- 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- A religious ritual that is outdated and/or considered frivolous.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.”
make all the difference
Meaning: have a very good effect on a thing or a situation.
Example: Working with a nice bunch of people can make all the difference to your job.
make common cause with
Meaning: work together in order to achieve something that both groups want.
Example: Environment protesters have made common cause with local people to stop the setting up of the factories and iron industries on fertile land.
make a clean breast
Meaning: confess completely.
Example: While wedged stealing in Super Market, Robert Daniel decided to make a clean breast of it to the owner of the store.