Etymology
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coulda 

in writing, to indicate the common casual pronunciation of could have, by 1909.

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Montezuma 

name borne by two rulers of Tenochtitlan in ancient Mesoamerica, from Spanish Moctezuma, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) Moteuczoma, said to mean "he who frowns like a lord" or "he who is angry in a noble manner." Montezuma's revenge, "severe intestinal infection" sometimes suffered by non-natives in Mexico, is by 1962, in reference to Montezuma II (1466-1520), Aztec ruler at the time of the Spanish arrival and conquest of Mexico.

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civil union (n.)

by 2000, the usual U.S. term for legally recognized same-sex unions short of marriage.

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get off (v.)

"escape," c. 1600, from get (v.) + off (adv.). Sexual sense attested by 1973.

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John Q. Public (n.)

"imaginary average American citizen," 1934; the Q perhaps suggested by John Quincy Adams.

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art nouveau 

decorative, design, and architectural style popular from c. 1890 to World War I, characterized by intricate designs and flowing curves based on natural forms, 1900, from French l'art nouveau (by 1895), literally "new art" (see novel (adj.)). Called in German Jugendstil.

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rat fink (n.)

also ratfink, 1963, teen slang, see rat (n.) + fink (n.). Popularized by, and perhaps coined by, U.S. custom car builder Ed "Big Daddy" Roth (1932-2001), who made a hot-rod comic character of it, supposedly to lampoon Mickey Mouse.

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plain Jane 

"homely or unattractive woman, girl without beauty," attested by 1912, a rhyming formation from plain (adj.).

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stare decisis (n.)

the legal doctrine of being bound by precedents, Latin, literally "to stand by things decided;" from stare "to stand" (from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm"). Second element from decidere "to decide, determine," literally "to cut off," from de- "off" (see de-) + caedere "to cut" (see -cide).

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back off (v.)

"retreat, stop annoying someone," by 1938, from the verbal phrase, from back (v.) + off (adv.).

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