So to Speak: 11,000 Expressions That'll Knock Your Socks Off

So to Speak: 11,000 Expressions That'll Knock Your Socks Off

So to Speak: 11,000 Expressions That'll Knock Your Socks Off

So to Speak: 11,000 Expressions That'll Knock Your Socks Off


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Engage with everyday expressions in a completely different (and fun!) way, with this entertaining and interactive book of common phrases that can turn a humdrum gathering into a raucous game night.

We use expressions and idioms all the time. When you feel sick, you’re “under the weather.” When you feel great, you’re “on top of the world.” But whether you’re a “smart cookie” or a tough one, you—and almost everyone you know—have a veritable smorgasbord of expressions stored deep in your brain.

So to Speak: 11,000 Expressions That’ll Knock Your Socks Off is the largest collection of its kind. Thoughtfully divided into sixty-seven categories—from Animals to Food & Cooking, from Love to Politics, this reference guide may have more in common with an activity book!

Don’t look for definitions and etymologies, because the book is just the beginning. So to Speak is the launchpad for your lifelong journey to explore the universe of expressions. In fact, it’s designed to get readers off the page—and engaging with each other through word games and puzzles. So to Speak spurs discussion, debate, and play, while encouraging the art of listening and celebrating the joy of words.

Authors Shirley and Harold Kobliner spent more than half a century nurturing and teaching children. So to Speak is a reflection of their deeply held belief that regardless of a person’s age, the most impactful learning happens when you’re having fun.

Whether it’s grandparents teaching their favorite expressions to their grandkids, teens helping adults with the latest lingo or slang, or millennials indulging in their love of wordplay and games, this is the perfect book for any lover of language.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982163761
Publisher: S&S/Simon Element
Publication date: 12/08/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 403,439
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Shirley Kobliner received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Queens College, and was a chemistry teacher in a number of New York City high schools. She was a fierce advocate for students with disabilities, and was one of the earliest supporters and participants of the Association of Neurologically Impaired Brain Injured Children. Harold and Shirley raised three kids who have given them six wonderful, expressions-obsessed grandchildren.

Harold Kobliner received his PhD from New York University’s School of Education and became principal of the award-winning Marie Curie Junior High School in Queens, New York. He was also chairman of the Board of Examiners, the independent agency that created and administered tests to teachers, principals, and superintendents throughout New York City. He was named the US Army’s Soldier of the Month for creating a program for soldiers to earn high school diplomas.

Read an Excerpt


  • Clam up
  • Happy as a clam
  • An old crab
  • Crabby
  • Slippery as an eel
  • A big fish in a small pond
  • Bigger fish to fry
  • Catching the big fish

A big fish in a small pond

  • A cold fish
  • He drinks like a fish
  • A fine kettle of fish
  • A fish out of water
  • Like a fish to water
  • Go fish
  • Gone fishin’
  • Neither fish nor fowl
  • Only dead fish go with the flow
  • Other fish to fry
  • Plenty of fish in the sea
  • Live in a fishbowl
  • A fishy story
  • Something’s fishy
  • A fluke win
  • Stuffed to the gills
  • Holy mackerel!
  • Like a salmon
  • Packed in like sardines
  • Jump the shark
  • Keep the sharks at bay
  • The sharks are circling
  • Swimming with sharks
  • Come out of your shell
  • A shell of himself
  • Shell out
  • Withdraw into your own shell
  • A shellback
  • A whale of a time
  • Bear a grudge
  • A bear hug
  • Bear the brunt
  • Bear with me

A bear hug

Bear with me

  • Bear witness
  • Bring to bear
  • Can’t bear to think about it
  • Gruff as a bear
  • Lose your bearings
  • Be bearish
  • Bad news bears
  • Buffaloed
  • The straw that broke the camel’s back
  • Get over the hump
  • Hump day
  • An alley cat
  • Bell the cat
  • A cat burglar
  • Cat got your tongue?
  • Cat nap
  • Like a cat on a hot tin roof
  • Like a cat on hot bricks
  • Cat’s cradle
  • A cool cat
  • A copycat
  • A copycat crime
  • Curiosity killed the cat
  • A dead-cat bounce
  • A fat cat
  • Grin like a Cheshire cat
  • Let the cat out of the bag
  • Look what the cat dragged in
  • Nervous as a cat having kittens
  • Not enough room to swing a cat
  • Play cat and mouse
  • A scaredy-cat
  • There’s more than one way to skin a cat
  • Walk the cat back
  • The cat’s meow
  • The cat’s pajamas
  • When the cat’s away...
  • Fight like cats and dogs
  • Like herding cats
  • Raining cats and dogs
  • Catty-corner
  • Feeling frisky
  • Cute as a kitten
  • Weak as a kitten
  • Dip into the kitty
  • Feed the kitty
  • A leopard never changes its spots
  • Brave as a lion
  • Lionhearted
  • In like a lion, out like a lamb
  • The lion’s share

A scaredy-cat

  • Twist the lion’s tail
  • Walk into the lion’s den
  • Lionize
  • Throw to the lions
  • Pussyfoot around
  • The roaring ’20s
  • Easy, tiger
  • A paper tiger
  • Have a tiger by the tail
  • A tiger can’t change its stripes
  • A tiger mother
  • Gee whiskers!
  • A deer in the headlights
  • Swift as a deer
  • Go stag
  • A stag party
  • Bark at someone
  • Bark at the moon
  • His bark is worse than his bite
  • Bulldog determination
  • Attack dog
  • A dog and pony show
  • The dog days of summer
  • A dog in the manger
  • Dog someone
  • Dog tired
  • A dog whistle
  • Like a dog with a bone
  • That dog won’t hunt
  • Dog years
  • Dog-eared pages
  • A dog-eat-dog world
  • A dogfight
  • Every dog has its day
  • A hangdog look

Put on the dog

  • Have no dog in this fight
  • A lap dog
  • Meaner than a junkyard dog
  • Put on the dog
  • A shaggy-dog story
  • Sick as a dog
  • The tail wagging the dog
  • The top dog
  • Treat like a dog
  • The underdog
  • Wag the dog
  • Crooked as a dog’s hind leg
  • In a dog’s age
  • A dog’s breakfast
  • A dog’s day
  • A dog’s life
  • Not a dog’s chance
  • Dogged pursuit
  • A doggie bag
  • A doggone shame
  • In the doghouse
  • Barking dogs seldom bite
  • My dogs are barking
  • Crazy like a fox
  • He’s a fox
  • Like a fox guarding the henhouse
  • A fox in the chicken coop

Crocodile tears

  • Sly as a fox
  • Outfoxed
  • Foxy lady
  • To hound
  • Clean as a hound’s tooth
  • Keep on a short leash
  • Strain at the leash
  • Put a muzzle on it
  • Ahead of the pack
  • Leader of the pack
  • Pull away from the pack
  • Puppy love
  • A big bad wolf
  • Cry wolf
  • Hold the wolf by the ears
  • Keep the wolf from the door
  • A lone wolf
  • A wolf in sheep’s clothing
  • Wolf down
  • A wolf whistle

A snake in the grass

  • Keep the wolves at bay
  • Throw to the wolves
  • Ferret out
  • A mole in the organization
  • Weasel words
  • Weasel your way out of it
  • Lying weasels
  • Alligator arms
  • Crocodile tears
  • A frog in the throat
  • Leapfrog over
  • Finer than a frog’s hair
  • A lounge lizard
  • Boo, hiss!
  • Mean as a rattlesnake
  • Roll snake eyes
  • Slippery as a snake
  • A snake in the grass
  • Snake in one’s bosom
  • A snake oil salesman
  • A snake pit
  • Snake the drain
  • Snake through
  • Toady up to someone
  • Slow as a turtle
  • Turn turtle
  • Off like a herd of turtles
  • A kangaroo court
  • Tie your shoe, kangaroo
  • Buck naked
  • Buck the system
  • Buck the tide
  • Buck tradition
  • Buck up
  • Buck wild

Be bullish

  • Like a bull in a china shop
  • Cut through the bull
  • To hit the bull’s-eye
  • That’s no bull
  • Strong as a bull
  • Take the bull by the horns
  • Bullheaded
  • Be bullish
  • The bulls and bears of Wall Street
  • Kill the fatted calf
  • A cattle call
  • Packed in like cattle
  • Don’t have a cow
  • Cowed into submission
  • Till the cows come home
  • He’s a donkey
  • Donkey’s years
  • Get fleeced
  • Get your goat
  • An old goat
  • A scapegoat
  • Hide behind something
  • Tan your hide
  • Go hog wild
  • Go whole hog
  • Hog the limelight
  • Hog-tie someone
  • In hog heaven
  • Call hogs
  • It’s hogwash
  • Don’t put the cart before the horse
  • Get back on the horse
  • A hobbyhorse
  • A horse-and-buggy solution
  • Horse and rabbit stew
  • Horsefeathers
  • The horse has left the barn
  • A horse of a different color
  • It’s a horse race
  • Horse sense

A horse’s ass

  • Horse-trade
  • Horseplay
  • Horses for courses
  • Lock the stable door after the horse has bolted
  • A horse’s ass
  • Change horses midstream
  • Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
  • Be a workhorse
  • Horse around
  • Feel like a jackass

Pig out

  • Innocent as a lamb
  • Like a lamb to the slaughter
  • Meek as a lamb
  • In two shakes of a lamb’s tail
  • Stubborn as a mule
  • Strong as an ox
  • Fat as a pig
  • Happy as a pig in mud
  • A pig in a poke
  • Pig out
  • Pigheaded
  • A selfish pig
  • Like a stuffed pig
  • In a pig’s eye
  • Piggyback on
  • When pigs fly
  • Pony up
  • Free rein
  • Keep a tight rein on something
  • Rein something in
  • Pull in the reins
  • Take the reins
  • Always saddle your own horse
  • Back in the saddle
  • A burr under your saddle
  • Saddle up
  • Be saddled with
  • Be sheepish
  • Cast your pearls before swine
  • Badger the witness
  • He’s a honey badger
  • Quit badgering me!
  • Busy as a beaver
  • An eager beaver
  • Cute as a bunny
  • Quick as a bunny
  • Use as a guinea pig

Pull in the reins

  • Be on a hamster wheel
  • A harebrained scheme
  • The best-laid plans of mice and men
  • Quiet as a mouse
  • Down the rabbit hole
  • Pull a rabbit out of a hat
  • A rabbit punch
  • A dirty rat
  • Rat around
  • Rat on someone
  • The rat race
  • Like rats deserting a sinking ship
  • The skunk at the garden party
  • Get skunked
  • Squirrel away
  • Slug it out
  • Slow as a snail
  • Snail mail
  • At a snail’s pace
  • The elephant in the room
  • A memory like an elephant
  • A grease monkey
  • Make a monkey out of
  • Monkey around
  • Monkey bars
  • Monkey business
  • Like a monkey doing a math problem
  • Monkey in the middle
  • A monkey on your back
  • Monkey see, monkey do
  • Throw a monkey wrench into
  • I’ll be a monkey’s uncle
  • A zebra can’t change its stripes
  • No such animal
  • A party animal
  • A whole different animal
  • A beast of burden
  • True bred
  • Rattle someone’s cage
  • A creature of habit
  • Make the fur fly
  • Cull the herd
  • Herd mentality
  • Horn in on something

A monkey on your back

  • Hornswoggle
  • On the horns of a dilemma
  • Lock horns with
  • Pull in your horns
  • The pick of the litter
  • The runt of the litter
  • A pet peeve
  • A pet project
  • Something preying on your mind
  • In the clutches of
  • Bust your tail
  • Drag your tail
  • Give up and turn tail
  • Hightail it out of there
  • Kick some tail
  • Leave with your tail between your legs
  • On his tail
  • At the tail end
  • Tail someone
  • Go into a tailspin
  • A wild hunch
  • A wild imagination

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