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  1. Senior Member
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      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
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      • Malaysia
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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    common idioms

    Hi there,
    I want to ask if the following underlined idioms, expressions or words are still popular among English native speakers.

    1. spill the beans
    2. The plumber simply gave the job a lick and a promise.
    3. His good connections make him an ideal rainmaker.
    4. He is a fly in the ointment.


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      • English
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      • Ireland
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    Re: common idioms

    The first and fourth is certainly used commonly. I am from Ireland and have lived in Britain for a long time and have never heard 2 or 3.

    Maybe another native speaker can verify or comment?

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Re: common idioms

    1. With how people talk to each other in movies these days - rough, macho - and in the face of 'ratted', 'opened his big mouth', 'opened his fat trap', 'spill your guts', then 'spill the beans' sounds namby-pamby and I wonder if it still has much currency.

    2. I remember this from my youth, and I think only the more elderly would know and use this idiom. You might like to resurrect it amongst your crowd- it's a good one.

    3 American Philosophical Association:biographical memoirs
    For Lew’s firm, it was a matter of no little consequence that he was, in the current idiom, a rainmaker par excellence. Still, it would be a
    fundamental mistake to measure his worth to the firm only by the number and importance of the clients he attracted.

    I have never heard this idiom before. Will keep searching.
    Last edited by David L.; 06-Apr-2008 at 08:13.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
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    Re: common idioms

    A "lick and a promise" is quite old and dated, it is used very rarely today. It means to do something in a quick, cursory way, with little regard for detail.

    "Rainmaker" is more or less an industry-specific term; it is used to describe a lawyer or attorney who has a knack for using his connections and calling in favors to bring in a lot of business to his firm.

  3. Neillythere's Avatar
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    Re: common idioms

    As an old (and maybe dated) Brit, but not a teacher, I can relate to all except the "rainmaker". Maybe I haven't watched enough "Boston Legal or LA Law!.

    I would have no problem using 1 & 4, nowadays.
    2 is a ~ maybe, but not 3.

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