A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Clear as day

As clear as day means very easy to understand or see and dates from at least the 14th century. See also Plain as day.

Clear as mud

The antonym of ‘clear as day’, a jocular way of expressing that something is not very clear at all, dates from the early 19th century.

Clear as the nose on one’s face

see Plain as the nose on one’s face.

Clear off

Colloquial expression meaning to depart or go away, usually in the form of an imperative; dates from the early 19th century.

Clear the air

To remove tension or misunderstanding in any social or business context, dates in this sense from the late 14th century.

Clear the decks

Prepare for action or prepare for the main task or objective by getting unimportant matters out of the way, dates in this sense from the mid-19th cent...

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The word ‘cut’ is used here as an intensifier to stress that something is indeed very clear, in the sense that it has distinct and distinguishing outl...

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Clear/sound as a bell

For centuries, one of the clearest sounds was that of church bells, which could be heard from miles away. Thus, clear as a bell means perfectly clear...

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Cleft stick

To be in or to be caught in a cleft stick is to be in a very awkward, compromising or sticky situation. The expression dates from the 1700s. The allus...

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Clever boots/clogs/socks/sticks

All these variations are similar to Clever Dick and are generally derisive, childish taunts aimed at those trying to be too clever. They all date from...

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Clever Dick

The British equivalent of Smart Alec, a derisive term for a clever, or perhaps too clever, over-confident and showy person dates from the late 19th ce...

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The word dates from the early 17th century and is imitative of the sound of a clock or the cocking of a gun. Its modern meaning to strike up a rapport...

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A suspense film or book derives from early 20th century silent movie serials where the hero was invariably left hanging to the edge of a precipice by...

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Climate of opinion

This metaphor describing prevailing beliefs and attitudes is often mistakenly attributed to W.H.Auden (1907-1973) but the expression was already in us...

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Climb walls/Climb the wall

see Up the wall

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