Archive | agosto 2013

Set the Alarm Bells Ringing

Encender las alarmas

set the alarm bells ringing1

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Set the alarm bells ring”
Click on the image to watch a video of an alarm at a train station

Meaning:

If something sets the alarm bells ringing or if the alarm bells start to ring, you get the feeling that something bad is going on; you are in trouble.

set the alarm bells ringing2

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Set the alarm bells ringing”
Click on the image to watch a video on how the cell phones have set the alarms ringing for breast cancer

Origin:

Alarms are gadgets that people have devised in order to be forewarned of an impending problem or danger. Alarms have been used since people started living together to help each other or to defend their town from oncoming enemies. Horns and bells have usually been used as alarms. Alarms are activated by different events. It may be a fire, smoke or that a door has been opened by an authorized person.

set the alarm bells ringing3

Pictures taken from Google Images “Set the alarm bells ringing”
Click on the image to watch a video on how Fire Alarms set the alarm bells ringing for stress

Example:

•Alfred has been in love with Laura for a very long time, but she had never paid attention to him. After he won the lottery, Laura started acting nicely to him and she even told him how much she has always loved him. However, every time she starts talking about going together around the world before getting engaged into a relationship, that sets the alarm bells ringing for him.
set the alarm bells ringing
Pictures taken from Google Images, “Set the alarm bells ringing”
Click on the image to watch Anton Stetner telling you how people don´t listen to fire alarms

Accidentally on purpose

Con premeditación, alevosía y ventaja

accidentally on purpose1

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Accidentally on purpose”
Click on the image to watch some scenes of The Show “Accidentally on purpose”

If you do something on purpose, but you pretend that it was an accident, we say that you do it accidentally on purpose.

accidentally on purpose2

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Accidentally on purpose”
Click on the image to know what the show “Accidentally in purpose” is all about.

Origin:

There is a special manner of speech in which we use to contradictory terms together, but the last one is the one that weighs more. This manner of speech is called oxymoron. Some examples are: original copy, a fine mess, a little big, agree to disagree, awfully pretty, intelligently stupid, etc. Accidentally on purpose is one of these expressions.

accidentally on purpose

Pictures taken from Google Images “Accidentally on purpose”
Click on the image to watch the preview of the series “Accidentally on purpose”

Example:

•I know that John doesn´t like me because his girlfriend used to be mine sometime ago. Today, while we were in the school cafeteria, he spilled a hot cup of coffee on my back. He argued that it had been an accident but I know in my heart, it happened accidentally on purpose.
accidentally on purpose3
Pictures taken from Google Images, “Accidentally on purpose”
Click on the image to learn lots of oxymora in the Oxymoron List

A Stab in the Dark

Dar palos de ciego

a stab in the dark

Pictures taken from Google Images, “A stab in the dark”
Click on the image to listen to the son, “A stab in the dark” by Jade Monkey

Meaning:

If you stab in the dark, you attempt to do something but you cannot actually see the target you are focusing on. If you are trying to answer a question, to take a stab in the dark is just to guess.

a stab in the dark1

Pictures taken from Google Images, “A stab in the dark”
Click on the image to learn how to fake a stab

Origin:

To stab is to attack somebody with a knife. Literally, a stab in the dark is trying to attack someone, whom you cannot see, with a knife. These expression comes from legends in which heroes had to fight with invisible enemies and the only way to defeat them was by stabbing them in the dark.

a stab in the dark2

Pctures taken from Google Images, “A stab in the dark”
Click on the images to watch the video of the song, “A stab in the dark” by Noise

Example:

• -Hi, John. How was your last History exam?
• -It was horrible. I didn´t study anything at all. I didn´t know we had an exam. It all came like a nightmarish surprise.
• -Then, you want to tell me that you didn´t answer any questions.
• -Of course, I did. I answer all the exam but I was just taking educated guesses.
• -So you mean that you were just stabbing in the dark.
•-Well , yes. We could say so.
a stab in the dark3

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Más allá del deber

above and beyond the call of duty

Pictures taken from Goggle Images, “Above and beyond the call of duty”
Click on the image to watch the report by Rachel Maddow

Meaning:

If you do something which is above and beyond the call of duty, you show a greater courage or effort than is usually required or expected in your job.

above and beyond the call of duty2

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Above and beyond the call of duty”
Click on the image to learn with MedSales Recruiter how to act in a job interview

Origin:

People are accustomed to do what they are told to do at work  but not less or more than that just to earn a salary. It is not common to find those who are willing to give an extra for the same pay of what others doing the same job are paid.

above and beyond the call of duty4

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Above and beyond the call of duty”
Click on the image to watch the demo of the game Battlefiel3 Above and Beyond the Call

Example:

•When there was a fire in the office, Mrs. Smith, the janitor, helped people evacuate and she was giving first aids to those who were seriously damaged by the fire or the smoke. She was even trying to calm down the manager who became hysterical in the face of the flames. Even though Mrs. Smith keeps doing the same job every day, she earned our respect and admiration. She is now considered as a hero because she acted above and beyond the call of duty.
above and beyond the call of duty1

Piece of Cake

Está papa

piece of cake

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Piece of cake”
Click on the image to learn more about this idiom in The Phrase Finder

Meaning:

We use this idiom to mean that something is very easy. That particular activity we are talking about represents no challenge at all.

piece of cake6

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Piece of cake”
Click on the image to listen to the melody “Piece of Cake” ft. Michel Camilo

Origin:

Cake is a dessert that gives us all pleasure. Nobody would dare to reject a piece of cake. This phrase is was coined in the United States during the XX century. The poet  and humorist Ogden Nash’s Primrose Path wrote in 1936: “Her picture’s in the papers now, And life’s a piece of cake.”

piece of cake5

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Piece of cake”
Click on the image to watch a scene from the TV program “Piece of Cake”

Other similar expressions are “As easy as pie, A cake walk, that takes the cake/biscuit, Mickey Mouse stuff, kindergarten homework.”

Example:

• Even though I couldn´t do much in Mathematics, I was gladly surprised when I saw the final test. It was so easy I couldn´t believe my eyes. It was a piece of cake!
piece of cake1

To Bury your Head in the Sand

Esconder la cara

bury your head in the sand4

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Bury your head in the sand”
Click on the image to learn more about this idiom with SarahSLH

Meaning:

If you bury your head in the sand, you hide because you don´t want to confront what your reality is. You act as if the situation had never happened.

bury your head in the sand2

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Bury your head in the sand”
Click on the image to listen to the song “Head in the hand” ft Seahaven

Origin:

This expression was coined after Romans observed that ostriches put their heads on the ground. People erroneously thought that they were hiding, while in fact they do it to roll the eggs they lay on the ground to avoid them being cooked by the extremely hot weather in Africa or to hear the vibrations on the ground made by predators when they come for them.

bury your head in the sand3

Pictures taken from Google Images “Bury your head in the sand”
Click on the image to learn how to use this idiom with Charlie d´Estries

Example:

•-What are you doing on bed, Sally?
•-I don´t want to go out. I will stay here all day, mom.
•-How come? You have to go to school. There are so many things you have to do.
•-Yeah, but I don´t feel fine. Being dumped by Tony really put me down.
•And, do you think that burying your head in the sand you are going to get a new boyfriend? Get out of bed and go to school, now!
bury your head in the sand1

To Burn the Candle at Both Ends

Partirse el lomo / Andar siempre en friega

burn the candle at both ends

Pictures taken from Goggle Images, “Burn the candle at both ends”
Click on the image to listen to the song “Burning my candle at both ends” ft Jimmy Duval

Meaning:

If you burn the candle at both ends, you get too exhausted doing too many things and going to bed late consequently..

burn the candle at both ends3

Pictures taken from Goggle images, “Burn the candle at both ends”
Click on the image to watch the video “Candle Movie” by Neistabrothers

Origin:

This expression was coined in France in the 1500. People who used this expression for the first time had noticed that if a candle burns at both ends, it would be used up twice as fast as it normally did. They started using this expression to refer to those who worked quite a lot, especially all day and night.

burn the candle at both ends1

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Burn the candle at both ends”
Click on the image to watch the video of the song “Burn the candle”

Example:

•The doctor told me that I have to take a long vacation as soon as possible because I have been working too much. Besides, I am studying a Master´s degree and I go to the gym every day. According to the doctor, I am burning the candle at both ends.
burn the candle at both ends2

To Nip it in the Bud

Cortar un problema de tajo 

nip it in the bud2

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Nip it in the bud”
Click on the image to watch some scenes from the program, “The Andy Griffith Show”

Meaning:

If you nip a problem or a bad situation in the bud, you stop it at an early stage before it spreads, develops or becomes worse.

nip it in the bud

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Nip it in the bud”
Click on the image to listen to the song “Nip it in the bud” ft. The B-52´s

Origin:

In the 1500´s, people used to say the expression “To nip it in the bloom” which literally means to prevent a flower from being born. What they meant was that they stopped something from developing since the very moment that it is starting. To nip means to stop something quickly and a bud is growth on a plant that will later become a flower.

nip it in the bud1

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Nip it in the bud”
Click on the image to listen to the song, “One more day” from the movie Les Miserables (Nip in the bud, 1:56)

Example:

•-Oh, my God, Chris! Did you know that two guys fought inside the school and in the heat of the fight one of them hurt the other with a knife? How come can someone sneak weapons into the school? I´m scared.
•-Don´t worry Sophie. Luckily, the dean took effective measures and metal detectors have been installed at the schools gates. Additionally, some policemen will be performing bodily inspections randomly.
•-I´m so glad that the dean nipped this problem in the bud.
nip it in the bud3

In the Same Boat

En el mismo barco

In the same boat4

Pictures taken from Google Images, “In the same boat”
Click on the image to listen to the song “In the same boat” from the Musical “Curtains”

Meaning:

If two or more people, teams, institutions, etc are in the same boat, they share responsibilities and the joy for rewards or the blame for the failures or their actions as a group.

in the same boat1

Pictures taken from Google Images, “In the same boat”
Click on the image to listen to the song “In the same boat” by Joe Diffie

Origin:

Since ancient times, when the first boats were used, it has been well known that passengers travelling in a boat share the joy of the trip, the beauty of the view, the excitement of arriving to their destination, but they also share the same risks in case of an accident, an attack or whatever ordeal they might go through.

in the same boat3

Pictures taken from Google Images, “In the same boat”
Click on the image to watch the teaser of the movie “In the same boat”

Example:

• When the best soccer player of the world was giving his speech while being acknowledged, he said some moving words that I still remember, “There is no –I- in the word team. This is not my very own achievement. It is the success of a fine group of individuals who have worked together to get this goal. For the good or the bad that may come our way, we are all in the same boat”.
in the same boat2

To blow your cobwebs away

Sacudirse la telarañas

 

blow the cobwebs away3

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Blow the cobwebs away”
Click on the image to watch the video of the song “Shouts of joy” by And One

Meaning:

If you blow away the cobwebs, you will not only refresh your ideas, but you will also feel more lively. To blow away the cobwebs is then, to break up with the same old boring routine you are stuck to.

blow the cobwebs away

Pictures taken from Google Images, “Blow the cobwebs away”
Click on the image to learn more about this idiom in Studying Online

Origin:

Spiders knit cobwebs in the upper corners of the wall, especially those that are never cleaned up. We use the word cobwebs to refer to old things, actions or routines that never change. If you blow them away, you express your wish to have a new fresh start in your life.

blow the cobwebs away2

Pictures taken from Google Images “Blow the cobwebs away”
Click on the image to watch the video of the song “Let´s blow the cobwebs away” by Pete Rivers

Example:

During the time I was studying college, I never went to dance, drink with my friends; I never went on holidays, etc. In summary, my life was all surrounding my studies. Now, that I am a graduate, I will blow away the cobwebs and take a long vacation.

blow the cobwebs away1

Pictures taken from Google Images “Blow the cobwebs away”
Click on the image to watch a video in which Liz Green uses this idiom