Listing of 100 metaphors in "Cartoon-Illustrated Metaphors: Idioms, Proverbs, Cliches and Slang"
Heel; Add Insult to Injury; Afraid of One's
Own Shadow; All Ears; All That Glitters Is
Not Gold; Alpha and Omega; Armed to the
Teeth; Asleep at the Switch; At Loggerheads; Ax to Grind; Bait and Switch; Bark Up the Wrong Tree; Basket Case; Batten Down the Hatches; Be All and End All; Beat a Dead Horse; Behind the Eight Ball; Below the Belt; Big Fish in a Small Pond; Birds of a Feather Flock Together; Bite the Hand
that Feeds You; Bone to Pick; Born With a
Silver Spoon; Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed;
Bring to a Head; Bull in a China Shop; Burn
the Midnight Oil; Bury the Hatchet; By Hook
or by Crook; Can't See Beyond One's Nose;
See the rest of the lising at the end of this page
a deceptive commercial practice where customers are induced
to visit a store by an advertised sale item and then are
told that it is out of stock, or that it is far inferior to some
more expensive items
hook a customer by deceptive advertisement
called switch-selling in Britain
The verb to bait has meant to supply a hook or trap
with a morsel of food so as to attract a fish or animal since
about 1300. The verb to switch has meant to change, alter, or transfer
from one thing to another since the 1890s. The combination of the two verbs
dates from the 1920s.
In the "new economy," customers are very smart and judicious;
be up front with them, and don't ever use
bait and switch tactics.
Most people have experienced the
bait and switch
tactics used by auto dealers to lure them into the showroom.
accept presents gracefully, without asking
embarrassing questions // don't examine a gift critically for
don't try to determine how much a gift is worth
don't complain if a gift is not perfect
don't look a given horse in the mouth.
The age of a horse can be roughly determined by
examining the condition of its teeth. Looking inside a horse's mouth
therefore will tell you if someone is passing off an old nag for a young colt.
So it is considered poor manners to inspect a gift horse's teeth. By
extension, it means you shouldn't inquire too closely into the value or cost
of any gift.
This saying dates from St. Jerome's biblical commentary (C.
420 A.D.) on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians.
Getting last-year's computer as a gift is good enough; we
shouldn't look a gift horse in the
Billy received a model airplane for his birthday but
complained that his friend's model was much better. His mother told him not to
look a gift horse in the mouth.
stay hard at work // held to a task
to slave continuously
concentrated or compelled effort
keep one's nose to the grindstone
This expression alludes to a tool that must be
sharpened by being held to a grindstone.
John Frith wrote in A
Mirrour to Knowe Thyselfe (1539): "This Text
holdeth their noses to hard to the grindstone, that it clean
disfigureth their faces."
Erasmus wrote in A Merry
Dialogue (1557): "I would have holden his nose to
In order to meet the company's financial goal, the chief
financial officer has to keep his
nose to the grindstone.
Ralph keeps his
nose to the grindstone, working two jobs at a
time, so that he is able to save enough money to start his own business.
completely // totally // all of it // everything
without reservation, question or doubt
swallow something hook, line, and sinker
The expression alludes to a hungry fish that takes in
bait so completely that it gulps down not only the fisherman's baited
hook but the sinker and the whole fishing line between them.
!! The term was first recorded in 1865 in the
United States when Davy Crockett was telling tales of hungry fish that could not
stand up to hard scrutiny.
In the late 1980s, Len Deighton used it in the titles of a
series of three espionage novels involving complicated deceit: "Spy
Hook, Spy Line, and Spy Sinker."
The inexperienced MBA who heads up this operation was so
gullible that he bought everything the salesman told him,
hook, line, and sinker.
During elections, the mayor stated his big promises so
eloquently that many voters fell for them,
hook, line, and sinker.
give up // acknowledge defeat
throw in the sponge
The rule of boxing says that if a fighter's corner man
throws any object into the ring while the fight is in progress, it is a
sign of surrender. The reason for stopping the fight could be when he determines
that his fighter has taken enough punishment and has no chance of
winning. So throwing in the towel or sponge used to wipe the fighter's face
both mean "surrender."
The color of a white towel, suggesting a white flag
of surrender, has helped the "towel" variation endure.
The expression began in the 1860s and probably could date
back to 18th-century England. Alexander Maclaren wrote in
Philippians (1909): "If ever you are tempted to
say ... 'I am beaten and I throw up the
sponge,' remember Paul's wise exhortation."
Later "up" was changed to "in."
>> When the chief executive officer heard that
the venture capitalists would not fund his startup anymore, he
threw in the towel
With only two chips remaining at the poker game, Sam finally
decided to throw in the towel.
Continue from listing of 100 metaphors in "Cartoon-Illustrated Metaphors: Idioms, Proverbs, Cliches and Slang"
See the Forest for the Trees; Chicken Without its
Head; Chickens Come Home to Roost; Chip Off
the Old Block; Come Hell or High Water; Come
Out of One's Shell; Cook Someone's Goose; Cool
as a Cucumber; Cross the Rubicon; Cut the
Mustard; Dead as a Doornail; Dead Duck;
Dog Eat Dog; Don't Change Horses in Midstream Don't
Hold Your Breath; Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth; Duck Soup; Ducks in a Row; Ear
to the Ground; Early Bird Catches the Worm; Every
Cloud Has a Silver Lining; Face the Music; Feather
in One's Cap; Final Nail in the Coffin; Finger
in Every Pie; Fire on All Cylinders; Fish in
Troubled Waters; Fish or Cut Bait; Fish Out
of Water; Flash in the Pan; Forgive and
Forget; Get in on the Ground Floor; Get One's
Foot in the Door; Hand Over Fist; Hook, Line
and Sinker; Jump the Gun; Knee Jerk Reaction;
Let the Cat Out of the Bag; Live and Let Live;
Lock, Stock and Barrel; Make No Bones About It;
Memory Like an Elephant; Monkey See, Monkey Do;
Mountains Out of Molehills; No Holds Barred;
Nose to the Grindstone; Off the Top of One's Head;
On an Even Keel; One Rotten Apple Spoils the Barrel
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire; Pandora's Box; Pay the Piper; Put One's Best Foot Forward; Rain Cats and Dogs; Rank and File; Rest on One's Laurels; Safety in Numbers; Stool Pigeon; Straw That Broke the Camel's Back; Talk Turkey; Tempest in a Teapot; Throw In the Towel; Time Flies; Two's Company, Three's a Crowd; Under the Weather; Up to Snuff; Wait for the Other Shoe to Drop; Wash One's Dirty Linen in Public; White Elephant; You Can't Take It With You;