The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms
The Most Comprehensive Collection of Idiomatic Expressions and Phrases
by Christine Ammer
Nearly 10,000 entries
Produced in consultation with the editors of The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition this database is a storehouse of fascinating and useful information.
cry over spilt milk, dont Also, no use crying over spilt milk. Dont regret what cannot be undone or rectified, as in The papers you wanted went out in last weeks trash, so dont cry over spilt milk. This metaphor for the inability to recover milk once it has been spilled is very old indeed, already appearing as a proverb in James Howells Paroimiografia (1659). It is sometimes shortened to spilt milk.
double talk 1. Meaningless speech, gibberish mixing real and invented words. For example, Some popular songs are actually based on double talk. [1930s] 2. Also, doublespeak. Deliberately ambiguous and evasive language. For example, I got tired of her double talk and demanded to know the true story or His press secretary was very adept at doublespeak. This usage dates from the late 1940s, and the variant from about 1950.
labor of love Work done for ones satisfaction rather than monetary reward. For example, The research took three years but it was a labor of love. This expression appears twice in the New Testament (Hebrews 6:10, Thessalonians 1:3), referring to those who do Gods work as a labor of love. [c. 1600]
see through rose-colored glasses Also, look through rose-colored glasses. Take an optimistic view of something, as in Kate enjoys just about every activity; she sees the world through rose-colored glasses, or If only Marvin wouldnt be so critical, if he could look through colored glasses once in a while, hed be much happier. The adjectives rosy and rose-colored been used in the sense of "hopeful" or optimistic" since the 1700s; the current idiom dates from the 1850s
Snake in the grass A treacherous person, as in Ben secretly applied for the same job as his best friend; no one knew he was such a snake in the grass. This metaphor for treachery, alluding to a poisonous snake concealed in tall grass, was used in 37 B.C. by the Roman poet Vergil (latet anguis in herba). It was first recorded in English in 1696 as the title of a book by Charles Leslie.