This expression takes its origin from the US colloquial sense of bully meaning first-rate recorded since the mid 19th century.
Related Idioms and Phrases :
in the buff
naked – informal
The original meaning of buff in English was buffalo and it later came to mean ox hide or the colour of ox hide. In the buff itself comes from buff leather, a type of yellowish-beige ox hide formerly used in military uniform, the colour of which was regarded as comparable to that of human skin.
have the bug = be bitten by the bug
develop a sudden strong enthusiasm for something
used to express surprise or amazement
play silly buggers
act in a foolish way
appointment in rotation rather than by merit
Buggins is used here to represent a typical or generic surname.
built on sand
without secure foundations
liable to collapse
This phrase comes from the parable contrasting the wise man who built his house on rock with the fool who built his on sand (Matthew 7 : 24 - 7).
have the bulge on = get the bulge on
have or get an advantage over - British informal
bulging at the seams = bursting at the seams
(of a place or building) full to overflowing – informal
like a bull at a gate
hastily and without thought
like a bull in a china shop
behaving recklessly and clumsily in a place or situation where you are likely to cause damage or injury
a red rag to a bull
an object, utterance or act which is certain to provoke or anger someone
The colour red was traditionally supposed to provoke a bull and is the colour of the cape used by matadors in bull fighting.
1998 - Times - Such talk is like a red rag to a bull at the Soil Association.
take the bull by the horns = grab the bull by the horns
deal bravely and decisively with a difficult, dangerous or unpleasant situation.
2000 - Andrew Calcutt - Brit Cult - The government has failed to take the bull by the horns, thereby granting hunt sabs a new lease of life.
bite the bullet
face up to doing something difficult or unpleasant
stoically avoid showing fear or distress
This phrase dates from the days before anaesthetics, when wounded soldiers were given a bullet or similar solid object to clench between their teeth when undergoing surgery.
1998 - Joyce Holms - Bad Vibes- Once he accepted it as inevitable he usually bit the bullet and did what was required of him with a good grace.
be extremely anxious or nervous - North American informal