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A Guide to Idioms by K. Cullen, P. Hands

By K. Cullen, P. Hands

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Have you seen what he’s wearing? He just doesn’t have a clue, does he? ♦ see also not have an earth ly > EARTHLY clued o clued ’up (informal) When you are clued up, you have a lot of knowledge about a particular thing: Choosing the right sparkling wine can be a minefield if you are not clued up on the different brands available. coals o carry coals to N ew ca stle or take coals to N ew castle I f you are c a rry in g , or tak in g, coals to N ew ca stle, you are taking some­ thing to a place where there is plenty of that thing already: It was left to Wes­ tern businessmen to manufacture the Tshirts which ended up on the Soviet black market, an acute case of carrying coals to Newcastle.

You are in a situation which gives you very little hope of success: He’s g iv ­ ing his best effort to the election cam­ paign, but the cards are stacked against him. ♦ see also up against it u p d have all the cards or hold all the cards I f you have, or hold, all the cards you have an advantage which puts you in control of a situation: They know I hold all the cards, so I ’ll just wait and see what they do next. o lay your cards on the table or put your cards on the table You lay, or put, your cards on the ta­ ble when you make your intentions known, rather than trying to keep them secret: I ’d be glad, if you put your cards on the table.

Death o at death's door Someone who is at death’s door is very ill and in danger of dying: Even when he was at death's door he was still cracking the same old jokes. 3 catch your death or catch your death o f cold You can tell someone that they w ill catch their death, or catch their death of cold, i f they are going outside without enough clothes on: The grass here is quite damp you know, and in those slippers, you'll catch your death. 3 the death o f som eone You can say that someone or something w ill be the death o f you i f they con­ tinually cause problems for you: He always said that his job would be the death of him.

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