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

Tipping the scales on your ride home?
Weight Watchers Bus
How to bypass festival rules
Peanut Sale
Airbus 'grounded' on maiden flight
Middle East Airlines
At last, a 100% bipartisan political bumper sticker
Bipartisan Bumper Sticker
Letting go of a lot of built-up energy
Powerful Wind
Lazing down the river
Hammock Kayak
She created her own parking spot
Princess Parking
Keep the meter running!
Slow Vancouverites
A Killer Whale's masquerade party
Hold on, doggie!
Tailgate Coyote
Proof of livestock intelligence in Texas
Cow Gate
Math puzzle to start off the college year
Full list of creditsFacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponDelicious

Voted #1 Humor Site


QR Code


Hot Dog Cooker
Bike Chaser
Cohan Bird
Lightdays for Children
Giant Texas Red Centipe ...
For Those Who Take Life ...
Sea Through Fish
Chainsaw-Powered 'Dolme ...
Twin Dish
Best Casino Ad
Bedside Non-Assistance
Shopping Cart Chair
1st Baby Photo
How To Transport Your 8 ...
A Caring Husband
Slingshot Shoes
Electric Football
Close Shave
Solitaire Survival
Teapot Gas Station
Hot Pipe Car
Aging Cyclist
Playground Mistakes
Cat Bowls
Excerpts from Medical R ...
Tree Awning
Crocodile Floor
Dance Off Competition
Pipe Dreams by Exhausti ...
Leaning Against The Lea ...
Shear Dog
Outrageous Lawsuits
Adaptive Roots
Uplifting Antique Car
Easter Canceled
New Drugs For Women
Native Wisdom vs. Moder ...
Free Snow
Redneck Electric Pool
Guinness World Record C ...
Cold Dip Cyclist Cutter ...
Hamburger a la Sign - O ...
Sewing Sculpture
Rad Cat - Curled Up Cat ...
Who'll Take Stalin's Bo ...
Never Do Anything Wrong
Weight Control Pills
Too Little Too Late
Redneck Vacation
Hooters Sign
Redneck ATV
Redneck Wine Glass
How Not To Cut Your Wif ...
Revenue Canada Simplifi ...
Cooking By The Pros
Moon Harvest
High Withdrawals
Johnny On The Pot's Plu ...
Redneck Wind Chimes
Montgomery Ward 1934 Ch ...
Reaching Out Too Far
TP Dog
DHL Express
President Bills
Shopping Dog
Pot At The End Of Your ...
Manitoba Thunderstorm
Best Clock Ever
All Time Dubmest Questi ...
Heart's Heart
Parallel Diver
Orthodox Weapon
Church Humour
Santa Cat
Strange Sculptures
Darkness Eliminator
Nanosecond Moments
Greatest Ever Missed So ...
Irish Blessings and Say ...
Cheap Perfume
African Wheelbarrow
Motorcycle Repairs or R ...
Shower Lighting
Caveman Air Force
Redneck Pole Support
Hooked On Classics by t ...
Beware of Pouncing Dog
Aussie Batman
Balanced Family Life
French Room Service
Lost Dog
Uplifting Uplift - Fork ...
Dog Lost? Dog Gone!
Birth Control Pills For ...
The Rules of Chocolate
Evolution of Women
Owlvis Presley
Philosophy 101 - The Ch ...
Irish Birth Control
Seeing End Dog - New Ve ...
Dad's Ex-Ferrari
Leading By Example
Bike Locked Down Secure ...
Road Press
Odor Detector
Looking For Something?
Gas Competitors Reach A ...
Fix The Outhouse, Pa!
Cop Chase
The 'New' Economy
Ab Enhancer
Border Patrol At Its Fi ...
Halloween Birth
Outlet Wall
Hunting Statistics
Leaf Blower for Sale
Garage Door Opener
Take Away Food
Ascent to the Papacy - ...
Which Way To Go?
XL Safety Shoes
Letter To Mom - Things ...
African Car Wash
Excerpt from a Lion Coo ...
Car Axident
Driving Tip For Guys
Roo Cam
Candle Power
Casket Car
Duct Tape Prom
Firm Egg
BBQ Invitation
Our Grate Lord
Monkey Business
Health Plug
Redneck Airlines
Deer Hitchhiker
Cat Carrier - Ultimate ...
Redneck Wedding Cake
Uplifting Tooth Extract ...
American Mustache
40th Wedding Anniversar ...
Train Lantern
Banished From Paradise
Sentenced to Hard Labou ...
Little Johnny's Grace-F ...
ER Patch
Urban Camper
Frog Waltz
Redneck Occupation
Pen Computing - Future ...
Winter Laundry
Iraqi Olympic Diving Te ...
Pet Food Tester
Fly Art
Cat Massage
You Guys Make Me Sick
Raise Twins
The Crocodiles Are Cryi ...
Math in Africa
Your First Motorcycle
Dent Stop
Water Taxi
Pizza Sleeping Bag
Free Nuclear Kittens
Redneck Air Conditioner
Such Is Life
Swedish Breast Stroke S ...
Skateboard Dog
Moses' Headache Relief ...
Green Garden Grass Snak ...
Bubble Car
Fast Flower
Mexican Lion
Politically Correct Sta ...
Tearable Puns
1st Rolex
How To Cook A Deer
Who'll Take Stalin's Bo ...
Don't Mess With The Ami ...
Poor Fishing Day Bar Code
Redneck Letter - From M ...
Preacher's Patience Bik ...
New Drugs For Men
Romanian Barbeque
Maiden Rock Illusion
Jockey Racing
Where Nobody Speeds
Super Bowl Tickets
Grounded Telephone Dog
Pregnancy Q&A
African Billiards
Squirrel Bird Feeder So ...
Newfie Light Fixture
Our Grate Lord
Fat Friend Prayer
Top 10 Reasons To Live ...
Redneck Towing
Computer Garden
Mouse Trap
Crocodile Fans
Things You Should Know ...
Tree House
'Must Have' Power Drill
Bonsai Fruit Tree
Swine Flu Symptoms
Identity Theft
Dog Laundry - Hung Out ...
You Want Me To Do What?
Signal Hill Wireless
Ventilated Bridge
Political Promise Trans ...