Firgurative Language - Augusta County Public Schools

Firgurative Language What are you really trying to say? Axe to Grind Have a dispute to take up with someone or, to have an ulterior motive/ to have private ends to serve. Clean Sweep.

A broad movement clearing or affecting everything in its pathway, to start over or begin again. Chew the fat. Chat, engage in idle chatter The Inuit used to chew on pieces of whale blubber almost like chewing gum. The blubber took quite a while to dissolve, so it just sort of helped pass the

time while they were doing something else Coast is clear. The danger is past: there is no danger of interference "The phrase first appears in print in 1531 where it describes a vessel which had safely cleared the coast to put out to sea.

Give me a break. Means that you cant believe it. Its Greek to me. Cant be understood. Its usually attributed to William Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar: Those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but for mine own part,

it was Greek to me. Let the cat out of the bag. Disclose a secret. the Middle Ages, markets or fairs were held to sell livestock, produce, and other goods from around a region. Most of the livestock was sold alive, usually in

sacks so that the purchaser could bring it home relatively neatly. As a general rule, someone would inspect the pigs, chickens, and so forth for sale and pick one out, and then the farmer would bag the animal so that it could be carried. Unscrupulous merchants might replace the livestock with a cat, since cats were readily available. The unknowing customer would carry the bag home, open

it, and realize that he or she had been swindled. Long shot. Not a very good chance. Today it's a gambling term for an event that would take an inordinate amount of luck. It's origins are nautical. Because ships' guns in early days were very inaccurate except at close quarters, it was an

extremely lucky shot that would find its target from any great distance. Mums the word. Silence. Keep quiet, say nothing. This expression dates from about 1700, but mum, meaning "silence," is much older. In 2 Henry VI (1:2) Shakespeare wrote, "Seal up your lips, and give no

words but mum." Out on a limb. Put oneself in an isolated or dangerous position. The phrase "going out on a limb" is obviously referring to trees. People who were hungry long ago, or even today might see a piece of fruit dangling above on a tree branch. Driven by their hunger they would climb

the tree and attempt to slowly make their way to the fruit, risking the possibility of injury as the branch could snap at any moment. Read between the lines. Understanding something that is not obvious. To understand a hidden meaning.

This expression derives from a simple form of cryptography, in which a hidden meaning was conveyed by secreting it between lines of text. It originated in the mid 19th century and soon became used to refer to the deciphering of any coded or unclear form of communication, whether written or not.

Take a rain check. to politely refuse an offer, with the possibility that you may accept in the future. a ticket given to a spectator at an outdoor event providing for a refund of his or her entrance money or admission at a later date, should the event be interrupted by rain True colors.

To identify ones true self. A ship "sails under the colors" of her nation, meaning that she flies the flag of her country. Pirates and such would often fly the colors of a merchant-ship or convoy for which they were lying in wait in order to disarm the suspicions of their intended victims and get closer than might otherwise be possible.

Under the weather. To feel sick or ill. To be under the weather is to be unwell. This comes again from a maritime source. In the old days, when a sailor was unwell, he was sent down below to help his recovery, under the deck and away from the weather. Up my sleeve.

Hidden, but ready to use. Have surprises in store.

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