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...]

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...]

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...]


A patsy is a person who takes the blame for something he or she did not do, as in a scapegoat. The term can also be used to describe a person who is easily fooled or gullible. A con man might look for a patsy for a scam. The word can be used in other instances that do not directly match these definitions, but always carry the idea that the person is foolish or incapable in some way. Sometimes patsy is used as an adjective to describe something as too easy or without subsistence. A patsy game … [Read more...]

Tabula rasa

  Tabula rasa comes from Latin where it meant blank slate. This is how it is used today as well, though there are nuanced differences in the actual English definition. It can refer to something in an unaltered state, or the mind of a person before it is influence by others. Rasa can be pronounced with an ess sound or a zee sound. The plural of tabula rasa is tabulae rasae which is spelled differently but keeps the Latin -i pronunciation \-ˌlī-ˈrä-ˌzī, -ˌsī\ (tab u lye raz … [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...]


  Heyday is a noun which refers to a time when something or someone was in its prime or at the height of its power or influence. In the phrase having a heyday, the meaning can be slightly different. For a company or field of study to be having a heyday, means they are in their prime or at the peak of their influence. For an individual to have a heyday means he or she is having a great time, or be able to use the maximum of their talents. Archaically, heyday was also used to mean … [Read more...]

Brand spanking new

  The phrase brand spanking new means to be entirely new or recently created, and was first recorded in 1860. It evolved from the compound word brand-new and the phrase spick-and-span. Also, spanking, while the main definition is to hit someone on the butt, can also mean to move quickly. So one might say that a brand spanking new object was created quickly or appeared very fast. In truth, no one knows quite how it was coined or what it originally referred to. This idiom is not … [Read more...]

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