On the Q.T.

Also spelled on the q.t., or on the QT. Meaning of  Idiom ‘On the Q.T.’ ‘On the Q.T. means quietly, discreetly or without anyone knowing. This slang idiom usually refers to an action being undertaken. Examples Of Use “I’m planning a surprise party for Mary. Keep it on the q.t.” “They replaced the lead actor on the q.t.” Origin Q.T. … Read more

On the Horns of a Dilemma

Meaning of Idiom ‘On the Horns of a Dilemma’ To be on the horns of a dilemma means having to choose between two equally undesirable options, courses of action, etc. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995. Examples Of Use “The businessman found himself on … Read more

On the Ball, to be

Also: Have a lot on the ball Have something on the ball Get on the ball Meaning of Idiom ‘To Be On the Ball’ To be on the ball means to be highly competent, capable, skillful, proficient, etc.; to be highly aware of what is going on and be quick to understand and react appropriately to things. 1Ammer, … Read more

On Borrowed Time

Also: Living on borrowed time Meaning of Idiom ‘On Borrowed Time’ To be (living) on borrowed time means to have continued living after the point where you might reasonably be expected to have died and to therefore not have long to live; to outlive expectations; to continue to exist or function longer than expected. 1McIntosh, Colin. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. … Read more

On Bended Knee

Meaning of Idiom ‘On Bended Knee’ On bended knee means humbly, or in a completely submissive or pleading manner; like a servant. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,3Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Usage The actual idiom is on bended … Read more

On a Shoestring

Also: On a Shoestring Budget Meaning On a shoestring: With a very small amount of money or resources; a very small budget. Usage The idiom can be used alone as in “we were on a shoestring.” However, the word budget is often added as in “we were on a shoestring budget.” As well, phrases such as “getting … Read more

Keep Your Pants On

Also: Keep your shirt on Meaning of Idiom ‘Keep Your (or one’s) Pants On’ When someone is told to keep their pants on, it means they should be patient and wait calmly. 1Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. Usage ‘Keep your pants on’ is usually said to a person who is being … Read more

Hang On (or hang on to)

Also: Hang on to your hat Meaning of Idiom Hang On or Hang on to Hang on, when used alone can mean to persevere. When used this way it is similar to “hang in there.” Hang on can also mean to keep something. When used with this meaning, the object being kept is named, necessitating the … Read more

Get Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed, to

To get up on the wrong side of the bed is a very old saying, but it wasn’t always used figuratively. It’s been around since at least Roman times. 1Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: & C Black, 2009. Meaning of Idiom ‘Get Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed’ To get up on … Read more

Fall Off the Wagon

Also: On the wagon Off the wagon Go off the wagon Meaning of Idiom ‘Fall off the Wagon’ To be on the wagon means to be abstaining from alcohol or drugs, especially when one has an alcohol abuse problem. To fall off the wagon is to resume drinking after some period of time of abstaining. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of … Read more