Month: April 2018

blacklist

A blacklist is a list of individuals or organizations that some entity finds undesirable, for whatever reason. It might be due to a legitimate concern: a blacklist of known criminals, for example, or of countries with an unacceptable level of government corruption. But blacklists are just as often used for discrimination on social or ideological grounds. An infamous example is…

fly off the handle

To lose one’s temper suddenly and unexpectedly, or, if you want all the synonyms I could find: flip one’s lid, throw a fit, have a fit, hit the roof, combust, blow up, blow one’s stack, blow a fuse, go ballistic, lose self-control, become enraged. The phrase is American and first found in print in Thomas C. Haliburton’s The Attaché; or,…

blow your mind

If something blows your mind, you are very excited or surprised by it. This can include, of course, the use of hallucinatory drugs. If you tend to take things literally, ‘blew my mind’ could mean your head exploding, and ‘blew me away’ might evoke a gust of wind. ‘Boggle the mind’ is similar, but it seems to me to be…

wildcatter

A wildcatter is a prospector who sinks exploratory oil wells in areas not known to have oil fields. The term can also be applied to a risky investor. The word was coined in America and dates from the early oil industry in western Pennsylvania. Oil wells in unproven territory were called ‘wild-cat wells’ by 1871, and those who drilled them…

catch-22

A catch-22 is frustrating situation in which the attempt to escape makes escape impossible, a situation in which the desired outcome is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions.  You could also describe it as: ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’ Or, perhaps, ‘heads I win, tails you lose.’ Along with…