The Word Detective

I stumbled across this site while looking for the meaning of the term “dog’s breakfast,” which I’d seen in an article about Iraq. I was stumped, and the entry here provided satisfactory illumination; it seems that our four-legged friends will eat anything, including a botched meal, so a dog’s breakfast (or dinner) is an English term for something that’s been turned into a complete mess. A number of colloquialisms are explained here, from “above the salt” and “abracadabra” to “yuletide” and “zydeco.” Though “snafu” and the similar “fubar” are curiously absent, hundreds of other words and terms are present—and wittily defined. Aesthetically, the site is clean and simple, adorned only with the public-domain line drawings of Sir John Tenniel, who illustrated Lewis Carroll’s books.