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Q & A

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is willy-nilly an idioms


these days i am reading shakespeare





History of the idiom "banner day"
This means a special day, a wonderful day, and we've been celebrating such occasions since the beginning of time. If the word banner goes back to the 13th century, then it's fair to say we've been having banner days -- raising flags and pennants and waving colourful pieces of cloth to cheer our success-- ever since.

where did the expression "hooting on someone come from"
In Shakespeare's day it was common to shout approval at actors during a performance -- and the same was true about crying out and making sounds of disapproval. Hooting -- that is, whooping and shouting like a jackal -- was part of the jeering. The idiom hoot and hollar says just that: to make noise shouting and yelling. In sum, hooting on someone means to yell at them, though I imagine this could also be interpreted to mean blowing the whistle on someone. That is, to report someone's actions or misdeeds to the authorities.

turn in
Q - where did the phrase to turn in come from 
jbs - More research is required here.  I'll let you know shortly.
 
jbs - My research so far:  It would seem there is no answer.  It's just one of those verbal expressions that, over time, becomes accepted.  It may have started in the 1500s -- or it may have started in the late 1600s.  Then again, the expression may have been first used in 1700.  But if, as is the case, we find it in the writings of those periods, then it stands to reason that it was something  understood, just as we understand the meaning of a lost book that turns up, a beggar at the door that you turn away, a silly photo of someone whose toes turn in , of you turning on a radio, or of an addict who turns on (something), or, perhaps,  a captured animal that is turned loose in the wild.  So it goes, the world turns...     

burning platform - this is descriptive, but I don't know of what. More details would help.

Why are cats holy in Holy Cats?
We aren't quite certain why, though some think it's an alternative to saying Holy cow! and we owe that exclamation to Hindus who believe that cows are sacred. In English, both are used and are interchangeable. They express surprise, delight, or astonishment. "Holy cats, I passed my examinations!" "Holy cow, who would have thought!"

Swimming on a dry riverbed
When a river goes dry, all that's left is a riverbed devoid of water. You can't swim in nothing, so this means someone will make no progress whatsoever. He is going nowhere and doing nothing but flopping his arms.

Can't carry a tune in a bucket
where does the expression "can't carry a tune in a bucket" come from?
There's more than a little sarcasm here. A person who can't carry a tune is unable to sing a song in the key in which it was written. I'll post the idiom for you explaining that.
You can carry many things in a bucket, so if it's said someone can't even carry it in a bucket is a harsh way of saying they are totally unable to carry a tune.



What's it mean betting dollars to donuts?
In making a bet, the one who says "I bet you dollars to donuts is saying he's so sure he will win that he would gladly put up a stake of money to a stake of donuts. If he loses, he gives over money. If he loses, he wins donuts. Therefore, he has to be pretty sure of himself. "I bet you dollars to donuts it will rain tomorrow." In the UK, donuts are spelled doughnuts.

Cool

He ran like nobody's business? Why nobody's busness?
It's not known exactly when or how -- or even why -- this expression came about, but it means to do something in an excellent manner, or to do something quickly, or to do it thoroughly. It's done well and perfectly. "My brother can play the piano like nobody's business." "Dion can cook spaghetti like nobody's business. And by the way, she can clean house like nobody's business too. It takes me all day, but she's done with it in an hour. "

origin of "goodness gracious, land sakes alive"
What is the origin of the idiom "pay a visit"?
What is the origin of hit the books?
What is the origin of " caught my eye"
You ask about origins, but who knows where many of our idioms come from. Most can be found to go back a long, long time, and we can only guess what the speakers had in mind. Definitions are another matter, and I'm always glad to help you there. Goodness gracious, (land) sakes alive, for example. Here's what I previously wrote about that: An exclamation of surprise and wonder. It's a bit dated, but it's still nice hearing it. "Oh, look! Goodness gracious sakes alive, there's that handsome guy we saw on television last night!"


pay a visit: we accept that in this phrase pay means to call on someone, to stop in. "My brother paid me a visit yesterday."
hit the books. Again, we accept that hit means to begin doing something, which in this instance is to read. An ice skater might hit the ice, while a football player hits the football pitch. With books, it means to start reading.
catch one's eye You are suddenly alerted to something you see. Your eye (your vision) is "caught" by it. "Fergus was walking alone down the busy street when a galloping horse rushed by catching his eye.

what is the figure of speech in this sentence: Once in a blue moon, we don't get homework.
There actually is an origin to once in a blue moon. On rare occasions a month will have two moons. This occurs once every two or three years on our calendar. From that, something happening every now and then becomes in a blue moon. Why blue? Because sometimes the moon might appear blue to some people at some time on some days while in some position in the sky. Once again, it's a question of origins: someone thought the moon looked blue, and because it was a rare moon,...well, that's the way it is with idioms. Forever after, it is once in a blue moon -- and in the sentence you present, it's a rare occasion when the class does not get a homework assignment.

billy bargain
It means nothing. It's a business name.

What is the origin of stick together?
Stick (v. intr.) has the meaning of being faithful, enduring, being loyal, remaining constant. So it's understandable that lovers, friends, people in a family stick together, whether in times of love or during a time of hardship. And I definitely and positively stick by that explanation.

What is the history/origin for: Got my eye on you?
From the verb to eye, eyed, eyeing/eying = to watch carefully, to look at closely,
to study (with the eyes), to fix the eyes on. Origin? Way, way back in time.
/

what is the idiom of the sentence ''If you ask me, my grandmother has eyes in the back of her head
It's not just grandmothers's who have eyes in the back of the head. Teachers do, too. And your boss certainly has. In fact, if you look around you you will probably find that anyone who's checking on you, observing you (for whatever reason), or "keeping an eye on you " (see above) has eyes in the back of his/her head. It's a way of saying someone senses what you are doing or knows pretty well what's going on around them. Remember what I said about teachers and bosses and you'll never go wrong by doing wrong.

nice

spread our wings as a new nation
what do these two idioms mean? we spread our wings as a new nation
WE SPREAD OUR WINGS AS A NEW NATION what does that mean
Judging from the number of times this question has been asked, I'm of the opinion that this remark appears on a test or in a text somewhere. Fortunately, my answer today is the same as it was before. And the answer is... >
When baby birds reach a certain stage of development, they flap their wings as they think about flying. And then, finally spreading them, they jump from the nest. Wheeeee, they have gained the confidence to set out on their own and to be independent. They have shown a willingness to try new things and assert themselves. That's what is meant by spread one's wings, and it's but a small step (to mix metaphors) to imagine what is meant when a new nation spreads its wings. If you have the exact place where this appears, and in which phrase, we'd be happy if you'd share it with us. Thanks, jbs


in 1812 we hit a big snag
Here is what I wrote when someone previously asked about hitting a snag:
It means in 1812 we hit a problem. That's what a snag means here. It's a hang-up. In 1812 Napoleon captured Moscow. His plan to conquer Russia hit a snag, however, when the snow and the freezing cold drove him back to France. Tolstoy (War And Peace) wrote of it: "Millions of people went from west to east and slaughtered each other to no purpose, all because one man told them to." That's beginning to sound all too familiar, don't you think!


let ideas incubate
To incubate is to keep warm (as a mother hen keeps her eggs warm) until ready to develop. In fact, hens are said to incubate their eggs. From that, you can see that if you have an idea that's not entirely formed, the best thing to do is to sit on it (wait) a while. Let the idea form or develop in its entirety. Then act. "Bell had an idea. He'd like to have something that would allow him to transmit his voice so his deaf wife could hear. Not sure of himself, he let the idea incubate until he eventually devised such a contraption. In time, of course, his invention would be known as a telephone."
NOTE OF DISCLOSURE: Alexander Graham Bell was my great, great uncle, and yes, his wife was deaf and no, he did not set out to invent the telephone. He wanted, as he said, to create an instrument "to conquer his wife's silence." In effect, he wanted to make a hearing aid.


what does this idiom mean i only asked one friend to help me build the boat
It doesn't seem that we have an idiom here. What we have is someone building a boat with a friend, and only one friend, not a whole bunch of friends. I'm curious to know what kind of boat that would be. A sail boat? A row boat? Perhaps it's just a toy boat they can sail in the bathtub.

where did the phrase to turn in come from
More research is required here. I'll let you know shortly.
My research so far: It would seem there is no answer. It's just one of those verbal expressions that, over time, becomes accepted. It may have started in the 1500s -- or it may have started in the late 1600s. Then again, the expression may have been first used in 1700. But if, as is the case, we find it in the writings of those periods, then it stands to reason that it was something understood, just as we understand the meaning of a lost book that turns up, a beggar at the door that you turn away, a silly photo of someone whose toes turn in , of you turning on a radio, or of an addict who turns on (something), or, perhaps, a captured animal that is turned loose in the wild. So it goes, the world turns...

get a bead on
Get a bead on something. This can be said as have a bead, get a bead, or draw a bead. They all mean the same thing: to have something or someone as one's objective. A bead is a small raised spot (it might even look like a bead) at the end of a gun barrel that is used when aiming. The person aims at a target by pointing the bead at it. But this idiom is used to indicate having something in one's sight. "I have a bead on that pretty girl in my class with the lovely eyes." "He drew a bead on a future in television even as a young boy.


believe you me. Is it from French?
You frequently find this kind of construction --verb-subject-object-- in the King James version of the Bible because at one time such constructions were acceptable in Early Modern English. It's not French, it just looks that way. It's an emphatic -- and acceptable -- way of saying believe me you.




If one of us grandkids made a loud noise (i.e. fell on floor), my German grandma would yell, "Did somebody make a grease spot in there?" Where did that saying come from? Is it German or English? A literal English translation of a German idiom?
This is an old expression, not necessarily German. I'm going to research it further, but it would seem that your Grandmother was pretty sharp to pick this one up. In German it would be "einen fettfleck" (a fat spot) so it's not likely something your Grandmother brought from Germany. What she was alluding to (as a joke) was that from the sound of it, it would appear that someone had just been killed -- and there was nothing left of that person except a grease spot on the floor. Your Grandmother had a great sense of humour!

The nose knows These two words sound alike, but have different meanings. At the same time, it states a truism. We determine many things by taste and many things by smell. If we are blindfolded and someone has us smell a rose, we will be able to determine that it is a nose because the nose knows. So it's a play on words, but it makes all the sense in the world.

what is the origin of the proverb get down to nuts and bolts. When putting something together, the basic parts may very well be its nuts and its bolts. As in a robot, for instance. So this, as you know, means to get to the basics. The same thing is expressed as getting to the nitty-gritty and getting down to brass tacks.
The origin? We just don't know.


Goodness gracious sakes alive An exclamation of surprise and wonder. It's a bit dated, but it's still nice hearing it. "Oh, look! Goodness gracious sakes alive, there's that handsome guy we saw on television last night!"

to chip in? & a clip joint. To chip in is to help by contributing something. It's generally used with respect to money, but it can also be used to describe helping out physically. "We're buying a gift for Nell, so let's all chip in so we can buy her something nice." "Danny was sick and didn't come to work today so I chipped in and helped to do his job."

Quick as Jack Robinson?
This just means fast. It's origin is uncertain, but it's been recorded as early as the late 1700s. It's also expressed as before you can say Jack Robinson. Jack Robinson was a common name in 18th century England. "I saw a huge bear in the woods, but quick as you can say Jack Robinson, it vanished." "I'll put several cup cakes on the table, but you'd better be quick as Jack Robinson or they'll soon be gone."



What's the origin of "two can play at that game"?
If someone does something you disapprove of, if an enemy uses a tactic against you, or if in a contest a person uses a trick in an attempt to defeat you, you can do the same to them using a similar method. Their scheme or trick or method is the "game" referred to here. "The enemy plans a surprise attack at dawn. Well, two can play at that game, we'll attack them just after midnight." It's from the French: deux peuvent jour a ce jeu.

Sakes aluve
You mean sakes alive! It's an exclamation, sometimes of surprise. "Sakes alive, what's Johnny doing up a tree?" "You must be more careful crossing the street. Sakes alive, a car could hit you!"

on the money and dead certain?
This means correct, exactly right. It's probably from horse racing. If you bet on a horse and it won, you got money. It's often expressed as right on the money. "The weatherman's prediction of rain was on the money, look at it coming down!"

dead certain
Absolutely certain. No doubt about it. "The weatherman said he was dead certain it was going to rain today." "I'm dead certain I heard an owl outside my window last night."

What is the meaning of dry riverbanks? Which type of figure of speech is this?
Rivers have banks, one on either side. When the level of the river falls, the banks are dry and exposed. In the deserts of the American west, you see many dry riverbanks. Nothing in the river at all. Then it rains, and suddenly the rivers are flowing again. Soon the water vanishes again, leaving dry riverbanks.
That's about all there is to understanding dry riverbanks.


The source of the "Gravy" idiom is comments from Cardinal Dolan about the new Pope Francis and a question from an English language teacher in Argentina about the idiom.

[Cardinal Dolan said in an interview after the conclave that “Catholic is part of their DNA” in Argentina. With Cardinal Bergoglio as pope, he said, “think of the electricity that is going to send.”

But he said that country of origin was not the main factor for the cardinals who elected him.

“Most cardinals just want to choose the right man,” he said. The pope should be a good pastor, governor and communicator. “He fills those bills. Where he comes from is gravy. And we’ve got a lot of good gravy.”

"He fills the bills." is clear, but the "gravy" not so clear.
Thanks.

Where he comes from is gravy.
I'll need something more to figure this one out. Can you give me the exact sentence?
Ahh, I think I've got it...and thanks for taking the time to elaborate the question for me. In slang, "gravy" means something extra, something unexpected. On top of everything, it's an added bonus. So, we see that the new man selected to be Pope has a number of good points in his favour, and in addition, where he comes from, being Catholic is said to be part of everyone's DNA. That's the "gravy" referred to.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF: NOT WORTH BEING NAUGHTY FOR
Let's assume that being naughty means doing something not quite moral or legal. In other words, something a little bit risqué or spicy. Or even something a little wrong. Now Eddie might say, "I'd like to skip school today, but if I got caught I'd be punished. So the little pleasure I'd get from skipping school isn't worth being naughty for." That's Eddie's experience. You could probably write your own, yes?

bone honest
Absolutely, totally honest.

In A Tizzy?
To be excited, worried, or confused. Can be expressed as in a tizzy, get into a tizzy, thrown into a tizzy. "The change in our work schedule has me in a tizzy." "It's thrown me into a tizzy too." "Don't get into a tizzy, we'll soon get used to it."

what does "in the 11th hour" means?
The 11th hour / the eleventh hour means at the last possible moment. Think of a clock, and think of an hour before it strikes midnight. That's the 11th hour. “The school dance was cancelled at the 11th hour, just before the tickets were printed and a band was hired.”
“I thought no school had accepted me, but at the 11th hour I got a call from the one I really wanted to attend.
"

what idiom can be used for "to spread light while fire"

give me a sentence for this idiom "to spread light while fire"

what does "to spread light while fire" means?

I think this is an analogy. A wildfire is a fire that spreads rapidly – and you only have to think of the recent fires in Australia to know what I mean by that. There's an expression, spreads like wildfire, meaning something that moves quickly. “ That new computer virus has spread like wildfire. Everyone's in danger of being infected.”
But perhaps this isn't what you're after. If that's true, there's no idiom or expression of any kind matching what you've presented. Is it possible you heard or read it wrong?


to teach a child manners while it's still young This isn' t an idiom, merely a suggestion about when to teach manners.

get a bead on it

Get a bead on something. This can be said as have a bead, get a bead, or draw a bead. They all mean the same thing: to have something or someone as one's objective. A bead is a small raised spot (it might even look like a bead) at the end of a gun barrel that is used when aiming. The person aims at a target by pointing the bead at it. But this idiom is used to indicate having something in one's sight. "I have a bead on that pretty girl in my class with the lovely eyes." "He drew a bead on a future in television even as a young boy.

If you buy a bike for him you will pay through the nose
You will pay a great deal of money for it. The bike is costly.

shot to hell
Answer: Shot is a contemporary way of saying something is worthless. Ruined. Destroyed . "My car's shot. I can't even get it started." -- Shot to hell merely adds emphasis. It's descriptive. "My car's no good, the motor's shot to hell" You might also use this to say you're exhausted. "I can't play tennis . I'm tired. I feel really shot to hell today."

what idiom can be used for 'a little far away'?
Here are a few ways of saying something is nearby:
at close range
close by
close in
close to home
* (this doesn't necessarily refer to one's home: it can also refer to
something that affects one personally. Example: Joe's talk about people being laid off hit close to home. I'm worried it could happen to me."
close at hand
near at hand
within arm's reach



What's two a penny mean?
If it's two-a-penny it's plentiful or cheap. "It wasn't long ago that flash drives were expensive, but today they're two-a-penny."

And also, gobbledegook.
Language that's convoluted, mixed up, hard to understand, a bit of a mess. Or at least it seems that way. It's difficult to understand. "I have to file an insurance claim, but I can't understand my policy. It's all a bunch of gobbledygook. " This is sometimes written as gobbledygoo," which is a a play on the way a baby might talk: Goo, goo, goo...etc.

origin of watching paint dry
I can't find the origin, but it's probably from the 1960s. It means something is extremely boring. "To me, watching a game of cricket is like watching paint dry."


Itsie-bitsie??
This means very small. It's probably a play on the words little bit, and is spelled all sorts of ways, including itsy-bitsy. Teeny-weeny means the same thing, as does teensy-weensy. There was a song in 1960 describing a bikini bathing suit worn by a girl: "She wore an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini..." and so forth. Since then, the young lady in the bikini would be in her late 60s or early 70s, in which case the yellow polka dot bikini probalby would no longer fit her. But I could be wrong...
By the way, I note you can Google "Yellow Poka Dot Bikini" and hear the song. Give it a spin, as they used to say way back then! I'll make it easy for you, here's the site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICkWjdQuK7Q


the origin and explaining the meaning of the expression “time flies”. Include
Virgil, a Roman poet. About 50 BC. He wrote Tempus fugit in a poem , which means time flees. The Latin inscription appears on sundials and sunclocks throughout Europe to remind us that time is passing by quickly. Therefore, we should be aware of that and use time wisely.


what do 3 nickel bells have to do with Christmas Nickel bells are bells made of nickel or nickel plated. The only thing the have to do with Christmas is that you can ring a bell made of nickel or plated with nickel at Christmas. Or New Years. Or on your birthday. So it's descriptive, nothing more.

Where does beforehand come from
If something is at hand, it is available now. You can reach out with your hand (physically or metaphorically) and touch it. If it's before+hand, it was there at the start, or in advance, or previously.

have at it
This is the same as saying go do it, or give it a try. "I'm feeling so good, I could probably climb Mount Everest today." Buster said. "Have at it, his lovely wife answered with a smile on her face. "There's an opening at the bank for someone with my qualifications. I think I'll have at it" Ken said.

Can you tell me what fair dinkum is?
This is Australian. It means "real" or "genuine". "Is it true Billy's getting married?" "Tommy told me it's fair dinkum."
There's another dinkum lurking in Australia, and that's hard dinkum This one means "hard work". "Bing's studying for his examinations. Getting through med school sure takes a lot of hard dinkum." "


And fair to middlin?
It should be middling, a word meaning middle or moderate (of quality, size, feeling, degree). The expression you ask about, fair to middling , can mean "not bad," "so-so," or "not super, but better than average." Examples: "How do I feel today? Oh, fair to middling, I guess." "I only did a fair to middling job cutting my own hair." "If you're walking, it's a long way to Oxford, but I'd say the distance from here to Banbury is fair to middling." "My apple crop is only fair to middling this year," farmer Kirby said.

what does "He has quite a few baseball cards" mean?
Here's Wikipedia's page on and about baseball cards. The term does not apply to cards shaped like baseballs, nor to baseballs shaped like cards. Have a look> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_card

hang game to dry Sorry, not an idiom. It's an instruction (If I have this right) to hang a game animal up to dry. You can read all about it, and see a photo, at this site:
http://honest-food.net/2012/10/20/on-hanging-pheasants-2/

what does "don't go swimming in a dry river bed" means? It sounds to me like a bit of dry wisdom. Of course you can't go swimming in a dry river.

How this projector can be used while swimming?
Sorry, I've no idea what this means. The only projector that comes to mind is a motion picture projector, and it's not likely that would be used while swimming. Unless, of course, someone out of the water is is operating it. Give me the context for this, please.

"get the key at the table with a blue covered book and a bottle of water"
It seems straightforward enough: the table with the blue book and a bottle of water on it is where you'll find the key.

anyone know what this means? someone told me this and i can't understand what it means

Ringing the changes
To do something in a different way, often to make it more appealing or interesting. This is from ringing church bells, the 'changes' referring to the set of bells being rung in a different sequence to change the tune or melody. "Fashion designers are looking forward to the autumn season when they can ring the changes with their latest designs."

Give a hoot??
To have no interest, to care not. The hoot here (it's Scottish) means a small amount. This is usually said as "I don't give a hoot, " or "Who gives a hoot?" Or even "No one gives a hoot." “I wasn't invited to Beth's party, but who gives a hoot? I sure don't!”

step on your toes
To step on someone's toes is to offend someone by doing something they normally do. At a job, for instance, to respond to someone else's telephone calls would certainly be an offensive act. You would be stepping on their toes. Or to go over someone's head by doing something that's really their job. “It's Joan's duty to arrange the office floral display, and even though I think I can do a better job of it I'm not going to step on her toes and do it.”

knock it out of the ball park
This is from the game of baseball. A person hitting a ball so hard that it flies out of the park has done exceptionally well. It's what everyone goes to a game to see. As a metaphor, it means to do very well at something. “The crowd thought the president really hit the ball out of the ballpark when he spoke of working to improve everyone's living standard.”

cut a rug
No matter where we are or what we're doing, if we feel like dancing all we have to do is turn on a radio. However, in the 1920's radios and phonographs were brand new inventions, and instead of going out to a nightclub people found they could turn on their radios or wind up their phonographs and dance at home. And at home, of course, there would be rugs on the floors. Dancing on one was likely to cut it up or shred it. Even though they'd usually roll a rug out of the way, they took to speaking of the act of dancing as cutting a rug. Even today, it means to dance. “Hey, Sparky's having a party tonight. Want to go with me to his house and cut a rug?”

Jacked in
Cords or lines to earphones, to radios, CD players etc. have phone jacks. That's the plug, and we plug in to make a connection. Said another way, we jack in. So it is in this modern world that one thing leads to another, thus when we are busy at work (for instance) we are jacked in . We are hooked up. So it goes.

Goodness gracious sakes alive! historical origin/meaning?
The uttering of oaths has a changing history. The ancient Greeks and Romans (in the pre-Christian era) thought it was appropriate – and often necessary – to call out in despair or to summon help by citing the name of a god or goddess. While calling out the name of a god after hitting one's thumb with a hammer might make a person feel better, in the early 1400s religious folk began to disapprove. They believed the words God, Lord and Christ were too sacred to be uttered in a non-religious way, and since we went on banging our thumbs we had to find another way of expressing ourselves. Since it was agreed that God was both good and gracious, those became substitute words. “Goodness, gracious, I hit my thumb with a hammer!” “Goodness me, I forgot Dion's birthday!” “Oh, gracious, where's Jill? She's late again!”
tries and turns where does this saying come from
I don't find this as an idiom. It seems to be someone's way of expressing him/her self.


Where does saying "good darts" come from
From the game of darts. You score well, someone cheers you. They call out "good darts". And that's about the extent of it. Not an idiom, however.

whats the saying as high as There has to be more to this. Such as high as a mountain, high as a kite (someone intoxicated or on drugs).

In my family there used to be a phrase "go chase yourself up a tree." I think I know what it means but could you share your insight on it, if any.
My first insight is that you have a clever family. My second one is that they are telling you to go away. Or they could be shrugging off something you said. This probably has the same meaning as get lost!

what does the expression "in a nutshell" mean?
This means to say something concisely. To sum it up using just a few words. This goes back a long, long way – all the way back to the lst century B.C. when the Roman politician/philosopher Cicero remarked that someone had copied all 24 books of Homer's epic poem The Iliad in writing so tiny that the entire thing could fit into a single walnut shell. That led to the saying, “The Iliad in a nutshell,” which comes to us today as in a nutshell. “I can't remember all he said, but in a nutshell, he told me how much he enjoyed his trip to Singapore.”

where does ready as a calf come from?
There's no such idiom, no such proverb. My search turns up nothing whatsoever. Sorry

I've posted something. Please read the Blog. JBS

What does the phrase "working it" mean?
Usually this would mean to be doing something. To be working. Those who lift weights are working it. and so too is a taxi driver busy on his shift. But it's possible there's more to this, something contemporary. I'll see what I can turn up.

I'm not worth a plugges nickel
Almost from the beginning of time, counterfeiters have been busy manufacturing false coins, often by removing some of the good metal from them and replacing it with an inferior or cheap grade metal. It was said the coins were 'plugged,' which may or may not be the reason that a worthless or inferior horse in the 17th century was called 'a plug horse'. Much later, and in the US, a small coin made partly of nickel and valued at five cents was known as 'a nickel.' Once again, there were counterfeiters who busied themselves making fake nickels, and naturally they were inferior, and of course they were worthless, which is why they were soon termed plugged nickels'. That gave birth to the idiom, not worth a plugged nickel, and I can see you have already guessed that it refers to something worthless. “This darn camera, I don't like it! It's not worth a plugged nickel.” “So the Godfather said, 'Obey me, or your life ain't worth a plugged nickel.'

The idiom "We spread our wings as a new nation." is found in the story of Francis Scott Key and how he came to write the "Star Spangled Banner." Also the same story asks the meaning of "in 1812 we hit an big snag." Now do you have another meaning for these two idioms?
1812 we hit a big sang. what does it mean?

Here is what I wrote when someone previously asked about hitting a snag:

It means in 1812 we hit a problem. That's what a snag means here. It's a hang-up. In 1812 Napoleon captured Moscow. His plan to conquer Russia hit a snag, however, when the snow and the freezing cold drove him back to France. Tolstoy (War And Peace) wrote of it: "Millions of people went from west to east and slaughtered each other to no purpose, all because one man told them to." That's beginning to sound all too familiar, don't you think!




hell freezes over?
It is said that hell is fiery and hot. That's someone's guess, of course. Accepting that it is, it isn't likely to ever have ice anywhere. This, therefore, is a bit of sarcasm, as in these examples: "Billy asked me for a date, and I said sure, when hell freezes over." " I asked Bob for a loan so I could buy a car and assured me he'd give me a million dollars the day hell freezes over.

what does peanut gallery mean ?
Scroll down, scroll down -- and all will be answered!

swimming in apples
Descriptive.
Examples: Luke won the lottery. He's swimming in riches now.
John's swimming in work.-- etc.
As I said, merely descriptive.


Why do we say something is earmarked? why earmark?
The dictionary meaning of earmark is ' to mark in a distinguishing manner,' which is what was physically done to sheep, starting in the 16th century. Much for the same reason that branding is done to cows with a hot iron, a cut or notch was made on the ear of each sheep so the farmer could tell which were his. It also helped him to identify one if, as was often the case, someone stole it. That's still done to animals, though when we say something is earmarked it's because it, too, has an identifying feature. “The money in our club's treasury has been earmarked to take care of any building repairs.” “The county council has decided not to earmark any new land for walking trails.” “The UN has earmarked whales as a threatened species.”

i found to spread ou wings as a new nation in a pece of paper our teacher gave us
This question is frequently asked. I've been told that it appears as a remark in an examination paper. The answer -- please look for it -- can be found by scrolling down...

Where the rubber meets the road??
There's some uncertainty about the origin of this, but it's assumed that it's American. Apparently it was used in a television commercial for automobile tires in the 60's and 70s, meaning that you can praise your car or your driving aiblities all you want but when getting into your car, the important part of your car are it's tires -- and they'd better be good! Tires, then, are the rubber things mentioned here. This image is now enlarged to include just about anything of importance, as in this example: “Janet says she's a good cook, but where the rubber meets the road is in the kitchen, and I've yet to sample one of her meals.”


no comment from the peanut gallery?
Long before we had movie theatres and long before we had television, people actually went out of their homes to be entertained. In Britain they went to what were called music halls to watch jugglers, dancers, singers and performances by comedians. The same type of variety shows in the US were staged in what were called vaudeville theatres, and just as popcorn is the favourite snack at the cinema today, eating peanuts was the snack of choice at music halls and vaudeville theatres. The refined folks had the best seats close to the stage, while the cheap seats were high up in the balcony. Crowds up there could often be loud and rowdy, and when something in the performance displeased them they threw their peanut shells onto those below. The advent of motion pictures pretty much put an end to the music hall and to vaudeville, but the term peanut gallery lingers on. It used to refer to a crowd of ordinary folks whose opinions weren’t considered important, though I note that in our electronic age it has come to mean people in a social network audience who watch but don’t participate in chat rooms, forums, etc. They are, in fact, silent watchers, which is the absolute opposite of the original meaning of the peanut gallery.

Get my drift?

what do these two idioms mean? we spread our wings as a new nation
WE SPREAD OUR WINGS AS A NEW NATION what does that mean
Judging from the number of times this question has been asked, I'm of the opinion that this remark appears on a test or in a text somewhere. Fortunately, my answer today is the same as it was before. And the answer is... >
When baby birds reach a certain stage of development, they flap their wings as they think about flying. And then, finally spreading them, they jump from the nest. Wheeeee, they have gained the confidence to set out on their own and to be independent. They have shown a willingness to try new things and assert themselves. That's what is meant by spread one's wings, and it's but a small step (to mix metaphors) to imagine what is meant when a new nation spreads its wings. If you have the exact place where this appears, and in which phrase, we'd be happy if you'd share it with us. Thanks, jbs





Poor as a mouse in church?
What you have in mind is the idiom poor as a church mouse. Unlike a mouse living in a house, a mouse living in a church isn't likely to find any food. As it is necessary to have money to have food, this mouse would very likely be a thin and hungry mouse -- and very poor. So poor as a church mouse means to be quite poor. Here's a hard-to-believe example. "He was poor as a church mouse living in a cold attic and sleeping on the floor, but the sale of his novel to Hollywood made him fabuously rich overnight."

What is wig out? thanks.
Wig out began as a slang expression within the American jazz community (circa 1940) where a wig was an eccentric or perhaps even crazy person. That gave birth to the verb to wig , meaning to become excited or to act a bit crazy. Subsequent generations – notably young people that were called Beatniks -- picked it up to describe being very impressed or excited. “Last night’s sunset wigged me out.” “This new Beatles’ record “wigs me out.” Along came the next generation, the Hippies, and they used the words to describe someone who, because of the misuse of drugs, had lost contact with reality. “”There were paramedics at the rock concert to treat any spectators who wigged out.” To simplify, this can mean to be delighted or excited -- or it can describe being removed from reality due to the influence of drugs.

If anyone can share me a meaning of treat two ways road as one way. Thank you very much.
I'm not sure of this. Can one of our readers help out?

where is this book available?
You can go to AMAZON.COM
or try this link:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Smithback&x=17&y=25

to muck up
To make a mess of something, especially by doing it improperly. "The last time Tim worked on my computer he really mucked it up.

Take the micky out of?
To tease of make fun of someone. This is strictly British. Most people in the US wouldn't have any idea what it means. "My friends took the mickey out of me when I went to Jill's halloween party dressed like a cowboy."

My Aunt said she may not have a car so she'll 'have to shine her pony'
Said with humour, I'm sure. If the aunt had a car, she'd polish and wax it. Not having one...well, you can see her joke.

what is the meaning of don't (go) swimming on a dry river bed?
It sounds as though this means you must prepare yourself before doing something...such as putting water in the river before swimming in it. Like the above comment, this seems to have a bit of humour attached to it.

You are toast?? Why toast?
This is a clever (?) way of saying that you are in trouble. Someone said it once (perhaps on television) so it's now become a popular, much-used, expression.
"You take my books and you're toast!" "If I don't get work on time I'll be toast."

.


What does I have a bead on it mean?
Scroll down just a bit and you'll find the answer >>

SNAKE-OIL MERCHANT In certain cultures and at different times there has been a belief that the oil from snakes possess certain magical qualities. Those with a personal interest in making money invent numerous claims about such an oil, and they put various liquids into a bottle to sell to those willing to believe them. Such promoters are called snake-oil merchants , and what they sell may or may not actually contain the oil of a snake. Because there is no way of proving that their bottled stuff will prevent blindness, grow hair on the bald, increase one’s intelligence, restore a man’s potency – to name but a few things their snake oil is promised to do – the promoters of these products -- snake-oil merchants -- are universally thought to be quacks, phoneys, con men, frauds, and charlatans. From that, someone promoting a product or an idea or a principle that others disagree with or think of as bad, false or unattainable are referred to as snake-oil merchants. I invite you to look at this page

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Snake-oil+%22&hl=en&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=djCrTeeWH4GmsQPNsen5DA&ved=0CDYQsAQ&biw=1276&bih=788

to see some of the crazy promotions these merchants have created.




Sorry, I forgot my e-mail: mmmvv1@hotmail.nl.
Again thanks.

Dear Sir / Madam. I'm looking for the exact meaning of the phrase "out on it!" I've seen explanations as "shame on you", but that isn't right in the context. The context is: Ebenezer was adamant. "Out on it, then!" his father cried at last. "Wed the whore a second time when our case is won, and be damned!"

Maybe in Dutch "voor de dag er mee!"; this is in English "out with it!"

Thank you in advance.
Machiel van Veen.
Amsterdam.
The Netherlands.

Hello Machiel -
From what little research I've been able to do, out on it appears to be a somewhat archaic British expression, perhaps regional, and in the context you give me I believe it's said as an indication of resignation: "Well, so be it, get on with it then!"
I'm not sure about the Dutch translation you suggest. My translator gives me "for the day." That's not the way I read the comment.
I'm going to post this answer on our internet site as I'm certain your question has piqued the curiosity of others...
Thanks. John



THAT'S RICH
That’s rich has two meanings, one old and one new. The old one was a remark used to remind someone that they were being critical of someone for something they themselves were guilty of. “Maggie complains that no one has decent manners anymore. That’s rich! Have you seen how she behaves when she goes shopping?”
The second (new) meaning is the same as saying “That’s great!,” “That’s wonderful!,” or “That’s cool!” “Sadie is going to go to the UK to study. I think that’s rich!”




What's it mean when someone who is an apple polisher?
To apple polish / An apple-polisher: A student wishing to please a teacher might present him or her with an apple that he or she has rubbed and rubbed until it has a perfect shine. Sometimes a student does that to win favour or to attract attention so he or she can receive special treatment in return.
That’s the origin of this term. “The new worker looks like an apple-polisher. Look, she’s bringing home-made cakes for the boss!” “Why don’t we do a little apple-polishing ourselves and bring the boss some chocolates?”



have you been asked 'get down to brass tacks'?

Snug as a bug?
We have Benjamin Franklin to thank for this remark. He compared being warm and comfortable to a bug living snugly in a rug. Snug means to fit closely and comfortably. I don’t think old Ben actually had bugs living in his rug, but because bug and snug rhyme, he thought the words go nicely together. “It’s cold out but I’m snug as a bug in a rug indoors by the fire.” “I’ve put the children to bed,” mother said. “They’re snug as a couple of bugs in a rug and went right to sleep,” she smiled.

Yeah, and cute as a bug's ear?
Bugs don’t have ears. That doesn’t matter, because this is a way of saying a person (usually a young one) is quite cute. “Betsy’s child is cute as a bug’s ear, don’t you agree?”

A clean slate. Why a clean one? Why slate?
Years ago children went to school carrying small slate tablets ( pieces of blackboard stone) and chalk, and on them they would write lessons, do mathematical calculations, and make notes. They also carried pieces of felt to erase their work. They began their day with a clean slate, (meaning there was nothing on their little blackboards) and at the end of their studies they would wipe their slates clean) -- meaning they would remove everything from them. Today, to begin or start with a clean slate is to begin something anew by putting previous things behind you. “I had a terrible day at the office yesterday, but today I’m going to start with a clean slate by not even thinking about it.” As you can see, the speaker has decided to wipe his slate clean by not referring to his previous problems.

I heard this on tv: you nailed it.
This is a recent expression, meaning "You have done it exactly right." Probably a takeoff from the older "Hit the nail on the head."

What does fit as a fiddle mean?
This expression goes back to the time of Shakespeare. He didn't use it in his writings, but those around him probably did. It describes being in the best possible physical condition. Why a fiddle (a violin)? Because a fiddle wouldn't sound well if it was not in the best condition. Also, the words, fit and fiddle (both beginning with the letter F ) go nicely together. That's known as 'alliteration.' (That's a good word - go look it up!) "I was ill yesterday, but today I feel fit as a fiddle.


What does "have a bead on" mean?

what does "got a bead on it" mean?
Get a bead on something. This can be said as have a bead, get a bead, or draw a bead. They all mean the same thing: to have something or someone as one's objective. A bead is a small raised spot (it might even look like a bead) at the end of a gun barrel that is used when aiming. The person aims at a target by pointing the bead at it. But this idiom is used to indicate having something in one's sight. "I have a bead on that pretty girl in my class with the lovely eyes." "He drew a bead on a future in television even as a young boy.



Photocopiers can smell your fear
This certainly isn't an idiom. It's someone's way of expressing an idea--though I have no idea what he/she was thinking to make such a comment. Perhaps a dislike of photocopiers? Who knows?

Run cirles around
If I am running in a straight line and are too, but you run so fast you can run around and around me as we go, you are doing a super job! In the same way, if you can do something very much better than someone else, you run circles around them. “I’m pretty fast with a calculator, but Jenny runs circles around me with one.” “We have a good product. I believe it will run circles around anything made by our competitors.


Off colour?

It's easier to take the mud off the shoes when it's dry.What does this mean?
Wet soil (mud) is sticky. When mud dries, it becomes hard. Therefore, hitting the shoe causes the dry substance to fall off. This is a sticky problem, though not an idiom, of course. The British wear high boots called Wellies so they don't have to clean mud from their shoes. They leave the dirty boots outside their doors. Wellies is the short form for Wellingtons, those rubber or plastic boots that go nearly up to your knees. A man maned Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, invented them, hence their name.

1812 we hit a big sang. what does it mean?
It means in 1812 we hit a problem. That's what a snag means here. It's a hang-up. In 1812 Napoleon captured Moscow. His plan to conquer Russia hit a snag, however, when the snow and the freezing cold drove him back to France. Tolstoy (War And Peace) wrote of it: "Millions of people went from west to east and slaughtered each other to no purpose, all because one man told them to." That's beginning to sound all too familiar, don't you think!


What does the nose knows mean? I'm not sure. I think it has something to do with a sense of intuition.
This is a clever way of saying that you have foreknowledge of something, and yes, it could mean someone senses it. I say clever because nose and knows rhyme.

what is the meaning for give it all you got
This means to do all in your power or to do everything you possibly can. Example: "I gave it all had but I still didn't get all my work done on time." "If you give it all you got tomorrow, you should easily finish it."
I

Where did the expression "willy nilly" come from?

willy-nilly

1608, contraction of will I, nill I, or will he, nill he, or will ye, nill ye, lit. "with or without the will of the person concerned." The nill is from O.E. nyllan, from ne "no" (see no) + *willan "will" (v.). Latin expressed a similar idea in nolens volens. Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper


well...John....Ching Yee...I once again looked over your website....but I am just still confused about IDIOMS....I think I would have to see the fun and understand. I will try and read more on your site. I told you I am not up on vocabulary and reading. Just life lived...not so much education. Wish I was..but I think the learning part passed me by and only left me with arts and crafts and not so much logic. Linda

from star- spandgled story , idioms mean? "we.. spread our wings as a new nation"

idioms meaning in " we..spread our wings as a new nation"

we spread our wings as a new nation
Scroll down and you will find the answer >>

we hit the big snag
A snag is a concealed or unsuspecting object or circumstance that could hinder your forward progress. From that, to hit a snag is to have your progress stopped or delayed. "We were about to finish our school project when we hit a snag . The computers crashed." "If We don't hit a snag by running into traffic, we should be able to get to the concert on time.


What does Good Gravy mean?
This was asked sometime earlier (see down below). The question was this: good gravy! Is this an exclamation? .
And the answer:
Good gravy! certainly is an exclamation. It’s on a par with good gracious! , gee whiz!, golly Ned!, Holy Cow!, Good Gosh! or my goodness!“ Good gravy, look at the time! I’m late for work!” “When I asked Rose if she would marry me, she looked absolutely shocked. ‘Good gravy!,’ she exclaimed, ‘I thought you would never ask!'”

I should say that gravy is a polite way of saying God -- In other words, it's a euphemism -- and so are those other G exclamations indicated above.

what is the origin of hit the books?
In this idiom, hit means to start, to begin, to leave, to go. You will find it used this way in several older idioms, such as hit the trail (used by cowboys riding their horses on a trail) and hit the road. With fewer cowboys around these days, this is a contemporary way of saying the same thing. That is, to leave, to go, to begin. Probably from that, to hit the books is to start studying one’s books. “It’s time for me to turn off my computer and hit the books. I have an examination tomorrow.”

What is the meaning of idiom, spread all the cards?

When playing card games, there comes a time when you have to display your hand, meaning your cards. That's the meaning of this expression. You could also say to show your hand.

what is the meaning of "let ideas incubus"
My guess is that this should read "let ideas incubate," which would mean to let them hatch or come to fruition. Incubate, from the Latin incubare,meaning "to lie (in wait.") Incubus is from the same Latin root, but it's a noun, and it refers to a nightmare that lies inside a sleeping person. You can see from this that ideas do not incubus, they incubate.

am looking for the iodamtic expression about judging other people
A couple of proverbs might apply:
A person is judged by the company he/she keeps;
Judge not lest you be judged;
and You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
And here are some idiomatic helpers: Get someone’s measure; to label someone; size someone up; judge someone on his/her merits.
There are surely more. Maybe someone could offer suggestions?


How come it's said "tired out" and "done in?" They both mean the same thing, but one is out and the other is in.

whats the idiom for give a try?
Let’s try these alternatives:

“You can do it, give it a shot.
“All right, I’ll give it a whirl”
“Good, I knew you would give it a chance.
“Yeah, I’m really going to give it a go.
“You’re now going to have a go?
“Yup, I’m giving it the old college try.
“Hurray! Have at it!
"Good, go give it a bash."


What does it mean to "get a bead on"?
The answer to this can be found three or four inches down.>>


When someone hears a funny story and says that's rich, and than laughs. Why that's rich?

where did holey smoke come from?
Setting fire to offerings to the gods is an act as old as mankind. Sometimes these offerings are in the form of prayers written on paper, sometimes they consist of paper notes (Hell Money), sometimes they are spirit objects (Ming Qi) meant to please the gods. Even the act of lighting a candle or an incense stick can be a way of letting smoke rise into the heavens. So, too, is killing a fat calf and cooking it in a religious ritual. Is all of this holy smoke? In 1627 (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) in a poem,’ The Epiphany,' Sir J. Beaumont wrote "Who lift to God for us the holy smoke of fervent prayers." He was referring to prayers that were burned, but it wasn't until Rudyard Kipling used holy smoke in his 1892 story "The Nautlahka" that the expression began being used as a common exclamation. Example: "Holy smoke! I'm late for work!" Holy smoke! How time flies!" "Holy smoke, what an interesting expression!"


looking for a Shakespeare poem containing an idiom
William Shakespeare has given the world so much that is quotable, and we have put to use so many of his expressions, that it would be difficult to list them all here. Fortunately, someone has already done so, and I refer you to his excellent site and his Shakespearean Book Of Lists >>

http://www.lomonico.com/bookch4.html

Also, you will find that we have illustrated and defined a number of Shakespeare’s idiomatic expressions in our FUN WITH IDIOMS (BOOKS 1 & 2) and our FUN WITH PROVERBS books. All are available. See our opening page to learn how to purchase them.



Play catch-up

Holy smoke //?
You will need an exclamation mark after this for that’s what this is: an exclamation! “Holy smoke, it sure is windy today!” Holy smoke!
Look how fast that car is going!


What is play hooky?

Kids taking an unauthorized day away from school are said to play hooky. It’s taken from an old slang word, hook, meaning to steal. So the kids stole a day off. Sometimes you will seen this spelled hookey. “Those naughty boys, they should be in school. Are they playing hooky?”

ON THE LAM?
Apparently lam was used in Shakespeare’s time. It meant to leave. Today it’s pretty much confined to describing a criminal who is running away or in hiding from the police or similar authorities. “The thieves escaped and are still on the lam.

what does "got a bead on it" mean?
Get a bead on something. This can be said as have a bead, get a bead, or draw a bead. They all mean the same thing: to have something or someone as one's objective. A bead is a small raised spot (it might even look like a bead) at the end of a gun barrel that is used when aiming. The person aims at a target by pointing the bead at it. But this idiom is used to indicate having something in one's sight. "I have a bead on that pretty girl in my class with the lovely eyes." "He drew a bead on a future in television even as a young boy.

WE SPREAD OUR WINGS AS A NEW NATION what does that mean
Judging from the number of times this question has been asked, I'm of the opinion that this remark appears on a test or in a text somewhere. Fortunately, my answer today is the same as it was before. And the answer is... >
When baby birds reach a certain stage of development, they flap their wings as they think about flying. And then, finally spreading them, they jump from the nest. Wheeeee, they have gained the confidence to set out on their own and to be independent. They have shown a willingness to try new things and assert themselves. That's what is meant by spread one's wings, and it's but a small step (to mix metaphors) to imagine what is meant when a new nation spreads its wings. If you have the exact place where this appears, and in which phrase, we'd be happy if you'd share it with us. Thanks, jbs



Why is it called a blue moon?

About every three years there are two full moons in the same month, so it's a rare occasion when we have one. That's called a blue moon, and we experienced one last month. We aren't sure why it's called blue, though once upon a time the moon did appear to be blue after a volcano in Java erupted. This moon is used in an idiom, meaning ‘not very often’ or ‘rarely’. “Since Molly moved, I only see her once in a blue moon.Once in a blue moon I have an urge to eat mango ice cream.”



How come "Done to a turn?"

What does 'test your metal' mean?
Question: When would this mean to test one's courage, one's nerve, one's stamina? Answer: When it is spelled as mettle. Perhaps someone can give me an example in a sentence??



What's The Whole Shebang about?
Mark Twain used this expression often to indicate "everything, the whole, all of something."
Shebang (or chebang) was originally an Irish slang term for a gambling house or a tavern, but somehow it came to mean "the entire thing." "Sure, you can have some apples from my tree. In fact, I don't care for apples so you can have the whole shebang." "Our tour took us to Europe where we visited France, Germany. Luxembourg, Belgium...you know, we saw the whole shebang.


What does "spread our wings as a new nation" mean

WE SPREAD OUR WINGS AS A NEW NATION what does that mean
Judging from the number of times this question has been asked, I'm of the opinion that this remark appears on a test or in a text somewhere. Fortunately, my answer today is the same as it was before. And the answer is... >
When baby birds reach a certain stage of development, they flap their wings as they think about flying. And then, finally spreading them, they jump from the nest. Wheeeee, they have gained the confidence to set out on their own and to be independent. They have shown a willingness to try new things and assert themselves. That's what is meant by spread one's wings, and it's but a small step (to mix metaphors) to imagine what is meant when a new nation spreads its wings. If you have the exact place where this appears, and in which phrase, we'd be happy if you'd share it with us.
And you might scroll down to see how many times this has been asked. Thanks, jbs




what does "sakes alive mean"?
This is an exclamation used by an older generation to express just about any emotional feeling. It's the short form of land sakes alive, which means about the same as Gee Whiz!, Golly!, You don’t say!, or I’ll be darned!” It’s also expressed as Good land of mercy!, so the word “Land” it’s probably a euphemism for “Lord.” “Land sakes, all the hotels are full! Where will we sleep tonight?” “Look how tall that young fellow is!,” Grandfather said. “Land sakes alive, he’s nearly as tall as his father!” “Good land of mercy, will this rain never stop?”

Why are they called dog days? Because of lots of dogs around?

a fat lot of good that will do you. Why fat lot?

What is the origin of the expression "bringing up the rear"?
I don't know that anyone knows the origin of this, but, as you know, it means to be the last in a series, a line or a procession. "The parade passed by, the silly old clowns bringing up the rear.


cream of de cream
This describes something that's not just the best, but the very best. To say that something is the cream (of the class, of the crop, of the colleciton, etc.) is to say it's the best. This, taken from the French expression, la creme de la creme, means the cream of the cream...or the very, very best. "Of all the great and wonderful students who have passed through this school, this year's graduating class must surely be the cream of the cream. (la creme de la creme)

a barn burner is a very low scoring and boring game like watching paint dry
No, a barn burner is something that is really exciting. "Last night's football game was such an intense amd exciting barn burner that I'm still shaking with excitement!"
You are right about boredom being the idea behind the expression like watching paint dry. "The slide show was absolutely dull, and for two hours I had to sit there trying to stay awake. It was about as interesting as sitting there watching paint dry.



What is a plugged nickel?
As long ago as the 17th century, damaged and counterfeit coins were referred to as “plugged,” meaning inferior. In the US, a nickel is a small coin valued at five cents. Perhaps because there were a
number of bad or counterfeit five-cent coins around at a particular time, this expression became popular. Ever since, anything that is not

BEGGARS CAN'T BE CHOOSERS Since Fergus is usually in need, he is the ideal person to explain this saying. "It says someone in need should be grateful for what is given to him — even if it's not all he wants or expects," he said. "Once I found a purse. I returned it to its owner, of course, and was given a dollar. It wasn't much and I hoped for more, but when you are hungry, beggars can't be choosers."

-- Please post your comments and feedback --

We will try to answer all questions.
jbs & cys 亞 莊& 清 儀

About MONEY TALKS
"... slang terms, and everyday expressions associated with money have meant that whole books have been dedicated to the topic. Smithback has done an exhaustive study concerning the origin of many of these terms." From THE PHILOSOPHY OF MONEY by Professor Adrian Furnham. Pub. Routledge, 2000

About Paint The Town Red:
Sorry, Willy, but no one knows why we paint it red, not blue or yellow or pink. The expression can be traced back to sometime in the 1880s -- but no one seems to know why! Have any of you any ideas? Why not suggest an answer!

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