Tag Archives: verb

To go to pot

go to pot meaning

Photo credit: travelground.com

I’m sure that today’s phrase will be relevant for many people! How many times have you had a day which had gone sooooo terribly wrong from the moment you got out of bed?

I learnt this phrase from a newsletter of a coffee chain which I normally don’t bother reading, but here you go – sometimes they can be useful! They were advertising their new campaign:

#MyMorningHasBroken
When your mornings go to pot, we’ve been fixing the with yummy offers and freebies – here’s one of our favourites.

Indeed, it’s not only mornings that can “go to pot“, but many other things too:

– My late night writing session went to pot, as it were (Oxford Dictionary)

– The house has been going to pot for years (Macmillan Dictionary).

– All that said, the single market is an unambiguously good idea, and the idea that one could let half of Europe go to pot is ludicrous (The Economist).

– These people are following this charlatan as if they would follow a Messiah. They do it because of pie in the sky. With him Italy will go to pot (The Economist).

If you’re wondering how this phrase came about, here’s a little explanation of its etymology. “That meaning alludes to the fact that the journey of an animal or ingredient to the pot was a one-way trip, with a very short future ahead”.

 

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I am swamped!

swamped meaning usage

Photo credit: jonnycooper.net

Actually, it’s not me that is swamped right now – if anything, I’ve had a rather leisurely week, reading an exciting novel, baking biscuits and brownies for my family in Russia and doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. This was what one of my students said, apologizing for not being able to make it to our Russian class.

I’ve come across this expression before, but I must admit I hardly ever use it myself. However, it’s a nice alternative to ‘snowed under‘ (the latter, however, is probably more appropriate for this time of year).

Being ‘swamped‘ implies being overwhelmed with a large amount of something, but not only work, as you will see from examples below:

– Like hospitals, many of the province’s mental health facilities are swamped with requests for help, and the people who need their services can’t wait (Oxford Dictionary).

– Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, has claimed British towns are being “swamped” by immigrants and their residents are “under siege”, in an escalation of the emotive language being used by Tory ministers calling for a renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with Europe (The Guardian) – yay, always blame the immigrants!

– Claims by Scottish government ministers that Scotland‘s universities will be “swamped” by English students seeking free tuition after independence have been challenged by an expert study (The Guardian).

– People have long groused that they were swamped by information (The Economist).

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A do (wait… isn’t ‘do’ a verb?)

christmas do

Photo credit: theguardian.com

Apologies for the prolonged silence on this blog – I cannot even say that I was extremely busy with work, but somehow I just didn’t get round to writing anything.

On Saturday I went to a Christmas party organised by the regional group of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters. In fact, I was also invited to a Christmas party organised by a language school where I teach, but of course they had to be on the same day and at the same time and I had to choose. Despite being completely knackered on that day I had a good time – I had a chance to catch up with colleagues and meet some new people, which is always good.

The word I chose for this post – ‘a do‘ – is a synonym of ‘a party’, and it can refer to almost any occasion:

– Are you going to Ann’s leaving do?

– We had our work [Christmas] do in this restaurant.

– Such social dos are more or less confined to the well to do and the upwardly mobile class of young professionals (Oxford Dictionary).

– We’re having a bit of a do to celebrate Pam’s birthday (MacMillan Dictionary).

In case I don’t get round to writing anything else this year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the readers!

P.S. Today is the last day to nominate my blog for the Macmillan Love English Award!

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Could you watch over my stuff?

watch over stuff

Photo credit: gourmetravelista.com

A couple of weeks ago I was having a tea in a café between my lessons, and a girl sitting opposite suddenly said ‘Excuse me, could you watch over my stuff?’ I nodded to say I could. Until that day I wanted to ask other people the same thing on several occasions, but wasn’t sure whether it’s ‘done’ in this country. Apparently, it is!

Here’s a little post on the subject of watching other people’s stuff from a fellow WordPress blogger.

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Shirkers

shirker meaning

Photo credit: in.reuters.com

The other day I popped into a café after a satisfying visit to my favourite charity shops, and, as usual, there was a nice chap with impressive moustache serving coffee. He is quite a character, but in a good way!

While I was waiting for my coffee the next customer, probably a regular, asked: ‘Are you all on your own today?’, to which the barista replied ‘No, there are a few people around today, but they are shirkers!’

While I’ve come across the verb ‘to shirk‘, I don’t think I’ve heard about ‘shirkers‘ (= people who shirk, i.e. avoid their duties and responsibilities whenever possible).

Here’re a few examples:

– He doesn’t have time for those what don’t care to work, and he’d sooner drown you than put up with idlers or shirkers (Oxford Dictionary).

– Janet Street-Porter said she was a “striver not a shirker” and pensioners like herself should enjoy their travel passes and winter fuel payments (BBC).

– I work in an industry where taking more than three weeks a year holiday is frowned upon – we lose the other days. Taking paternity leave would be job suicide and as it’s a fairly confined industry word would get around that I was a shirker not a worker so would find it hard to find a new position (BBC).

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Learning the ropes

learning the ropes meaning

Photo credit: toledozoo.org

The past couple of weeks have been really hectic – I’ve been trying to finish translation of the third book on time, then I went to Amsterdam on a short break and now it’s more or less back to normal. So yesterday I was my volunteering day and I met a new colleague\volunteer from Australia. It was her first day, and using the till might be a bit a tricky (it still occasionally beeps at me when I press the wrong button), so she was sometimes saying to customers ‘Bear with me, it’s my first day and I’m still learning the ropes‘.

It’s a fairly common expression, but it’s so useful in a situation when you’re new to something and want other people to be a bit more understanding and patient.

Some examples:

– It didn’t take her new assistant long to learn the ropes (MacMillan Dictionary).

– It’s never too late to change direction. However it’s not really possible to break into new sectors without any effort. You’re likely to need to retrain or, at least, take on a lenghty internship to learn the ropes (The Guardian).

– What about businessmen’s political naivety? As might be expected of an education reformer, Sir Ron Dearing suggests apprenticeships. He argues that Lord Young, a cabinet minister recruited by Margaret Thatcher, made a smoother transformation from business to politics because he made an effort to learn the ropes (The Economist).

– Thus as the idea of finding talented employees who could quickly learn the ropes took off, so did the asking price of the star MBA graduates (The Economist).

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To jinx

Today I had a super-exciting activity planned in the morning – standup paddleboard yoga! Basically, it looks like this:

sup yoga

Photo credit: Brad Fyffe

(No, I didn’t attempt anything like this – I haven’t quite mastered those poses on land).

So, first we needed to get to grips with paddleboarding kneeling, then standing up (it was very wobbly!) and then we attached kettlebells to the boards and dropped them down (which I thought was very clever) to prevent the boards from moving around (they still did). It was an amazing experience, and the weather was just perfect! Then we had to fish the kettlebells out of the water and paddle back to the pontoon, and at some point one of my fellow paddleboarders ‘lost’ her kettlebell and summoned her boyfriend to help her find it. She said ‘I think our instructor jinxed it by saying they never lost a kettlebell’. Luckly, they did find it… and I found such a useful phrase to write about!

Here are a few more examples of how to jinx, meaning ‘to bring bad luck’, can be used:

– There were moments where we felt like we were jinxing the whole thing, pushing our luck, but we decided to test fate and stock up anyhow (Oxford Dictionaries).

– He hadnt got a bad grade all year, but by mentioning that to his friend he jinxed it (Urban Dictionary).

– Don’t jinx it by talking about it (Wordreference.com).

P.S. I have heard this expression a few times, but I think that in general the English are not a particularly superstitious bunch (unlike Russians!).

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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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