27 May 2009

Idioms & Slang: More Thumbs

There several other common English idiomatic expressions that use the thumb.

If you wanted to describe someone who lacks physical coordination and is quite clumsy, you’d say that he (or she) is all thumbs (American). If you were a clumsy Brit, you’d be all fingers and thumbs. Of course, someone who is a bit of a snob might then thumb his nose at this clumsy individual to show ridicule,scorn or dislike.

If you give your approval to something you’d give a thumbs up, but to show to express disapproval or rejection, you’d give a thumbs down.

I like to spend lots of time in bookstores where I can thumb through the different books. But today I want to thumb through some books on houseplants to find a birthday present for a friend with a green thumb (American). However, I think he is British so I should say he has green fingers. As a rule of thumb, he moves his houseplants outside every year in May. In other words, it’s a general principal he has developed over the years that has proven successful.

For those who don’t have a lot of money to travel this summer can always thumb a ride.

Have you ever gone to a party and then spilled coffee all over your white shirt? It’s embarrassing because everyone notices the coffee stain and you feel as if you stick out like a sore thumb.

I hate waiting in a doctor’s office. There’s nothing to do but sit, wait and look at magazines that date from last year. It’s so boring that all I do is twiddle my thumbs.

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