Common Phrases

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Empty Barrel: Meaning & Origin

empty barrel

You’ve probably heard a baby-boomer or an exasperated elderly person say the phrase, “Empty vessels make more noise.”

Curiosity Killed The Cat: Meaning & Origin


Everyone has heard the phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’ - but what does it mean? What is the significance of this particular phrase? Let’s take a look.

What Does Tis the Season Mean?

christmas bells

Come the end of November, you’re bound to hear the phrase tis the season over and over and see it written practically everywhere. But what does it mean?

What Does Under the Weather Mean?


Has someone ever told you they were feeling under the weather? Did you know what they meant? If you were confused, you wouldn’t be alone.

Patience is a virtue: What’s it mean and how should you use it?


We share the meaning of this popular proverbial phrase and help you learn how to use it correctly when writing and speaking.

Off the hook: What’s it mean and when should you use it?


Has someone told you that a person, place, or thing was “off the hook”? This common idiomatic phrase has at least four different meanings.

Money talks: What’s it mean and when should you use it?


The expression money talks means that wealth is powerful—that money can have a strong influence on people’s decisions.

Ad nauseam: What’s it mean and when should you use it?


The literal Latin translation of ad nauseam—pronounced ad naw-zee-uhm—is “to nausea” or “to sickness.”

Carte blanche: What’s it mean and when should you use it?

white paper

Carte blanche is an idiom that functions as a noun. The phrase was borrowed from the French language, in which it literally translates to “blank document.”