Ever since I began repeating the mantra that Gordon Brown 'bottled it' when he did his impersonation of the Grand Old Duke of York by calling off a General Election for this autumn, I've been wondering what this phrase 'bottling it' actually means. Britain's finest journalist, Charles Moore has come up with the answer in this week's 'speckie'.
It seems that 'bottling it' or 'bottling out' derives from rhyming slang. 'Bottle and Glass' is a part of the body - and 'losing your bottle' has, in the careful expression of the dictionary, 'the connotation of temporary incontinence associated with fear'. So now you know. From now on, I'm going to refer to Gordon Brown having 'chickened out'.