Phrases, Clichés, Expressions & Sayings
~ E ~


Earmark something
Meaning: Marking something to indicate ownership.
Origin: This phrase comes from the ancient habit of marking cattle ears with a tab to indicate ownership. In Biblical times the custom extended to human property. In Exodus 21:6, a servant declined to go free after six years' service : "his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever". In the 19th century the term came to be applied to money designated for a special purpose. Later it spread to the wider application used today.


Earn one's stripes
Meaning: Gain a position through hard work and accumulated experience.
Example: She earned her stripes by serving for 30 years as the World Vision coordinator.
Origin: This 1800s expression initially referred to a military promotion or award, indicated by strips of chevron or braid added to the recipient's uniform and known as stripes.


Easy as pie
Meaning: Simple to accomplish, easy to do.
Example: Spending money is as easy as pie, accumulating wealth is tough.
Origin: Easy as pie (or apple pie) originated in Australia around 1920. The Australian expression to be “pie at” or “pie on” something means to be very good at something (from the Maori word “pai” = good).

Alternative: Making of a pie from scratch isn’t easy. The phrase is a contraction of the late-19th Century phrase “easy as eating pie.”

If you are good at something it’s easy... as pie!.


Eat one's words
Meaning: To admit that what you said was wrong. To retreat in a humiliating way.
Example: Trudy said that Joe would never succeed with his humour website, but after seeing his site reach 6 million hits per month, she had to eat her words.
Origin: "God eateth not his word when he hath once spoken" is the first recorded use of this expression, in a 1571 religious work.

Earliest instance of people literally eating their words: In 1370 the Pope sent two delegates to Bernabo Visconti bearing a rolled parchment, informing him that he had been excommunicated. Infuriated, Visconti arrested the delegates and made them eat the parchment - words, lead seal and all.


Eat your heart out
Meaning: Intended to make one feel bitterness or pain as they long for something out of reach.
Example: Eat your heart out Jillian, I'm seeing Henrietta now. You had your chance.
Origin: Heart is also defined as the central, core, or inner most part of an object (or person). To eat the heart out is to remove the core or most important part, a part that will surely be missed. The phrase is probably a shortened way of saying "This will eat your heart out".

Alternative: Adapted from the 16th century "eat one's own heart", meaning to suffer from silent grief or vexation. It also has roots in the Biblical phrase, "to eat one’s own flesh", used to describe an indolent person.


Eating crow
Meaning: To be proven wrong.
Example: With the fall of the Soviet Union, the communists are eating crow.
Origin: An article published in the Atlanta Constitution in 1888 claims that, towards the end of the war of 1812, an American went hunting and by accident crossed behind the British lines, where he shot a crow.

He was caught by a British officer who, complimenting him on his fine shooting, persuaded him to hand over his gun. This officer then leveled his gun and said that as a punishment the American must take a bite of the crow. The American obeyed, but when the British officer returned his gun he took his revenge by making him eat the rest of the bird.

This is such an interesting explanation of the phrase's origin that it seems a shame to point out that the original expression is not recorded until the 1850s, and that its original form was to "eat boiled crow," whereas the story makes no mention of boiling the bird.

It also seems improbable that the English officer would have returned the gun after forcing the American to take a bite of the bird under gunpoint.

In reality, "crow" is a word that refers to the intestines of an animal especially when used for food. The British English equivalent is "eating humble (or umble) pie."


Eating humble pie
Meaning: To be proven wrong, usually after boasting.
Example: With the fall of the Soviet Union, the communists are eating humble pie.
Origin: Humble pie is a derivation of umble pie and refers to the intestines of an animal especially when used for food. The original umbles were the innards of the deer: the liver, heart, entrails and other second-class bits. It was common practice in medieval times to serve a pie made of these parts of the animal to the servants and others that would be sitting at the lower tables in the lord's hall.

To eat humble pie is to accept your position at the lower table.


Egg on your face
Meaning: To be embarrassed.
Example: Make sure you have your story straight - go public without the facts and you will have egg on your face.
Origin: From the embarrassment suffered if the yellow yoke is on ones lips or beard after eating a soft boiled egg in one of those egg cups, a favorite breakfast of the upper crust. Yellow egg shows up especially well on a beard or mustache.

Alternative: During slapstick comedies in the Victorian theater, actors made the fall guy look foolish by breaking eggs on his forehead.


Eleventh hour
Meaning: The latest possible time.
Example: The student handed in his take-home exam at the eleventh hour.
Origin: This early 1800s phrase alludes to the parable of the labourers (Matthew 20:1-16), in which those workers hired at the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour working day were paid the same amount as those who began in the first hour.


Even steven
Meaning: An equitable distribution.
Example: She thinks he doesn't do his share of the housework, while he says things are even steven.
Origin: "Even steven" is merely modern rhyming slang (like "drop dead, fred", "see ya later alligator", or "know what I mean, jelly bean?").

Rhyming slang is common in many languages and dialects, and is particularly common in cockney English. Cockney rhyming slang takes the idea a bit farther actually substituting a rhyming word or phrase for common terms (e.g. "apple fritter" means "bitter (a type of beer)", "Johnie Horner" means "corner", "Rub-a-dub" means "Pub" and so on).


Every Tom, Dick, and Harry
Meaning: Everyone, all ordinary individuals.
Example: The company's newest model should appeal to every Tom, Dick, and Harry.
Origin: The use of masculine names in this phrase dates from Shakespeare's time (he used Tom, Dick, and Francis in I Henry IV), but the current usage dates from the early 1800s.

Variants: "Every mother's son" (1583) & "Every man Jack" 1800s). These 2 variants are British and occasionally used in America.


Everything but the kitchen sink
Meaning: Practically everything there is; every possible object whether needed or not.
Origin: This expression was born in the early 20th century and became popular after World War II (the late 1940s). The kitchen sink is heavy, connected to pipes and usually bolted down, so it’s not easily movable. But if you took everything but the kitchen sink, you’d be taking virtually all there was.

Related sayings are "From soup to nuts" and "From A to Z".


Everything's Jake
Meaning: All is satisfactory.
Example: Don't worry mate - everything's jake.
Origin: The term has probably been used as much in North America as in Australia and
authorities are divided as to where it originated. In any case, jake now seems
to lack a distinctively Australian flavour. Perhaps most significantly,
the term appears to have largely gone out of use everywhere.  Thanks to ozlip.

Send your additions, corrections/typos or new phrases/clichés to
Back to Clichés/Phrases Main Index
Fear Quotes
Inspirational Quotes
The Ultimate Phobia List - Real and Imagined - Newest

Little Johnny goes swimming on his summer holidays
Swim Vacation
Where food was first made in Newfoundland
Garden of Eat'En
Generating a false impression for the long hours you don't work
George Costanza's Tips For Working Hard
Friendly reminder for those who don't clean up after their dog
Dog Baggies
Does your GPS advise head-on collisions?
Faulty GPS
Do you suffer from Cirrhosis Of The River?
Nautical Sense of Humour
Lizard man goes to the fore-front
Zoo Dude
Mysterious fixture stands out on local highway
Alien Light Sighting
Suspended hammock tents provide good bear practice
Bear Pinata
What to do with leftover house flies
Fly Art
Spa facial treatment in the Florida Everglades
Redneck Manicure
Face-ing a walk in the country
Garden Gnome
Full list of creditsFacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponDelicious

Voted #1 Humor Site


QR Code


HMO Judgment Day
Zoo Cage Cleaner
Tree Hugger's Environme ...
New Fuel Gauge for 2005
How To Pill A Cat
Katoomba Railway
Amish Friends
Kosher Computers
Redneck Storm Shelter
Bar Lookout
When You Don't Offer A ...
Buffalo Saddle
Garden Gnome
Rottweiler Express
Cat Furrier
Jesus Is Watching You!
Bedside Non-Assistance
Jewish Fire Department
Newfie Power - Nice Pol ...
Mother's Day Gift - Not
Fire Truck
Bloodsucker Bank
Chinese Light Work
Top 10 Sayings of Bibli ...
Trunk Monkey Theft Retr ...
Tasty Migratory Birds
1957 Woolworth Menu
Psychic Fair
Arkansas Surgeons
Baby Peephole
Not Bubba's Dog
Thoughts On Everything
Preacher's Patience Bik ...
Bug Backpack
African Car Wash
Rich Man's Hobby
Beethoven's Favourite F ...
Dog On Pot - Without Cr ...
Emergency Chores for th ...
CD Chair
Commas Save Lives
Florida Golf Hazard
Batman Equation
Moose Police
Lap Dog (Wrap Version)
Finger Phone
Building Ear
Sheer Surprise
Scarf Fashion
How To Shoot A Bow
Help Support an NHL Pla ...
Rubik's 1st Cube
Bandage Art
Little Johnny's Grippin ...
Chicken CPR
Moving Tip - Use of Pac ...
Scratch Lottery Tickets
Gas Saving Motorcyclist
Lunch Time
Monster Truck Pull
Bird WhiteWash
Egg Walk
How Not To Remove An En ...
Dalmation Firefighter
Gateway To Obesity
Breast Implant Breakthr ...
Spaghetti Digest
Best Chainsaw Imitation
Cellphone Karma
Women's Outhouse
Guinness World-1st Reco ...
Long Winter
Country Wisdom
Gnu Weather Forecasting
Mountain Iron Man
Government Snow Plow
Seal Hat at the Zoo
Signal Hill Wireless
High Withdrawals
Coffin Dragster
Redneck Family Car
German Coast Guard
New Element in the Peri ...
How Blonde Was She?
Two Feet of Snow in Sea ...
News With A View
Watered Down Illusion
Robin Williams Quotes
Garden of Eat'En
Breakfast Dance - Shaki ...
Slept On The Tire
How To Live A Long & Ha ...
Family Tent
Navy Golf Course for Ai ...
Bowl Of Chili
Hotel Waterfall
Arkansas Divorce Applic ...
Hair Safety
Rubble Trouble
Fishing Information
Scratch Golfer
Can You Take It With Yo ...
Redneck Marine
Country Wisdom
Hardworking Wife
Country SUV
Pigeon Drink
Heavy Drinking
Toll Booth Speed Limit
Cushion Chair Shoes
Canadian Cow: Whole Ste ...
Teenage Independence
Newfie Speak
Goalkeeper Oops!
Guess the Beer!
Cat Massage
Reserved for Drunk Driv ...
Hand-Some Baby
Farm Machine Music
Redneck Lottery Tour
Does Childbirth Hurt?
Rush Hour Non-Traffic
A Cup of GI Joe
Hand Signing or Finge ...
Microslave: You're Not ...
TP Protector
911 Emergency
Dyslexic Smiley
Redneck Snowmobile
Reverse Redneck - Feel ...
Hot New Game - This Fir ...
Pumpkin Carvings
Saks-e Parking Job
Redneck Math
Canadian Cow: Whole Ste ...
Lada Recall
Kitchen Oil Fire
World's Highest Bridge
Hymns For All Occasions
Terrapin Toss
Faulty GPS
Deacon Funeral
Hospital Friends
Computer Garden
Fishing in Florida
Halloween Joe-ks
Baseball Pitch in Heave ...
Heavy Meal Deal
Christmas Fruitcake Rec ...
What Women Won't Want f ...
It's Safe To Come Out N ...
Texas Speed Camera
His & Her Pumps
Make Loaf Not War
Last Page of the Intern ...
Sock Storage
Korean Public Toilet
Buy Her Something Expen ...
The Perfect Weight
Financial Meltdown
Frosty's Snow Cone Fact ...
PantAm Airways - Dog's ...
Bucket Seat
Retired Boat Captain
Computers of the Future ...
Young Superman
Wyoming Wind Sock
Ladies - You 'Can' Orde ...
Wannabe Mini
Why Police Training Is ...
Dog Walking - Remotely
Help Support an NHL Pla ...
Cow Nap
The Ass Family
Cat Toothbrush
Bronx School Bus
Too Old To Be A Biker
Cure For A Snoring Fish ...
'Must Have' Power Drill
Men At Work
Short NFL Quarterbacks
Monkey Business
Bent Baby
Will Rogers Quotes
Navy Seals
Roller Coaster Skiing
'Break In Motion' Brake
Praying For Their Enemi ...
Ring Around The Toilet
Redneck Port-A-Potty
Designer Shoes
GM Volt
12 Days of Christmas - ...
Ma and Pa Math: 5 into ...
Hand-Some Baby
Cowgirl High Heels
Dubm Quotes
Funnel Farm
Childproof Drawer
Guide Dog's Non-Appreci ...
Love Not Knot
Long Kiss
Advertising Truths
Eat Your Vegetables
Survivor House
Redneck Wedding Cake
Ice Hand
Hot Dog or Warm Dog?
Cheat of the Year
Barbecue Pickup