A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day

By Paul Beale; Eric Partridge | Go to book overview

F

f.h.o. and f.t.i.

See family: hands off!


f.u.b.a.r.

See fubar.


face(s).

See: egg; give your f.; go and fry; I never remember; I'll push; I'm not just; is my f.; it's staring; let's face; many faces; pay over; same old f.; wipe the egg; wipe the shit; yes, my arse; you are a thief; and:


face that only a mother could love, and she died laughing-a.

Perhaps the ultimate in wry, pitying, semi-joc., derision of ugliness. Cf:


face would stop a clock-her, or she's got a face that would stop a clock,

may be applied unkindly and derisively to the battle-axe or rear-end-of-a-bus sort of face: since c. 1890; 'still-heard' in 1974, Mr A.B. Petch assures me and as I have, myself, noticed. P.B.: earlier than the back of a bus came like the back end of a tram.


fact(s).

See: ain't it a f.; all we want is the f.; I have made.


fade away.

See: old soldiers.


fag.

See: how's the fag.


fag-paper.

See: stand on a f.


fail.

See: if all else; may your prick; words.


faint.

See: she will go.


fair.

See: it's like a nigger; it's not right; like a fart; plays as f.; you have made; and:


fair cop!

See: it's a fair cop.


fair do's,

mostly written fair doo's. At first, it was written fair dues, as in C.T. Clarkson and J. Hall Richardson, Police, 1889, 'Now then, fair dues; let everybody be searched. I have no money about me'-so it must have gone back to 1880 or earlier. After c. 1930, the orig. two-worder became a four-worder: fair doo's all round.


fair enough!

is elliptical for 'Well, that's fair enough'-'that sounds plausible', or 'I'll accept that statement or offer', but also used as a question (common among instructors), 'Satisfied?' or 'Convinced?' or 'Is that agreeable to you?' It dates from the 1920s, and until c. 1946 it remained a predominantly Services', esp. RAF, c.p., which, c. 1940, spread to Aus. and NZ. Its continuing Aus. currency is attested by Jim Ramsay, Cop It Sweet!, 1977.

P.B.: so well known was the phrase in the immediate post-WW2 period that there was even an appalling pun: 'I am a fairy. My name is Nuff. I'm the….'


fair, fat and forty

goes back much earlier that I should have thought: recorded in anon., The New Swell's Night Guide, 1846, it may safely be orig. in the raffish 1820s (Egan, Moncrieff, et al.). A vulgar parody, current-although not very widely so-during the 1940s but mercifully killed by WW2, was fair, fat and forty, which, perhaps earthily true, fell rather short of being très galant. Playfair tells me, 1977, that it has generated a mnemonic among medical students, fair, fat, forty, fecund and flatulent, descriptive of the sort of woman likely to suffer from cholecystitis. The shorter version perhaps distorts John O'Keefe's 'fat, fair and forty' in the play Irish Minnie. O'Keefe (1747-1833) wrote some fifty comedies, some of them musical.

The ribald version exemplifies a variation of the linguistic process I call 'spontaneous combustion'; it sprang from and flourished in the rich soil of those British Isles dialects which pronounce forty as forty.


fair go!

'Be fair!' or 'Be reasonable!' An orig. and predominantly Aus. var. of fair enough! (APOD, 1976.) It comes from the gambling game of two-up, 'the call…indicating that all the rules have been satisfied…at the same time enjoining that there be no hindrance'. Hence, 'the elementary fair treatment to which anyone must be entitled' (Wilkes, Dict. Aus. Coll., 1978). Not a c.p.; merely an ordinary Aus. coll. The same stricture applies to the synon. fair crack of the whip. Yet it can perhaps be adjudged to be a c.p. when used as an exclam., whether protest or plea or humorous disclaimer. Wilkes's earliest quot'n is for 1938, yet it had been used at least as early as 1908 within my own recollection.


fair to middling.

A joc. reply to 'How are you?' or 'How's it, or things, going?' the jocularity taking the form of a pun, 'fair' and 'middling' being synon. Its c.p. usage clearly derives from the normal coll. usage, which goes back to early C20: orig. in UK, it prob. went c. 1920 to US, and thence c. 1945 to Aus. (Shapiro; Fain, 1977.) It has, in UK later C20, the occ. var. fair to muddling (P.B., 1976), and B.G.T. reminded me, 1978, that in England mustn't grumble has, since the late 1920s, often been added as an amelioration.


faith.

See: keep the f.


fake.

See: no, but you hum.


fall.

See: did she; he's fallen; I didn't come up; like the man who fell.


fall into a cart and fall into the shit.

See: could fall….


fall off and cool your saddle.

See: drop your traces….


fall off the roof

is a c.p. only in I've or she's (just) fallen off the roof, a US feminine expression meaning 'I've (just) started my period' and part-euph. said to a friend or a husband: late, perhaps mid-, C19-20, but by c. 1960 no longer used. (A.B., 1978.)


fall out and dust your medals!

'A derisive dismissive sometimes used to end an argument among Army contemporaries, who may not in fact have any medals to dust' (P.B., 1974): post WW2, Cf:


fall out, the officers!

'Still used derisively by those who, during WW2, had the brains to qualify for promotion to officer' (an anon, correspondent, 1978). From the parade-ground command.


fall through the trap door!

is an occ. var., likewise US and dating not earlier than 1904, not later than 1916, of break a leg! 'I have heard [it]. Sothern once tried for the first 15 minutes of a play to whisper to Julia Marlowe that the trap on that stage was faulty; she thought he was trying to

-85-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the First Edition ix
  • Introduction to the First Edition x
  • Modifications of the Original Introduction xii
  • Acknowledgments to the First Edition xiv
  • Preface to the Second Edition xvi
  • Acknowledgments to the Second Edition xix
  • Abbreviations xxi
  • A 1
  • B 25
  • C 42
  • D 60
  • E 79
  • F 85
  • G 96
  • H 114
  • I 136
  • J 178
  • K 181
  • L 186
  • M 200
  • N 212
  • O 228
  • P 240
  • Q 251
  • R 253
  • S 261
  • T 289
  • U 323
  • V 326
  • W 328
  • X 360
  • Y 361
  • Z 384
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 389

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.