Tag Archives: radio

To wrap someone in cotton wool

to wrap somebody in cotton wool

Photo credit: uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com

I know my posts are becoming more and more spaced out, but I’m not giving up on this blog! So here’s a quick post on a new phrase that I heard on the radio. I teach on Saturday mornings and on my way there and back I like to listen to BBC Radio 4, so last week I caught Desert Island Disks with Warwick Davis. He talked about his rare genetic disorder, but said that despite his ill health his parents never wrapped him in cotton wool. This means to be overprotective towards someone (usually a child, I would assume).

Here are some more examples:

  • Wrapping your children in cotton wool and living every day as if a multitude of dangers were each crowding out the other to get their fangs into them still seems to me an unhealthy message to broadcast. If your parents allow you to climb trees, sometimes you will fall off them. If you’re allowed to go wandering alone in a wood, sometimes you’re going to get lost (The Guardian).
  • Constantly wrapping children in cotton wool can leave them ill equipped to deal with stressful or challenging situations they might encounter later in life… Cotton-wool parenting is taxing for the parent; wearing for the child. And it’s unnecessary (Bikehub.co.uk)

I wonder if I am a cotton-wool parent? At times I think I am rather irresponsible, but not unreasonably so.

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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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Tenuous

tenuous meaning

Photo credit: Francesca Alviani (flickr)

Today I was listening to my favourite radio show on BBC 6 Music – presented by Cerys Matthews – which was dedicated to Norwegian Constitution Day. One of my best friends lives in Norway (hello, Sasha!) and I know that it’s a big deal over there. So Cerys was picking tunes – not necessarily from Norwegian singers or bands – but those that had some links with Norway and listeners had to guess what the link was. As answers came in about Elvis Presley’s song, she said these were all good guesses, but the link she had in mind was more ‘tenuous‘. So, this is my new word for today: a tenuous link is the one that is rather weak or perhaps even far-fetched.

Here are a few more examples:

– Every night, it seems we read of yet another instance of a local trader virtually forced out of business by the hike in car park charges or, however tenuous the link, the introduction of car parking charges during the evening (Oxford Dictionary)

– The Plantagenets’ family connections to the king are far more tenuous: Richard had no surviving children but five siblings, and now could have several million similarly distant descendants (The Guardian).

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Diary-intolerant

diary-intolerant

Photo credit: oldragbaggers.com

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, at some point in the morning I usually listen to Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6 Music, which never fails to cheer me up.

Today he mentioned he had so many things to do this week (just like me!) that he was struggling to fit in a lunch with a friend, who was also very busy. In fact, that friend of Shaun’s has developed ‘a condition’, which manifests itself in high blood pressure, increased heart beat, etc. whenever the guy tries to write up his to-do list for the coming week. The condition is called ‘diary-intolerance‘. At this point I nearly choked on my muesli! What an excellent pun!

I won’t bother with examples this time – I don’t think there would be many – and I really need to get back to my work. I also need to make sure I don’t look into my diary too often – it’s becoming too scary!

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A week (Monday)

a week Monday usage

Photo credit: timecenter.com

This morning I was listening to my favourite radio show by Shaun Keaveny – together with chocolate & tangerine granola it’s one of the few things that gets me out of bed. Today he chatted to Brian Cox – the great British physicist and, apparently, one of the sexiest men alive, who has just finished filming The Human Universe series. He mentioned that it’ll premiere ‘a week Tuesday’, and I immediately thought that I should write about this ‘a week …’ usage which puzzled me for quite some time.

In fact, it can also be ‘a week on…’, but ‘on’ is sometimes dropped. You use week in expressions such as ‘a week on Monday‘, ‘a week next Tuesday‘, and ‘tomorrow week‘ to mean exactly one week after the day that you mention. 

Examples:

The 800 metre final is on Monday week (Reverso).

– We’ll be back a week on Friday (Oxford Dictionary). 

Actually, after receiving a comment from a friend and a diligent reader of this blog, Zsofia, I double-checked Brian Cox’s twitter and it said that The Human Universe will start on 7 October, which is in one week, also on Tuesday. So when saying ‘a week Tuesday‘ he meant ‘next Tuesday’ because it’s Tuesday today! If he said ‘a week Friday’, then it would mean ‘a week after the coming Friday’.  

You quite often hear ‘Monday/Tuesday etc. week‘ (=the Monday/Tuesday etc after next Monday/Tuesday etc.), which effectively is two weeks, as in:

– I’ll be home Thursday week (if today is Tuesday, 30 September, the person is coming back on Thursday, 9 October).

You might also find this thread on Wordreference forum useful – I certainly did!

P.S. I hope I got it right!

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