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Interesting idioms

Help on English vocab, including idioms, slang and sayings

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Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:20 pm

Some idioms I'd like to share with you.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Meaning: It is very hard or almost impossible to train an older person to acquire some new skill.

*You'll never teach your grandfather how to do his income tax on a personal computer. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

John Hancock or John Henry

Meaning: Your signature; your name in writing.

*The man said, "Put your John Hancock on this paper". Joe felt proud when he put his John Henry on his very first driver's license.
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Tora » Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:46 am

I remember I had a great English language tutor named Masha, one of my tasks for every lesson was to write a didactic story on any English idiom or saying. I liked those I can find a counterpart in my native Russian.

Carry coals to Newcastle - To do something pointless and superfluous I've heard every nation has such a saying but modified for a country's specification.

And many more I can memorize easily - to be born wih a silver spoon in mouth, since Adam was a boy, walls have ears and others, but my favourite is
Put it in your pipe and smoke it - means to tell someone to accept what you have just said. Just love it :mrgreen:
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:16 pm

Tora wrote:Put it in your pipe and smoke it - means to tell someone to accept what you have just said. Just love it :mrgreen:


Excellent. :-)

Tora wrote:to be born wih a silver spoon in mouth


I heard this saying/idiom in a song, but I dunno the meaning. The singer is Sade.

Jezebel wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth
She probably had less than every one of us
But when she knew how to walk she knew
How to bring the house down
Can't blame her for her beauty
She wins with her hands down
Jezebel, what a belle
Looks like a princess in her new dress
How did you get that
Do you really want to know, she said
It would seem she's on her way
It's more, more than just a dream
She put on her stockings and shoes
Had nothing to lose - she said it was worth it
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:32 pm

Here are today's new idioms I've dig out from a book:

Vietnam syndrome

Meaning: An attitude in government circles that diplomacy may be more effective in solving local political problems in other countries than the use of military force, stemming from the failure of the U.S. military intervention in Vietnam.

*The pundits of Foggy Bottom display the Vietnam syndrome these days when it comes to Iran.

dead duck

Meaning: A person or thing in a hopeless situation or condition; one to whom something bad is sure to happen.

* When the pianist broke her arm, she was a dead duck.
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Tora » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:52 pm

Xkalibur wrote:
dead duck

Meaning: A person or thing in a hopeless situation or condition; one to whom something bad is sure to happen.

* When the pianist broke her arm, she was a dead duck.


Oh, you know how to get me to talk ;-) today I heard this very idiom translated when I was watching sport news concerning the resignation of Zenith Coach, but there he was named "a lame duck": "after he signed a contract with Belgium national team and claimed he's leaving the club at the end of the season, he became a lame duck for both the supporters and club-managers" :!!: 8-)

to be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth means to be born in a wealthy family, Xkalibur, but I'm sure you've already found it out :)
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:03 pm

kangaroo court

A self-appointed group that decides what to do to someone who is supposed to have done wrong.

*The Chicago mob held a kangaroo court and shot the gangster who competed with Al
Capone.

copy cat

Someone who copies another person's work or manner.


*He called me a copy cat just because my new shoes look like his.
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Tora » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:53 am

So here a posthumous idiom I and other TV-watchers have received from Vasiliy Aksenov - our writer who passed away in July and would have turned 77 on the 20th of August:

join the (great, silent) majority - means to pass away

and one from me:
do smth at your own peril - a saying that has a wide-spread counterpart in Russian language - multitran gives the synonym as do smth on your own
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:49 am

Tora wrote:So here a posthumous idiom I and other TV-watchers have received from Vasiliy Aksenov - our writer who passed away in July and would have turned 77 on the 20th of August:


Did he speak English?


Today, boyz'n'girls, another phrase for you:

back the wrong horse

To support a loser.

*In voting for George Bush, voters in 1992 were backing the wrong horse.
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:31 am

culture vulture

A person who is an avid cultural sightseer, one who seeks out cultural opportunities ostentatiously, such as going to the opera or seeing every museum in a town visited, and brags about it.

*Aunt Mathilda is a regular culture vulture; she spends every summer in a different European capital going to museums and operas.
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Re: Interesting idioms

Postby Vega » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:18 am

bark worse than one's bite

Sound or speech more frightening or worse than your actions.

*The small dog barks savagely, but his bark is worse than his bite.
*The boss sometimes talks roughly to the men, but they know that his bark is worse than his bite.
*She was always scolding her children, but they knew her bark was worse than her bite.
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