The phrase derives from the name of
a character in John Arbuthnot's satire The Law Is a
Bottomless Pit; what national personification is it?
Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.
The critically-acclaimed board game
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
John Bull is England's equivalent of
Uncle Sam, a personification of the country and the people.
According to www.wordorigins.org: "The term John
Bull dates to 1712 and first appears as a character in John
Arbuthnot's satire The Law Is a Bottomless Pit. The familiar appearance dates
to the nineteenth century and the cartoons by John Tenniel (perhaps most famous
for his illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland)."
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