Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Clothing Expressions" from VOA

Painting by Kay Smith, nationally known
watercolor artist. Her website is http://www.kaysmith.artspan.com/

"Hanging Out to Dry"

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories.

Have you ever considered all the English expressions that include words about clothes? Let’s see if I can name a few off the cuff -- or without any preparation.
People wear pants to cover the lower part of their bodies. We sometimes say that people who are restless or nervous have ants in their pants. They might also fly by the seat of their pants. They use their natural sense to do something instead of their learned knowledge. Sometimes, people may get caught with their pants down. They are found doing something they should not be doing. And, in every family, one person takes control. Sometimes a wife tells her husband what to do. Then we say she wears the pants in the family.

Pants usually have pockets to hold things. Money that is likely to be spent quickly can burn a hole in your pocket. Sometimes you need a belt to hold up your pants. If you have less money than usual, you may have to tighten your belt. You may have to live on less money and spend your money carefully. But once you have succeeded in budgeting your money, you will have that skill under your belt.

I always praise people who can save their money and not spend too much. I really take my hat off to them. Yet, when it comes to my own money, I spend it at the drop of a hat -- immediately, without waiting. And sadly, you cannot pull money out of a hat. You cannot get money by inventing or imagining it.

Boots are a heavy or strong kind of shoes. People who are too big for their boots think they are more important than they really are. I dislike such people. I really do. You can bet your boots on that. Yet, truly important people are hard to replace. Rarely can you fill their shoes or replace them with someone equally effective.

My father is an important person. He runs a big company. He wears a suit and tie and a shirt with sleeves that cover his arms. Some people who do not know him well think he is too firm and severe. They think he is a real stuffed shirt. But I know that my father wears his heart on his sleeve. He shows his feelings openly. And, he knows how to keep his shirt on. He stays calm and never gets angry or too excited.

Also, my father has never lost his shirt in a business deal. He is too smart to lose all or most of his money. This is because my father rolls up his sleeves and prepares to work hard. He often has a special plan or answer to a problem that he can use if he needs it. He is like a person who does magic tricks. We say he has a card up his sleeve.

This VOA Special English program “Words and Their Stories” was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.


1. I wouldn't invest in that company if I were you. If you do, you might _____________________ .
a: make a lot of money
b: lose your shirt
c: take your hat off
d: fly by the seat of your pants

2. Ready for this? Let's roll up our sleeves and ________________ .
a: take a break
b: drink a couple of beers
c: take off our pants
d: get to work

3. Because our salaries aren't large, we've needed to budget our income every month. Fortunately, we have that skill ___________________.
a: out of a hat
b: under our belts
c: in our shirts
d: next to our boots

4. People who are too big for their boots think _______________________ .
a: they need to buy a smaller size
b: they need to return to school to get more training
c: they are not ready to take on extra work
d: they are more important than they really are

5. Another way to say "He wears his heart on his sleeve" is "______________________ ."
a: He cries at the drop of a hat
b: He's a real stuffed shirt
c: He doesn't know how to tighten his belt
d: He has something up his sleeve

6. I've got ten dollars and it's burning a hole in my pocket. This means
a: the ten dollar bill was left in the sun too long
b: I will probably spend the ten dollars soon
c: I'm angry there isn't more than ten dollars in my pocket
d: I need change for the bus

7. If you know how to keep your shirt on, you know how to _________________________ .
a: sew on your buttons
b: feel comfortable even though it's hot
c: stay calm and never get angry
d: impress people with your sense of fashion

8. Tom's wife wears the pants in the family. This means that __________________ .
a: Tom's wife has a job but Tom doesn't
b: Tom's wife likes to do carpentry jobs
c: Tom's wife is the person who controls the family
d: Tom's wife needs a new dress

9. If an employee is "flying by the seat of his pants," it's likely _______________________ .
a: he doesn't have much experience
b: he's trying to do the job too fast
c: he's cutting a lot of corners
d: he's using his extensive experience to instruct others

10. Speaking "off the cuff" means _____________________________ .
a: wearing a short sleeve shirt while speaking
b: rolling up your sleeves before you begin to speak
c: speaking without preparation
d: speaking without blaming anyone for anything


  1. I would like my teacher FAROQ see my home work .

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