Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with J

joined at the hip

joined at the hip

Meaning

  • two people who are inseparable
  • two people closely connected, or always together
  • two people who spend more time together than is usual

Example Sentences

  1. Chris and Jenny have been joined at the hip since they started dating each other a year ago. You would never see one without the other.
  2. Sally and I are very much in love, but we are not joined at the hip, you know. We very much have our own personal lives and space.
  3. Those two girls are more than just friends, they are like soul-sisters. They have been joined at the hip since the time they were in school.
  4. Those two seem to be joined at the hip. They are always together.
  5. Happy couples need not be the ones who are joined at the hip. In fact, couples who have a personal space tend to be happier in their relationships.

Origin
This expression originated in the USA during the 1960s and is derived from the condition of conjoined twins. Many assume that the term refers to Chang and Eng Bunker, who were an internationally celebrated pair of conjoined twins, and being from Siam (as Thailand was then called), were the source of the expression “Siamese twins”. However, this assumption is unlikely as they were joined at the sternum, not at the hips. This expression most likely makes a general reference to conjoined twins.

jot or tittle

jot or tittle

Meaning

  • A very small amount.
  • A tiny portion of something.

Example Sentences

  1. I don’t want a jot or tittle of it, I want the whole thing.
  2. You can’t make it big with jots or tittles, you need a much bigger contract to survive in this industry.

Origin
The meaning of the words jot as well as tittle refer to small quantities of something. It has been used in the New Testament of the Holy Bible in 1526 by William Tindale’s translation. It appears in Matthew 5:18 as ‘iott or one tytle’. In the King James Version in 1611, the phrase appears as it is seen today. ‘Jot’ is the anglicized version of the Greek alphabet ‘iota’ which means small quantity (it is now very well used in the English language too). The word in Hebrew for the smallest letter of the square is ‘jod’ which is how the word ‘jot’ is speculated to have come into existence. When someone has to take down a brief note it is referred to as ‘jot it’.

In the modern day, the word ‘dot’ is used as a small round mark made by the point of the pencil / pen. In the earlier times the same was referred to as ‘tittle’. Jot was the line across the alphabet ‘T’ and tittle was the dot on ‘I’. Although the origination have speculations that are strong, the literary origin is unavailable.

jump the gun

jump the gun

Meaning:

  • start something too soon or early, especially without thinking
  • do something before it should be done
  • act before the proper time
  • begin something before preparations are complete

Example:

  1. The media jumped the gun and gave out their verdict of the scandal even before the investigation was complete.
  2. Don’t you think you are jumping the gun by talking about marriage so soon? You’ve only just met.
  3. I don’t want to jump the gun and give out my conclusions until I have all the information required.
  4. He jumped the gun and booked a seat for me even before I had confirmed that I was coming.
  5. I think he jumped the gun when he made that investment without doing proper research first.
  6. The new executive jumped the gun by sending out the appointment letter too soon.
  7. She didn’t want to jump the gun and make a statement until she had all the facts of her case.
  8. If we publish this sensitive article, the masses will be quick to jump the gun and give their own verdict based on half truths and unconfirmed news.

Origin:
This phrase originated from track and field races and was known since the early 1900s. It refers to athletes starting the race before the gun was fired (which was used to signal to start of the race). This phrase was preceded in America by “beat the gun”.

just deserts

just deserts

  • get what one deserves
  • punishment or reward that is considered to be what the recipient deserved

Examples:

  1. After the supervisor was suspended, many workers felt that he got his just deserts.
  2. He killed my innocent bird, but got his just deserts when he was beaten by somebody for abusing.
  3. Our neighbor Mr. Jones got just deserts when he was left helpless in need by her wife, he never ever respected her.
  4. Sarah has got no sympathy for her son and husband, she got his just deserts.

Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English < Old French deserte.

Possible Confusion:
In fact its deserts, not desserts
The idiom is frequently reasonably written just desserts. Using just desserts is not a error, and it is much more common than just deserts in 21st-century texts.

jack of all trades

jack of all trades
Meaning: somebody who has many skills or who does many different jobs successfully.
Example: My big brother is an engineer by profession but can drive big lorry, can repair the machines and running many stores of himself, he is really a jack of all trades.