- be noticed by someone
- attract someone’s attention
- make eye contact with someone
- to get someone’s attention by looking at them
- While we were driving down the road, a small shop selling beautiful potteries caught my eye.
- The restaurant was a busy one, and it was quite some time before we managed to catch the waiter’s eye.
- Mary was gazing at the mountains beyond when Jason caught her eye and beckoned her.
- That shiny red car at the showroom had really caught my eye; I wanted to but it right away before good sense prevailed.
- Bob had taken a fancy to the new girl in the neighbourhood and went about trying to catch her eye during a get together organized by the local community.
- Sam was getting very chatty and was about to give my secret away when I finally managed to catch his eye and signal him to stop.
- Andy was desperately trying to catch Rebecca’s eyes at the party but she kept ignoring him – it looked like they had had a big fight about something.
- The vase at a friend’s house had caught my wife’s eye – she wanted something like that for herslf.
The origin of the idiom is not known.
- A wiseacre.
- Someone who stands out in a class because he makes constant jokes and pokes fun at people.
- A student who is funny and uses his wit to make others laugh.
- He is the class clown with the constant talking and making fun of others.
- Your father doesn’t always look like it but he was quite a class clown in his days.
- A class clown makes fun of people but should be sporting enough to be able to laugh at himself.
- It was shocking to see him so serious after the results were out. Otherwise he is such a class clown.
- It seems to be the responsibility of the class clown to cheer everyone up after some bad moments. You in particular are very good at it.
- Not many people know that he has such a painful past and has been admitted in the hospital so many time from the class clown demeanour that he carries currently.
- A class clown is an integral part of the high school composition, just as the nerds, the jocks the cheer leaders and the rest.
- Although teachers punish class clowns, they seem to be their favourite students.
The origin of this phrase is unavailable.
- refusal to talk further or reply
- to not give out any information
- to close down when danger is sensed
- She clams up every time I walk in, it is worrisome.
- The thief clammed up when he was taken for interrogation by the police, they could not get any information from him.
- Her son clams up every time he feels guilty of something.
- He was talking about something but clammed up the minute his wife entered. Maybe they aren’t getting along that well anymore.
- They ought to share more things between the two of them, clamming up in a marriage is never a good sign.
- The human resources team member will come and speak with her now. She seems too shocked with the incident and has clammed up completely.
- Psychiatrists have to regularly deal with patients that have clammed up. It sometimes takes hours and days but they do not give up.
A speculation is that the clamming up or shutting down comes from actual clams that shut down when the see any danger approaching. The literary origin of the phrase is however, unavailable.
the call of the wild
- It talks about nature appealing to a person.
- Raw emotions, mostly volatile in nature are represented through this phrase.
- It is referred to for people who show a spurt of emotions, although not necessarily so.
- It is also used as wanting to get back to nature, but the phrase is sparingly used in that context.
- How could he hurt her like that? He has always been so nice, talk about the call of the wild!
- It was a real call of the wild that he roughed up the cop so badly. Let me tell you that he is in trouble for a very long time because of his rage now.
- She must have had a call of the wild to treat such a small child in this way.
- He quit his job and went for a month long trek. He has had many such urges and calls of the wild in the past too.
This phrase has been made popular by a novel that was published by Jack London in the year 1903. The novel had the same name as the phrase. It originates from earlier than that according to historians but there is no literary proof of the same.
call a spade a spade
- This phrase means to say something the way it is.
- To not dress the truth up and speak in a straight forward manner.
- It is used when the description of something is given in an honest manner.
- That dress made her look fat, let’s call a spade a spade before she goes out wearing it and embarrasses herself.
- He failed the exam twice. If you were to call a spade a spade then you would not push him to give it again.
- Parents are often reluctant to see any faults in their children. It is always better to call a spade a spade rather than spoiling the children with this behaviour.
The phrase is said to have originated from the slang that was used for Negros, which is ‘spade’. This was used in a derogatory manner in the United States and was popular in the early 20th century.
The first known publication of this term precisely is from John Trapp’s work in 1647 where he claims that God’s people would call a spade a spade and a niggard a niggard. The term niggard here does not necessarily refer to Negros but could be an indication of the misers at the time.
- stop a habit (esp. bad habit) suddenly
- stop a habit without tapering off
- withdraw abruptly and completely
- He had been trying to quit smoking since a year but couldn’t, so he decided to go cold turkey.
- When drug addicts go cold turkey they experience a period of extreme suffering.
- He went cold turkey on his drinking habit two years ago and hasn’t had a drink since.
- If you are unable to control your habit, consider going cold turkey.
- To cure his addiction to video games, he decided to go cold turkey and gave his entire collection away.
- The experts quit cold turkey, leaving the part timers to finish the job.
- He had been addicted to dating apps lately, so he decided to go cold turkey and deleted all of them.
- If all other attempts at quitting fails, you should go cold turkey.
This phrase originated in the early 1900s. Initial usage points to a meaning of something happening abruptly. Since 1921, it referred to a treatment of drug addiction, where the addict was made to quit abruptly. Now, it means breaking any habit abruptly, but is mostly used for bad habits.
cut to the chase
- come to the point
- leave out all unnecessary details
- focus on the major point
- say only what is important and leave out minor details
- We haven’t got all day for this discussion. Let’s cut to the chase.
- After the customary greetings and handshakes, we cut to the chase and began negotiating with our clients.
- He was busy with his work, so I cut to the chase and told him that the project had been cancelled.
- I don’t have time for idle talk, so cut to the chase and tell me what you want.
- I can see that you are busy, so I’ll cut to the chase. I need you to lend me a large amount of money.
- As soon as everyone was assembled, the team cut to the chase and began the discussion.
- I’ll cut to the chase and tell you the main problem. Your car has a faulty engine.
This phrase originated in the US film industry. Many silent films used to have a romantic storyline that climaxed in a chase sequence. The phrase was used in a literal sense in directing films around the 1920s. In the figurative or idiomatic was, it was used since the 1940s.
chip on shoulder
- holding a grudge or grievance
- a perceived sense of inferiority
- being angry because of something that happened in the past
- habitually combative attitude
- take offence easily
- He’s always picking up fights with everyone. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder.
- He has a chip on his shoulder for not being born into a rich family.
- She still seems to have a chip on her shoulder about the argument she had with her friend last week.
- He has a chip on his shoulder for not being invited to the party.
- Why do you get so aggressive at the slightest hint of criticism? You seem to have a chip on your shoulder.
- He was not very cared for as a child, and he has a chip on his shoulder about his upbringing.
- She has a chip on her shoulder about not getting admission into that university.
- One of my colleagues is always arguing with everyone. I think he has a chip on his shoulder.
This phrase originated in the USA in the 1800s. It refers to a practice where people who were looking for a physical fight would place a chip of wood on their shoulders, challenging others to knock it off.
couldn’t care less
- total lack of interest in something
- do not care at all
- utterly indifferent to something
- I have heard that my ex is going through another break-up, but I couldn’t care less.
- The win was marred in controversy, but the jubilant fans couldn’t care less.
- Tom came up with his sob story, expecting me to show him sympathy, but I couldn’t care less.
- He couldn’t care less that his neighbours were moving. He was not on very good terms with them.
- When the star actress made an appearance, the security team tried to control the crowd; but they couldn’t care less and surged ahead to meet her.
- He knew that the company was closing down, but he couldn’t care less. He had already found a new job.
- I don’t know what’s bothering her now and I couldn’t care less. She’s always in a foul mood for no apparent reason.
- I know that extreme sports can be dangerous but I couldn’t care less. The thrill that I get out of it is more than worth it.
The origin of the phrase is not clear.
come out swinging
- be confrontational
- strongly defend yourself
- aggressively initiate an encounter
- fight back with spunk and strength
- The government came out swinging against the oppositions charges of corruption during the debate.
- The residents body came out swinging against the local administration for failing to clean up the neighbourhood.
- The labour union came out swinging against the management’s decision to cut down the workforce.
- The home team came out swinging against their stronger opponents and managed to win.
- After a long layoff due to injury, the player came out swinging in his comeback game.
- The minister came out swinging in defence of the new policy changes.
- The manager came out swinging against all the negative feedback he had received from the employees.
- Its his last chance to prove his worth, so expect him to come out swinging.
This phrase has its origin in boxing. It refers to a boxer who begins a match by immediately throwing punches in an unrestrained manner.