More Idioms Inspired By Geography

Mole with a magnifying glass on molehill182218664While we concentrated our efforts on the more positive expressions Mother Nature has inspired in our last installment, in this one we will turn our attention to a few of the negative ones. Here are a few examples of our favorites:

To Go Downhill
Although you might enjoy walking downhill – especially when you consider the opposite as the alternative! – when things go downhill they are generally deteriorating or otherwise worsening. English skills, for example, tend to go downhill without practice!

To Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill
The key to this idiom is to know what a molehill is – with that piece of information in mind this expression is actually pretty straightforward. That is because a molehill, the small pile of dirt created by mole while it digs, is rarely no larger than a watermelon (and nowhere near as large as a mountain). To make a mountain out of a molehill, then, is simply to blow things out of proportion or otherwise exaggerate your problems.

Once in a Blue Moon
Like the molehill, above, the meaning of this idiom revolves around the meaning of a piece of unusual vocabulary. The blue moon in question is the name given in English to phenomenon of having two full moons in a single calendar month – a rare occurrence that matches the meaning of the larger expression perfectly.

Over the Hill
The hill is a metaphor for life itself, with the top of the hill middle age and birth and death on either side. To be over the hill, then, is to have passed through both youth as well as middle age and headed towards the other end of life’s path.

Up the Creek
This idiom often appears in the three word form as above but also has a six word version that better explains its meaning: up the creek without a paddle. With that detail added – and the knowledge that a creek is a body of water – it should be pretty clear why this expression means “to be in trouble”.

Want more idioms inspired by geography? Check out other blog posts with an array of common idioms that will make you laugh!


Every Dog Has Its Day: Positive Animal Idioms

Albino mouse pose 188081254So far in our Idiom blog series we have discussed how all manner of things – from numbers and food to colors and even body parts – have left their impression, idiomatically, on the English language. It seems almost overdue, then, that animals finally take center stage. After all, there are almost as many idioms from animals in our language as there are on our planet! Indeed, with so many distinct creatures lending their names to so many idioms, we are going to concentrate, for now, only on those expressions with positive connotations. Here are a few of our favorites:

As Quiet As A Mouse
As mice are not known for their “big mouths,” it makes sense that when people are as quiet as a mouse they, too, are pretty subdued. What makes this expression a little more complicated is the fact that it is used to describe people who are not only move silently (like, say, ninjas) but also people who are reluctant to speak (that is, shy or timid) or just plain well-behaved. Continue reading “Every Dog Has Its Day: Positive Animal Idioms”