McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. 'So Phoebe sat demurely in her place while her new teacher laid forth books and slates, a pretty inkstand and a little globe; hastily tore a bi toff her big sponge, sharpened pencils with more energy than skill, and when all was ready give a prance of satisfaction that set the pupil laughing. Thou art like to achieve fame, Will, let me tell thee, for there will be many a merry ballad sung about the country, and many a merry story told in Sherwood of how Robin Hood taught Little John and Arthur a Bland the proper way to use the quarterstaff; likewise, as it were, how our good master bi toff so large a piece of cake that he choked on it.
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007 2A bit means to a small extent or degree.
3You can use a bit of to make a statement less forceful. 7 n-count A bit of something is a small part or section of it.
(mainly BRIT) usu N of n (=piece) Only a bit of string looped round a nail in the doorpost held it shut., ...crumpled bits of paper. 9 n-count You can use bit to refer to a particular item or to one of a group or set of things.
Usu N of n There was one bit of vital evidence which helped win the case..., Not one single bit of work has been started towards the repair of this road. 12 Bites is the past tense of bite.
16You say that one thing is every bit as good, interesting, or important as another to emphasize that the first thing is just as good, interesting, or important as the second. every bit as phrase PHR adj/adv (emphasis) My dinner jacket is every bit as good as his. 17If you say that something is a bit much, you are annoyed because you think someone has behaved unreasonably.
22 If something is smashed or blown to bits, it is broken into a number of pieces. Two-bit You use two- bit to describe someone or something that you have no respect for or that you think is inferior.
We commonly use these bits to block or allow program execution of code which is under test. Cracked teeth may be hard to diagnose, because they may not always hurt when the patient bites.
The periodontal ligament contains an extensive web of blood vessels and nerve tissue, which can become bruised by biting down forcefully on hard or sticky foods, or by sustaining a forceful blow to the tooth. Often a tooth with a concussion injury won’t hurt when you push on it with your finger, but will if you tap on it.
Oxygenated blood is rich in iron, which has a reddish tint, and when trauma occurs, excess blood flow can saturate the dentin of the tooth with this red pigment. First, teeth are not rigidly fused to the jaw bones under normal circumstances.
They allow the lower jaw to rotate and move back and forth, suspended from a series of muscles that work together to position it as needed for the required task (chewing, speaking, etc.). Ideally, all the teeth touch evenly when the patient swallows, and then part slightly when the jaw muscles are in a position of rest.
Teeth which have been injured may physically have moved from their normal position, or may elevate in the bite due to the presence of inflammation around their root(s). The patient’s inability to feel their bite while their teeth are numbed for a dental procedure can result in the new restoration being slightly out of adjustment (post-operative hyperocclusions).
An irregular bite can also be caused by broken or dislodged dental restorations like fillings and crowns. Any time your bite doesn’t feel right, you should talk to a dentist as soon as possible to determine how best to proceed.
If pain or swelling are present, you should be seen as soon as possible to rule out potentially serious problems like infections. A tooth grinding habit may be part of a larger problem, like emotional or psychological stress; and it may lead to significant problems with the teeth, jaw muscles and jaw joints.
Achilles was eventually killed when Paris of Troy fired an arrow at him, and it hit his heel. AM I MY BROTHERS KEEPER? Like many old sayings in the English language this one comes from the Bible.
In Psalm 17:8 the writer asks God 'keep me as the apple of your eye'. This old saying is said to come from the days when bakers were severely punished for baking underweight loaves.
When hunting birds some people would beat about the bush to drive them out into the open. 'I won't beat about the bush' came to mean 'I will go straight to the point without any delay'.
In the past people believed that bees flew in a straight line to their hive. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the English king ruled Dublin, and the surrounding area was known as the pale.
This old saying means to grin and bear a painful situation. 'Talk about the biter being bitten' was originally a phrase about a con man being beaten at his own game.
Anchor cable was wrapped around posts called bitts. For centuries the Arabs occupied Spain, but they were gradually forced out during the Middle Ages.
The upper class in Spain had paler skin than most of the population as their ancestors had not intermarried with the Arabs. Both these nicknames for policemen come from Sir Robert Peel who founded the first modern police force in 1829.
It is a corruption of the old word bot, which meant profit or advantage. Once when a child was christened it was traditional for the godparents to give a silver spoon as a gift (if they could afford it!).
When the Assyrians laid siege to Jerusalem one of them stood outside the walls and asked if they hoped for help from Egypt. When pulleys or blocks on a sailing ship were pulled so tightly together that they could not be moved any closer together they were said to be chock-a-block.
COALS TO NEWCASTLEBefore railways were invented goods were often transported by water. Taking coals to Newcastle was obviously a pointless exercise.
COCK A Booths phrase comes from a primitive tap called a spite and Shiva. If people were extremely happy and wanted to celebrate they took out the cock and put in on the hoop on the top of the barrel to let the drink flow out freely.
COCK AND BULL STORYThis phrase was first recorded in the 17th century. This phrase comes from a play called The Birds by the Greek dramatist Aristophanes (c.448-385 BC).
In the play, the birds decide to build a utopian city called Cloud cuckoo land. In the past a kettle was not necessarily a device to boil water to make a cup of tea.
It was said (very unfairly) that the Dutch had to drink alcohol to build up their courage. This comes from the days when livestock had their ears marked, so their owner could be easily identified.
This old saying is from Ecclesiastes 8:15 'a man has no better thing under the sun than to eat and to drink and be merry'. If a person we admire has a fatal weakness we say they have feet of clay.
It had a head of gold, arms, and chest of silver, belly, and thighs of bronze and its legs were of iron. The prophet Daniel interpreted the dream to be about a series of empires, all of which would eventually be destroyed.
There is a legend that when Rome burned in 64 AD Emperor Nero played the lyre (not the fiddle!). If a fleet won a clear victory the ships would sail back to port with their colors proudly flying from their masts.
In the Middle Ages freelances were soldiers who fought for anyone who would hire them. 'To gild refined gold, to paint the lily is wasteful and ridiculous excess'.
By law a Roman soldier could force anybody to carry his equipment 1 mile. Any farm animal that had outlived its usefulness such as a hen that no longer laid eggs would literally go to pot.
In Matthew 15:15 Jesus said 'Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick'. (That was better than wearing out your own horse on a long journey over very poor roads).
In the early 1600s, Thomas Hobson was a man in Cambridge who hired out horses. Instead, they had to ride whichever horse was nearest the stable entrance.
It was a container of gunpowder with a fuse, which was placed against a wooden gate. Sometimes all things did not go to plan and the petard exploded prematurely blowing you into the air.
This comes from the Bible, Isaiah 65:5, the Old Testament prophet berates people who say 'stand by thyself, come not near me for I am holier than thou'. The fumbles were the intestines or less appetizing parts of an animal and servants and other lower-class people ate them.
In time, it became corrupted to eat humble pie and came to mean to debase yourself or act with humility. When slaughtering a pig you tied its back legs to a wooden beam (in French bouquet).
In the Middle Ages people thought that bear cubs were born shapeless and their mother literally licked them into shape. In Ecclesiastes 10:20 the writer warns us not to curse the king or the rich even in private or a 'bird of the air' may report what you say.
A long shot is an option with only a small chance of success. So a 'long shot' (fired over a long distance) only had a small chance of hitting its target.
When a horse grows old its gums recede and if you examine its mouth it looks 'long in the tooth'. Inhaling mercury vapor could cause mental illness.
This comes from the Saxon word moot or mote, which meant a meeting to discuss things. This was originally a nickname for the poet Ambrose Philips (1674-1749) who was known for writing sentimental verse.
In Isaiah 57:21 the prophet says: 'there is no peace saith my God to the wicked'. After it was woven wool was pounded in a mixture of clay and water to clean and thicken it.
Afterward, the wool was stretched on a frame called a center to dry. In 1637 John Milton wrote a poem called Lyrics, which includes the words 'Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new'.
When a buyer and a seller agreed deal money was placed on the nail for all to see. In Matthew 7:6 Jesus warned his followers not to give what is sacred to dogs and not to throw pearls (of wisdom) before swine (the ungodly).
According to legend a man named Aelfric taxed the people of Coventry heavily. Aelfric said he would end the tax if she rode through the streets of Coventry naked.
Everybody in Coventry was supposed to stay indoors with his or her shutters closed. In the Middle Ages and Tudor Times rents were sometimes paid in peppercorns because pepper was so expensive.
If you bought a pig in a poke it might turn out the 'pig' was actually a puppy or a cat. In the 16th and 17th century it was common to give your wife or daughter a small amount of money for pins and other necessary things.
This comes from Romans 13:1 when Paul says 'the powers that be are ordained of God'. This old saying comes from the Bible, from Proverbs 16:18 'Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall'.
They were nicknamed wool possibly because they resembled a sheep's fleece. Pulling out a stop lets air flow through a pipe and make a sound.
Following a law of 1715 if a rowdy group of 12 or more people gathered, a magistrate would read an official statement ordering them to disperse. Poachers and other unsavory characters would drag a herring across the ground where they had just walked to throw dogs off their scent.
This phrase comes from the days when official documents were bound with red tape. In the Middle Ages saint's days were marked in red in calendars.
In the past coins were actually made of gold, silver, or other metals. Some people would make counterfeit coins by mixing gold or silver with a cheaper metal.
This is derived from the days when salt was rubbed into wounds as an antiseptic. This comes from the days when craftsmen used their thumbs for making rough measurements.
The other was spared but the High Priest laid his hands on it and confessed the sins of his people. This old saying first appeared in 1866 in a play by Dion Foucault (1820-1890) called the Flying Scud in which a character makes the excuse that he is going 'to see a man about a dog' to get away.
The most likely explanation for this old saying is that during the English Civil War Royalists captured in the Midlands were sent to Coventry. They were held prisoner in St Johns Church and the local people shunned them and refused to speak to them.
This is from Jeremiah 31:30 'Every man that eats the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge'. Butchers used to set up benches to sell meat from.
However, because butchers used to throw offal into the street shambles came to mean a mess or something very untidy or disorganized. The Fleabites captured the fords over the River Jordan leading to Ephraim.
If a man wanted to cross a ford they made him say 'Shibboleth' (a Hebrew word meaning ear of grain). Criminals were allowed to make short shrift before they were executed.
When it was too late for the victim to escape they would show their true colors-the Jolly Roger! If you bought a piglet the seller placed it in a bag or sack.
Today this means neat and tidy but originally the saying was spick and span new. However, it was so common for single women to support themselves that way that by the 18th century 'spinster' was a synonym for a middle-aged unmarried woman.
There is a popular myth that this saying comes from the time when British sailors ate off square plates. The old English word strait meant tight or narrow.
In the King James Bible published in 1611 Jesus says: 'Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leader to life'. This phrase comes from the days when blacksmiths lifted iron objects from the furnace and hammered it.
They could only hammer the object into shape while the iron was hot before it cooled down. This comes from an old belief that swans, who are usually silent, burst into beautiful songs when they are dying.
Brash men struck their swords against their bucklers as they walked around town. On board ships a lead weight was attached to a long rope.
When it sank to the seabed you counted the number of knots that disappeared and this told you how deep the sea was. Some sailors felt it was an easy job and 'swinging the lead' came to mean avoiding hard work.
In time, it came to mean feigning illness to avoid work. If the wind suddenly changed direction a sailing ship stopped moving forward.
It meant making your way through a dense wood and through one where trees grew more thinly. It is not clear how speaking with your tongue in your cheek took on its modern meaning.
This old saying probably comes from ships sailing in shallow waters where they might touch the seabed then go. In Celtic times people believed that benevolent spirits lived in trees.
Truck originally meant barter and is derived from the French word 'torque'. Climbing it was dangerous and, not surprisingly, you had to be a bit crazy to go up there willingly.
When Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658 had his portrait painted he ordered the artist not to flatter him. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, refused to be involved in the death of an innocent person (Jesus).
So he washed his hands in front of the crowd, symbolically disassociating himself from the execution. In the Middle Ages knights who fought at tournaments wore a token of their lady on their sleeves.
Today if you make your feelings obvious to everybody you wear your heart on your sleeve. This phrase is said to come from an old belief that weasels could suck out the inside of an egg leaving its shell intact.
The 'weigh' is a corruption of the old word began which meant carry or lift. Today to give someone a wide berth is to steer clear of them.
If a jockey was a long way ahead of his competitors and sure to win the race he could relax and put his hands down at his sides. In the ancient world grain was hurled into the air using a tool called a winnowing fork.
In Matthew 3:12 John the Baptist warned that on the judgment day Jesus would separate the wheat from the chaff (good people from evil). In Siam (modern-day Thailand) white or pale elephants were very valuable.
The king sometimes gave a white elephant to a person he disliked. In Matthew 7:15 Jesus warned his followers of false prophets saying they were like 'wolves in sheep's clothing' outwardly disarming.