Archive for November 7th, 2010

November 7, 2010

When hell freezes over

It is unlike but sometimes hell does freeze over, pic:

This seems like a very archetypal American idiom to me.  I needs a little explaining but is easily understandable.  “When hell freezes over”  means way in the distant future – or more likely never  – because the likelihood of hell – a very hot place – freezing over is very very low.

It used often as an ironic reply to somebody making an overly optimistic or naive statement.

Girlfriend: “Susan, I am sure you and Brandon will get back together again”

Susan: “When hell freezes over!  I am done with that jerk.”


“Jimmy, you should really stop smoking, you know.”

“Dave, I have been smoking for 35 years, I’ll stop smoking when hell freezes over.”

Another idiom which means exactly the same and is used interchangeably is “when pigs fly”

Here is a nice webpage listing the same expression in a number of languages.

November 7, 2010

Kick in, around, and up


A literal kick, pic:

More useful expressions with the word kick.  The problem is that they there are many and most of them have several meanings.  I’ll focus on the most important ones and will be commenting on slang expression mainly to point out when and how not to use the expressions.

Kick in – literally means kick something into pieces e.g. to gain access “The police kicked in the door to apprehend the suspect.”  Figuratively it means to contribute, pay a share “if we all kick in a few more dollars we can buy Jane the present she really wants.”  It can also mean to become operative, starting to work for example is this context “I was in bad pain but then I took two pain killers and after they kicked in I was doing okay.”
It is also a slang term for to die – but better stay away from that.
Kick around – literally what you expected “the kids kicked the ball around for a few minutes and then went to play on the swings.”  Figuratively it means to ponder, give thought to, discuss an issue “Let’s kick both ideas around for a few more minutes before we decide.”
It can also mean to aimless wondered around a place like in the following example:
“what did you do during the year you took off after college.”
“I just kicked around Europe.”
Kick up – this is an informal expression which means to to cause trouble or discomfort like “my stomach problems are kicking up again.  I really need to see a doctor.”
More expressions with kicking here!