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Road map or roadmap. One word or two?

In an up-to-date corpus of 20 varieties of English, roadmap is about twice as common as road map. In a corpus built in 2104, the two forms were even-stevens, just about, but by the time of a 2018 corpus the ratio was 3:1 in favour of roadmap. It’s a historical process that has happened repeatedly. When Jane Austen wrote any body she did not mean 'any old cadaver'; body in her sense meant 'person'.

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Honey catches more flies than vinegar (2). A Pan-European proverb? On prend plus de mouches avec une cuillerée de miel qu’avec cent barils de vinaigre; Más moscas se cogen con miel que con hiel

Learning Italian in the UK is nowadays a minority pursuit. In contrast, in the late sixteenth century to know it was an important weapon in the intellectual armoury of the elite: Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth and James VI and I’s consort, Anne of Denmark, all knew la bella lingua. John Florio, the author of the first substantial Italian-English dictionary, was a groom of Queen Anne’s chamber and enjoyed a position at court. Torriano inherited Florio’s manuscripts and published in 1639 New and Easie Directions for attaining the Thuscan Italian tongue and the year after that The Italian Tutor.

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What does ‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world’ mean? And a doggy-dog world?

It’s a dog-eat-dog world

…is a bit of a cliché. Where does it come from? The first relevant quotation in the OED is from a 5 August 1794 headline in the Gazette of the United States: ‘Dog eat dog’. The next quotation (1822) is from a British source, and then The Times of 30 December 1854 has an example which explains the meaning very well:

‘It was dog eat dog—tit for tat... the customers cheated us in their fabrics; we cheated the customers with our goods.’

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champ vs. chomp (at the bit). A short history.

In summary: champ is older as a verb in its own right, by anything between 51 and 183 years (depending on which source you go by); ‘the dictionaries’ agree that chomp is a by-form of champ; three major English dictionaries define chomp by reference back to champ; chomp in conjunction with bit is actually recorded earlier (1645) than champ at the bit, and the subsequent OED citation for chomp also includes the word bit; and Merriam-Webster shows an intransitive chomp meaning – ‘to be eager (to do)’ – that neither Collins nor the OED does.

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Penguin awareness, penguin suits, Penguin books & Welsh

I bet you’ll never guess from which language English borrowed penguin. Could it be from those adventurous mariners the Dutch, as their word is pinguïn? Or perhaps from a Polynesian language? Nope, neither of those. It’s most probably from…
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Meanwhile, English being so footloose – nay, cavalier – with parts of speech, it was inevitable that Penguin books should hatch a verb.

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Whereas or where as? One word or two? Commonly confused words (27-28)

The rule seems to be that if a candidate can recite half a dozen policy positions by rote and name some foreign nations and leaders, one shouldn't point out that he sure seems a few whereases shy of an executive order.

The above is a superlative example of the creative potential of the idiom frame ‘a few X short/shy of a Y’, e.g. ‘a few fries short of a Happy Meal’.
As a further historical footnote, it is interesting that the legalistic, ritual use of whereas as a preamble to legal documents led to its being used as a noun, defined as follows in the Urban Dictionary of its day, Grose’s 1796 Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: 

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Bonk, betrothed, boogie, swot, yonks & other words the young don’t know.

Bonk the verb first came into the world – in print, at least – in 1929 as a ‘conversion’ of the British interjection of the same year, which is clearly onomatopoeic. As the OED comprehensively notes ‘Representing an abrupt, typically hollow-sounding, heavy thumping noise, as of a blow, or one hard or unyielding object striking another.’ The verb in this sense is ‘to strike something hard or unyielding’ and the second OED citation shows a writer trying to convey a sequence of disparate noises: The carrier men…bonked and rattled and squerked the package through the almost too small doorway and set it down with a thump. N. Hunter, Professor Branestawm's Treasure Hunt i. 13, 1937   The sexual meaning is first recorded from 1975. Its achievement, at least in Britain, was to give people a word they could use without stammering or blushing to describe an act which theretofore could only be described by euphemism, coarse slang or the starchy language of medicine. Here instead was a ‘fun’ word: short, somewhat childish yet sooo satisfying to say. It had a sort of ‘naughty but nice’ feel, risqué, but then again, not really. And it seemed a lot less crude and slangy than s**g. Dot Wordsworth waxes lyrical about it while surprised how many of the surveyed respondents appeared not to know it (37%).

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As fit as a butcher’s dog. Boris Johnson’s favourite simile.

Boris really loves his metaphors, doesn't he, and is (in)famous for them. And one that he has very recently recycled is 'fit as a butcher's dog'. He first used it at the tail end of June (see what I did there?) as part of a campaign to improve the nation’s health and beat the obesity epidemic, when he had himself photographed doing press-ups and proudly proclaimed himself 'as fit as a butcher’s dog.'

On Monday 16 November 2020 he was at it again, being 'fit as a butcher's dog' as he videoed (that spelling looks odd but it's correct) from isolation, looking tousled and slim of face.