Idioms – Letter S

–  Idioms – Letter S  –


  • (to be) At A Standstill – This is an Idiomatic Adjectival Prepositional-Phrase which describes a situation where-in one is not able to perform some action because of a condition which is preventing it.  This phrase is often used in a work situation when – for example – a person is not able to perform their part of some task because they must wait for someone else to finish his or her part of the task first…

“The construction of the new office is at a standstill until we are able to get all the proper building permits.”

  • (to be) Born With A Silver Spoon In (one’s) Mouth – This is an IdiomaticPrepositional & Adjectival Phrasal Verb which is used to express that a person was born into a family and a life of wealth and privilege and has probably never had to work or experience any hardship in his or her life.  It is usually said as a derogatory remark against that person out of jealousy and resentment…

“Most people would agree that Gwyneth Paltrow was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and that is why people resent almost all of the ridiculous things that she says to the media.”

  • “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining” This Idiomatic Aphorism can also be classified as an Interjection, a Proverb, and a Saying, to express that…  every “bad” or un-pleasant situation has an aspect of something beneficial or advantageous.  This phrase is usually used to describe a situation which is happening or has already happened – or as a reminder to someone who is experiencing (or is about to experience) an un-pleasant situation – so that the person can perceive the circumstances with a more optimistic attitude.  –   Read the Full Post Here

  • (to) Follow Suit – This is an Idiomatic Phrasal-Verb which is used to mean:  To do whatever others in a certain situation are doing – to do what is considered “suitable”.  Interestingly enough, this does not mean, to do what is “right” or “proper” or even to do what is logical, but to act in a way as to not cause any confrontation or to spark criticism from those who might judge one for doing something different…

“Well, it didn’t really seem like a good idea to completely lie about the situation at the time, but that is what everyone else was doing, but rather than simply follow suit, I decided to resign from my position.”  (true story)

  • Frankly Speaking – This is an Idiomatic Phrasal-Adverb which is used as a preface to a statement or as appositive of the same.  It is used to indicate that the person is going to (or just has) said something which he or she knows will probably not be very well-received by the person the statement is directed to, but that the speaker either does not care, or feels that it is necessary for what is being said to be said particularly in that way.

“I know that my views are not ‘politically correct’ but, Frankly Speaking, I don’t really care.  Social Justice Warriors, are absolute lunatics!”

  • (to be) Head And Shoulders Above (another/others/the rest) – This is an Idiomatic Adjectival Phrase which is used to mean that someone is much better at something than another or others.  Imagine two people standing next to each other.  If one person is so much shorter than the other, that the top of that person’s head does not even com up to the shoulders of the other, then that person’s head and shoulders are above them…  This does not mean that the taller person is better, but most people would agree that the taller person is significantly taller (not just a little bit.)  So this phrase is used figuratively to mean that someone is significantly better than another…

“Tony Hawk was such an incredibly good skateboarder that, when he was still competing, he was head and shoulders above everyone else.”

  • (to be) Off Like A Shot – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which means:  To leave some place – and the “shot” is in comparison to a “gun-shot”.  So…  since the bullet of a gun moves VERY fast, this phrase just means that someone has left a place very very quickly…

“Once he saw his ex-girlfriend coming in through front door of the party, he quickly made his way through the kitchen, found the back-door, and he was off like a shot!  There was no way he was going to let that freakin’ psychopath ruin his evening.” (true story) 😀

  • (to be) On Schedule – This is an Idiomatic and Adjectival Prepositional-Phrase which means to be working according to the schedule and to not be in anyway “behind” or late.  This implies that any sort of project will be finished “on time” (as scheduled and expected) and will not be late…   –  (See Also:  “On Time”)

“It took a lot of people working very hard, but finally we are back *on schedule* and we expect to finish the project by the original projected date of completion.”

“I called the meeting today because I just want to make sure that we are all on the same page about what is to be expected with the new project.”

  • (to be) On The Same WaveLength With (someone) – Though this is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which comes to us from the world of radio.  Radio signals travel at difference frequencies.  The word frequency is related to the signal’s “wave-length”.  If the radio receiver is not tuned to the correct frequency it will not be able to pick up the frequency of the station and thus, you will only hear static…  So to say that two people are on the same wave-length just means that they can comprehend each other and probably think and feel the same or similarly.  –  (See also:  “To Strike A Chord With & “To Resonate With)

  • (to be) One Step Ahead – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which is often used in business or any areas involving strategy and competition – meaning:  To always be just a little bit ahead of the competitors or those who are working against the other…

“It was through theft, lying, manipulation, and murder, that Thomas Edison was able to stay one step ahead of those who were the real inventors – taking credit for other, greater men’s work. “

  • (to) Pick Up The Slack – This is an Idiomatic Verb Phrase which means to do the work of another person strictly because that work is not being done, it is important, and the other person is being a “Slacker” or that he or she is at least “Slacking Off” in this situation.

  • (to) Slack Off – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Phrasal-Verb which is used to mean:  To purposely be lazy, un-productive, and un-caring.  The word “slack”, refers to the loose part of a rope, twine, cable etc. that is attached at two ends to something but is not tight.  “Slack” is the opposite of “Tension”.  If someone is being productive there is a form of “tension” that is created by the act of working, so to slack off is to “do” (by not doing) the opposite of that.  –  (See Also:  (a) Slacker”)

  • (to be) Snowed Under – This is a phrasal adjective that means to be so incredibly busy, that one can do nothing else but to deal with that situation “at hand”.  Imagine behind in a snow storm that is so severe that it completely buries the door of your house, it will be nearly impossible to do anything else (that requires you leaving your house) than to deal with that situation.  That’s where this phrase comes from…

“I absolutely can not “take on” any more work right now.  I’m completely snowed under with the work I have.”

  • (to be) Stand-Off-Ish – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase.  Any time a word has the “-ish” suffix, it means that it (partially/kind of…) has the quality of whatever adjective or noun it is attached to.  So to say that someone is “Stand-Off-Ish”, is to describe that person as being:  shy, timid, or just not wanting to socialize, or be “close” to/with other people or a particular group (in all, or certain, situations)…

“As he normally did not find himself in social situations with such despicable people, he was quite stand-off-ish, not wanting to corrupt himself with their loathsome presence.”

  • (to) Stick Together“Stick” (as a verb) means “to adhere”; bind, to something – like a piece of tape is used to “stick” things together.  So this idiomatic phrasal verb uses the slang verb “stick”  to refer to situations where-in people or groups need to:  cooperate; work together; support each other; etc.  It is often used to talk about family, friends, co-workers & lovers…

“In tough times such as these, when the world is run by criminals – family and friends really need to stick together and help each other out, if they want to survive and thrive.”

  • (to be) Straight Off The Rack – This Prepositional Adjectival Phrase can be either Literal or Idiomatic and is used to say that the article of clothing looks so nice and new that it seems that it just came “off the rack” at the store and that it is the first time that it is being worn.  Idiomatically, it is used to describe anything which someone wants to describe as being “new”.

“Take an opportunity while it is still available.”

…Because often-times, when people hesitate, the opportunity can be missed.  This phrase comes from the art of black-smithing (iron-working).  When the metal is red-hot then it is soft and easy to work with.  Once the metal cools, it hardens and is much more difficult to work with.  The word “strike” is verb which means:  To hit/pound/kick/etc..  So Idiomatically, if one “Strikes While The Iron Is Hot” then it will be much easier to take that opportunity…  but if one waits, the opportunity will be gone – just like the possibility to shape cold metal.  –  (Note Also: that the article “the” is not necessary, but is grammatically more proper.)

  • (to be) Stuffed Up – This is an idiomatic adjectival phrase which is used to mean that one is experiencing “nasal congestion”…

“I can barely breath at all, my nose is completely stuffed up!”

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