Phrasal-Adjectives – Letter S (With Prepositions)

–  Prepositional Adjectival Phrases – 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.”

  • (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  • (to be) In Syndication – This is an adjectival phrase which is used to describe when a TV show is no longer current and so the rights to show it on other TV channels around the country or the word are sold.  Therefore the show can be seen on many different channels at many different times…  Usually when the show is *in syndication*, it is played in a non-sequential order.

  • (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.”

  • (to be) On The Same Page – This Idiomatic Prepositional-Phrase is also an Adjectival Verb Phrase which is used to mean that two or more people “Comprehend Each Other” and/or “Agree” (but not necessarily both)

“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 adjectival phrase of manner, and is used most often in business or any areas involving strategy.  It means 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 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) Set In One’s Ways – This is an idiomatic adjectival phrase which is used to say that one is a certain way, is very stubborn about any sort of change, and would create great difficulty if one tries to change that person (and usually these people tend to be proud of that, though others do not necessarily admire that person for this quality, but instead use this phrase as a way of making an excuse for that person’s inflexibility)…  We also use the word “set” to talk about the hardening of concrete.  And once set, it is not possible to change the shape of it.  Instead, one has to completely break the concrete in order to change it….  Similar to a person who is *set in his or her ways*.

  • (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 be) Straight Forward – This is an idiomatic adjectival phrase which is used to describe some information (instructions, explanations, definitions, etc.) or sometimes a person as being clear, comprehensible, and not missing any information or leaving things to be assumed or implied.  When referring to a person, it would mean that the person nearly always says what he or she is thinking and does not speak dishonestly with implied meaning, even if it might cause for an un-comfortable situation.

  • (to be) Stressed Out – This is an idiomatic phrasal adjective which means virtually the same thing as to be very “Stressed”.  The addition of the preposition “out” is used to imply that one has “had enough” and can not tolerate any more of the stress of whatever situation or situations are causing the stress; it is too much, or more than usual…  “I am completely *stressed out* from having to deal with so many people of such low character.”

  • (To Be) Stripped Down – If a person is “stripped down”, that means that his or her clothes are taken off.  Metaphorically, this idiomatic adjectival phrase is used to describe something as having no “extras”; only the most important or basic elements of something.

  • (to be) Stuck In A Rut – This is an idiomatic adjectival phrase which is used to refer to a person being seemingly stuck in a period of his or her life where-in a lot of difficulties and mis-fortune are present.  A rut is a deeply worn path in a road which (when we used to have dirt roads) cars would often get stuck in, especially after rain storms.  This of course was not a very pleasant situation and was not easy to get out of…  So to be *stuck in a rut* kind of feels like being stuck in the rain when the car won’t move, it is the middle of the night, there is no help for miles, and you need to be somewhere else urgently or else some other terrible shit will happen…  and your phone battery is dead.

  • (to be) Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place – This is an idiomatic verb phrase to describe a situation where-in a person either has not options or that the option(s) which are available are not optimal, and that no matter which one a person chooses, will most-likely result in an un-wanted situation…  Like being told that you have to either quit your job or fire your best friend who just had a baby.

  • (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*!”

  • (to be) Up To Speed (about something) – This is an idiomatic adjectival phrase which means:  To be “current” about some news or information, but whereas the phrase “Up To Date” is focused on the current date, this phrase is more focused on the current moment…  “Okay, so there will be a lot of changes taking place because of what we discussed in the morning meeting so it’s important that everyone is *up to speed* on the client’s expectations.


–  ( Phrasal-AdjectivesLetter S )  –



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