A-Z Database

A-Z Database

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Put the hammer down

To put or drop the hammer down, sometimes with the word ‘down’ omitted, has come to mean to exert maximum pressure or attention to some task or other....

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Put the icing on the cake

see Ice the cake


Put the mockers on something or someone

see Mockers


Put the screws on

To exert pressure, to coerce, especially in the sense of extracting a confession or information, dates from the 1600s and derives from thumbscrews, in...

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Put the wood on/over someone

see Have the wood on/over someone


Put through the mill

see Go through the mill


Put through the wringer

To put someone through the wringer is to give them a hard time, dates from the early 20th century and derives from the old-fashioned habit of putting...

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Put to the sword

Obviously, its literal, original meaning of slaughter is very old, from at least medieval times, if not before. Its current figurative meaning, to def...

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Put up or shut up

Put up or shut up is a forceful way of saying provide some fresh evidence or facts or withdraw from the debate. The expression is American in origin f...

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Put up your dukes

see Dukes/duke it out


Put your money where your mouth is

Be prepared to back up the validity of one’s statements with appropriate action or a money wager to the same effect, is first cited in America from th...

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Put your shoulder to the wheel

This expression meaning to make an effort derives from Aesop’s Fables c.550 BC in the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner where after his wagon gets stu...

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Putting on the dog

Putting on the dog means putting on a flashy, showy display; an American expression dates from the second half of the 19th century. It is thought to d...

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Pyrrhic victory

A victory gained at such great cost that it is almost a defeat. The expression first appeared in print during the 19th century but may been used befor...

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