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56

A good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. The original phrase, attributed to New York judge Sol Wachtler, from 1985, went something like this: “[If a district attorney wanted, a grand jury would] indict a ham sandwich.” It was immortalized in the Tom Wolfe novel "Bonfire of the Vanities" (1987). The phrase succinctly summarizes the state of legal ...


44

We do have an expression, "in one ear and out the other" His boss's admonition went in one ear and out the other and he was fired. One could also say, "His boss's admonition fell on deaf ears.


27

How about "Any excuse will serve a tyrant" Added at the end of (one of the variants of) "The Wolf and the Lamb", as the moral of the story. Written by Aesop (620-550 BCE) this is a well-known fable where a victim (the lamb) is falsely accused and killed (by the wolf) despite a reasonable defence. from Wikipedia Down the centuries the various ...


23

The one that springs to mind immediately is: If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.1 It is translated from French, allegedly by Cardinal Richelieu, and I have seen it used in English to indicate how easy it is for authorities to secure a conviction on vague charges.


19

Guilty until proven innocent is a newish twist on an old adage. It's the title of a 2010 film, it appears quite commonly on the internet (almost half a million Google hits), and Boris Johnson has called for a switch in the terrorist laws to a position that the Guardian labels using this expression [Guardian].


19

Silver-tongued A tendency to be eloquent and persuasive in speaking. - Google


15

If you want something very unusual and yet historically resonant, you might try chrysostomic (that is, "golden-mouthed"). Here's the OED definition of that word: Chrysostomic a. rare. {f. Gr χρυσοστομος golden-mouthed, an epithet applied to favourite orators which became a kind of surname of Dio and John Chrysostom.} Golden-mouthed. [Example:] 1816 ...


14

If you just look up the English translation here, you get utter indifference; talking to the wall; praying to deaf ears In the US, I don't hear "praying to deaf ears" as a common expression, though "fell on deaf ears", as mentioned in another answer is. The second phrase, or a slight variant---"talking to a wall"---is also very common in the US. For ...


12

Not exactly an idiom, but a reasonably common phrase: Everyone's guilty of something.


12

Not sure how common it is, but I've heard "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime" quite a few times.


9

Ciceronian : in the style of Cicero: characterized by melodious language, clarity, and forcefulness of presentation: Ciceronian invective. a Cicero: Roman statesman, orator, and philosopher. A major figure in the last years of the Republic, he is best known for his orations against Catiline and for his mastery of Latin prose. His ...


9

The one and only correct answer to this question is, quite obviously, slick whistle-stopper. I will now use my prodigious rhetorical skills to prove this point. Firstly, I did a Google search for that term, which produced the following: No results found for "slick whistle-stopper". And here is the Google Ngram: No valid ngrams to plot! Ngrams not ...


8

Continuing with the horse motif: You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink it. That is, you can lecture someone but, your words may not have accomplish the desired effect.


8

An excellent orator is a rhetorician. Since you are asking for an uncommon term, you might enjoy referring to them as a grandiloquent rhetorician.


6

melliloquent (literally honey-tongued) Speaking sweetly or harmoniously. Latin mel, mellis honey + loquens speaking, present participle of loqui to speak.


5

Rhetorical magician: rhetorical adjective 1 Relating to or concerned with the art of rhetoric: magician noun 1.0 A person with magical powers. 1.1 A conjuror. 1.2 informal A person with exceptional skill in a particular area. The art of rhetoric tends to be a black box to the masses, who experience the impact of great ...


5

doctiloquent A reference to someone who talks about a subject which he or she has studied and knows a great deal about omniloquent Being capable of talking about any and all subjects. suaviloquent [Latin. suaviloquens; suavis sweet + loquens, p. pr. of loqui to speak.] Sweetly speaking; using agreeable speech. ...


4

Historically, most Anglophones probably haven't lived under despotic regimes characterized by autocratic misuse of the legal process, so it may be a cultural thing that we have no direct equivalent to OP's Russian "saying". But in similar contexts we (and indeed, power-abusing authorities) are quite likely to come up with... trumped-up charges (trump ...


4

Raconteur One who tells stories and anecdotes with skill and wit. - The Free Dictionary


4

It's an idiom, with several different expressions: It took all I had... It took everything I had within me... I took all I had in me... Etc. It means one has to harness every bit of willpower one has in order to do (or not to do) something; one does it against their natural desire. I was so beaten down emotionally and it took all I had within me to ...


3

John was walking at grade and slipped on a patch of ice. When John slipped he did not fall to grade as he caught himself with his right hand [...] In construction, grade has several potential meanings: grade Definitions (8) The surface or level of the ground. A classification of quality as, for instance, in lumber. The existing or ...


3

It is a period of time during which it is possible to do something that is otherwise unattainable out of that time frame.


2

I have heard references to "The Artful Dodger" character from Oliver Twist used effectively in this context. i.e. "That boy can get out of anything, he's an Artful Dodger" other options could be slick, sly, wily, elusive, foxy, cunning, crafty, cagey, shrewd, subtle...


2

Good question! I can't think of a single word, but an old saying is: "He/She always comes out smelling like a rose."


2

I finally got a satisfactory answer from an episode of "A Way with Words". In short, this appears a case of locative prepositional deletion where "back" is still functioning as an adverb but the preposition (which could be, e.g., "in", "down", or "through") is omitted. Like the instance AWWW discussed, this appears to be a regional variant located in and ...


2

The answers to this question are very interesting... They all assume that the disappointed party is in a position to display genuine emotion. I have found that the normal response in this situation, if there are others present, is the (often pathetic) forced smile. (Think of the expressions of the losing nominees, when the Oscar winner is announced.)


2

adage truism saying mantra maxim kernel nugget old chestnut


2

First, a bit of terminology: to blame is an active infinitive to be blamed is a passive infinitive Luckily, this issue of "to blame" is known, and was treated by the greatest grammarian of the English language, Otto Jespersen (a Dane:-)) He says: Essentials of English Grammar By Otto Jespersen 32.2. A related use of the infinitive, which we are ...


2

You can consider the adjective Demosthenic, derived from the famous historical figure Demosthenes who is considered the greatest orator of antiquity. (and perhaps all time; even Cicero presents Demosthenes as the greatest orator of all time in De Optimo.) Of or relating to Demosthenes or his oratory; typical of or resembling Demosthenes or his speeches, ...


2

It's hard to believe no one's mentioned this term yet. You could also refer to such a person as you've described as a cunning linguist.



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