Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, 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 The meal ticket use of the word is obsolete, and the free pass meaning is now rarely heard, although both were popular earlier in the 20th century.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.


Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
SUMMARY: The correct use of morphological terms is standardized by the Terminologies, one of them is the Histological Terminology (HT) For these Terminologies, the exclusion of eponyms is recommended.
He provides a range which specifically includes all ostronyms, astronyms, hydronyms, oronyms, eponyms, toponyms and anthroponyms of the world since all agglutinate from Luo morphemes and phrases.
These findings, depicted as medical eponyms, may impart important clues for diagnosticians to identify the underlying condition and explain the pathophysiological mechanism of the disease process.
Famous poems often serve as eponyms for collections, but in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ted Russell's "The Smokeroom on the Kyle" is loved well enough and widely enough to merit a volume of its own.
Prior to the discovery of the association with RCC, the co-occurrence of uterine and cutaneous leiomyomas were known under several different eponyms like Reed syndrome, multiple cutaneous leiomyomas (MCL), and multiple cutaneous and uterine leiomyomatosis syndrome (MCUL-1), leading to potential confusion regarding the associated cancer risk.2
The use of medical eponyms, which are medical terms named after people (e.g., Down's syndrome), has frequently been a source of confusion for learners.
multiple epiphyseal dysplasia [MED], spondylometaphyseal dysplasia), eponyms (e.g.
With regard to the eponyms list, Avogadro's number is more well-known than his hypothesis, and correct or standard renderings are Lot's wife, Planck's constant, Wheatstone bridge, and Zorro's mask.
Indices are by geographical names, names of deities, personal names, incomplete personal names, names of eponyms, and incomplete names of eponyms.
I say ex post facto because jurists who came after the school eponyms, such as Abu Yusuf, al-Shaybani, al-Buwayti, and al-Muzani, neither assumed that taqlid dominated by their time nor made a distinction between absolute ijtihad and intra-school ijtihad to set their generations apart from that of the eponyms.
pop hannah kayak huzzuh rotator pottop radar Madam I'm Adam a man, a plan, a canal, panama Eponyms
Apparently some soldiers do live in "Camps" as well as "Forts." Now, onto this month's questions on military eponyms (words or terms named for people):