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Flashcards in Phrases3 Deck (14):

Pot luck
We didn't know which restaurant to eat at, so took pot luck and chose the one recommended in the guide book.

If you can't decide which book to pick, take pot luck, I'm sure they'll all be good to read.

I'm going to take pot luck, and I'm sure the course I choose will be the right one for me.

anything that is available or is found by chance, rather than something chosen, planned, or prepared.

take pot luck


It beats me
It beats me how Stephanie ever got that promotion.

A: Can you believe that Dave and Andrea are still married! He's always bossing her around.
B: It beats me why she stays with him.

It beats me how Jen can afford a new sports car when she only works part-time.

So that is 'it beats me' – a phrase used for saying that you do not know or understand something.

it beats me what's going on in the office – I haven't got a clue.
it beats me how/what/why...



The company is being investigated after some shareholders accused it of jiggery-pokery.

I was surprised that the businessman got away with so much jiggery-pokery before he was finally caught and sent to prison.

That's 'jiggery-pokery', which describes dishonest or secret behaviour – but it is definitely not a Chinese phrase, Neil!

OK, I know. Now before I forget, don't you owe me ten pounds?

No! I bought you lunch remember. Honestly, jiggery-pokery in action!

Jiggery-pokery refers to dishonest behaviour that is intended to trick people.


Left, right and centre

I'm not surprised the cafe closed. It's been losing customers left and right over the past couple of years.

You can't miss that new film; they've been promoting it left, right, and centre.

That's left, right, and centre – a phrase to mean everywhere or all the time. 

It must have cost him a fortune
The bonuses aren't that big. It's the bank – they're happy to give out loans left, right, and centre


Donkey's years

I'm so bored; I've been doing this job for donkey's years!

I haven't driven a car for donkey's years; I hope I can remember what to do.

We've got to go to Lily's party; I haven't seen her for donkey's years so it'll be great to catch up.

I haven't done sth for donkey's years
That's 'donkey's years' – when we haven't done something for donkey's years, we haven't done it for a very long time. So Rob, I could say we haven't been to the cinema for donkey's years?


Give us a bell

When you get there, give us a bell and tell us what it's like.

Just give us a bell and I'll tell you how to get here.

After our blind date, he told me to give him a bell but every time I call it his phone diverts to voicemail.

That's give me – or give us – a bell, meaning phone me! But Rob, you said give US a call – are you going to be with someone else?

No. In informal English we tend to say 'us' even when there's just one of us – just me. But of course 'us' can mean more than one person.


Echo chamber

Social media's a dangerous echo chamber – you never get a variety of opinion because all your friends think the same way.

A: How on earth did SHE win The Z Factor? Literally no one liked her on my social media feed.

B: Yeah well you should try moving away from your echo chamber and listening to people who don't agree with you!

Echo chamber. A situation in which people only hear their own opinions repeated back to them. 

It's often used as a criticism of social media. Because people choose their friends and follow things they already like, their opinions don't get challenged. So you only hear things you agree with with with with with with...



A so-called friend of mine deleted a comment I made on his social media page just because I didn't agree with him. What a snowflake.

There are so many places you can express yourself these days but at the same time everyone gets offended so easily. You can see why it's called 'generation snowflake'.

 I mean you melt easily. You can call someone who gets offended or upset too easily a 'snowflake'. 
Generation snowflake. This expression refers to young adults who are too sensitive to handle criticism of their opinions.


The heat is on
The deadline's tomorrow and we haven't even started! The heat's really on now.

The heat is on for United. If they don't win their last 5 matches they'll lose their place in the Premier League

the heat is on' is an expression you can use to describe a high-pressure situation.


Wet weekend

That was a wet weekend, my friends were coming to stay but cancelled at the last minute. 

My cousin's a bit of a wet weekend, he's got no personality and nothing to say. 

I had to do my accounts yesterday – it was like a wet weekend in a paint factory! 

So a wet weekend describes a boring or disappointing experience or person. Well I'm glad to say that you're not a wet weekend Rob – I like your sense of adventure, so when are you going to go camping again? 


No picnic

Having no job and trying to pay the bills is no picnic.

It's no picnic going on a camping holiday with the kids – they moan all the time!

Living on the fifth floor without a lift is no picnic; I have to carry everything up the stairs.

So when you say something is 'no picnic' you mean it's a difficult or unpleasant situation. Well Rob, it may have been difficult to prepare but it was worth the effort – the food is delicious.


A busman's holiday

The taxi driver said he was going on a driving holiday around Europe – it sounds like a busman's holiday to me!

My mini-break turned into a bit of a busman's holiday when I had to use my plumbing skills to fix a leak in the hotel.

I decided to take a break from playing in the band and go on holiday but it turned into a busman's holiday when I ended up busking to raise enough money for my plane ticket home.

 busman's holiday is a holiday where you do the same thing you do at work instead of just having a rest.


Every cloud has a silver lining

Meaning: Every cloud has a silver lining means that you should never feel hopeless because difficult times always lead to better days. Difficult times are like dark clouds that pass overhead and block the sun.2


Nature versus narture

Gense vursus environment