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

Q

Q.E.D

.Quod erat demonstrandum, which was, or had, to be shown or proved, and now has been: educational world: C19-20, although not much used since c. 1960. A tag of Euclidean geometry; a tag used humorously, often with a mock-pompous intonation. Also, naturally, quod erat demonstrandum itself.


quack

. See: you can't q.


quail

. See: seaman.


quality

. See: never mind the q.


quarter

. See: influence.


quarter flash and three parts foolish. A fool with a dangerous

smattering of worldly knowledge: raffish, mostly London: c. 1810-50. (Pierce Egan, London, 1821.) Cf the † slang fly flat, a would-be expert.


queen

. See: 'balls!'; eh! to me; I wouldn't call; keep up; one hand; true, O King.


Queen Victoria

. See: have a gorilla; hey, Johnny; sorry, no.


Queen, you've spoke a mouthful

was a c.p. of 1929-30 and prob. for a few years earlier and later. Harold Brighouse, Safe amongst the Pigs, performed 1929 and pub'd 1930, has the following in Act II: ROBERT:…You may have uses for more money than you've got. CELIA: Queen, you've spoke a mouthful. ROBERT: This is serious, Celia. The above is valid for the UK, but the c.p. represents a slight adaptation of the slightly earlier US Queen, you spoke a mouthful. 'As soon as was practical after the Armistice [11 Nov. 1918: WW1], the King and Queen of the Belgians visited this country. They were taken on a tour by the mayor of New York…. The great sight, of course, was the look down the island to the sky-scrapers…. The Queen remarked on the impressiveness of the scene, and the mayor answered her in those immortal words. That must have been about 1921-22. The story went all round the country and the phrase became famous' (Prof. Emeritus S.H. Monk, 1977).


queer

. See: there's nowt.


queer as a

…(-as). There are a number of phrases, similes, beginning thus and applied to homosexuals; perhaps the best known in later C20, current since c. 1955, is (as) queer as a clockwork orange, which seems to have orig. either in the East End of London or the Lowerdeck of the RN. It was given a gen. widening of popularity by Anthony Burgess's strange and moving novel, A Clockwork Orange, 1962, later filmed. Derivatives from it are…as a four-speed walkingstick, used, and perhaps invented by, the well-known raconteur and bawdy anecdotist 'Blaster' Bates, 1970s, and …as a left-handed corkscrew, also early 1970s.

Applicable to things odd and strange (and also, occ., to homosexuals) are queer as a nine-bob note or a three-pound note, or a two (or nine) bob watch: mid C20; they became ob. with the decimalization of currency in Feb. 1971. There was no such note as a nine shilling or a three pound one, and a watch so cheap would be suspect, or phoney, indeed. These perhaps stem from the N. American queer as a three-dollar bill, current in Can. since late C19; in US, also phoney as…, and R.C. remarks, 'Often in the sexual sense, In phoney as…, the bill is often a nine-dollar denomination-equally fictitious, of course'. Cf:


queer as Dick's hatband

(-as). Very odd indeed: mid C18-mid 19, and still 'alive and well' in the dialects of the Northern half of England. Grose, The Vulgar Tongue, 2nd ed., 1788, has it; so has Southey; so too G.L. Apperson's English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases, 1929, a book that has never received its dues.

In C19, sometimes (as) queer as Dick's hatband that went round nine times and wouldn't meet; slightly less extravagant is B.G.T.'s version from Northamptonshire, 1978, it's like Dick dark's hatband, went round twice and wouldn't tie, with the connotation 'however hard she tried, she couldn't get her job done. She said, “It's like…”'. Wedgewood, too, from Yorkshire, remembers from his youth, early 1930s, 'something about “going twice round like Dick's hatband”'. P.B.: I have heard the suggestion, unsupported by anything firmer than tradition, that Dick is Oliver Cromwell's son Richard.


question

. See: ask a silly; good question; I forgot; I must have noticed; that's a good; that's the sixty-four.


queue

. See: join the back.


quick

. See: sharp's; you couldn't be served.


quick and dirty

. P.B., 1975, writes:

I heard it in 1973 from a retired colonel, talking about intelligence reports which were produced fast and without scrupulous accuracy. I heard it again recently, used by a computer expert to describe 'initial print-outs', before 'the program has been de-bugged'. One might use it as well to describe a first edition on which proof-reading has been skimped to meet a publishing deadline.

P.B., 1983: I suspected at the time that this might be of US orig., the Colonel having served in Washington, and R.C., 1978, confirms that belief: 'Current in US magazine and magazine-publishing from before 1960, when I first heard it'.


quick and nimble: more like a bear than a squirrel

was, C18-mid C19, addressed to, or directed at, someone moving slowly when speed was required. Fuller; Grose. 1788.


quick

(or smart) as a rabbit (-as). 'He's on the ball! Fast thinker!: US: late C19-mid 20' (A.B., 1978). P.B.:? Brer Rabbit or Bugs Bunny.


quickly

. See: it's not much.


quickness

. See: now you see.


quid est hoc? Hoc est quid

! A punning c.p. of mid C18-late C19. (Grose, 1796.) As Hotten explained, the question quid est hoc?-What's this?-is asked by one man tapping the bulging cheek of another, who, exhibiting a 'chaw' of

-251-

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?

Help
Full screen
/ 389

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    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

    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.