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(as) black as the minister's coat

dated Completely black; totally without light or color. The basement gives me the creeps, it's as black as the minister's coat down there!
See also: black, coat

ride (on) the coattails of (someone)

To benefit from someone else's success; to use someone else's success as a means to achieve one's own. Everyone knows you've been riding on the coattails of the governor these last two years, but once her term ends, you'll be on your own! Jonathan rode the coattails of his professor to get some recognition for his own work in several esteemed academic journals.
See also: coattail, of, ride

sugar-coat the pill

To make something bad, unpleasant, or dissatisfactory easier to cope with, endure, or accept. The bosses are giving everyone an extra 10% bonus this Christmas, but I suspect it's a way of sugar-coating the pill that there will be massive pay cuts in January. I have to tell my mom about wrecking her car, but I need to find a way to sugar-coat the pill first.
See also: pill

turn (one's) coat

dated To change one's allegiance or affiliation (especially in politics) for personal gain or advantage. A good politician will espouse the most hard-line stance of his party's political ideologies, but a successful politician knows when to turn his coat.
See also: coat, turn

white coat hypertension

A phenomenon in which a patient experiences elevated blood pressure around medical professionals. A: "I swear, I didn't feel dizzy until the doctor came in." B: "Hmm, sounds like a case of white coat hypertension to me."
See also: coat, white

all fur coat and no knickers

Good-looking on the surface but lacking substance underneath. I thought David and I would really get along well, but we had nothing to talk about at dinner—he's really all fur coat and no knickers. Our new boss sounded like she had a lot of good ideas for the department, but it turns out she's all fur coat and no knickers.
See also: all, and, coat, fur, knickers


To attempt to make something seem better or more palatable than it actually is, especially something perceived as negative or unfavorable. Mom tried to candy-coat the news by talking about how big the yard would be at the new house, but we were all sad about the move. Don't try to candy-coat this! An F is an F, no matter how hard you studied!

trail (one's) coat

To incite an argument. If one literally trails one's coat, a passerby could easily step on it, thus creating a tense situation. With a comment like that, she is clearly trailing her coat, and I refuse to take the bait.
See also: coat, trail

be all fur coat and no knickers

To be attractive on the surface but lack substance underneath. I thought David and I would really get along well, but we had nothing to talk about at dinner—he's all fur coat and no knickers. Our new boss sounded like she had a lot of good ideas for the department, but it turns out she's all fur coat and no knickers.
See also: all, and, coat, fur, knickers

*close as two coats of paint

Cliché close and intimate. (*Also: as ~.) When Tom and Mary were in high school, they were as close as two coats of paint. All their lives, the cousins were close as two coats of paint.
See also: close, coat, of, paint, two

coat and tie

[for men] a jacket or sports coat and necktie. (A respectable but less than formal standard of dress.) My brother was not wearing a coat and tie, and they would not admit him into the restaurant. I always carry a coat and tie in my car just in case I have to dress up a little for something.
See also: and, coat, tie

coat someone or something with something

to put a layer of something on someone or something. Her manager coated her with grease before she began the Channel swim. The cook coated the chicken with batter and dropped it into the hot fat.
See also: coat

cut one's coat according to one's cloth

 and cut one's coat to suit one's cloth
Prov. to plan one's aims and activities in line with one's resources and circumstances. We would like a bigger house, but we must cut our coat according to our cloth. They can't afford a vacation abroad—they have to cut their coat according to their cloth.
See also: accord, cloth, coat, cut

on somebody's coat-tails

if you achieve something on someone's coat-tails, you only achieve it because of their help or influence She'd risen to fame on the coat-tails of her half-sister.
See also: on

cut your coat according to your cloth

  also cut your cloth according to your means
to only buy what you have enough money to pay for Of course we'd love a huge expensive house, but you have to cut your coat according to your cloth.
See also: accord, cloth, coat, cut

be all fur coat and no knickers

to look attractive but not really be very interesting or of good quality When he took over as chairman we discovered he was all fur coat and no knickers.
See also: all, and, coat, fur, knickers

the men in white coats

doctors who look after people who are mentally ill The men in white coats will be coming to take me away if I stay in this job much longer.
See also: coat, men, white

sugar/sweeten the pill

  (British, American & Australian) also sugar-coat the pill (American)
to make something bad seem less unpleasant The government have cut income tax to sweeten the pill of a tough budget.
See also: pill, sugar

sugar the pill

Make something unpleasant more palatable, as in There would be no Christmas bonus this year but management sugared the pill by giving workers extra vacation time over the holidays . [Late 1700s]
See also: pill, sugar

blue boys

and blue coats
n. the police. (see also men in blue.) Four blue boys held me while a fifth slipped the cuffs on me. I ain’t no pushover. The blue coats are at the door, sounding sort of mad.
See also: blue, boy

blue coats

See also: blue, coat

another coat of paint

The narrowest of margins. The phrase was used in such instances as a ballplayer's commenting that “that pitch came awfully close,” to which the batter replied, “Yeah, another coat of paint, and I'd have been a goner.”
See also: another, coat, of, paint
References in periodicals archive ?
However, the Coates family are pleased to have had the opportunity to build a picture of the events that led to Mr Coates's death and to fully understand what happened that day.
An author of many and diverse book-length studies on cinema, Coates brings an expansive and inclusive breadth of knowledge to this project on cinematic faces.
Mr Sheffield heard from a report that shop assistant Mr Coates was single and lived at Fleet House.
The only difference for Mrs Coates if she had have been admitted to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is that she would not have found her way to me (and this inquest) and I hope the family will take some comfort from that.
Stand-in boss Scott Young is in pole position to land the Glens job on a permanent basis and is expected to make a move for Coates during a summer squad rebuilding process at the Oval.
Earlier this year, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Bet365, which is owned by the Coates family, to be worth pounds 375million, and while admitting that he could see advantages to relocating, the firm's chief executive, whose father Peter is chairman of Stoke City football club, was quick to quash such stories.
Additional information about the Company including photos and videos are available at the Coates News website www.
Coates runs regular monthly sessions at The Victoria in John Bright Street, Birmingham.
Coates served in the army in the late 1930s and then volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force special reserves for the Second World War.
Coates, of Devon, was bailed until Wednesday by a court martial.
Coates stopped by Valencia Valley Elementary School to thank his new buddies face to face and get better acquainted.
Coates says of the importance of ergonomics: "In the end, no one decides whether to buy a product, or which product to buy, until it looks and feels right-no matter how thoroughly she has consulted friends and consumer magazines.
Coates is a senior ENT surgeon at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth, Western Australia.
Coates is also a member of ASTM Committee D11 on Rubber.