Can Idiomatic Expressions Be Political?

Can Idiomatic Expressions Be Political?

Can Idiomatic Expressions Be Political?


“idiomatic expression – an expression whose meaning cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up”

Idiomatic expressions are a type of informal English that have a different meaning from the literal definition of the words used in the phrase. For example: “Hold your tongue” should not be taken literally, but rather means to just “be quiet”.

Idiomatic expressions are integrated into many parts of our lives. This 2016 American Presidential campaign is a perfect example of how important it is to understand idiomatic expressions, so that we can make the best decision come election day, with a full understanding of what the candidates are saying.

I offer a list of common English expressions in my Slavic Accent Reduction Software Program, but for the reason noted above, I have now also compiled the following expressions directly from recent televised news coverage of this year’s election process:

  • “Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – To win at the last moment possible, when it had previously seemed certain that you were going to lose; to succeed in an endeavor through reversal of fortune, skill, effort, or good judgment.
  • “Trump is feeding into it – Cater to; encouraging.
  • Post Convention bounce – Is a small, or sometimes not-so-small, bump in a candidate’s support after the forceful messaging and increased media attention during that party’s convention.
  • Head to head race – Indirect confrontation or conflict at close quarters, a close race where it is hard to tell who is going to win.
  • “The e-mail controversy will dog her until November” – It means to be at her heels, to be too close, to not allow breathing room or personal space. Like a puppy dog following its owner all over the place and getting under foot.
  • “It’s unchartered territory that Republicans are looking for a life boat at this point” – They are looking to be rescued, like a smaller raft carried on a larger ship for use if the ship has to be abandoned.
  • “Can Hillary throw cement on her status?” – Solidify her status.
  • “Trump is hedging his bet” – To reduce one’s loss on a bet, or on an investment by counterbalancing the loss in some way; to protect yourself against making the wrong choice.
  • “It’s my way or the highway” – The attitude of believing that one is always right and that anyone who doesn’t agree has no business dealing with him.
  • “Prominent Republicans want to jump ship” – To leave any post or position; to quit or resign, especially when there  is difficulty with the job.
  • “This is the final straw” The last in a series of unpleasant events which finally makes you feel that you cannot continue to accept a bad situation.
  • “The nail is in the coffin” – An action that will cause something to end; something that brings one closer to a seemingly unavoidable negative outcome such as death or defeat.
  • “Supporters are having cold feet” – Fearfulness or timidity preventing the completion of a course of action.
  • “How do Republicans right the Rocking Ship?” – To fix a situation that is unstable.
  • “Can Donald Trump hold back from taking the bait of controversial topics?” – To accept something that was offered to get you to do something that may not be in your best interest.

What other expressions have you heard this election season? Share them in a comment!

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