See: going through.
See: oh! la! la!
See: who was your l.
See: away, the lads; come on, my; harm; now then, me.
See: I'm in the life-boat.
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.
'An Edwardian mot, prim and juste, to mean a man's mistress as contrasted with his wife' (L.A., 1976).
See: no Tich; pas de L.
See: often laid.
See: I had 'em rolling…
'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…'
See: go jump.
I would-if I got half a chance!: tailors': c. 1860-1940. Prob. from the name of a well-known tailor.
See: dim as a Toc-H; oil; swing that.
See: how lies; six foot.
See: they're doing land.
See: if you can walk.
See: it must be the l.; you have a heart.
See: it's a long l.
See: we speak.
See: full of l.
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.
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…
often big for large. An example of not entirely scientific male folklore:? mid C19-20; certainly C20. Cf big conk…
See: all's to that; fuck that for a l.; result; up with the l.
See: down to.
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.