Wednesday, May 22, 2013

cliché: lower the boom

Meaning:  Various: To punch out; to chastise or punish.

Example: After his cheeky remark, I lowered the boom, delivering my own one-two verbal punch.

Origins: Sailing (beam securing sails to masts, which when swung across the deck may hit someone or knock them overboard); also Theater (beam for staging that might fall or be lowered quickly to knock someone down).

(Definitions and origins.)

  • lower the beam
  • let loose the boom
  • exercise the boom
  • give chase with the tackle
  • unleash the scaffolding
  • rock the rigging

Discussion: There are lots of ways to say "wrecking ball" with either sailing or thespian jargon, but you need to be careful not to be obscure. In the end, I deleted a couple that though they applied probably wouldn’t have been clear. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

cliché: behind the eight ball (8 ball)

Meaning: Put at a disadvantage or unfavorable position (definition).

Example: With nothing but difficult options before him, Bill found himself behind the eight ball.

Origins: Billiards and the game of Eight Ball, perhaps Eight-ball Croquet. First use is in the 1929 Sheboygan Press about baseball. (Source.)

  • behind the hate ball
  • behind the black ball
  • behind the odd ball
  • behind the mid-ball
  • behind the killer ball
  • menaced by the eight ball
  • intimidated by the eight ball
  • gamed by the eight ball
  • galled by the eight ball
  • on the unlucky side of the eight ball

Discussion: I tried to play on the variety of ways you might think of facing an eight ball in a game of billiards. 

Update: I had struggled with rewriting this cliche for some reason. As I was promoting his page on social media, an entirely new angle hit me - other game metaphors:

  • caught between the chutes and the ladders
  • caught at the bottom of a Sorry! slide

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

cliché: the bee’s knees

Meaning: Excellent quality (or the small things in life that count)

Example: Those miniature gold bar earrings are the bee’s knees.

Origins: Various and undecided. Bee’s knees carry the awesome pollen. 

  • the cow’s udders
  • the sheep’s locks
  • the bird’s peeps
  • the hummingbird’s wings
  • the puppy's cuddle
  • the striker’s toes
  • the punter’s feet
  • the penitent’s knees

Discussion: I suggest there are few things so small that provide so much gold as the bee’s knees, but there are lots of things we probably don’t consider that proportionally provide an equal amount of good. That’s what I took into consideration in rewriting this cliché.