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Blow hot and cold

  • Blow hot and cold is an idiom that is hundreds of years old. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, on the ball, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom blow hot and cold, from where this expression is derived, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    To blow hot and cold is an idiom that means to change one’s mind, to change one’s opinion toward something or one’s enthusiasm for something. When someone blows hot and cold, others do not know what his true opinion is or what his next actions will be. Related phrases are blows hot and cold, blew hot and cold, blowing hot and cold. The idiom is sometimes rendered as run hot and cold. Blow hot and cold is derived from an Aesop fable sometimes known as The Man and the Satyr. In the story, a traveler comes upon a satyr’s cottage. The man blows upon his hands to warm them, and then blows upon his porridge to cool it off. The satyr is shocked by a being who blows hot and cold air.

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    Examples

    As long as the United States needs Pakistan for a face-saving exit from Afghanistan, it will continue to diplomatically blow hot and cold and China remains a staunch strategic ally. (The Times of India)

    Whether his penchant to blow hot and cold is consolidating/expanding his domestic constituency is hard to say. (The Daily Times)

    Du Preez came in for severe criticism after the Sharks blew hot and cold during Super Rugby, with his continued selection of his out-of-form son Robert Junior ahead of Curwin Bosch at flyhalf a particularly hot topic. (The Independent)

    In the meantime, he seems to be blowing hot and cold; his family and friends say he does not want to run again, but that he won’t hesitate to throw his hat in the ring if Bédié (85 years old) enters the race. (The Africa Report)


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