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*last modified on December 29, 2009*



“You can beat a dead horse, but you can’t make it drink.”

root expressions:

“To beat a dead horse.”
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”





“Let the sleeping dog out of the bag.”

root expressions:

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”
“Let the cat out of the bag.”





“Robbing Peter to pay the Piper.”

root expressions:

“Robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
“Pay the piper.”





“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.”

root expressions:

“Don’t burn your bridges.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”




“Don’t count all your eggs in one basket.”

root expressions:

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”





“It’s greener on the fence.”

root expressions:

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”
“Sitting on the fence.”





“Out of the woods and into the fire.”

root expressions:

“Not out of the woods yet.”
“Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”





“Let the heavens fall where they may.”

root expressions:

“Let the chips fall where they may.”
“Do justice though the heavens fall.”




“Out of the frying pan and into the soup.”

root expressions:

“Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”
“In the soup.”





“Rough it out.”

root expressions:

“Rough it.”
“Tough it out.”





“Throw your towel into the ring.”

root expressions:

“Throw in the towel.”
“Throw your hat into the ring.”





“Under the dumps.”

root expressions:

“Under the weather.”
“Down in the dumps.”




“Red goose chase.”

root expressions:

“Red Herring.”
“Wild goose chase.”





“We’re all in the same shoes.”

root expressions:

“We’re all in the same boat.”
“Put yourself in my shoes.”





“Don’t cry over cookie crumbles.”

root expressions:

“Don’t cry over spilt milk.”
“That's the way the cookie crumbles.”





“A stacked question.”

root expressions:

“A stacked deck.”
“A loaded question.”




“Beat an old saw.”

root expressions:

“Beat a dead horse.”
“An old saw.”





“Grist for thought.”

root expressions:

“Grist for the mill.”
“Food for thought.”





“What goes around must come down.”

root expressions:

“What goes around comes around.”
“What goes up must come down.”





“Trotting to the ends of the globe.”

root expressions:

“Globetrotter.”
“Traveling to the ends of the earth.”




“A wild haystack.”

root expressions:

“A wild goose chase.”
“A needle in a haystack.”





“A wild herring.”

root expressions:

“A wild goose chase.”
“A red herring.”





“Just under the bar.”

root expressions:

“Just under the wire.”
“Raise the bar.”





“Burning the elbow grease.”

root expressions:

“Burning the midnight oil.”
“Elbow grease.”




“Shoot yourself to spite your face.”

root expressions:

“Shoot yourself in the foot.”
“Cut off your nose to spite your face.”





“A circular slope.”
&
“Slippery logic.”


root expressions:

“Circular logic.”
“A slippery slope.”





“Racking my head against a wall.”

root expressions:

“Racking my brain.”
“Banging my head against a wall.”





“He’s blowing red.”

root expressions:

“He’s blowing his top.”
“He’s seeing red.”




“A jack for all seasons.”

root expressions:

“A jack of all trades.”
“A man for all seasons.”





“Keep me in the post.”

root expressions:

“Keep me in the loop.”
“Keep me posted.”





“Burn the oil at both ends.”

root expressions:

“Burn the midnight oil.”
“Burn the candle at both ends.”





“Blow off your wild oats.”
&
“Steam your wild oats.”


root expressions:

“Blow off some steam.”
“Sow your wild oats.”




“Jump the horse.”

root expressions:

“Jump the gun.”
“Put the cart before the horse.”





“Over the roof.”

root expressions:

“Over the top.”
“Through the roof.”





“Tongue in hat.”

root expressions:

“Tongue in cheek.”
“Talk through your hat.”





“You can't have your druthers and eat them too.”

root expressions:

“If I had my druthers.”
“You can't have your cake and eat it too.”




“Dirty laundry in your closet.”

root expressions:

“Air your dirty laundry.”
“Skeletons in your closet.”





“Get your feet dirty.”

root expressions:

“Get your feet wet.”
“Get your hands dirty.”





“Putting on the Joneses.”

root expressions:

“Putting on airs.”
“Keeping up with the Joneses.”





“Preaching to a dead horse.”

root expressions:

“Preaching to the choir.”
“Beating a dead horse.”




“Off the hook and into the fire.”

root expressions:

“Off the hook”
“Out of the frying pan, into the fire.”





“Hard and white rule”

root expressions:

“Hard and fast rule”
“Black and white issue”





“Hard and dry issue”

root expressions:

“Hard and fast rule”
“Cut and dry issue”





“Sow your oats at both ends.”

root expressions:

“Sow your wild oats.”
“Burn the candle at both ends.”




“The devil's in the pudding.”

root expressions:

“The devil's in the details.”
“The proof of the pudding.”





“An ace in a poke.”

root expressions:

“An ace in the hole.”
“A pig in a poke.”





“Dressed to the yards.”

root expressions:

“Dressed to the nines.”
“The whole nine yards.”

n.b. this expression is an example of the “absent pivot” type, with the word shared
by both original expressions (in this case “nine”) eliminated in the conflation.





“Throw me a limb.”

root expressions:

“Throw me a bone.”
“Out on a limb.”




“Don’t judge a sheep by its clothing.”

root expressions:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
“A wolf in sheep’s clothing.”





“Shining like a baby’s bottom.”

root expressions:

“Shining like a new dime.”
“Soft as a baby’s bottom.”





“A windshed moment.”

root expressions:

“A windfall.”
“A watershed moment.”





“I have too many eggs on my plate.”

root expressions:

“I have too much on my plate.”
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”




“You can put the cart before the horse, but you can’t make him drink.”

root expressions:

“Put the cart before the horse.”
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”





“Like a bull in a candy shop.”

root expressions:

“Like a bull in a china shop.”
“Like a kid in a candy shop.”





“Better safe than never.”

root expressions:

“Better safe than sorry.”
“Better late than never.”





“Take the baby with the bathwater.”

root expressions:

“Take the good with the bad.”
“Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”




“Hook, line, and barrel.”

root expressions:

“Hook, line, and sinker.”
“Lock, stock, and barrel.”





“Hand over mouth.”

root expressions:

“Hand over fist.”
“Hand to mouth.”





“Dressed to the teeth.”

root expressions:

“Dressed to the nines.”
“Armed to the teeth.”





“Rough behind the ears.”

root expressions:

“Rough around the edges.”
“Wet behind the ears.”




“You’re a shoo in the door.”

root expressions:

“You’re a shoo in.”
“Get your foot in the door.”





“It takes all types to tango.”

root expressions:

“It takes all types to make the world go around.”
“It takes two to tango.”





“Absent sighted”
&
“Short minded”

root expressions:

“Absent minded”
“Short sighted”





“That blew my marbles.”

root expressions:

“That blew my mind.”
“He lost his marbles.”




“No skin off my teeth.”

root expressions:

“No skin off my nose.”
“By the skin of my teeth.”





“Worth your gold.”

root expressions:

“Worth your salt.”
“Worth your weight in gold.”





“Into blue air.”

root expressions:

“Out of the blue.”
“Into thin air.”





“A wolf in the grass.”
&
“A snake in sheep’s clothing.”

root expressions:

“A wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“A snake in the grass.”




“The dagger in the coffin.”

root expressions:

“The dagger to the heart.”
“The last nail in the coffin.”





“A penny saved is worth two in the bush.”

root expressions:

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.”





“Let the cookies fall where they may.”

root expressions:

“Let the chips fall where they may.”
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”