Idioms title

The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

"family" idioms...

See also, the Phrase Thesaurus list of phrases that contain the word family

and, a list of phrases that relate in some way the word family

" A house divided against itself cannot stand "
Meaning:
Failure is certain if those on the same side argue amongst themselves.
Example:
The Tory party can't stop arguing over Europe. Don't they know that a house divided cannot stand.
Where did it originate?:
Biblical.
Where is it used?:
Widespread but uncommon. Rather formal for everyday speech.
More idioms about:   biblical   proverbial   adage  
" Alpha Mom "
Meaning:
An ambitious mother who aims to excel at work while raising children.
Example:
She has two kids and is desperate to get the top job to save to get them into private school - a real alpha mom.
Where did it originate?:
USA. A late 20th century adaptation of 'alpha male', which emerged in the 1930s.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but more in the USA than elsewhere.
" Baby brain "
Meaning:
Confusion or forgetfulness caused by lack of sleep when caring for a new-born.
Example:
I put baby Julie's bottle of milk away in the oven today - must be baby brain.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   stupidity  
" Baby bump "
Meaning:
The protruding belly of a pregnant woman. Also used to describe the unborn child itself.
Example:
Joan doesn't really want to make it public that she was pregnant but pretty soon her baby bump is going to make it obvious.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 1980s
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   children  
" Blood blister "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for sister.
Example:
There were five of us at home - three brothers and two blood blisters.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Blood is thicker than water "
Meaning:
Family loyalties are stronger than those to other people.
Example:
It was just me and his son in the job interview. I had no chance, blood is thicker than water you know.
Where did it originate?:
Britain. Probably coined by Sir Walter Scott, 1815.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   nature   aphorism  
" Breast is best "
Meaning:
Slogan of breastfeeding campaign.
Example:
I bottle-fed all my kids. I know they say breast is best but they all lived to tell the tale.
More idioms about:   the_human_body   adage  
" Bricks and mortar "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for daughter.
Example:
The girls got into trouble but her mother and I still love them - they are our bricks and mortars after all.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Evil twin "
Meaning:
An imaginary double, humorously referred to in order to explain the uncharacteristic bad behaviour of a normally moral person. Usually used light-heartedly. The expression formed as an allusion to plots in films involving actual evil twins.
Example:
Jane's such a good girl and I took it as read that she would come to the wedding dressed appropriately, but she's turned up in full goth makeup. At first I thought it must have been her evil twin.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 2004.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but mostly amongst the young and hip.
More idioms about:   slang  
" Flesh and blood "
Meaning:
1 - One's family. 2 - the bodily stuff we are made of.
Example:
1 - We aren't putting Dad into a home. He is our flesh and blood after all. 2 - It's so hot in here - almost more than flesh and blood can stand.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 10th century, from a biblical source.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   biblical   the_human_body  
" Mums the word "
Meaning:
Keep quiet. Say nothing.
Example:
I'm telling you this in confidence - remember, mums the word.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century.
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   language  
" My old Dutch "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for duchess.
Example:
This year will be our silver wedding, the old dutch and me.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   country   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" New arrival "
Meaning:
Colloquial term for a new-born baby.
Example:
Jill's gone into labour. When it comes the new arrival will be her third child.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
" Quality time "
Meaning:
Time spent with a child, spouse or friend in an uninterrupted and attentive way.
Example:
I've been working 12 hours a day this week and haven't been home once for the toddler's bedtime. This weekend I'm going to give them some quality time and take them to the zoo
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
More idioms about:   happiness  
" Son of a gun "
Meaning:
A rogue.
Example:
He was always up to mischief at school - the real class son of a gun.
Where did it originate?:
Coined in the 1800s, in either the USA or Britain - no one is sure about the origin.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but rather old-fashioned.
" Spitting image "
Meaning:
The exact likeness.
Example:
I could have picked them out as father and son in a football crowd. They were the spitting image of each other.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - date uncertain.
Where is it used?:
" Tie the knot "
Meaning:
Get married.
Example:
Jane's been pressing Jim to get married for years. They're finally tying the knot this weekend.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century, alluding to a marriage custom that goes back to at least the 13th century.
Where is it used?:
" Trouble and strife "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for wife.
Example:
Twenty years we've been married now, the trouble and strife and myself.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   conflict  
" Uncle Dick "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for sick.
Example:
Sorry, I won't be into work today. I'll feeling Uncle Dick.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
More idioms about:   medical   cockney_rhyming_slang   name  
" Uncle Tom "
Meaning:
A derogatory term for a black man who is servile towards white men.
Example:
Randy never stands up for us blacks. In the old days we'd have called him an Uncle Tom - these days people call him a coconut (that is, brown on the outside but white on the inside).
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1920s. Derived from the name of the hero in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but most common in the USA.
More idioms about:   name  
" Unlucky in love "
Meaning:
Having been unable to find a long-term romantic partner.
Example:
Jane's so unlucky in love. That's the third time she's been engaged only to have it broken off.
More idioms about:   misfortune   emotion  

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