A Dictionary of Cliches by Eric Partridge

By Eric Partridge

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A dictionary of Clichés 18 artful deceiver, an . A cunning wheedler (or attractive swindler); often jocular: mid C. 19–20. Applied only to men. as a matter of fact . In point of fact: C. 19–20. Usually the prelude to a lie—or, at best, an evasion. as a matter of form . As a piece of routine; merely routine: C. 20. ’ A matter of form, ‘a mere formality’, is likewise a cliché. as…as makes no matter . See as makes no matter. ’ As a cliché, since ca. 1850. ‘The frequency of Macaulay’s reference to somewhat abstruse matters as subjects which any public schoolboy would know, has led to his being credited with the phrase.

15, ‘Posuitque Dominus Cain signum’). brave and the fair, the . Heroes (actual or potential) and lovely women: late C. —Cf. the next. *brave men and fair women . : mid C. 1920.

15–20, but a cliché only in C. 19–20. A dictionary of Clichés 32 bed of roses, a ; usually, no bed of roses, a far from comfortable resting-place or position, a most unpleasant employment: mid C. —Cf. the obsolete bed of down. *bee in one’s bonnet, a ; esp. to have a… To be a crank about something: C. 18–20. Semi-proverbial. A bee so placed, excites and flusters the person. beer and skittles ; esp. *not all beer and skittles. Self-indulgence and amusement: mid C. 19–20. Calverley’s Fly Leaves, 1872.

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