Archive for February 24th, 2011

February 24, 2011

Kicking the bucket

This expression made a brief appearance in a blog post about the word kicking a while back but it is worth to look at it in a bit more detail.

The kicker of this bucket seems very much alive, pic:

Kicking the bucket means to die.  it is not a very subtle way to say that somebody died, it is somewhat casual and unconcerned.  So if your beloved Uncle Harry dies, you probably would not say “he kicked the bucket” but if somebody you don’t know and don’t particularly care about dies and you want to express those sentiments you could use it.

Like in this example:

“What, that actor is still alive?  I thought he had kicked the bucket years ago. He must be in his 90s by now.”

Where the expression originated is unknown. There are theories but none too good so let’s not worry about them.

February 24, 2011

Axe to grind

I have an ax to grind with that kind of outfit for yard work, pic: © Donna Lanning |

Today’s idiom is  “to have an axe to grind with somebody or something.  It can be used in two slightly different but related contexts: If you have a axe to grind with somebody it means: to be angry with that person and planing on confronting them about the cause of that anger.  An example of this usage is:

“Holly, listen, I have an axe to grind with you.  They way you treated me in front of the boss during the meeting is totally unacceptable.

When the ax one has to grind is not with a person but a thing or fact then it means to have something to complain about – like in this example:

Since Oscar lost his job to outsourcing to China he has had an axe to grind with globalization.”