The Big List

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This is the list, some 400 word and phrase origins. The words and phrases are selected because their origins are inherently interesting or because some bit of folklore, sometimes true and sometimes false, is associated with the origin. The etymologies of common words with straightforward explanations can be found in any good dictionary and I do not attempt to reproduce them here. Many, if not most, of the words have been added as a result of questions or suggestions from readers of the site.

dork

doughboy

doughnut

drag race

dressed to the nines

drink the Kool-Aid

dry run

dubnium / hahnium

duck / duck tape / duct tape

duct tape

duh

dukes

dum-dum

dunce

Dutch treat

dyke

dysprosium

earl

Easter

eavesdrop

eeny, meany, miney, moe

egg on

eighty-six

einsteinium / fermium

elephant, to see the

erbium

ethnic cleansing

eureka

europium

evolution

exception that proves the rule

face

face the music

faggot

fair to middling

fantastic

fast and loose

fermium

field day

fifth column

filibuster

fire

five by five

flack, flak

flak, flack

flea market

fleabag

flop, flip-flop

Florida

fluorine

flying colors

flying saucer

fond

fortnight

frak

francium

free lunch

freelance

French fries

French kiss

fringe / lunatic fringe

fritz, on the

frog march

fuck

fudge

full monty

fuzz

G-man

G.I.

gadolinium

gallium

galoot

gargoyle

gay

geek

Generation X

Georgia

germanium

gerrymander

ghost / give up the ghost

gig

give up the ghost

glitch

globalization

gold

golf

gonzo

goody two-shoes

googol / Google

gossip

Gotham

grandfather clause

graphite

graveyard shift

green room

gringo

ground zero

guerrilla

guinea

gun

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