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Related to coat: coast, buffy coat, jacket, shirt, sweater, CAOT
(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!
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.
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.
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."
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.
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!
on (one's) coattails
Benefiting from someone else's success; using someone else's success as a means to achieve one's own. Everyone knows you've been on the governor's coattails these last two years, but once her term ends, you'll be on your own. A: "I can't believe Jonathan got his paper published in that prestigious journal." B: "Oh, it's only because he's on his professor's coattails."
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.
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.
(as) close as two coats of paint
Having a very close relationship; inseparable. I haven't talked to Patty in years, but we were as close as two coats of paint as kids.
coat and tie
Semi-formal attire for men that consists of a sports coat and tie. Tell him that he doesn't need to get all dressed up for this event—a coat and tie is perfectly fine.
coat (someone or something) with (something)
To cover someone or something with something, often a substance. Be sure to coat the kids with sunscreen before you let them play outside! You need to coat the wall with primer before you try to paint it.
See also: coat
sugar the pill
To make something bad, unpleasant, or dissatisfactory easier to cope with, endure, or accept. The bosses are giving everyone an extra bonus this year, but I suspect it's a way of sugaring the pill with the massive layoffs that are scheduled. I have to tell my mom about wrecking her car, but I need to find a way to sugar the pill first.
cut (one's) coat according to (one's) cloth
To shop or act in accordance with one's financial limitations. You'll go bankrupt unless you start cutting your coat according to your cloth.
the men in white coats
The healthcare professionals who work at a mental health institution. The phrase is typically used in a context intended to be humorous. You're talking crazy again. I'm not going to have to call the men in white coats, am I?
*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.
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.
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 clothand 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.
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]
on the coat-tails of someone/something
COMMON If someone does something on the coat-tails of another person or an achievement, they are able to do it because of the success or popularity of that person or achievement, and not because of their own efforts. Note: `Coat-tails' is usually written as `coattails' in American English. Some say she achieved fame and glory on the coat-tails of her husband. He returned to politics on the coattails of Richard Nixon in 1968. Note: You can also say that someone or something rides on the coat-tails of someone or something. It's a lesson for all of those who ride on the coat-tails of people with talent. Note: A tail coat is a man's coat with the front covering only the top half of the body and the back reaching down to the knees in a pointed `tail'. It is now usually worn only for formal weddings, or as part of formal evening dress.
ride on someone's/something's coat-tailsor
ride someone's/something's coat-tails
If someone or something rides on someone or something else's coat-tails, they use that person or thing's success to get success for themselves. Note: `Coat-tails' is usually written as `coattails' in American English. Frank did all the work and I rode on his coat-tails. Essentially, we're riding the coattails of the big companies to get new customers. Note: Coat-tails is used in many other structures connected with getting an advantage from someone or something else. The Canadian dollar rode the coattails of the U.S. dollar yesterday. They had come to power on the coat-tails of a popular general whose views on public questions they then ignored.
sugar the pillBRITISH or
sugar-coat the pillAMERICAN
COMMON If you sugar the pill, you try to make bad news or an unpleasant situation seem less unpleasant. Stirling tried to sugar the pill for his employee. `There'll be a ten thousand pound bonus if you agree to go quietly.' His bitter pill was sugar-coated with a promise of `free and fair' elections. Note: In British English, you can also say that you sweeten the pill. A few words of praise help to sweeten the pill of criticism.
blue boysand 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 blue boys
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.”