Expressions

My Spanish grandson, a computer science student, reads novels in English by authors such as Ken Follett to sharpen his skills in that language. He wrestles with colloquialisms and slang expressions that he encounters. The one he mentioned specifically was “It’s not my cup of tea.” He asked me recently to provide him a random list of such expressions off the top of my head for him to ponder and possibly recognize should he encounter them. I’ve free-associated thus far the following hodgepodge for him. (Nagging question: Is all slang this weighted toward the derogatory and snide? Or is it me?)

-a He’s… She’s… You’re… They’re…

-b I… You… He… She… They…

-c It’s…

Not my cup of tea.

Pulling my leg.

Took me for a ride.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Make hay while the sun shines.

Lie with dogs, rise with fleas.

On it like a duck on a junebug.

Not a bowl of cherries.

Not all hats and horns.

Has a burr in his blanket.

Has a bee in her bonnet.

Old as the hills.

Wild and woolly.

High on the hog.

In high cotton.

High as a kite.

Free as a breeze.

There’s a new bull in the pasture.

All hat and no ranch.

Too far over his skis.

Under the weather.

Ugly as a mud fence.

Open a can of whup-up on him.

Long in the tooth.

Living on borrowed time.

Speaks with a forked tongue.

Over the moon.

Pencil-neck geek.

Straight arrow.

In over his head.

The sky’s the limit.

Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

His cheese done slid right off his cracker.

Crazy as a loon.

Up a creek without a paddle.

Oil field trash and proud.

Busy as a bee.

Just got skunked.

One brick shy of a load.

Not playing with a full deck.

Not rowing with both oars.

A loose cannon.

(Cc) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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4 Responses to Expressions

  1. Some I’ve not heard here. I like all ‘hat and no ranch’ – same as ‘all mouth and trousers’? Here’s some from me – ‘couldn’t stop a pig in a passage’, ‘it’s gone a bit black over Bill’s mothers’, ‘hark at pot…’, ‘looked at me gone-out’ (an east midlands expression), ‘I’m not pissing up your back’. What a good game!

    • JMN says:

      Gee whillikers! I’m gobstopped! Haven’t heard any of yours. Excellent game. “All hat and no ranch” is relatively new to me, denotes what we used to call a “drugstore cowboy,” a fella who sported all the accoutrements (hat, boots) but with none of the substance. We do have the expression “pissing up a rope,” not sure if it equates to yours. I need to research your slang!

      • Two more on the more crude end of the spectrum ‘I’ll do wonders and shit cucumbers’, ‘I’ll shove a broom up my bum and sweep up as I go along’ – both tend to be used by the overly busy/harrassed, forced into multi- tasking person! I’ve just been told there’s more to the ‘all mouth and trousers’ one – ‘like a norfolk duck’. No idea what that means

      • JMN says:

        I’m convulsed with laughter, literally! I have a guilty weakness for the crude end of the spectrum which I try fitfully to finesse for no apparent reason. A favorite joke involves a crusty British WW1 fighter pilot recounting having shot down several Fokkers over Germany. When his colleague clarifies for the genteel gathering that “Fokkers” were a line of German airplanes, his companion objects, “No, no! These fokkers were Messerschmitts!” (I read this in a book by Paul Theroux.)

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