coat

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Related to coats: coast, Zara, Coats disease, H&M

(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

candy-coat

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!

*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

  (humorous)
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

  (humorous)
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

verb
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 classic literature ?
On the wedding day, we may suppose that honest John Hull dressed himself in a plum-colored coat, all the buttons of which were made of pine-tree shillings.
Let me water you first,' he went on, speaking to the horse just as to someone who understood the words he was using, and having whisked the dusty, grooved back of the well-fed young stallion with the skirt of his coat, he put a bridle on his handsome head, straightened his ears and forelock, and having taken off his halter led him out to water.
While one thick garment is, for most purposes, as good as three thin ones, and cheap clothing can be obtained at prices really to suit customers; while a thick coat can be bought for five dollars, which will last as many years, thick pantaloons for two dollars, cowhide boots for a dollar and a half a pair, a summer hat for a quarter of a dollar, and a winter cap for sixty-two and a half cents, or a better be made at home at a nominal cost, where is he so poor that, clad in such a suit, of his own earning, there will not be found wise men to do him reverence?
The other frail creature seemed dumb and only hopped about with the edge of its soldier coat touching the ground.
He was shaven, and his coat was decent and his neat black, ready-tied four-in-hand had been presented to him by a lady missionary on Thanksgiving Day.
Some of the peasants went to their coats and put them on; others--just like Levin himself--merely shrugged their shoulders, enjoying the pleasant coolness of it.
On him the cocked hat, gold-laced coat, and staff, had all three descended.
Here you are, sir,' shouted a strange specimen of the human race, in a sackcloth coat, and apron of the same, who, with a brass label and number round his neck, looked as if he were catalogued in some collection of rarities.
This posture it must be confessed did not much improve their appearance, as their own personal tails and their coat tails--both capital things in their way--did not agree together.
McGregor's garden," and described how he had been chased about the garden, and had dropped his shoes and coat.
At the steps was standing a solitary night sledge-driver in a rough peasant coat, powdered over with the still falling, wet, and as it were warm, snow.
His whiskers cut off, Noirtier gave another turn to his hair; took, instead of his black cravat, a colored neckerchief which lay at the top of an open portmanteau; put on, in lieu of his blue and high-buttoned frock-coat, a coat of Villefort's of dark brown, and cut away in front; tried on before the glass a narrow-brimmed hat of his son's, which appeared to fit him perfectly, and, leaving his cane in the corner where he had deposited it, he took up a small bamboo switch, cut the air with it once or twice, and walked about with that easy swagger which was one of his principal characteristics.
The bear said: 'Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a little'; so they brought the broom and swept the bear's hide clean; and he stretched himself by the fire and growled contentedly and comfortably.
He could not find his handkerchief, because it was in the pocket of the coat he had taken off, and he did not know where he had put the coat, and all the house had to leave off looking for his tools, and start looking for his coat; while he would dance round and hinder them.
Monsieur Thuran spread his coat upon the bottom of the boat, and then from a handful of money he selected six franc pieces.