Tips from Real Life 101

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Cliché Day 1

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Ever wonder if you are using clichés correctly in your everyday speaking? Do you find yourself struggling to finish the phrase?   Real Life 101 is here to help!  Today is our first “Cliché Day”:  your chance to review some great and well-known phrases and find yourself at the head of the class.


Out in left field


Out of contact with reality, also completely flawed.


This refers to baseball’s left field, but the original reason why remains to be a mystery.


The teacher asked Kelly what the meaning of the poem was, but her interpretation was  out in left field.



Sitting on the fence


To be undecided or uncommitted. 


This term dates from the early nineteenth century and initially it was most frequently applied to politics, particularly with regard to which party one would support.    


This is one of my favorite restaurants, but I always find myself sitting on the fence with what to order.



Mind one’s p’s and q’s


Be very particular about one’s words and/or behavior.


The original meaning is not known, but theories range from “pints and quarts” of a of a bartender’s offering, to French dancing figures pieds and queues, to children confusing the letters in the alphabet.


When I am around Mrs.  Jameson, I always feel I have to mind my p’s and q’s.  She is very easily offended.

Fish or cut bait


Proceed to do what you are doing, or stop and give someone else a chance.  Stop procrastinating.


This refers to fishermen who tie up the boat or fishing rod rather than preparing the rod for someone else to use.  It originated in 19th Century politics. 


George, you have been dating Sally for ten years now.  It’s time to fish or cut bait.


Crazy like a fox


Seemingly silly but actually very crafty.


Crazy Like a Fox is the title of a book by S. J. Perelman in 1944, and following the release of the book, the term became widely used as a cliché.


While his unorthodox strategy made him seem ridiculous to his opponents, when he won the game, they realized he was crazy like a fox.

This week, mind your p’s and q’s, but try not to be too far out in left field.  Don’t worry if you are crazy like a fox, but if you sitting on the fence, it might be time to fish or cut bait. 

Source:   The Facts on File Dictionary of Clichés, Second Edition, by Christine Ammer


Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

August 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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