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

L

L.

See: going through.


la! to!

See: oh! la! la!


lackey.

See: who was your l.


lad(s).

See: away, the lads; come on, my; harm; now then, me.


ladder.

See: I'm in the life-boat.


ladies, lady.

See: all fine l.; don't tear it; gangway; gentlemen present; Henry's; horses sweat; like the ladies; little old l.; long nose; make way; officers and their; preparing; that's no l.; waltz; who's your l.


Lady Agatha.

See: pleasure.


lady with whom he shares his joys but not his sorrows-a.

'An Edwardian mot, prim and juste, to mean a man's mistress as contrasted with his wife' (L.A., 1976).


Lafarge.

See: no Tich; pas de L.


laid.

See: often laid.


laid 'em in the aisles.

See: I had 'em rolling…


laid, re-laid and parlayed.

'Sexually very active and satiated': entirely US: since the 1930s. R.C., 1977, adds: 'There is a pun involved, since a parlay is a series of bets laid on several horse-races, with the winnings (if any) cumulated. Hence a certain implication [triggered by laid] of successive intercourse with several women (more often, several times with one woman). Perhaps even a second pun, on “relay race”, with the baton (!) passed from one runner to another. Cf stewed, screwed…'


lake.

See: go jump.


lamb.

See: mutton.


Lammie Todd!

I would-if I got half a chance!: tailors': c. 1860-1940. Prob. from the name of a well-known tailor.


lamp.

See: dim as a Toc-H; oil; swing that.


land.

See: how lies; six foot.


land-office business.

See: they're doing land.


landing.

See: if you can walk.


landlady.

See: it must be the l.; you have a heart.


lane.

See: it's a long l.


language.

See: we speak.


larceny.

See: full of l.


lareovers for meddlers

was, late C18-early C19, 'an answer frequently given to children or young people, as a rebuke for their impertinent curiosity' (Grose); the earliest recording comes in BE underworld glossary, c. 1668; then dialectal usu. as layers for meddlers, or even, occ., lay horses for meddlers, a piece of folklore that seems to belong esp. to Westmorland, as Mr Allan R. Whittaker informs me. Nevertheless lareovers…has survived in the form lay-overs for meddlers. Lareovers is 'a contraction of lay-overs, i.e. things laid over, covered up, or protected from meddlers' (Apperson).

P.B.: this curious, well-known and widely used phrase has, like the equally enigmatic '(I'm making) a whim-wham for a goose's bridle', been the subject of extensive newspaper correspondence, esp. in the Guardian. It was even 'in the form “larroes to catch meddlers” current in (Southern) US in 1920s, but even then, I suspect, obsolescent' (R.C., 1978). For a quite different explanation, I quote a letter to E.P. from Mrs Pam Brewer, of Richmond, 1980:

My grandparents, Derbyshire dales folk, always said 'Lay holes for medlars to keep folks fat'. As I never saw it written, the word might have been 'holds', as they spoke in dialect. When I pressed for explanation, they said that medlars, being inedible until they are frosted or half rotten, the fruit was laid in barn lofts or in boxed-in trenches in the ground until it reached a fit state for consumption.

G.K. Colton, writing to the Guardian, Dec. 1978, also recalls, from Oldham, Lancashire, the pronunciation lay 'oles, 'i.e. untimely graves for those who do not mind their own business. I wonder, ' he adds, 'if this is a piece of industrial folk wisdom about the dangers of tampering with machinery.' And R. Stone house has another theory, in the same paper: his Salford grandmother pronounced the lay overs 'without the letter “v” and [they] referred to goods in shops on which one put a small deposit to hold them for future purchase'.

Gentle reader, yer pays yer money, an' yer takes yer choice! And there's plenty more where that came from!-see, e.g., weaving leather aprons.


large as life and twice as natural-as.

It may astonish and even surprise many Britons to learn that this was orig. US: T.C. Haliburton in The Clockmaker, 1837 (Series I, pp. 159-60), has his central character, Sam Slick of Slicksville, say, 'He marched up and down afore the street door like a peacock, as large as life and twice as natural'. The expression caught the public fancy and became a c.p., adopted by Britain well before the end of C19. It survives; indeed, it has-and enjoys-good health. Such is its vitality that it has fathered the frequent var. (which I owe to Cyril Whelan): as large as life and twice as ugly, which is Brit, and hardly earlier than c. 1910.

As Mr Benny Green suggested in his review of the first ed. of this book, in Spectator, 10 Sep. 1977, the orig. version was prob. popularised in UK by Lewis Carroll's use of it in Through the Looking-Glass, 1871. A.B., 1978, adds there is a US var., as big as life


large mouth, large cunt;

often big for large. An example of not entirely scientific male folklore:? mid C19-20; certainly C20. Cf big conk…


lark.

See: all's to that; fuck that for a l.; result; up with the l.


Larkin.

See: down to.


larks in the night-the.

A 'jocular c.p. for birds which are regarded as responsible for more births than the stork' (B.P.): Aus.: since c. 1930. A pun on a lark or a bit of fun, and bird, a girl.


lass in the red petticoat shall pay (or piece up) all-the.

[ Dating

-186-

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.