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albatross around one's neck
an annoying burden; phrase refers to a poem "The Ancient Mariner" in which a sailor who shoots a friendly bird is forced to wear its carcass around his neck as punishment
between a rock and a hard place
faced with two equally difficult or dangerous choices or circumstances
blind leading the blind
expression that applies to leaders who know as little as their followers and are therefore likely to lead them astray
a vacation during which a person engages in an activity that is the same as or similar to his or her usual employment
can't hold a candle to
an expression that refers to a person or thing that is distinctly inferior to something else
can't see the forest for the trees
expression used of someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole
chip on one's shoulder
a belligerent attitude or grievance (In the past, a young boy would place a wood chip on his shoulder and dare anyone to knock it off as a way of showing how tough he was.)
Yiddish term for courage bordering on arrogance, roughly equivalent to "nerve" (in the slang sense)
clean bill of health
to be told, usually by a doctor, that one is perfectly healthy. By extension, a person or organization free of any irregularity.
come out of the closet
publicly announce a belief or preference one has kept hidden (especially one's sexual preference)
insincere show of sympathy or sadness (crocodiles were once believed to "weep" large tears before eating their victims)
cross the Rubicon
to make an irreversible decision (the name of the river Julius Caesar crossed with his army, thereby starting civil war in Rome)
get up on the wrong side of bed
To act unpleasant for no apparent reason (or because the day got off to a bad start)
(ride the) gravy train
a job or project that requires little effort but yields considerable profits.
in the hot seat
to be in an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation (The phrase is an extension of "hot seat," slang for the electric chair.)
a self-important person of high position and great influence (a character in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta The Mikado)
anything that is beyond criticism (In India, followers of Hinduism consider cows sacred and do not eat them because they believe the animals contain the souls of dead persons)
sit on the fence
to remain neutral and not take sides; often used as an insult about someone who lacks the courage to decide
unlikely companions or allies; often used in the phrase "politics makes strange bedfellows"
a series of reactions that compound or make worse an initial unfortunate event or situation: "He dealt with being overweight by eating more; it's a vicious circle."
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