burning

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are your ears burning?

A rhetorical question addressed to someone who was not present for a conversation about which he or she was the subject. Oh, Marty! We were just talking about your new play. Are your ears burning?
See also: ear

(one's) ears are burning

Said by or of someone who did not witness people talking about him or her, intuiting that this is the case. Are you two talking about me? My ears are burning.
See also: burning, ear

burning question

 and the burning question
Fig. a question whose answer is of great interest to everyone; a question that needs very much to be answered, as a fire needs to be extinguished. There's a burning question that needs to be answered: Why did you leave your wife of only one month?
See also: burning, question

keep the home fires burning

Fig. to keep things going at one's home or other central location. (From a World War I song.) My uncle kept the home fires burning when my sister and I went to school. The manager stays at the office and keeps the home fires burning while I'm out selling our products.
See also: burning, fire, home, keep

burning the midnight oil

working very long hours, often into the night What doctors do know is that burning the midnight oil is bad for your health.
Etymology: from the use of oil to provide light before the invention of electricity
See also: burning, midnight, oil

have something burning a hole in your pocket

  (humorous)
if someone has money burning a hole in their pocket, they want to spend it as soon as possible I had a fifty dollar bill that was burning a hole in my pocket, so I figured I'd go out and have a really good time.
See also: burning, have, hole, pocket

your ears must be burning

something that you say to someone who is being talked about All that talk about William - his ears must have been burning.
See box ears, can't believe ears, pin back ears, prick ears up, be up to ears in
See also: burning, ear, must

keep the home fires burning

to keep your home pleasant and in good order while people who usually live with you are away, especially at war They relied on their wives and sweethearts to keep the home fires burning when they marched off to war.
See also: burning, fire, home, keep

burning question

An urgent or crucial issue under heated discussion. For example, Real estate taxes are always a burning question for the town leaders. This term has exact equivalents in French ( question brûlante) and German ( brennende Frage). [Mid-1800s]
See also: burning, question

ears are burning, one's

Be disconcerted by what one hears, especially when one is being talked about. For example, Were your ears burning? Jim was telling us about your exploits. Similarly, make one's ears burn means "to embarrass," as in Mom's stories about us as babies make my ears burn. These expressions allude to one's ears turning red from blushing.
See also: ear
References in periodicals archive ?
Before and after the fall this joining of "conjugal minds" is so burningly intense because Milton ultimately relates it to that of Christ for his bride the Church and in doing so escalates human love to a metaphor for the love of Christ for the Church and the Father for the Son (Lycidas 176 and Hughes' note 125; also Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Hughes' note 67, 709; and Complete Prose Works II.
The four great moons are a study in extremes, ranging from burningly hot Io, which disgorges more lava per unit than any other known body in the Solar System, to Callisto, a frigid ball of mud and ice nearly as big as Mercury.
The rest of us might cease feeling guilty and turn our attention to other deserving issues, causes, and groups, and even the most burningly felt need of identity politics might recede to the status of just one more private dispute among many, rather than a legal right being denied.
The ballet was technically hard for me, very stylized, and I didn't have a burningly great technique.
If the science is right, they will have to cope annually with floods and hurricanes and burningly hot summers, things which have had only a marginal effect on my life.
The dazed and confused rugby aces reckon Kiwi O'Brien boobed badly in TWO burningly controversial first half incidents that could have turned Saturday's shame game on its head.