Category: Uncategorized

to beat the band

In a very energetic or forceful manner, for example, “Talking away to beat the band.” Also, to the greatest possible degree, for example, “The wind is blowing to beat the band.” Something being done thoroughly or furiously. The use of “to beat” meaning “to surpass” is simply a modern use of “to beat” in its older military sense meaning “to…

Ebook sale!

“Read an Ebook Week” is a regular annual promotion and celebration of digital books at Smashwords, an ebook distributor. This year the sale runs from one minute after midnight Sunday morning, March 5th, to midnight on Saturday, March 11th. All my books and short stories on Smashwords will be FREE for that week. Enjoy! Click on this Smashwords link to see list of books…

know the ropes

Someone who “knows the ropes” is experienced, and understands how to do whatever it is  they are doing. “Showing someone the ropes” means to explain to them how something is done. This phrase may have originated in the golden age of sailing, when understanding how to handle the ropes necessary to operate a ship’s sails was an essential nautical skill.…

knight in shining armor

A knight in shining armor is a heroic, idealized male who typically comes to the rescue of a female in a difficult situation. The phrase is sometimes used in more cynical works to indicate a wide-eyed idealist. The phrase originated in the days of Old England, when popular imagination conjures up images of chivalry and of gallant knights saving fair…

short takes

What can’t be cured must be endured — there is no point complaining about what is unavoidable. In use since 1377. Smidgen — a very small amount, as in tad, dash, pinch, and drop. Anything between 1/25th and 1/48th of a teaspoon. Every last (one) — a variant of “each and every one,” since the late 1800s Snickerdoodle — a…

buckshee

free of charge, gift, gratuity, small bribe I’ve heard the idea that buckshee is Cockney rhyming slang for “free.” However, this is incorrect. The word is Persian in origin, the word “baksheesh” meaning a gratuity or a tip to expedite service. The word has been in use since the mid-1700s, and much more widely adopted and popularized by the British…

money words

Cold cash (also “cold, hard cash”) means money immediately available. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary lists “cold cash” as American English, and “hard cash” as British English. Perhaps “cold hard cash” is Canadian? The phrase may arise from the idea that coins are cold and hard. In any case, coins are harder than paper money or other instruments of payment.…