American Idioms

American Idioms

E.

EAGER BEAVER
a person who is very excited and enthusiastic about pursuing some activity
1. Paul just discovered jogging as a form of exercise, and he went out and bought new running shoes, a new tracksuit, and all the other gear that goes along with it. He’s a real eager beaver about jogging.
2. Dieting must be done slowly and carefully. Don’t be such an eager beaver to lose weight that you harm yourself by not eating anything.
The expression suggests the image of an anxiously working beaver, which is reputed to be an active, industrious animal. It has a slightly negative connotation, as of someone eager to impress others with his/her effort.


EAT CROW/HUMBLE PIE
to humble oneself because one has been proved wrong
1. Roger told his daughter that he didn’t believe her. When he found out he was wrong, he had to eat crow and admit his mistake.
2. Cathy laughed at herself when she realized she was wrong and had spoken too quickly. “I jump to the wrong conclusions so often, I’m always eating humble pie,” she said.
Synonym: swallow (one’s) pride


EAT (ONE’S) HAT
to do something unpleasant in the case of being proven wrong
1. I don’t believe the boss is going to give us an extra day off work at Christmas time. If he does, I’ll eat my hat.
2. Matthew told me he would eat his hat if my favorite football team won the championship this year. He felt there was no possibility that they could win.
Compare to: bet (one’s) bottom dollar; bet (one’s) boots 

EAT (ONE’S) HEART OUT
to suffer silently in a hopeless situation
1. Mike thought Sue would eventually marry him. Now
that she has married Tony, he’s eating his heart out.
2. Kevin tried to take the job that was rightfully mine by telling my boss that I had stolen money from the company. When I got the promotion anyway, all I could say to him was, “Eat your heart out.”
Compare to: cry over spilled milk
Whereas cry over spilled milk is to grieve over some event that has happened and cannot be changed, eat one’s heart out is to grieve over an emotional situation that cannot be changed. The expression is also used in the command form by someone who has no sympathy for the grieving person (as in sentence 2).


EAT OUT OF (SOMEONE’S) HAND
to be submissive; to have someone eating out of one’s hand means to get someone to be submissive
1. Jerry will do anything Lisa wants. She has him eating out of her hand.
2. The politician was so polished that had the crowd eating out of his hand by the end of his speech.
The expression originates from the idea that an animal that will eat out of one’s hand is very tame. It connotes an unhealthy submissiveness.


EGG ON (ONE’S) FACE, HAVE
to be or appear to be embarrassed
1. I can tell by the way you look that you’ve been caught doing something naughty. You have egg on your face.
2. Andy sure had egg on his face when he realized he had made a fool of himself at the party.


ELEVENTH HOUR
late or last-minute
1. You certainly left making your decision to take this flight until the eleventh hour. You’re lucky there were still seats available.
2. Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to decide to see the doctor. If you do, you may find that it’s too late.
Compare to: down to the wire; in the nick of time
Down to the wire and in the nick of time convey a greater sense
of being just barely in time than the eleventh hour.


ETERNAL TRIANGLE
a situation in which two men love the same woman or two women love the same man
1. Both Nancy and Tanya love Victor. It’s the age-old story of the eternal triangle.
2. Like many other romantic comedies, this film is about two men who fall in love with the same woman. It’s a story of an eternal triangle gone awry.
The theme of the eternal triangle recurs throughout the literature of many cultures. The triangle (three people) is described as eternal because it is such a common situation.


EVERY TOM, DICK, AND HARRY
everyone
1. I know the car salesman made you think he was only offering a great deal to you, but in fact he has offered the same deal to every Tom, Dick and Harry that has walked into his showroom.
2. My rug is ruined. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry must have come through here with muddy shoes.

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