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not playing with a full deck

1. Not mentally sound; crazy or mentally deranged. A: "Look at that guy talking to himself on the corner." B: "I reckon he's not playing with a full deck."
2. Not very bright or intelligent; dimwitted. Jim's a nice guy, but with some of the foolish things he does, I wonder if he's not playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, not, play

be one card shy of a (full) deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card shy of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card shy of a deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, one, shy

be several cards short of a (full) deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be several cards short of a deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's several cards short of a full deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, several, short

several cards short of a (full) deck

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be several cards short of a deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's several cards short of a full deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, several, short

one card shy of a (full) deck

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card shy of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card shy of a deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, one, shy

cards are stacked against (one)

[informal] luck is against one. I have the worst luck. The cards are stacked against me all the time. How can I accomplish anything when the cards are stacked against me?
See also: card, stacked

clear the decks

 
1. Lit. [for everyone] leave the deck of a ship and prepare for action. (A naval expression urging seaman to stow gear and prepare for battle or other action.) An attack is coming. Clear the decks.
2. Fig. get out of the way; get out of this area. Clear the decks! Here comes the teacher. Clear the decks and take your seats.
See also: clear, deck

deck someone or something out (in something)

 and deck someone or something out (with something)
to decorate someone or something with something. Sally decked all her children out for the holiday party. She decked out her children in Halloween costumes. Tom decked the room out with garlands of flowers.
See also: deck, out

few bricks short of a load

 and few cards shy of a full deck; few cards short of a deck; not playing with a full deck; two bricks shy of a load
Fig. lacking in intellectual ability. (Many other variants.) Tom: Joe thinks he can build a car out of old milk jugs. Mary: I think Joe's a few bricks short of a load. Ever since she fell and hit her head, Jane's been a few bricks short of a load, if you know what I'm saying. Bob's nice, but he's not playing with a full deck. You twit! You're two bricks shy of a load.
See also: brick, few, load, of, short

have the cards stacked against (one)

 and have the deck stacked against one
Fig. to have one's chance at future success limited by factors over which one has no control; to have luck against one. You can't get very far in life if you have the deck stacked against you. I can't seem to get ahead. I always have the cards stacked against me.
See also: card, have, stacked

have the deck stacked against

one Go to have the cards stacked against one.
See also: deck, have, stacked

hit the deck

 
1. Fig. to fall down; to drop down to the floor or ground. Hit the deck. Don't let them see you. I hit the deck the minute I heard the shots.
2. Fig. to get out of bed. Come on, hit the deck! It's morning. Hit the deck! Time to rise and shine!
See also: deck, hit

on deck

 
1. Lit. on the deck of a boat or a ship. Everyone except the cook was on deck when the storm hit. Just pull up the anchor and leave it on deck.
2. Fig. ready (to do something); ready to be next (at something). Ann, get on deck. You're next. Who's on deck now?
See also: deck, on

play with a full deck

 
1. Lit. to play cards with a complete deck, containing all the cards. Are we playing with a full deck or did some card drop on the floor? I haven't seen the three of hearts all evening!
2. Fig. to operate as if one were mentally sound. (Usually in the negative. One cannot play cards properly with a partial deck.) That guy's not playing with a full deck. Look sharp, you dummies! Pretend you are playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, play

stack the deck (against someone or something)

 and stack the cards (against someone or something)
to arrange things against someone or something. (Originally from card playing; stacking the deck is to cheat by arranging the cards to be dealt out to one's advantage.) I can't get ahead at my office. Someone has stacked the cards against me. Do you really think that someone has stacked the deck? Isn't it just fate?
See also: deck, stack

on deck

ready or available The TV audience expects something good on deck after the news.
Etymology: based on the idea of being on the deck (flat surface) of a ship, ready for whatever must be done
See also: deck, on

deck out somebody/something

also deck somebody/something out
to decorate someone or something in something special The stewards were decked out in beautiful new uniforms. Some salesman had decked the car out, giving it racing wheels and stripes on the sides.
See also: deck, out

hit the deck

to fall to the ground suddenly to avoid danger hit the dirt At the sound of gunfire, we all hit the deck.
See also: deck, hit

stack the deck

also the deck is stacked against you
to arrange something so that it is unfair to someone We wanted to make sure no one was stacking the deck in their favor. The deck truly is stacked against the poor.
Etymology: based on a way of cheating in a card game by secretly arranging the cards so that you will win
See also: deck, stack

clear the decks

to finish what you are doing in order to do something more important His company is clearing the decks to begin work on a major new product.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of clear the decks (prepare a ship to fight by putting away everything that is not necessary)
See also: clear, deck

be one card/several cards short of a full deck

  (humorous)
if someone is one card short of a full deck, they are stupid or crazy Do you think your cousin might be one card short of a full deck?
See also: card, deck, full, of, one, short

clear the decks

  (informal)
to finish dealing with what you are doing so that you can start to do something more important
Usage notes: If navy officers clear the decks they prepare a ship for war.
His company is clearing the decks for major new investment in the Far East.
See out of the blue, steer clear of, be as clear as day
See also: clear, deck

on deck

 
1. (American & Australian) if someone is on deck, they are present and ready to do something Bill's batting next - tell him to get on deck. Ann, if you can be on deck at 9.00 I'll give you a lift to the meeting.
2. (Australian informal) alive Don't tell me old Bill's still on deck. I thought he died years ago.
See stack the deck, hit the deck
See also: deck, on

all hands on deck

  also all hands to the pumps
something that you say when everyone's help is needed, especially to do a lot of work in a short amount of time We've got to get all this cleared up before they arrive so it's all hands on deck.
See also: all, deck, hand, on

hit the deck/dirt

  (American & Australian informal)
to fall to the ground, or to quickly lie on the ground, especially to avoid danger The shooting started, and I heard someone shout 'Hit the deck!'
See also: deck, hit

stack the deck

  (mainly American)
to arrange something in a way that is not fair in order to achieve what you want
Usage notes: This phrase comes from the idea of arranging a set of cards in a card game so that you will win.
The manager stacked the deck in Joe's favor so he got the promotion.
See blow stack
See also: deck, stack

cards are stacked against

Many difficulties face someone or something, as in The cards are stacked against the new highway project. This term originated in gambling, where to stack the cards or stack the deck means to arrange cards secretly and dishonestly in one's own favor or against one's opponent. [Mid-1800s]
See also: card, stacked

clear the decks

Prepare for action, as in I've finished all these memos and cleared the decks for your project, or Clear the decks-here comes the coach. This expression originated in naval warfare, when it described preparing for battle by removing or fastening down all loose objects on the ship's decks. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: clear, deck

deck out

Decorate, dress up, as in They were all decked out in their best clothes. [Mid-1700s]
See also: deck, out

hit the deck

Also, hit the dirt. Fall to the ground, usually for protection. For example, As the planes approached, we hit the deck, or We heard shooting and hit the dirt. In the early 1900s the first expression was nautical slang for "jump out of bed," or "wake up," and somewhat later, "get going." The current meaning dates from the 1920s.
See also: deck, hit

on deck

1. Available, ready for action, as in We had ten kids on deck to clean up after the dance. [Slang; second half of 1800s]
2. In baseball, scheduled to bat next, waiting near home plate to bat, as in Joe was on deck next. [1860s] Both usages allude to crew members being on the deck of a ship, in readiness to perform their duties.
See also: deck, on

deck

1. tv. to knock someone to the ground. Fred decked Bob with one blow.
2. n. a pack of cigarettes. Can you toss me a deck of fags, please?

hit the deck

1. tv. to get out of bed. Come on, hit the deck! It’s morning.
2. tv. to fall down; to drop down. I hit the deck the minute I heard the shots.
See also: deck, hit

play with a full deck

in. to operate as if one were mentally sound. (Usually in the negative. One cannot play cards with a partial deck.) Look sharp, you dummies! Pretend you are playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, play

stack the deck

tv. to arrange things secretly for a desired outcome. (From card playing where a cheater may arrange the order of the cards that are to be dealt to the players.) The president stacked the deck so I would be appointed head of the finance committee.
See also: deck, stack

clear the deck

Informal
To prepare for action.
See also: clear, deck

hit the deck

Slang
1. To get out of bed.
2. To fall or drop to a prone position.
3. To prepare for action.
See also: deck, hit

on deck

1. On hand; present.
2. Sports Waiting to take one's turn, especially as a batter in baseball.
See also: deck, on

play with a full deck

Slang
To be of sound mind: didn't seem to be playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, play
References in classic literature ?
M'Kay, who himself possessed some experience of Indian character, went to the captain, who was still pacing the deck in moody humor, represented the danger to which his hasty act had exposed the vessel, and urged him to weigh anchor.
The noble aroused the men sleeping upon the deck, but always before him the strange panthan whom he had recruited that same day found means for keeping himself to the fore.
She could not have forced the heavy dugout upstream against it, and all that was left her was to attempt either to make the shore without being seen by those upon the deck of the Kincaid, or to throw herself upon their mercy--otherwise she must be swept out to sea.
Instantly five of them threw up their hands and fell prostrate upon the deck.
I had to serve at the meals, which the captain took at regular hours, sitting down with the officer who was off duty; all the day through I would be running with a dram to one or other of my three masters; and at night I slept on a blanket thrown on the deck boards at the aftermost end of the round-house, and right in the draught of the two doors.
I HEARD the clatter of the scissors escaping from his hand, noted the perilous heave of his whole person over the edge of the bunk after them, and then, returning to my first purpose, pursued my course on the deck.
I came out again on the quarter- deck, agreeably at ease in my sleeping suit on that warm breathless night, barefooted, a glowing cigar in my teeth, and, going forward, I was met by the profound silence of the fore end of the ship.
With a final effort he threw himself further back upon the deck, at the same instant releasing his hold upon the rail to tear frantically with both hands at my fingers in an effort to drag them from his throat.
Thurid was the first to reach it, and with the agility of a monkey clambered swiftly to the boat's deck, where a touch of the button controlling the buoyancy tanks sent the craft slowly upward, though not with the speed that marks the well-conditioned flier.
On several starlight nights we danced on the upper deck, under the awnings, and made something of a ball-room display of brilliancy by hanging a number of ship's lanterns to the stanchions.
There was a brief lull in the storm during which one of the crew attempted to reach his quarters, after releasing the lashings which had held him to the precarious safety of the deck.
The girl sat at my feet straining her eyes toward the deck of the oncoming boat.
Below deck the terrified girl clung desperately to a stanchion as the stricken ship lunged sickeningly before the hurricane.
They were standing on deck at a point which was temporarily deserted, and as Tarzan came upon them they were in heated argument with a woman.
She was sixty feet over all, and the cross beams of her crown deck had not been weakened by deck-houses.