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

Update on my surgery
Butt Lift
Have you been a turkey this month?
Turkey Not
Bacon and Turkey - a Redneck's special Thanksgiving meal
Christmas preparation for wine connoisseurs
Wine Advent Calendar
It's here - the ultimate female couch potato!
Woman's Remote
Latest Jigsaw Sudoku Puzzle: #15322
Jigsaw Sudoku Puzzles
When it might be a good time for global warming
Frozen Parking Spot
Making a case for the worst of the wurst puns
Wurst-Case Scenario
Signs you ate too much at Thanksgiving
Too Much Turkey
Performance transmission without performance
Race Break
What dreams are made of
Cat Sushi - 'I Have A Dream'
Puppy CPR saves floored man
Rescue Pup
Full list of creditsFacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponDelicious

Voted #1 Humor Site


QR Code


Cypress Mountain
Ladies - You Can Order ...
Camouflage Couch
Redneck See Saw
Snowmen Protest
Free At Last
Amish Smart Car
Tattoo Implants
Remote Control Wedding ...
Confessions of a Sudoku ...
Computer For Women
Kissing Test
Viagra Ingredients
Spring Is Just Around T ...
City Beach Castle
Giant Texas Red Centipe ...
Dream Houses from Aroun ...
Terrorist 'Catch and Re ...
Desert Outhouse
Abandon Ship - Japanese ...
Apocryphal Metaphors fr ...
Stair Substitute
Bubba's Phonetics
Solving World Problems
Blood Machine - Portabl ...
Redneck Shower
African Lunch
Canadian Knowledge Quiz
Zen For Those Who Take ...
Alligator Mating
Reach For Your Dreams
Woman Argument
The First Selfie
Danger - Beware Of Dog!
What Animals Dream Of
Training Bike
Finally Got The Sink Fi ...
Buy A Dog If You Want L ...
Taste of Olympic Succes ...
One Slice
Football Thesis
Submarine Racing
PacMan Lights
Moose Loader
Puffin Flight
Redneck Tailgate
Church Humour
How To Bathe A Cat
Ping Wrong
Party In Hell
Dead Sea Burgers
Egg Separator
The Good Old Days
Finger Football
Redneck Special Forces
Redneck Pool Table
Redneck Gas Cap
Hold On Tight
Every Cat Should Own A ...
Why Neanderthals Became ...
Car Axident
British Columbia Place ...
Stadium Pool
After-Gas Piggy Bank
Phone Number Magic Tric ...
Redneck Wave Runner
Dunking Straw
Mental Hospital Hotline
Vintage Circular Motorc ...
Unger Games
Cheat Sheet
Snake Bite
'Lucky' Dog
B.C. Lions Graffiti
Exciting Spring
40 Things Never Said By ...
Redneck Fire Hose Rodeo
Country Wisdom
Hybrid Thai Car - Thai ...
Diet Silverware
Bronx School Bus
Computer For Women
Husband Day Care Center
Whale Tale
Golfing Nun
Trucks with 'Down' Synd ...
Golf Secrets
Topless Kate Middleton
Train-ed Couple
Blonde Corn Maze
Speeding Back To School
Nine People - Can You F ...
Bud Light Dog
Need A Lifeguard?
What Animals Dream Of
Sumo Skiing - Pairs
Redneck Anti-Terrorist ...
Vacuum Cleaner Salesman
Amish Speed Wagon - NAS ...
Personal Pool
Statue of Libertea
Surf Lessons
Military Motorcycle
Thoughts On Everything
Camouflage Couch
Free Dog
Best Panhandler
My Life Goal
Zoo Invitation
African Wheelbarrow
Today's Special Hardwar ...
Kick Out Boxing
Blonde Men
Be Careful Pulling Out
CATastrophe - How to Li ...
Cow Walking
Fast Camera Shutter
Kayak Funeral
Keeping An Eye On Each ...
Unger Games
Heart's Heart
Demagogue Defined
Where's My Bulldozer?
The Price Of A Wife
Polar Bear Photographer
What Happened?
Hydraulic Truck Lift
Walmart's Redneck Wine
Blonde's Meaning of Eas ...
Towel, Please
How To Argue With A Wom ...
Nerd Shaving
Bottles of Boos
Revolutionary Cooking
New Generation Prioriti ...
The Joe-kster's Desk
Granny Smith Apple
Rush Hour Non-Traffic
The Honey Truck
Pumpkin Zombie
Hawaiian Surfboard Trad ...
Training Wheel Roller C ...
Titanic Trailer
Heh - That's My Ball!
Redneck Walkboard
Je Suis Charlie
Computer SuperUser - a. ...
B.C. - Bathroom Commode ...
Chinese Cough Drops: A- ...
Karaoke For The Deaf
King Salmon Meal
Deck Of Cards Patient
Woman Sharpshooter
Stuffed Bunny
PMS Greeting From The T ...
Kingsford the Piglet Go ...
African Pit Bull
Cycle Feeding Your Cows
Colorectal Surgeon Prai ...
Senior's Golf Cart
What Are Friends For?
Religious Haircuts
TurbAnne - India's Iron ...
How To Cut Down On Your ...
Demolition Las Vegas St ...
New Drugs For Men
Bear Praise
Steering Wheel For Coup ...
Help Support an NHL Pla ...
Run, Turkey, Run
'Slow Down' Cop Sign
Redneck Humour
Baby Hatching
Another Day At The Offi ...
Redneck Skurfing
Library's No-Return Pol ...
Redneck Airplane
Dentist Waiting Room
Smooth Leaning Shoes
Dental Floss That Crows ...
Dog Beer Conversion
Redneck Christmas Decor ...
Here Comes Another One
Women's Wisdom for the ...
How To Achieve Inner Pe ...
Redneck Water Taps
One Step At A Time
Babble Language
Ode to Mothers
Deer Hunting Bird
Robbie Knievel Tickets
Confident Motorcyclist ...
One Glass Per Day
Redneck Walkboard
'Looking Good' Wireless
Job Market Changes
Cat Patrol
Always Use Your Mirrors
Coffee World
Borderline Stupidity
Outside Urinal
'David and Goliath' Sum ...
I Like Cooking
New Drugs For Women
Cat Hat
Bathroom Blues - Here's ...
One Tough Lady!
Psalm 23
Formula One Wheelchair
How Much Time Left