Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.




Annie Oakley A free ticket to a performance; a meal ticket. Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was the famous trick-shot artist who traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Her reputed ability to throw a playing card into the air and shoot it full of holes before it fell to the ground supposedly explains how an Annie Oakley came to mean a free pass or meal ticket. A playing card riddled with bullet holes resembles a perforated ticket or punched meal ticket. The meal ticket use of the word is obsolete, and the free pass meaning is now rarely heard, although both were popular earlier in the 20th century.

A newspaper circulation man gave him two “Annie Oakleys” to a boxing match. (Life, June 17, 1946)

Baron Münchhausen See MENDACITY.

blimp See POMPOSITY.


craps A game of chance using dice. This American term, which dates from 1843, is thought by some to be a French variant of the 18th-century English slang term crabs ‘the lowest throw at hazard [a dice game], two aces.’ Other less scholarly sources maintain that craps is short for Johnny Crapaud, the nickname given to the Creole Bernard Marigny, who is said to have first introduced dice-playing to the largely French city of New Orleans about 1800.

Dick Turpin See CRIMINALITY.

dunce See IGNORANCE.

Goody Two Shoes See PRUDISHNESS.

Grub Street See LETTERS.

Jack Ketch An appellation for a hangman or executioner. Jack Ketch is said to be the name of the notorious English hangman in the 17th century who barbarously executed William Lord Russell, Duke of Monmouth, and other political offenders. Another conjecture is that this name derived from “Richard Jaquette,” Lord of the Manor of Tyburn, where executions were performed until 1783. Another suggestion is that Jack is a common name and Ketch plays on the verb “catch.”

He is then a kind of jack-catch, an executioner-general. (John Wesley, Works, 1755)

Jim Crow See RACISM.

John Hancock A person’s signature or autograph, especially on legal documents; also John Henry. The allusion is to John Hancock’s bold, legible signature, the first on the Declaration of Independence. The variation John Henry was originally a cowboy term. Both expressions are American in origin as well as in use. Although John Hancock as a synonym for signature dates only from the early part of this century, a reference to the bold style of his hand was made as early as 1846.

After he got through filling in the blank spaces with his John Hancock, he didn’t have a window to hoist or a fence to lean on. (Ade, People you Know, 1903)

little Lord Fauntleroy See INEXPERIENCE.

malapropism See LANGUAGE.

maverick See INDEPENDENCE.

Meddlesome Matty See MEDDLESOMENESS.

Molotov cocktail A weapon consisting of a bottle containing a combustible liquid and a wick that is lit before the device is thrown. These makeshift fire bombs, named for V. M. Molotov, the wartime foreign minister of Russia, were used by Russian civilians against the invading Nazi stormtroopers in 1941. This phrase has been in common use since World War II.

Stationary tanks can be disabled by dropping grenades or Molotov cocktails through the ventilating openings. (T. Gorman, Modern Weapons of War, 1942)

Peck’s bad boy See MISCHIEF.


Pollyanna See IDEALISM.

pooh bah See POMPOSITY.

Simon Legree See DOMINATION.

soapy Sam See EXHORTATION.

son of Belial See EVIL.

son of thunder See EXHORTATION.


References in periodicals archive ?
In his classic, Realm of the Saint, Vincent Cornell argues that "apart from holy warriors and tribal eponyms, the most important saints of early Moroccan Sufism were legal specialists" (Cornell 1998, 7).
More than just a word origin guide, it expands each entry to include stories and facts behind each name, adding describers and authors of the original descriptions alongside names that appear to be eponyms.
Wartenberg avoided eponyms and supplanted them with physiologic terms (facial nerve tapping test instead of Chvostek's sign, thumb bending test instead of Froment's sign).
Since de-identification is the first step towards identification and extraction of other relevant clinical information, it is extremely important to overcome the problem of significantly large number of eponyms and other non-PHI erroneously categorized as PHI.
there is also a Dutch translation [5] of the e-lipogram La Disparation by Georges Perec [6]), eponyms, word ladders, pangrams, word pyramids, spoonerisms, homonyms, collective nouns with a twist ("a handful of fingers", "a church of hypocrites", but the other hundred or so are not translatable that easily), chronograms, epigrams, rebuses ("M A Z T", in Dutch pronounced as "Em-a-zet-thee", meaning "Emma makes tea"), oxymorons, acronyms, acrostic verses, anagrams and alliterations.
According to Sanagustin, the most relevant Islamic medical theoreticians are replaced by Muslim religious authorities (the Prophet's Companions or eponyms of Muslim schools of law such as al-Shafii) in an attempt to erase any trace of philosophy and to render medicine Islamic.
In addition to Call-Exner bodies, other medical eponyms such as Exner's nerve and Exner's plexus are linked to his name.
Extensive list of over 10,000 medical and surgical eponyms
61-99) of Xerxes' forces includes archaiologiai for many ethnicities--their eponyms, migrations, and colonizations (258).
Also new is an expanded alphabetical index that includes listings by procedure and anatomic site, and lists procedures and services by their commonly known eponyms or other designations.