Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with D

dead ringer

dead ringer

Meaning

  • A duplicate of the exact nature.
  • A substitute for something.
  • An imposter.

Example Sentences

  1. She is a dead ringer of one of my friends. I in fact walked up to her at an event mistaking her for my friend.
  2. The car that is parked in that garage is a dead ringer of the car that my dad used to own a couple of years back.
  3. I used to have a gold necklace which had a dead ringer fake, you would never be able to find out which is the real one.
  4. I’ve heard that they change the crown jewels by their dead ringers so that they are protected from thieves. Is that true?

Origin
Since the 1900’s a ringer is a term that is used for a horse that substitutes another one in order to confuse and subsequently defraud bookies before races. This term has been used in the year 1882 where it has been defined. It referred to another horse that was a very close duplicate. To ring means to exchange or to substitute something.

The relevance of the word ‘dead’ in this phrase means ‘exact’. It is used similar to ‘dead center’ and ‘dead shot’. This phrase is said to have been coined in the 19th century itself and was used in 1888.

dry run

dry run

Meaning

  • a rehearsal before the actual performance
  • Used in terms of performances as well as a corporate jargon which means to give something a trial before it is actually launched.

Example Sentences

  1. Today is only a dry run so we will not be using the actual costumes.
  2. The company launched the service as a dry run to understand what the customers actually want from it.
  3. It is best to give it a dry run to check if the colour bleeds before you put the garment in the washing machine with your other clothes.

Origin
In 1941, a publication called the Gettysburg Times published this phrase in the United States. The expression has been around for longer which provides a sense of the actual (performance). In the early 1800s, in the United States and particularly North America they had streams which would be flooded during rainy season but went dry in the summers. The word run attached to dry merely pointed to its meaning, that is, route.

Another possible explanation again comes from the United States where the fire department would have rehearsals that would be ‘dry’ instead of ‘wet’, that is, water was not used in these rehearsals. In 1896, Salem Daily News used the term wet run. By the 1900’s the idea of a dry run being a rehearsal was pretty set.

doozy

doozy or doozie

Meaning

  • it is something that is unique
  • an outstanding formation of some sort
  • it is an unusual thing, could relate to being positive or negative, although originally the phrase was meant as a positive.

Usage
Also written as ‘Doozie’. The phrase is used as a slang more than an idiom.

Example Sentences

  1. It’s a doozy of a painting, she is so creative.
  2. It was a doozy of a ride since the countryside is just so scenic.
  3. This one was a doozy of a storm, we were stuck in our houses for almost 4 hours.
  4. It was a doozy of an exam, I must have hardly answered one question correctly.
  5. These flowers are great and make the room look doozy.

Origin
Between the years 1920s and 1930’s an automobile known as the ‘Duesies’ was launched by Fred and August Duesenburg, which brought the word ‘Doozy’ more into popularity. The noun was already in place by then and being used actively. The origin seems to have come from the 1836 publication of ‘The Clockmaker’ which described a perfect doll as a real daisy. In 1893, the Italian based actor Eleonora Duse exemplified someone perfect which may have then changed into ‘Doozy’ by the beginning of the 1900’s.

drink like a fish

drink like a fish

Meaning

  • This phrase means to drink heavily, which becomes worrisome.
  • It refers to alcoholic drinks more than non-alcoholic drinks but can be used for both.
  • Fishes stay in water hence to drink it, availability or capacity is not an issue. This is also reflected by the phrase.

Example Sentences

  1. At any party that he goes, he drinks like a fish. His wife ought to control this if she can.
  2. Pass that bottle to me, I can drink this like a fish because it is my favourite drink.
  3. Drink like a fish today since he has never been known to give a treat before this.
  4. At weddings people look for no excuses to drink like fishes.

Origin
The phrase originates from the closeness that fishes share with water and is meant to depict a lot of something since a fish can drink a lot water while being encompassed by it. The phrase originates in 1640 in the literary work of Fletcher and Shirley in the book titled ‘The night walker, or the little thiefe’. This was made popular in 2005 by a biological brewery in China who claimed that their fermentation was so good that they could turn fish into wine.

dish fit for the gods

a dish fit for the gods

Meaning

  • This refers to food that is of an exemplary quality
  • It literally means what it says, that is, the food is so good that it is good enough to be served to a God.
  • It also refers to offerings that many not necessarily be food but the phrase is seldom used in that context anymore.

Example Sentences

  1. She is such a wonderful cook. The cakes that she bakes are dish fit for the gods!
  2. I had this amazing Chinese soup at a restaurant. It was a dish fit for the gods.
  3. Generally his culinary skills are not great but today he has made a pie that is a dish fit for the gods.
  4. I could not go on with the kind of cooking that she did. But the minute I decided to change my housemaid she started churning out dishes fit for a god.

Origin
The phrase originates in the Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar in the year 1601. Brutus when killing Caesar, tells his men to be gentle. His speech contains that although they are killing Caesar, and that he would obviously bleed, the men should not tear him apart limb to limb. Brutus asked Caesar to be carved in a manner that he would be a dish fit for the Gods!

diamond is forever

a diamond is forever
or diamonds are forever

Meaning

  • It is the slogan of the popular diamond seller De Beers.
  • They have coined this phrase as a marketing slogan for the products that they sell, which are made of diamonds.

Example Sentences

  1. ‘No matter how much you love your man, it is the diamond that lasts forever’, joked the girls at the brunch table.
  2. A woman loves nothing more than her diamonds, they do last forever.
  3. Whether the relationship lasts forever cannot be guaranteed but the diamond will last forever.
  4. She takes good care of her jewellery because she wants to pass it to her granddaughter. She knows that a diamond lasts forever.

Origin
In 1948, De Beers coined this term as their marketing slogan. They have been using it ever since and it is popular even now in the year 2016. In 1950, an Ohio newspaper printed this phrase to cover a story. Although it is speculated that the first known literary use of this phrase was in 1925 by Anita Loos in her book ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’.

This slogan is popularly used in common parlance now when one is referring to diamonds because of their durability and longevity. A diamond is not spoilt with time.

drive up the wall

drive up the wall

Meaning

  • to make someone angry or irritated
  • to annoy someone
  • infuriate someone
  • to make someone irrational

Example Sentences

  1. This stagnant traffic and constant honking is driving me up the wall.
  2. The loud music played by my neighbours is driving me up the wall.
  3. This question is driving me up the wall. Try as I may, I cannot find the right answer.
  4. He quit his job because his boss’ constant criticism was driving him up the wall.
  5. His tuneless singing and drumming on the table drives me up the wall.
  6. The pointless discussion about which religion is better nearly drove me up the wall.
  7. He left the party early because all the silly chatter was driving him up the wall.
  8. He was driven up the wall by his flat mate’s frequent late night parties.

Origin
This phrase refers to someone trying to escape something something by climbing up a wall. It is not known when it was first used.

don’t put all your eggs in one basket

don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Meaning:

  • don’t make everything dependent on one thing
  • don’t put all your resources into one thing
  • don’t depend for your success on a single plan
  • don’t concentrate all efforts into one area

Example:

  1. It would be better if you applied to several companies instead of just one; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  2. It is wise to diversify your investments across different instruments, as you should not put all your eggs in one basket.
  3. Why are you putting all your money into one company? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  4. He was depending heavily on the success of his venture, but when it failed, he was ruined. He realized that he should not have put all his eggs in one basket.
  5. He was able to recover from his losses because he didn’t put all his eggs in one basket.
  6. You’d better acquire a new skill; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  7. People who don’t put all their eggs in one basket have shielded themselves from situations of crisis.

Origin:

The origin of the phrase is unclear, but it is most commonly attributed to the book Don Quixote written by Miguel Cervantes in the early 1600s.

drastic times call for drastic measures

drastic times call for drastic measures

also desperate times call for desperate measures

Meaning:

  • extreme circumstances can only be resolved by equally extreme actions
  • in difficult situations, it is necessary to take drastic actions
  • when you are extremely desperate, you need to take equally extreme actions
  • undesirable circumstances have to be countered by drastic actions

Example:

  1. After the company had posted losses for the third consecutive year, the board decided to replace all of its top management. After all, drastic times call for drastic measures.
  2. After suffering heavily in yet another stealth attack, the military decided to go for a full blown war. Drastic times call for drastic measures!
  3. After the third flood in as many months, the local government decided to evacuate the area and resettle the inhabitants elsewhere. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
  4. When the prolonged recession forced him to shut down his business, Dev decided to sell groceries to make ends meet. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Origin:
This phrase is actually derived from the saying of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, that appear in his Aphorisms: “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable”, or “Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies”

don’t give up the day job

don’t give up the day job

Meaning:

  • a usually humorous way of telling someone not to pursue something full time as he or she is not good at it
  • way of telling someone to continue doing what they are good at, rather than trying something new which they would probably fail at
  • a somewhat sarcastic but mostly good-natured comment for criticizing someone’s lack of talent at something

Example:

  1. I watched your performance at the theater today. My advice is don’t give up your day job.
  2. You want to try your hand at writing a novel? I’ve read your drafts and I advise you not to give up your day job.
  3. If I were you, I wouldn’t give up the day job; you’re never going to be a dancer.
  4. You are not a very talented actor, so don’t give up the day job and pursue it as a hobby.
  5. Don’t give up your day job – you won’t go anywhere with that kind of music.
  6. “Did you like my singing?” “Well, don’t give up your day job.”

Origin:
The origin of this phrase in unclear.

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