English Idioms: From Carry Weight, Carry Authority or Conviction to Call It a Night

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Carry Weight, Carry Authority or Conviction

Exert influence, authority, or persuasion No matter what the President says, his words always carry weight. Shakespeare combined two of these expressions in Henry VIII (3:2): “Words cannot carry authority so weighty.” [c. 1600]

Cleanse the Augean Stable

Count One’S Chickens (To)

  • Make plans based on events that may or may not happen you might not win the prize and you’ve already spent the money? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch! I know you have big plans for your consulting business, but don’t count your chickens.

  • This expression comes from Aesop’s fable about a milkmaid carrying a full pail on her head. She daydreams about buying chickens with the milk’s proceeds and becoming so rich from selling eggs that she will toss her head at suitors; she then tosses her head and spills the milk.

  • Widely translated from the original Greek, the story was the source of a proverb and was used figuratively by the 16th century. Today it is still so well known that it often appears shortened and usually in negative cautionary form (don’t count your chickens).

Carry Over

  • To keep something, usually merchandise, for a subsequent period

  • We’ll carry over this summer’s bathing suits for next winter’s resort season.

  • Persist from one time or situation to another His leadership in sports carried over to the classroom. [Late 1800s]

Cheek by Jowl

If things or people are cheek by jowl, they are very close together.

Come Off

  • Happen, occur the trip came off on schedule. [Early 1800s]

  • Acquit oneself, reach the end

  • This usage always includes a modifier whenever challenged he comes off badly. This model is doomed to come off second-best. [Mid-1600s] Succeed, as in our dinner party really came off. [Mid-1800s]

Cover Up

  • Wrap up or enfold in order to protect be sure to cover up the outdoor furniture in case of rain. It’s cold, so be sure to cover up the baby. [Late 1800s]

  • Conceal something, especially a crime the opposition accused the President of covering up his assistant’s suicide. [c. 1920]

Close-Fisted

Tight-fisted; stingy or unwilling to part with money

Call It a Night

To go to bed to sleep

Carry Out

  • Accomplish, bring to a conclusion they carried out the mission successfully.

  • Shakespeare had this term in King Lear (5:1): “And hardly shall I carry out my side, her husband being alive

  • Put in practice or effect, we will carry out the new policy. Please carry out my instructions.

Check by Jowl in Close Intimacy, Side by Side: A Row of Houses Cheek by Jowl

Compassion Fatigue

A weariness of and diminishing public response to frequent requests for charity.

Call It a Night

To stop what one has been doing, for the remainder of the night.

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