In a fishbowl. In a nutshell. In a pickle. An expression describing being in a difficult situation or problem with no easy answer, from the Dutch word 'pekel'. In hot water. In someone else's shoes. It's a dog's life. While you might think this would be a good thing, the expression actually means life is hard and unpleasant.
It's not over until the fat lady sings. It's not rocket science. An expression meaning an idea or term that anyone can understand without needing to be a rocket scientist. I wish I were a fly on the wall. An expression meaning you wish you'd witnessed or been present for something you didn't see directly.
Jack of all trades. An expression meaning someone can do just about any task themselves or is well-versed in many skills. Jinx someone. We haven't lost a game all season. Now we'll lose! An expression meaning a newcomer, a novice, or recruit who has just recently joined a group, and may use the experience of others to their advantage. An expression meaning to use makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand. Just a piece of meat. A derogatory expression meaning to be judged based on one's symbolic representation, rather than their substantive value.
Keeping up with the Joneses. An expression to compare to one's neighbor as a benchmark for social class or the accumulation of material goods. Keep one's cool. Keep on trucking. An expression meaning to carry on, persevere or continue plugging away, as in "keep on keeping on". Keep your eye on the prize. An expression meaning to stay focused on your goal or objective without distraction. Keep your eyes peeled. Kidding someone. An expression used for saying that someone wants someone to believe something, but everyone knows it is not true.
Kill the goose that lays the golden egg. An expression meaning to destroy a valuable way to make a living, carry out an unprofitable action motivated by greed. An expression meaning to something to keep one busy while waiting for something. Kiss my ass. A derogatory expression meaning that you don't care what someone thinks about what you said or did.
I'm going to watch that movie whether you like it or not; you can kiss my ass! Knee jerk reaction. An expression meaning an immediate, emotional, unthinking response to a situation. Knickers in a twist or knickers in a knot. An expression meaning to get very upset about something, usually not very important. Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, let me explain what happened. Knocking on heaven's door. The popular song by Bob Dylan, the expression means tempting fate or close to death.
Knock on wood. A superstition to actually find and knock on a piece of wood after saying something you hope remains true. Known by the company one keeps. Lame or lame-ass. An expression meaning something was completely one-sided, similar to "blow-out".
Last straw or draw the short straw. Lead a horse to water, but one can't make him drink. I guess you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
Leap of Faith. An expression meaning to believe or attempt something whose existence or outcome cannot be proved. Learn by rote. An expression meaning to be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats it. Learn something by heart. Let bygones by bygones. An expression meaning to forget about unpleasant things that happened in the past, and especially to forgive and forget something bad that someone has done, similar to "bury the hatchet".
Let sleeping dogs lie. Let the chips fall where they may. An expression meaning to accept what's going to happen and to not interfere or change course. Lick your wounds. Like a bat out of hell. Like a red-headed stepchild. An expression meaning someone who's not like the others or who doesn't fit in.
Like clock-work. An expression describing something or someone is very predictable or punctual. Like mixing oil and water. An expression meaning two things that aren't meant to be mixed together, similar to oil and vinegar they mix, but settle separately. Listen to that baby purr. An anthropomorphic expression commonly used to refer to a properly running engine, computer or other machine.
Loaded for bear. An expression describing people who stubbornly refuse to change their position or compromise to resolve a problem. Long on the tooth. An unkind or humorous expression describing someone as old. As people age, their gums recede and their teeth appear longer. An expression meaning a venture or guess that has only the slightest chance of succeeding or being accurate.
Look a gift horse in the mouth. A person who seems interested in buying something, but is just browsing, also someone who lingers around the scene of an accident, etc. Loose lips sink ships. An expression referring to people sharing secret information that ruins everything. Lose one's head.
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Love is blind. An expression meaning to always see the best in people we love, overlook their faults and imperfections. Lucky devil. An expression meaning only moderately enthusiastic, unsure, or unable to commit to a position. Maybe I'll warm up to the idea later. Make your bed, now lie in it. The expression means to make a decision and now one must accept the circumstances. Man your stations. An expression meaning being singled out for special treatment, usually to be harmed. Meet your match.
An expression meaning someone who is even in skill or ability, or is a challenger. Mice will play while the cat's away. An expression meaning doing things that might not be permitted because an authority figure isn't present. Mice will play while the cat's away! Milk it for all it's worth. Describing a very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated; inspired by the cartoon character, Caspar Milquetoast, created by H.
Webster in Jared is milquetoast, he's too afraid to ask for a raise even though he's done great work for three years. Mind over matter. An expression meaning to use willpower to overcome physical problems, similar to "A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition". Monday morning quarterback. An expression referencing American football in which someone passes judgement on another person's decision or actions after the event. Mother's love is blind. When you love some one, particularly your own child, you look past any physical or behavioral defects. Muddy the waters.
An expression meaning to make a situation more confusing by introducing complications. Mud on one's boots. My hands are tied! Nailed to the wall. Never cry wolf. An expression cautioning against falsely claiming a wrong or a crime, because when something actually goes wrong, no one will believe you. An expression describing a person who is habitually active or alert late at night. Nip and tuck. An expression meaning closely contested, hard to tell the winner or literally a cosmetic procedure to reduce wrinkles or fat.
No bones about it. Clearly stating how you think or feel, no matter whose feelings may be hurt in the process. Nod and a wink, or nod is as good as a wink. A way of saying you have understood something that someone has said, even though it was not said directly. No pain, no gain. No rhyme or reason. No shit, Sherlock. An expression referring to the fictional detective who pioneered deductive reasoning to solve crimes, it refers to an expression made by an individual in response to a statement that is considered obvious or stupid.
The reason there is all this mud in the house is because you tracked it in on your shoes! No such thing as a free lunch. When someone gives something or performs an act of kindness, there is generally an expectation or obligation to "pay them back". Not in Kansas anymore, Toto. A remark someone might make, quoting Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, when confronted with a foreign or unfamiliar experience or place. Not so fast. An expression one might say if they disagree or want someone to stop, slow down, or reconsider. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Not to mince words. Nuts, nut-job. Odd man out or odd one out.
On auto-pilot. An expression meaning something will run itself or doesn't require effort or skill. On a wing and a prayer. Once in a blue moon. An expression meaning something that doesn't happen very often, as in when there is a full moon twice in the same month. One bad apple spoils the barrel or one rotten apple spoils the bunch. An expression usually referring to a person that is a bad influence or could ruin the experience for the group.
One if by land, two if by sea. An expression referring to the secret signal by Paul Revere orchestrated during the American Revolutionary War: one lantern if the British were coming by land and two lanterns if they were coming by sea. On the fence. On the same wavelength. On thin ice. An expression meaning to be at risk of getting in trouble if current actions continue, similar to "the last straw".
On your case, get off my case. Open sesame. An expression meaning the secret phrase or way to open an opportunity, door, or fortune. Open up a can of worms. An expression describing actions or information which introduces unnecessary complications or new information that makes a situation more difficult. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Over someone's head. Over the moon. Pace yourself.
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An expression cautioning someone not to do something too quickly or to attempt too much. Panic button. An expression referring to someone who gets so distraught and reacts without thinking. Pass muster. Patch things up. An expression meaning to make amends or remedy a situation, similar to "smooth things over".
Payback is a bitch. An expression meaning when a person wrongs someone, they get a taste of their own medicine when that person seeks revenge. Pay the piper. An expression meaning to face the consequences of self-indulgent behavior, similar to "face the music". Pay the price. An expression meaning to suffer the consequences of doing or saying something.
Peachy keen. Pecking order. An expression meaning a hierarchy of status seen among members of a group of people or animals, originally as observed among hens. Peeping Tom. Peer pressure. An expression meaning to fit in by following along with the same behavior or attitude because your friends or people similar to you are doing it. Penny-wise, pound-foolish. Being careful about unimportant decisions and careless about important ones, often referring to wasting money on unimportant items, rather than saving for important ones. An expression meaning something that is particularly annoying to a particular person.
Picture is worth a thousand words. A proverb that implies it's easier to understand something by seeing it, rather than talking or reading a description of it. A picture is worth a thousand words. An expression meaning to eat or consume too much or well beyond a "normal" helping. Pins and needles. An expression meaning the tingling sensation experienced in recovering from numbness, or an anxious feeling waiting for something to arrive or happen.
Piss and Moan. Piss and wind. Plate is full. An expression meaning fully engaged, having no room to take on new responsibilities or activities. Playing without a full deck. Play it by ear. Originally describing a musician playing being about to play a tune after hearing it, rather than reading the music, expanded to mean making this up as you go along. Pleased as punch. An expression derived from an Italian puppet character meaning feeling great delight or pride. An expression meaning keeping an expression on one's face that doesn't reveal one's intentions.
Poor as a church mouse. Port in a storm. An expression meaning that any solution is better than doing nothing at all. Pot calling the kettle black. Practice what one preaches. Preaching to the choir. Pressing someone's buttons. Pulling someone's chain or yanking someone's chain. An expression meaning to tease someone into believing something that isn't true. Pulling strings. An expression meaning to make use of one's influence to gain advantage unfairly or unofficially. Pull oneself up by one's bootstraps.
Pull someone's leg. An expression meaning to tell someone something that is not true as a way of joking with them. Putting the cart before the horse. An expression meaning to jump ahead, to do one thing before taking care of what should be done first. Quid pro quo. An exchange of gifts or services, you do something for me, I'll do something for you.
Rain on one's parade. An expression meaning to dampen someone's mood or bring up something sad or upsetting in reaction to their happiness. Raising Cane. A reference to the character in the Bible who committed the first murder, commonly used to react in a rowdy or disruptive way. Rally the troops. An expression originating during war time, it means to have a meeting with friends, family or co-workers and get them united to help out with something.
Razor's edge. An expression meaning a risky or complicated move that could land you in trouble, either going very well or very badly. Reach the boiling point or boiling over. An expression which means the time at which action is required or anger erupts, similar to "the last straw". Read someone the riot act. An expression meaning a strong warning to stop behaving badly, derived from Britain, The Riot Act of was invoked to prevent "tumults and riotous assemblies". Reap what one's sows. Right-hand man. A reference to someone who is essential, helpful, or a partner in ensuring another person's success.
Ring a bell. An expression meaning to recognize something as familiar. Similar to "clear as a bell. Rob Peter to pay Paul. Biblical reference, taking something from someone to give to another, without any real gain. Rock and roll. Roller coaster ride. An expression meaning traveling up and down without a clear direction, also a scary or unpredictable situation.
An expression meaning to overturn, an extension or transfer of a debt or other financial arrangement, or to shift one's position by turning from one side to the other. Roll with the punches. Running against the clock.
An expression meaning to run out of time or struggling to get something done in the shortest period of time possible. Run out of gas. Runt of the litter. Salt of the earth. A decent, dependable, unpretentious person, with origins from the Bible, Book of Matthew. Saving something for a rainy day. Saving something for a later time when you might need it, similar to "having a nest egg".
Scramble or hustle. Second-hand information. An expression meaning to gain information from others or from books, rather than discovering information directly. See the forest for the trees. An expression describing someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole. See you later alligator, in a while crocodile.
Self-fulfilling prophecy. An expression meaning a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to be true because of positive behavior or a belief. Separate the wheat from the chaff. An expression meaning to distinguish valuable things or people from worthless ones. Set your sails with the wind. An expression used as an adjective to describe something or someone underhanded or not to be trusted. What a shady character! A war reference meaning someone suffering from a trauma, too overwhelmed to act appropriately or rationally.
She's got a bun in the oven. Ship has sailed. An expression meaning it is too late to correct or change what's already been done. All you can do now is get a good night's sleep. Shit from Shinola. Shit hits the fan. An expression referring to when something bad happens, the consequences reveal themselves. Shit or get off the pot. An expression meaning to take action rather than remain inactive, similar to "fish or cut bait".
An expression meaning a small amount of money that is inadequate for its intended purpose. Shoot fish in a barrel. Shoot oneself in the foot. Shut your trp. Sick as a dog. Sight for sore eyes. Silver spoon in one's mouth. An expression symbolic of wealth, especially inherited wealth, describing someone born into a wealthy family. Silver tongue. Sing one's praises. Sink or swim. Sink your sails. Six ways from Sunday. An expression meaning thoroughly, every possible way, exhausted all alternatives. An expression meaning to carefully look at the person or think about the situation, in order to decide how to act.
Skin of one's teeth. An expression meaning to narrowly escape disaster. Origin from the Bible, Book of Job, in which Job is subjected to horrible trials by Satan, to be relieved finally by God. Sleeps with the fishes. Slip of the tongue. Slippery slope. An idea or course of action which will lead to something unacceptable or disasterous. Slow and steady wins the race. An expression meaning sometimes persevering is enough to finish ahead of others who may be faster at the beginning.
Someone who used devious, dishonest or misleading means to ensure a favorable outcome. Small potatoes. Smooth something over. An expression meaning to make amends or remedy a situation, similar to "patch things up". Snooping around. An expression meaning to search for or find out something that's not that person's business. An expression meaning to make something sound less important or bad than it really is, similar to "white wash". So hungry I could eat a horse.
Song and dance. An expression meaning to say things or act for the purpose of impressing others, perhaps in an exaggerated manner. Sour grapes. Spaz short for spastic. A expression for someone who is hyperactive or acting in an overly-energetic manner inappropriate for the situation. Speak of the devil. An expression meaning that the person about whom one was just speaking arrives or makes their presence known. Speak softly and carry a big stick. An expression encouraging someone to behave by using a tangible threat for non-compliance; no yelling is required.
Spick and span. Spill the beans. Spit and polish. An expression meaning exaggerated cleaning or polishing, often referring to a soldier. Square peg in a round hole. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Stage fright. Star-crossed lovers. An expression meaning a couple so in love, they are oblivious to everyone else. Staying on track. An expression meaning to remain focuses on pursuing your goal, without distraction. Step in shit. An expression meaning getting in trouble, or finding oneself in a bad situation, in addition to the literal meaning of accidentally stepping on dog or animal feces.
Stick in the mud. An expression referring to someone who is unwilling to take chances, boring, or not interesting. Stitch in time saves nine. A proverbial expression meaning it's better to spend a little time and effort to deal with a problem right now than to wait until later, a sewing reference.
A Stitch in time saves nine. Straw that broke the camel's back. An expression meaning the last and final time something occurred to ruin or destroy a situation. Strike while the iron is hot. An expression meaning to do something while one has the chance, during a window of opportunity. Strong stomach. An expression describing someone who can tolerate gruesome or nauseating conditions without vomiting. Stubborn as a mule.
An expression meaning refusing to change one's mind or course of action despite pressure to do so, unyielding or resolute. Stuck-up or snotty. Describing someone who acts superior, thinks they are more important than others. An expression of encouragement meaning to persevere and endure the discomfort or pain. Sugar daddy. A description of a rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favors. Sweep something under the rug or carpet. An expression meaning to hide or ignore something damaging or unpleasant so it won't be seen.
Tag along or tail along. Tail waging the dog. The less dominant or minor factor controls the situation, the roles are reversed. Take a page from someone's book or take a leaf out of someone's book. Take care of the little things. An expression suggesting to take care of little things before they turn into big things.
Take it easy. Take it with a grain of salt. An expression meaning to treat the information as exaggerated, believe only part of something. You've got to take that with a grain of salt, they lost eight before that. Take one for the team. An expression meaning to sacrifice one's personal position for the benefit of others. Take the plunge. Take what one can get.
An expression meaning to be content with a sure-thing, rather than a promise of something that may never come to fruition. Talk is cheap. Talk the talk, walk the walk. Tap-dance around. An expression meaning to improvise to avoid confronting an uncomfortable issue or person. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. A Chinese proverb and referenced in The Bible meaning to teach self-sufficiency, rather than rely on charity. Teacher's pet. Tell-tale or telltale. Test the waters. Thank your lucky stars.
An expression meaning to be grateful for one's circumstances, based on a superstition that by wishing on the first or a falling star, one will receive good luck. That's all she wrote. An expression used to convey that there is or was nothing more to be said about a matter. That's the way the cookie crumbles. Think twice.
An expression meaning to consider a course of action carefully before embarking upon it. Third time's a charm. A superstitious observation about the number three, sometimes it takes three times to complete something successfully. Opposite of "three strikes, you're out! Thorn in one's side. An expression meaning something or someone that continually causes problems and won't go away. Three strikes, you're out! A baseball reference, if you don't get something done in three attempts, it is time to stop. Opposite of "third time's a charm". Three strikes, you're out.
Time to hire a plumber. Through the roof. Throw down the gauntlet. Throw one's hat in the ring. Ticking crocodile. A Peter Pan reference from the Captain Hook character symbolizing time, alternatively, "the croc is ticking". Time is chasing after all of us. Tiger by the tail. Time flies when you are having fun! An expression meaning that time seems to pass more quickly than normal while engaging a particularly busy or fun activity. My shift was six hours but we were so busy it felt like only an hour.
Time heals all wounds. An expression meaning people eventually get over injuries, insults, rejection, hatred. Time heals all wounds, he'll feel better after awhile. Times that try men's souls. Thomas Paine's famous quote that the colonies were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted the cause to the temporary defense of a well-meaning militia. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.
Time will tell. Tip of the iceberg. An expression that means the small or perceptible part of a much larger problem. Tiptoe around. An expression meaning to walk quietly or carefully work around a sensitive person or situation, similar to "tread lightly" "tread softly" and "walk on eggshells". Tiptoe through the tulips. Toast of the town. A girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys.
Tongue in cheek. An expression meaning to not really mean what one is saying or writing, with irony, or having a double-meaning. Too big for one's britches. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. An expression meaning everyone is trying to be in charge, no one is willing to follow others' directions, similar to "too many cooks in the kitchen". Too many cooks in the kitchen.
An expression meaning everyone is trying to be in charge, no one is willing to follow others' directions, similar to "too many chiefs, not enough indians". Tooth and nail.
An expression meaning to fight with the intensity and ferocity of a wild animal. Toot one's own horn. An expression meaning to boast about one's own accomplishments, similar to "blow one's horn". Treading water. Tread lightly or tread softly. To speak or behave carefully to avoid conflict Be careful to avoid conflict or causing an offense, similar to "tiptoe around" or "walk on eggshells".
Trial and error. Not having a plan, letting errors determine what course of action to take next. Trigger happy. Someone who is ready to react violently, apt to over-react or make a move prematurely, especially by shooting a gun. Turning the tables. An expression meaning to get back at someone or do what they did back to them. Twisting in the wind.
Two birds of a feather. An expression describing two people who may be different in many ways, but have something in common. Someone who is not genuine: they act one way under one set of circumstances, and completely differently under another set of circumstances. Two peas in a pod or like peas in a pod. Two pennies or nickels or sticks to rub together. These expressions refer to being impoverished, destitute, or without resources, similar to "poor as a church mouse".
An expression meaning to deceive or be unfaithful, dating or seeing two people simultaneously. Two wrongs don't make a right. A proverb meaning just because someone has done something unjust or dishonest is no justification for acting in a similar way. Uncharted territory. Under the weather. Up a creek without a paddle or up shit creek. Up in the air. Up to one's eyeballs.
An expression meaning the extreme degree of a situation, overwhelmed by an undesirable situation. Vote with one's feet. Wait for something to blow over. An expression meaning to not take any action and wait for whatever it is to pass. After a good night's sleep, you'll be able to talk with her tomorrow. Walk in the park. Walk on eggshells. An expression meaning to be extremely cautious about one's words or actions, similar to "tiptoe around" and "tread lightly".
Walk the plank. From pirate lore, an execution in which victims were forced to walk, often blindfold and with hands tied, off a plank of wood. It can mean be punished. A description for someone who has no one to dance with or who feels shy or awkward. Inspired by a song by the band Oasis, it means a barrier which separates the mundane from the Transcendent reality; someone one thinks about constantly.
Warm up to something. An expression meaning to gradually accept or get used to an idea or commitment. An expression meaning traveling faster than the speed of light, extremely fast. Wash one's hands of something. Wasn't born yesterday. An expression often used sarcastically to convey that the person knows what they are doing and are not easily deceived. Waste not, want not. An expression of advice meaning that wise use of one's resources will keep one from poverty.
An expression describing a manner of speech that is increasingly verbose and romantic. Quote allegedly from The Prince , but not found there textually. Du Salut D'Origene. Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy. II respondit, qu'il aymoit beaucoup mieux estre en enfer auec ces grands esprits, pour deuiser auec eux des affaires d'Estat, que d'estre auec cette vermine de ces belistres qu'on luy auoit fait voir.
Lettere di Giovambattista Busini a Benedetto Varchi. Florence: Felice le Monnier. Categories : Italian philosophers Italian playwrights Italian poets Italian politicians Diplomats Italian historians Italian musicians Humanists births deaths People from Florence. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read Edit View history.
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