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Cliches starting with P

ClicheMeaning
packing heatTo be packing heat means to be carrying one or more firearms (guns) on your person, especially in a concealed manner. You will hear this phrase most often in the media either on the news or a fiction story such as a television program about the police force. These cop dramas often speak about police or criminals packing heat when they have at least one type of gun on their person.
packing leadPacking lead is another way to say someone is currently carrying a weapon on their person, but it does not necessarily have to be a gun or firearms. Packing heat is used for someone having a gun on their person in a concealed manner, but packing lead can be any type of weapon from a gun to a knife to a grenade or other type of explosive device. It is usually referring to someone concealing these weapons.
pain and sufferingPain and suffering is an idiom used for a variety of situations which are usually relating to the literal sense of something or someone causing pain and suffering for other people. The definition of pain and suffering is a series of damages that one may recover for physical or mental pain that results from wrongdoing. In other words, to cause pain and suffering to someone by doing something that is wrong because you are doing it intentionally.
pain in the neckA pain in the neck is referring to someone who is very bothersome to others; they may be disagreeable, unpleasant, annoying, or simply someone who does or says thing to bother everyone else. This may be in reference to one particular occasion or someone that is a pain in the neck in general. Pain in the neck can also be used as a phrase to describe an unpleasant or bothersome situation, rather than a person.
paint the town redPaint the town red is an idiom used for going out on the town and enjoying yourself, usually in the evening. The reason it is called painting the town red is most likely because of red meaning red wine or another similar type of alcoholic beverage. Most people who paint the town red are going out at night and therefore going dancing and drinking a lot of alcohol during their night.
paint yourself into a cornerTo paint yourself into a corner means to do something that has put you into a very difficult situation and will limit the ways you are able to get out of this situation. Literally, to be put in a corner leaves you vulnerable and open for attack with little to no ways to get out of it. When used figuratively, this phrase refers to the same thing where you have managed to get yourself in a situation with little ways of escaping it.
panic buttonPanic button, or pressing the panic button, means to do something very quickly without thinking about it in order to deal with a difficult or worrisome situation. The situation is most commonly negative when you are pressing a panic button. The panic button is figurative and simply a way to say you have to do or say something which will quickly get you out of this difficult situation and you dont think much about it beforehand.
part and parcelPart and parcel is a phrase used for something that cannot be separated from a condition or activity. This phrase is not commonly used but occasionally you will hear someone refer to a particular thing or situation as being a part and parcel. A part and parcel in other words, is where this thing is unable to be separated by any time of activity and is usually said in more of a negative way.
party pooperA party pooper is someone who declines to participate in an activity or event with enthusiasm as compared to the rest of the people there. It is usually in reference to recreational activities of a group where the other members of the group are having a good time, enjoying themselves and being very involved while the party pooper would rather not. It is often used for an actual party situation where one person doesnt want to enjoy the party.
pass the buckTo pass the buck means to pass the blame on to someone else and give the responsibility on to someone else, even if you think the blame is on yourself. People often pass the buck when they know what they have said or done is wrong but instead of admitting to it or accepting it, they will then pass the blame and responsibility on to someone else who will then have to deal with the consequences.
pass the sniff testIf you have passed the sniff test, it means that you have been shown to be trusted and morally acceptable. Usually passing the sniff test is in relation to a person who has proven trustworthy by others and has not done something wrong, but it can also be used for a situation which is morally acceptable. The origin of the phrase is from dogs who find people hiding something by sniffing them for drugs or other illegal means.
passed with flying colorsIf someone has passed with flying colors it means that this person has succeeded very easily and completely. Passing with flying colors is often used for a person who has passed a difficult test, won a race, or completed a goal or competition which was somewhat difficult but they managed to get through it completely and successfully on the first try. This person probably had no difficulties with their task.
pat on the backA pat on the back is usually a literal term where you will pat someone on the back in order to show them praise and give them a sense of a job well done. A pat on the back can also be used more figuratively in that the person is getting praise for a job well done in another way such as telling them verbally they did a good job, or even getting some kind of reward or compensation for completing their task or getting praise for something they did very well.
patience is a virtuePatience is a virtue is an ancient proverb that comes straight from a bible verse and refers to the importance of patience. By saying patience is a virtue, they are simply trying to tell you that being patient is extremely important and patience as a trait or quality of someone is deemed to be morally excellent.
pay a kings ransomThe phrase to pay a kings ransom which to be paying a very large amount of money for something as a kings ransom is often known as a lot of money. This phrase refers to a King being held by an opposing kingdom or group of people for a large amount of money in which his own kingdom must pay before they get him back. When used figuratively. Paying a kings ransom can be related to any situation where you have to pay a lot of money.
pay an arm and a legTo pay an arm and a leg means you have to pay too much money for something, much more than what it is worth. It can also be used simply to say you have to pay a large sum of money for something. Paying an arm and a leg is a way to exaggerate how much something is going to cost you, as a way to not only say it costs a lot of money, but figuratively it costs nearly everything you have.
pay attention to detailsPay attention to details is the phrase used for someone who is very meticulous and painstakingly attentive to every single detail of something where this person notices every small thing, whether good or bad. It is often used in job descriptions when they want to hire someone who is fastidious and careful at work, therefore they pay attention to details in order to do their job right.
pay through the noseTo pay through the nose means you are paying too much for something. Like many other idioms which mean virtually the same thing, paying through the nose is when you are paying too much for something since you are paying much more than what it is worth. If the value of the thing you are buying or spending money on is lower than how much you have to spend, that is known as paying through the nose.
peaches and cream complexionPeaches and cream complexion is a complexion of a person (usually a female) with porcelain white skin and naturally rosy cheeks. This term is often used to describe women who have very pale and fair skin, sometimes with freckles but not always, and who have rosy cheeks naturally without requiring makeup. Typically, describing someone with a peaches and cream complexion means that they have this coloring naturally without makeup.
peel outTo peel out means to accelerate from a stop in such a way that the tires of your vehicle will squeal and smoke as you accelerate. It is also known as burning rubber in the way that your tires will make a black stream mark across the asphalt or concrete. The term peel out is used primarily as a driving term when you use your car or truck (usually a sports car) to quickly accelerate from a stop and make your tires squeal and burn rubber.
pennies from heavenPennies from heaven is an idiom used when money is acquired without much effort or risk and with unexpected benefits from something, especially in terms of financial ones. While the phrase pennies from heaven is often used in financial situations, such as getting a large sum of money without having to do much for it (like it is a gift from heaven), it can also be used more figuratively when you get unexpected benefits from something.
penny for your thoughtsPenny for your thoughts is a very common phrase which is spoken to someone when you want to ask their thoughts or opinions on something, or as a way to ask them what they are thinking about. Asking someone the question penny for your thoughts? it is generally in response to someone who seems to be deep in thought but is not speaking. By asking them this, the other person knows you are asking what they are thinking about.
penny pincherA penny pincher is someone who is very stingy or extremely frugal with their money. The idiom is most commonly used for a person who tends to not want to spend a lot of money, constantly looking for savings, and frugal in the way they spend their money. Penny pinchers typically pay close attention to every penny they spend, and hardly ever spend money on frivolous things that they dont need.
penny wise and pound foolishPenny wise and pound foolish is a catch phrase used for someone who is unwise because they are not doing what they should be doing since the something they can do is small and they think will have no benefit. However what this saying is talking about is that doing something now, no matter how small or meaningless it seems, can actually prevent a larger bit of trouble later on.
people who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stonesPeople who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones is another way to say that you should not criticize other people for having the same type of faults that you have yourself. By speaking of throwing stones at other houses when you have a glass house shows to mean that those stones can therefore come back at you and break your glass house. It is a lesson for people to not be hypocrites and judge others based on something that is true of yourself.
perfect stormA perfect storm is an expression used to describe an event where there is a rare combination of circumstances that will aggravate a situation drastically. This term is commonly used in reference to an actual storm in the literal sense where different combinations add to a very severe circumstance, such as being on a boat and having different severe weather conditions happening at the same time which can be very dangerous.
petered outPetered out is a way to say something has dwindled away to practically nothing. Petered out may also be used in reference to a person who has slowly stopped doing something they used to do regularly and have now lost the will or the skill to be able to do it well. Aside from people, it can also be used for a variety of situations where something that was one spectacular, has gradually become nothing at all.
pick over the ruinsPick over the ruins is another way to describe searching through a collection of things in order to find something valuable. Pick over the ruins originates from the literal use of the phrase where people look through ruins of a recent disaster like an earthquake or fire, and try to find anything work salvaging. It can also be used figuratively to be searching over what is left for something valuable to you.
picture perfectPicture perfect is the phrase used to describe someone or something that is perfect in appearance or quality. By relating it to a picture, they mean to say this thing or person is so perfect in their appearance that a photograph could be taken of it because it has such high quality. This may be used in reference to a person who looks perfect on the outside in their appearance, or even a situation that seems to have no flaws.
pig in a pokeA pig in a poke is something you buy or accept without seeing it first or knowing what it is like even though it might not end up being what you want. Many pigs are purchased at fairs or farms while in a poke, which allows you to see them slightly but not much of them. While these pigs may be lower in cost, you never really know what you are going to get. By saying you bought something like a pig in a poke, it means you didnt see it, but accepted it anyways.
pillar of societyA pillar of society is a sarcastic term which is used to describe dubious or doubtful characters, or anyone taking more from society than they give to that society. The phrase is sometimes abbreviated to pillar and may be related to an under achiever, or someone from a low social standing. The pillar of society is usually referring to someone who doesnt give much to their society or group, but expects a lot in return.
pin your hopes on somethingTo pin your hopes on something means that you are hopeful that someone or something is going to help you achieve what you want out of the current situation. You are pinning your hopes on something by just keeping faith things will work out in your favor rather than being sure of this or guaranteed this person or thing is actually going to help you succeed.
pipe downPipe down is an expression which you sometimes say to a person to tell them to be quiet. It is often a request to someone who is being very loud, talking too much or talking out loud in an inappropriate situation, or talking about something bothersome and you just want them to stop. It is sometimes spoken in the negative where they are bothering you, or casually to say they should speak at a quieter volume.
piss-poorPiss-poor is another way of saying someone or something is pathetic, weak or pitiable. It can also be slang for someone or something that has very low standards or quality. While it is sometimes used in relation to a situation or thing, it is most commonly speaking of a person with a piss-poor attitude, in that it is a very negative, degrading, and pessimistic attitude which others frown upon.
Plain as a rainy TuesdaySomething that is plain as day is very plain and simple, and somewhat straightforward. This phrase is usually referring to a situation that is plain and simple or possibly an answer to a question which should be straightforward and obvious. If you are told something is plain as day, it means that what they are referring to is very basic, simplistic and obvious in that you should figure it out very easily.
play both ends against the middleTo play both ends against the middle means to try to make two people or two groups compete with each other in order to get the advantage for yourself. This can used both literally or figuratively depending on the connotations or the situations it is referring to. Literally, it may be used in some type of race or competition, while figuratively the phrase is usually in reference to a person playing to people against each other for his or her own benefit.
play me for a foolPlay me for a fool is the idiom used when someone has treated you like a fool or done something that shows they assume you are na
play the cards youre dealtPlay the cards youre dealt is a phrase which means that sometimes you have to take things as they are and learn to deal with them, even if the things or choices you are given arent what you were expecting. In Poker, the phrase refers to the fact that the game is chance and you cant choose which cards are dealt but must play them anyway. In life the phrase is used as a way of simply reacting with what you are given, good or bad.
play the final cardPlay the final card is another way of saying you should take advantage of the last chance or opportunity you are give. This is advice which is used in a variety of different situations and circumstances where instead of losing this last chance, you should just take it because you dont know when another of the same type of opportunity is going to arise again.
playing hardballPlaying hardball is a phrase which refers to being so determined to get what you want, that you are willing to use certain methods which may be seen as unfair to others or might even harm other people whether literally or figuratively. The idiom is most often used in relation to business or finance, where you are willing to play rough and tough with your peers in order to get ahead and get what you want.
playing possumPlaying possum means to remain quiet and still in order to have the attention drawn away from you and remain undetected. It is another way of saying you are laying low (literally and figuratively) or even trying to feign death. Possums have been known to act like they are dead by being very still in the wild in order to escape their prey, whereas figuratively this can be used for a variety of different situations.
playing the fieldPlaying the field is an idiom which has turned into a cliche from how often it is being used. When someone says they are playing the field, it means this person is dating many different people rather than just one. Their intentions for dating different people might vary, and they or may not be admitting this to each person he or she is dating. To play the field refers to having several people to date casually, or even be in relationships with each one.
playing with firePlaying with fire is the term used when someone is involved in an activity that could potentially be dangerous and usually involves doing this activity over and over again on a continuous basis. The person who plays with fire usually knows the potential risks and that it might be dangerous and get them into trouble, but they do it anyway whether out of fun or because there is some sort of benefit to it.
pleased as punchPleased as punch is an idiom used when referring to someone being very happy and thrilled about something. Pleased as punch has been around for several years as the slang term for being pleased and happy about something, or even happy in regards to another person such as someone being pleased as punch for their new friendship or relationship. It is simply another way to describe how happy someone is.
poison penA poison pen is the term used for a letter that makes malicious statements about the recipient or a third party. This is simply a phrase which people sometimes use to describe the contents of a letter which is usually anonymous and makes some sort of negative remarks, stabs or insults at someone else or even the person the letter is sent to. Due to the potential emotional harm of receiving this letter, it is therefore known as a poison pen.
poker faceIf someone is described as having a poker face, it means their facial expressions dont show any sort of reaction or emotion for the sole purpose of not showing other people what they are thinking or feeling. The origin of this saying goes back to the game of Poker where it is important not to make facial expressions which might give away your cards, whether they are good or bad.
poor as a church mouseTo be poor as a church mouse means to be extremely poor as in regards to your finances, lack of things you own or even lack of property. This is an older idiom which shows the severity at someones bank account or lack of funds, whether due to losing their money for some reason, not having a job or simply being born in a state of poverty. Church mice have been associated with poverty for many years which is where this idiom comes from.
pour it on thickTo pour it on thick, or lay it on thick, means to exaggerate or overstate praise about someone to someone else for their own personal benefit or gain. You can also pour it on thick in a more negative manner where you over-exaggerate feelings of blame, insults or even excuses. Simply put, to pour it on thick or lay it on thick is any form of speaking about something or something over and over again to get the point across.
practice makes perfectPractice makes perfect is a catch phrase used to show the importance of practicing something in order to become more skilled at it. This is a way to say that when you do something over and over again you will be able to learn it well. It is also another way of assuring people who seem frustrated at not understanding something or being unskilled at a craft or sport, that they will soon learn it if they continue to practice.
pray to the porcelain godTo pray to the porcelain god means to be throwing up or vomiting into a toilet. The toilet is often known as the porcelain throne as many toilets are made of porcelain or at least have the same look and appearance of being porcelain. Therefore, this idiom is often used to describe someone who is vomiting into the toilet because they are on their knees, with both hands around the toilet bowl as if they are praying to it.
preaching to the choirIf you are told you are preaching to the choir it means you are saying something, usually a complaint, that is also true of the person you are speaking to. It means to make ones case primarily to ones own supporters, but those people are already aware of these issues. For instance, if you complain to someone about your lack of money, and they have even less money than you, you are preaching to the choir.
pretty as a picturePretty as a picture is a phrase used to describe the level of attractiveness or someone or something. By saying it is pretty as a picture, it means it is so pretty or attractive to look at that it could make a good picture, painting or photograph. This cliche is very often used to describe a person who is pretty as a picture, but can also be for other things such as something in nature like a landscape or the ocean, or any other type of thing.
pretty pennyWhen something costs a pretty penny it means that it is very expensive and costs a lot of money. This cliche has been used for many years as a way to describe something which costs a lot of money, whether the person feels it is worth this much money or not. It is often used in regular conversation when speaking about spending a lot of money on one particular item, saying it costs a pretty penny.
pride before the fallPride before the fall is something people say which means that if you are too confident about yourself and your own abilities, something bad might happen to you which will prove you are not quite as good as think you are. The fall in the phrase refer to something bad happening after the pride, which is the boasting and bragging of yourself. While having pride is good, you should also be honest in yourself, your skills and your abilities.
proud possessorA proud possessor is someone who either owns something and is proud of it, or boasts about a certain quality, characteristic or other type of attribute about themselves. This can be used in both the positive and negative, where someone being a proud possessor is a good thing because it shows they have pride in themselves and their own abilities, or be seen as bragging and boasting which is often frowned upon.
pull a fast oneTo pull a fast one on someone means to successfully deceive this person as you intended to, whether it was for a good or bad cause. This is usually intentional as this person wants to benefit or get some sort of advantage so they try to deceive and trick someone in order to achieve this. If they pulled a fast one on this person, it means they did so successfully and probably earned what they intended to earn.
pull a rabbit out of a hatPull a rabbit out of a hat is the idiom used when you do something very surprising, such as magic trick acts where the magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat that looked otherwise empty. The idiom began as a literal term for pulling the rabbit out of a hat such as in a magic trick, but is now used as a figurative term for doing something very surprising and unexpected which others are often amazed by.
pull the wool over my eyesPull the wool over my eyes is a phrase used when someone successfully conceals their true motives, especially in the case of someone who pretended to have good intentions but ultimately lied to this person and therefore benefited from it. If someone pulled the wool over your eyes, it means the things they were doing or saying to you were completely false but they did it in such a way you had no idea until it was too late.
pull your head out of your assPull your head out of your ass is an expression someone will tell people when they want to tell them to start doing something about a problem they have caused or are directly responsible for. It is often spoken in a slightly rude or sarcastic tone to someone who has caused something bad to happen but they have yet to take responsibility for it or pay the consequences.
pulling your legWhen someone is pulling your leg in a figurative sense, it means they are joking, kidding, fooling or tricking you whether in a mild or severe manner. Pulling your leg can be used in a mild and casual way where this person was simply making a joke at your expense. It can also be in a more serious way where this person fooled or tricked you in a very deceiving way in order to benefit themselves.
pure as the driven snowPure as the driven snow is an idiom used for someone or something that is very pure and chaste. It is most commonly used for a person who is not at all pure, and used ironically with a sarcastic tone. To be pure as the driven snow, a person is usually very pure and chaste, as well as being na
push the envelopeTo push the envelope means to expand the definition, perimeters, dimensions, or categorization of something in a way that you go past the borderline of something. If a person is pushing the envelope in a situation such as at work, it means they are pushing the boundaries of what was expected, and are therefore expanding the expectations of everyone else for this kind of situation.
pushing up daisiesPushing up daisies is a phrase most commonly used in the future tense, to describe someone or something that is going to die, or has been dead and buried. To be pushing up daisies, you would be a person underground that is dead and buried, and pushing at the daisies which grow in the ground above you. It is often used to describe someone who is about to die and is going to be pushing up daises.
put a cork in itPut a cork in it is what some people will say to someone to tell them to be quiet, especially to someone who is being bothersome by repeating the same thing over and over again. If you are saying something to bother someone else, whether because of the topic of discussion, the tone of your voice, or by saying something repeatedly, you might be asked to put a cork in it, as in to be quiet and stop talking.
put a little elbow grease into itPut a little elbow grease into it is another way of being told to do hard work, especially in terms of cleaning something as in this instance you will be using elbow grease. Elbow grease is often the phrase used for cleaning something, because if it was very dirty you literally got grease on your elbows. To be told to put elbow grease into it, it means to work very hard at it and usually pertains to some sort of cleaning or chore.
put a monkey wrench in the worksTo put a monkey wrench in the works means to do something which will prevent a plan or activity from succeeding. By putting a monkey wrench into something, you are stopping something from happening half-way through or part-way through the activity or plan, and therefore the wrench is stopping it in its tracks. A monkey wrench is literally used to stop a machine from moving any further.
put my foot downPut my foot down is what some people will say when they want to assert a point strongly, or respond to you doing something badly where they need to make a point that it is not allowed. This is often spoken by a parent to their child when their child continues to do something badly or which is not allowed by the parent; the parent will put his or her foot down to show them they are no longer allowed to behave this way.
put one over on meIf someone tells you that you put one over on them, it means you fooled, tricked or hoaxed them and they now realize it. If someone is fooled or tricked and they ultimately find out about it, they see that this person has deceived them in some way. By saying this person put one over on them, it is another way of saying they are admitting this person tricked them without them knowing about it while it was going on.
put that in your pipe and smoke itPut that in your pipe and smoke it is a common idiom which is a way of telling someone that it is final and they now have to live with the consequences. This is a phrase which has been used for many years as a response to someone when something they were involved in is now over. This can be some type of argument which the person has won or another type of competition; it is a way to prove they won and now the other person has to deal with it.
put the cart before the horseTo put the cart before the horse means to have things in the wrong order or to have things all confused and mixed up. If you put the cart before the horse, the horse is unable to pull the cart. This is a way of saying you have done something in the wrong order, because the horse should always be before the cart if they are to pull the cart and its contents. It is also a way of saying sings are mixed up or confused.
put the pedal to the metalPut the pedal to the metal in regards to driving means to press a cars accelerator to the floor in order to drive very fast, but this can also be used as a more figurative phrase. While it is most commonly used as a driving or vehicle idiom in a more literal sense, it can also be used figuratively as in to say you should hurry up or speed up what you are currently doing by putting all of your speed into it.
put the screws to himPut the screws to him means to use force or threats to make someone do what you want them to do, usually for your own benefit or advantage. The phrase put the screws to him is simply another way to say you have made threats to someone or maybe used physical force on them in order to force them to do what you want them to do so that you will benefit form this act.
put two and two together...Put two and two together is an idiom which refers to figuring something out from the information or details you currently have available to you. It is another way of saying that you have some sort of information, clues or hints that may lead you to finding out a resolution to a problem. You put two and two together by combining this information which will ultimately lead to an answer.
put up your feet and stay awhileIf someone asks you to put your feet up and relax awhile, they are trying to be polite and ask you to kick back and relax. This phrase has become a cliche because of how often it is used in this exact wording or a slight variation to it. When someone tells you that you should put your feet up and relax awhile, they are speaking literally that you should relax in their home or in yours, usually after some type of hard work is completed.
put your foot in your mouthPut your foot in your mouth is a phrase used by someone who admits to just saying something stupid or embarrassing in front of other people. Usually someone will mention out loud they have just put their foot in their mouth because they said something which embarrassed them or was stupid for whatever reason and after they realized it, they felt very embarrassed about it. Putting your foot in your mouth is another way of saying you wish you could have not said it.
put your heart into itTo put your heart into it means to do something with all of your energy and interest and everything you have to give. This is also sometimes referred to as putting your heart and soul into something. If you are putting your heart into doing something, you are doing it with passion, energy and a lot of interest rather than just doing something casually that you dont really care much about.
put your money where your mouth isPut your money where your mouth is an idiom used in order to refer to doing something rather than just talking about it. Typically when someone constantly boasts about being able to accomplish something for the benefit of others, they may not always prove the ability to do this thing. Put your money where your mouth is, is another way of telling them to show they can do it rather than just saying they can.
putting his feet to the firePutting his feet to the fire is an expression used when you want to put someone under pressure, or to try to force someone to do something whether it is for your own benefit or theirs. By asking someone to put his feet to the fire, you are trying to encourage him to be under some sort of force, pressure or even pain in order to accomplish something; the advantage of doing it may be for his own benefit.