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Aqui temos a parte 02 da série 60 Expressões em 60 Minutos. Bons estudos!
Keen an eye on
The idiom to keep an eye on simply means to watch over, to take care of, to be aware of. It is interesting because it is probably not possible to do any of these things with only one eye, but that’s why it’s an idiom.
Example #1: I’m going to ask my neighbor to keep an eye on our house while we are gone, just for safety.
Example #2: My dog has been acting a little sick – please keep an eye on him while you are here today.
Example #3: John’s boss told him that he would be keeping an eye on him for any mistakes or deficiencies.
Example #4: My doctor told me to keep an eye on my blood pressure so that I could let him know how my new medication was working.
Labor of love
The idiom labor of love means something that is done for its own sake, for pleasure, enjoyment, or self-fulfillment. There is no other motive for it such as money or fame.
Example #1: You probably think that I’m a fool for continuing this project, but for me it’s a labor of love.
Example #2: John decorated his cubicle as a labor of love, but the boss didn’t see it that way – he told him to take everything down.
Example #3: I must admit that gardening is a labor of love that I enjoy doing, because it’s relaxing and inspiring at the same time.
Example #4: If you have a labor of love, never give it up – it’s important for your sanity and health to keep going.
Make a killing
Someone who makes a killing has found a way to make a lot of money all at once. This might be through a big sale, an inheritance, an investment, or by gambling. The meaning of the idiom is accompanied by a feeling that the money was unexpected, a surprise, or even possibly gotten dishonestly. Using the expression about someone else means you are envious; about yourself that you are bragging.
Example #1: Because the man had inside information, he was able to make a killing on the sale of his stocks.
Example #2: I hardly ever gamble, but when I was at the casino in Atlantic City I made a killing on the slot machines.
Example #3: The land he inherited is so valuable that he will make a killing if he ever decides to sell it.
Example #4: I could make a killing on these widgets if I could just find an investor.
The meaning of the idiom number cruncher is a person or machine that performs numerical calculations, with an emphasis on speed and volume. When computers started being used for statistical analysis, they were seen as machines that ate up the data and spit it out. Accountants are sometimes seen the same way.
Example #1: Because the annual report is due on Monday, the number crunchers down in the accounting department are working all weekend.
Example #2: The supercomputer at the University of Illinois was one of the first big number crunchers back in the 1980s.
Example #3: My wife is a number cruncher, and I started out to be an accountant too, but I didn’t like working with numbers all day long.
Example #4: After winning the lottery, we had to hire a number cruncher to help us invest the money correctly.
Off the cuff
The idiom off the cuff comes from an era when men wore large starched cuffs on their dress shirts. If a businessman had to give a speech or make a toast, he might write a few words on the cuff to help him remember what he wanted to say. In a kind of twist on the original phrase, it has come to mean doing something without forethought or planning, in an impromptu way.
Example #1: Because the sales award was a surprise to him, John had to make his acceptance speech off the cuff.
Example #2: I rarely speak in public, but when I do I like to be prepared – no off the cuff rambling for me!
Example #3: The minister’s sermon almost seemed off the cuff – I wonder if he had not thought about what he was going to say.
Example #4: Some of the best comic performances in history have been completely off the cuff.
Packed in like sardines
If you are on a public transport bus and there are too many people, all of you are packed in like sardines. The idiom means to be in a crowded space, and comes from the way that sardines (small cured fish) are tightly packed and sealed in their tin cans.
Example #1: On the subway ride home yesterday we were packed in like sardines, and I started feeling claustrophobic.
Example #2: Usually when I attend a rock concert, I enjoy being packed in like sardines – it makes the experience more intense and exciting when there’s a big crowd.
Example #3: If you are ever in a nightclub and you’re packed in like sardines, make sure you stay close to the main exit in case of an emergency.
Example #4: My family of 4 is packed in like sardines in our little electric car, but it is very inexpensive to drive so the discomfort is worth it.
Rack one’s brain
The idiom to rack one’s brain means to put a large effort into thinking about something, to expend much energy in thought. Its origins are from the Inquisition, when the rack was a device used for torture. If you rack your brain, you are torturing yourself mentally, and the results may vary from good to bad.
Example #1: I racked my brain thinking about how to solve our money problems, and all I could come up with was getting a second job.
Example #2: Well, don’t rack your brain about it, because the whole situation could change tomorrow.
Example #3: We sat in the conference room for hours racking our brains for ideas on saving the company, but were unsuccessful.
Example #4: The pilot and the co-pilot racked their brains, and finally decided on a solution to the engine problem – they would land the plane at the nearest airport.
Safe and sound
The idiom safe and sound is a good example of a redundant expression – it says a similar thing twice, with alliteration (the “s” sound). To be safe is to be out of danger, and to be sound is to be uninjured and unharmed, either physically or mentally.
Example #1: We were very happy and relieved that our teenager was safe and sound after the auto accident, so we didn’t punish him for being out too late.
Example #2: Everyone was safe and sound after the emergency stop, but the bus driver looked a little pale.
Example #3: Officer, I just need to know if my kids are safe and sound after the school bus accident.
Example #4: Even though it was cold, snowing, and windy outside, they were safe and sound in the cozy little rented log cabin.
Take a bath
The idiomatic expression take a bath has a meaning completely based on economics. If a person takes a bath in the markets, it means that he or she loses a large sum of money. The loss may come from other kinds of transactions, but is always economic.
Example #1: Although she had no choice about selling the house, she really took a bath on it – she sold it for less than half of its value.
Example #2: If you gamble large sums of money, then you have to expect to take a bath in the casinos once in a while.
Example #3: Because her portfolio was not diversified, she took a bath in the stock market when there was a downturn.
Example #4: Don’t put all of your money into one investment – what if you end up taking a bath and lose all your savings?
Under the table
Under the table is an interesting idiom, because its literal and idiomatic meanings are very similar. Imagine a secret transaction with the buyer and the seller facing each other at a small table. The buyer gives the seller money with his hand under the table, and the seller gives the buyer the item being bought. As an idiom it means done in secret, and usually illegally.
Example #1: The restaurant owner paid his employees under the table in cash, so he didn’t have to pay taxes, until he finally was caught and arrested.
Example #2: If you buy something under the table, it won’t have a warranty.
Example #3: A last-minute agreement was reached under the table, but now the senators have to explain what happened.
Example #4: It is against the law to pay for citizenship or other documents, but it happens all the time under the table.
The idiom to warm up has a simple meaning – to practice. But there are variations in meaning, too. It can mean to stretch the muscles used in exercise before actually exercising, and it can mean to be the opening act for a performer at a public event.
Example #1: Before she played her concert, she warmed up at the piano with some exercises and short pieces.
Example #2: John forgot to warm up before he went jogging, and he pulled a muscle in his leg.
Example #3: At one time I was the warm-up act for a comedian in a nightclub – I was a juggler.
Example #4: As a singer, you can warm up your voice easily in just a few minutes with the right exercises.