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14

From the book Anesthesia in Cosmetic Surgery, edited by Barry Friedberg (Publisher: Cambridge University Press): Prior to the late 1800s, one could get drunk or literally bite the bullet, neither of which had any effect on pain. An interesting article appeared about a .50 caliber bullet found at the site of the Battle of Ox Hill. The 21st Massachusetts ...


12

From etymonline.com: To bite the bullet is said to be 1700s military slang, from old medical custom of having the patient bite a lead bullet during an operation to divert attention from pain and reduce screaming. Figurative use from 1891; the custom itself attested from 1840s.


11

In certain contexts, a poisoned chalice works. An assignment, award, or honour which is likely to prove a disadvantage or source of problems to the recipient: "many thought the new minister had been handed a poisoned chalice" (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/poisoned-chalice) When something is a curse in disguise (in the disguise ...


8

Biting down or clenching the teeth is a common involuntary reaction to pain. Modern day mouth guards are designed around the same principles. The lead bullet would prevent the patient from: Breaking his own teeth during constriction of the jaw muscles Damaging the jaw muscles from cramping or spasming Biting off his own tongue if it got between the teeth ...


8

There's another reasonably common usage which relates as much to the audience as the work itself. A work which is "too on the nose" is one which gives an accurate view of the world that people won't like hearing, reading or talking about, and so will be unpopular. An author who was beheaded for writing a political play which criticized the King of ...


7

A 'curse in disguise' is the literal opposite, and isn't unheard-of. As in: King Midas' gift of turning everything he touched to gold was a curse in disguise. The phrase be careful what you wish for also comes to mind (Usingenglish.com) If you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences. ('Be careful what you ...


6

The example of the OP seems to be the "opposite" of a blessing in disguise in the sense that a setback had disastrous as opposed to beneficial consequences. We might call such a setback a disaster in the making: in the process of happening It became clear that this was a disaster in the making and we had no way of coping with it. Cambridge ...


6

Assume "on the nose" means perfect - a positive connotation, as you've stated. Too "on the nose" means too perfect. Which, as you've noted, connotes a negative. Take a subjective matter such as painting. If you're going for freedom, expression of movement, light, etc., rendering something in too much detail can ruin the effect, in essence, the rendering is ...


5

In the acting/script/play/film world, "too on the nose" is a pretty common phrase which means lacking in sub-text, too obvious, having neither subtlety nor sophistication. In life, people can't usually say what they mean for one reason or another; when they do in film or theater it comes across as unrealistic.


3

An example might help. Here is a scene from the popular comedy Family Guy where Brian, the family dog, fears he is longer wanted as a pet. He with talking to his owner Peter, as Stewie (Peter's infant son and Brian's best friend) comments acerbically: PETER Hey, Brian, I thought maybe we could spend an afternoon together? BRIAN ...


3

Commonly, this is said to be "treating the symptoms and not the cause", though I cannot find any good sources to cite on this one.


3

Not exactly surprised and amused, but there is a word for puzzled and amused: bemused (M-W) bemuse: to cause (someone) to be confused and often also somewhat amused Does that work for you? If the habit is bad or sad, you could be shocked I suspected Dexter killed people, but I was shocked/appalled/horrified/scandalized when I actually saw it. ...


3

Not a direct replacement, but something you might say to your Dad when he comes in: "Were your ears burning?" See Origin of burning ears if you are not familiar with the expression.


2

It's verb definition #3 of mill in ODO: [NO OBJECT] (mill about/around) (Of people or animals) move around in a confused mass Usually it's used with about or around, but this writer chose to leave this out, perhaps because it sounds clunky when used after a gerund. aimless is used with its usual meaning, not having a purpose.


2

I would suggest that an unfortunate turn of events accurately conveys what you're trying express to here. In an unfortunate turn of events, the car service that Dr John Nash had hired did not turn up. He hired a taxi cab which was involved in a crash, and both Dr Nash and his wife were killed.


2

I believe you're thinking of the word "peccadillo". From Google: pec·ca·dil·lo ˌpekəˈdilō noun a small, relatively unimportant offense or sin. Synonyms: misdemeanor, petty offense, indiscretion, lapse, misdeed I'm sure we can overlook a few peccadilloes.


1

Although one can legitimately rationalize the OP expression, the disparity between on the nose and too creates significant semantic confusion. Examples of how on the nose would normally be applied: Not too high; not too low; just the right height--on the nose. Not too far left; not too far right; in just the right location--on the nose. Not too ...


1

so what I would say this is the canonical phrase. Also: And...? (the ellipses indicating a pause before the question mark)


1

You could says that it's a Trojan Horse - TFD definition In my language there is even a better phrase, but I found out it doesn't directly translate into English / isn't well known. It's something like "fear the Danaans, even if bearing gifts!" More info here on wiki: Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes


1

As Tushar Raj's answer notes, one traditional way to describe a bad result that at first looks like a blessing is in connection with the warning "Be careful what you wish for" (sometimes completed with the phrase "because it might come true"). A familiar instance of this warning is in the cautionary fable from Aesop of "The Frogs Who Wished for a King." The ...


1

The example given is not the opposite of a blessing in disguise, it's going from bad to worse. So you could say, in Nash's case, that "Murphy's law" applies: Anything that can possibly go wrong, will or you could say that he jumped out of the frying pan into the fire


1

Probably a Trojan horse may convey the idea of something apparently good or positive but that in reality is dangerous: (Classical Mythology. a gigantic hollow wooden horse, left by the Greeks upon their pretended abandonment of the siege of Troy. The Trojans took it into Troy and Greek soldiers concealed in the horse opened the gates to the Greek army at ...


1

Possibly "the devil's in the details" or "there's no such thing as a free lunch" — though you'd need a more realistic example to see if they'd be appropriate in your case. Both convey the idea of a thing that's good at first sight but may come with a catch (though the second doesn't necessarily mean it was bad on the whole). "Every silver lining has its ...


1

I believe the difference is in the implication. The way I see it. Putting in one's papers implies that person is leaving their job but they are going to finish up the last of their duties and get things in order properly before they leave for good. Putting down one's papers implies that they are leaving the job, possibly disgruntled, and getting out of ...


1

Two others expressions come to mind: 1) rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and 2) polishing a turd both convey the sense of naively doing ineffectual work which ultimately doesn't fix a looming problem. The first one is more polite, of course.



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