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2. Idioms: Climb the Walls
2010/07/12 02:16
1. Climb the Walls
The assembly was so dull that all the kids were climbing the walls.

to be frustrated or anxious during a challenging situation; to be unable to endure

Origin: Perhaps this expression came from the days when soldiers attacking a castle climbed the walls of the stronghold. They wanted to get out of the situation they were in and get on with the battle. Today we say that any person can be "climbing the walls" when he or she feels the need for relief from a frustration situation.

2. Clip Your Wings
My father said that if I didn't start behaving, he was going to clip my wings.

Meaning: to end a person's privileges; to take away someone's power or freedom to do something

Origin: In ancient Rome thousands of years ago, people clipped the wings of pet birds so that they couldn't fly away. For centuries people have used the idiom "clip one's wings" to mean bringing a person under control.

3. Dead Duck
When Sam finds out that Laura spilled the goldfish bowl, she's a dead duck.

Meaning: a person who is ruined; a person or project unlikely to continue or survive

Origin: This expression dates from the mid- to late-1800s. "Dead" has often referred to an idea, plan, project, or person that is ruined, or hopeless. "Duck" added alliteration to help the saying become popular.

4. Dull as Dishwater
Programs on that channel are as dull as dishwater.

Meaning: not inspiring; uninteresting

Origin: An earlier form of this English expression was "dull as ditchwater," meaning the muddy water of a ditch. Charles Dickens used it that way in a book in 1865 to describe something boring and tedious. Ditchwater is cloudy, and definitely not exciting. So is dishwater. The change in words probably occurred as a mispronunciation or a mistake in printing.

5. Leave No Stones Unturned
She vowed that she would leave no stone unturned in finding out who let the air out of her tires.

to make all possible efforts to carry out a task or search for someone or something

Origin: Euripides, a great playwright of ancient Greece, once told the legend of a Persian general who left a treasure in his tent and then lost a major battle. Someone went looking for the treasure but couldn't find it, so he went to the Oracle of Delphi for advice. The oracle said, Movere Omnem lapidum which meant "Move every stone" in Latin.

ISBN: 0-590-27552-6