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knit (one's) eyebrows
To furrow one's brow, often due to worry or confusion. When I asked Bill about what happened, and he knit his eyebrows, I knew I was about to hear some bad news.
raise an eyebrow
To show confusion, surprise, concern, or disapproval, either literally (often by actually raising an eyebrow) or figuratively. When I told my mom how much money we would need, she raised an eyebrow and asked me to add it up again. You need to stop coming in late every day—the boss is starting to raise an eyebrow. My grandmother definitely raised an eyebrow when I stopped going to church.
cause (some) eyebrows to raise and cause some raised eyebrows
Fig. to shock people; to surprise and dismay people. (The same as raise some eyebrows.) John caused eyebrows to raise when he married a woman half his age. If you want to cause some eyebrows to raise, just start singing as you walk down the street.
down to a gnat 's eyebrow
Fig. down to the smallest detail. He described what the thief was wearing down to a gnat's eyebrow. No use trying to sneak anything out of the refrigerator. Mom knows what's in there, down to a gnat's eyebrow.
1. to wait awhile. Hang on a minute. I need to talk to you. Hang on. Let me catch up with you.
2. to survive for awhile. I think we can hang on without electricity for a little while longer.
3. [for an illness] to linger or persist. This cold has been hanging on for a month. This is the kind of flu that hangs on for weeks.
4. be prepared for fast or rough movement. (Usually a command.) Hang on! The train is going very fast. Hang on! We're going to crash!
5. to pause in a telephone conversation. Please hang on until I get a pen. If you'll hang on, I'll get her.
(someone's) every word Cliché to listen closely or with awe to what someone says. I am hanging on your every word. Please go on. The audience hung on her every word throughout the speech.
hang on(to someone or something) and hold on (to someone or something)
1. Lit. to grasp someone or something. She hung on to her husband to keep warm. She sat there and hung on, trying to keep warm.
2. Fig. to detain someone or something. Please hang on to Tom if he's still there. I need to talk to him.
hang something on someone
Sl. to blame something on someone; to frame someone for something. (See also hang something on someone or something.) Don't try to hang the blame on me! The sheriff tried to hang the bank robbery on Jed.
hang something on someone or something
to drape or hook something on someone or something. (See also .) Hangthissign on Walter and see how he looks. Please hang this sign on the front door.
raise some eyebrowsand raise a few eyebrows
Fig. to shock or surprise people mildly (by doing or saying something). (Some can be replaced with a few, someone's, a lot of, etc.) What you just said may raise some eyebrows, but it shouldn't make anyone really angry. John's sudden marriage to Ann raised a few eyebrows.
raise (some) eyebrowsalso raise a few eyebrows
to cause disapproval or worry The styles now favored by many teenagers have raised a few eyebrows among parents.
1. to hold on tightly Firefighters used to hang on to the back of the fire truck as it raced to a fire.
2. to wait Excuse me, wait a minute! Verna, can you hang on just a second? I'll be right back.
Usage notes: often used when you are talking on the telephone
3. to continue despite appearing as if the end is near That awful show has hung on for yet another year, although we can't imagine why or how.
raise (a few) eyebrows
to shock or surprise people Anna's miniskirt raised eyebrows at the board meeting. The player's huge transfer fee raised a few eyebrows in the football world.
cause raised eyebrows
Also, raise eyebrows. Cause surprise or disapproval, as in At school his purple hair usually causes raised eyebrows. This transfer of a physical act (raising one's eyebrows) to the feelings it may express took place in the early 1900s. Lytton Strachey used the term in The Eminent Victorians (1918): "The most steady-going churchman hardly raises an eyebrow at it now."
1. hang on to. Cling tightly to something, retain, as in Hang on to those papers before they blow away. [Mid-1800s] Also see hang on to your hat.
2. Continue persistently, persevere, as in This cough is hanging on much longer than I expected, or He was hanging on, hoping business would improve when interest rates went down. This usage was sometimes embellished to hang on by one's eyelashes or eyebrows or eyelids , meaning "to persist at any cost." [Second half of 1800s]
3. Keep a telephone connection open, as in Please hang on, I'll see if he's in. [First half of 1900s]
4. Wait for a short time, be patient, as in Hang on, I'm getting it as fast as I can. [First half of 1900s]
5. Depend on, as in Our plans hang on their decision about the new park. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]
6. Blame on, as in They'll try to hang that robbery on the same gang, but I don't think they'll succeed. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
7. hang one on. Get very drunk, as in Come on, let's go and hang one on. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with hang on.
1. To affix or mount something to some place or fixture that holds it and prevents it from falling: Please hang your hats on the hooks of the coat rack. I hung the picture on the wall.
2. To cling tightly to something: The cat hung on to the draperies until I was able to get it down.
3. To wait for a short period of time: Hang on, would you? I'll be there in a moment.
4. To continue persistently; persevere: The family is hanging on despite financial problems.
5. To depend on something or someone for an outcome: My whole future could hang on the results of this test.
6. To blame something on someone, especially unfairly: We lost the game, but you can't hang that on me.
To cause surprise or mild disapproval.