Browse Cliches:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Cliches starting with M

ClicheMeaning
mad as a hatterA hatter is someone who used to make different types of hats, and they were often seen as being slightly off-kilter from everyone else and slightly crazy. This is where the phrase is supposed to originate from, though many people believe to be mad as a hatter is really to be mad as in angry or annoyed. Today, the phrase is usually pertaining to be mad as in crazy or mentally unstable, but often simply to act different from everyone else.
madder than a wet henMadder than a wet hen is an idiom used when someone wants to describe how upset someone is. Madder or to be mad can be used in a variety of different uses such as being upset or angry, or acting crazy and slightly off-kilter. Hens when they get dumped in water to be cleaned get very upset about this, and also act a big crazy, so being madder than a wet hen can work in both instances.
made a mad dash for itIf a person has said they made a mad dash for it, what they mean is that they went extremely fast in an uncontrolled way. To go very fast without much thought to what you are doing, and so quickly that you cant really control your motions; it is referred to as a mad dash. Mad in this instance is referring to the slang term for crazy pr eccentric, so when someone makes a mad dash, all they care about is speed and getting there, but not necessarily what happens on the way.
made in the shadeMade in the shade is an idiom which is referring to having an easy time in life or in a certain type of situation. A person made in the shade often finds things to be working to their own benefit a good deal of the time. When in a particular situation that seems to be going very well and everyone is having an easy go at it, it may be referred to as being made in the shade.
made it by the skin of my teethIf someone says they made it by the skin of their teeth, they mean to say they just barely made it or made it by the smallest margin possible. There is very thin skin on your teeth, so this phrase is referring to the very smallest amount. The phrase is usually said in response to barely making it past the finish line in a race or barely finishing a project or job that had a certain deadline, of which they almost missed.
make a big deal out of nothingMake a big deal out of nothing is a phrase often used when someone seems to be exaggerating a situation that didnt seem all that important or like it wasnt a big deal. Some people make a big deal out of nothing when they thing something has happened good or bad (usually bad) and they make it seem like it will have a large impact on their life or on the current situation, when in fact it isnt that important.
make a fast buckTo make a fast buck means to make money with very little effort and in a very short amount of time. Any time a fast buck is mentioned, they are speaking about earning money very quickly, and usually without a lot of effort or hard work in order to do it. It is often spoken when someone has found a way to make money quickly to some type of scheme or a way to get a small amount of money quickly, which is often worded as making a quick buck.
make a statement without saying a wordMake a statement without saying a word is another way of saying you make a statement not by talking but by doing such as different actions which lead to making this statement. This phrase can also be used when you use nothing but facial expressions and body language in order to make a certain statement to someone else. It usually refers to the importance of actions which prove a statement rather than simply telling them you will do something.
make hay while the sun shinesTo make hay while the sun shines means to take advantage of having an opportunity to do something before you lose the opportunity. The phrase originates from the fact that you need full sunshine while making hay, therefore when you have the opportunity (such as the sun is shining) you should do it. The concept of this idiom is that if you dont do it while you have the opportunity to do it, you may lose the chance to do it at all.
make like a tree and leaveTo make like a tree and leave means to leave somewhere and is often used derogatively. This phrase is most commonly used as a way to ask someone to leave or tell them to go from where you are; it is somewhat of a pun and refers to the process of shedding leaves which occurs in trees that are currently dying. By saying make like a tree and leave, it is another way of saying to just get out of there by any means necessary.
make my dayWhen someone says make my day in response to something you have said, they mean to carry on with what you are doing or plan to do because it will give them an excuse to behave badly. Make my day is often spoken by someone who is already thinking of doing or saying something that isnt moral or right to do, so when you mention doing the same thing it can benefit them in this way by giving them the excuse.
make tracksTo make tracks means to leave a place in order to go somewhere else. Literally, making tracks happens as you are walking on a certain type of ground which allows your feet or shoes to show traces of where you were such as dirt, sand or mud. Figuratively, to make tracks can be used in any instance where you are leaving a pace, usually at a quick pace and have an idea of where you want to go but want to leave traces behind of where you were and how you traveled there.
making a mountain out of a molehillMaking a mountain out of a molehill is a common saying which is used when you make a major issue out of a minor one and exaggerate the importance of something. This is usually spoken in the negative as you ask someone not to make a mountain out of a molehill that seems to be turning a very small issue into a big problem. They tend to exaggerate details of something and make it more important than it is.
making him sing like a canaryMaking him sing like a canary is the expression some people will use about someone who seems to tell everything they know about a certain situation, usually one which is illegal or wrong. They might tell this rime to the police or other authorities. It can also be used in other instances such as an employee singing like a canary b telling their co-workers wrong doings to their supervisor.
making money hand over fistThe phrase which says making money hand over fist is referring to making money quickly and continuously and usually with little effort. This is another way to explain that you are earning money in some way which is happening at a rapid fast and in a continuous manner, rather than making a quick buck in which you earn money quickly but it might only be one or two occurrences.
man upTo man up about something or a given situation means to brave it, be more courageous and be daring in this situation. Man up is often said to someone who is not acting like they are brave, and is afraid of something that the stereotypical man would never be afraid of. Because men have a tendency for being brave and standing up for what they believe in, this is where the phrase has originated from.
mans best friendMans best friend is a common catch phrase for describing dogs, primarily tame dogs which are pets and is a generalization for the category of dogs as a whole. From a courtroom speech by George Graham Vest in 1870 who said The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous in his dog was speaking of the fact that a dog always remains by its owners side.
many hands make light workMany hands make light work is a figure of speech which insists that large tasks will become small when they are divided among several people. This is a logical phrase because of course if there is a large task that can be completed by a large number of people (and hands), then the task would be easier and not take as much time than if just one person was working on it.
many moonsMany moons is part of a phrase which indicates that what they are talking about happened a long time ago. Many moons, usually as many moons ago is usually referring to the number of moons which they have seen, such as many days. However some people believe the term many moons to be referring to the number of full moons there have been since the situation has occurred because full moons are rarer and therefore it must mean a very long time ago.
march to the beat of a different drummerMarch to the beat of a different drummer refers to someone that behaves in a way which is different from other people or to believe in different things than others similar to you tend to believe. Someone who marches to the beat of a different drummer is often seen as being different, crazy, eccentric, unusual or simply unique. This person often feels that regardless of what other people think or do, they choose to have their own set of beliefs.
mark my wordsMark my words is an expression most commonly used when you want to say something to someone that you are certain is going to happen in the future. It is a way to ensure the person that what you are about to say is practically guaranteed and they can be so sure of what you will say, they can bet on it. Mark my words is used in reference to remembering their words because they are true and factual.
maybe something will jog your memoryMaybe something will jog your memory is a phrase used when speaking to someone who seems to have forgotten a certain detail and you want to help them with this. By telling them something will jog their memory, it is to say you will give them little details or have them do things that will remind them of what they are trying to think of. You will do or say things to help them remember the memory they want to know about.
mean as a snakeMean as a snake is an expression used for someone who is mean in the sneaky and treacherous way. This person might not be as outward and blunt about their meanness such as being rude to your face, but they are mean in the sneaky way through lies and deceit and various types of treachery. Like a snack in the grass that sneaks around attacking their pry, a person who is mean as a snake acts in much the same way.
meaningful relationshipA meaningful relationship is the cliched term used for a certain type of romantic relationship that is based on mutual respect and support of each other and generally includes a sense of commitment and fulfillment. This type of relationship has a lot of meaning to it in the way that it goes far past physical affection for each other and includes a deep connection including a high level of support, commitment and respect for one another.
mellow outMellow out is an expression used by someone who wants another person to relax or become less angry. It is usually said in response to someone who seems to be losing their temper and acting very upset about the current situation or possibly to someone seeming to be very excitable and high strung for whatever reason, and wants them to relax and calm down a little bit. The meaning of mellow out ranges slightly based on its connotations.
methinks she doth protest too muchMethinks she doth protest too much is actually misquoted and used incorrectly a lot of the time because it should say The lady doth protest too much,
Mi Casa es Su Casa.Mi Casa es Su Casa is in the Spanish language and is a formal phrase which means my house is your house. The purpose behind this phrase is to tell someone that they are welcome in your home and can treat it just like your home. It is a kind way to tell someone they are very welcomed to make themselves at home such as becoming comfortable, using all of your amenities and appliances, finding something to eat and relaxing there.
milquetoastMilquetoast is an expression used to describe someone who is very bland, weak, boring and ineffectual. The origin of the phrase comes from the character Caspar Milquetoast from the 1924 comic strip The Timid Soul as he was very dull and bland in regards to his personality. A person might be called milquetoast who has much of the same personality traits such as being very timid or weak.
mind over matterMind over matter is the belied that the mind is more powerful than the body is a phrase that was first made popular in the 1960s and 19702 when it was used in reference to paranormal phenomena and psychokinesis. Nowadays, this phrase is most commonly used as a generalization for describing how powerful ones mind is including their intelligence and memory, as opposed to physical power and strength.
mind your mannersMind your manners is a common phrase which is told to someone to tell them to behave and to have good manners. It is most often said to a child or teenager who is showing evidence of not having very good manners even though they were taught how to be good mannered and show moral values. When they are caught misbehaving, a parent or other parental figure will tell them to mind their manners.
mind your own businessMind your own business is another way of saying to stay out of other peoples private business and out of their lives and only stick to what affects you personally. This is often said in response to someone who seems to be acting nosy towards others and wanting to know everything they are doing even though it doesnt involve them, such as a neighbor or co-worker. This person is told to mind their own business as a way to tell them to keep to their own life.
mind your ps and qsMind your ps and qs is a common catch phrase often spoken by a parental figure such as a parent, grandparent or other close family member, to children who are not showing good manners or are behaving badly. Mind your ps and qs is another way to say mind your manners, mind your language or be on your best behavior. It originates from the proper way to write ps and qs both in lowercase and uppercase.
misery loves companyMisery loves company is a common catch phrase which is used by someone who wants to make a point about the fact that miserable people tend to flock together. However unlike some people who think it is simply about miserable people wanting to be close to one another, it is more commonly referred to meaning that a miserable or unhappy person likes other people to be unhappy too and they will do or say things to initiate other happy into being miserable.
missed by a hairMissed by a hair is an idiom which refers to just barely missing something. One single strand of hair is extremely fine so that it works well as a way to exaggerate how close you missed something, just as missing the finish line in a race or almost winning a competition. A person who misses something by a hair is typically the second in line or possibly won by just one single vote which shows how closely it was missed.
missed the boatIf you missed the boat it means you were wrong or made an error. While literally, missing the boat means there was a boat setting off at a certain time and you werent there when it left, but it normally used in the figurative sense. The cliche missed the boat means to have made some sort of error whether a big or small error or to be wrong in some other way which is often proven by someone else showing they are right.
misssion criticalMission critical is a cliche that refers to any factor of a system such as equipment, process, procedure, or software system where the failure will result in the failure of business operations. Mission critical is often used as the phrase for this occurrence such as if your business has a very specific equipment process and when that system fails, all of your business operations will fail as a result of it for a short or long period of time.
moment of gloryA moment of glory is known as a great moment, one that someone will remember for a long time. This moment of glory can be concerning anything where the person has done something magnificent and impressive, particularly in a way that others have noticed either in a tight knit circle or a large group of people based on a public display. Someones moment of glory is usually one of the things they will always remember.
moments respiteA moments respite is the short period of time in which a person receives some kind of rest or relief. This is most commonly used in the case of someone who is suffering from chronic pain, primarily due to a disease which causes them to feel this pain and suffering over a long period of time. A moments respite is when this person will feel a short interval of relief from the paint or a short moment of rest from their suffering.
Monday morning quarterbackMonday morning quarterback is the idiom used for a person who criticizes or passes judgment from a positive of hindsight. A Monday morning quarterback originated from the days when on Monday mornings during a game, the announcer of the football game would pass judgment and criticize players for how they play the game, but since they arent playing, this is from hindsight. This type of person is known as a Monday morning quarterback.
money burns a hole in his pocketMoney burns a hole in his (or her) pocket is a saying that refers to the fact that this person spends money so quickly and easy and in large quantities, that they hardly notice how much they are spending until its gone. Many people describe their spending habits as burning a hole in their pocket because they spend their money so quickly it seems like there is literally a hole in their pocket or wallet.
money is the root of all evilMoney is the root of all evil is a biblical verse from Timothy 6:10 which states For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. What the verse means, shortened to money is the root of all evil, is that when people love money and what it can bring to them, they often do things they shouldnt and it can then control their actions.
money makes the world go roundMoney makes the world go round is another way to say that without money there would be no order in the world. By saying money makes the world go round, the phrase means to say that with money certain things can be done in society which would not be possible without money. This can be true in the case of individuals who are able to accomplish great things with wealth, as well as groups and organizations that thrive when they have money to spend on important things.
monkey see, monkey doMonkey see, monkey do is a catch phrase used to describe that the learning of a process is important when you can see it in action and get a better understanding of how and why it works. The saying originated in Jamaica in the early 18th century and became a cliche in American culture during the 1920s. It has since been known as a phrase which encourages learning by understanding more about things and why they work.
monkey suitA monkey suit is what many people like to call a tuxedo, as a slang term for describing this type of garment. The phrase originated from the jocular which is a fancy suit worn by an organ-grinders monkey and you can now see many stuffed monkeys or monkeys displayed on television or in cartoons with tuxedos on. The phrase has become a cliche which is often used to describe a tuxedo.
more _______ than you can shake a stick atMore _______ than you can shake a stick at is a phrase typically used to describe something that occurs in a large quantity or in abundance, showing there is many of this thing. It can be talking about any sort of item which occurs in abundance whether overall or in one specific occurrence. Some examples include More money than you can shake a stick at or More food than you can shake a stick at.
more fun than a barrel of monkeysMore fun than a barrel of monkeys is an idiom which is referring to being very funny and enjoyable. This is usually in reference to a person but can also be a certain activity, event, location or even a situation. When someone or something shows to be very enjoyable to other people, amusing others or to be rather funny in the way they talk or act, they may be known as more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
motherhood and apple pieMotherhood and apple pie is a common phrase which acts a parodied sentiment to express allegedly quintessential elements of American home life. In other words, motherhood and apple pie are two elements of what home life in America is like, according to stereotypes and therefore this phrase is often spoken to mock or parody this assumption. History speaks for itself since motherhood and apple pie only account for a very small portion of households in the country.
movers and shakersMovers and shakers are typically people that wield the power and influence in the middle of an activity. Movers and shakers is a phrase with a variety of uses and connotations but it is most commonly used to describe people who have influence over others or who have the power over a certain group, organization, company or activity. The term movers and shakers first originated in the 1940s and 1950s in regards to those in the business world who had a lot of influence over others.
moving experienceMoving experience is the term used to ask someone to work harder or faster whether they arent working very hard and you want them to get busy or you want them to get started. Moving experience isnt a widely known or used phrase, but some groups of people will recognize it as a way to show people who want to hurry up and get started on their work, and motivate others to continue working as fast and as hard as possible.
music has charms to soothe the savage beastMusic has charms to soothe the savage beast is a figure of speech which means that music has the power to enchant even the most roughest of people. This is another way of saying that music has many charms or powers that will not only affect kindhearted and musically inclined people who genuinely enjoy hearing different types of music, but also people with a hard exterior who are rough and tough in regards to their personality.
my cup runneth overMy cup runneth over is an ancient proverb used to describe when someone has enough of something, more than enough than they need. This phrase is often used in various types of books, movies and television shows or other types of media but not as commonly used in everyday conversation. However, if someone does say their cup runneth over, they meant to say they have more than enough.
my hair was on endWhen someone says their hair was on end, what they mean to say is that they were very frightened by something they saw or heard, whether this was a scary story, a frightening news story on the television or witnessed something equally horrifying. Referring to a persons hair being on end or sticking straight up comes from the fact that many older movies show people with their hair sticking straight up when they are very scared or even surprised by something that has just occurred.
my head is swimmingMy head is swimming is a common figure of speech used to describe a feeling, often ina way of exaggerating a certain type of feeling. Someones head may be swimming for a variety of reasons or feelings such as being confused, lightheaded, irrational, or have a very bad migraine. Many people also use this term when describing their head being fuzzy due to recreational or prescription medications or alcohol which can cause this type of effect.
my heart sankMy heart sank is a phrase some people use when they feel sad or worried about something or someone. When you feel an intense amount of worry or severe sadness, it will actually feel like your heart is sinking deep into your chest. What you are really feeling is heart palpitations or what is known as nervous stomach as a result of the anxiety from being sad or nervous about something.
my stomach is tied up in knotsMy stomach is tied up in knots is another way of saying that you are feeling very nervous or anxious and can actually literally feel it in your stomach. When you get very anxious or nervous, you get what is often called nervous stomach where it my feel like butterflies in your stomach or feel like your stomach is tying up in knots. In actuality, it is simply your central nervous system causing you to feel a certain way from the nerves.
my two centsMy two cents is what some people will say when they want to state an opinion on the current subject, and in which they have just said something regarding the topic currently being discussed. Two cents is from the old English idiom expression my two pennies worth or my tuppence worth which eventually became giving your two cents worth and then two cents is the final shortened version of this idiom.