Tag Archives: money

To tide you over

tide you over phrase meaning

Photo credit: tidetimes.co.uk

(Gosh, I really struggled to find an appropriate image for this one!)

When I need some baby items that I want to buy second-hand (or, more often, when I have an episode of good old procrastination), I head over to the local Facebook page where mums sell their unwanted baby stuff. Recently there was a table and two benches for sale, which the poster bought ‘just to tide us over‘. I’ve come across this handy expression before and thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to update my blog, which has been somewhat neglected lately.

I also heard this expression recently in one of those annoying ads that pop up on YouTube every time I want to watch a yoga video. It was some yogurt drink that is supposed to ‘tide you over‘ until dinner.

Here are some more examples:

  • The problem with exercise is the whole short-term loss v long-term gain issue. GymPact does a good job of getting around that by introducing a short-term gain (cash!) to tide you over till the long-term gain (buns o’ steel) kicks in (The Guardian)
  • You should be able to claim against the airline for essential items to tide you over until your luggage arrives. The airline will usually give you cash or reimburse you if you provide receipts (The Guardian).
  • Have a high protein snack late in the afternoon to tide you over until dinner (discovergoodnutrition.com)
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swanky meaning

Today’s linguistic revelation came from… a pot of yogurt. I never win anything in these contests, but at least I can learn a word or two – that’s my consolation prize!

A ‘swanky‘ hotel stay is the one that’s going to be ‘luxurious and expensive’, according to the Oxford Dictionary, but totally free for you if you’re lucky enough to win it!

Here are some ‘swanky’ examples:

– The latest swanky spa to make a splash on the London scene is Notting Hill’s Hydro Healing, where treatments to help with common ‘lifestyle disorders’ (I think that means tiredness, stress and overflowing toxins) have an aquatic focus (The Guardian).

– The outlook is bleak for swanky stores, much better for discount chains (The Economist).

– The chink of wine glasses, the clatter of cutlery and the chatter of low voices fill the warm air of the latest swanky restaurant to open in London (The Economist).


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Dice: singular or plural

dice die singular plural

Photo credit: r o s e n d a h l (Flickr)

These days I rarely make discoveries about the English language – it’s not that I’m super-fluent or fully proficient, it’s probably that I haven’t been reading or speaking it enough. At home we speak Russian, when I teach I have to use as much Russian as my students can stomach, at the moment I’m also studying for a French exam and the rest of the time I spend on my computer, translating, and only rarely do I feel like talking to it.

And I learnt this extremely exciting thing about the singular and plural of ‘dice‘ at a… Spanish class, where we were playing a game with dice!

Amazingly, it turns out that ‘dice‘ used to be the plural of ‘die‘, but these days you use ‘dice‘ for both singular and plural.

P.S. The other day I noticed this amazing coin in my purse – issued on the 250th Anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, one of the most famous dictionaries in history. I think I’ve mostly been using ‘penny’ and ‘pence’ correctly, but I realized I wasn’t fully aware of ‘pence‘ being the plural of ‘penny‘.

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Keep a wolf from the door

keep the wolf from the door idiom meaning

Photo credit: skazles.ru

Another gem from Shaun Keaveney’s breakfast show! He didn’t come up with the idiom, of course, but he reminded me of it. To cut a long story short, he was taking the mickey out of his co-presenter, Matt Everitt, saying that he might have a part-time job at ‘to keep the wolf from the door‘.

The idiom means ‘to have enough money to avert hunger or starvation’ and is used hyperbolically (Oxford Dictionary).

A couple of examples:

– Having made enough money to keep the wolf from the door I am concerned with making the world a better place, like many other people (Oxford Dictionary).

– Today, dog lovers Steve and Adele try to make their fortune from their furry friends by preening the pooches of southern Spain – but will they make enough to keep the wolf from the door? (BBC)

P.S. There’s a brilliant song by Radiohead, ‘The Wolf at the Door’.

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I’m nearly through it

to be nearly through something phrase meaning

Photo credit: framedcooks.com

I heard this phrase today when I nipped out to the shop to grab some lunch. There was a dad doing food shopping with his tree daughters and he said that he needed to buy some cereals. The girls weren’t too enthusiastic about it for some reason, but he said ‘I’m nearly through my (let’s say tangerine granola), and I do like my tangerine granola, you know!’

This is quite a common phrasal verb and it can mean:

1) having finished an activity or piece of work

– I’m not sure what time he’ll be through with his meeting.

– Only one more letter to write. I’m nearly through.

2) to have ended a relationship

– I’ve told Larry I’m through with him, but he keeps bothering me.

3) to have finished using something

– Let me know when you’re through with the hairdryer.

4) to have decided to stop doing something that you used to do

– Are you through with politics?

(All examples: MacMillan Dictionary)

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To double-bag

double-bag verb meaning usage

Photo credit: apartmenttherapy.com

First, I apologize for neglecting this blog a little bit – it was a combination of looking for work, too much work, holidays and other stuff that just tends to happen all at the same time.

Second, there’s a new word I wanted to share. The other day my husband and I popped into a supermarket to get some food to celebrate his new job (and a dream job at that!). The guy at the till managed to stuff everything into one bag, but as I tried to lift it the bag seemed perilously heavy. So he asked ‘Shall I double-bag it for you?’ That seemed like a reasonable thing to do, considering there were two bottles of wine that I was reluctant to lose.

The meaning should be pretty clear – you just use two bags instead of one to hold your shopping. Just in case. Dividing it between the two bags would work equally well, though!

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On timewasters

timewaster meaning usage

Photo credit: fistfuloftalent.com

Whenever I came across a phrase ‘no timewasters‘ in adverts where people were selling kittens or furniture or some other stuff I used to wonder what exactly that meant and how exactly these timewasters could waste your time. Until I found out.

My badly dented disgrace of a car almost completely disintegrated and I had to sell it. So I posted an ad on one of the local websites hoping to get rid of it fairly quickly. As my husband and I were watching a film on a Friday night somebody texted to enquire if I still had the car, which I did. Five or six texts were exchanged to inform the potential buyer of what exactly was wrong with it and tell him where I was based (which I did of course mention in the ad). We agreed that he’d come next morning between 9 and 10 to pick it up. So next morning we woke up earlier (not really a bad thing) and skipped on a morning run, but no one came.

The guy texted several hours later to say he got drunk the previous night (how sweet!) but could still come in the evening. We agreed on 8 pm this time and went to play tennis as we had plenty of time until then. During the hour that I was playing tennis (and obviously not checking my phone) he called 4 times and texted saying he was going to come now, not at 8 pm. By that time I was getting really angry. I texted him again to ask if he was going to come after all but got no reply. Now that’s one serious timewaster! Now I know exactly what that means!

PS. We did sell the car after all.

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To run an errand

run errands

Photo credit: neoporter.com


Last week I quit my job and moved house, but now I finally have some time to catch up with my blog. I have done most of the unpacking yesterday and today treated myself to a class in the gym and had some errands to run after that.

I’ve come across this expression quite a lot and I thought it deserved mentioning here, as it’s part and parcel of the everyday life. According to Cambridge Online Dictionary, it means ‘to go out to buy or do something’, in other words it’s all these things in our to-do lists that demand our immediate attention but quite often tend to get postponed.

Here are some examples of how it can be used:

– After school he runs errands for his father (Cambridge Online Dictionary).
– This is a great “must-have” top! I wear mine for workouts as much as I do for running errands! Love it!
– I usually wake up at around 1.30pm when I am working, and have a bit of lunch at home, and then I will try to go the gym for around an hour. I may run other errands afterwards (The Guardian).
– New fathers should talk a lot, run errands – and embrace the washing machine (The Guardian).
PS. And you know what, I briefly met our landlord and pernickety he was.
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