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20/20

Subject: Music

This US group was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1978 by Steve Allen (guitar, vocals) and Ron Flynt (bass, vocals), two expatriate musicians from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Drummer Mike Gallo ...

HINDSIGHT is always twenty/twenty

HINDSIGHT is always twenty/twenty   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...Nuys [CA] News 17 Feb. Most people’s hindsight is 2020. 1984 West Coast Review of Books x. 32 Sure, it’s not objective, and all the facts aren’t in yet, but let the historians shake their heads—hindsight is always twenty-twenty. 1998 b. kingsolver Poisonwood Bible [2000] 522 Like they always say, the rearview mirror is twenty-twenty. 2001 a. landers Washington Post 18 Oct. (online) Please stop blaming yourself. You did what you thought was best for your children. Hindsight is always 20/20. 2012 a. l. provost Gathering of Thieves 8 As...

FIRST things first

FIRST things first   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...addresses to young men. 1920 w. riley Yorkshire Suburb 136 The dear lady was…incapable…of putting first things first. 1979 ‘ l. black ’ Penny Murders iv. They dropped the talking; first things first, as Kate always felt about a pleasant meal. 2002 Spectator 10 Aug. 20 ‘I think the principle of “first things first” does apply,’ says Al Gore, ‘and has to be followed if we are to have any chance of success.’ ■ ...

NEVER say never

NEVER say never   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... say never Probably a pithy reformulation of never is a long time ; a corollary sometimes added since the mid-20th cent. is never say always . □ 1977 Economist 9 Apr. 6 Mr Colley …is politician enough never to say never. 1978 Washington Post 2 Mar. A1 Marshall did not rule out a resumption of talks, saying ‘you can never say “never” in this business.’ 1984 Washington Post 27 Apr. A23 A president should ‘never say never.’ 2014 www.telegraph.co.uk 14 Sept. And I guess I’m here to say to other women in their fifties, ‘Never say never. It...

A BLEATING sheep loses a bite

A BLEATING sheep loses a bite   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... BLEATING sheep loses a bite Valuable opportunities are missed through too much chatter. □ 1599 j. minsheu Dialogues in Spanish 20 That sheepe that bleateth looseth a bit [mouthful]. 1659 g. torriano English & Italian Dict . 37 A bleating sheep loseth her pasture. 1861 t. hughes Tom Brown at Oxford II. vii. He said something about a bleating sheep losing a bite; but I should think this young man is not much of a talker. 1978 r. v. jones Most Secret War xlv. I thought of reminding him [Churchill] of an adage that I had learnt from my...

With a SWEET tongue and kindness, you can drag an elephant by a hair

With a SWEET tongue and kindness, you can drag an elephant by a hair   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...a SWEET tongue and kindness, you can drag an elephant by a hair Of Iranian origin; a variant is ‘…drag a snake…’. □ 2001 Seattle Times 31 Mar. A11 With a sweet tongue and kindness you can drag an elephant by a hair.—Persian proverb. 2006 Times 4 Sept. 20 Another local maxim appears to capture the outside world’s response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It is akin to an ancient remark: ‘A gentle hand may lead an elephant by a hair.’ For that is clearly the approach that Kofi Annan, on behalf of the United Nations, and Javier Solana, for the European...

THINK twice, cut once

THINK twice, cut once   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...note that, beginning in 1871 , it took 15 years to design and build the Statue of Liberty. 1994 Independent 18 Apr.18 Brushing up their skills at an Academy of Hair; Jeremy Ettinghausen visits a school where the first lesson is: ‘Think twice, cut once’. 2011 Country Life 20 Apr. 269 Consider each operation before carrying it out, think twice and cut once. ■ ...

AFTER the feast comes the reckoning

AFTER the feast comes the reckoning   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... the feast comes the reckoning Pleasures and indulgences must be paid for. Mainly in modern North American use. □ 1620 f. quarles Feast for Wormes VI. vi. But Young‐man, know, there is a Day of doome, The Feast is good, untill the reck’ning come. 1869 New York Times 20 Nov. (online) After the feast comes the reckoning, says the proverb, and…the Viceroy of Egypt is beginning…to estimate the actual cost of his ambition and enterprise. 1999 Time 29 July (online; heading ) After the Monica feast comes the reckoning. ■ action and...

USE it or lose it

USE it or lose it   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... it or lose it A warning that abilities, faculties, and services must be used if they are not to decline and be lost. Modelled on this is a 20th-cent. US corollary: Abuse it and lose it . □ 1893 Homestead [Des Moines] 16 June USE OR LOSE ( heading ) It seems to be a law of nature that use is the condition of possession. 1948 Journal of American Judicature Society June ( article title ) The grand jury—use it or lose it. 1985 Times 18 Apr. 17 The conventional answer to this loss of facilities is that it is a problem for the local community which...

It is easy to be WISE after the event

It is easy to be WISE after the event (c 1490)   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...is easy to be WISE after the event Similar in sense to hindsight is always 20/20 . Cf. c 1490 p. de commynes Mémoires ( 1924 ) I. i . xvi. Les deux ducz…estoient saiges après le coup (comme l’on dit des Bretons) ; 1596 t. dannett tr. Commynes’ Mémoires I. xvi. These two Dukes were wise after the hurt received (as the common prouerbe saith) of the Brittons. □ 1616 jonson Epicœne II. iv. Away, thou strange iustifier of thy selfe, to bee wiser then thou wert, by the euent. 1717 r. wodrow Letter 28 Sept. ( 1843 ) II. 319 Had we not...

EXAMPLE is better than precept

EXAMPLE is better than precept   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...is the way by means of precepts, short and effective by examples. □ 1400 j. mirk Festial (EETS) 216 Then saythe Seynt Austeyn [Augustine] that an ensampull yn doyng ys mor commendabull then ys techyng other [or] prechyng. a 1568 r. ascham Schoolmaster ( 1570 ) i . 20 One example, is more valiable…than xx . preceptes written in bookes. 1708 m. prior Literary Works ( 1971 ) I. 535 Example draws where Precept fails, And Sermons are less read than Tales. 1828 d. m. moir Mansie Wauch xix. Example is better than precept, as James...

What can you EXPECT from a pig but a grunt?

What can you EXPECT from a pig but a grunt?   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...can you EXPECT from a pig but a grunt? Used rhetorically with reference to coarse or boorish behaviour. □ 1731 Poor Robin’s Almanack C6 If we petition a Hog, what can we expect but a grunt. 1827 scott Journal 10 Apr. ( 1941 ) 41 They refuse a draught of £20, because, in mistake, it was £8 overdrawn. But what can be expected of a sow but a grumph ? 1910 p. w. joyce English as We speak it in Ireland x . Of a coarse, ill‐mannered man, who uses unmannerly language: ‘What could you expect from a pig but a grunt.’ 1997 Spectator 22 Nov....

FAITH will move mountains

FAITH will move mountains   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... will move mountains With allusion to Bible (AV) Matthew 17:20 If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain; Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove. Cf. Bible (AV) 1 i corinthians 13:2 though I have all faith; so that I could remove mountains; and have not charity, I am nothing. □ 1897 ‘ s. grand ’ Beth Book xvi. If mountains can be moved by faith, you can surely move your own legs! 1933 j. betjeman Ghastly Good Taste iii. As faith can move mountains, so nothing was impossible to Holy Church. 1948 ...

The FEMALE of the species is more deadly than the male

The FEMALE of the species is more deadly than the male   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... FEMALE of the species is more deadly than the male The phrase the female of the species is often used with allusion to the proverb. □ 1911 r. kipling in Morning Post 20 Oct. 7 The she‐bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail, For the female of the species is more deadly than the male. 1922 wodehouse Clicking of Cuthbert ix. The Bingley‐Perkins combination, owing to some inspired work by the female of the species, managed to keep their lead. 1979 Guardian 28 Apr. 12 We know phrases about the female of the species being more...

FIRE is a good servant but a bad master

FIRE is a good servant but a bad master   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... is a good servant but a bad master Something that is benign and useful if well controlled becomes a danger if it is allowed to take over. □ 1615 t. adams Englands Sickness 20 The world , like fire, may be a good seruant, will bee an ill Master. 1738 swift Polite Conversation ii . 183 Why, Fire and Water are good Servants, but they are very bad Masters. 1808 j. adams Works ( 1850–6 ) VI. 533 Like fire, they [i.e. the aristocracy] are good servants, but all‐consuming masters. 1948 h. beston Northern Farm xxxvi. ‘Fire is a good...

BARNABY bright, Barnaby bright, the longest day and the shortest night

BARNABY bright, Barnaby bright, the longest day and the shortest night (1595)   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...night St. Barnabas’ Day, 11 June, was reckoned the longest day of the year under the Old Style calendar (see quot. 1978). Cf. 1595 spenser Epithalamion l. 266 This day the sunne is in his chiefest hight, With Barnaby the bright. □ 1659 j. howell Proverbs (English) 20 Barnaby bright, the longest day and shortest night. 1858 Notes & Queries 2nd Ser. VI. 522 In some parts of the country the children call the lady‐bird Barnaby Bright, and address it thus:—‘Barnaby Bright, Barnaby Bright, The longest day and the shortest night.’ 1906 e....

If you can’t BEAT them, join them

If you can’t BEAT them, join them   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... Shikasta 266 I said, Running things, what’s the point? He said, If you can’t beat them, join them! 1996 Washington Times 2 July B8 Having taken it on the chin so convincingly, brokers have decided that, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. 2002 Washington Times 26 Feb. A20 In fact, he began an attempt to win over the Catholic party to his side; the Teutonic version of ‘can’t lick ’em, join ’em.’ ■ enemies ; ...

Where IGNORANCE is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise

Where IGNORANCE is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...to know the History o’ your country.’… ‘Where ignorance’s bliss ’tis folly to be wise.’ 1983 ‘ j. gash ’ Sleepers of Erin i. Antique dealers haven’t a clue. Pathetic. God knows why, but dealers always want to prove that ignorance really is bliss. 2001 Times 23 Nov. 20 And the moral of our present situation is: If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy? ■ ...

NATURE abhors a vacuum

NATURE abhors a vacuum (1534)   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...abhorreth vacuum. 1642 t. fuller Holy State v . ii. Queen Joan … (hating widowhood as much as Nature doth vacuum) maried James King of Majorca. 1686 r. boyle Free Inquiry vii . 292 The Axiom of the Schools, that Nature abhors a Vacuum. 1771 s. johnson Letter 20 June ( 1952 ) I. 249 Whatever philosophy may determine of material nature, it is certainly true of intellectual nature, that it abhors a vacuum: our minds cannot be empty. 2001 Washington Times 30 Oct. A4 The White House should have expected this, of course, since the media,...

NOTHING is certain but death and taxes

NOTHING is certain but death and taxes   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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... Letter 13 Nov. in Writings ( 1907 ) X. 69 In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. 1939 l. i. wilder By Shores of Silver Lake xxv . Everything’s more or less a gamble.…Nothing is certain but death and taxes. 2001 Washington Times 20 Dec. C10 In 1789 , Benjamin Franklin said, ‘In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.’ Well, there is one way to avoid capital‐gains taxes on investments—hold them until you die. ■ certainty and...

ONCE bitten, twice shy

ONCE bitten, twice shy   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (6 ed.)

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...twice shy is particularly common in the US, perhaps influenced by A burnt child dreads the fire . □ 1853 surtees Sponge’s Sporting Tour xxxvii. Jawleyford had been bit once, and he was not going to give Mr. Sponge a second chance. 1894 g. f. northall Folk‐Phrases 20 Once bitten, twice shy. 1920 conrad Rescue iii . ix. Once bit twice shy. He had no mind to be kidnapped. 1949 ‘ s. sterling ’ Dead Sure xv . She was especially on her guard…because she’d been victimized in a stupid swindle herself, recently. Once burned, twice shy, you...

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