Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
back number An old-fashioned person or outdated object; one whose mode of thought, dress, or behavior is generally regarded as passé. Issues of magazines are designated by number, and the literal term refers to those no longer current. The figurative meaning has been current, however, for almost a century.
There is always some old back number of a girl who has no fellow. (George W. Peck, Peck’s Sunshine, 1882)
nine days’ wonder A person, object, or event that arouses considerable, but short-lived, interest or excitement; a flash in the pan. This expression probably derives from the activities surrounding the observation of major religious feasts during the Middle Ages. Usually nine days in length (hence the term novena ‘a nine-day religious devotion’), these celebrations were accompanied by parades, festivities, and general merriment, after which the people returned to their normal lifestyles. One source suggests that the term may be derived from an ancient proverb: “A wonder lasts nine days, and then the puppy’s eyes are open.” This refers to the fact that dogs are born blind and do not realize their power of sight until they are about nine days old. It implies that the public is temporarily blinded by the dazzling sensationalism of a person or event, but once its eyes are opened, the wonderment soon fades. In Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part III, the King responds to Gloucester’s playful charge that his marriage would be a “ten days’ wonder” with
That’s a day longer than a wonder lasts. (III, ii)
old hat Old-fashioned; out of style; passé. This expression derives from dated headgear. The term is commonplace throughout the United States and Great Britain.
For that matter, tubular stuff [furniture] is now old hat. (New Yorker, October, 1949)