Halloween: something of a ‘hallmark holiday’ celebrated on the 31st of October and related to the Celtic fire festivals that marked the turning of the seasons. It’s a time of ghosts and goblins and tricks and treats. This post looks at some of the language to do with Halloween.
Ghost: someone who is very stealthy or almost invisible can be described as a ghost. “Ghostlike Tom slipped out of the house behind his father’s back.”
Knowing where the bodies are buried: If you know someone’s secrets in a way that gives you power over them you can be said to know where the bodies are buried.
Ghost can also be a verb for something that is there/running but only just. Also used in electrical engineering, to describe a very low current. “The lights were off but there was enough light ghosting from the computer under the desk for Karen to see the door.”
Scaredy Cat : someone who is easily frightened and/or very timid. “Don won’t come swimming tonight; he’s a scaredy cat.”
Zombie: Someone who’s very tired/almost asleep or walking/doing something without paying attention. “Don’t be a zombie in the seminar; it’s your chance to ask questions.”
Witch’s Brew: describes a mixture of things that are unpleasant/unidentifiable. “The wine that they served with the dinner was a real witch’s brew. I wonder where they got it.”
Ghost town: somewhere very quiet and/or deserted. “Claire’s party was a ghost town; she really shouldn’t have held it on a Monday night.”
Vamp: while this is a clipping of vampire, vamp can also be used to describe someone (usually a woman) who is deliberately and overtly sexy.
Drop dead gorgeous: Normally dead people aren’t used as examples of beauty, but if someone is drop dead gorgeous they are very attractive.
Be the devil’s advocate: an idiom meaning to argue one side of a situation, not because you agree with it but to facilitate the argument.
Jack-o-lantern: a pumpkin (or other gourd or even some root vegetables) carved with a face and with a candle inside it. Traditionally used to scare away evil spirits now used to advertise a house that is participating in trick-or-treat.
Skeleton in the closet: to describe a secret that somebody wants to keep secret use ‘a skeleton in the closet’. “I know Simon’s got a skeleton in the closet. But, he knows mine as well.”
Trick-or-treat: the call of children dressed in costumes when knocking on doors around their neighbourhood.
Someone walked over my grave: an idiom meaning when you had a bad feeling or shock. “Seeing him after all this time. It was like someone walking over my grave.”
To give someone enough rope (to hang themselves): an idiom used when describe a situation where someone could but does not intervene until a situation has become serious and usually someone will suffer.
To dig your own grave: when you have done something obviously stupid, that you knew at the time was stupid. You dig your own grave. “Taking your new girlfriend to the pub where your old girlfriend works was really digging your own grave.”