a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

used to mean that it is better to hold onto something one has than to risk losing it by trying to get something better

Word by Word Definitions

bird play
  1. : the young of a feathered vertebrate

  2. : any of a class (Aves) of warm-blooded vertebrates distinguished by having the body more or less completely covered with feathers and the forelimbs modified as wings

  3. : a game bird

  1. : to observe or identify wild birds in their habitats

hand play
  1. : the terminal part of the vertebrate forelimb when modified (as in humans) as a grasping organ : the body part at the end of the arm of a human, ape, or monkey

  2. : the forelimb segment (such as the terminal section of a bird's wing) of a vertebrate higher than the fishes that corresponds to the hand irrespective of its form or functional specialization

  3. : a part serving the function of or resembling a hand: such as

  1. : with the hands rather than by machine

  1. : to touch or manage with the hands

  2. : furl

  3. : to lead, guide, or assist with the hand

worth play
  1. : become

  1. : having monetary or material value

  2. : estimable

  1. : monetary value

  2. : the equivalent of a specified amount or figure

  3. : the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held

  1. : equal in value to

  2. : having assets or income equal to

  3. : deserving of

two play
  1. : being one more than one in number

  2. : being the second

  1. : two countable individuals not specified

  2. : a small approximate number of indicated things

  1. : a number that is one more than one — see Table of Numbers

  2. : the second in a set or series

  3. : a 2-dollar bill

bush play
  1. : shrub

  2. : a close thicket of shrubs suggesting a single plant

  3. : a large uncleared or sparsely settled area (as in Australia) usually scrub-covered or forested : wilderness

  1. : to support, mark, or protect with bushes

  2. : to extend like a bush : resemble a bush

  1. : having a low-growing compact bushy habit

  2. : serving, occurring in, or used in the bush

  1. : bushing

  1. : falling below acceptable standards : unprofessional


all the time in the world

Definition of all the time in the world

:a great deal of time to do something
  • Hurry up! We don't have all the time in the world!

Word by Word Definitions

all play
  1. : the whole amount, quantity, or extent of

  2. : as much as possible

  3. : every member or individual component of

  1. : wholly, quite

  2. : selected as the best (as at a sport) within an area or organization

  3. : only, exclusively

  1. : the whole number, quantity, or amount : totality

  2. used in such phrases as for all I know, for all I care, and for all the good it does to indicate a lack of knowledge, interest, or effectiveness

  3. : everybody, everything

  1. : the whole of one's possessions, resources, or energy

  1. : other : different : atypical

  2. : isomeric form or variety of (a specified chemical compound)

  3. : being one of a group whose members together constitute a structural unit especially of a language

time play
  1. : the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues : duration

  2. : a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future

  3. : leisure

  1. : to arrange or set the time of : schedule

  2. : to regulate (a watch) to keep correct time

  3. : to set the tempo, speed, or duration of

  1. : of or relating to time

  2. : recording time

  3. : timed to ignite or explode at a specific moment

world play
  1. : the earthly state of human existence

  2. : life after death

  3. : the earth with its inhabitants and all things upon it

  1. : of or relating to the world

  2. : extending or found throughout the world : worldwide

  3. : involving or applying to part of or the whole world


bring out the best in

Definition of bring out the best in

used to say that a person or thing helps one to use or show one's best qualities.
  • She seems to bring out the best in him.
  • Performing in front of an audience brings out the best in me.

Word by Word Definitions

bring play
  1. : to convey, lead, carry, or cause to come along with one toward the place from which the action is being regarded

  2. : to cause to be, act, or move in a special way: such as

  3. : attract

out play
  1. : in a direction away from the inside or center

  2. : outside

  3. : from among others

  1. : eject, oust

  2. : to identify publicly as being such secretly

  3. : to become publicly known

  1. used as a function word to indicate an outward movement

  1. : situated outside : external

  2. : out-of-bounds

  3. : situated at a distance : outlying

  1. : outside

  2. : one who is out of office or power or on the outside

  3. : an act or instance of putting a player out or of being put out in baseball

  1. : in a manner that exceeds or surpasses and sometimes overpowers or defeats

best play
  1. : superlative of good

  2. : excelling all others

  3. : most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction

  1. : superlative of well

  2. : in the best (see 1best) way : to greatest advantage

  3. : most

  1. : the best (see 1best) state or part

  2. : one that is best

  3. : the greatest degree of good or excellence

  1. : to get the better of : outdo

  1. : had best (see 2best 1)


bring out the worst in

Definition of bring out the worst in

:to cause someone to show his or her worst qualities
  • I think competition brings out the worst in people.
  • Drinking brings out the worst in him.

Word by Word Definitions

bring play
  1. : to convey, lead, carry, or cause to come along with one toward the place from which the action is being regarded

  2. : to cause to be, act, or move in a special way: such as

  3. : attract

out play
  1. : in a direction away from the inside or center

  2. : outside

  3. : from among others

  1. : eject, oust

  2. : to identify publicly as being such secretly

  3. : to become publicly known

  1. used as a function word to indicate an outward movement

  1. : situated outside : external

  2. : out-of-bounds

  3. : situated at a distance : outlying

  1. : outside

  2. : one who is out of office or power or on the outside

  3. : an act or instance of putting a player out or of being put out in baseball

  1. : in a manner that exceeds or surpasses and sometimes overpowers or defeats

worst play
  1. : superlative of bad

  2. : or of ill

  3. : most corrupt, bad, evil, or ill

  1. : superlative of ill

  2. : or illy

  3. : or of bad

  1. : one that is worst

  1. : to get the better of : defeat


feel/look like something the cat brought/dragged/drug in

Definition of feel/look like something the cat brought/dragged/drug in

:to be very dirty or untidy
  • I need to take a shower—I feel/look like something the cat dragged in.

Word by Word Definitions

feel play
  1. : to handle or touch in order to examine, test, or explore some quality

  2. : to perceive by a physical sensation coming from discrete end organs (as of the skin or muscles)

  3. : to undergo passive experience of

  1. : sensation, feeling

  2. : the sense of touch

  3. : the quality of a thing as imparted through or as if through touch

look play
  1. : to make sure or take care (that something is done)

  2. : to ascertain by the use of one's eyes

  3. : to exercise the power of vision upon : examine

  1. : the act of looking

  2. : glance

  3. : the expression of the countenance

something play
  1. : some indeterminate or unspecified thing

  2. : some indeterminate amount more than a specified number

  3. : a person or thing of consequence

  1. : in some degree : somewhat

  2. used as an intensive giving adverbial force to an adjective

brought
  1. : past tense and past participle of bring

drag play dragged
  1. : something used to drag (see 2drag) with

  2. : something that is dragged, pulled, or drawn along or over a surface: such as

  3. : harrow

  1. : to draw or pull slowly or heavily : haul

  2. : to cause to move with slowness or difficulty

  3. : to cause to trail (see 1trail 1a) along a surface

  1. : of, being, involving, or intended for a person wearing clothing typical of the opposite sex : of, being, involving, or intended for a person in drag (see 1drag 7b)

drug play
  1. : a substance used in dyeing or chemical operations

  2. : a substance used as a medication or in the preparation of medication

  3. : a substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary (see formulary 3)

  1. : to affect with a drug (see 1drug)

  2. : to administer a drug to

  3. : to lull or stupefy as if with a drug

  1. : dialectal past tense of drag


look what the cat dragged in

Definition of look what the cat dragged in

informal
used to call attention to someone who has entered the room or area

Word by Word Definitions

look play
  1. : to make sure or take care (that something is done)

  2. : to ascertain by the use of one's eyes

  3. : to exercise the power of vision upon : examine

  1. : the act of looking

  2. : glance

  3. : the expression of the countenance

what play
  1. used as an interrogative expressing inquiry about the identity, nature, or value of an object or matter

  2. often used to ask for repetition of an utterance or part of an utterance not properly heard or understood

  3. : who

  1. : why

  2. : in what respect : how

  1. used as an interrogative expressing inquiry about the identity, nature, or value of a person, object, or matter

  2. : how remarkable or striking for good or bad qualities

  3. : whatever

drag play dragged
  1. : something used to drag (see 2drag) with

  2. : something that is dragged, pulled, or drawn along or over a surface: such as

  3. : harrow

  1. : to draw or pull slowly or heavily : haul

  2. : to cause to move with slowness or difficulty

  3. : to cause to trail (see 1trail 1a) along a surface

  1. : of, being, involving, or intended for a person wearing clothing typical of the opposite sex : of, being, involving, or intended for a person in drag (see 1drag 7b)


not for all the tea in China

Definition of not for all the tea in China

informal + old-fashioned
:not for any reason
  • I would never invite him to my house again—not for all the tea in China.

Word by Word Definitions

all play
  1. : the whole amount, quantity, or extent of

  2. : as much as possible

  3. : every member or individual component of

  1. : wholly, quite

  2. : selected as the best (as at a sport) within an area or organization

  3. : only, exclusively

  1. : the whole number, quantity, or amount : totality

  2. used in such phrases as for all I know, for all I care, and for all the good it does to indicate a lack of knowledge, interest, or effectiveness

  3. : everybody, everything

  1. : the whole of one's possessions, resources, or energy

  1. : other : different : atypical

  2. : isomeric form or variety of (a specified chemical compound)

  3. : being one of a group whose members together constitute a structural unit especially of a language

tea play
  1. : a widely cultivated shrub (Camellia sinensis of the family Theaceae, the tea family) native to China, northern India, and southeastern Asia and having glossy green leaves and fragrant white flowers

  2. : the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the tea plant prepared for use in beverages usually by immediate curing by heat or by such curing following a period of fermentation

  3. : an aromatic beverage prepared from tea leaves by soaking them in boiling water

china play
  1. : porcelain

  2. : earthenware or porcelain tableware


see the new year in

variants: or see the New Year in

Definition of see the new year in

:to do something special at midnight on New Year's Eve for the beginning of a new year
  • We saw the new year in with some old friends.

Word by Word Definitions

see play
  1. : to perceive by the eye

  2. : to perceive or detect as if by sight

  3. : to have experience of : undergo

  1. : cathedra

  2. : a cathedral town

  3. : a seat of a bishop's office, power, or authority

new play
  1. : having recently come into existence : recent, modern

  2. : having been seen, used, or known for a short time : novel

  3. : unfamiliar

  1. : newly, recently

year play
  1. : the period of about 3651/4 solar days required for one revolution of the earth around the sun

  2. : the time required for the apparent sun to return to an arbitrary fixed or moving reference point in the sky

  3. : the time in which a planet completes a revolution about the sun


set the wheels in motion

Definition of set the wheels in motion

:to do something essential to begin a process
  • With today's announcement, she has set the wheels in motion for a run for the presidency.

Word by Word Definitions

set play
  1. : to cause to sit : place in or on a seat

  2. : to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them

  3. : to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator

  1. : the act or action of setting

  2. : the condition of being set

  3. : a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together

  1. : intent, determined

  2. : intentional, premeditated

  3. : fixed by authority or appointment : prescribed, specified

wheel play wheels
  1. : a circular frame of hard material that may be solid, partly solid, or spoked and that is capable of turning on an axle

  2. : a contrivance or apparatus having as its principal part a wheel: such as

  3. : a chiefly medieval instrument of torture designed for mutilating a victim (as by stretching or disjointing)

  1. : to turn on or as if on an axis : revolve

  2. : to change direction as if revolving on a pivot

  3. : to move or extend in a circle or curve

motion play
  1. : an act, process, or instance of changing place : movement

  2. : an active or functioning state or condition

  3. : an impulse or inclination of the mind or will

  1. : to signal by a movement or gesture

  2. : to direct by a motion


stack the odds in favor of (someone)

Definition of stack the odds in favor of (someone)

:to make it more likely for someone to win, succeed, etc.
  • There are things you can do to stack the odds in favor of your candidate.

Word by Word Definitions

stack play
  1. : a large usually conical pile (as of hay, straw, or grain in the sheaf) left standing in the field for storage

  2. : an orderly pile or heap

  3. : a large quantity or number

  1. : to arrange in a stack : pile

  2. : to pile in or on

  3. : to arrange secretly for cheating

odds play
  1. : inequalities

  2. : degree of unlikeness

  3. : an amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another

favor play
  1. : friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior

  2. : approving consideration or attention : approbation

  3. : partiality

  1. : to regard or treat with favor

  2. : to do a kindness for : oblige

  3. : endow

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody


stack the odds in someone's favor

Definition of stack the odds in someone's favor

:to make it more likely for someone to win, succeed, etc.
  • There are things you can do to stack the odds in your favor.

Word by Word Definitions

stack play
  1. : a large usually conical pile (as of hay, straw, or grain in the sheaf) left standing in the field for storage

  2. : an orderly pile or heap

  3. : a large quantity or number

  1. : to arrange in a stack : pile

  2. : to pile in or on

  3. : to arrange secretly for cheating

odds play
  1. : inequalities

  2. : degree of unlikeness

  3. : an amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody

favor play
  1. : friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior

  2. : approving consideration or attention : approbation

  3. : partiality

  1. : to regard or treat with favor

  2. : to do a kindness for : oblige

  3. : endow


the ball is in one's court

Definition of the ball is in one's court

:burdened with expectations or requirements for something
  • What do you think we should do about the project? The ball is in your court.

Word by Word Definitions

court play
  1. : the residence or establishment of a sovereign or similar dignitary

  2. : a sovereign's formal assembly of councillors and officers

  3. : the sovereign and officers and advisers who are the governing power

  1. : to seek to gain or achieve

  2. : allure, tempt

  3. : to act so as to invite or provoke


the fix is in

Definition of the fix is in

US
used to say that the outcome of something, such as a game or contest, is being controlled or affected in a dishonest way
  • It was obvious early in the game that the fix was in.

Word by Word Definitions

fix play
  1. : to make firm, stable, or stationary

  2. : to give a permanent or final form to: such as

  3. : to change into a stable compound or available form

  1. : a position of difficulty or embarrassment : predicament

  2. : the position (as of a ship) determined by bearings, observations, or radio

  3. : an accurate determination or understanding especially by observation or analysis


the man in the street

Definition of the man in the street

:the ordinary and average person
  • What does the man in the street think about it?

Word by Word Definitions

man play
  1. : an individual human

  2. : a man belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation)

  3. : husband

  1. : to supply with people (as for service)

  2. : to station members of a ship's crew at

  3. : to serve in the force or complement of

street play
  1. : a thoroughfare especially in a city, town, or village that is wider than an alley or lane and that usually includes sidewalks

  2. : the part of a street reserved for vehicles

  3. : a thoroughfare with abutting property

  1. : of or relating to the streets: such as

  2. : adjoining or giving access to a street

  3. : carried on or taking place in the street


the odds are in favor of (something)

Definition of the odds are in favor of (something)

:(something) is likely to happen.
  • The odds are in favor of a major storm this weekend.

Word by Word Definitions

odds play
  1. : inequalities

  2. : degree of unlikeness

  3. : an amount by which one thing exceeds or falls short of another

favor play
  1. : friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior

  2. : approving consideration or attention : approbation

  3. : partiality

  1. : to regard or treat with favor

  2. : to do a kindness for : oblige

  3. : endow

something play
  1. : some indeterminate or unspecified thing

  2. : some indeterminate amount more than a specified number

  3. : a person or thing of consequence

  1. : in some degree : somewhat

  2. used as an intensive giving adverbial force to an adjective


the only game in town

Definition of the only game in town

:the only available, desirable, or valuable thing
  • For serious home cooks, this stove is the only game in town.
  • Our company is no longer the only game in town. We now have serious competition.

Word by Word Definitions

only play
  1. : unquestionably the best : peerless

  2. : alone in a class or category : sole

  3. : having no brother or sister

  1. : as a single fact or instance and nothing more or different : merely

  2. : solely, exclusively

  3. : at the very least

  1. : with the restriction that : but

  2. : and yet : however

  3. : were it not that : except

game play
  1. : activity engaged in for diversion or amusement : play

  2. : the equipment for a game

  3. : often derisive or mocking jesting : fun, sport

  1. : to play for a stake

  2. : to lose or squander by gambling

  3. : to take dishonest advantage of : cheat

  1. : having or showing a resolute unyielding spirit

  2. : willing or ready to proceed

  3. : of or relating to game

  1. : lame

town play
  1. : a compactly settled area usually larger than a village but smaller than a city

  2. : a compactly settled area as distinguished from surrounding rural territory

  3. : a large densely populated urban area : city


the proof is in the pudding

Definition of the proof is in the pudding

used to say that a person can only know if something is good or bad by trying it

Word by Word Definitions

proof play
  1. : the cogency of evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or a fact

  2. : the process or an instance of establishing the validity of a statement especially by derivation from other statements in accordance with principles of reasoning

  3. : experience

  1. : able to resist or repel

  2. : used in proving or testing or as a standard of comparison

  3. : of standard strength or quality or alcoholic content

  1. : to make or take a proof or test of

  2. : proofread

  3. : to give a resistant quality to

pudding play
  1. : blood sausage

  2. : a boiled or baked soft food usually with a cereal base

  3. : a dessert of a soft, spongy, or thick creamy consistency


the proof of the pudding is in the eating

Definition of the proof of the pudding is in the eating

used to say that a person can only know if something is good or bad by trying it

Word by Word Definitions

proof play
  1. : the cogency of evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or a fact

  2. : the process or an instance of establishing the validity of a statement especially by derivation from other statements in accordance with principles of reasoning

  3. : experience

  1. : able to resist or repel

  2. : used in proving or testing or as a standard of comparison

  3. : of standard strength or quality or alcoholic content

  1. : to make or take a proof or test of

  2. : proofread

  3. : to give a resistant quality to

pudding play
  1. : blood sausage

  2. : a boiled or baked soft food usually with a cereal base

  3. : a dessert of a soft, spongy, or thick creamy consistency

eating play
  1. : used for eating

  2. : suitable to eat


the rot sets in

Definition of the rot sets in

chiefly British
used to say that things start to get really bad
  • The rot set in when the factory closed down.

Word by Word Definitions

rot play
  1. : to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi

  2. : to become unsound or weak (as from use or chemical action)

  3. : to go to ruin : deteriorate

  1. : the process of rotting : the state of being rotten : decay

  2. : something rotten or rotting

  3. : a wasting putrescent disease

set play sets
  1. : to cause to sit : place in or on a seat

  2. : to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them

  3. : to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator

  1. : the act or action of setting

  2. : the condition of being set

  3. : a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together

  1. : intent, determined

  2. : intentional, premeditated

  3. : fixed by authority or appointment : prescribed, specified


the sun is in someone's eyes

Definition of the sun is in someone's eyes

:the bright light of the sun is shining directly in someone's eyes
  • She couldn't see because the sun was in her eyes.

Word by Word Definitions

sun play
  1. : the luminous celestial body around which the earth and other planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, which is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, and which has a mean distance from earth of about 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers), a linear diameter of 864,000 miles (1,390,000 kilometers), and a mass 332,000 times greater than earth

  2. : a celestial body like the sun : star

  3. : the heat or light radiated from the sun

  1. : to expose to or as if to the rays of the sun

  2. : to sun oneself

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody

eye play eyes
  1. : a specialized light-sensitive sensory structure of animals that in nearly all vertebrates, most arthropods, and some mollusks is the image-forming organ of sight

  2. : all the visible structures within and surrounding the orbit and including eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows

  3. : the faculty of seeing with eyes

  1. : to fix the eyes on : look at

  2. : contemplate, consider

  3. : to watch or study closely


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