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Thursday, July 10, 2014

To cause a stir

Idiom: to cause a stir; used as a verb

First Example:
Newscaster: The dramatic game between Brazil and Germany on July 8th caused quite a stir.  At 7 to 1, Germany set a new record for the most goals scored in a semifinal game, with 5 of those goals scored within the first 29 minutes of the game - also a record.  Sports fans everywhere were shocked by the outcome, and even many non-sports fans were paying attention.    

Meaning: The idiom "to cause a stir" is used when something causes a lot of excitement, interest, or agitation.  The idiom is not used for just any exciting moment, being reserved for unusual moments that cause a great deal of unusual excitement, interest or agitation, such as in the example above, when Germany set two World Cup records in its game against Brazil.  However, excitement isn't the only "stir" that can be "caused"; the idiom is also often used to describe controversy, as in the next example.

Second Example:
Nicole: How was work today? 
Joe: Awful!  Management sent out a memo with a new dress code policy that caused a huge stir, and that's all anyone could talk about all day.
Nicole: What was so controversial?                                                 
Joe: Well, it said women had to wear dresses or skirts; there was no mention of pants, so a lot of people were angry about that.  And they didn't include any information on casual days, suggesting that everyone would have to wear formal office wear from now on.
Nicole: Did they mean to eliminate those things?
Joe: No.  It turns out the new manager decided to just write a new policy rather than edit the old one, and he didn't think to check it with anyone before sending it out.  Management said they'd fix it and post a new one tomorrow, but it really caused a stir when everyone went into the office today and found this new policy.
Nicole: I bet.  glad it worked out though.

Meaning: In this example, a new manager "caused a stir" by writing a new, incomplete dress code policy.  In this case, the idiom is being used to show that the event caused controversy instead of excitement, even though the controversy eventually passed (when they figured out it was an error).

This week's idioms inspired by the excitement over the World Cup here at LSI. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

To eat, sleep and breathe (something)

Idiom: to eat, sleep and breathe (something); used as a verb

First Example:
Janet: Have you seen Jamie lately?  She always seems to be busy.
Corey: Oh, she's really into the World Cup.
Janet: Really?  I didn't know she liked soccer.                              
Corey: She was never that interested before, but ever since the World Cup started, she eats, sleeps and breathes soccer.  If she's not watching a game, she's reading predictions or recaps.
Janet: Wow!
Corey: I've never seen her this enthusiastic about something. I wouldn't be surprised if she dreams about soccer.

Meaning: The idiom "to eat, sleep and breathe (something)" is used when someone is  incredibly enthusiastic about something, focusing all of their energy on that one thing.  In the example above, Corey says that Jamie "eats, sleeps and breathes" soccer since the World Cup started.  This means that Jamie spends all of her time focusing on soccer.  Alternatively, some Americans will use the slightly different idiom "to live and breathe (something)" for the same meaning.

Valerie: How is your sister doing in school? 
Timothy: Great!  She finally decided on her major.
Valerie: What did she choose?                                                       
Timothy: Guess.
Valerie: Well, ever since she was little, she has lived and breathed ballet, so I'm going to guess Dance?
Timothy: And you are correct.  My parents were trying to convince her to become a business major, saying it would be better for her career, but I've never had any doubt she'd become a dancer.         

Meaning: In this example, Timothy's sister "lives and breathes" ballet, meaning that she dedicates all of her energy on ballet.  These two idioms basically mean the same thing and different people will prefer one over the other (often based on age or region). 

This week's idioms inspired by the excitement over the World Cup here at LSI.