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IDIOM OF THE DAY The FourthTwenty. without batting an eyelash Without showing emotion or interest; impassive Caitlyn accepted her million dollar reward.

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Presentation on theme: "IDIOM OF THE DAY The FourthTwenty. without batting an eyelash Without showing emotion or interest; impassive Caitlyn accepted her million dollar reward."— Presentation transcript:

1 IDIOM OF THE DAY The FourthTwenty

2 without batting an eyelash Without showing emotion or interest; impassive Caitlyn accepted her million dollar reward without batting an eyelash. Origin: to “bat” an eye was a way of saying “blink” in the early 1900’s when this phrase first appeared. Usually a person who sees, hears, or experiences something unusual will show some feeling, or at least blink. If that person is so cool, calm, and collected that he or she doesn’t even bat an eyelash, then there’s no outward show of emotion. 4-1

3 White Elephant Any possession that is useless, unwanted, or costs a lot of money to keep The band is sponsoring a white-elephant sale on Saturday. Bring all your junk to sell. Origin:There is a legend that in ancient Siam (now Thailand) a king once gave a rare white elephant to a person at his court whom he didn’t like. Sounds like a nice gift, but the white elephant was considered sacred, couldn’t be made to do any work, and cost a fortune to feed and tend. The courtier couldn’t get rid of this big drain on his money because it was a gift from the king. In a short time, this unfortunate man was poor. That is probably what the king intended. The expression first was used in English in the late 1800’s. 4-2

4 turn over a new leaf To correct one’s behavior or attitude; to begin anew; to make a fresh start If you’re feeling out of shape, maybe it’s time to turn over a new leaf and start exercising. In the 16 th century, when this idiom was born, people referred to pages in a book as leaves. “Turning over a leaf” meant turning to a blank page in a workbook to begin a new lesson. The expression suggested that you can change your behavior for the future and begin again as if turning to a new page in the book of your life. 4-3

5 Swan Song The final, farewell performance of an actor or singer; one’s last words or actions. Fans of Heath Ledger may want to go see his swan song “The Dark Night“ when it is released this summer. Origin: In the myths of ancient Greece and in some poetry by William Shakespeare, you will find references to a swan that is mute or almost totally silent all its life, but that sings a lovely, sweet song just before it dies. In real life it doesn’t happen that way (swans make sounds all their lives) but the story is nice and people enjoy it. Today, a performer’s final appearance, an artist’s last work or a scientist’s last discovery, or an athlete’s last game is often called a “swan song.” 4-4

6 salt of the earth A person or group considered to be the finest, most admirable, and noble Sam is salt of the earth. He always willing to lend a helping hand. Origin: For thousands of years salt has been one of the most valuable, useful, and desired things. At one time, Roman soldiers were paid part of their salaries in salt. 4-5

7 have your heart in your mouth To be extremely frightened by something My heart was in my mouth when it was my turn to perform in the talent show. Origin: When you are terrified, your heart starts pounding and there is a choking feeling in your throat. Homer (8 th century Greek poet) referred to that feeling as having “your heart in your mouth.” 4-6

8 keep a stiff upper lip To be brave and not show emotion in a time of trouble Jarred kept a stiff upper lip even when his coach yelled at him for making the wrong play. Origin: This American expression was first used in the early 1800s. When is person is frightened or angry or ready to burst into tears his or her lips often tremble. 4-7

9 Achilles’ Heel The one weakness, fault, flaw, or vulnerable spot in one’s otherwise strong character. I’m an A student in history and English, but math is my Achilles’ heel. Origin: In the Iliad, the famous story about the Trojan War by the Greek poet Homer, Achilles was a great warrior. However, he had one weak spot, the heel of one foot. When he was a baby, his mother wanted to be certain that her son could never be harmed, so she dipped little Achilles upside-down in the magical River Styx. Wherever the water touched his body, he became invulnerable. But since she was holding him by his heel, that part of im never got wet. Years later, Achilles was killed in the Trojan War by an enemy who shot a poisoned arrow into his heel. 4-8

10 Bleeding Heart An extremely softhearted person who feels compassion or pity towards all people, including those who may not deserve sympathy. Samantha is such a bleeding heart. She will help out anyone who asks her for help! Origin: This controversial term comes from America in the 20 th century. Some people say that government or private charities should do more to help relieve the suffering of the sick, the homeless or the unemployed. These well meaning citizens might be called “bleeding hearts” by others who feel that people on welfare or charity should stop taking so much from others. 4-9

11 blow your own horn To praise yourself; to call attention to your own merits (intelligence, skills, success, or abilities); to brag about yourself If you want to run for president, you have to blow your own horn. Origin: In ancient Roman times, a blare of trumpets announced the arrival of a great hero. The blowing of horns meant someone important was coming. Today, people who blow their own horns are boasting about their superior qualities. 4-10

12 Cloak-and-Dagger Concerning or involving spies, secret agents, intrigue and mystery; involving plotting and scheming. Our reading teacher enjoys reading suspenseful cloak-and-dagger novels. Origin: As early as the 1600s theatergoers in Spain loved seeing melodramas filled with exciting adventures, especially daring sword fights. Many of the characters hid swords under their cloaks. After a while, these shows were called “cloak-and-dagger” plays. Now the term is used to describe any kind of entertainment that involves espionage, suspense, or other dramatic adventures. 4-11

13 come up smelling like a rose To get out of a possibly embarrassing or disgraceful situation without hurting your reputation, and maybe even improving it Even though Luke missed the goal shot, he still came up smelling like a rose. Origin: This is a 20 th century American expression. The writer who created it had in mind the image of a person who falls into a pile of garbage but manages to come up “smelling like a rose.” Symbolically, this means the person gets into some kind of trouble, and through good fortune or cleverness, gets out again without damaging his or her good name. 4-12

14 Crocodile Tears Fake tears; false grief I begged and cried to go out with my friends, but Dad said I was crying crocodile tears. Origin: Way back in ancient Rome (about A.D. 300), people were using this expression. About 1,000 years later, people enjoyed listening to a popular folktale about how crocodiles make loud weeping sounds to trap prey who come close to see what all the wailing is about. The crocodiles supposedly weep fake tears even as they eat their victims. 4-13

15 gone to pot Become ruined; to get worse and worse The public park had once been beautiful, but now it’s all gone to pot. Origin: This idiom from the 1500s originally referred to old or weak animals that couldn’t lay eggs, give milk, or pull wagons. They were more useful in a pot cooking for dinner than in the barnyard. 4-14

16 get your goat To annoy very badly; to make a person angry It really got the other team’s goat when our basketball team won Origin: This American expression dates from about It was a common practice to put a goat in the stall of a nervous racehorse to be its friend and keep it calm. If people wanted the horse to lose a race, they would sneak the goat out of the stall to upset the horse. 4-15

17 give up the ghost To die; to stop running On the way to school, our car gave up the ghost. Origin: “Ghost” in this idiom doesn’t mean a dead person. It means the soul, which is thought to leave the body when a person dies. So if somebody “gives up the ghost”, he or she stops living; if something “gives up the ghost,” it stops working. 4-16

18 split hairs To argue about small, unimportant differences Colby and Bradley are always splitting hairs. James argued that there were seven explosions in the movie, Bradley said there where eight. Origin: When this saying originated in the 1600s, it was thought to be impossible to split anything as fine as a hair. 4-17

19 stick to your guns To stand firm and hold to one’s position; to stand up for your rights no matter what trouble you get into While I don’t agree with Jackie, I admire the way she sticks to her guns. Origin: This was first a command to sailors manning the guns on a military boat to stay at their posts even when the boat was besieged by enemies. Later, in the middle 1700s, the saying was extended to anyone who persisted in holding onto his or her convictions. 4-18

20 stick your neck out To take a bold or dangerous risk; to expose yourself to criticism “I don’t think Mariah should be the only one to complain. Why should she stick her neck out for all of us?” Origin: This 20 th century Americanism probably originated in the 1930s and referred to a chicken or turkey that got its neck stretched out when put on the chopping block. 4-19

21 word of mouth By on person telling another; by speaking, rather than writing. The movie got bad reviews, but it became popular by word of mouth. Origin: If people see something they like or don’t like, such as a movie, TV show, or book, and they tell their friends about it, the news is being spread by “word of mouth” instead of by television commercials or other kinds of publicity. 4-20


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