Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · ABBREVIATIONS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
 
To get a cup  to  To miss
 
To get a cup.
  To be drunk. “Come Mr. Holliard, so full of discourse and Latin, that I think he hath got a cup, but I do not know.”—Pepys, Oct. 18, 1663.
  9203
To get an inkling of a thing.
  Audire quasi per nebulam.—Plaut.
  9204
To get by a thing, as Dickson did by his distress.  9205
To get out of one mire to run into another.  9206
To get out of the way of the waggon. Dorset.
  i.e., To be off; to go one’s way.
  9207
To get over the shoulders.  9208
To give a reason for fancy were to weigh the fire and measure the wind.  9209
To give always there is never no end. W.  9210
To give and keep there is no need of wit.  9211
To give and to have / doth a wise brain crave.  9212
To give one a cast of his office.  9213
To give one a mouthful of moonshine.  9214
To give one a slap with the fox’s tail.
  i.e., To cozen or defraud one.—R.
  9215
To give one as good as he brings.  9216
To give one his or her supper.
  In Arden of Faversham, 1592, ed. Bullen, 89, Mistress Arden says: “You haue giuen me my supper with his sight.”
  9217
To give one the dog to hold.  9218
To give one the go-by.  9219
To give one the sack, the canvas, or the congo.
  The phrase at present is, to give the sack, i.e., to dismiss. To give the congo, is used in Derbyshire.
  9220
To give one tint for tant. WALKER.
  Apparently a corruption of tant pour tant. Gascoigne, in the Adventures of Master F. I. (Works, by Hazlitt, i. 463), says tip for tap.
  9221
To give one’s head for the washing.
  Or, as it sometimes is put, one’s beard for the polling. The sense is, not to part with anything altogether under its value. So Fletcher:
        “First Citizen.  And so am I, and forty more good fellows,
That will not give their heads for the washing, I take it.”
Cupids Revenge, 1615 (Dyce’s B. and F., ii. 427). Butler employs the phrase in his Hudibras, 1663; see Nares (Glossary, ed. 1859, art. Head).
  9222
To give the wolf the wether to keep. R. 1670.  9223
To give up the ghost.
  Coryat, speaking of a place in Cleveland or Cleves, where he arrived at night, refers to his satisfaction in procuring quarters, “for we were all most miserably weather-beaten and cold, especially I for mine own part, who was almost ready to give up the ghost through cold.”—Crudities, 1611, ed. 1776, iii. 60.
  9224
To go a high lone. WALKER (1672).
  By himself; without hold; to stand on his own legs.—W.
  9225
To go a snail’s gallop.  9226
To go as if dead lice dropped off from you.
  Applicable to a person in an extreme state of debility.
  9227
To go as if nine men pulled you, / and ten men held you.  9228
To go at shack. Norfolk and Suffolk.
  To go at liberty, shack being the term applied to liberty of pasturage and pannage in winter.
  9229
To go blow one’s flute.
  Vox Populi, Vox Dei (circa 1547), in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iii. 284:
        “When thei have any sute,
Thei maye goo blowe their flute,
This goithe the common brute.”
  We now say, to go and whistle.
  9230
To go down the wind.  9231
To go like a cat upon a hot bake-stone.  9232
To go on a pig to Putney.
  A jocular saying, still well understood, but of uncertain origin. It is not unusual, if a person says he is going to Putney, to say, “What, on a pig.” I have heard it said that the old hoys that plied up the river carried signs at the prow and that one of them was a pig. Perhaps it was the best remembered. “Go to Putney!” is also used in various parts of a satirical rejoinder. I do not know whether the commencing line of an Anglo Latin doggerel: “Tres milites ibant ad Putney” mentioned by a friend, and of which he recollected no more, has any connection with this phrase.
  9233
To go out like a snuff.  9234
To go rabbit-hunting with a dead ferret.  9235
To go round by Robin Hood’s barn.  9236
To go the whole hog.
  This saying may have an alliance with that applied to the early Germans, who at certain festive seasons were described as “striking a swinish hour.”
  9237
To go through fire and water to serve one.
  Probably from the two sorts of ordeal by fire and water.—R.
  9238
To go through-stitch with a business.  9239
To go to heaven in a feather-bed.
  Non est e terris mollis ad astra via.—R.
  9240
To go to heaven in a wheelbarrow.
  Comp. Davis, Suppl. Gloss., 1881, p. 719.
  9241
To go to sheep wash.
  This seems to be used in the sense of going to pot, as we say, in A Chronicle of London, 1089–1483, 4o., 1827, p. 112, under 1423–4:—“but the moste vengeaunce fell upon the proude Scottes; for there wente to schep wassh of them the same day mo thanne xvijc.—”
  9242
To go to Skellig.
  See N. and Q., 1st S., vi. 553. The Skellig is a group of rocks on the S. W. coast of Ireland, to which the “unmarried folks of both sexes are said to go in pairs to do penance during Lent, when, in the Popish Church, no marriages are solemnised.”
  9243
To go to the ground of a matter. CL.  9244
To go to the pot or to pot.
  Compare To come to the pot, supra.
  9245
To go westward.
  i.e., To Tyburn. Day’s Blind-Beggar of Bednal Green, 1659, ed. Bullen, 57.
  9246
To graft crab with crab.
  Collier’s Roxburghe Ballads, 1847, p. 136.
  9247
To graze on the plain. HE.
  Said of any one who is cast adrift or turned out of doors.
  9248
To grease one’s boots.  9249
To grease one’s hand.
  Conflict of Conscience, 1581, edit. 1851, p. 30. The sense is identical with what we now say, To grease a man on the fist, i.e., to bribe him.
  9250
To grease the fat sow.  9251
To give to people already rich.  9252
To grin like a Cheshire cat.
  The most reasonable solution of this phrase seems to me to be that given in N. and Q., 1st S., v. 402. Another version is: Grinning like a Cheshire cat chewing gravel, in Lancashire Legends, 1873, p. 194.
  9253
To grissle over daisy-moors. East Cornwall.
  To be near death. The origin of the phrase is not at present very clear. To grissle is used in Cornwall in the sense of to look very serious; adj. grisly, surly, out of temper. To turn up your toes to the daisy-roots, is a phrase used in the same part of the country for to take a nap.
  9254
To handle without mittens.  9255
To hang a padlock on the door.
  Comp. Away went Pilgarlick, supra.
  9256
To hang one’s ears.  9257
To hang the bell round the cat’s neck. HE.  9258
To hang up the hatchet. HE.
  The North American Indians bury the hatchet in the same sense.
  9259
To harp upon the same string.
        “———Citharædus ridetur, chordâ qui semper oberrat eâdem.”
—Horat. Epist. ad Pisones.    
  9260
To have a breeze in his breech.
  Spoken of one that frisks about and cannot rest in a place.—R.
  9261
To have a colt’s-tooth in one’s head.
  As is usually spoken of an old man that is wanton and petulant.—R.
  9262
To have a finger in the pie.
  “But to furnish every new Invention of Isaak Walton, Author (as you may read) of the Compleat Angler, who industriously has taken care to provide a good Cook (supposing his Wife had a Finger in the Py), which will necessarily be wanting in our Northern Expedition.”—Franck’s Northern Memoirs, 1694, p. 49.
  9263
To have a man’s head under one’s girdle. HE.  9264
To have a month’s mind to a thing.
  See my Faiths and Folklore, 1905, p. 415.
  9265
To have a shoulder of mutton for a sheep’s head.  9266
To have a stomach, and lack meat: to have meat and lack a stomach: to lie in bed, and cannot rest: are great miseries. C.  9267
To have a two-legged tympany.
  i.e., To be with child.—R.
  9268
To have a wolf by the ears. WALKER (1672).
  Lupum auribus tenere. When a man hath a doubtful business in hand, which it is equally hazardous to pursue or give over, as it is to hold or let go a wolf which one hath by the ears.—R.
  9269
To have an aching tooth at one.  9270
To have an eye to the main-chance.
  Three Ladies of London, 1584, ed. 1851, p. 219.
  9271
To have an M. under your girdle.
  To treat a person with proper respect, to call him Master So-and-so. Haughton’s Englishmen for my Money, 1616 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, x. 531). “There is a Creole proverb: ‘Deier chein cé chein; douvant chein, cé missire chein.’ Behind dog’s back, it is dog; but before dog it is Master dog.”—Dr. Furnivall, quoting J. J. Thomas’s Creole Grammar. In Udall’s Ralph Roister Doister (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. 108) Ralph asks Merrygreek: “Ne’er a master by your girdle?”
  9272
To have an oar in every man’s barge. HE.
        “Fyre in one hande, and water in the tother,
The makebate beareth betweene brother and brother.
She can wynke on the yew, and wery the lam,
She maketh earnest matters of euery flym-flam.
She must haue an ore in euery mans barge.”—Heywood.
  See Harvey’s Trimming of Thomas Nashe Gentleman, 1597, sign. D 2.
  9273
To have crotchets in one’s crown.  9274
To have his hands full.  9275
To have his head full of proclamations.  9276
To have January chicks.  9277
To have many irons in the fire. HOWELL.
  Dr. Johnson’s reply to the person, who brought him a MS. to read, and said he had other irons in the fire, was that he had better put that one, where the others were. Coryat has the expression. Traveller for the English Wits, 1616, p. 30.
  9278
To have more reasons than one, like the Mayor of Orleans.
  The Mayor’s first reason appears to have been that he knew nothing of the matter. The saying occurs in one of Walpole’s Letters.
  9279
To have nothing but one’s labour for one’s pains.
  Avoir l’aller pour le venir.—Fr.
  9280
To have on the petticoat.
        “[Ragan].  Nay, I thought ever it would come to such a pass,
Since he sold his heritage like a very ass.
But in faith some of them, I dare jeopard a groat,
If he may reach them will have on the petticoat.”
History of Jacob and Esau, 1568 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ii. 252).    
  9281
To have one.
  i.e., To take one’s meaning aright.
  “I knowe not how to haue thee, thou art so variable.”—Three Ladies of London, 1584, edit. 1851, p. 204.
  9282
To have one in the wind. HE.  9283
To have one on the hip. HE.
  Or, on the bridle, ibid. Sir Thomas More, a play (circa 1590), ed. Dyce, 25. The phrase also occurs in Fletcher’s Bonduca, v. sc. 2; and Mr. Dyce (Works of B. and F., v. p. 91 Note) cites Merchant of Venice and Othello for it. The passage in the former drama, where it is put into the mouth of Shylock, is indeed too familiar to bear quotation.
  9284
To have one’s hand on one’s halfpenny. HE.  9285
To have (or give) therefore.
  Jack Juggler (about 1563), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. 150. Equivalent to the modern saying, “To have what for.”
  9286
To have rods in pickle for one.
  Comp. Nares’ Glossary, 1859, p. 400.
  9287
To have the bent of one’s bow.  9288
To have the better end of the staff.  9289
To have the hands [advantage] of one. E. Anglia.  9290
To have the law in one’s own hand.  9291
To have the length of a man’s foot.  9292
To have the whip-hand.  9293
To have the world in a string.  9294
To have the wrong sow by the ear. HE.*
  One of the Mery Tales and Quicke Answeres (circa 1540) turns upon this saying. There is also a modern jest formed from it. Henry VIII., in referring to Cranmer in 1528 in relation to the divorce of Catherine of Arragon, is said to have observed, that the future Archbishop “had the sow by the right ear.” Keightley’s History of England, 1857, i. 353. There is the early pleasantry of the man who, desiring to please Queen Elizabeth in a case, where some one had been seeking to overreach her highness, remarked to her, that the individual had the wrong sow by the ear.
  9295
To have two irons in the fire.
  The Faithful Friends, by F. Beaumont (Dyce’s B. and F., iv. p. 211). Blacksnout, the “horseshoe maker,” there says:
                    “It is always good,
When a man has two irons in the fire;
We seldom have two cold doings”—
  9296
To have two strings to one’s bow.
  Letter of 1567 printed in the Antiquary, xi. 264. Il fait bien avoir deux cordes en son arc. Fr.
  9297
To have windmills in his head.  9298
To hear as hogs do in harvest [or with your harvest ears]. R. 1670.  9299
To heave and theave. Somerset.
  The labouring husbandman.—R.
  9300
To help at a dead lift.  9301
To him that hath lost his taste, sweet is sour.  9302
To him that will, ways are not wanting. H.  9303
To him that you tell your secret, you resign your liberty.  9304
To hit over the thumbs. HE.  9305
To hit the bird on the eye.  9306
To hit the nail on the head.
  Rem acu tetigisti.—Plaut. Title of a lost drama mentioned in the play of Sir Thomas More (circa 1590).
        “The common proverb, as it is read,
That we should hit the nayle o’ the head,
Without the Blacksmith cannot be said,
Wit Restor’d, 1658.
  In Sir Eger (Hazlitt’s Pop. Scot. Poetry, ii. 149, we have: “I strake the nail upon the head.”
  9307
To hold by St. Luke’s horn.
  The Three Ladies of London, 1584 (Collier’s Five Old Plays, 1851, p. 182).
  9308
To hold by the apron-strings. HE.
  i.e., In right of his wife.—R. To be tied by the apron-strings means with us now to be domineered over by one’s wife or one’s mother.
  9309
To hold one’s nose to the grindstone. HE.  9310
To hop against the hill.
  To strive against an insurmountable obstacle. See Gascoigne’s Poems, by Hazlitt, i. 431, &c.
  9311
To hop to Rome with a mortar on one’s head.
  Kempe’s Nine Daies Wonders, 1600. See Dyce’s Middleton, iv. 135; but the meaning is not even there satisfactorily established. Clarke (Parœm., 1639) has: “You’d as soon run to Rome with a mortar on your head.”
  9312
To hug one as the devil hugs a witch.  9313
To it again, nobody comes.
  Nemo nos insequitur aut impellit.—Erasmus è Platone; who tells us that this proverb continues to this day in common use (among the Dutch, I suppose) to signify that it is free for us to stay upon any business [immorari in re aliqua].—R.
  9314
To jump at it like a cock at a gooseberry [or blackberry].
  Spoken of one that desires and endeavours to do harm, but cannot.—R.
  9315
To keep a good tongue in one’s head.
  Nobody and Somebody (1606), sign. C 2 verso.
  9316
To keep a house in Pimlico. Devonshire, &c.
  i.e., To keep it neat or trim. Pimlico is said to have been the name of a tavern-keeper at Hoxton, celebrated for his orderly habits. Compare ’Tis a mad world, &c.
  9317
To keep Bayard in the stable. HE.*  9318
To keep somewhat for a rainy day.
  Breton’s Court and Country, 1618 (Roxb. Lib., repr. p. 184).
  9319
To keep the cat from the tongs.
  i.e., To stop at home in idleness. It is said contemptuously of a youth who remains with his family, when others go to the wars abroad, in A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Servingmen, 1598, Roxb. Lib., repr. p. 161.
  9320
To keep the wolf from the door. HE.
  “To stave the wolf from off the door” is the form used by Martin Parker in “The King and a Poor Northern Man,” 1640.
  “These considerations inclined him to look out for a suitable match. And, to say truth, his constitution required it as much as any man’s whatever; but, being excessive modest, and by resolution virtuous, he was solicitous and ardent in the pursuit of it, and not a little encouraged by a manifest feeling he had of success in his profession, which dismissed all fears of the lean wolf.”—North’s Life of the Lord Keeper Guilford, ed. 1826, p. 155. The expression also occurs in the ballad of the Plain-dealing Man (Rimbault’s Little Book of Ballads, 1851, p. 207.)
  9321
To kick against the pricks.
  Dar coces contra el aguijon.—Span.
  9322
Tn kick the beam.  9323
To kick the bucket.
  That is to say, to die.
  9324
To kick the wind.
  i.e., To be hanged.—R.
  9325
To kill a man with a cushion.  9326
To kill the goose with the golden eggs.
  To sacrifice a permanent for a temporary advantage. To live on capital.
  9327
To kill two birds with one shaft [or stone].
  D’une pierre faire deux coups. Fr.
  9328
To kill two flies with one flap.  9329
To kill with kindness.
  T. Heywood published in 1607 his comedy entitled A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse.
  9330
To kiss a man’s wife, or wipe his knife, is but a thankless office. CL.  9331
To kiss the Counter [or the Fleet]. C.
  i.e., To go to prison. Guilpin’s Skialetheia, 1598, repr. 1867, p. 41.
  9332
To kiss the hare’s foot.
  See Nares’ Glossary, 1859, p. 485.
  9333
To kiss the post.
  i.e., To be whipped. Skelton’s Phylyp Sparowe (circa 1520); Heywood’s Edward IV., 1600, Sh. Soc. ed., p. 47.
  9334
To know a B from a battledore.
  See Nares’ Glossary, 1859, v. B., where the original explanation seems preferable.
  9335
To know chalk from cheese.
  Luke Shepherd’s John Bon and Mast. Person (1551), Hazlitt’s P. P., iv. p. 15:
        “For thoughe I haue no learning, yet I know chese from chalke.”
But a writer in the Times (see Biography and Criticism, 1860, p. 240) refers this saying to the difference between the two parts of Wiltshire. The saying there is “its two divisions are as different as chalk from cheese.” The expression may be very applicable, but I doubt much whether it thus originated.
  9336
To know one as well as a beggar knows his bag. HE.  9337
To know one from a black sheep.  9338
To know which way the wind blows. HE.  9339
To laugh in one’s face and cut his throat.
  As bottled ale is said to do. Da una banda m’ onge, da l’ altra me ponge. Ital.—R.
  9340
To laugh in one’s sleeve. HE.*  9341
To lay a thing in one’s dish.  9342
To lay her in a lambskin. HE.
        “Ye must obey those lambs, or els a lambs skyn
Ye will prouyde for hir, to lap her in.”—Heywood.
This passage and phrase form a curious illustration of the old poem of the Wyfe lapped in Morels skyn (circa 1570).
  9343
To lay the saddle on the right horse.
  17th cent. Antiquary, 1889, p. 243.
  9344
To lay the stool’s foot in water. E. Anglia.
  See Forby’s Vocab., 1830, p. 433.
  9345
To lead apes in hell.
        “Theres an old graue prouerbe tels vs, that,
Such as dye Mayds do all lead apes in Hell.”—Davies.
It is cited by Shirley in his School of Compliment, 1631, but written in or before 1625.
  9346
To lead one a dance.
  Life of B. M. Carew, 1745, p. 93.
  9347
To lead one by the nose.
  Menar uno per il naso. Ital. [Greek]. This is an ancient Greek proverb. Erasmus saith the metaphor is taken from buffaloes, who are led and guided by a ring put in one of their nostrils, as I have often seen in Italy: so we in England are wont to lead bears.—R.
  9348
To leap at a whiting. HE.*
  Marriage of Wit and Science (1570).
  9349
To leap like a hobby-horse.
  Grim the Collier of Croydon (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, viii. 415).
  9350
To leave a shoulder of mutton for a sheep’s head.  9351
To leave boy’s play and fall to blow-point. CL.
  Fuller, in his Gnomologia, 1732, has: Leave boy’s play and go to Pushpin; which may be thought by some to have more than one meaning.
  9352
To leave no stone unturned.  9353
To leave one in the briars.  9354
To leave one in the lurch.  9355
To leave one in the suds.  9356
To leave the key under the door.
        “On Saturday the windes did seeme to cease,
And brawling Seas began to hold their peace,
When we (like Tenants) beggerly and poore,
Decreed to leaue the Key beneath the doore,
But that our Land-lord did that shift preuent,
Who came in pudding time, and tooke his Rent.”
Taylors Discovery by Sea from London to Salisbury, by John Taylor, 1623. “Gommershall, the mercer of Temple Barre, with the faire wife, hath laide the key under the doore, and is become banckrupt.”—Chamberlain’s Letters, ed. 1861, p. 156; letter dated 15 Oct., 1602. Stevenson, in his Poems, 1665, p. 3, has a copy of verses “Vpon one Mr. Day, at the Sign of the Horse-Shoue, that laid the Key under the Door and outran, or rather ran out his Landlord.”
  9357
To let leap a whiting.
  i.e., To let slip an opportunity.—R.
  9358
To let the cat out of the bag.
  Does this saying originate in the old story of the man, who took money from people for exhibiting a cherry-coloured cat, and when his company was complete, let a black one out of a bag, meeting their remonstrances by observing that cherries were black as well as red.
  9359
To lick honey through a cleft stick.  9360
To lick it up like Lymon hay. Cheshire.
  Lim is a village on the river Mersey, that parts Cheshire and Lancashire [not far from Manchester], where the best hay is gotten.—R.
  9361
To lick one’s self whole again.  9362
To lie as fast as a dog can lick a dish.  9363
To lie at rack and manger.
  i.e., To live prodigally. See Old English Jest Books, iii. (Conc. of Old Hobson, p. 23). The phrase is met with, as there shown, in the Schole-house of Women, 1541. The Yorkshire phrase is, To lie at heck and manger.”—Carr’s Dialect of Craven, i. p. 218, ed. 1828.
  9364
To lie in bed and forecast.  9365
To lie like a lapwing.
  Sir Gyles Goosecappe Knight, a comedy, 1606, sign. A 3.
  9366
To live on bread and point.
  i.e., on bread only. A piece of rustic jocularity, because ploughmen and farm-servants are supposed to live by eating the bread and pointing to the bacon hanging from the ceiling.
  9367
To look a strained hair in a can. Cheshire.  9368
To look as big as bull-beef. WALKER.  9369
To look as if butter would not melt in one’s mouth. HE.
  “She looked as if butter would not melt in her mouth; but cheese would not have choked her.”—Forby’s Vocab., 1830, p. 428.
  9370
To look as if he had eaten his bed straw.  9371
To look down as if one were seeking a rabbit’s nest.
  Breton’s Court and Country, 1618 (Roxb. Lib., repr. 199).
  9372
To look for a needle in a bottle of hay.
  Three Lords and Three Ladies of London, 1590 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vi.); Field’s A Woman’s a Weathercock, 1612, repr. 20; Davenports City Nightcap (1624), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 143. A bottle (Fr. boteau) is a bundle of hay tied up to feed cattle. The notion seems to be in Hans in Luck in Grimm.
  9373
To look like a dog that has lost his tail.  9374
To look like a drowned mouse.  9375
To look like the picture of ill-luck.  9376
To look nine ways for Sundays.
  i.e., To squint. Witts Recreations, 1640 (repr. 1817, p. 168). “He was born in the middle of the week, and looked baath ways for Sunday.”—Carr’s Dialect of Craven, 1828. The faculty of turning the eyes in opposite points or different directions is given only to that singular creature, the chameleon, of which the French say, that it could look into Champagne and see Picardy in flames.
  9377
To look or see through a millstone.
  To be sharp-sighted.
  9378
To look over one, as the devil looked over Lincoln. HE.
  Ray thought that this saying took its rise from a small image of the devil standing on the top of Lincoln College in Oxford. A similar one, however, is over one of the doors of the cathedral at Lincoln; it is a small figure, seated, and nursing one leg, and it literally looks over Lincoln, which lies below. There may, at the same time, have been an eye to the Herefordshire word overlook = bewitch. Lewis’s Herefordshire Glossary, 1839, p. 76. The old saying was, “The Divell lookes over Lincolne, but we defie the moth-eaten proverbe, and hope one way or other, that Lincolne shall over looke the Divell.”—The English Post from severall partes of this Kingdome, 1642, p. 4. The writer of Cataplus, 1672, a burlesque on the sixth book of the Æneid, says of Dido, when Æneas meets with her in Erebus:
        “But she with choler from within swoln,
Lookt as the Devil lookt over Lincoln.”
  9379
To look pearl in mud.
  Davenport’s City Nightcap (written before 1624), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 192.
  9380
To look through one’s fingers.
  i.e., To wink at a fault or offence. “The marchant goes me home and sharpes his woodknife, and comes a gaine, and knockes him on ye head and killes hym, thei yt told me yt tale sai it is winked at, thei loke thorow ther fyngers, and will not se it.”—Latimer’s Fifth Sermon before Edward VI., 1549, ed. Arber, p. 152.
  9381
To look to one’s water.
  A not very delicate phrase, redolent of the ancient Galenic school of medicine, which relied largely on tests connected with the human water.
  9382
To love at the door and leave at the hatch.  9383
To love it as a dog loves a whip.  9384
To love it as the cat loves mustard.  9385
To lug the sow’s ear.
  Apparently used in the sense of, to remind, in a letter from Anne of Denmark to Sir George Villiers, printed by Ellis, 1st S., iii. 101.
  9386
To make a bridge of one’s nose.
  i.e., To intercept one’s trencher, cup, or the like; or to offer or pretend to do kindnesses to one, and then pass him by, and do it to another; to lay hold upon and serve himself of that which was intended for another.—R.
  9387
To make a cross on anything. HE.
  i.e., To note it as a lucky circumstance. We at present are accustomed to say in the same sense, “To mark with a white cross.”
  9388
To make a hog or dog of a thing.  9389
To make a hole in the water.
  i.e., To fall into it.—R.
  9390
To make a long harvest of a little corn.  9391
To make a meal of one.
  To get some advantage out of one. Life and Adventures of B. M. Carew, 1745, p. 94.
  9392
To make a mountain of a molehill.
  Ellis’s Orig. Letters, 2nd S., i. p. 312.
  9393
To make a nose of wax.
  Compare A nose of wax, supra, and see Miss Baker’s Northampt. Glossary, v. Nose (2).
  9394
To make a spoon or spoil a horn.
  i.e., So-and-So is qualified to discharge a duty, or, at all events, to make a great mistake in it. At the time when spoons were formed of horn, the horn was spoiled unless great care was bestowed in the earlier processes.
  9395
To make bones.
  To scruple. We say now commonly, to make no bones of doing so and so. The first-quoted form occurs in Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575.
  9396
To make both ends meet. WALKER.
  To bring buckle and thong together.—R.
  9397
To make ducks and drakes.
  Timon, a play (circa 1590), ed. Dyce, p. 91.
  9398
To make fair weather of altogethers.
  Fox’s Book of Martyrs, quoted in Hazlitt’s Shakespear’s Library, 1875, Part 1. iv., 110. “And with that every man caught him [Cranmer] by the hand, and made faire weather of altogethers, which might easilie be done with that man.”
  9399
To make hay while the sun shines.
        “Say I should yield and grant your love,
When most you did expect a sun-shine day,
My father’s will would mar your look’d for hay.”
Wily Beguiled, 1606 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ix. 299).    
  9400
To make one a stalking horse.  9401
To make one’s beard.
  This expression occurs on the title-page of the Boke of Mayd Emlyn (about 1540) in the sense of making a man a cuckold.
  9402
To make, or have a spurt.
        “You may have a spurt amongst them now and then—”
Lusty Juventus, about 1570 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ii. 72).    
  9403
To make orts of good hay. R. 1670.  9404
To make the worse appear the better reason.  9405
To make two friends with one gift.  9406
To make up one’s mouth.
        “According to the proverb olde,
  My mouth I wil up make;
Now it dooth lye all in my hand,
  To leave or els to take.”
Preston’s Cambyses (circa 1570), Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iv. 115.    
  9407
To make woof or warp of any business.  9408
To mark with a white stone.
  To distinguish by reason of some good fortune. The idea is in Catullus, lxuiii. 147.
  9409
To measure his cloth by another’s yard.  9410
To measure the meat by the man.
  i.e., The message by the messenger.—R.
  9411
To meet just in the midway, as tilters do.
  Day’s Ile of Gvls, 1606, ed. Bullen, 76.
  9412
To meet with one.
  To be even with one. “I know the old man’s gone to meet with an old wench, that will meet with him.” Rowley’s Match at Midnight, 1633 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 62).
  9413
To melt in one’s own grease.
  To be worried by one’s own thoughts or passions. “The sisters being thus on all sides reiected, and yet perceiuing more & more an vnseemelye behauiour betweene their sister and hir minion, began to melt in their owne grease.”—Gascoigne’s Adventures of Master F. I. (Poems, by Hazlitt, i. 474). But see the note, ibid., ii. 350. The same writer employs in the same sense (ibid. 475) the phrase, “to drinke up his own sweat.”
  9414
To miss the cushion. HE.
  To miss the mark. See Nares, ed. 1859, in v. Cushion. Aberrare a scopo; non attingere scopum; or, extra scopum jaculare.—R.
  9415
 

 
CONTENTS · ABBREVIATIONS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors