Monday, May 30, 2016

Out of character

Out of character - unlike one's usual behaviour.

Example - "Ann's remark today was out of character. It was out of character of her to act so inappropriately"

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Up for grabs

Up for grabs - available and ready to  be taken.

Example - The last copy of the DVD is up for grabs"

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To rise to the occasion

To rise to the occasion - to show that you can deal with a situation successfully.

Example - "In the exam, she rose to the occasion and wrote a brilliant essay"

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To make light of

To make light of - to act as if something is not serious, especially when it is serious.

Example - "They've both had knee injuries but the two friends make light of their weaknesses"

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Basket case

Basket case - someone who is crazy and unable to organize their life.

Example - "She'll never get a job. She's a basket case"

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

To take a dirt nap

To take a dirt nap - to die and to be buried.

Example - "I don't want to end up taking a dirt nap during this operation"

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Even-handed - fair and impartial in treatment or judgement.

Example - "I thought it was an even-handed assessment of her performance"

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Clean as a whistle

Clean as a whistle - perfectly clean.

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To throw somebody a curve ball

To throw somebody a curve ball - to surprise someone with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with.

Example - "Mother Nature threw us a curve ball last winter with record-breaking amounts of snow."

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

To pull something out of the air

To pull something out of the air - to produce something seemingly out of nowhere.

Example - "Where am I gonna get the money? I can't just pull it out of the air"

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To blow something out of proportion

To blow something out of proportion - to treat a particular event or problem far too serious.

Example - "It's ridiculous! We have a tiny argument and you blow the whole thing out of proportion"

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Snowboating - a show-off; to have a visibly exaggerated idea of one's skills.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Button it

Button it - a rude way of telling someone to stop talking.

Example - "Button it, ok!I'm trying to think"

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To hang your hat on

To hang your hat on - to depend on something.

Example - "The company's earnings were up to 70% last year, but I don't think you can hang your hat on that kind of growth"

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To sell something/someone short

To sell something/someone short - to underestimate the true value or worth of.

Example - "Don't sell your colleague short; she's a smart lawyer"

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Under someone's thumb

Under someone's thumb - under someone's control and management.

Example - "You can't keep your children under your thumb all their lives"

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Filled to the brim

Filled to the brim - filled up to the top edge.

Example - "I like my coffee filled to the brim"

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Crux of the matter

Crux of the matter - the most important point.

Example - "The crux of the matter is that attitudes have changed"

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Friday, May 13, 2016


Blithering - complete, utter.

Example - "He's a blithering idiot"

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Dead man

Dead man - a bottle after the contents have been drunk.

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To hedge one's bets

To hedge one's bets - to protect yourself against loss by supporting more than one possible result or both sides in a competition.

Example - "They're hedging their bets and keeping up contacts with both companies"

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Out of the woods

Out of the woods - out of danger or difficulty.

Example - "That pneumonia was serious but Charles is finally out of the woods"

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Off the hook

Off the hook - freed from an obligation; released from blame.

Example - "Once they found the real culprit, they let Mary off the hook"

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Common thread

Common thread - a similar idea or pattern to a series of events.

Example - "All of these incidents are related. There is a common thread to all this"

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Home stretch

Home stretch - the last part of an activity or campaign.

Example - "The political campaign is in the home stretch"

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Feisty - lively, determined and courageous.

Example - "This is a love story with a feisty heroine who's more than a pretty face"

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Monday, May 9, 2016

To make allowances for somebody/something

To make allowances for somebody/something - to consider particular things relating to someone/something.

Example - "We try to make allowances for our students' different language backgrounds"

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To swear by something

To swear by something - to strongly believe in something.

Example - "Though there's no scientific evidence for this method of finding water, some farmers swear by it"

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To swallow something hook, line and sinker

To swallow something hook, line and sinker - to believe something completely.

Example - "I made up a story about why I was so late. The boss swallowed it hook, line and sinker."

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Lackey - a person who is or acts like a weak servant of someone powerful.

Example - "Some celebrities are always surrounded by their lackeys"

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Friable - easily crumbled; easily broken into smaller pieces.

Example - "These are friable, so please hand them carefully"

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To manhandle

To manhandle - to handle roughly.

Example - "I was manhandled by the police"

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Phlegmatic - calm and composed; apathetic.

Example - "These girls, who are generally so phlegmatic, change their character on cleaning day and become frantic"

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Querulous - complaining in a rather petulant or whining manner.

Example - "She soon became a querulous and demanding person"

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Cagey - not willing to say everything that you know about something; hesitant about committing oneself.

Example - "He's cagey about what he was paid for his business"

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Friday, May 6, 2016

To pique someone's curiosity/interest

To pique someone's curiosity/interest - to arouse interest; to arouse curiosity.

Example - "The professor tried to pique the students' interests in French literature"

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Faint of heart

Faint of heart - people who are squeamish; someone who is sickened or disturbed by unpleasantness or challenge.

Example - "The pathway around the top of the volcano, near the crater, is not for the faint of heart"

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Whiz - a person who is very skilled at something.

Example - "I'm not a whiz at Math"

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Beleaguered - having a lot of problems and difficulties; put in a very difficult situation.

Example - "The arrival of the fresh medical supplies was a welcome sight for the beleaguered doctors working in the refugee campus"

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Bejeezus - used as an exclamation.

Example - "That bear scared the bejeezus out of us"

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Berserk - out of control with anger or excitement.

Example - "She went berserk when I told her about her husband"

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Wherever you go, there you are

Wherever you go, there you are - an admonition that one cannot run from one's problems indefinitely.

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Well-oiled - operating with efficiency.

Example - "Christina and Burke are a well-oiled machine."

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Out of my element

Out of my element - to be unhappy and feel uncomfortable in a particular situation.

Example - "When it comes to computers, I'm out of my element"

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Puny - small and weak; not very large.

Example - "I wouldn't mess with him - he makes bodybuilders look puny in comparison"

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To eat humble pie

To eat humble pie - to admit that you were wrong.

Example - "After boasting that his company could outperform the industry's best, he's been forced to eat humble pie"

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

At warp speed

At warp speed - an extremely rapid speed or state of activity.

Example - "Rumors always travel at warp speed"

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To put someone through the wringer

To put someone through the wringer - to give someone a difficult time; to make someone have a very unpleasant experience.

Example - "They really put me through the wringer in my interview"

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You have got to hand it to somebody

You have got to hand it to somebody - expression used to refer to someone who has done something successfully.

Example - "I mean, you have got to hand it to her. She's brought up three children on her own"

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Scrawny - unatractively thin and bony.

Example - "He had a scrawny physique and a protuberant Adam's apple"

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