It sticks in my gizzard (craw, throat, gullet). — It

leaves a feeling of strong dislike or disgust.

That business with Fleur sticks in my gizzard,

as old Forsyte would have said. (J. G.)

She didn't sentimentalise herself but just admitted

that this Dessie business stuck in her gullet.

(V. L.)

But it sticks in my gullet not to do one's best

for the chap with a record like this. (C. S.)

I wouldn't touch him (it) with a pair of tongs,i. e. he (it) is so disgusting that I will have nothing to do with him (it).

Let her keep her fortune. I wouldn't touch her with the tongs if she had thousands and millions. (B. Sh.)

I was so ragged and dirty, that you wouldn't have touched me with a pair of tongs. (Ch. D.)

to give one the creeps (the willies) —to cause one to have a feeling of strong dislike or revulsion

His sentimental smile gave her the willies. (V. L.) This weather gives me the creeps. Nothing but rain, rain, rain. (W. B.)

To make one sick (shudder)means the same thing. If you don't like it, you can lump itmeans If you don't like it, all you can do is to resign yourself and put up with it, however unwillingly.

"Flying a kite, you, a grown man. Contemptible I call it."

"I don't care what you call it. I like it, and if you don't like it you can lump it." (S. M.) "So if, well — if this new arrangement were made, Margaret Cook might not like it — " "Couldn't she be told she would have to lump it." (B. R.)



Informal conversation may be colloquially described by these general phrases:

to have a few words withor to have a word with —to have a short talk with; to discuss briefly .

After breakfast, Dorcas came up to me rather

mysteriously, and asked if she might have a few

words with me. (A. Chr.)

"I thought I would come up for a little chat, "

she said brightly. "I haven't had a word with

you for a day or two." (A. C.)

You can have a quiet word with him here, mum.

(B. Sh.)

"As a matter of fact, " he said to Martin, "I should like a word with you." (C. S.)

to have a (little) chat (with) —one more phrase with the same meaning

"Your mother and I have been having a little

chat, " Mark explained. (L. A.)

Well, thank you Matron, I'm glad to have had

a little chat with you. (A. Chr.)

Assunta comes down to have a chat with me now

and then and then I give her a bit of money... .

(S. M.)

The gift of the gabis colloquial for power of fluent and effective speech, and to have the gift of the gabis to have the ability to speak fluently and effectively; to be eloquent.

"You've got ideas." "Other people's." "And the

gift of the gab." (J. G.)

He was good company, the type of the agreeable

rattle and he had a truly Irish gift of the gab.

(S. M.)

You've got the gift of the gab with a pen,

Mont... . (J. G.)

Small talkis light conversation on unimportant subjects; chit-chat hasthe same significance — trivial conversation.

At emotional moments like this, Mr. Josser

was always a bit awkward. He hadn't got any

flow of small talk. (N. C.)

"I gave up going to my colleagues' wives' parties

before you were born, my dear young man, "

Winslow said. He added: "I have no small talk."

(C. S.)

Oh, that's the new small talk. To do a person

it means to kill him. (B. Sh.)

"All right, " she said. "Let's talk about you. I

don't feel like chit-chat either." (M. W.)

Waffle(noun and verb) is also similarly used with the meaning talk without pausing; gabble.

Gossip(noun and verb) is small talk usually about people as is also tittle-tattle(idle talk and rumours).

She likes to have a good gossip with a neighbour

over the garden fence. (A. H.)

She is too fond of gossip (or tittle-tattle). (A. H.)

A garrulous person (a chatterbox) is said:

to talk (chatter) nineteen to the dozen— to chatter


Captain Bredon soon had his arms round two slim waists. They all talked nineteen to the dozen. They were gay. (S. M.)

At tea-time he came down to the drawing-room and found them talking, as he expressed it, nine­teen to the dozen. (J. G.)

So as a rule I'm silent, but when I find a sympa­thetic victim — well, you've already had a bit­ter experience of how I chatter nineteen to the dozen. (R. A.)

to talk somebody's (one's) head off; to talk the leg off
an iron pot; to talk the hind leg off a donkey —
to talk

a great deal; to bore a person by talking too much

Andrew, you can talk my head off, but you can't

change wrong into right. (B. Sh.)

The insurance-agent talked Father's head off.

(K. H.)

She could talk the hind leg off a donkey. (W. B.)

Among chatterboxes one can't get a word in edgeways

(i. e. unable to speak because others are talking con­tinuously).

Sorry. When Pickering starts shouting nobody

can get a word in edgeways. (B. Sh.)

The two elderly ladies were talking incessantly,

so that Jane could not get a word in edgeways.

(K. H.)

"Well, my friend, " cried Poirot before I could

get in a word, "what do you think?" (A. Chr.)


A verbose person may be also termed:

long-winded— tediously long, verbose; fond of hearing

oneself talk

The speaker was dreadfully long-winded. (W. B.) The preacher was very long-winded even for a preacher. (A. W.)

I cannot relate what he told me in his own words. He repeated himself. He was very long-winded and he told me his story confusedly ... (S. M.)

On the other hand avoidance of prolixity is colloquially expressed by these phrases:

(to put something) in a nutshell —in the fewest possible words; in brief

This is the story in a nutshell. (A. W.)

In a nutshell, I have given him notice and will

go to Manchester next week. (K. H.)

It was at this moment that the idea came to him

which he afterwards imparted at Timothy's in

this nutshell: "I shouldn't wonder a bit if that

architect chap were sweet upon Mrs. Soames!"

(J. G.)

"To put it in a nutshell, " said Charles slowly,

"you're willing to come in with me because you

think my business could be built up." (7. W.)

to cut (make) a long story short... —the substance of it... ; all that need be said...

Well, to cut a long story short, they thought it would be more economical to live at the villa and Laura had the idea that it would keep Tito out of mischief. (S. M.)

Well, to make a long story short, she asked me to go to Paris for a week or two till she had con­solidated her position. (S. M.)

the long and the short of it...— all that need be said; the upshot

Well, the long and the short of it is that officials mustn't gamble. (B. Sh.)

I won't repeat her language, it fair startled me but the long and the short of it was she was jealous of the kite. (S. M.)

Two common proverbs commenting on speech and silence: Speech is silver, silence is gold.(Silence is better than speech in some circumstances. The proverb is usually quoted to children who talk too much.) Least said soonest mended.(By saying very little or keep­ing silence one may avoid getting into trouble. By saying too much one may bring trouble on oneself or one's friends and may often find it difficult to repair the damage that has been done.)

Plain speaking uses the following phrases: to call a spade a spade— to speak plainly; to speak with complete — and generally unpopular — frankness

"I think you're the rudest man I've ever met, "

she said in a remote, reflective tone. "And the

most mercenary."

"Why? Because I call a spade a spade?" (L. A.)

There's no family pride about me, there's no

imaginative sentimental humbug about me. I

call a spade a spade ... (Ch. D.)

I am talking about facts, mademoiselle — plain

ugly facts. Let's call the spade the spade and

say it in one short sentence. Your mother drinks,

mademoiselle. (A. Chr.)

This is no time for wearing the shallow mask

of manners. When I see a spade I call it a spade.

(O. W.)

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