||Corruption of "the man" an accomplished, skillful, or clever
man (and possibly a woman). Associated with the ritual exchange,
"Who da man?" "You/we/he/etc. da man!" and not to be confused with
"The Man," which refers to the powers that be.
|(to) dance with the devil
||To do something immoral without question, to willingly take an
unnecessary risk, to purposefully act in an evil manner. The usual
connotation is one of extreme immoral prejudice within one's self,
e.g. "To dance with the devil in the pale moonlight" is a dual
idiomatic phrase meaning to be sensationalized by one's own immoral
or risky ambitions and/or one's evil tendencies. May also be used
religiously as "willingly sinning against God" or to knowingly
behave in a manner inconsistent with one's own faith or spiritual
||A surprise candidate or competitor; someone who hides their
talents or interests. From the metaphor: "He rode in as if on a
dark horse in the night" or "No one saw him coming."
||Come unwanted to someone's home. As an imperative, the
expression is associated with Victorian melodrama, where someone
(usually a young woman or man) is thrown out of the parental home
for some misdeed, but it is actually much older. Benjamin Franklin
used it in The Busybody (1729): "I am afraid she would
resent it so as never to darken my doors again."
|(a) day late and a dollar short
||Too little, too late (i.e. "not enough" and/or "not soon
|(your) days are numbered
||Used to indicate that someone or something will not exist for
much longer; also for the purpose of evoking a pessimistic view
about the future and/or current state of affairs. Sometimes used as
a threat. Originates from the Biblical account of Belshazzar's
||Directly in front of the speaker, usually in the context of
watercraft e.g. "Look out for the rocks dead ahead!".
||A settled issue. Something no longer needing
as a doornail (or dodo)
||Useless, very distinctly dead. A doornail is the strikeplate
for most door knockers. To hold it in place, after it was driven
through the door, the pointed end was bent over and buried in the
door, to prevent movement. This nail was unrecoverable, so was
considered dead to future reclamation, which was apparently common
before modern times. The dodo was a flightless bird endemic to the
Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The dodo has been extinct since
the mid-to-late 17th century.
||Two or more competitors finish with the same results; a tie.
||Not going anywhere, not making progress, vulnerable to any
attack or to be overtaken.
||Identical e.g. "He's a dead ringer for his brother. - Didn't
you know they were identical twins?" See also: spitting
||To run as fast as possible e.g. "The sentries came at a dead
run when they heard the intruders".
||A good marksman; one
who has accuracy in hitting chosen targets using firearms or other
|(to be) dead to X
||To no longer be of consequence to X, to be considered
lost to X. e.g. "My father is dead to me".
||Caught in the act ("The police had the burglars dead to rights
when they arrived."), or at the mercy of someone ("The cavalry had
the fleeing soldiers dead to rights.") 'Bang to rights' is the UK
||Not in touch, unaware of what is happening; asleep
|death of (or by) a thousand cuts
||Many injuries, none fatal in themselves, which ultimately add
up to a slow and painful demise.
||AUS, UK, USA
||Rich and/or generous
||One who argues a point of view that is not necessarily one's
own for the sake of fairness. To play "the devil's advocate" in a
debate is to ensure that some attempt was made to hear a side that
might otherwise have gone unrepresented.
|(the) devil finds work for idle hands
||Someone who cannot be productive in life or work will find
crime and trouble instead.
|(the) devil is in the details
||When a task sounds simple in concept, but carrying it out
proves much more difficult.
|(the) die is cast
||A decision (i.e., throwing or casting a die) is made, the
outcome of which (i.e., which side it will land on) is unknown, and
cannot be altered (the die cannot be recalled to the hand that
threw it) —often implying that fate will decide the consequences
(from alea jacta est, Julius Caesar's supposed words on crossing the Rubicon).
|different kettle of fish
||Very different from other things referred to in context .
|(a) dime a
||Global (orig. & esp. USA)
||Very common and easy to get; very cheap; not special.
||A look of disapproval or malice. Also: A black
|does a bear shit in the
||A sarcastic, rhetorical method of responding to a question
whose answer is obviously, "yes." See also: Is the Pope
||A presentation which aims to persuade by overwhelming the
senses or appealing to fancy; generally a marketing presentation
which offers little or no real informational content. May also
refer to anything with more style than substance.
||Describes intense competition and rivalry
|dog in the
||Something to gain depending on the outcome; a position for
which to campaign or cheer.
||Someone who denies others the use of a resource, even though
they cannot possibly use the resource themselves. From Aesop's
fable of the same name, The Dog in the Manger, about a dog
preventing cows from eating the straw on which it is lying.
|don't hold your breath
||Keep your expectations low.
judge a book by its cover
||Do not rely solely on looks and appearance when estimating the
value of a person or thing.
|don't let the bed bugs bite
||USA (possibly Global)
||Sleep/Rest well (casual imperitive command). This idiom
expresses one's wish for the other person to have a pleasant
slumber or restful period. Typically it refers to an actual sleep
session rather than a period of wakeful rest. But it can be used
for either lengthy sleep periods (such as in an overnight slumber),
or breif periods of rest when sleep is probable (such as in an
afternoon nap.) This idiomatic expression originates from the
"bedbug" insect. The bedbug (or bed bug) is an insect of the family
Cimicidae that lives by feeding on the blood of humans and other
warm-blooded hosts. Its name comes from its preferred habitat:
mattresses, sofas, and other furniture (typically wood surfaces or
fabric.) Although not strictly nocturnal, bedbugs are mainly active
at night, specifically prior to or during early dawn. Adult bedbugs
are reddish-brown, flattened, oval, and wingless, with microscopic
hairs that give them a banded appearance, and although they are
quite small (adult bed bugs grow to about 3/16ths of an inch in
length in full maturity) they are visible to the naked eye. Bedbugs
can cause a variety of skin irritations and other diseases in
humans and animals. Bed bug "bites" aren't really bites, as the
species has no teeth (the term "bite" is used rather loosely in the
USA when referring to insects). The bed bug "bites" by piercing the
skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects
its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while
with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. For some people,
the "bites" may not be felt until several minutes or hours later.
Although the forms of skin irrations or diseases may vary with a
bedbug bite, in most observed cases, bedbug bites consist of a
raised red bump or flat welt, and are often accompanied by very
intense itching (the bite's may become blistered in some people.)
Relief of itching can be temporarily obtained through a self
administration of hot water applied directly to the bed-bug bite,
but this method is not completely safe in the fact that the water
must be quite hot (about 50 °C / 120 °F) because if it is not hot
enough it may cause aggravation of the symptoms. (Also this level
of heat may cause minor burns in people with sensitive skin.) Many
doctors recommend against home-therapy for bedbug bites.
|don't look a gift
horse in the mouth
||Do not question the value of a gift. The expression comes from
the practice of determining the age and health of a horse by
looking at its teeth.
|don't cry over spilled
||Don't make a big deal over little things. See also: make a mountain out of a
|(the) door swings both ways
||The same principle applies to two or more situations. Typically
used to attack hypocritical statements or actions, e.g. "What you
do to me, I can do to you."
||Something that can be helpful or harmful.
the dumps (or doldrums)
||Sad or regretful.
feet (or heels)
||To do something slowly or unwillingly.
||AUS, UK, USA
||To urinate. Vulgar slang usually used by/applied to men.
||Unable to come up with a searched-for idea or plan; or unable
|(to) draw a long bow
||To lie, to exaggerate
|(to) draw a line (in the sand)
||to set a limit or make a stand as if it were an ultimatum.
|(to) draw a line under
||To bring a matter to an end, or to change the subject.
||1) To follow blindly without thought, often to one's own
demise. Refers to the ritual mass suicide of Jonestown in which
followers of the People's Temple religious cult died from drinking
Kool-Aid (actually 'Flavor
Aid') spiked with cyanide and Valium.
2) To adopt the subjective viewpoint of a group, one in
particular that differs from the established norms. Referenced by
the Tom Wolfe novel The Electric Kool-Aid Acid
Test which vividly describes the 60's drug culture and the
escapades of the Merry Pranksters, the
members of which joined by drinking LSD-laced Kool-aid.
|drive a wedge (between)
||Introduce a contentious issue into a debate so as to cause a
united group to split and disagree among themselves.
|drive someone up the wall
||Agitate someone to the point of great frustration.
||Make a major mistake; often used when that mistake causes the
failure or setback of a larger event.
|drop a line
||AUS, UK, USA
||To write a letter; to correspond through writing.
||Stepping through a process without actually performing any
permanent actions. Used to assess the feasibility and/or impact of
|Dry as a nun's cunt
||Very dry (vulgar slang).
||To drink alcohol to steel oneself for a courageous task.
||An unhelpful person who gives unwelcome advice. This
expression, often put as "to talk to one like a Dutch uncle",
presumably alludes to the sternness and sobriety attributed to the
Dutch during the 1800's.