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blocks

I NOTE I These expressions come from athletics, where sprinters put their feet against pieces of equipment called starting blocks to help them start quickly when the race begins.

off the blocks (1) out of the blocks off the starting blocks

Off the blocks, out of the blocks, and off the starting blocks are used in expressions which tell you how quickly someone starts to do something. For example, if someone is 'first out of the blocks', they start to do something before everyone else.

0 The Liberal Democrats were first off the blocks with their manifesto on Monday. O Ontario was not fast off the starting blocks in developing any systematic intervention aimed at land conservation.

off the starting blocks (2)

off the blocks out of the blocks

If someone gets off the starting blocks, off the blocks, or out of the blocks, they succeed in starting to do something, often despite difficulties. 0 People thought I was totally mad and, if they think that, then you just can't get off the starting block. i~I 'All we need is to get started,' said manager Craeme Souness beforehand. To help him off the starting blocks he had 31 -year-old Whelan back after a six months' absence with a thigh injury.

blood

after your blood

If someone is after your blood, they want to harm or punish you, because you have harmed them or made them angry.


0 Adam has upset Broderick, who is after his blood. H The entire street-gang network of New York is ..,, after their blood.


0 bad blood

If there is bad blood between two people or groups, they have hostile feelings towards each other because of the arguments or quarrels they have had in the past.



0 The situation has reached crisis point because of the bad blood between the two. D Yet because of previous bad blood between the two syndicates, which included allegations of espionage and sabotage, it has so far been unwilling to agree to a merger. '~} Mr Levy said his relations with officials have been very friendly. There is no bad blood. I NOTE I People used to think that feelings such as anger and resentment were carried in the blood.

bay for blood

If you say that people are baying for blood, you

mean that they are demanding that a particular person should be hurt or punished, because of something that person has done. [BRITISH] [") The travel company had just buried itself with debts of more than £12m and thousands of disappointed holidaymakers were baying for blood. 0 A large number of shareholders are now baying for his blood and although he owns a massive 15 percent of his company, he will be lucky to survive. 0 The tabloids have bayed for the blood of the killer, insisting on a custodial sentence. fNOTEl This expression compares the people's demands to the sounds that hounds make on a hunt.

blood and thunder

If you describe a speech or performance as blood and thunder, you mean that it is full of exaggerated feelings or behaviour. [BRITISH] a/no blood-and-thunder speech, he called for sacrifice from everyone. O There's enough blood, thunder and smouldering passion to keep you watching.


0 blood is shed (1)

blood is spilled

When someone talks about blood being shed or blood being spilled, they mean that people are being killed in fighting. [JOURNALISM, LITERARY]



The symbol 0 shows key idioms

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0 All the signs are that if blood is spilled the countries will be at war. 0 The Surinam Embassy in the Hague said no blood had been spilt. 0 This is the main region where blood is being shed.

blood is shed (2) blood is spilled

People sometimes talk about blood being shed or blood being spilled when hardship is caused as a result of a change taking place.



0 Given the political blood that was spilled over the deficit reduction package, few observers believe the Congress and the president will do an about-face and start spending more.

blood is thicker than water

When people say 'blood is thicker than water',

they mean that someone's loyalty to their family is greater than their loyalty to anyone else. 0 Families have their problems and jealousies, but blood is thicker than water. 0 'If Colonel Roosevelt is a candidate,' he told a reporter, 7 will not run against him. You know blood is thicker than water.'


blood on the carpet

If there is blood on the carpet, there is a lot of trouble as a result of a struggle between people or groups inside an institution. 0 It is a problem that will not go away and will have to be addressed by someone brave enough, because the issue is highly emotional and will cause a lot of blood on the carpet.



0 blood, sweat, and tears

If you say that a task or project involves blood, sweat, and tears, you mean that it is very hard to carry out and involves a lot of effort or suffering. 0 Forget the battle honours: what about the toil? The blood, sweat and tears? D That day he started work at the company which his wife Pat had spilled blood, sweat and tears to form. O It's almost as if the end product-the songs themselves-are less important than the blood, sweat and tears that went into them.

• People sometimes vary this expression by replacing one of the nouns with a noun relevant to the subject they are talking about. 0 It seemed absurd to be told to sum up a story that has taken years of blood, sweat and creativity in '25 words or less'.

I'NOTEl This expression is originally derived from a wartime speech by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in which he said, 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat'. He used the expression several times in other wartime speeches.

first blood to someone someone draws first blood

If you say that it is first blood to someone, or that someone draws first blood, you mean that they have had a success at the beginning of a competition or conflict. [JOURNALISM] 0 If the government's plan is brought down, it will be first blood to local democracy. D The picture had looked bright as the Scots drew first blood with a drop goal from Cregor Townsend.


have blood on your hands

have bloody hands

If you say that someone has blood on their hands or has bloody hands, you are accusing them of being responsible for a death, or for the deaths of several people.



0 Members of a crowd that gathered outside his residence said he had blood on his hands. D I want him to know he has my son's blood on his hands. 0 America befriended dictators with bloody hands.

0 in cold blood

If you say that one person killed another in cold blood, you mean that they did it in a calm and deliberate way, rather than in anger or self-defence. People often use this expression to express shock or horror at a killing. 0 They murdered my brother. They shot him down in cold blood. 0 She was executed in cold blood while her boyfriend looked on helplessly.

• You can describe a killing as cold-blooded or say that the person who did it is cold-blooded. O This is just another attempt to excuse the cold­blooded murder of an innocent woman. 0 The argument is self-defence, but it is clear to Blackburn that she is a cold-blooded killer.

(NOTE! In medieval times, some people believed that certain emotions changed the temperature of the blood.

0 in your blood

If you say that something is in your blood, you mean that it is a very important part of you and seems natural to you, for example because it is traditional in your family or culture. l") Trilok has music in his blood. 7 was born into a family of musicians.' 0 Politics is in his blood. He is the 1 Sth-generation head of a family of feudal rulers in Kumamoto in southern japan. 0 He has Africa in his blood, having lived, worked and travelled there for many years.


like getting blood out of a stone like getting blood out of a turnip

If you have difficulty persuading someone to give you money or information, you can say that it is like getting blood out of a stone. In American English, you can also say that it is like getting blood out of a turnip.



0 The goods have to be returned to their rightful owner and getting money back from the seller is like getting blood from a stone. 0 'You do make it difficult, don't you?' Hebburn said at last. 'It's like getting blood out of a stone.'

• People sometimes vary these expressions, using other verbs instead of 'get'. 0 Congressman James Moran said 'There is no money. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.'



Q make your blood boil someone's blood boils

If you say that something makes your blood boil, you mean that it makes you very angry. When you are very angry about something, you can say that your blood boils.

0 This statement is untrue and makes my blood boil. 0 It makes my blood boil. He doesn't like the players yet he's always trying to interfere. 0 My




blood boiled, but I tried to answer as simply and directly as possible.

l^IOIEJ In medieval time5, some people believed that certain emotions changed the temperature of the blood.


make your blood run cold make your blood freeze

If you say that something makes your blood run cold or makes your blood freeze, you mean that it frightens or shocks you a great deal. When you are extremely frightened or shocked, you can say that your blood runs cold or your blood freezes [LITERARY]


O The rage in his eyes made her blood run cold. 0 It makes my blood run cold to think what this poor, helpless child must have gone through. 0 Then his blood froze. For there in the crowd was the one face he didn't want to see.

• You can use blood-freezing before a noun, to

indicate that something is extremely frightening

or shocking.



0 It's a blood-freezing image of corrupted

innocence.

[NOTE I In medieval times, some people believed that certain emotions changed the temperature of the blood.

0 new blood fresh blood

If you talk about new blood or fresh blood, you

are referring to new people who are brought into a company or organization to make it more efficient, exciting, or innovative. Compare young blood.

I") The group is understood to be looking for a permanent replacement to bring new blood to the role of chief executive, d The ]uly Ministerial reshuffle is a chance to freshen up the government and make way for new blood.

out for blood

If people are out for blood, they intend to attack

someone, or to make them suffer in some other

way.


0 They seem to be out for blood, and they're

attacking everywhere where their enemy is.

scent blood taste blood

In a competitive situation, if you scent blood, you

sense a weakness in your opponent and take advantage of it. If you taste blood, you have a small victory and this encourages you to think that you can defeat your opponent completely. H Right wing parties, scenting blood, have been holding talks aimed at building an alternative coalition. O The real opposition to the Government continues to be its own backbenchers who have now tasted blood for the first time.

• You can also say that someone gets a scent of blood or a taste of blood. O The market has got the scent of blood and, having sniffed it, they are going for it.


sweat blood

You can say that you are sweating blood to

emphasize that you are working very hard to achieve something.

0 I have been sweating blood over the question of



what is right and feasible to do. 0 I sweat blood to write songs with tunes that you can remember.

young blood

If you talk about young blood, you are referring to young people who are brought into a company or organization in order to provide new ideas or new talent. Compare new blood.



0 / left medicine anyway. I wasn't really cut out for it, and the family business was in need of young blood. 0 The selectors have at last shown some bravery and forward thinking and gone for some young blood, fielding a side whose average aqe is just 26.

• You can refer to young people who are full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas as young bloods.



0 Ray Floyd proved he can still compete with the young bloods when he became the oldest winner of the US Open at 43.

blot

a blot on the landscape

If you describe a building or some other structure as a blot on the landscape, you mean that it is very ugly and spoils a place which would otherwise be very attractive.



D The power station is both a blot on the landscape and a smear on the environment. 0 While country churchyards have much to commend them, urban cemeteries, it seemed to me, were blots on the landscape, dank, ugly and with tombstones far gone in decay.

a blot on your escutcheon

If there is a blot on your escutcheon, you have

damaged your reputation by doing something wrong. Other nouns with a similar meaning can be used instead of'blot'. [BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED] 0 For the leaders, this is probably a blip rather than a blot on the escutcheon. (~S Over the past 70 years it is probably true that there has been only one serious stain upon the Conservative Party's escutcheon.

[NOTE] An escutcheon is a shield, especially a heraldic shield displaying a coat of arms.


blow

0 soften the blow cushion the blow

If something softens the blow or cushions the



blow, it makes an unpleasant change or piece of news seem less unpleasant and easier to accept. n Although attempts were made to soften the blow, by reducing what some people had to pay, the tax still met with widespread opposition. O Although it will reduce weekly pay packets by around £50, the firm is offering to cushion the blow with a £4,000 cash handout spread over two years and by guaranteeing jobs and minimum hours.

0 strike a blow for something strike a blow against something

If you strike a blow for something such as a cause or principle, you do something which supports it or makes it more likely to succeed. It you strike a



The symbol 0 shows key idioms




blow against something, you succeed in weakening its harmful effect.

0 If she wins a vote of confidence in parliament, she will become the country's first woman Prime Minister. Her appointment would strike a blow for women's rights in Poland. 0 fohan has struck a blow for equality against an obvious and intolerable anomaly in the law. Cf 'We have struck a major blow against drug dealing and crack manufacture in London,' said Drugs Squad Inspector Richard Woodman.

blows

0 come to blows

If two people come to blows, they disagree so much about something that they start to fight.

0 Two smartly-dressed women came to blows on a crowded commuter train yesterday, throwing rush-hour services into chaos. 0 Some residents nearly came to blows over this proposal.


blue 0 out of the blue

If something happens out of the blue, it happens unexpectedly.

0 Could it be that these people were really unhealthy but just didn 't know about it? Or did the disease really strike out of the blue? 0 Then, out of the blue, a solicitor's letter arrived. 0 Turner's resignation came out of the blue in the aftermath of his team's 3-0 defeat at Portsmouth.

I NOTE I This expression compares an unexpected event to a bolt of lightning from a blue sky. The expressions 'out of a clear blue sky' and 'a bolt from the blue' are based on a similar idea.

bluff

0 call someone's bluff

If someone has made a threat and you call their bluff, you put them in a position in which they would be forced to do what they have been threatening. You do this because you do not really believe that they will carry out their threat.

0 At a meeting with student representatives on October 12, Mr Lukanov warned that he would deal severely with any protest actions in the universities. Now that the students have called his bluff, it remains to be seen what Mr Lukanov can do. C3 The Socialists have finally decided to call the opposition's bluff, and it looks as if they have succeeded. One of the three main opposition parties, the Radicals, have broken ranks by declaring that they would, after all, take part in the electoral contest.

I NOTE | In poker, a player who is bluffing is playing as though they have a strong hand when in fact they have a weak one. If another player calls the first player's bluff, they increase their stake to the required amount and ask the first player to show their cards.

blushes


0 spare someone's blushes save someone's blushes

If someone spares your blushes or saves your blushes, they do something that saves you from an embarrassing situation. [BRITISHJ Li Hundreds of men were spared their blushes yesterday when a court ruled that the names of a prostitute's clients should remain secret. 0



Andy Gray spared Tottenham's blushes last night, scoring a superb goal against Enfield.

حفظ آندي غراي ماء وجه فريق توتينهام بتسجيله هدفاً رائعاً في مرمى أنفيلد.


0 If such a resolution was passed, it would increase the feeling that the Government had lost control. But it would be better to pass it and save the pits and 30,000 miners 'jobs than save the blushes of a politically bankrupt Government.

board

0 above board

If you describe a situation or business as above board, you mean that it is honest and legal. n If you are caught out in anything not strictly above board, you may find yourself having to provide the taxman with old bank statements and proofs of income going back years. 0 I have never taken a penny of any of the money we've raised for the ministry. And anyone who wants to inspect our books can see for themselves that we are totally above board. 0 // this export had been conducted in an honest and above-board fashion, the defendants would have had no difficulty in reclaiming VAT paid on the gold. inqtei This expression comes from card games in which players place their bets on a board or table. Anything that takes place under the table is likely to be against the rules, whereas actions above the table, where other players can see them, are probably fair.


0 across the board

If a policy or development applies across the


board, it applies equally to all the people or areas

of business connected with it.

l") It seems that across the board all shops have cut

back on staff. H The compromise proposal reduces

funding across the board for community

development grants, student loans, mass transit

and summer schools.

You can also talk about an across-the-board

policy or development.

0 There is an across-the-board increase in the

amount of meat eaten by children.

[NOTE] This was originally an American

expression which was used in horse racing. If

someone bet across the board, they bet on a horse

to win or to come second, third, or fourth.

0 back to the drawing board

If you say that you will have to go back to the drawing board, you mean that something which you have done has not been successful and you will have to start again or try another idea. C") His government should go back to the drawing board to rethink their programme in time to return it to the Parliament by September. O Failing to win means going back to the drawing board, identifying shortcomings and attempting to improve on them.



The symbol 0 shows key idioms




(MOTEi Drawing boards are large flat boards, on which designers or architects place their paper when drawing plans or designs.

go by the board go by the boards

If a plan or activity goes by the board or goes by


the boards, it is abandoned and forgotten, because it is no longer possible to carry it out. 'Go by the board' is used in British English, and 'go by the boards' is used in American English. 0 Although you may have managed to persuade him, while he was at school, to do some constructive revision before examinations, you may find that all your efforts go by the board when he is at university. O / think we probably all forget that President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. There were a lot of civil rights went by the boards.

[NOTE] To go by the board' originally meant to fall or be thrown over the side of a ship.




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