One is such a lonely number

I'd never realized before how many idioms including numbers there are. Robert, a prospective member of the EPOTI crew prepared a report about it, which was the topic of today's (Friday's) Skypecast. An outstanding job. I'll try to summarize here these idioms.

  • To be one in a million. To be one of a kind. (These two I already explained in a previous post).
  • I love watching the rainbow, but when you've seen one, you've seen them all (I think this one speaks for itself, doesn't it?).
  • At first sight, Sudoku seems to be rather easy, but on second thought, it can baffle you completely.
  • I'm of two minds about going out tonight (= I haven't made my mind about it yet).
  • I had forty winks after lunch today (= I took a nap / I snoozed).
  • I'm in seventh heaven when I look into your eyes (= I feel very happy / I'm walking on air). Alternative: I'm on cloud nine.
  • Cooking is second nature to my grandma (= it's easy for her because she's got a lot of experience).
  • My aunt was crawling on all fours trying to find her contact lens (= she was crawling with her hands and knees).
  • She seems to have a sixth sense: she knows precisely when it's going to rain by looking at the soil in her garden (= she can tell it without using any of her five senses).
  • This post looks pretty much like Robert's report. If you put two and two together, then it's obvious I'm stealing his idea ;-)
  • No, just joking, I've added a few idioms of my own too :-)
  • Coke and Pepsi... for me, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. I don't drink softdrinks (= there's no difference for me).
  • You said you don't drink any softdrinks? Well, that makes two of us (= we're in the same situation).
  • I've tried twice already to write this sentence without success. Third time is the charm, they say.

This list is far from complete, so if you know another idiom or saying involving numbers, do leave us a comment!

And for the grand finale, the chorus from the song "3 small words" by Josie and the Pussycats:

It took 6 whole hours, and 5 long days, 4 all your lies to come undone. And those 3 small words were way 2 late, cause you can't see that I'm the 1.


Jola said…
I have a bunch of idioms with numbers.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

We were so nervous that he would miss the train but he, as usual, arrived to the railway station at the eleventh hour.

If you are dressed up to the nines, you are wearing fancy clothes.

If you are at sixes and sevens, you are confused and do not know what to do.

If someone talks very fast, they talk nineteen to the dozen.

If you understand immediately what someone is trying to say, they might say to you "Got it in one."

Someone who looks out for number one is someone who only thinks about his or her interests.

If a man has not shaved for a day or two, you say he has a five o'clock shadow.

Things that are very cheap and common are ten a penny.

We were forced to go back to square one in our efforts to change the name of the company.

The man was a nine-day wonder but soon was forgotten by most of the people at his former company.

They tried to pull a fast one on me at the car repair shop but I stopped them easily.
Ignacio said…
Wow! Excellent list, Jola! You deserve an A+++ for that! :-)

And this is only the tip of the iceberg? I wonder what you've got there hidden up your sleeve then ;-)

About the idiom "ten a penny": that sounds very British. I believe Americans say "a dime a dozen."

I believe that to "talk nineteen to the dozen" is also used mainly in Great Britain. I found that one in one of the Harry Potter books, if I'm not mistaken.

To "look out for number one" is new to me :-)

Thank you!
Ignacio said…
Here's another one I just learned:

A catch-22 situation: it refers to a situation in which you need to do one thing before doing another, but you can't do the other thing before doing the first. So you are like trapped.

"I want to study, but I need money to pay for the course, but if I work to get some money, then I don't have time to study—it's a catch-22 situation!"


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