Shop till you drop

To shop till you drop is an American idiom which means to buying things until you are physically tired and cannot walk around the shops anymore. Sometimes it is spelled shop 'til you drop. In this usage of till as a conjunction meaning 'until', and of the spellings are acceptable (e.g. till, til, or 'til). The phrase is found in print as early as the 1920s, and possibly earlier. Not surprisingly it started as an advertising slogan. It meant that you should go to one store instead of running … [Read more...]

Talk turkey

If people are to talk turkey, they are going to have an honest and open dialogue, usually with the motive to move forward through a problem. It is an American phrase that goes back to the early 1800s. Originally it meant to talk agreeably or pleasantly, which is almost an complete reversal to its current meaning, though if the motive is to move through a problem, then all parties should be reasonable amicable. Last century, the phrase went from agreeable to honest when the phrase changed … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is the official name for a holiday observed in the United States and Canada. It is a day to show gratitude, either for material possessions or immaterial goodness, such as family or health. It is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. In Canada, which adopted the holiday in 1879, it is the second Monday in October. Thanksgiving is the shortened version of the official holiday name. A thanksgiving is the act of showing gratitude, whether in a … [Read more...]

Take the mickey out of someone

To take the mickey out of someone is an idiom used largely outside of the United States. It means to tease or make fun of someone. It is usually meant in a lighthearted or fun manner, not to ridicule or bash. The phrase has many variations, including take the mike out of someone, take the Michael out of someone, or take the mick out of someone. The origin of the phrase is someone vague, but it seems to come from the name Mickey (not Mickey Mouse). Over time the capitalization was taken away, … [Read more...]

Lots of vs a lot of

Both lots and a lot of are nouns for amounts of things or quantifiers. They are used when the amount of something is known to be large, but an exact counting isn't necessary. Both are used in more informal speech and writing. More formal word choice would include many or much.  Side note: A lot of is sometimes spelled alot, which is incorrect. Some say that lots is the plural form of a lot of. While that may have been the case in the beginning, now they are more like synonyms, … [Read more...]

Social vs sociable

For someone or something to be described as social it can be an activity in which individuals talk with other people or do activities as a team or in a group. A social person likes to be around others or enjoys having conversations with others. Social can also describe things that have to do with society in general (e.g., Social Security). One of social's definitions is sociable, which is solely the aspect of liking other people or accepting of social activities. When dealing with the two … [Read more...]

Said the actress to the bishop


  A British idiom, said the actress to the bishop is a one-line joke, or punchline, which changes whatever has been said before it into an innuendo (i.e., it makes the previous dialogue vulgar or lewd). It is seen as especially funny if the previous dialogue was innocent in character. A variation is as the actress said to the bishop. This variation was used on a popular British television show, The Office. When that show was adapted for American audiences the idiom was changed to that's … [Read more...]

At a loose end

at loose end

  To be at a loose end is to have nothing to do. It is primarily used in British English. In the United States, there is a variant phrase to be at loose ends. This also means to have nothing to do, but it carries the connotation of nervousness, as in the situation not being able to do anything about a stressful situation. The British phrase suggests only boredom. The ngram above shows that the global popularity of the two versions has traded places over time, with the current … [Read more...]

Razzmatazz or razzamatazz

A razzmatazz is a ploy to attract attention, it is usually loud or exuberant. It is thought to come from razzle-dazzle, and carries the connotation that the action is done to deceive or distract someone. It has no plural. Razzamatazz is a variant spelling of razzmatazz, and it is extremely less common. Some list it as the British spelling, however, it is found both inside and outside the Unites States. However, in Spanish the word stays as razzmatazz. Examples He must block out all the … [Read more...]

Water under the bridge

The phrase water under the bridge means to let the past go and do not hold a grudge or harbor bad feelings. There is reference here to the one directional flow of water and when it passes under a bridge, it does not pass back ever again. It is usually used in the form of something being water under the bridge. It originated in 1913 and grew in popularity in the 1930s and is currently enjoying its widest use. Examples Malta captain Michael Mifsud has called on his team-mates to put the … [Read more...]

About Grammarist
Contact | Privacy policy | Home
© Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist