NAMING NAMES

send someone to Coventry (British, informal)
if a group of people send someone to Coventry, they refuse to speak to them, usually in order to punish them. The other workers sent him to Coventry for not supporting the strike.

would not do something for all the tea in China (old-fashioned)
if you say that you would not do something for all the tea in China, you mean that nothing could persuade you to do it. I wouldn't be a teacher for all the tea in China.

It's all Greek to me. (informal)
something that you say when you do not understand something that is written or said. I've tried reading the manual but it's all Greek to me.

carry/take coals to Newcastle (British)
to take something to a place or a person that has a lot of that thing already. Exporting pine to Scandinavia is a bit like carrying coals to Newcastle.

have the luck of the devil/Irish (old-fashioned)
to be very lucky. Then he won £3000 on the lottery - that man has the luck of the Irish!

go Dutch
to share the cost of something, especially a meal. 'Will you let me take you out tonight?' 'As long as we go Dutch.'

fiddle while Rome burns
to spend time enjoying yourself or doing things that are not important when you should be dealing with a serious problem. Environmentalists claim that the government is fiddling while Rome burns.

Rome wasn't built in a day.
something that you say which means that it takes a long time to do an important job. 'Sometimes it feels like we've spent all our lives decorating this house.' 'Well, Rome wasn't built in a day.'

When in Rome (do as the Romans do).
something that you say which means when you are visiting another country, you should behave like the people in that country. I don't drink wine when I'm at home but on holiday, well, when in Rome...

Pardon my French! (British, humorous)
something that you say which means you are sorry because you have said an impolite word. The silly sod never turned up, pardon my French.

be as American as apple pie
to be typically American. Country and western music is as American as apple pie.

an Indian summer
1. a period of warm weather which sometimes happens in early autumn. Both the UK and Ireland have been enjoying an Indian summer over the past few weeks. 2. a successful or pleasant period in someone's life, especially towards the end of their life. The book describes the last 20 years of Churchill's life, including his Indian summer as prime minister between 1951 and 1955.

grin like a Cheshire cat
a grin like a Cheshire cat - a very wide smile. What have you got to look so happy about, walking round here grinning like a Cheshire cat? (usually in continuous tenses)

Murphy's law (humorous)
the way in which plans always fail and bad things always happen where there is any possibility of them doing so. I'm a great believer in Murphy's law - what can go wrong will go wrong.

Uncle Sam
the government or the country of the United States. These smaller countries resent being so dependent on Uncle Sam for protection

a plain Jane a woman or girl who is not attractive. It has to be the real McCoy. Television today is geared to your average Joe Blow. Cheap sparkling wines cannot be labelled 'champagne'. Why should I lend him money? I don't know him from Adam. but there is really only one thing that you can take or do.someone whose personality has two different parts. Joe Public (British. He lived the life of Riley. I want a qualified plumber to do the job. If she'd been a plain Jane. I missed the last bus and had to get home on Shanks's pony. It's Hobson's choice. old-fashioned) walking as a method of travel. and keep huge amounts of money Today's market has convinced dozens of kids barely out of college that they've got the Midas touch" Jack the Lad (British.the patience of Job/a saint a lot of patience. American. one very nice and the other very unpleasant. not just any Tom. Dick and/or Harry anyone. The test of any new product is will Joe Public buy it? Joe Blow (American & Australian) an ordinary person. having inherited a huge amount of money. Dick or Harry. Jekyll and Hyde a Jekyll and Hyde . he always was a bit of a Jack the Lad." Midas touch: an uncanny ability for making money in every venture The ability to make. As a team they're strong on attack but they have a weak defence that might prove to be their Achilles' heel. especially people that you do not know or do not think are important. old-fashioned) a confident and not very serious young man who behaves as he wants to without thinking about other people. You need the patience of Job to be a teacher Parkinson's Law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Many alcoholics develop Jekyll and Hyde personalities. Three children with three different women? Well. Shanks's pony (British. and three years on we're happy as Larry. be as happy as Larry/a sandboy/a clam (British & Australian. We married nine days after we met. Hobson's choice a situation in which it seems that you can choose between different things or actions. informal. Since he's been at college he's as happy as a clam. . the real McCoy the real thing and not a copy or something similar. I'll lose my job Tom. Draw the curtains or we'll have every Tom. she wouldn't have had all the attention. American & Australian. American) to be very happy and to have no worries. an Achilles' heel a small fault in a person or system which might cause them to fail. manage. Dick and Harry peering through the window. old-fashioned. not know someone from Adam to have never met someone and not know anything about them. informal) the public. because if I don't agree to do what they want. problems or worries. lead/live the life of Riley (informal) to have a happy life without hard work.

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