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Word buzz: Phrases for you - II

March 27, 2010

Here are some more interesting phrases that would make people sit up and pay attention to what you are saying.

Catch 22 A paradox in which the attempt to escape makes escape impossible. It comes from the title of Joseph Hellers novel.

By the short hairs To be trapped by an opponent, in a position one cant easily escape from. The 'short hairs' refer to the hair of the neck and one of the first references of this expression can be found in one of Rudyard Kiplings Indian Tales, (1890), The Drums of the Fore and Aft.

Chew the cud To chat, in an aimless manner. A cud is the partly digested food cows bring back into their mouth from their stomach to chew at leisure.

Chow down Sit down to eat, with 'chow' meaning food.

Cut of your jib One's appearance. The jib of a ship is a triangular sail and some ships had more than one jib sail. Each country had its own style of sail and so the origin of a ship could be determined from the jib. In the same way appearance of a person gives come clues about where the person belongs to.

Cut the mustard To succeed or to come up to expectations.

Donkey's years A very long time. Some believe that this phrase was originally 'donkey's ears', but it is no longer used.

Double Dutch A language one cannot understand. The English used to hold the Dutch in very low regard due to the hostilities between their two countries in the 17th century.

Ear candy Music with an instant appeal but with little lasting significance. Similar phrases include 'eye candy' and 'arm candy'.

Elvis has left the building The show is over, go home. This phrase was actually used at the end of Elvis Presleys concerts to encourage fans to accept that there would be no further encores and to go home. That first use was in December 1956 by Horace Logan, who was the announcer at the Louisiana Hayride show, in which Elvis was a regular performer.

Eat humble pie To act apologetically, especially by admitting an error.

Economical with the truth A euphemism for lying, it means conveying an untrue version of events by leaving out the important facts.

— Ahzam Ahmed