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Idioms: Bite the bullet
Meaning: To bite the bullet is to make yourself do something or accept something difficult or unpleasant.
Example: I hate going to the dentist, but I suppose I’ll just have to bite the bullet.
- to accept something difficult and try to live with it. – You are just going to have to bite the bullet and make the best of it. Jim bit the bullet and accepted what he knew had to be.
- to make yourself do something or accept something difficult or unpleasant – They decided to bite the bullet and pay the extra for the house they really wanted. Car drivers are biting the bullet after another rise in petrol prices.
- to do or accept something difficult or unpleasant – We’ve all experienced unpleasant moments when we had to bite the bullet and apologize for something we did.
Did you know?
It is thought that this phrase originated from the practice, during war, of having a patient bite on a bullet to help them cope with the pain of surgery, if anesthetics were not available.
Idioms: Break the ice
Meaning – To say or do something that helps people relax and begin talking at a meeting, party, or in a first lesson!
Example – It was an awkward first lesson until the teacher broke the ice by introducing all the students.
- Fig. to attempt to become friends with someone – He tried to break the ice, but she was a little cold. A nice smile does a lot to break the ice.
to make people who have not met before feel more relaxed with each other – We played a couple of party games to break the ice.
- to start a conversation with someone you have not met before – I never know how to break the ice with someone I’ve just met at a party.
Did you know?
The phrase originated from old ships known as ice-breakers which were used to break through ice to move to new areas. It was later applied socially to get strangers acquainted with one another.
How do you break the ice with someone you’ve just met? Leave a comment.
British phrases most Americans don’t understand
Everyone knows that for the Brits an elevator is a “lift,” an apartment is a “flat,” and those chips you’re snacking on are actually called “crisps.” But British people also say some other really weird, confusing things.
To celebrate the launch of its UK website, Business Insider compiled 12 British phrases that will leave Americans utterly flummoxed.
- “They lost the plot.”
When someone has “lost the plot,” it means they have lost their cool. The phrase is particularly common in English football, where it is generally used when a player or coach gets in a fight or performs poorly during the game.
- “I haven’t seen that in donkey’s years.”
“Donkey’s years” translates to “a really long time,” mainly because “donkey’s ears” kind of sounded like “donkey’s years” and became a rhyming slang term.
The phrase was underscored by the belief that donkeys live a long time (which can be true) and have very long ears (definitely true).
- “Quit your whinging!”
When someone is “whinging,” it means they’re whining or crying. The next time your coworker is complaining about something, feel free to call him a whinger.
- “He’s such a chav.”
This is a pejorative epithet in Britain that’s used to describe a specific kind of stereotype: a working-class person who is loud or brash and wears (usually fake) designer clothes — especially the classic Burberry check.
It is essentially the British version of “white trash” and should be used sparingly.
- “You’ve thrown a spanner in the works.”
When you put or throw a spanner in the works, it means you’ve ruined a plan. A spanner is the word for a wrench in England, so it’s the British equivalent of “throwing a wrench in the plan.”
- “Let’s have a chinwag.”
Though fairly self-explanatory, having a “chinwag” (sometimes “chin-wag“) means that you’re having a chat with someone, usually associated with gossip. Just imagine a chin wagging up and down, and you’ll get the idea.
- “I’m chuffed to bits.”
If you’re “chuffed to bits” you’re really happy or thrilled about something. It’s also acceptable to say “chuffed” all on its own: “I’ve just scored free tickets to the Beyoncé concert, and I’m well chuffed!”
- “That’s manky.”
Something that is manky is unpleasantly dirty or disgusting. Its slang usage dates to the 1950s and was probably a combination of “mank” (meaning mutilated or maimed), the Old French word “manqué” (to fail), and the Latin “mancus” (maimed).
You can also feel “manky” if you’re under the weather.
- “My cat? She’s a moggy.”
10. “This was an absolute doddle to do.”
A “doddle” is a task or activity that is extremely easy. Though the origin is unknown, it dates to the 1930s and is still common.
11. “You’re taking the piss.”
When you take the piss with someone, you’re being unreasonable or taking liberties. For example, if a cashier overcharges you on something, he is taking the piss. It can also be a stand-in phrase for when you’re mocking or teasing someone, though this is more commonly said as “taking the piss out of” someone or something. For example: “They’re always taking the piss out of John because he likes Taylor Swift.”
12. “I’ve dropped a clanger.”
When someone makes an embarrassing gaffe that upsets someone else, that person has “dropped a clanger.”
For example, if you offer your seat to a pregnant woman on the subway and she tells you she’s not actually pregnant, you may have dropped a clanger.
Know of other great British idioms that we missed? Add them in the comments!
Extreme sports are about exhilaration, skill and danger. They do not normally involve teams and there are very few rules. People who take part use their skills and experience to control the risks. That control is what makes them sports and not just dangerous behaviour.
Here are just some of the extreme sports which are popular in Britain:
Kitesurfing: a growing band of enthusiasts have been discovering the thrilling combination of kite, board and waves. These kites can be up to 17 metres long. Catch a gust and you’re motoring – up, down and across the surf. British Ladies kitesurfing champion Jo Wilson says: “It’s always an adrenalin rush. It’s unpredictable. You could jump 5ft or 35ft. You never know if you’re going to go up in the air, and your heart is just going boom, boom, boom all the time.”
Coasteering: this is exploring the coastline without worrying about a coastal path or finding a rocky cliffy cove blocking your route. You climb, dive, swim and clamber from A to B. There are about 15 operators in the UK offering coasteering.
Sky diving: traditional parachuting just doesn’t sound risky enough, does it? So now skydiving is the name for jumping from a plane and listening to your heart pounding as you hurtle towards earth before you open your parachute at the last moment. Once you’ve got a few jumps under your parachute you can throw in some extra risks, for example try a ‘hook turn’. Dean Dunbar is a participant of extremedreams.com and his first sky dive was in 1998. Since then he’s been hooked on the buzz of the extreme, saying: “Every so often I have to go out and do something scary.”
Mountain biking: it’s been around so long that bikers are no longer satisfied with just going up and down a mountain. Nowadays thrill seeking mountain bikers want a big slope to go down very, very fast. “It’s pure mad, downhill,” according to Dean Dunbar. “People go to old ski resorts, take the chair lift to the top then bomb down – amazingly not killing themselves.”
get their kicks
get a strong feeling of excitement or pleasure
a paper- or cloth-covered frame flown in the air at the end of a long string using the power of the wind
the foam formed by waves on the sea when they come in towards a shore
an adrenalin rush
a strong feeling of excitement mixed with fear
the shape of the land on the edge of the sea
a small sheltered opening in the coastline, a bay
climb with difficulty, using both the feet and hands
move very fast
a fast turn close to the ground used to land at high speed
hooked on the buzz of the extreme
addicted to the excitement of doing extreme sports
looking for excitement
go down with great speed