It's all over but (bar) the shouting and the battle's as good

as won also express virtually certain achievement.

You can leave all the rest to me it's all over but the shouting, and we win hands down. (J. F.)

To convert defeat into victory (or success) is to turn the tables (on somebody) to gain a victory or a position of superiority after having been defeated or in a position of inferiority, to change possible defeat into victory.

And what a nuisance I used to think you that miserable little kid Gina. Well, the tables are turned now. You've got me where you want me, haven't you, Gina? (A. Chr.) In an old way, the tables seemed to have been turned. It did not seem as though Lewis Serrocold had come into the room to answer police questioning. (A. Chr.)

The independence of success made its first faint showing. With the tables turned, she was looking down, rather than up to her lover. (Th. D.)

A narrow margin of success, especially escaping disaster (danger, defeat, death, etc.) by a very narrow margin, is expressed thus: to have a narrow squeak (shave); to have a narrow (near) escape to escape from disaster, danger, etc., by a very small margin

I had some narrow squeaks now and then, but

I always came through all right. (S. M.)

She had a near escape before, you remember,

at this very place when that boulder crashed

down ah! (A. Chr.)

Yesterday she had a very narrow escape from

death. (A. Chr.)

It must have been a very near escape. (A. Chr.)

(to be) a near thing (a close thing; a close shave) (tobe)

a very narrow escape

"I see, " said Chaffery; "but it will be a pretty close shave for all that " (H. W.) "It will be a devilish close thing, " said Lewisham with a quite unreasonable exultation. (H. W.)

touch-and-go an extremely narrow margin of safety or time (often used of a serious operation or a dangerous task)

"I congratulate you, " he heard the doctor say; "it was touch and go." (J. G.) I'd no time to think. I just acted like a flash. It was almost exciting. I knew it was touch and go that time. (A. Chr.)

"I'll come with you, " he said. It was touch-and-go for a moment. But Doreen realized that she mustn't lose her temper in front of all these people. (A. Chr.)

It was touch-and-go whether the doctor would get there in time. (A. H.)

Success in escaping punishment is expressed thus: to get away with (it)or to get away with murder to commit an unofficial or illegal act and escape the consequences

"I've been letting you get away with murder!" Willoughby said. "And don't think that I don't know it." "Murder?" Lammlein asked innocently. "That's just an expression. I could have said rape, theft, lies anything." (S. H.) Say you think I could make good now? Otherwise how should I have got away with taking everybody in? (B. R.)

"You damned fool, " she said thickly, "do you think you can treat me as you have done and get away with it?" (A. Chr.)

Some proverbial comments:

Nothing succeeds like success.(One success leads to another.

When one has learned to achieve success it is easy to be

continuously successful.) This is often ironical. Success

often depends on making a good start:

A good beginning is half the battle.(When undertaking

anything new, it is important that you should start with

enthusiasm and energy; then you are more likely to succeed with the next of the undertaking.)

Well begun is half doneexpresses the same idea. (A good beginning makes it easy to finish a piece of work successfully.)


Ruin and decay may be colloquially described thus: to go to the dogs to be ruined; to deteriorate completely

Only England could have produced him, and he always said that the country was going to the dogs. (0. W.)

He began to think that London was no place for a white man. It had just gone to the dogs, that was the long and short of it.... (S. M.) Can't make out how you stand London Society. The thing has gone to the dogs, a lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing. (0. W.) If the country doesn't go to the dogs or the Radicals, we shall have you Prime Minister, some day. (O. W.)

(to be) on its lastlegs (to be) a hopeless state of decay; almost exhausted; about to die

Darling, you must order yourself a new dinner-jacket; yours is on its last legs shoulders rather! (B. R.)

People had grown tired of saying that the "Disunion" was on its last legs. (J. G.) Slash! The whip fell among the dogs savagely especially on the one which had fallen. "Don't, Mason, " Malemute kid begged, "the poor devil's on its last legs." (J. L.)

to go to pieces to break up (physically, mentally or morally)

I suppose you're terribly busy, but honestly, Erik, unless I talk to someone I'll go to pieces. (M. W.)

Then when his wife died about six or seven years ago, he seemed to go all to pieces. (C. D.) After firing the shot, this young man went completely to pieces. (A. Chr.) His nerves had gone to pieces. (A. C.)

To fall to pieces usually expresses physical decay of things.

Tapestries and drapes and chair-covers all satin and brocade and stuff and it's falling to pieces. (A. Chr.) . The old building was falling to pieces. (B. H.)

to go from bad to worse to become ruined

I told him that you've let things slide for long enough. No wonder you're seeing it all go from bad to worse. (C. S.)

It was the end of the good fellowship that had so long obtained between the four fat men. Things went from bad to worse. (S. M.)

to go to pot to become broken, weak or useless; to be discarded as useless (This is slangy.)

Why has prosperity gone to pot? (J. G.)

He shouldn't wonder if the Empire split up and

went to pot. (J. G.)

"Don't you know?" said Walton. "He's gone all

to pot, poor devil." (S. M.)

to go to the bad to deteriorate completely; to be ruined; to become of depraved character; to associate with evil companions

If you make idle, dissipated people your companions, you are sure to go to the bad. (W. M.)

if the worst comes to the worst if things are as bad as they can possibly be

If the worst comes to the worst, the Master will

have to make it up. (C. S.)

Even if worst comes to worst, I've got enough to

live on for six months. (Th. D.)

In my opinion, it will pass over. And if the worst

comes to the worst it couldn't last more than

a few months, a very few months, a very few

months. (S. B.)

(to be) done for (to be) ruined; worn out or beyond further use; injured, etc.

I'm afraid the shoes are done for; throw them

away. (A. H.)

It's quite useless, " said Elizabeth; "He's done

for. He'll never be able to recover." (R. A.)

Irealized that I felt finished and done for. (J. P.)

The country's done for. (i. e. ruined) (A. H.)

(to be) all up (all U. P.) (to be) finished; the worst has happened

"What's the use?" he thought. "It's all up with me. I'll quit this." (Th. D.) It's all up with him. (i. e. his case is hopeless) (A. H.)

the last straw the event or blow under which one finally collapses; a slight addition to a burden, task, hardship, etc. which makes it unbearable (Out of the proverb: The last straw breaks the camel's back.)

"My God!" Andrew said, trying out his numb fingers. "That was the last straw." (A. C.) If I were a parishioner, she would be visiting me, which would be the last straw. (C. S.) "Well, you are a thief and a blackguard." It had been the last straw on a sorely loaded consciousness; reaching up from his chair Dartie seized his wife's arm and recalling the achievement of his boyhood, twisted it. (J. G.)

to ride for a fall to act in such a way that disaster or failure will probably be the result; act with recklessness that makes disaster practically inevitable

Yes, his health is all right, but he's riding for a fall. (A. Chr.)

Ifeel she's riding for a bad fall, but I hope I should do the same. (J. G.)

Other phrases dealing with the idea of ruin include the following: bringing a person to ruin is colloquially described thus:

to cook a person's goose to bring to ruin, destroy; to do for him

Smith has finally cooked Brown's goose.

(D. E. S.)

Mrs. Doyle opened that telegram by mistake, you

see. If she were ever to repeat what was in it

before me, he knew his goose would be cooked.

(A. Chr.)

Of course when he did that he cooked his goose as

far as promotion was concerned. (A. W.)

to settle a person's hash to do for, make an end of him "I've settled her hash all right, " she said. (S. M.)

Spoiling someone's plans is put in this way: to spike someone's guns to wreck his plans

The idea of the inspector spiking Gun's guns so neatly by accident was hugely comic. (V. L.) The senior engineer had several times said he would not consent to the introduction of new production methods. The production engineer, however, spiked his guns by having two new machines installed. (K. H.)

to queer the (somebody's) pitch to upset prearranged


I know I can do it, if no one tries to queer my pitch. (V. L.)

"Clare, you look so lovely." "That, if true, is not a reason for queering my pitch at home." (J. G.)

He's queered his pitch with that unfortunate interview. (W. B.)

: 2016-06-09

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