It's Idiomatic

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including newly coined idioms, like "control freak."

Tomorrow's Assignment: Are there idioms you learned incorrectly, like "intensive purposes" or "making ends meat"?  Share your "misheard" idioms.


Listener suggestions for digital-age idioms that could replace phrases like "turning over a new leaf":

  • Danny: can't load an old phone with new apps
  • Phil: "Swiping clean the screen."
  • Holly: Modify your profile
  • Miguel: "Get a new screen", "update", "upgrade", "reboot"...
  • Elaine: "refresh"
  • Jeff: "opening a new app"
  • Hugh: it would be "swiping a new screen". But maybe the metaphorical sense would be better served by "Update your status" (The age of poetry is dead...)
  • David: Shifting a new leaf?
  • Darren: 'Lost in cyber space' could be the new 'head in the clouds'
  • Savithri: download a new app
  • Carolita: update yourself.
  • Tommy: Time to put a new set of apps in your dock.
  • Lisa: We still say the phone is "off the hook," and we go to the "Movies" (as in, moving pictures vs. still pictures) so why can't we just leaf it alone!
  • Vesna: change your profile
  • Stanley: "I feel like I keep getting a 404." For those relationships where one person can't seem to get through to the other.
  • Edith: For the longest time as kid, (having grown up in countryside) I thought this actually meant turning over a real leaf, like from a tree. I made my own sense of it, that had to do with my experience of nature. The change of seasons linked to changes in the heart & soul. To this day, When I hear the expression I see those Maple leaves from Vermont. So I guess changes in tech wouldn't matter that much to me, loll!  Whitman's famous poem, updated: Swipes of Grass.....
  • Alexander: Deleting the archive...?
  • Barbara: "You can judge an app by its icon."