Origin of “on the up-and-up”

The phrase “on the up-and-up” means “legitimate” or “legal” or “reputable” or, to use another idiom, “above-board”. For instance: Although Pete didn’t look like a city official, Joe assumed his offer to sell the Brooklyn Bridge was totally on the up-and-up. Where does this expression come from? Related: What does “We don’t do anything that’s … Read more

Looking for an idiom describing age

I’m translating a script for a cartoon into English. In one of the scenes a grandpa’s talking to his granddaughter. It goes something like this: GRANDPA Indeed! I have forgotten! Apparently, your grandpa’s getting a bit long in the tooth. Anyway, would you give your old grandpa a hug? She turns around slowly. She sees … Read more

Usage of “as per”

Could you show me how to use the word as per in a sentence? Can I make sentences something like the following: I changed the image as per the suggestion of my boss. Or could you give me an alternative to the phrase? Answer As per means “in accordance with“, so “following something that has … Read more

Who is Jack Robinson?

I was reading my dictionary and I came across this phrase: “Before you can say Jack Robinson”, meaning almost instantaneously to be used as follows: Before you can say Jack Robinson, I took the money and ran away. I tried searching it in Wikipedia but it simply says that it’s a mythical person. It doesn’t … Read more

Is ‘yeah-nah’ a uniquely Australian idiom?

There is a response in Australian English that means “Yes I hear you and empathise with your situation, but no this course of action won’t work for me.” [Yeah-Nah] I assumed this was a normal part of the English language, until I saw other discussions claiming this to be unique to Australian English. That didn’t … Read more