mum’s the word
- keep quiet and say nothing
- do not say anything or give away a secret
- keep silent and not reveal something
- We are throwing a party for our friend Jeremy, but its a surprise, so don’t tell him anything about it. Mum’s the word.
- I’ll tell you about our secret hiding place, but mum’s the word; don’t tell anyone about it.
- Mum’s the word about tonight’s plan. We don’t want all and sundry to gatecrash into our private gathering.
- The information I am going to reveal to you is highly confidential, so mum’s the word.
- I know where he has gone, but I am not revealing it to anyone against his wishes, so mum’s the word.
- I’ll let you on our little secret, but mum’s the word: if anyone else gets to know of it, we’ll be in big trouble.
- I’ve heard the news, but mum’s the word till we get confirmation.
The phrase originated around the 17th century. An earlier version of the phrase was “mum is counsel”, and was used in the 16th century. The earliest print reference of this exact phrase can be found in “A Walk Around London and Westminster – The Works of Mr. Thomas Brown” from 1720.
match made in heaven
- a combination of two people that is perfect in every way
- two people so well suited to each other that their marriage is sure to be happy and successful
- a marriage that is happy and successful because the partners are very compatible
- two people who are perfect for each other
- Jules and Nora are a match made in heaven. They love doing things together and cannot bear to be away from each other.
- I hope Lily and Tim get married soon. They are really a match made in heaven.
- My brother and his wife are not only very supportive of each other, but they also have similar interests. They are truly a match made in heaven.
- Everyone had thought that Bill and Marge were a match made in heaven; but when they announced their separation last month, everyone was shocked.
- Looking back at their thirty years of marriage with fond memories, Greg and Tracy realized that theirs had indeed been a match made in heaven.
- At my friend’s wedding, everyone agreed that the couple was a match made in heaven.
This phrase is based on the belief that divine forces have a hand in making two compatible people meet and pair up. The exact origin is not known.
marry in haste, repent at leisure
- if you marry someone without knowing the person well, you will later regret your decision to marry
- those who rush into a marriage spend a long time repenting it later
- if you marry someone without first carefully considering your decision, you will feel sorry for it later
- Sally and Bob had hardly known each other for a few months before they decided to get married, and now they are having big problems. Marry in haste, repent at leisure!
- I feel you are rushing into your marriage; you don’t even know him that well. Haven’t you heard of the saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure”?
- With George and Susan, its a case of marry in haste, repent at leisure. They met at a friends wedding, fell in love immediately and decided to marry too soon. Now they are very unhappy together.
- I know she is nice girl, but I want to think about it before I decide to marry her. I don’t want to marry in haste and repent at leisure.
- She wanted some time to consider his proposal of marriage; she had heard of the saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure”.
This expression first originated in print in 1693, in “The Old Batchelour” by William Congreve.
- Something that does not make sense.
- A speech which was meaningless.
- A religious ritual that is outdated and/or considered frivolous.
- I do not believe in this mumbo jumbo, human life should be valued far more than some ritual that one is not willing to forego.
- The politician made a right fool of himself with all that mumbo jumbo on the stage. Do not think he is going to be voted for this time.
- What is all this mumbo jumbo? How can educated people like you waste so much time with such rituals?
- It is often people who do not understand the full meaning of religion that end up in such mumbo jumbo.
- She is just a kid, most of what she says is mumbo jumbo.
In the year 1738, a writer called Francis Moore used this expression in the publication titled ‘Travels into the inland parts of Africa’. It was not used in the sense that it is used today back then. In 1858, ‘The Saturday Review’ published it to mean what it stands for in the current years. The origination of the phrase comes from a masked dancer in religious functions called “Maamajomboo”. The exact phrase was also the name of a West African God.
man’s best friend
- It refers to animals that are of use to human beings, mostly used to address dogs.
- Loyalty and valuable services that dogs provide to human beings make them worthy of being called man’s best friend.
- When his dog died he cried for many days in the memory of his only best friend.
- A dog is undoubtedly a man’s best friend.
Dogs were used for hunting and defense before the start of the 18th century. Post that they have been domesticated as pets. It is not certain about the origination of this phrase since from the time dogs have become pets, their services have been valued far more. In fact, it is considered one of the reasons why dogs were taken as pets from a utility animal. The phrase is said to have originated in the New York Literary Journal in 1821.
The phrase became popular in 1870, in Missouri, United States of America, a farmer shot his neighbours dog. This resulted in a law suit. In the duration of the law suit, the lawyer of the dog’s family provided many a references to the services and the loyalty of the said dog. He even gave a eulogy in which he referred to dogs in general as man’s best friend.
miss the boat
also miss the bus
- miss a chance
- being too slow to take advantage of an opportunity
- to lose an opportunity by being slow to act
- to miss out on something
- The discounted price sale ended today and I just missed the boat on making a great deal.
- He missed the boat when he did not apply for the job in time.
- If you don’t pay attention in class, you’ll miss the boat and do badly in your exams.
- There were tickets available for the match till last week, but you have missed the boat by waiting till today.
- It was widely expected that he would get the funding, but he missed the boat by not keeping his appointment.
- In this competitive scenario, if you don’t keep yourself abreast of latest developments, you are going to miss the boat.
- There are others waiting to grab an opportunity like this; if you don’t act fast, you are going to miss the boat.
- He did not turn up for the trials, so he missed the boat to be in the team for the main event.
This phrase has been in use since the 1900s.
method to madness
also method in madness
- a purpose in doing something that is seemingly crazy
- there’s a reason for someone’s strange behavior
- there’s a plan behind the odd behavior of a person
- You may be thinking that I have gone crazy, but there’s a method to my madness.
- When she’s working on her painting, it would seem that she’s out of her mind, but when she finishes, you’ll see that there’s method in her madness.
- They way the houses were built seemed strange, but when we heard of the natural calamities affecting the region, we realized there was method to the madness.
- They have a crazy schedule, but taking all things into account, there’s a method to their madness.
- These are turbulent times, but it must come to an end sometime. There must be some method to this madness.
- They are selling it at a throwaway price, but they have plan to recover their money. There’s a method to their madness.
- He used to live a very disorganized life, but later we realized that there was method in his madness.
- He keeps talking to himself loudly, but he insists there is a method in his madness.
Originated from Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1602.
make a long story short
also cut a long story short or long story short
- abbreviate a long explanation into a short one
- get to the point
- give only the basic facts instead of a full explanation
- give a short version or only the conclusion of a long story
- leave out details of a long winded narration
- To make a long story short, he still stays in the apartment but now it is owned by someone else.
- To make a long story short, they decided to get back together for the sake of the kid and are now doing pretty good.
- Long story short, he got back his job and the company fired his manager for corrupt practices.
- To cut a long story short, I was stranded on the highway with no means of transportation when an old friend of mine happened to be passing by.
- Long story short, despite all the opposition, they finally got married and are now happy together.
- To cut a long story short, it was a horrific experience but we managed to get through it in one piece.
The idea of abbreviating a long explanation is ancient, however, this precise expression has been used since the 1800s.
make a virtue of necessity
- extract something beneficial from an unwelcome obligation
- to shift the important deeds or act into a positive or useful experience
- to use a difficult situation in the best possible way
- to give the best possible effort one can under an uneasy situation
- It’s was a long journey from Delhi to Australia so I thought I would make a virtue of necessity and write some articles that had to be submitted to the magazines.
- When his brother was ill, only he was there in the town to take care hs brother’s care, so he made a virtue of necessity and engaged with his brother to share their time together.
- When the project arrived impromptu, my boss assigned me to the project as the other managers were on leave. Though I had to leave for my vacation too but I made a virtue of necessity and learn new technology needed for the project which otherwise I had been procrastinating.
This thought is found in Latin in the of St Jerome’s writings: facis de necessitate virtutem ‘you make a virtue of necessity’. It followed into Old French (faire de nécessiste vertu) and was found first in English in Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale: “Then is it wisdom, as it thinketh me, to make virtue of necessity”.
- silly act
- dishonest tricks
- to fool around
- immoral or a deceitful conduct
- illegal activities
- I want to sleep. Stop disturbing me by your monkey business.
- Aren’t you tired of having done monkey business whole day, leaving your preparation for test tomorrow.
- Children continued their monkey business until the teacher arrived in class.
- The government is levying fine on those who have been doing monkey business by tampering with their electricity meters.
- There is nothing new in selling adulterated food items in local markets by shopkeepers. It’s their old monkey business.
- Do not get involved in monkey business over the internet. Cyber Laws are stricter than before.
- Now passport application has been made available online so that innocent people do not get tricked into monkey business of those who claim to get passports made in less than 3 days.
Monkey business has its roots in the term Monkeyshine. This word was originated in 1832 and meant “dishonorable act;” it was used in the Jim Crow song which mocked African-American slaves. In earlier times parents in England warned their children against bad conduct termed as monkey tricks. The idiom was first recorded in print in 1883 in W. Peck’s Bad Boy: “There must be no monkey business going on.”