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American Idioms


undefined, object
copy deck
to eat humble pie
to admit your error and apologize
a pig in a poke
an item you purchase without having seen; a dissapointment
a flash in the pan
promising at the start but then dissapointing
to pour oil on troubled waters
to make peace, to calm someone down
the sword of Democles
any imminent danger (a king seated one of his subjects underneath a sword that was hanging by a hair, in order to teach him the dangers a king faces)
Pyrrhic victory
a too costly victory (King Pyrrhus defeated the Romans but his losses were extremely heavy)
a wet blanket
one who spoils the fun
to beard the lion in his den
to visit and oppose a person on his own grounds
crocodile tears
insincere tears (crocodiles were said to cry while eating their prey)
to carry the day
to win the approval of the majority
Skid Row
disreputable part of town, inhabited by derelicts and people "on the skid"
to go up in smoke
to come to no practical result (kindling smokes but it will not light a fire)
to throw down the gauntlet
to challenge someone (when the gauntlet, or medieval glove, was thrown down, the challenger was required to pick it up)
feeling no pain
Hobson's choice
to have no choice at all (Mr. Hobson owned a livery stable but he did not allow the customers to pick their horses)
to rule the roost
to be in charge, to be master (a roost is a perch where domestic birds can sleep)
stock in trade
the goods, tools, and other requisites of a profession
to take down a peg
to take the conceit out of a braggart (ship's colors used to be raised or lowered by pegs- the higher the colors, the greater the honor)
to pass the buck
to evade responsibility (the "buck" is a piece of buckshot passed form one poker player to another to keep track of whose turn it was to deal)
to lionize a person
to make a big fuss over someone (the lions at the Tower of London were considered its main attraction)

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