Popular Catchphrases

Here are popular catchphrases and their meanings:

  1. As every schoolboy knows – used before you mention a fact that is familiar to everyone
  2. To put on a back burner – [ofsomething] on hold or suspended temporarily; not being done now, but left to be considered in the future
  3. Back to square one – to go back to the beginning
  4. Ballpark figure – anestimate; an off-the-cuff guess; A rough numerical approximation
  5. To laugh all the way to the bank- to be very happy about money that has been earned by doing something that otherpeople might think is unfair or that they criticized; To be amused and gratified by a victory where a defeat was predicted
  6. Beer and sandwiches – a euphemism for hard-ball policy discussions
  7. As the bishop said to the actress- an informal (and usually vulgar) exclamation, said for humour in the form of a punch line after an inadvertent double entendre
  8. Blood, sweat and tears – Hard work and effort in difficult circumstances
  9. Bone to pick – Groundsfor a complaint or dispute
  10. The buck stops here – Responsibility is not passed on beyond this point
  11. To bite the bullet – to decide to do something difficult or unpleasant that one has been putting off or hesitating over; to accept something difficult and try to live with it
  12. Catch-22 situation – A paradox in which the attempt to escape makes escape impossible
  13. Cut your coat according to your cloth – undertake only what you have the money or ability to do and no more
  14. Cock-and-bull story – a ridiculous and implausible story
  15. Corridors of power – the highest level of government where the most important decisions are made
  16. Between the devil and the deep blue sea – In difficulty, faced with two dangerous alternatives
  17. Dog days of summer – hot period of summer
  18. Bite the dust – Fall to the ground, wounded or dead
  19. Feather on one’s cap – an achievement that you can be proud of
  20. Take a French leave – a period when you are absent from work without asking for permission
  21. Jump out of the frying pan into the fire – to go from a bad situation to an even worse one
  22. Iron lady – a nickname often used to describe female heads of government around the world, meaning ‘strong-willed woman’
  23. Land of Nod – to be sleeping
  24. Mother of all battles – the biggest war there that will ensue
  25. Not worth a tinker’s damn – the least value or merit; nothing or anything at all
  26. Oil on troubled waters – to do or say something in order to make people stop arguing and become calmer
  27. As old as Methuselah – used to state that someone is very old
  28. Old-boy network – an informal system of support and friendship through which men use their positions of influence to help others who went to the same school or college as they did or who share a similar social background.
  29. Over a barrel – in a helpless position; at someone’s mercy
  30. Take a rain check – said when politely refusing an offer, with the implication that one may accept it a later date.
  31. See through rose-tinted spectacles – seeing things better than they really are
  32. Cross the Rubicon – to pass a point of no return
  33. Rule of thumb – a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory
  34. With a pinch of salt – to listen to an explanation with considerable doubt.
  35. Send in the clowns – to distract someone from a sad mood
  36. Serious money ­– lots of paper money
  37. Skeleton in the closet – secrets
  38. Cast the first stone – to make the first criticism; to be the first to attack
  39. Talk turkey – to speak plainly, get to the point
  40. Teddy-bear syndrome – Getting into a relationship simply because of the fear of being alone and need the constant presence of a comforter
  41. By the skin of one’s teeth – a situation from which one barely managed to escape
  42. As thick as thieves – very close; share secrets
  43. Turn the tables – reverse one’s position relative to someone else; turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage
  44. Where’s the beef? – a certain thing is lacking main substance
  45. White man’s burden – the alleged duty of white colonizers to care for nonwhite indigenous subjects in their colonial possessions
  46. On a wing and a prayer – with only the slightest chance to success
  47. Writing on the wall – something very bad is about to happen
  48. Wrong side of the tracks – part of a town that is considered poor and or dangerous
  49. The first seven years are the hardest – after seven years in a marriage or relationship there is a decline in the desire
  50. You’ve never had it so good – the best there is



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