Home  »  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases  »  To get a cup to To miss

W.C. Hazlitt, comp. English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. 1907.

To get a cup to To miss

To get a cup.
To be drunk. “Come Mr. Holliard, so full of discourse and Latin, that I think he hath got a cup, but I do not know.”—Pepys, Oct. 18, 1663.

To get an inkling of a thing.
Audire quasi per nebulam.—Plaut.

To get by a thing, as Dickson did by his distress.

To get out of one mire to run into another.

To get out of the way of the waggon. Dorset.
i.e., To be off; to go one’s way.

To get over the shoulders.

To give a reason for fancy were to weigh the fire and measure the wind.

To give always there is never no end. W.

To give and keep there is no need of wit.

To give and to have / doth a wise brain crave.

To give one a cast of his office.

To give one a mouthful of moonshine.

To give one a slap with the fox’s tail.
i.e., To cozen or defraud one.—R.

To give one as good as he brings.

To give one his or her supper.
In Arden of Faversham, 1592, ed. Bullen, 89, Mistress Arden says: “You haue giuen me my supper with his sight.”

To give one the dog to hold.

To give one the go-by.

To give one the sack, the canvas, or the congo.
The phrase at present is, to give the sack, i.e., to dismiss. To give the congo, is used in Derbyshire.

To give one tint for tant. WALKER.
Apparently a corruption of tant pour tant. Gascoigne, in the Adventures of Master F. I. (Works, by Hazlitt, i. 463), says tip for tap.

To give one’s head for the washing.
Or, as it sometimes is put, one’s beard for the polling. The sense is, not to part with anything altogether under its value. So Fletcher:

  • “First Citizen.And so am I, and forty more good fellows,
  • That will not give their heads for the washing, I take it.”
  • Cupids Revenge, 1615 (Dyce’s B. and F., ii. 427). Butler employs the phrase in his Hudibras, 1663; see Nares (Glossary, ed. 1859, art. Head).

    To give the wolf the wether to keep. R. 1670.

    To give up the ghost.
    Coryat, speaking of a place in Cleveland or Cleves, where he arrived at night, refers to his satisfaction in procuring quarters, “for we were all most miserably weather-beaten and cold, especially I for mine own part, who was almost ready to give up the ghost through cold.”—Crudities, 1611, ed. 1776, iii. 60.

    To go a high lone. WALKER (1672).
    By himself; without hold; to stand on his own legs.—W.

    To go a snail’s gallop.

    To go as if dead lice dropped off from you.
    Applicable to a person in an extreme state of debility.

    To go as if nine men pulled you, / and ten men held you.

    To go at shack. Norfolk and Suffolk.
    To go at liberty, shack being the term applied to liberty of pasturage and pannage in winter.

    To go blow one’s flute.
    Vox Populi, Vox Dei (circa 1547), in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iii. 284:

  • “When thei have any sute,
  • Thei maye goo blowe their flute,
  • This goithe the common brute.”
  • We now say, to go and whistle.

    To go down the wind.

    To go like a cat upon a hot bake-stone.

    To go on a pig to Putney.
    A jocular saying, still well understood, but of uncertain origin. It is not unusual, if a person says he is going to Putney, to say, “What, on a pig.” I have heard it said that the old hoys that plied up the river carried signs at the prow and that one of them was a pig. Perhaps it was the best remembered. “Go to Putney!” is also used in various parts of a satirical rejoinder. I do not know whether the commencing line of an Anglo Latin doggerel: “Tres milites ibant ad Putney” mentioned by a friend, and of which he recollected no more, has any connection with this phrase.

    To go out like a snuff.

    To go rabbit-hunting with a dead ferret.

    To go round by Robin Hood’s barn.

    To go the whole hog.
    This saying may have an alliance with that applied to the early Germans, who at certain festive seasons were described as “striking a swinish hour.”

    To go through fire and water to serve one.
    Probably from the two sorts of ordeal by fire and water.—R.

    To go through-stitch with a business.

    To go to heaven in a feather-bed.
    Non est e terris mollis ad astra via.—R.

    To go to heaven in a wheelbarrow.
    Comp. Davis, Suppl. Gloss., 1881, p. 719.

    To go to sheep wash.
    This seems to be used in the sense of going to pot, as we say, in A Chronicle of London, 1089–1483, 4o., 1827, p. 112, under 1423–4:—“but the moste vengeaunce fell upon the proude Scottes; for there wente to schep wassh of them the same day mo thanne xvijc.—”

    To go to Skellig.
    See N. and Q., 1st S., vi. 553. The Skellig is a group of rocks on the S. W. coast of Ireland, to which the “unmarried folks of both sexes are said to go in pairs to do penance during Lent, when, in the Popish Church, no marriages are solemnised.”

    To go to the ground of a matter. CL.

    To go to the pot or to pot.
    Compare To come to the pot, supra.

    To go westward.
    i.e., To Tyburn. Day’s Blind-Beggar of Bednal Green, 1659, ed. Bullen, 57.

    To graft crab with crab.
    Collier’s Roxburghe Ballads, 1847, p. 136.

    To graze on the plain. HE.
    Said of any one who is cast adrift or turned out of doors.

    To grease one’s boots.

    To grease one’s hand.
    Conflict of Conscience, 1581, edit. 1851, p. 30. The sense is identical with what we now say, To grease a man on the fist, i.e., to bribe him.

    To grease the fat sow.

    To give to people already rich.

    To grin like a Cheshire cat.
    The most reasonable solution of this phrase seems to me to be that given in N. and Q., 1st S., v. 402. Another version is: Grinning like a Cheshire cat chewing gravel, in Lancashire Legends, 1873, p. 194.

    To grissle over daisy-moors. East Cornwall.
    To be near death. The origin of the phrase is not at present very clear. To grissle is used in Cornwall in the sense of to look very serious; adj. grisly, surly, out of temper. To turn up your toes to the daisy-roots, is a phrase used in the same part of the country for to take a nap.

    To handle without mittens.

    To hang a padlock on the door.
    Comp. Away went Pilgarlick, supra.

    To hang one’s ears.

    To hang the bell round the cat’s neck. HE.

    To hang up the hatchet. HE.
    The North American Indians bury the hatchet in the same sense.

    To harp upon the same string.

  • “———Citharædus ridetur, chordâ qui semper oberrat eâdem.”
  • —Horat. Epist. ad Pisones.
  • To have a breeze in his breech.
    Spoken of one that frisks about and cannot rest in a place.—R.

    To have a colt’s-tooth in one’s head.
    As is usually spoken of an old man that is wanton and petulant.—R.

    To have a finger in the pie.
    “But to furnish every new Invention of Isaak Walton, Author (as you may read) of the Compleat Angler, who industriously has taken care to provide a good Cook (supposing his Wife had a Finger in the Py), which will necessarily be wanting in our Northern Expedition.”—Franck’s Northern Memoirs, 1694, p. 49.

    To have a man’s head under one’s girdle. HE.

    To have a month’s mind to a thing.
    See my Faiths and Folklore, 1905, p. 415.

    To have a shoulder of mutton for a sheep’s head.

    To have a stomach, and lack meat: to have meat and lack a stomach: to lie in bed, and cannot rest: are great miseries. C.

    To have a two-legged tympany.
    i.e., To be with child.—R.

    To have a wolf by the ears. WALKER (1672).
    Lupum auribus tenere. When a man hath a doubtful business in hand, which it is equally hazardous to pursue or give over, as it is to hold or let go a wolf which one hath by the ears.—R.

    To have an aching tooth at one.

    To have an eye to the main-chance.
    Three Ladies of London, 1584, ed. 1851, p. 219.

    To have an M. under your girdle.
    To treat a person with proper respect, to call him Master So-and-so. Haughton’s Englishmen for my Money, 1616 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, x. 531). “There is a Creole proverb: ‘Deier chein cé chein; douvant chein, cé missire chein.’ Behind dog’s back, it is dog; but before dog it is Master dog.”—Dr. Furnivall, quoting J. J. Thomas’s Creole Grammar. In Udall’s Ralph Roister Doister (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. 108) Ralph asks Merrygreek: “Ne’er a master by your girdle?”

    To have an oar in every man’s barge. HE.

  • “Fyre in one hande, and water in the tother,
  • The makebate beareth betweene brother and brother.
  • She can wynke on the yew, and wery the lam,
  • She maketh earnest matters of euery flym-flam.
  • She must haue an ore in euery mans barge.”—Heywood.
  • See Harvey’s Trimming of Thomas Nashe Gentleman, 1597, sign. D 2.

    To have crotchets in one’s crown.

    To have his hands full.

    To have his head full of proclamations.

    To have January chicks.

    To have many irons in the fire. HOWELL.
    Dr. Johnson’s reply to the person, who brought him a MS. to read, and said he had other irons in the fire, was that he had better put that one, where the others were. Coryat has the expression. Traveller for the English Wits, 1616, p. 30.

    To have more reasons than one, like the Mayor of Orleans.
    The Mayor’s first reason appears to have been that he knew nothing of the matter. The saying occurs in one of Walpole’s Letters.

    To have nothing but one’s labour for one’s pains.
    Avoir l’aller pour le venir.—Fr.

    To have on the petticoat.

  • “[Ragan].Nay, I thought ever it would come to such a pass,
  • Since he sold his heritage like a very ass.
  • But in faith some of them, I dare jeopard a groat,
  • If he may reach them will have on the petticoat.”
  • History of Jacob and Esau, 1568 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ii. 252).
  • To have one.
    i.e., To take one’s meaning aright.
    “I knowe not how to haue thee, thou art so variable.”—Three Ladies of London, 1584, edit. 1851, p. 204.

    To have one in the wind. HE.

    To have one on the hip. HE.
    Or, on the bridle, ibid. Sir Thomas More, a play (circa 1590), ed. Dyce, 25. The phrase also occurs in Fletcher’s Bonduca, v. sc. 2; and Mr. Dyce (Works of B. and F., v. p. 91 Note) cites Merchant of Venice and Othello for it. The passage in the former drama, where it is put into the mouth of Shylock, is indeed too familiar to bear quotation.

    To have one’s hand on one’s halfpenny. HE.

    To have (or give) therefore.
    Jack Juggler (about 1563), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. 150. Equivalent to the modern saying, “To have what for.”

    To have rods in pickle for one.
    Comp. Nares’ Glossary, 1859, p. 400.

    To have the bent of one’s bow.

    To have the better end of the staff.

    To have the hands [advantage] of one. E. Anglia.

    To have the law in one’s own hand.

    To have the length of a man’s foot.

    To have the whip-hand.

    To have the world in a string.

    To have the wrong sow by the ear. HE.*
    One of the Mery Tales and Quicke Answeres (circa 1540) turns upon this saying. There is also a modern jest formed from it. Henry VIII., in referring to Cranmer in 1528 in relation to the divorce of Catherine of Arragon, is said to have observed, that the future Archbishop “had the sow by the right ear.” Keightley’s History of England, 1857, i. 353. There is the early pleasantry of the man who, desiring to please Queen Elizabeth in a case, where some one had been seeking to overreach her highness, remarked to her, that the individual had the wrong sow by the ear.

    To have two irons in the fire.
    The Faithful Friends, by F. Beaumont (Dyce’s B. and F., iv. p. 211). Blacksnout, the “horseshoe maker,” there says:

  • “It is always good,
  • When a man has two irons in the fire;
  • We seldom have two cold doings”—
  • To have two strings to one’s bow.
    Letter of 1567 printed in the Antiquary, xi. 264. Il fait bien avoir deux cordes en son arc. Fr.

    To have windmills in his head.

    To hear as hogs do in harvest [or with your harvest ears]. R. 1670.

    To heave and theave. Somerset.
    The labouring husbandman.—R.

    To help at a dead lift.

    To him that hath lost his taste, sweet is sour.

    To him that will, ways are not wanting. H.

    To him that you tell your secret, you resign your liberty.

    To hit over the thumbs. HE.

    To hit the bird on the eye.

    To hit the nail on the head.
    Rem acu tetigisti.—Plaut. Title of a lost drama mentioned in the play of Sir Thomas More (circa 1590).

  • “The common proverb, as it is read,
  • That we should hit the nayle o’ the head,
  • Without the Blacksmith cannot be said,
  • Wit Restor’d, 1658.
  • In Sir Eger (Hazlitt’s Pop. Scot. Poetry, ii. 149, we have: “I strake the nail upon the head.”

    To hold by St. Luke’s horn.
    The Three Ladies of London, 1584 (Collier’s Five Old Plays, 1851, p. 182).

    To hold by the apron-strings. HE.
    i.e., In right of his wife.—R. To be tied by the apron-strings means with us now to be domineered over by one’s wife or one’s mother.

    To hold one’s nose to the grindstone. HE.

    To hop against the hill.
    To strive against an insurmountable obstacle. See Gascoigne’s Poems, by Hazlitt, i. 431, &c.

    To hop to Rome with a mortar on one’s head.
    Kempe’s Nine Daies Wonders, 1600. See Dyce’s Middleton, iv. 135; but the meaning is not even there satisfactorily established. Clarke (Parœm., 1639) has: “You’d as soon run to Rome with a mortar on your head.”

    To hug one as the devil hugs a witch.

    To it again, nobody comes.
    Nemo nos insequitur aut impellit.—Erasmus è Platone; who tells us that this proverb continues to this day in common use (among the Dutch, I suppose) to signify that it is free for us to stay upon any business [immorari in re aliqua].—R.

    To jump at it like a cock at a gooseberry [or blackberry].
    Spoken of one that desires and endeavours to do harm, but cannot.—R.

    To keep a good tongue in one’s head.
    Nobody and Somebody (1606), sign. C 2 verso.

    To keep a house in Pimlico. Devonshire, &c.
    i.e., To keep it neat or trim. Pimlico is said to have been the name of a tavern-keeper at Hoxton, celebrated for his orderly habits. Compare ’Tis a mad world, &c.

    To keep Bayard in the stable. HE.*

    To keep somewhat for a rainy day.
    Breton’s Court and Country, 1618 (Roxb. Lib., repr. p. 184).

    To keep the cat from the tongs.
    i.e., To stop at home in idleness. It is said contemptuously of a youth who remains with his family, when others go to the wars abroad, in A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Servingmen, 1598, Roxb. Lib., repr. p. 161.

    To keep the wolf from the door. HE.
    “To stave the wolf from off the door” is the form used by Martin Parker in “The King and a Poor Northern Man,” 1640.
    “These considerations inclined him to look out for a suitable match. And, to say truth, his constitution required it as much as any man’s whatever; but, being excessive modest, and by resolution virtuous, he was solicitous and ardent in the pursuit of it, and not a little encouraged by a manifest feeling he had of success in his profession, which dismissed all fears of the lean wolf.”—North’s Life of the Lord Keeper Guilford, ed. 1826, p. 155. The expression also occurs in the ballad of the Plain-dealing Man (Rimbault’s Little Book of Ballads, 1851, p. 207.)

    To kick against the pricks.
    Dar coces contra el aguijon.—Span.

    Tn kick the beam.

    To kick the bucket.
    That is to say, to die.

    To kick the wind.
    i.e., To be hanged.—R.

    To kill a man with a cushion.

    To kill the goose with the golden eggs.
    To sacrifice a permanent for a temporary advantage. To live on capital.

    To kill two birds with one shaft [or stone].
    D’une pierre faire deux coups. Fr.

    To kill two flies with one flap.

    To kill with kindness.
    T. Heywood published in 1607 his comedy entitled A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse.

    To kiss a man’s wife, or wipe his knife, is but a thankless office. CL.

    To kiss the Counter [or the Fleet]. C.
    i.e., To go to prison. Guilpin’s Skialetheia, 1598, repr. 1867, p. 41.

    To kiss the hare’s foot.
    See Nares’ Glossary, 1859, p. 485.

    To kiss the post.
    i.e., To be whipped. Skelton’s Phylyp Sparowe (circa 1520); Heywood’s Edward IV., 1600, Sh. Soc. ed., p. 47.

    To know a B from a battledore.
    See Nares’ Glossary, 1859, v. B., where the original explanation seems preferable.

    To know chalk from cheese.
    Luke Shepherd’s John Bon and Mast. Person (1551), Hazlitt’s P. P., iv. p. 15:

  • “For thoughe I haue no learning, yet I know chese from chalke.”
  • But a writer in the Times (see Biography and Criticism, 1860, p. 240) refers this saying to the difference between the two parts of Wiltshire. The saying there is “its two divisions are as different as chalk from cheese.” The expression may be very applicable, but I doubt much whether it thus originated.

    To know one as well as a beggar knows his bag. HE.

    To know one from a black sheep.

    To know which way the wind blows. HE.

    To laugh in one’s face and cut his throat.
    As bottled ale is said to do. Da una banda m’ onge, da l’ altra me ponge. Ital.—R.

    To laugh in one’s sleeve. HE.*

    To lay a thing in one’s dish.

    To lay her in a lambskin. HE.

  • “Ye must obey those lambs, or els a lambs skyn
  • Ye will prouyde for hir, to lap her in.”—Heywood.
  • This passage and phrase form a curious illustration of the old poem of the Wyfe lapped in Morels skyn (circa 1570).

    To lay the saddle on the right horse.
    17th cent. Antiquary, 1889, p. 243.

    To lay the stool’s foot in water. E. Anglia.
    See Forby’s Vocab., 1830, p. 433.

    To lead apes in hell.

  • “Theres an old graue prouerbe tels vs, that,
  • Such as dye Mayds do all lead apes in Hell.”—Davies.
  • It is cited by Shirley in his School of Compliment, 1631, but written in or before 1625.

    To lead one a dance.
    Life of B. M. Carew, 1745, p. 93.

    To lead one by the nose.
    Menar uno per il naso. Ital. [Greek]. This is an ancient Greek proverb. Erasmus saith the metaphor is taken from buffaloes, who are led and guided by a ring put in one of their nostrils, as I have often seen in Italy: so we in England are wont to lead bears.—R.

    To leap at a whiting. HE.*
    Marriage of Wit and Science (1570).

    To leap like a hobby-horse.
    Grim the Collier of Croydon (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, viii. 415).

    To leave a shoulder of mutton for a sheep’s head.

    To leave boy’s play and fall to blow-point. CL.
    Fuller, in his Gnomologia, 1732, has: Leave boy’s play and go to Pushpin; which may be thought by some to have more than one meaning.

    To leave no stone unturned.

    To leave one in the briars.

    To leave one in the lurch.

    To leave one in the suds.

    To leave the key under the door.

  • “On Saturday the windes did seeme to cease,
  • And brawling Seas began to hold their peace,
  • When we (like Tenants) beggerly and poore,
  • Decreed to leaue the Key beneath the doore,
  • But that our Land-lord did that shift preuent,
  • Who came in pudding time, and tooke his Rent.”
  • Taylors Discovery by Sea from London to Salisbury, by John Taylor, 1623. “Gommershall, the mercer of Temple Barre, with the faire wife, hath laide the key under the doore, and is become banckrupt.”—Chamberlain’s Letters, ed. 1861, p. 156; letter dated 15 Oct., 1602. Stevenson, in his Poems, 1665, p. 3, has a copy of verses “Vpon one Mr. Day, at the Sign of the Horse-Shoue, that laid the Key under the Door and outran, or rather ran out his Landlord.”

    To let leap a whiting.
    i.e., To let slip an opportunity.—R.

    To let the cat out of the bag.
    Does this saying originate in the old story of the man, who took money from people for exhibiting a cherry-coloured cat, and when his company was complete, let a black one out of a bag, meeting their remonstrances by observing that cherries were black as well as red.

    To lick honey through a cleft stick.

    To lick it up like Lymon hay. Cheshire.
    Lim is a village on the river Mersey, that parts Cheshire and Lancashire [not far from Manchester], where the best hay is gotten.—R.

    To lick one’s self whole again.

    To lie as fast as a dog can lick a dish.

    To lie at rack and manger.
    i.e., To live prodigally. See Old English Jest Books, iii. (Conc. of Old Hobson, p. 23). The phrase is met with, as there shown, in the Schole-house of Women, 1541. The Yorkshire phrase is, To lie at heck and manger.”—Carr’s Dialect of Craven, i. p. 218, ed. 1828.

    To lie in bed and forecast.

    To lie like a lapwing.
    Sir Gyles Goosecappe Knight, a comedy, 1606, sign. A 3.

    To live on bread and point.
    i.e., on bread only. A piece of rustic jocularity, because ploughmen and farm-servants are supposed to live by eating the bread and pointing to the bacon hanging from the ceiling.

    To look a strained hair in a can. Cheshire.

    To look as big as bull-beef. WALKER.

    To look as if butter would not melt in one’s mouth. HE.
    “She looked as if butter would not melt in her mouth; but cheese would not have choked her.”—Forby’s Vocab., 1830, p. 428.

    To look as if he had eaten his bed straw.

    To look down as if one were seeking a rabbit’s nest.
    Breton’s Court and Country, 1618 (Roxb. Lib., repr. 199).

    To look for a needle in a bottle of hay.
    Three Lords and Three Ladies of London, 1590 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vi.); Field’s A Woman’s a Weathercock, 1612, repr. 20; Davenports City Nightcap (1624), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 143. A bottle (Fr. boteau) is a bundle of hay tied up to feed cattle. The notion seems to be in Hans in Luck in Grimm.

    To look like a dog that has lost his tail.

    To look like a drowned mouse.

    To look like the picture of ill-luck.

    To look nine ways for Sundays.
    i.e., To squint. Witts Recreations, 1640 (repr. 1817, p. 168). “He was born in the middle of the week, and looked baath ways for Sunday.”—Carr’s Dialect of Craven, 1828. The faculty of turning the eyes in opposite points or different directions is given only to that singular creature, the chameleon, of which the French say, that it could look into Champagne and see Picardy in flames.

    To look or see through a millstone.
    To be sharp-sighted.

    To look over one, as the devil looked over Lincoln. HE.
    Ray thought that this saying took its rise from a small image of the devil standing on the top of Lincoln College in Oxford. A similar one, however, is over one of the doors of the cathedral at Lincoln; it is a small figure, seated, and nursing one leg, and it literally looks over Lincoln, which lies below. There may, at the same time, have been an eye to the Herefordshire word overlook = bewitch. Lewis’s Herefordshire Glossary, 1839, p. 76. The old saying was, “The Divell lookes over Lincolne, but we defie the moth-eaten proverbe, and hope one way or other, that Lincolne shall over looke the Divell.”—The English Post from severall partes of this Kingdome, 1642, p. 4. The writer of Cataplus, 1672, a burlesque on the sixth book of the Æneid, says of Dido, when Æneas meets with her in Erebus:

  • “But she with choler from within swoln,
  • Lookt as the Devil lookt over Lincoln.”
  • To look pearl in mud.
    Davenport’s City Nightcap (written before 1624), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 192.

    To look through one’s fingers.
    i.e., To wink at a fault or offence. “The marchant goes me home and sharpes his woodknife, and comes a gaine, and knockes him on ye head and killes hym, thei yt told me yt tale sai it is winked at, thei loke thorow ther fyngers, and will not se it.”—Latimer’s Fifth Sermon before Edward VI., 1549, ed. Arber, p. 152.

    To look to one’s water.
    A not very delicate phrase, redolent of the ancient Galenic school of medicine, which relied largely on tests connected with the human water.

    To love at the door and leave at the hatch.

    To love it as a dog loves a whip.

    To love it as the cat loves mustard.

    To lug the sow’s ear.
    Apparently used in the sense of, to remind, in a letter from Anne of Denmark to Sir George Villiers, printed by Ellis, 1st S., iii. 101.

    To make a bridge of one’s nose.
    i.e., To intercept one’s trencher, cup, or the like; or to offer or pretend to do kindnesses to one, and then pass him by, and do it to another; to lay hold upon and serve himself of that which was intended for another.—R.

    To make a cross on anything. HE.
    i.e., To note it as a lucky circumstance. We at present are accustomed to say in the same sense, “To mark with a white cross.”

    To make a hog or dog of a thing.

    To make a hole in the water.
    i.e., To fall into it.—R.

    To make a long harvest of a little corn.

    To make a meal of one.
    To get some advantage out of one. Life and Adventures of B. M. Carew, 1745, p. 94.

    To make a mountain of a molehill.
    Ellis’s Orig. Letters, 2nd S., i. p. 312.

    To make a nose of wax.
    Compare A nose of wax, supra, and see Miss Baker’s Northampt. Glossary, v. Nose (2).

    To make a spoon or spoil a horn.
    i.e., So-and-So is qualified to discharge a duty, or, at all events, to make a great mistake in it. At the time when spoons were formed of horn, the horn was spoiled unless great care was bestowed in the earlier processes.

    To make bones.
    To scruple. We say now commonly, to make no bones of doing so and so. The first-quoted form occurs in Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575.

    To make both ends meet. WALKER.
    To bring buckle and thong together.—R.

    To make ducks and drakes.
    Timon, a play (circa 1590), ed. Dyce, p. 91.

    To make fair weather of altogethers.
    Fox’s Book of Martyrs, quoted in Hazlitt’s Shakespear’s Library, 1875, Part 1. iv., 110. “And with that every man caught him [Cranmer] by the hand, and made faire weather of altogethers, which might easilie be done with that man.”

    To make hay while the sun shines.

  • “Say I should yield and grant your love,
  • When most you did expect a sun-shine day,
  • My father’s will would mar your look’d for hay.”
  • Wily Beguiled, 1606 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ix. 299).
  • To make one a stalking horse.

    To make one’s beard.
    This expression occurs on the title-page of the Boke of Mayd Emlyn (about 1540) in the sense of making a man a cuckold.

    To make, or have a spurt.

  • “You may have a spurt amongst them now and then—”
  • Lusty Juventus, about 1570 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ii. 72).
  • To make orts of good hay. R. 1670.

    To make the worse appear the better reason.

    To make two friends with one gift.

    To make up one’s mouth.

  • “According to the proverb olde,
  • My mouth I wil up make;
  • Now it dooth lye all in my hand,
  • To leave or els to take.”
  • Preston’s Cambyses (circa 1570), Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iv. 115.
  • To make woof or warp of any business.

    To mark with a white stone.
    To distinguish by reason of some good fortune. The idea is in Catullus, lxuiii. 147.

    To measure his cloth by another’s yard.

    To measure the meat by the man.
    i.e., The message by the messenger.—R.

    To meet just in the midway, as tilters do.
    Day’s Ile of Gvls, 1606, ed. Bullen, 76.

    To meet with one.
    To be even with one. “I know the old man’s gone to meet with an old wench, that will meet with him.” Rowley’s Match at Midnight, 1633 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiii. 62).

    To melt in one’s own grease.
    To be worried by one’s own thoughts or passions. “The sisters being thus on all sides reiected, and yet perceiuing more & more an vnseemelye behauiour betweene their sister and hir minion, began to melt in their owne grease.”—Gascoigne’s Adventures of Master F. I. (Poems, by Hazlitt, i. 474). But see the note, ibid., ii. 350. The same writer employs in the same sense (ibid. 475) the phrase, “to drinke up his own sweat.”

    To miss the cushion. HE.
    To miss the mark. See Nares, ed. 1859, in v. Cushion. Aberrare a scopo; non attingere scopum; or, extra scopum jaculare.—R.