Idiom

Move the needle

Move the needle is an idiom that is several decades old. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom move the needle, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. Move the needle is an idiom that means to make a change that is noticeable, to alter or modify something so that the effect of your action is measurable. Most often, move the needle is used in a positive sense, meaning to make progress toward …

Read More

Full-court press

Full-court press is an idiom that originated in the United States. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom full-court press, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. A full-court press is a robust attempt to do something; it is an all-out attack or offensive. The expression full-court press involves unrelenting effort and using all one’s resources to achieve a goal. The full-court press is a type of strategy used in American basketball. Usually, …

Read More

By the same token

By the same token is an idiom that has been in use for decades. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom by the same token, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. By the same token is a phrase that means the statement you are about to make is true because of the same reasons that made the previous statement true. For instance, one may say, “The weather will not be hotter tomorrow; …

Read More

Shotgun approach and scattershot approach

Shotgun approach and scattershot approach are two versions of a popular idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom shotgun approach or scattershot approach, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. Shotgun approach and scattershot approach may describe a disorganized, haphazard approach to a problem or they may describe a wide, unfocused approach to a problem. Presumably, it is better to conserve one’s efforts in a focused manner; however, sometimes the area of …

Read More

Fall into one’s lap and land in one’s lap

Fall into one’s lap and land in one’s lap are two versions of a popular idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom fall into one’s lap or land in one’s lap, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. Fall into one’s lap and land in one’s lap describe something that is good but unexpected; it is a windfall or an unanticipated piece of good luck. The expressions fall into one’s lap and …

Read More

Run out the clock

Run out the clock is an American idiom that dates back decades. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom run out the clock, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. Run out the clock means to stall or cause a delay that gives one an advantage; for instance, if a worker is going home soon and does not want to begin a new task, he may run out the clock by checking emails …

Read More

Stand one’s ground and hold one’s ground

Stand one’s ground and hold one’s ground are two versions of a popular idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom stand one’s ground or hold one’s ground, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. Stand one’s ground and hold one’s ground are two idioms that mean to stay in one’s position and not yield to physical threats or mental pressure. Today, stand one’s ground and hold one’s ground usually mean to be …

Read More

Turn heads and turn one’s head

Turn heads and turn one’s head are two idioms that are close in wording, but mean totally different things. We will examine the meaning of the common idioms turn heads and turn one’s head, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences. Turn heads means to impress people and garner attention; one may turn heads because of something positive or something negative. For instance, one may turn heads because he is so handsome; one may also …

Read More

Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones is an idiom that is an allusion to a proverb. We will examine the meaning of the idiom sticks and stones and the proverb it alludes to, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences. Sticks and stones is a retort one uses when taunted or insulted; the expression means that one is unaffected by the taunt or insult. The idiom sticks and stones is an abbreviation of the proverb, sticks and stones …

Read More

Dog-whistle

Dog-whistle is an interesting idiom that dates back decades. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom dog-whistle, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences. Dog-whistle is an adjective that is used as an idiom to mean language that is understood by a certain segment of the population to mean something other than its literal sense. For instance, a politician may use the term “family values” to refer to the superiority of Christian ideals–fundamentalist …

Read More