Idiom

Lion’s share

The lion’s share is the largest part, the greatest and most desirable portion of something. The lion’s share is a common English phrase by the year 1701. The phrase comes from a fable written by Aesop, in which the lion goes hunting with three other beasts. When it’s time to divide the spoils, the lion takes one portion for his title as king of the forest, another portion because he is a partner, another portion because he is the strongest …

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Lay of the land or lie of the land

Lay of the land is a phrase that figuratively or metaphorically means the current state of affairs, how something is organized. Literally, the lay of the land is the arrangement of features upon the land. One usually assesses the lay of the land in preparation for action. The idiom lay of the land is first recorded in 1819. A related idiom is the British phrase how the land lies, a usage that turns up in about 1700. According to Google Ngram …

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Tit for tat

Tit for tat is an interesting idiom that means a response in kind, retaliation,  counterattack. Tit for tat may be used as a noun or as an adjective. When used as an adjective, tit-for-tat is hyphenated. The phrase tit for tat is thought to have derived from the Middle English term tip for tap, which means blow for blow or exchanging insult for insult. The very old meaning of the words tip and tap is hit, light touch. In twentieth …

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Chip on your shoulder

A chip on your shoulder is a metaphor which means that you are habitually negative, combative or have a hostile attitude, usually because of a deep resentment or long-held grievance.  The term chip on your shoulder seems to have first been used to describe the Royal Navy Dockyards’ shipwrights’ entitlement to offcuts of timber. At the end of the day, the shipwrights took home these chips on their shoulders. In the eighteenth century, the allotment of wood became too costly …

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Heavens to Murgatroyd Idiom Definition

You probably heard your parents, grandparents, or anyone older say “Heavens to Murgatroyd” and wondered what they meant. It’s an expression whose origin can be traced to an old cartoon show. Snagglepuss was the character who said heavens to Murgatroyd. Add this idiom to your vocabulary by understanding its meaning and how to use it! This post also shows how to use it in a sentence. What Does Heavens to Murgatroyd Mean? Murgatroyd is an old surname taken from English …

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In the hopper

In the hopper means something is in preparation or is on its way. When something is in the hopper, it is going through the last refinements before it is ready to begin or to be presented. A hopper is part of an agricultural or industrial machine that is a sorting device, for separating things such as grain from chaff, or gold or other precious gems and minerals from mud and rock. The hopper shakes, allowing the undesired matrix to fall …

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