Posted by Smokey Stover on June 24, 2004
In Reply to: "Back-of-the-envelope" posted by Brian from Shawnee on June 23, 2004
: : : : : Could you pls tell me the meanings of the foll. phrases:
: : : : : Raise your skirts, heads in over, get some notches back at, self-flagellation, kicker, forever hold your peace, back-of-the envelope, cutting it close, got in over our heads, full of himself, get ahead of oneself, ran with it, top of your game, come in from the left field.
: : : : : Thanks much,
: : : : : Vidhya.
: : : : Raise your skirts -
: : : : Heads in over --
: : : : Get some notches back at - Don't know. Notches are a way of keeping count. Like an Old West gunslinger putting a notch in his gun every time he shoots somebody.
: : : : Self-flagellation -- extreme criticism of oneself. Flagellate meaning: 1 : WHIP, SCOURGE 2 : to drive or punish as if by whipping. (From Merriam-Webster online)
: : : : Kicker - There are several meanings. (Search under "kicker" in the archives.) One is: "A tricky or concealed condition; a pitfall: 'The kicker is that the relationship of guide and seeker gets all mixed up with a confusing male-female attachment' (Gail Sheehy)"
: : : : Got in over our heads -- is an expression which indicates someone is in a situation beyond his or her capability to handle. It suggests a person who can't swim gets into deep water over his/her head.
: : : : Forever hold your peace - Part of a marriage ceremony. "Into this holy estate these two people come now to be joined together. If any of you can show just cause why they may not be lawfully married, speak now or forever hold your peace!"
: : : : http://www.usabride.com/vows_passages/introductions.html People may say the line in a joking manner. "Do you want another sandwich? Speak now or forever hold your peace!"
: : : : Back of the envelope -
: : : : Cutting it close - Doing something at the very last minute. Nearly running out of time.
: : : : Full of himself - Someone who is boastful or bragging. Or it could also mean someone who is high-spirited.
: : : : Get ahead of yourself - Doing things too fast, maybe not in a logical order. Example: a teenager thinking about what kind of car he wants to drive before he has a driver's license or money to pay for a car.
: : : : Ran with it -
: : : : Top of your game - In your prime. A time when you are at your best.
: : : : Come in from the left field:
: : : : WAY OUT IN LEFT FIELD - Out of touch, eccentric, odd; also, misguided. This term alludes to the left field of baseball, and there is some disagreement concerning its origin. Some writers suggest it comes from the remoteness of left field, but only in very asymmetrical ballparks is left field more distant than right field. Others suggest it alludes to the 'wrongness' of left as opposed to the 'rightness' of right. A correspondent of William Safire's in the "New York Times" said it was an insulting remark made to those who bought left-field seats in New York's Yankee Stadium during the years that Babe Ruth played right field, putting them far away from this outstanding player. Perhaps the most likely theory is that it alludes to inmates of the Neuropsychiatric Institute, a mental hospital, which was located behind left field in Chicago's old West Side Park. Hence being told you are 'out in left field' would mean you were accused of being as peculiar as a mental patient. In any event, the term has been used figuratively for various kinds of eccentricity and misguidedness since the first half of the 20th century. John Ciardi also cited a synonym, 'out in left pickle,' maintaining that 'pickle' was baseball slang for the outfield. Perhaps it once was, but it is no longer current." "Southpaws & Sunday Punches and other Sporting Expressions" by Christin e Ammer (Penguin Books, New York, 1993).
: : : : Anyone want to fill in the blanks?
: : : Sure!
: : : raise your skirts--This at one time was an expression urging women to free themselves from the conventions and mores of the early 20th century.
: : :
: : : Thoroughly Modern Millie
: : : (as sung by Sutton Foster et al in the recent Broadway production)
: : : There are those
: : : There are those
: : : I suppose I suppose
: : : Think we're mad
: : : Think we're mad
: : : Heaven knows
: : : Heaven knows
: : : The world has gone
: : : To rack and to ruin
: : : What we think is chic, unique and quite adorable
: : : They think is odd and sodom and gomorrah-able
: : : But the fact is
: : : Everything today is thoroughly modern
: : : Check your personality
: : : Everything today makes yesterday slow
: : : Better face reality.
: : : It's not insanity
: : : Says Vanity Fair
: : : In fact, it's stylish
: : : To raise your skirts and Bob your hair.
: : : raise your skirts and Bob your hair.
: : This refers to estimates based on rough approximations.
: : You are having lunch and you get an idea so you rummage through your purse or wallet and find an odd piece of paper--the back of an old envelope or a napkin--and start scribbling away before you forget your idea.
: : Some people claim it originated with Fermi, the idea being that the physicist could make a rough estimate of highly complicated solutions to equations using the space on the back of an envelope as his workspace.
: Fermi? What about Lincoln? (Lincoln was said to have written the Gettysburg Address, a famous speech from 1864, on the back of an envelope)
: Anyway, "Ran with it" or "Run with it" means to take an idea or suggestion and embellish or improve on it, usually with enjoyment or fervor.
I can't improve on any of the answers above, but I'd like to expand on a few. "Raise your skirts" in the song means raise the hem, make the skirt shorter. (Of course, one may also raise one's skirt in the fashion of the can-can.) Bob your hair, cut it and thus make it shorter. Sometimes ladies who bobbed their hair also shaved their necks. Hold your peace means to remain silent. Self-flagellation comes to us from the 13th and 14th centuries, when bands of penitents would roam the countryside (and sometimes the streets) whipping themselves (flagellum = whip) by lashing their backs over their shoulders. Some such bands evolved into influential sodalities, which sometimes lived on even into the 17th century. Cutting it close can refer to other risky dares than the one involving time. If I can gain an advantage in, say, a race by almost hitting the rail or some other dangerous barrier, but do not actually hit it, I can be said to be cutting it close. If I DO hit it, and plunge into disaster, then I have tried to cut it TOO close. And what have YOU been reading, Vidhya? SS