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.