Archive for November 29th, 2010

November 29, 2010

Look who is talking!

This is a very mild and socially acceptable comeback or response to a hypocritical statement by somebody.

"You are late!!" "Look who is talking", pic: http://www.viehweg.dk

Assume you have a friend who is always late and one the one day you are late to meet him or her you are greeted by the following question: “Why are you late?”  You could now get into a tirade about how you always have to wait for that person and end up in a nasty fight or – if you feel more mellow you would say: “Look who is talking!”

That would convey the message that your friend is in absolutely no position to criticize you for being late having been late himself many times over.

The expression works fine for harmless issues like the one above, being late, not taking the garbage out, using up the last piece of toilet paper on the roll and not replacing it, and such like.  In an discussion about nuclear disarmament between North Korea and the US it wouldn’t be the appropriate language to use.

November 29, 2010

A dime a dozen

A US dime – the smallest coin in size is made of copper and nickel and costs about 3 cents to make, source: images.businessweek.com/ss/06/07/money/source/4.htm

If something is a “dime a dozen” it is very cheap and easy to get.

A dime is a 10 cent piece.  It used be worth something, one could actually buy something for a dime, like a Jiffy Cake Mix or a Campbells tomato soup in back in the Ohio of 1957  (reference).   But even in the Ohio of 1957 something you could buy a dozen (12) of for a dime wasn’t anything special.

The expression is now used to refer to something that is very common, cheap, easy to get and therefore nothing special.  It is a mildly derogatory expression, there a lot worse things one can say about things of little apparent value.

The phrase is used to refer to things and people.  In the latter case, people whom you refer to as a dime a dozen are probably not very pleased with that description.

Here are some examples:

“These stuffed animals used to be collectors’ items but they mass produced and now they are a dime a dozen.”

“You don’t need friends like these, they are a dime a dozen.”

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