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Cliches starting with O

ClicheMeaning
off the cuffOff the cuff is a catch phrase used for not being prepared in advanced, or for an impromptu idea or thought. Off the cuff is another way of saying that you have decided to do something at the last minute without much thought or planning gone into it. Typically, doing or saying something off the cuff may not be entirely agreed upon as it is usually an impulsive thought or act.
off the top of my headWhen someone says something is off the top of their head it means they didnt have to give it much thought, did not really precise knowledge of it, but simply knew the answer or spoke without thinking about it. This can be in relation to a variety of things such as being asked a question and knowing the answer suddenly without even considering it, in which you said the answer off the top of your head.
off the wagonOff the wagon is another way to say you have starting doing something that you quit doing a while ago, usually because it was bad for you and because you used to do it often. This is most commonly used in relation to starting drinking alcohol again after you went through a period of not drinking because prior to that you were an alcoholic. It can also be used for other things such as dieting or quitting and starting recreational drugs.
oh, to be a fly on the wallOh, to be a fly on the wall is a phrase used when someone wants to say that they would like to be a fly on the wall in a specific situation because then they would be there secretly and be able to see and hear what happens. This is often used when a situation is going on behind closed doors that they are curious about and would like to know all of the details of, or to see something go down such as a private business meeting.
oh, woe is meOh, woe is me is another way of saying something is distressed, sad or grieved. It is somewhat of a sarcastic expression because this person is speaking of their own distress or sadness in a way that is self deprecating. To say you are distressed, usually means over a specific situation in response to other people feeling sorry for you about this situation; it is not always spoken literally.
old as the hillsTo be old as the hills means to be exceedingly old, and may be used in reference to people or things, but is most commonly used for people. Saying someone or something is old as the hills is a way to exaggerate how old someone or something really is. You will hear this phrase spoken about a person who is old, whether sarcastic or not, as a way to describe their advanced age; occasionally it is used in reference to a thing.
old blowhardOld blowhard is the idiom used when you want to label someone as being a boaster or a braggart. Someone who is constantly bragging or boasting about their own skills or talents, their good looks, their fortune, their luck or even who they married, where they live, or the kind of the job they have, is considered an old blowhard. This term is most commonly used in the negative to someone who boasts too much about themselves.
old habits die hardOld habits die hard is an old idiom for describing that some people find it very difficult to change the behavior or attitudes they are accustomed to. This phrase is most commonly used in reference to someone doing something again that they seem to do over and over again, usually used in the negative where other people frown upon or dislike this thing the person is constantly doing or saying.
old meets newOld meets new is a phrase used for something or someone in which something old is combining with something new. This can be used in reference to a variety of things, people, or situations but is most commonly used when an old trend or phase in someones life is merging with something new, such as old music combining with new music and creating a combination of these music styles.
old standbyAn old standby is the phrase used for someone that can always be relied upon, even in an emergency situation and that people tend to turn to when things get bad. They are usually a frequent or favorite choice in these types of situations but not always included in the original plan. The old standby is usually kept in readiness to serve as a substitute for someone else who was unable to complete the task at hand.
older and wiserTo be older and wiser means someone that is of an older age and has learned by experienced. It is typically used in the literal sense of someone who is literally older and therefore wiser. Usually as people grow older, they tend to understand more about life as they learn from their mistakes so it stands to reason that they will become wiser the older the get; this phrase is used to prove this fact.
older than dirtOlder than dirt is the phrase used for a person, place or thing which is extremely old in years rather than experience. Someone older than dirt is obviously not literally older than dirt, but very old. Some things can be used almost literally as older than or as old as dirt, but not quite. Usually the phrase older than dirt is used for people or things or even situations in which you want to exaggerate exactly how old someone or something is.
older than MethuselahOlder than Methuselah is the idiom referring to how old someone or something is, as Methuselah is extremely old. By referring to the age of Methuselah, this is simply another way to say how old someone or something is by exaggerating the fact. This phrase isnt used as often as some other idioms which mean basically the same thing, but is a preferred way to state how old someone or something is, rather than some other more common ones.
on a wild goose chaseTo be on a wild goose chase means that you are on a futile pursuit which is indeed pointless or to be on a worthless hunt. This may be in reference to looking for someone or something you will most likely never find, or perhaps a hunt or chase which is worthless because even if you find this person or thing, there wouldnt be much you could do about it the current situation.
on bended kneeOn bended knee is a phrase used literally when you ask for something on bended knee in the literal sense as a way to beg for something, or perhaps to ask very politely or with a lot of emotion for something that you want very much. Being on bended knee is a way to show your respect for this person and how much you want this thing, such as proposing to your boyfriend or girlfriend on bended knee.
on cloud nineTo be on cloud nine means to be in a state of blissful happiness where your current emotions and attitudes are ideal for your current situation. On cloud nine usually refers to any person who is currently at their best in regards to the state of their life, their mood, attitude and emotions. It often does not get much better than when someone is on cloud nine so the phrase is commonly used for this type of emotion.
on equal footingIf you are on equal footing it means you will be getting equal treatments as someone else and have the opportunity to be equals with another person. Equal footing is usually in reference to two different people or groups of people in which they are even in whatever they each are trying to pursue or accomplish. It is used figuratively, rather than literally, as a way to say they are currently getting equal treatment.
on him like ugly on an apeOn him like ugly on an ape is an idiom which is referring to describing a widespread and thoroughly prevailing situation or state of affairs. When someone says someone or something (usually a person) is on him like ugly on an ape it means to exist in this common manner because most apes are considered to be ugly in the sense of their appearance. On him is in reference to being interested in this person or pushy in regards to everything they do or say.
on the ballOn the ball is another way to say someone is quick to understand and to react to certain things or situations. If someone is on the ball, they are quick to make decisions, understand, and to act and react to things which are important. In the workplace, someone who is on the ball is constantly keeping up with everything happening in the office, and never pauses to consider what he or she needs to be doing next.
on the bandwagonOn the bandwagon means to be on the popular side of an issue or to take a popular position in something; usually a popular issue whether in politics or not. People who are on the bandwagon or who join the bandwagon had been shown evidence and proof from others or other groups that this is a popular choice and their opinion is valid, so this person therefore joins their side.
on the doubleOn the double means to be very fast, twice as fast as what is normal for them. On the double may be used in past-tense when someone is telling a story of how quickly they were or how fast something happened, or can be used when telling someone they need to get something done very quickly. It is most commonly told to someone who you want to make a point that they need to do this thing very quickly.
on the edge of your seatTo be on the edge of your seat means that something very exciting is happening or being told to you and you cannot wait to see what is going to happen next. On the edge of your seat originated when people would go to see a movie in the theater and it would be so exciting or even scary, the person would be on the edge of their seat waiting to see what would happen next. It is now often used figuratively to describe how exciting a story or other situation is.
on the houseOn the house is a phrase used by a merchant who wants to give some of their goods away to someone else for whatever reason. This phrase is most commonly said by a bartender or waitress at a bar who intends to give an alcoholic beverage to a customer free of charge. This may be a current special which is why it is on the house, or perhaps for another more personal reason.
on the levelOn the level is another way to say that someone is very honest, straightforward, dependable and fair. This person tends to be straightforward and honest in everything they do or say, rather than just pertaining to be one situation. However it is also used as a way to prove someone can be counted on and trusted to get something done because they are a fair and dependable person.
on the noseOn the nose is another way of something is exactly right and often an exact amount of money or time spent when someone guesses it. To be on the nose, typically refers to being correct when you have answered a question or responded to an inquiry. Commonly a person can be on the nose about some type of trivia question, guessing a time something has been done, or possibly how much money was spent.
on the other handOn the other hand is another way to say something when you are speaking about two different facts or two opposite ways of thinking about any given situation. You will say on the other hand when you have another thing to say about the current situation, or when you want to broach a different topic or way of thinking about the topic being discussed. If there are two sides or facts about the topic, you will say on the other hand before speaking about the second one.
on the runOn the run is something you say when a person is moving from place to place, but usually when they are running away from someone or something. To be on the run in the broad sense of the word is a way to describe someone leaving from place to place, usually not being in one place for too long. However, most commonly this phrase is used for someone running away from someone or something, and therefore cannot be in any place a long time.
on the wagonThe phrase on the wagon is used as a figurative phrase for quitting something unhealthy or that you are addicted to such as alcohol, drugs, or being on a diet. When someone is on the wagon, they have quit doing this thing for a certain period of time. On the contrary, when someone says they are off the wagon, it means they quit for a while but have started up again.
on thin iceOn thin ice is another way to describe a risky situation or simply an uncertain one. When you are on ice in the literal sense you have no way of knowing how thin it is and therefore you dont know when the next step you take will cause it to crack and break and you fall through which can have dire consequences. Figuratively, the phrase is used for any type of uncertain or risky situation.
on to somethingIf you are on to something it means there is a good chance that you may be right and have triggered a thought or a memory that someone else is able to associate with. Being on to something means that you have managed to come up with an idea which the other person or group agrees with and thinks the idea is valuable. Someone might say you are on to something when you answer an inquiry that turns out to be correct
once bitten, twice shyOnce bitten, twice shy is another way to say that something you have gone through such as an unpleasant experience will cause you to be much more careful in the future in order to avoid a similar experience. This is another way of saying that you have learned from your mistakes when the mistake you made led to very unfortunate consequences. It can also be in reference to a type of person you hope to avoid in the future.
once in a blue moonOnce in a blue moon is the idiom used when you want to make a point that something only happens very rarely. Blue moons, also referred to as full moons with a very bright or bold blue appearance to people eon Earth, come around very rarely or at least people only see them every once in a while. So when someone speaks about something happening once in a blue moon, they are talking about how rare it happens.
one born every minuteOne born every minute is another way of saying that there is someone born stupid, incompetent, and unintelligent or without common sense every minute, or extremely often. It is usually said about someone who you believe has just done or said something that is very stupid or unintelligent, and you will make this remark as a way to show that these people seem to come around constantly, so there must be one born every minute.
one brick short of a loadTo be one brick short of a load means to be unintelligent, insane or not mentally sound. The phrase is sometimes used for people who lack a certain intellect or others who are just not mentally there. There are many idioms which refer to people who are stupid or maybe crazy, and this is simply another way to make that statement.
one foot in the graveTo have one foot in the grave means to say that this person is either very old and likely to die soon or sometimes used for people very ill or with a critical illness that most likely will lead to death shortly. It is a phrase which was used as a kinder way to someone will probably die soon, but occasionally simply as a sarcastic phrase for explaining how old somebody is.
one for the booksOne for the books is a phrase used when something happens which is extraordinary such as a very remarkable act, and it is therefore record breaking because it has never been done before. By saying it is one for the books; it means that it is probably a record breaking act. This may be used literally where you really think what was done could break records, or figuratively as a way to show how impressive it was.
one good turn deserves anotherOne good turn deserves another is an idiom which refers to the important of doing a favor in return for someone who has done a favor for you. This is another way of saying that when people do nice things for you, whether it was a selfless act or not, you should do your best to return the favor in one way or another, or to pay back that favor. Therefore, one good turn deserves another good turn.
one in a millionOne in a million is the catch phrase used when you want to say that someone is very special because they have good and special qualities that make them different from other people in a good way. By saying they are one in a million, you are pointing out how rare they are and it is usually a compliment and a positive thing to say to someone based on good qualities, rather than bad.
one mans meat is another mans poisonOne mans meat is another mans poison is a phrase you might have heard when someone wants to speak about certain things being valuable to some people, but invaluable to others. By saying one mans meat is another mans poison, it is like saying that just because one person finds this thing distasteful, does not mean everyone does. It is another way of saying one mans trash is another mans treasure.
one size fits allOne size fits all is a common idiom which refers to something fitting a wide range of sizes. This is most commonly used for some type of garment which instead has different sizes for individual types of body shapes and sizes, this one garment will fit everyone. Some things which may be one size fits all include some types or robes, scarves, gloves, hats and other garments where the specific size doesnt matter as much.
one taco short of a combination plateOne taco short of a combination plate is another way of saying someone is not very smart or not all together. By saying someone is a taco short of a combination plate; you are saying this combination plate is not complete because it is missing an important element. Figuratively, this means that a person does not have everything together, which is another way of saying they are missing a part of their brain that leads to a lot of intelligence.
one toe over the lineOne toe over the line is a phrase which refers to going just a little bit too far which is frowned upon or disliked entirely. Literally, the idiom refers to a race in which one person has a toe over the line which is not allowed before the race begins. Figuratively, this phrase is referring to the fact that when you have a toe over the line by going a little bit too far in order to get ahead, it will be frowned upon and not allowed by most people.
only time will tellOnly time will tell is another way of saying you will only know the outcome of something after more time has passed. This is used in more of a literal way as to say literally that only time, or the passing of time, will be able to tell you the answer to the outcome or to see how something has turned out. This is commonly used in reference to attempting to do something but not having immediate results.
oopsy daisyOopsy daisy is an expression which is not as often used in todays modern language, but is sometimes still said as a way to indicate surprise. When someone says oppsy daisy, they are trying to show surprise as to what has just occurred whether it was something they did or something someone else did. It is usually in response not only to surprise but to show emotion over something which was possibly an accident, like dropping something.
open a can of wormsTo open a can of worms means to create a situation that will cause trouble or be unpleasant for other people. Usually, someone will say you opened a can of worms when you intend to say something or do something which you know ahead of time will cause problems or trouble for some of the people involved, but for whatever reason, you feel it is necessary. It may be telling a secret, revealing something that people arent aware of, or do something unpleasant.
open and shut caseAn open and shut case is one that is very simple and straightforward with little to no complications. An open and shut case is most commonly relating to a criminal case where the evidence is easy to find and is used to easily convict the person who has been accused of the crime. This can also be used more figuratively for another type of situation which has no complications and is very straightforward.
opportunity doesnt knock twiceOpportunity doesnt knock twice is another way of saying that you should take advantage of an opportunity when it arises because you may not get the chance to do it again. Many times people hesitate when an opportunity arises to do something such as a promotion or a new job entirely, but if you dont take your chance, then the opportunity may never knock again. Most often, it will never come around again.
opposites attractOpposites attract is a phrase used for people who are unlike each other but also tend to be attracted to each other. It is simply a state of fact that many people are attracted physically, emotionally or sexually to people which are their opposites whether intellectually, emotionally, physically such as their appearance, different in their opinions, views, religion, employment, financial situation or even the things they enjoy doing.
out for a Sunday strollOut for a Sunday stroll means to walk casually through something or some place. This phrase is often used in stage productions, movies or even novels as the characters use it literally or figuratively. When used literally, they will be taking a casual walk on a Sunday since this is often the day when people dont work and take time to relax. Figuratively it is similar except on any day of the week.
out like a lightTo be out like a light means to be in a deep sleep or unconscious completely. Out like a light is a catch phrase used when someone seems to be in a very deep sleep, sleeping soundly and quietly, or sometimes used for someone who seems to have fallen asleep very quickly. It is often in response to seeing another person fall asleep quickly and deeply in front of them, to which they will say the person is out like a light.
out of pocketOut of pocket is a phrase used when you will be paying for something with your own personal funds, such as if your health insurance reaches its coverage gap and the remainder of your bills are paid out of pocket. The phrase is almost most recently used as a way to say that someone is unreachable and out of communication in the business world as a catch phrase, but this is not the universal meaning or definition for out of pocket.
out of sight, out of mindOut of sight, out of mind is another way of saying that if you dont see something happening or someone doing something, you wont have to worry about it happening. It is also a way of saying that if you dont see someone or something frequently that you will soon forget about it. The phrase has different meanings for different people and is therefore used in a variety of different situations.
out of the blueOut of the blue is the catch phrase used when you see something happen or see someone doing something in front of you which happens very suddenly and it surprises you. This is usually something much unexpected and something which doesnt happen very often, therefore it came out of the blue. Usually something out of the blue you have seen happen, or someone saying something out of the blue, it is something so sudden you are very surprised by it.
out of the frying pan, into the fireOut of the frying pan, into the fire is an idiom which refers to going from a bad situation to an even worse situation. Literally speaking, a frying pan is considered the bad situation in that it is very hot to the touch; but if you go to the fire, it is even hotter and can cause more damage than a hot frying pan. In this sense, it is used figuratively to describe a situation which has gone from bad to worse.
out on a limbOut on a limb, most commonly used as go out on a limb, means to put oneself in an isolated or disadvantaged position in support of someone or something. By going out on a limb, you are putting yourself in some type of risk or becoming more vulnerable in regards to the situation because you want to support and help someone or possibly a cause which is important to you.
out with the old, in with the newOut with the old, in with the new is the catch phrase used for a variety of situations in which something is updated or a newer and better version of something comes along. This can be in reference to people where someone starts a new relationship by dumping their old boyfriend or girlfriend and getting a new one or another situation such as a challenge, adventure, reality, success or goal.
over and done withOver and done with means to do something difficult or unpleasant as soon as you get the chance so that you dont have to worry about it later on. This is usually in reference to something being very unpleasant and just the thought of it causes stress or worry. By doing this thing right away, whether it is a job, school project, or chore, you can have it out of the way and know that it is done and no longer have to worry about it.
over the edgeOver the edge is the catch phrase used as an idiom when something or something is out of control or doing something excessive. Over the edge is often used for a variety of situations, but usually in reference to people who seem to be getting out of hand and out of control in what they have been doing and working excessively when it is not really necessary. If someone has gone over the edge, they have done much more than they needed to or exaggerated the current situation.
over the hillOver the hill is a common idiom for someone who has reached over a certain age and therefore is considered to be half-past their life span. If you think of your life as being a hill, then once you get to the top it would be the halfway point, and going down hill after that is when you reach past this age. Traditionally, over the hill is being around age 40, but some consider age 50 to be over the hill. The phrase is also used when you can no longer do something well because you are past your prime.
over the topOver the top is a phrase used when someone has gained more than what their goal was or perhaps that the current situation has gotten too extreme in relation to what it was supposed to be. Over the top is usually reserved for a person who is getting out of control in the things they are doing, because they have gone far past their goal and are now taking it to a risky level. It may also relate to various situations which have been taken too far.