Dressed like a million dollars

Claudia wouldn't dare leave her house without dressing a million. When I saw her yesterday, she was dressed like a million dollars. To dress a million/dress like a million dollars is to be exceedingly well dressed. Here are more examples : "Tim went to the party dressed a million." "You don't have to dress like a million dollars to attend a concert."


Drop a line

Here's a riddle: when does drop mean "to write" and a line mean "a letter"? Answer : when it is used in the expression drop a line. "Dear Liz," the letter began. "I thought I would sit down and drop you a line. Now that I have, when are you going to drop me a line ?"


Duty calls

I'd like to spend more time talking to you but duty calls, you know, and I have to hurry off to do my shopping," Helen said. Duty calls is another way of saying one must attend to one's obligations. "Hey ! Duty calls ! Stop nodding off at your desks and get to work !" the boss shouted.


Feel under the weather

Poor Mr. Lee. He says he's feeling under the weather. I hope it's nothing serious for to feel under the weather is to feel unwell. Literally, it means to be affected by changes in the weather. "I'm feeling a little under the weather today but I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow," Mr. Lee sighed.


Find one's bearings

Our three lost sailors are convinced that they have found their bearings. To find/get one's bearings is to know where one is or where one is going. "The shore is over there," Tom shouted. "You're wrong. I've found our bearings and the shore is that way," Dick replied. Harry finally said, "I don't think we've got our bearings yet."


Flea in one's ear

When a dog has a flea in his ear he's confused and distressed. When a person gets a flea in his ear, he too is distressed for a flea in one's ear is a harsh scolding. "Howard's feeling miserable. The boss gave him a flea in his ear for being late to work today."


Scare the living daylight out of someone

An unconscious person wouldn't be able to see anything, let alone daylight. That's why to scare the living daylights out of someone is to scare him so badly he feels he'll faint or lapse into unconsciousness. "Eeeeek, a mouse !" Iris screamed. "It's scaring the living daylights out of me !"


Get lost

The job of a shepherd is to make sure sheep don't get lost. Possibly because Jacob has spent so much time away from people he's becoming temperamental !" Whatever his problem is, he's telling his sheep to get lost ! This is an emphatic way of telling someone to go away. "When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it," Jacob complained. "Meanwhile, get lost !"

Get wind of

To get wind of something is to receive news or information indirectly. It's usually information that's meant to be a secret. "I just got wind of the news that Shirley is moving to Canada." "I wonder how Wenger got wind of the fact that I baked cakes today ?" Orion asked.


Gift of gab

Some seem born with a gift of gab. Others might study to acquire it. Many more never have it at all. That's because a gift of gab ( or the gift of the gab ) refers to having the ability to speak freely and easily. "Mona's such a quiet girl. No one could describe her as having a gift of gab," Linux said.


Give a helping hand

Penny is such a nice little girl, always ready to give a helping hand. At the museum, for instance, a lady asked if she'd please lend her a helping hand. To give or lend a helping hand is to give someone help or assistance. "I wasn't busy so I gave the lady a helping hand," Penny said.


Go begging

The other day I saw a newspaper item that said : "Luxury flats go begging." Naturally, I thought the flats were begging for charity. I was wrong, for when something goes begging it is available ... but nobody wants it. "Those flats are so nice," Mr. de Silva said. "It's a shame they should go begging."


Go fly a kite

This chiefly North American idiom can mean either "no" or "go away". It's always used informally. "When Bert asked Mill to dance she told him to go fly a kite." ( No ) "Please go fly a kite. I haven't time to discuss sale figures this morning, " the boss said to Bill. ( Go away )


Go off someone/something

Mr. and Mrs. White have been married for forty-three years. While having tea the other day Mr. white's chair overturned and he fell to the floor. "I suspected you had gone off me," Mrs. White said. To go off someone ( or something ) is to begin to dislike someone ( or something ) once loved.


Good clean fun

When we do something for fun, we do it for amusement. There are times, though, when people have fun in a way that does not amuse us -- such as when they ridicule us or play tricks on us. That's why to have good clean fun is to have fun or pleasure in a way that doesn't harm anyone.


Hands off

This is a command meaning "do not touch". While you would probably never say this to your boss or to your teacher, I am sure you wouldn't hesitate shouting it to a friend or a stranger. "Those are my books. Hands off !" Dick cried. "hands off my bicycle !" Dennis shouted.


Happy as the day is long

What joy ! What happiness ! At last school is over for the summer. No more books, no more studies ! Clark is happy as the day is long. When a person is content, cheerful and happy, he is happy as the day is long. "Oh, how I wish the summer would last forever," Clark smiled.



Never ask a hard-boiled person for help. He'd probably refuse you. People who are hard-boiled are uncooperative and unsympathetic. In the extreme, they have no feelings at all. "What's wrong with Henrietta ? When she's happy she's so nice -- but when she's angry she's really hard-boiled !"


A head for figures

To have a head for something is to be good or smart at it. A successful businessman, for instance, obviously has a head for business. A person good at mathematics is said to have a head for figures. "Andy has a good head for geography but she sure doesn't have a head for figures," Professor Osborn said.


Have one's head screwed on the right way

A person said to have his head screwed on right ( or the right way or properly or correctly ) thinks and acts in a reasonable and thoughtful way. He is wise and logical. "If Mr. Bob had his head screwed on the right way he wouldn't have used a match to try to locate a leak in his gas tank," the doctor said.


Heat wave

Last winter Stefan left his home in Sweden to spend Christmas with his Uncle Oscar in Los Angeles. When he returned home he said the weather had been terrible. "The whole time I was there Los Angeles was having a heat wave," he gasped. A heat wave is a period of very hot weather.


Hold one's peace

"Who ate the fish I was saving for supper ?" Emily screamed. One look at the anger in Emily's eyes was enough to convince Eric to hold his peace. To hold one's peace is to remain silent. "I just wanted to sample it," Eric wanted to say -- but he wisely held his peace and said nothing.


Horse opera

Several years ago Hollywood produced a great many films about cowboys and the wild American West. Technically the films were called Westerns but because everyone galloped about on a horse they became known as horse operas. "There's an exciting new horse opera playing at the Pearl. shall we go see it ?"


Hot off the press

Before advances in modern technology, books, magazines and newspapers were printed from plates of type that had been formed from hot molten metal. That has led to our saying that just-published material is hot off the press. "Yes, that's the latest edition of the newspaper," Hilda said. "It's hot off the press."


In a tight squeeze

To be in a tight squeeze is to be in a difficult situation. "I'm in a tight squeeze trying to do two jobs at the same time," Lenny complained. Also, someone who is in financial trouble is in a tight squeeze. "The reason I'm doing two jobs at the same time is because I'm in a tight squeeze trying to pay my bills," Lenny said.


In fine fettle

It's not likely that you'll find the word fettle ( it rhymes with kettle ) used anywhere else. It's an old word meaning "condition" or "state of mind". For that reason, when a person is in fine fettle he is physically or mentally fit. "I'm looking and feeling in fine fettle this morning," Alex grinned.


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