Idioms

Idioms

All part of life’s rich pageant

see Life’s rich pageant

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All piss and wind

see All wind and piss

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All roads lead to Rome

At one time, of course, all roads built by the Romans led to Rome as the hub or centre of their empire. Roman roads were essential for both commerce a...

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All she wrote

This rather odd expression meaning, that’s all there is, it’s all over or there’s no more to be said, first appeared in America during the 1940s. Coin...

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All sewn up

If something is sewn up or all sewn up it means completed or finished and is an American colloquialism from the late 19th/early 20th century deriving...

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All square

see Square/Square deal/meal etc

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All the bells and whistles

see Bells and whistles

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All the rage

Desribes something, e.g. a fashion, that is widespread but usually temporary or fleeting, dates from the late 18th century, from the allusion to rage...

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All that glitters is not gold

Meaning that which appears showy may not be valuable. It is most often attributed to Shakespeare Merchant of Venice (1596) Act II, Scene VII where Mor...

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All the tea in China

see Not for all the tea in China

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All things come to him who waits

Attributed to Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863), “All things come to him who will but wait.”

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All things to all men

The source is Corinthians I, 9:22, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all mea...

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All thumbs

An expression dating from the 16th century for clumsiness or lack of manual dexterity as if one had all thumbs and no fingers. Sometimes the expressio...

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All wind and piss

British slang that describes a vacuous, ineffectual person dates from the 1920s.

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All’s fair in love and war

The origin is attributed to the poet John Lyly in his novel Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit published in 1579. Lyly wrote, “Any impiety may be committed i...

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