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broad across the beam

Of a person (typically female), having a large buttocks and/or thighs. A derogatory term, it refers to ships that have a wide breadth across. All the holiday eating always leaves me a bit broad across the beam!
See also: across, beam, broad

paint (something) with a broad brush

To describe or characterize something in very general, vague, or broad terms, ignoring or neglecting to include specific details. When asked about how she would stabilize the economy, the candidate painted her plan with a broad brush, resorting to vague claims about creating jobs and getting people back to work.
See also: broad, brush, paint

broad shoulders

The ability and/or willingness to accept multiple demands and responsibilities. You've got some broad shoulders, kid—I'm so impressed with how you're balancing schoolwork with being captain of the football team and student council president!
See also: broad, shoulder

broad church

1. A label referring to a group of 17th-century English theologians who adhered to some practices of the Church of England but disregarded other elements of the Church, such as doctrine and liturgical practice. Primarily heard in UK. The broad church movement in 17th-century England may have helped shape the more liberal views and practices of modern-day Christianity.
2. A group or organization composed of various types of people with differing views, opinions, or philosophies. Primarily heard in UK. The Independent Party is a broad church as its members hold wildly differing opinions on how to best solve the problems facing society today.
See also: broad, church

be broad in the beam

1. (of a ship) To be particularly wide in the middle. Since that ship is broad in the beam, I doubt it will fit through the narrow channel.
2. (of a person) To have an ample buttocks. Because I'm broad in the beam, I doubt those pants will fit me.
See also: beam, broad

(as) broad as a barn door

Very wide. Your mattress is as broad as a barn door—there's no way you'll fit it in that room!
See also: barn, broad, door

broad in the beam

1. (of a ship) Particularly wide in the middle. Since that ship is broad in the beam, I doubt it will fit through the narrow channel.
2. (of a person) Having an ample buttocks. Because I'm broad in the beam, I doubt those pants will fit me.
See also: beam, broad

broad (brush) strokes

Vague or non-specific terms. I don't need every detail of the event—just tell me about it in broad brush strokes. Describe your idea in broad strokes, just so I can get a sense of it.
See also: broad, stroke

can't hit the (broad) side of a barn

slang Has very poor aim. Boy, you can't hit the broad side of a barn—the net is over here, you know! These guys haven't made a single basket in the last 10 minutes—they just can't hit the side of a barn right now.
See also: barn, hit, of, side

*broad as a barn door

very broad or wide. (*Also: as ~.) Jim's backside is as broad as a barn door. The weight lifter's chest is broad as a barn door.
See also: barn, broad, door

broad in the beam

1. Lit. [of a ship] wide at amidships. This old tub is broad in the beam and sits like a ball in the water, but I love her.
2. Fig. Inf. with wide hips or large buttocks. l am getting a little broad in the beam. It's time to go on a diet. John is just naturally broad in the beam.
See also: beam, broad

have broad shoulders

1. Lit. to have wide shoulders. She has broad shoulders because she exercises and lifts weights.
2. Fig. to have the ability to cope with unpleasant responsibilities; to have the ability to accept criticism or rebuke. No need to apologize to me. I can take it. I have broad shoulders. Karen may have broad shoulders, but she can't endure endless criticism.
See also: broad, have, shoulder

in broad daylight

in the open light of day; clearly visible. The crime was committed in broad daylight. Bill stood there in broad daylight, but we never saw him.
See also: broad, daylight

in broad daylight

when anyone can see what is happening These robberies took place in broad daylight and not one person has been arrested for them!
Usage notes: often used to show great surprise that something evil could be done without any effort to hide it
See also: broad, daylight

in broad strokes

also with broad strokes
in a general way, without giving details Mostly, he talked in broad strokes about how his faith supports him every day.
Etymology: based on the idea of painting with broad strokes (wide marks made with a wide brush)
See also: broad, stroke

a broad church

an organization that includes many different types of people with different opinions The Congress remains a broad church with members from a diversity of backgrounds.
See also: broad, church

be broad in the beam

to have a large bottom Tess has always been rather broad in the beam, despite all those diets.
See also: beam, broad

broad (brush) strokes

if you describe a situation with broad strokes, you describe it in a very general way without giving any details The novel's historical background is filled in with broad brush strokes. In a few broad strokes he summed up his beliefs.
See also: broad, stroke

have a broad back

1. not be easily hurt by criticism It helps to have a broad back in showbusiness.
2. to be able to help other people with their problems without becoming tired or upset Why don't you tell me what's wrong? I've got a broad back.
See also: back, broad, have

in broad daylight

if a crime is committed in broad daylight, it happens during the day when it could easily have been seen and prevented The man was shot at close range in broad daylight in front of his house.
See also: broad, daylight

broad daylight

Ample and obvious natural light, as in You don't need your flashlight-it's broad daylight, or She was accosted on her own street in broad daylight. [1300s]
See also: broad, daylight

broad in the beam

Having broad hips or large buttocks. For example, I've grown too broad in the beam for these slacks. This expression originated in the 17th century and described the wideness of a ship. It began to be used for the human body only in the 1920s.
See also: beam, broad

broad shoulders, have

Be able to accept considerable responsibility, as in With his broad shoulders, he can easily handle both departments. [Second half of 1300s]
See also: broad, have

can't hit the broad side of a barn

Have very poor aim. For example, That rookie can't hit the broad side of a barn, let alone strike anyone out or, as put in The New Republic (February 19, 1990): "Their missiles couldn't hit the broad side of a barn." This hyperbolic term, dating from the mid-1800s, at first denoted poor marksmanship. Around 1900 it also began to be used in baseball, for a pitcher with poor aim.
See also: barn, broad, hit, of, side


n. a woman. (Originally underworld slang. Often jocular. Usually considered rude and derogatory.) When is that broad gonna show up?

can’t find one’s butt with both hands (in broad daylight)

tv. is stupid or incompetent. (Mildly objectionable.) Why did they put Jim in charge? He can’t find his butt with both hands!
See also: both, broad, butt, daylight, find, hand

can’t hit the (broad) side of a barn

tv. cannot aim something accurately. You’re way off. You couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.
See also: barn, broad, hit, of, side

square john broad

n. an honest, straightforward woman. (Underworld.) We need a square john broad to give this place a look of respectability.
See also: broad, john, square
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