Tag Archives: idiom


sugar fix sugar fascist sugar daddy

Photo credit: webmd.com

Yesterday I was sitting in a park proofreading my translation and occasionally glancing at other people. There was a group of teenagers who were skating down a hill on a funny kind of skateboard. I heard one of them saying ‘Sugar!’ (pronounced like shhhhh-uga) and remembered that it was a nice euphemism for ‘shhhhit!’

Today it occurred to me that I came across quite a few expressions with ‘sugar’ lately and thought I’d put them all into one post.

The other day I emailed my French colleague asking her to recommend some cafés and salons de thé in Paris. She emailed back saying ‘I don’t know many traditional salons de thé but in a it’s 4 o’clock, I need a sugar fix kind of thing, I can recommend’…. followed by a list of tea and coffee establishments. It can also be called ‘a sugar hit‘ and ‘an afternoon pick-me-up‘.

The same colleague once used a term ‘sugar fascist‘ about a parent who doesn’t let his/her children eat sweets and I made a mental note of this expression – now is the perfect time to share it with others.

However, those children with more lenient parents who don’t mind giving sweets to their offspring, might get a ‘sugar rush‘ (i.e. become hyperactive and uncontrollable), at least that’s the popular belief.

Here’s a good example in context:

  • People often get cross when you tell them there’s no such thing as a sugar rush. Especially parents. They have witnessed, time and again, their offspring going ape at parties, after mainlining jelly and ice cream. “Sugar high,” sigh the grownups, resigned to the inevitable crash. This observation has been passed down through generations, like DNA (The Guardian).

There’s another sugar phrase – ‘sugar daddy‘ – I don’t remember how I came across it though. And it means ‘an older man who gives a younger woman expensive presents, especially in exchange for a romantic or sexual relationship’.

Here’s an example:

  • “More than a hundred students at the University of Northampton signed up for so-called “sugar daddy dating” to help fund their tuition fees last year, according to an online dating website.” (BBC)

P.S. When I think of the word ‘sugar‘ a song immediately springs to mind – this is a great episode of one of my favourite films and books – ‘Hi-Fi‘ by Nick Hornby.

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With a little bit of luck

with a little luck phrase usage

Photo credit: tripadvisor.com

First of all, apologies to the esteemed readers for neglecting this blog – there’s been too much going on these past few weeks (or months?), but hopefully things will settle down a little bit.

And now to some new phrases. There’s one in particular that I seem to encounter almost on a daily basis.

On Saturday I took a coach to London to see The Cure (they were awesome, by the way). To make sure I have enough energy left for the 3-hour performance I picked the coach that arrived 45 minutes before the start, so that I had just enough time to walk to the venue, but didn’t have to kill any time before that. But on our way I noticed ‘Long delays’ signs on the motorway, which didn’t bode well. And in due course the driver announced that there’s been an accident ahead, which caused a huge tailback. I was duly annoyed – I was now running late! I tried not to get too stressed as the accident was still quite a long way ahead. Later on it turned out that the cars had been cleared and the traffic was starting to move, and the driver added that ‘With a little bit of luck we’ll make it to London with only a 5-10 minute delay’, which we did! Phew, what a relief it was!

I heard the very same phrase today when I went to see the doctor. His last words were ‘With a little bit of luck you don’t have it and then you’ll rub your hands with glee and forget all about it’. I need lots of luck on this one, that’s for sure.

And if you care for some more examples, here they are:

– Now Americans have a high level of tolerance for inequality because they generally believe that the system is basically fair and that with a little bit of luck and even more hard work anyone can achieve a tolerable level of success and economic security (The Economist)

– Thank you for your support and for spreading the message. Keep doing so please. With a little bit of luck it will end up on Condoleezza Rice’s desktop. I know it won’t stop the war, but i am sure at least that she’ll ask me to do her portrait (The Guardian).

Speaking of luck, here’re some more ‘lucky phrases‘.

P.S. As you’ve noticed this phrase is a good example of British understatement – most of the time what you need is a lot of luck for all these things to be achieved!

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How to get around to… publishing a guest post

get around to it a round tuit phrase

Photo credit: thingsforgottenantiques.

Today’s post is from a fellow translator and linguist, Zsofia Forro, who kindly offered to contribute to this blog, and I love the post she came up wit. Enjoy!

‘I really love puns. A pun is a joke based on a word (or group of words) sounding like another one and creating humour from that unexpected similarity. Many people frown upon puns, especially if they grew up with English as their native language, because puns are a bit simple and some people think they’re not hugely funny. Few people perfect it to an art form, and they always turn up here and there.

The expression I want to introduce today is ‘to get around to doing something‘. If you are very busy you might promise to call people, or write or do something some time later, ‘when you can get around to it‘.

There is a solution for this. All you need is ‘a round tuit‘ (like the one on the picture above). Then you’ll be ready to do everything you’ve been putting off, because you will finally be able to get ‘a round tuit!’

Some examples of ‘getting around to it‘:

– [Procrastinators] do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils (…) when they get around to it (structuredprocrastination.com).

– Every year, I come up with ideas for posts that I never get around to writing (theunemployedphilosophersblog.wordpress.com). 

– I’ll get in shape and pay my bills just as soon as I can get around to it (en.wikibooks.org)’.

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It’s a good job…

it's a good job idiom meaning

Photo credit: wallpaperscraft.com

Another word from the gym, but not necessarily sport-related… Towards the end of the sound system in the class started playing up and we ended up doing the last five minutes in silence. To which the instructor said ‘It’s a good job it didn’t happen 45 minutes ago’ (it would have been no fun!)

This is a very popular colloquial expression, which means ‘we are lucky because something happened or didn’t happen’.

You could also say, for instance, ‘It’s a good job I took an umbrella’ or ‘It’s a good job I remembered to bring my ID – the shop assistant thought I was under 25 and didn’t want to sell me beer’ (something that still happens to my 30-year-old husband quite often).

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To look the other way

to look the other way phrase meaning

Photo credit: Reuters / Mario Anzuoni

Yesterday I went to see Woody Allen’s new film Blue Jasmine – it was my reward for a long working week, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll try not to spoil too much of the plot, but the story is about the wife of an indecently rich guy who turned out to be a crook and got his fortune by stealing from others. She was often accused by her friends of ‘looking the other way‘ when he came up with dubious financial schemes and other illegal stuff.

While the meaning is pretty clear I don’t think I’ve come across this phrase before. However, there’s a good synonym – ‘to turn a blind eye to something‘.

Here are a few more examples:

– Apart from a few dogged journalists at the profile news magazine who exposed Waldheim and much else besides, Austria chose to look the other way. That’s a habit that is not an Austrian monopoly (The Guardian).

– If the international community looks the other way now, the violence will flare up again and the government of Sudan will go back to slaughter  (The Guardian).

– European nations look the other way while Greek officials abuse migrants, particularly children, to keep their borders secure (The Guardian).

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To be out of somebody’s hair

out of your hair phrase meaning

Photo credit: Francesco Bongiorni

Today I was expecting a gentleman from the letting agency to come with what he called ‘routine inspection’. He was rather punctual, asked permission to take a few photos to show our pernickety landlord and promised to be ‘out of my hair in a minute‘. I didn’t mind in the slightest, especially now that I’ve learnt a new phrase from him (though I did immediately start thinking whether I should have made more of an effort when tidying up).

If you want ‘to be  out of somebody’s hair‘ it means you don’t want to trouble or annoy them.

– Keep the kids entertained and out of your hair this half-term (The Guardian).

– Demanding partners and troublesome exes are almost out of your hair. If you’re single, there’s lots more action to come  (The Guardian). This is from a horoscope. Did Guardian actually do horoscopes? Oh my!

– Find more helpful hints on how to keep the kids busy and out of your hair at my at my blog (Pinterest).

– 52 Things to Keep Your Husband Out of Your Hair When He Retires (that’s the name of a book).

So, it seems that the people you are most likely to want out of your hair are your loved ones – children and husbands… there’s some food for thought.

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I need it yesterday!

i need it yesterday phrase

The other day I was watching an episode of ‘Lie to me’ (it’s what other people were doing 3 years ago) and one of the characters, a big boss, was telling somebody ‘I need it yesterday!’ This phrase caught my attention not so much because it was new, but because there is exactly the same phrase in Russian, but I’ve stopped assuming that similar phrases should necessarily exist in other languages.

Somehow translations turn out to be the thing that the clients often forget about or leave until the very last moment, subsequently calling a translator or an agency and saying that they need it yesterday. Isn’t it sweet?

Here are some more examples of the usage:

– Does this ever happen to you? Your client calls and says ‘we need this done immediately – right now – like, yesterday!’ And you’re up to your eyeballs in other work. You don’t want to let your client down because the relationship is important and you don’t want to say yes because you’re really manic (Badlanguage.net).

– I need you to fill out this document, Johnson, and I need it yesterday. No time to waste on this — in fact, even the fastest you do this won’t be fast enough. I need it on my desk yesterday. You might be thinking I’m saying that I need this document yesterday as an idiomatic expression, Johnson. You might be thinking that I’m asking for it tomorrow, or even in a couple hours. You might be thinking that, but you’d be dead wrong. I need it yesterday (Brownjugmag.com).

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To put out feelers

to put out feelers phrase meaning

Photo credit: unpics.com

Every day I go on to the website for translators – proz.com – in the hope of getting some work (so far to no avail, I must say, but I keep trying). Almost every day there’s a new survey and discussion for translators and recently there was one about translating apps. One participant wrote something along the lines of ‘I haven’t translated any apps so far, but my neighbour is an app developer and he has already started to put out feelers‘. I’ve never come across this expression before and to me it seemed a really good one and what’s more it’s also easy to visualise it.

To put out feelers means ‘to begin to find out what people think about something you are hoping to do’ (MacMillan Dictionary).

Read on for more examples:

– The Russians earlier made promises they did not keep and have now secured all they wanted, including the retention of extra troops and even military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia (see article), despite EU demands that troops return to pre-war positions. Russia’s neighbours have few places to turn. Yet even Belarus, previously a reliable Russian ally, has reacted to the August war by nervously putting out feelers to Brussels (The Economist).

– Not only that, but Russia’s relations with the West, however difficult, have never been more intimate. What passes for the rule of law in Russia makes Westerners blench, yet business thrives. Russia is close to joining the World Trade Organisation, even though that means putting out feelers both to Poland’s new government and to Georgia’s recently re-elected one (both of whom could block Russia’s membership), whatever the differences over NATO and missile defences (The Economist).

– Alarmed at events across its disputed Golan Heights border, Israel has put out diplomatic feelers, suggesting that at this time of crisis, Tel Aviv and Ankara should set aside old differences and work together (The Guardian).

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