Search This Blog


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Wind down

Example 1:
Mom 1: What time do your kids usually go to bed?
Mom 2: Hmm, around 8:30 or 9 pm the latest.
1: Wow, that's pretty good! How do you get them to bed so early? My kids fight and protest until about 10 pm.
2: Well, we limit screen time which means no phones or TV after 6 pm. A bath helps them wind down, too.
1: Oh that makes sense!  I will have to try those tips. Thank you!

Example 2:
Jake: Are you free on Saturday?
Luis: I might be, but I have a brunch with friends and I'm not sure what time that will end.
Jake: We're going to go see the new super hero movie that night. You should really try to join us. We're buying tickets in advance for the 7 pm showing.
Luis: I really want to see that! Can you get me a ticket? I'm sure the brunch will be winding down by around 3 pm. I should be able to make it.

In Example 1, wind down is used in the same way you would use the word relax.  A bath helps them relax, too.
In Example 2, wind down is used to signal the ending or closing of some event. I'm sure the brunch will be ending by around 3 pm.

Pronunciation: wind is pronounced liked wine, with the long i sound.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

To rat on/out

to rat on/out: (verb)

Situation #1: Two students and a teacher

Maria: Mr. Andersen? I think Hank is cheating off of my test.         
Hank: What?! No way!
Mr. Andersen: Let me see your test, Hank.                    
Hank: Why? This is so unfair.
Mr. Andersen: Hmm... You do have all of the same answers as Maria - even the wrong ones. I'm sorry Hank, but I'm going to have to give you a zero on this test.
Hank: Why did you rat on me, Maria?
Maria: Because you were cheating.
Explanation: To "rat on" or "rat out" someone means to tell a person in a position of authority that someone did something wrong. In the example above, Hank says that Maria "rats on" him when she tells Mr. Andersen that Hank is cheating off of her test. The expression "rat on/out" comes from the American mob, where a "rat" is someone who tells the police secrets; it is a very negative thing to say about a person. "Rat out" is usually interchangeable from "rat on," as can be seen in the next example.
Situation #2: Two friends

Katie: Did you hear about Christina's party last night?
Daniel: Yeah, I went! It was awesome! But it got a little too crazy. There were a lot of drugs being taken.
Katie: What? Did you take any?
Daniel: No! I just had a couple beers.
Katie: Did you call the police?
Daniel: Why would I do that?
Katie: Because people were taking drugs. That's illegal!
Daniel: Well, yeah, but I'm not a rat. I'm not going to rat out my friends just because they decide to something illegal. Especially if they're not hurting anyone.
Katie: Well, I would have called the police.

Daniel: And that's why you don't get invited to parties.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"To hold your horses"

Dad: Come on kids!  Let's go!  We're going to be late.
Kid: Dad, hold your horses.

Let's go!  I don't want to miss the beginning of the movie.
Tom: Hold your horses!  I'm coming.

"To hold your horses" is used when you tell someone to "wait" or "hold on."  People usually say "hold your horses" when they feel like the other person is being a little impatient or too much in a hurry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

To Break the Ice

To Break the Ice - Meaning: to do or say something when you first meet someone to make the other person feel more comfortable or relaxed, like playing a game or telling a joke.

Hey Amir,

My first day in school was great! I was super nervous meeting all the new people and teachers.
Everyone was in the classroom when our first teacher, Ms. Buell came in. She looked very serious and strict.
I was nervous, but suddenly, she asked everyone to stand up and tell each other about the most interesting place we had ever visited.
It was so much fun. I talked to four different people and felt much more relaxed after that. It was a great ice breaker.
After that, she started the class and I can tell already she will be my favorite teacher!

How was your first day at your new school? Let me know!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hug it out

Noni: I can’t believe you were so mean to me in front of all those people. I felt humiliated.
Chad: Really? I wasn’t trying to be mean. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. Come here, let’s hug it out.
Noni: No way. That’s not how I solve things. I really need you to listen to what I have to say.
Chad: Not sure what to think. I’m not very confrontational, so it makes sense to me.

To “Hug it out” means to end an argument, or calm a situation, by giving each
other hugs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

To Cover [one’s] Tracks (used as a verb)

The expression, “to cover [one’s] tracks,” refers to the act of someone intentionally concealing or hiding his or her activities, whereabouts, or any evidence for the purpose of avoiding discovery.  Typically used in mystery stories, this idiom evokes the image of a nefarious criminal eliminating his “tracks” to avoid being caught by the police.

Situation 1:
“The killer attempted to cover his tracks of the murder he had committed by hiding the victim’s body in the forest.”

Situation 2:
“The cheating husband tried to cover his tracks by paying only in cash whenever he went out with his mistress.  Unfortunately for him, his wife was suspicious of his infidelity and had hired a private detective.”

*Note that in situation 2, the cheating husband attempted to conceal his affair by using only cash to cover his tracks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Snowflake (noun)

Situation #1: Two friends
Mia: George is such a jerk.                                             
Henry: What happened?
Mia: Well, he said something racist, so I called him on it, and I asked him not to say stuff like that, at least not around me. 

Henry: Did he apologize?
Mia: No. He said I was acting like "a special snowflake" and that I needed to grow a thicker skin. So I told him I'd rather be a sensitive snowflake than a racist jerk.
Henry: Wow.  

Explanation: When used as a putdown, "snowflake" means that a person is being too sensitive about a sensitive topic. Using "snowflake" as a putdown became popular after the movie FIGHT CLUB, where it is used to suggest that someone thinks they're special and is too sensitive. More recently, this usage has been embraced politically by conservative people when putting down liberal people who claim offense at potentially intolerant language.
Situation #2: Two friends
Chad:  Did you see that new comedy that just came out? I went with my girlfriend, and it was so gay.
Sam: Dude, don't call things "gay."
Chad: What? Why not?
Sam: Because it's homophobic.
Chad: What? I'm not homophobic! Don't be such a snowflake. You know what I meant.
Sam: I'm not being a snowflake. My brother is gay, and he's cool. If you think a movie is lame, call it "lame." Using "gay" in a negative way is just continuing negative stereotypes about gay people. And that's homophobic.
Chad: Ok. I get it. Sorry.