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against the collar

Difficult, exhausting, or problematic. The phrase originates from the collar on a horse's harness, which tightens on the horse's neck when it travels uphill. Primarily heard in UK. I was doing fine in the marathon, but it was a bit against the collar for the last couple miles. I don't think I have time to meet you today. Work has been a bit against the collar recently.
See also: collar

collar (someone)

1. To detain or restrain someone, either physically or figuratively. Likened to grabbing someone by the collar. I was trying to get out of the office early, but my boss collared me on my way out. I spent all afternoon running around collaring the kids to bring them in for supper. I thought I'd be able to sneak out of the assembly, but one of the nuns collared me and pulled me back inside.
2. Of police, to arrest or detain someone, such as a suspect of a crime. Police were able to collar the suspect after he fled down one of the neighborhood's back alleys.
See also: collar

get hot under the collar

To become angry. I'm sorry I got hot under the collar just then, I have a hard time hearing criticism about my novel. I know you get hot under the collar at times like this, but please, stop yelling at me!
See also: collar, get, hot

make (one) hot under the collar

To anger someone. I wouldn't say anything that could provoke the boss—it doesn't take much to make her hot under the collar! The way you kids deliberately disobey me makes me hot under the collar!
See also: collar, hot, make

work up to the collar

To work hard; to exert oneself. This now-outdated phrase refers to the collar on a beast of burden. I ended up doing most of the project myself because I didn't trust my partner to work up to the collar—he's lazy.
See also: collar, up, work

blue collar

Characteristic of the working class, especially manual laborers. The phrase refers to the collar of a laborer's uniform, in contrast to the "white collar" shirts that typically accompany formal dress. I come from a blue collar family, so I will always champion the common man's concerns. Blue collar workers have always been an important part of our economy.
See also: blue, collar

collar-and-tie men

A phrase that refers to businessmen collectively by their usual attire of a dress shirt and tie. I like working with my hands too much to ever become one of those collar-and-tie men who stay cooped up in an office all day.
See also: men

blue collar

of the lower class or working class; of a job or a worker, having to do with manual labor. (Also, when used as an attributive adjective, often blue-collar. Compare this with white collar. Alludes to the typical color of work shirts worn by mechanics, laborers, etc.) His parents were both blue-collar workers. He was the first person in his family to go to college. They bought a house in a nice, settled, blue-collar neighborhood.
See also: blue, collar

collar-and-tie men

Rur. businessmen who wear dress shirts and ties. After Jim graduated from college, he went off to join the collar-and-tie men. Us working folks at the plant have an awful time getting the collar-and-tie men to see our point of view.
See also: men

hot under the collar

Fig. very angry. The boss was really hot under the collar when you told him you lost the contract. I get hot under the collar every time I think about it.
See also: collar, hot

hot under the collar

angry The criticisms seemed unfair to me and I got pretty hot under the collar when I thought about them later.
See also: collar, hot


a blue-collar worker is someone who does physical work, often in a factory (always before noun) Blue collar workers in the factories and shipyards were demanding wage increases. They are hoping the new factory will create many more blue collar jobs. (= jobs for blue collar workers)

hot under the collar

if someone is hot under the collar, they are angry He got very hot under the collar when I suggested that he might be mistaken. The issue of waste disposal is getting a lot of people hot under the collar. Don't get all hot under the collar -- I'm only suggesting some minor changes to our plans!
See also: collar, hot


pink-collar jobs are jobs that women usually do, often in offices and for little money Most women returning to work after raising children, head for pink-collar jobs in sales and service.


a white-collar worker is someone who works in an office, doing mental rather than physical work (always before noun) The ratio of white-collar workers to production workers in the American manufacturing industry was declining. The earnings of women in white-collar jobs are the second highest in Britain. The 1980's saw an explosion in white-collar crime. (= crimes committed by white-collar workers, especially stealing from the organization they work for)

hot under the collar

Angry, as in She is quick to get hot under the collar, but once the problem is ironed out she forgets it entirely . This expression alludes to the heat of anger. [c. 1900]
See also: collar, hot

black-collar workers

n. people, usually affected, who wear black all the time. (Contrived. A play on white-collar and blue-collar workers.) I hate to go over to the gallery. It’s filled with black-collar workers. Reminds me of the Adams Family.
See also: worker


1. tv. to arrest someone. (see also collared.) The cops collared her as she was leaving the hotel.
2. n. an arrest. It was a tough collar, with all the screaming and yelling.


mod. arrested. Got collared during a routine traffic stop.
See also: collar

dog collar

n. the collar worn by priests and some other clerics. The man in the dog collar prayed for a while, then we ate dinner.
See also: collar, dog


1. and hot under the collar mod. angry. Gee, that guy is really hot under the collar. What did I do?
2. mod. wanted by the police. (Underworld.) Lefty is hot because of his part in the bank job.
3. mod. stolen. Rocko won’t touch a hot watch or anything else hot.
4. mod. carrying contraband and subject to arrest if caught. Lefty was hot and needed a place to stay.
5. mod. having a run of good luck in gambling. I was hot when I started. I’m broke now.
6. mod. of great renown; doing quite well for the time being. The opera tenor was hot, and even the lowbrows would pay to hear him.
7. mod. alcohol intoxicated. (Old.) Willy was too hot to stand up.
8. mod. selling well. These things are really hot this season.
9. mod. sexy; sexually arousing. Wow, who was that hot hunk you were with?

hot under the collar

See hot
See also: collar, hot

righteous collar

n. a justifiable arrest. (As opposed to a setup or a frame.) Spike was taken in, and the gang agreed it was a righteous collar. Mooshoo was caught red-handed.
See also: collar, righteous

hot under the collar

See also: collar, hot