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  1. #1
    vectra's Avatar
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    Default shoot the breeze and give somebody the slip

    Hello everybody,

    On the eve of the upcoming exams, I would like to clarify the meanings of the idioms which will be included in the tests.
    The first one is shoot the breeze. The definition in the book of idioms we use is to chat informally. An example from the same book - I do not mind shooting the breeze.
    The second one is give somebody the slip. The definition is make a getaway.
    An example sentence is - Nora's feeding Sam a line for a long time. Soon she may give him the slip.

    Frankly, I have doubts about these expressions being much in use nowadays.
    Is that so?

    Thank you for your time and help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: shoot the breeze and give somebody the slip

    I am answering simply as a speaker of BrE in his sixties.

    I know the expression 'shoot the breeze', but have never used it. My (British) dictionary notes that it is AmE, informal.

    I use 'Give someone the slip'; I don't think it is old-fashioned, but perhaps I am!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: shoot the breeze and give somebody the slip

    Quote Originally Posted by vectra View Post
    Hello everybody,

    On the eve of the upcoming exams, I would like to clarify the meanings of the idioms which will be included in the tests.
    The first one is shoot the breeze. The definition in the book of idioms we use is to chat informally. An example from the same book - I do not mind shooting the breeze.
    The second one is give somebody the slip. The definition is make a getaway.
    An example sentence is - Nora's feeding Sam a line for a long time. Soon she may give him the slip.

    Frankly, I have doubts about these expressions being much in use nowadays.
    Is that so?

    Thank you for your time and help.

    Shoot the breeze is still pretty common in AmE. Give them the slip is slightly less common - but both are used in AmE regularly - and the meanings you list above are correct.

    "My friends and I were just standing on the front porch shooting the breeze."

    "The bank robbers came out as the police arrived. It looked like they would be caught, but they gave the police the slip."


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  4. #4
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    Default Re: shoot the breeze and give somebody the slip

    I agree that shooting the breeze is pretty common, but "give someone the slip" (to me) is associated only with cops-and-robbers scenarios, as used above, or other cases of someone literally chasing/watching someone. I would never use it to describe a relationship. It's a literal pursuit that is lost, not a metaphoric one.

    The police staked out the house they thought the burglary ring would try next, and planned to catch them in the act. Amazingly, the thieves managed to enter the house unnoticed and only upon exiting were they seen by the police officers. The police gave chase, but the thieves gave them the slip, vanishing into the night.

    Her parents insisted on going everywhere she went. Once, at the mall, she managed to give them the slip, and meet up with her friends in the food court. She relished that hour of freedom.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    opa6x57's Avatar
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    Default Re: shoot the breeze and give somebody the slip

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    ... but "give someone the slip" (to me) is associated only with cops-and-robbers scenarios, as used above, or other cases of someone literally chasing/watching someone. I would never use it to describe a relationship. It's a literal pursuit that is lost, not a metaphoric one.
    I hadn't thought of that - but, I certainly agree with you. Thank you for pointing that out. I have never heard the phrase used in a metaphoric sense, either.

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