Friday, November 16, 2012

Cut to the chase

If you 'cut to the chase,' it means that you just come out and tell someone something, after (possibly) previously stalling.

-They've been hemming and hawing all week. I wish they'd just cut to the chase and tell me.
-They should, you're right!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


If you are 'floored' by something, it means you are shocked and can't believe what you're hearing.

-I can't believe you didn't get the job! I'm just floored!
-Yeah, me, neither. I'm still in shock.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Full of shit

Someone who is 'full of shit,' is someone who is completely lying. Since 'shit' is a bad word, obviously this should only be said around people with whom you have a close relationship.

-I can't believe she actually said that! She's so full of shit!

Hemming and hawing

If someone is 'hemming and hawing,' it means they're stalling on making a (perhaps big) decision.

-I wish he'd just make up his mind!
-All this hemming and hawing is getting old.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pig out

If you 'pig out," it means that you eat so much that afterward you're stuffed and maybe even feel sick.

-Good morning, sweetie! Would you like some breakfast?
-No thanks, Mom. Last night I pigged out on pizza at Suzanne's and I'm still full!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Not going to sugarcoat it

If you're not going to 'sugarcoat' something, it means you're going to be frank and direct about some bad news, without trying to soften it.

-Well, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. You have to lose weight.
-You're right, Dr. Smith. I know you're right.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


'Gridlock' refers to a major traffic jam when no one can move. It has also been used the American political scene as if late.

-Gridlock traffic! Happy Monday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Living under a rock

If you are 'living under a rock,' it means that have not been paying very close attention to what's been happening (especially in the world) around you.

-I just can't comprehend how anyone could be an undecided voter at this point!
-They must be living under a rock!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In a safe place.

If you have something you don't want to lose, you might put it in a safe place. Sometimes, however, you put it in such a 'safe place' that later you can't find it.

-Do you have the tickets for tonight?
-I put them in a safe place and now I can't find them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hard to read

If someone is 'hard to read,' it means that is hard to anticipate what they are thinking or feeling.

-Do you think your mother-in-law liked your gift?
-I don't know. She's really hard to read.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

All for show

If something is 'all for show,' it means that something being done isn't genuine, but rather, it is being done to impress or to give a positive impression to someone else.

-I can't believe she got so emotional!
-Oh, that? It was all for show.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Coming from

You can say you don't know where someone is 'coming from' if you don't understand their point of view.

-I think we should just ignore them.
-But why? I don't understand where you're coming from.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Down time

'Down time' is time when you don't have to be anywhere doing anything and can actually relax. It speaks to how over-programmed and over-scheduled so many Americans are.

-I really need some down time! I've been way too busy lately!
-Yeah, me too! (Sigh.)

Head-butt and butt heads

If you are 'head-butted,' it means someone has bumped or hit you with their head. It's usually something kids or pets do. Interestingly, it different from but related to 'butting heads.' This is when two people keep disagreeing and can't reach any consensus, as if their heads were actually bumping, or butting, together.

-Your cat keeps head-butting me. I think she likes me.
-She just wants to get her smell on you.

-Dad and I just don't agree on anything! It's so frustrating to talk to him.
-Yeah, you guys do butt heads a lot!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pop quiz

A 'pop quiz' is a quiz that a teacher gives with previous warning. Often, they are given to see who has done the homework, such as keeping up with the reading.

-How was English today?
-Horrible. We had a pop quiz and I hadn't read.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wound up

If someone is 'wound up,' it means they have lots of pent up energy that they need to get out, by running or playing. Kids are often described in this way.

This expression uses the imagery of a music box. You turn it over, wind it up, and let go. Then the music plays fast until it finally stops and you have to wind it up again.

-Oh, my goodness! The kids are so wound up today!
-Yeah, they need to go outside and play.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


To 'jaywalk' means to cross the street in the middle of the block where there is no crosswalk. Although it's illegal, police officers don't give tickets for doing this.

-Let's cross here.
-No, we can't jaywalk! There's way too much traffic! We have to go to the corner.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Woo hoo!

'Woo hoo!' is an exclamation said with great excitement when someone is really happy about something. Some synonyms include 'yippee,' 'woot' 'yay' and 'hooray.'

-My daughter just found out she was accepted at Harvard! WOO HOO!
-Yay! That's awesome!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tied up

A person who is 'tied up' is busy and can't take on a new request from someone else. It can also be used as an apology to say that they couldn't get to something they were supposed to be doing because something unexpected happened to prevent them from doing it. To add emphasis, they can say they're 'all tied up.' this expression is often used in a work place or other professional environment.

-I'm sorry; I can't help you with that. I'm all tied up today with a project. Maybe tomorrow?
-Sounds good.

-Did you finish the Stevens case?
-No, I'm sorry. I was all tied up in meetings with my team and never got around to it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


A 'klutz' is a clumsy person who trips a lot and/or drops things.

-Dad is such a klutz!
-Yeah, he broke Mom's favorite vase!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Easter is the holiday where Christians celebrate Jesus' resurrection. Churches tend to be fuller than usual on Easter Sunday, and many people dress more formally. Little girls wear fancy little Easter dresses, and the boys wear pastel-colored little shirts and pants or shorts. After church, families tend to gather for brunch (a big meal after breakfast time and before lunch time), where they might eat egg casserole, bacon or ham, fruit, and some type of roll or bread.

For both Christians and non-Christians, it is also a day of Easter Egg hunts (dyed hardboiled eggs or plastic eggs filled with candy) where children go around their house or outside in their yard with their Easter baskets and collect the eggs that have been left for them by the Easter Bunny. Usually they get chocolate and jelly beans.

-Alleluia, the Lord is risen!
-The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

-Happy Easter, sweetie! What did the Easter Bunny bring you?
-A chocolate Easter bunny and jelly beans!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


A 'pistol' is a type of handgun, but it can also be used, especially by grandparents, to describe a small child who is very cute or doing something sweet or ornery.

-C'mere, you little pistol! Nana loves you!
-Love you, Nana!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Knock it off!

'Knock it off' is an informal way someone tells you to stop doing something. The person who says it has more power than you do. It's often said by a parent, or in an informal context.

-Hey you guys, for the last time, knock it off!
-Sorry, Dad!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An accident waiting to happen.

'An accident waiting to happen' is how you describe a situation that is dangerous and could cause an accident. Everyone knows it's a dangerous situation, but usually no one does anything to fix it until an accident has already happened.

-They really need to get a lock on this pool gate. It's an accident waiting to happen!
-You're so right! I'll go tell the pool managers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Step up to the plate

If you 'step up to the plate,' it means that you finally do something that needs doing, possibly something you've been avoiding, or you take responsibility for something you've done. It's a reference to baseball, where a player steps up to home plate to bat.

-I really need to tell my friend that I took her money.
-Time to step up to the plate!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

See you later, alligator!

'See you later, alligator!' is something parents and grandparents say to little kids. The response from the child is, "After while, crocodile!"

-See you later, alligator!
-After while, crocodile!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lost and Found

'Lost and Found' is a place where you can go to look for something you have lost, or to turn in something you have found. Usually restaurants, malls, hotels, parks, and the like, have a 'Lost and Found.' If you're looking for something, they'll often take your name and number so they can call you if it's found.

-Oh, no! I can't find my camera!
-Try Lost and Found. Maybe someone turned it in.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day

'April Fool's Day' always falls on April 1st and is a day of pranks and practical jokes. While it's mostly for kids, some adults also enjoy it.

-What's the best April Fool's joke you ever played?
-We got up really early and put salt in the sugar bowl. When our dad drank his coffee, he screamed and we laughed!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Off your rocker

If you are 'off your rocker' (a nickname for a rocking chair), it means whatever you're saying is completely wrong. It most likely originated with senior citizens, who often use rocking chairs.

-I may be completely off my rocker here, but I think your coworker has a crush on you.
-No, you're not off your rocker! I think so, too.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friends with benefits

If people are 'friends with benefits,' it means they are friends who have sex. This implies that there are no strings attached -- neither person intends to get involved romantically. They're friends, but that's it. Well, except for the sex part. The problem with this is that one person usually ends up having feelings for the other, and that usually ends things pretty quickly.

-So are you two going out, or what?
-Nah! Just friends with benefits!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


If you're 'grounded,' it means that your parents have punished you. You can be grounded from your phone, tv, going out, or whatever else your parents decide upon.

-Why'd you get grounded?
-I stayed out two hours past my curfew.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


To 'lollygag' means to take your time when doing something -- not hurrying at all -- when someone has asked you to do something quickly.

-We're in a hurry, so please use the bathroom as quickly as possible.
-I know, Mom. No lollygagging!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Drop it

'Drop it' is something you say to end the topic of a conversation. Said as a direct command, it's most likely to be said by a parent to a child. Where the power relationship is closer, it is often asked, 'Can't we please just drop it?'

-Mom, please can we stay up until 10? It's Saturday...!
-I've already said no, so drop it.

-Your aunt drives me crazy!
-I know. I'm sorry.
-I mean, she's always...
-Can't we please just drop it? We're almost to her house and I'm sure she's made a nice dinner for us!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stuffed up

If you are 'stuffed up,' it means your nose is clogged with mucus and you can't breathe very well.

-Are you feeling any better today?
-No, not really. I'm still completely stuffed up.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Walking on eggshells

'Walking on eggshells' means that you're being very careful with what you say or do because you feel awkward and don't want to offend or anger the other person. The idea is that eggs are very fragile, so you have to be very careful or you'll break one.

-I always feel like I'm walking on eggshells when I'm at your parents' house.
-I'm sorry. Once you get to know them better and they get to know you better, it'll be much easier.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the back burner

If you put something 'on the back burner' (which is the back part of the stove), it means that now you have to attend to other things first before you can get back to it.

-I was planning to replace my kitchen floor this summer, but now we have to get a new car.
-Well, I guess the floor will have to go on the back burner.

Friday, March 16, 2012

All tied up

If you're 'all tied up,' it means you're too busy to do whatever the other person is asking you to do. It's a typical expression you hear in an office.

-Can you go to lunch next Thursday?
-No, sorry. I'll be all tied up in court next week. How about the week after that?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


A 'kickstand' is the little metal bar that you push down to the ground with your foot when you park your bike. It keeps your bike from falling down.

-Don't forget to use your kickstand so your bike doesn't fall down.
-I will, Mom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hate crime

A 'hate crime' is a committed against a person because the perpetrator hates them based solely on things such as their race, religion, country of origin or sexual orientation.

-Do you remember the names Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr.?
-Yes, they were victims of hate crimes.
-Yes, they were both killed; Matthew because he was gay and James because he was African-American.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To crack up

If someone is 'cracking up,' it means they are laughing really hard.

-Did you see the movie?
-Yes! We were cracking up the whole time! It was awesome!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bleeding-heart liberal

A "bleeding-heart liberal' can be used in a derogatory way to describe someone who cares about issues such as peace, the environment, equality, justice and animal rights. However, some so-called 'bleeding-heart liberals' embrace the term.

-There goes your sister, off to another one of her protests. Bleeding-heart liberal.
-Oh, be quiet, dad! You should respect her for standing up for what she believes in!


'P.O.S.' refers to something that is a 'piece of shit.' It is usually used to describe an old car, but can be used for other things as well. It is pronounced letter by letter, not as one word.

-Dude, you really need to get a new car!
-I know! I'm so sick of this P.O.S.!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Living high on the hog

A person who is living 'high on the hog' is someone who living a very comfortable or wealthy life. Sometimes the person can actually afford to do so, and sometimes they are living beyond their means, living on credit cards.

-Wow, your brother's new house sure is beautiful! He's living high on the hog!
-Yes, he's had some very successful deals at work this past year.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bite the bullet

When it's time to 'bite the bullet,' it means that it's time to face whatever you've been avoiding once and for all and deal with the consequences.

-Have you talked to your parents about your credit card bill?
-Not yet. Guess I'd better just bite the bullet. Hopefully they won't be too mad.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lying through your teeth

'Lying through your teeth' means you are completely and totally lying, probably in someone's face. It's stronger than just saying that someone is 'lying.'

-I stayed home last night, honest.
-You're lying through your teeth! I saw you at the bar last night!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To hog

'To hog' means to keep something all to yourself, so that nobody else can have any or use it. It's a common expression that kids use.

-Mom, she's hogging the computer again!
-Okay, you have 5 more minutes and then it's your sister's turn.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bull in a china shop

If someone is a 'bull in a china shop,' it means they are somewhat clumsy -- not very graceful -- and prone to breaking things.

-I'm sorry for breaking your vase, Mom.
-It's okay. You're a bull in a china shop.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


'Pretty' can be used to compliment a woman's attractive appearance, but it also can use to mean 'rather,' 'kind of' or 'somewhat.' You can use it to lessen a compliment when you don't want to sound overly enthusiastic about someone or something.

How do you like your new boss?
-She seems pretty nice, but I don't really know her yet.

-How was the test?
-There were some tough questions, but I think I did pretty well.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Number 1 or Number 2?

When talking about going to the bathroom, people talk about going Number 1 or Number 2. Number 1 is peeing (urinating) and Number 2 is pooping (defecating).

-The guy was arrested for relieving himself in public!
-Was he going Number 1 or Number 2?
-Number 1!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


To 'hitchhike' means to travel via car with people you don't know. To do it, you stand on the side of the road and hold out your thumb. When someone stops, you get in. Of course, this can be extremely dangerous, but it is cheap.

-I can't believe your sister actually hitchhiked!
-Yeah, she could have gotten kidnapped or worse!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The coast is clear

'The coast is clear' means that whoever you were hiding from is now gone.

-Has he gone yet?
-Yes! The coast is clear!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good ol' boy

When you hear someone talking about a 'good ol' boy,' it conjures up the image of a guy who lives in a small, rural town, drives an old beat-up pick-up truck with a Confederate flag in the back window (which he sees as a symbol of Southern pride), probably chews tobacco and may or may not have a high school education. They are perceived to be prejudiced and racist. Calling someone this is not a compliment, unless you also happen to be a 'good ol' boy.'

-I live in New York now, but back home, I knew a lot of good ol' boys.

Friday, February 24, 2012


A 'potluck' is a party or gathering where everyone brings a dish (i.e., salad, entree or dessert) to share with everyone else.

-What are you going to take to the potluck next week?
-My usual -- my grandmother's potato salad.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


'R.S.V.P.' is French for 'Réponde, s'il vous plaît,' which means literally, 'Respond, if it pleases you.' You will see this at the bottom of a formal invitation, such as to a black-tie event or a wedding. Because sometimes people are not good about responding, now you will sometimes see 'Regrets only,' which means you only have to reply if you can't come. Each letter is pronounced separately, not as one word.

-Did you R.S.V.P. for your cousin's wedding?
-Yes, I mailed it yesterday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Under the gun

If you're 'under the gun,' it means you're under a great deal of pressure to get something finished and there's not much time left.

-Hi, Elizabeth. So, how is your sister doing?
-I'm sorry, I really can't talk right now. I'm under the gun. My presentation has to be ready in an hour.

Monday, February 20, 2012


'T.M.I.' (each letter in pronounced separately) means 'Too much information.' It is used as a response after someone has said more than you wanted to know.

-We had sex on our first date!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It is what it is.

'It is what it is' is an expression someone will say when someone else has complained about a situation, and the person realizes that there's nothing they can do to change it. By saying this, they're trying to get the person who complained to realize it.

-I wish they weren't such micro-managers. It drives me crazy.
-It is what it is. I doubt they're going to change at this point.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rub it in

If you 'rub it in,' it means you make a comment to a person who is in trouble or upset which only serves to make them more upset.

-I can't believe I broke my leg!
-And tomorrow, we're leaving to go skiing for a week.
-Hey! You don't have to rub it in!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Speak of the devil!

When a person has been talking about someone, and then that person suddenly appears, the person can say, "Speak of the devil!" If you walk up to a group of people and someone says this, you know they've been talking about you.

-What is Patrick going to do after he graduates?
-Well, first he wants to do some traveling with some friends, and then he'll move to Manhattan to.... Speak of the devil! How are you, Patrick?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pretty please!

'Pretty please' is an expression that mostly kids use when they really want something and are trying to convince their parents. 'Pretty please with a cherry on top' is an extended, and even more pleading version.

-Mom, can I spend the night at Catherine's house tonight?
-Pretty please!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bat-shit crazy

'Bat-shit crazy' is used to describe someone who you think is just plain crazy and beyond any hope of getting better. In reality, it's not usually used to describe a person who is truly mentally ill, but rather a person who has such outlandish, uninformed and offensive beliefs that you're sure they must be crazy.

-That presidential candidate is bat-shit crazy!
-I know! If he wins, I'm moving to Canada!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gold digger

A 'gold digger' is a person who wants to marry a wealthy person. Sometimes it's with the intent of living a better lifestyle, and sometimes it's planned in advance to later get divorced and try to get as much money out of the person as possible. This is why many extremely wealthy people sign a pre-nup (prenuptial agreement) before they get married, which states who gets what in the case of a divorce.

-I can't believe that 22 year old model married that 80 year old man. Eww.
-What a gold digger! His family must be furious!

Friday, February 3, 2012


A 'douchebag' is a serious insult to a guy, meaning he is a complete (fill in explicative here). A douche is a product sold to clean a woman's vagina. This term is extremely derogatory and should only be used in informal situations.

-My roommate threw up on my bed again.
-What a douchebag!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Living under a rock

To say someone is 'living under a rock' means that they have not kept up with current events, trends or beliefs because they have kept themselves isolated or simply don't care. It is pejorative.

-Can you believe he still thinks it's okay to beat your children?
-What rock has he been living under?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

To get in the middle of it

'To get in the middle of it' means you get pulled in to an argument between two people that really has nothing to do with you.

-Mom, she called me stupid!
-Well, she said I was fat!
-Look, you two, that was't nice of either one of you, but I'm not going to get in the middle of it. You two need to figure it out and apologize.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shoes and socks

Parents often tell their children, "Go put on your shoes and socks!" It doesn't really make sense since you put your socks on first and then your shoes, but that's how American English speakers say it.

-Okay, kiddos, put on your shoes and socks!
-We are!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Me and my big mouth!

You say 'Me and my big mouth' when you're embarrassed about telling someone something that was supposed to be a secret.

-I can't believe you told Sarah about her surprise party!
-Me and my big mouth! I'm really sorry!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Feeling out of sorts

If you're 'feeling out of sorts,' it means that you're not quite feeling like yourself. You feel a little off, and perhaps a little sad.

-How are you feeling today?
-Well, I'm a little out of sorts. I'm not sure what's bothering me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Good luck with that!

'Good luck!' can mean just what it says -- that the person is wishing you well in your endeavor. However, 'Good luck with that,' especially when said with a sarcastic tone, means that the other person doesn't think you're going to be successful at all.

-I'm gonna go cram for my Philosophy final tomorrow.
-Yeah, good luck with that!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


A 'thingamajig' is the name you call something when you don't know or can't remember its name. Quite often, it is something with a complicated or unusual name.

-Hey, can you hand me that thingamajig over there?
-You mean the ratcheting box wrench? Here you go!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Slept like a rock

If you 'slept like a rock,' it means that you had a great night's sleep and feel well-rested.

-How did you sleep?
-I slept like a rock! I feel great!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cradle robber

'Cradle robber' is used to describe a person who dates or is married to a person who is much younger. A cradle is the bed a baby sleeps in.

-I can't believe they're going out! He's like 20 years older than her!
-What a cradle robber!

Monday, January 23, 2012

To go off on someone

'To go off on someone' means to tell someone how angry you are about something they did.

-So what did she say?
-She totally went off on me, saying how immature and irresponsible I am.

Note to self

'Note to self' is something someone says outloud, mostly to themself, as a reminder or a piece of advice of something not to do in the future. Often, it is humorous.

-Note to self: Don't go to the grocery store when you're hungry.

-Note to self: Don't take your daughter into the American Girl store unless you're prepared to spend a lot of money.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wrap your mind around

When you're trying to 'wrap your mind around' something, it means you're trying to make sense of something that is really sad, unexpected or shocking that takes you by surprise and doesn't make sense.

-I can't believe Kyle was killed in a freak car accident.
-I know. I just can't wrap my mind around it. So tragic.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fender bender

A 'fender bender' is a minor car accident where someone bumps into another car and causes a small amount of damage. Now that fenders, now called bumpers, are painted the same color as the rest of the car, instead of being black like they used to be, even a little fender bender can be quite expensive to fix.

-Yesterday I had a little fender bender!
-Did you do any damage to the other guy's car?
-No, just to mine!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


A 'tightwad' is a person who likes to hold on to their money and not spend it. The term is not a compliment, but is pejorative, and the person is often considered to be 'cheap.'

-My favorite kids' store is Gymboree. Where do you get your girls' clothes?
-I love Gymboree, too, but my husband is a total tightwad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bend over backwards

To 'bend over backwards' for someone means that you do everything you possibly can to make them happy in a difficult situation.

-My pillow's too hard, the bathroom door squeaks, and the nurses come in at all hours of the night, taking my blood pressure.
-I'm sorry, Mom! I know it's no fun being in the hospital, but I have been bending over backwards to make this as tolerable as possible. Tomorrow I'll bring your pillow from home and some WD-40 for the door.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

You know your...

You use 'you know your...' to let your speaker know you're about to say something funny. By using 'you know,' you are also trying to get the speaker into your corner, so they will relate to you.

-You know your cell reception is bad when you get a text message 5 hours later!
-Yeah, that's pretty bad!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Between a rock and a hard place

If you're 'between a rock and a hard place,' it means you're in a difficult situation with no good way out. No matter what you decide to do, there will be negative consequences to your actions.

-I can buy groceries and pay my bills this month, or I can refill my prescriptions.
-You're definitely between a rock and a hard place.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Suck it up

'Suck it up' is used when you want to be supportive or tell someone to get over it when they're in an unfair or frustrating situation that they can do nothing about.

-it's not fair!
-I hear you. But I think you're just going to have to suck it up. Sorry.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Soccer mom

A 'soccer mom' is a mom who lives in the suburbs, stays at home (doesn't work outside the home), drives a minivan and takes her kids to soccer practice, piano lessons or Scouts -- any kind of after school activity.

The term is slightly pejorative, as it implies the mom doesn't really do anything important -- she just drives her kids around. Still, there are enough soccer moms around that the term was coined.

-I'm such the little soccer mom!
-Ha ha! Me, too!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Never met a stranger

Someone who has 'never met a stranger' is a very friendly person who finds it easy to talk with people, including strangers, anywhere -- such as in a waiting room, the check-out line, a restaurant, an elevator or an airplane. This person is generally well-liked and seems to know everyone.

-Your son is so friendly!
-Thank you! He's never met a stranger.


'Downsizing' means moving from a larger place into a smaller one. It can refer to a physical space, like a large house to a condo, or it can refer to what a company or organization can do. In the case of the latter, downsizing is actually a euphemism for getting fired.

-What prompted your move?
-Now that the kids are out of college, it was time to downsize. We just didn't need that much space anymore.

-So, I heard your department is downsizing.
-Yeah, 10 people are being let go.

Monday, January 9, 2012


'E.T.A.' means 'Estimated Time of Arrival.'

-So, what's your E.T.A.?
-Not sure. Maybe 5:30.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to Square One

'Back to Square One' is where you find yourself when you have to start something that you have worked on all over again, from the beginning.

-Well, since our supervisor didn't like our ideas, we're back to Square One.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Let's talk soon.

"Let's talk soon" actually means just the opposite. It's a way to end a conversation with someone, usually someone you haven't talked to or seen in a while, without appearing rude. When someone says this, they probably have no real intention of talking to you soon, and it could be a while before you hear from them again.

-It sure was nice seeing you again!
-It sure was! Let's talk soon!

Friday, January 6, 2012


The word 'effin' is an abbreviation for 'fuckin.'. Since 'fuck' is a bad word, it is often referred to as the 'f' word,and likewise, 'fuckin'' becomes 'effin.'

-What are you talking about?! That's effin' crazy!
-I know, but that's what they said!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hate to break it to you folks, but...

'"Hate to break it to you folks, but...' is used when bad news is about to be announced to a group. The speaker uses the word 'hate' to let the listeners know they feel sympathy for the people in the situation.

-Hate to break it to you folks, but our plane is experiencing some mechanical difficulties, so it'll be at least an hour before we can take off. We're doing everything as quickly as we can.
-(Deep sighs of frustration and groans from passengers.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fighting words

'Fighting words' are words that someone says that could easily start a fight. Sometimes the person using them does so on purpose out of hate, and sometimes it is just out of pure ignorance.

-When I was a kid, a boy calling another boy 'gay' was fighting words.
-Yeah, people are more tolerant than they used to be.

Ticking time bomb

A 'ticking time bomb' is a person who has poor anger management skills and could do something violent at any moment.

-Did you hear about the guy who shot the manager at the job he'd just been fired from?
-Yes. All his coworkers said on the news that he was a ticking time bomb. Luckily, the manager wasn't seriously hurt.