As easy as ABC; as easy as winking; as easy as shelling peas
are similarly used.
"Easy as shelling peas, " he kept telling himself.
"Easy as winking. And a cool fifty at the end of
it." (N. C.)
He found the job they had given him as easy as
shelling peas. (K. H.)
"Well, it's as easy as ABC, " she said. (A. Chr.)
Plain sailingis colloquial for clear and straight course; freedom from difficulties, obstacles; it's all plain sailing now(difficulties are overcome).
The case was comparatively plain sailing. (S. M.)
After we engaged a guide everything was plain sailing. (A. H.)
Verbal phrases connected with the idea of easiness are: to take something in one's stride— to do it easily; to do it without any special effort
How d'you like the old car now? I've lengthened her a good two feet. Isn't she grand? Mind you, there's still a little bother with the gearbox.
We didn't quite take the hill in our stride, as
ye might say! (A. C.)
"Boche patrols all over!" "Two armored cars!"
Mantin took the news in his stride. He seemed
to know what was up. (S. H.)
They could not take their luck in their stride.
to waltz(romp) through (an examination)— to do it with ease
He waltzed through his examinations. (W. B.)
Other phrases similarly used are: I can do it blindfold; I can do it standing on my head; I can do it with my hands tied behind my back,all meaning I can do it quite easily, without efforts.
He can do it standing on his head. (W. B.)
a walk-over— an easy victory; a complete and easy victory in a competition.
"How were the Finals?"
Bill grinned. "Oh, them, " he said. "They're jam.
They're a walk-over." (N. C.)
They had a walk-over in the men's doubles
To have an easy victory is to win hands down.
Bickering. Oh, come! the garden party was frightfully exciting. My heart began beating like anything.
Higgins. Yes, for the first three minutes. But when I saw we were going to win hands down, I felt like a bear in a cage, hanging about doing nothing. (B. Sh.)
He won all his money hands down. (K. H.) You can leave all the rest to me — it's all over but the shouting, and we win hands down. (J. F.)
Colloquial phrases that serve to correct a misapprehension about the ease and comfort of something (a job, etc.) are: it's not all beer and skittles; it's not all lavender —it's
not all pleasure, comfort and ease
An editor's job is not all beer and skittles. (W. B.) An entertainer's life is not all beer and skittles (W. B.) It's not all lavender being a queen. (D. E. S.)
it's no picnic — it's not easy; it's not an easy and
A proverb on the same lines:
Life is not all beer and skittles. (Life contains trouble as
well as pleasures and one should expect to meet difficulties
in life as well as easy times.)
PROGRESS, ACHIEVEMENT, SUCCESS
Progress and success in the affairs of life may be expressed by these colloquial phrases:
to make good — to succeed in spite of obstacles; to make a success of things
Well, I made good in the end, didn't I, and there's a little token to remember it by. (J. M.) I had been employed in one business and another quite a good few years, more years than I cared to look back upon; and yet I hadn't made good. I hadn't made good, and I knew I hadn't made good, and sometimes this knowledge that I hadn't made good made me feel bad. (S. L.) What if he didn't make good? (M. W.) If he doesn't make good, sack him. (A. Chr.) ... but they couldn't deny he had made good (S. M.)
to get on (very well) —to progress with one's profession or business; to make a success of things; to prosper
When I had first entered the great houses in
which she was brought up, I had been a poor young
man determined to get on. (C. S.)
You talk as if I was some kind of dirty crook.
I only want to get on. (A. C.)
"How will you get on without a team?" Roy said
"I won't get on, unless you give me a hand."
But Herbert got on very well at school. He was
a good worker and far from stupid. His reports
were excellent. (S. M.)
"How have you been getting on?" "All right, "
she said regarding him. (H. W.)
to shape well — to give promise of success
Our plans are shaping well. (A. H.)
"Well hit, Harris!" shouted Bonover, and began
to clap his hands. "Well hit, sir." "Harris shapes
very well, " said Mr. Lewisham. (H. W.)
It would be best of Irene to come quietly to us at
Robin Hill, and see how things shape. (J. G.)
to make out (Amer.) — to get along; to succeed
Well, if it ain't old Barnacle Bill back from the sea! How are you making out, Dad? (J. M.)
A person who is successful in life through one's own efforts is said to be self-made.
He was a success himself and proud of it. He was
self-made. No one had helped him. He owed to no
man. (J. L.)
I said I was a self-made man; and I am not
ashamed of it. (B. Sh.)
Pretty well this, for a self-made man. (Ch. D.)
The idea of achievement or success is also contained in the following phrases in common use:
to make it — ultimately succeed (frequently applied to a punctual arrival)
There you are, Edgar. I thought I wouldn't make it
in time. (A. Chr.)
The list of examinations which stood between
Erik and degree was made even more formidable
by Maxwell's quiet recitation. "Some fellows
make it, and others don't. It depends on what you
"I want to make it, " said Erik simply. (M. W.)
The train leaves at 7.25; can we make it? (reach
the station in time to catch it) (A. H.)
to pull (bring) off something — to bring to a successful conclusion; to succeed in a plan, in winning something, etc. Also: to pull it off and bring it down.
He said: "I hope I can pull it off."
"You've got to pull it off, " his partner said.
That's a large order, and it may take us a long
time, but we'll pull it off. (M. W.)
"Well, look here, " Tom went on, "I've got an
idea and it's a big thing. If we can pull it off
and bring it down, I believe we can put it over."
"You ought to bring off something, " she teased me,
"with your automatic competence." (C. S.)
Inever made up my mind to do a thing yet that
I didn't bring it off. (B. Sh.)
"I must say, " she cried, "I should like to bring off
something for him." (C. S.)
to do the trick — to achieve one's object
You don't need million volts. Perhaps a quarter would do the trick. (M. W.) Ithink I've done the trick this time. I just gave them a bit of straight talk and it went home.
Be careful. Say nothing. Get outside men to do the trick. (F. H.)
"It wouldn't have done any good, " I said. "It would have done the trick." (C. S.)
to come off— to succeed; to reach a satisfactory end
The work's come off pretty well all things considered. (C. S.)
He sat very still without replying. What's the matter, Erik, didn't the conference come off? Can't the experiment be made practical? (M. W.)
Brilliant success may be described thus: to come off (through) with flying colours —to make a great success of something; to emerge from an affair with honour and success
At the recent examinations, Peter came off with
flying colours. (W. M.)
The Tottenham Hotspurs are a very good football
team. Last year they came off with flying colours.
I know you have the stuff and that you'll come
through with flying colours one of these days.
Bing, if given the right instructions, would have
come through on this mission with flying colours
and, if necessary, would have brought in Yasha, by
his ear. (S. H.)
to sweep (carry) all (everything) before one —to have complete, uninterrupted success
They carried everything before them. (A. H.) She came to London to do the season, and, by George, she did it. She just swept everything before her. (S. M.)
Robert carried all before him in the school sports, (W. B.)
to make a hit (often to make a great, magnificent, etc., hit)— to be a popular success (generally applied to a performance of some type)
She wrote One-Way-Traffic. I saw it twice. It made a great hit. (A. Chr.)
"I don't believe I could act, Charlie, " Carry went on pettishly. "You don't think I could, do you?" "Sure. Out o'sight. I bet you make a hit." (Th. D.)
Pride in success is described by the phrase:
(it's) a feather in one's cap— (it's) an event to justify
satisfaction and pride.
All the six Smith children have done well —
a feather in old Smith's cap. (D. E. S.)
He won the race, which is another feather in his
cap. (K. H.)
He's a liberal-minded man for sure. It's a feather
in his bonnet right enough. (A. C.)
To achieve two objects with one action is to kill two birds with one stone.
He's an important guy in this country. If I only had known, I would have taken you in with me; we could have killed two birds with one stone. (S. H.)
She doesn't like this at all so she aims to kill two birds with one stone. (P. Ch.)
Confidence in ultimate success or victory may be put in this way: (to be) in thebag — (to be) a virtual certainty; (to be) well in hand. Also: to have something in the bag.
"That meant the majority was in the bag, " said Martin. (C. S.)
"I'm not going to sell you something we haven't got, " said Luke. "It's not in the bag yet." (C. S.) He says if they draft me it's in the bag. (S. H.) I had taken it for granted that Frances Getliffe had the next Mastership in the bag. (C. S.)
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