Dictionary of Cliches
A dictionary of clichés A-Z 29 *battle royal, a . A general engagement, a free-for-all fight, a general squabble: C. 19–20. From cockfighting: a battle royal was one in which more than two birds were engaged. be-all and (the) end-all, the . The thing that matters far more than anything else: an aim or purpose to which all else is subordinate: C. 19–20. Very few apprehend it as coming, in the longer form, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1, vii). be in good hands, to . To be well cared for, trustworthily guarded or treated: from ca.
20. atmosphere of doubt, an . A general feeling of doubt; a pervasive feeling of doubt: C. 20. Attic salt . Refined yet trenchant wit; subtle, delicate wit: late C. 18–20; slightly obsolescent. A translation of sal Atticum. A dictionary of clichés A-Z 25 au courant , as in ‘She likes to be au courant with’—acquainted with—‘the latest gossip’: from ca. 1860. (Many French phrases became popular in England ca. ) auspicious occasion ; esp. on this… At this happy time; on this important social occasion: public speakers’: late C.
A dictionary of clichés A-Z 45 blunt instrument, a . A detective-story writers’ cliché, dating from ca. 1920. A very vague phrase, covering anything from a club to a spanner. ‘blushing honours thick upon him’ ; usually, he bears his…; occasionally, with his… A cliché of C. 19–20. From Shakespeare, King Henry VIII, III, ii. bolt from the blue, a . A figurative thunderbolt from a blue sky; a blow, a misfortune that is unexpected, unannounced: mid C. 19–20. bonds . See holy matrimony. bone of contention, a .
A Dictionary of Cliches by Eric Partridge