The use of common names in idiomatic expressions

  All roads lead to Rome This means that there can be many different ways of doing something (www.usingenglish.com). Big Easy

The use of common names in idiomatic expressions

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so much that it was not worth winning(Longman Idioms Dictionary:1999:368).
  • Achilles' heel a weakness of someones character that causes them problems, or the weak part of a place, system, argument where it can easily be attacked or criticized (www.usingengllish.com).
  • Before you can say Jack Robinson used in order to say that something happens very quickly (www.usingenglish.com).
  • Between Scylla and Charybdis in a situation in which there two possible choices or actions both of which are equally bad (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:297).
  • Cut the Gordian cut to solve a very complex problem in a simple way (www.dictionary.com).
  • Davey Jones' locker Davey Jones' locker is the bottom of the sea or resting place of drowned sailors (www.usingenglish.com).
  • Midas touch the ability to earn money very easily (www.usingenglish.com).
  • Pandora's box If you open a Pandora's Box, something you do causes all sorts of trouble that you hadn't anticipated (www.dictionary.com).
  • Peeping Tom A peeping Tom is someone who tries to look through other people's windows without being seen in order to spy on people in their homes (www.usingenglish.com).
  • Names derived from religion:

    1. Not know somebody from Adam used in order to say that you do not know someone at all, or have never seen them before (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:2).
    2. Adam's apple the Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men (www.usingenglish.com).
    3. Be hand of God very good luck, or a bit of cheating that helps someone to succeed, especially in a game of football (www.dictionary.com).
    4. For Pete's sake this is used as an exclamation to show exasperation or irritation (www.usingenglish.com).
    5. God willing and the creek dont rise a humorous expression used in order to say that you hope you will not have problems doing something (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).
    6. Gods gift to if someone thinks they are Gods gift to a group of people or an activity, they behave in an annoying way that shows they think they are more important to that group or activity than they really are (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).
    7. Is Saul also among the prophets? It's a biblical idiom used when somebody known for something bad appears all of a sudden to be doing something very good (www.usingenglish.com).
    8. Jumping Judas! An expression of surprise or shock (www.usingenglish.com).
    9. Mohammed must go to the mountain used in order to say that if someone you want to see, especially someone important, will not or can not come to you, you have to make effort to see them, even if it is difficult (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:236).
    10. Painted Jezebel a scheming woman (www.usingenglish.com).
    11. Patience of Job If something requires the patience of Job, it requires great patience (www.dictionary.com).
    12. Put the fear of God into somebody to make someone feel frightened of doing something wrong by making them realize the bad things that could happen if they do (www.dictionary.com).
    13. Raise Cain to complain a lot about something in an angry or noisy way because are determined to get what you want (www.usingenglish.com).
    14. So help me God used in order to emphasize that you really mean what you are saying or promising (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).
    15. Work all the hours God sends used in order to say that someone spends all their time working very hard (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:139).

    Names derived from real persons:

    1. 50 million Elvis fans cant be wrong used to say that something must be true because so many people think so (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:103).
    2. Bobs your uncle said after you tell someone how to do something, in order to emphasize that it will be simple and will definitely achieve the result they want (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:33).
    3. Freudian Slip if someone makes a Freudian slip, they accidentally use the wrong word, but in doing so reveal what they are really thinking rather than what they think the other person wants to hear (www.usingenglish.com).
    4. Happy as Larry very happy (www.dictionary.com).
    5. Heath Robinson used to say about a system, machine etc that does something ordinary in a way that is very complicated and not at all practical (www.dictioanry.com).
    6. Hobson's choice a situation in which there is only one thing you can possibly do, unless you do nothing (www.usingenglish.com).
    7. In like Flynn refers to Errol Flynn's popularity with women in the 40's. His ability to attract women was well known throughout the world (www.usingenglish.com).
    8. Look a right Charlie to look very strange or stupid, so that people laugh at you, or feel that people are going to laugh at you (www.dictionary.com).
    9. Murphys law used to say that the worst possible thing always seems to happen at a time when it is most annoying, preventing you from doing what you are trying to do (Longman Idioms Dictioanry:1999:58).
    10. Real McCoy used in order to say that something is real, and not a copy. (www.usingenglish.com).
    11. Rich as Croesus very rich (www.usingenglish.com).
    12. Rube Goldberg used about a system, machine etc that does something ordinary in a way that is very complicated and not at all practical (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:291).
    13. Smart Alec A smart Alec is a conceited person who likes to show off how clever and knowledgeable they are (www.usingenglish.com).

    Names derived from folk etymology:

    1. Any Tom, Dick or Harry an expression meaning everyone, used especially when you disapprove because there is no limit on who can do a particular activity (www.usingenglish.com).
    2. Be robbing Peter to pay Paul to take money from one part of a system or organization that needs it and use it for another part of the system or organization, so that you deal with one difficulty but still have problems (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:261).
    3. Benjamin of the family the Benjamin of the family is the youngest child (www.usingenglish.com). .
    4. For the love of Pete usually used in exasperation, as in 'Oh, for the love of Pete!' (www.usingenglish.com).
    5. Great Scott an exclamation of surprise (www.usingenglish.com).
    6. Home, James (UK) this is a clichйd way of telling the driver of a vehicle to start driving (www.usingenglish.com). .
    7. Jack-of-all-trades -trades is someone that can do many different jobs (www.usingenglish.com).
    8. Jane Doe Jane Doe is a name given to an unidentified female who may be party to legal proceedings, or to an unidentified person in hospital, or dead. John Doe is the male equivalent (www.usingenglish.com).
    9. Joe Bloggs a name used to represent all ordinary people and their thoughts, feelings and situation (www.dictionary.com)
    10. Johnny on the spot A person who is always available; ready, willing, and able to do what needs to be done (www.usingenglish.com). .
    11. Uncle Sam the government of the USA (www.usingenglish.com).

    Names based on characters of the books, films, cartoons:

    1. An Aladdins cave of something a place where a lot of particular type of thing can be found, especially something interesting or unusual (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:56).
    2. Aunt Sally used about someone or something that is often blamed or criticized by a particular group of people, even when there is no reason (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:10).
    3. Be like Darby and Joan used to talk about old husband and wife who live very happily together (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:78).
    4. Brahms and Liszt drunk (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:40).
    5. Do a Lord Lucan (UK) if someone disappears without a trace or runs off (Lord Lucan disappeared after a murder) (www.usingenglish.com).
    6. Even Stevens if everything is equal between people, they are even Stevens (www.usingenglish.com).
    7. Im all right Jack used in order to show disapproval when someones attitude shows that they do not care about a problem that other people are having, because it does not affect them (www.dictionary.com).
    8. Jekyll and Hyde used about someone who has two totally different parts to their character, one very good and the other bad (www.usingenglish.com).
    9. Keep up with Joneses to try to have all the things that your friends and neighbors have, and do all the things that they do (www.dictionary.com).
    10. Live a life of Riley used in order to say that someone has a very comfortable, easy life without having to work hard or worry about money (Longman Idioms Dictionary: 1999:210).
    11. Mickey Mouse something that is

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