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Barmecide feast

That which pretends or is imagined to be extravagant, plentiful, or opulent, but which in reality is comprised of little or nothing; that which proves to be illusory or unreal. Taken from the name of a prince in Arabian Nights who offers a feast to a beggar but gives him only empty plates. The money you make on the stock market can end up as a Barmecide feast: you think you're making millions of dollars, and then in the blink of an eye it is all gone.
See also: feast

a feast for the eyes

An especially attractive, pleasing, and/or remarkable sight or visual experience. His newest film has such lush cinematography that it is truly a feast for the eyes. He emerged from the tailor in a brand new designer suit, and I thought he was a feast for the eyes.
See also: eye, feast

feast (one's) eyes

To gaze upon something with joy or pleasure. Feast your eyes! Dinner has been served! I got my report card today—feast your eyes on all those A's!
See also: eye, feast

movable feast

An event or occurrence that does not happen on a predictable schedule. Since Easter does not fall on the same calendar date each year, it's often called a movable feast.
See also: feast, movable

skeleton at the feast

One whose pessimistic outlook or behavior dampens the mood at a happy event. Don't invite Chris to your engagement party—he's always so gloomy and will just be a skeleton at the feast.
See also: feast, skeleton

a contented mind is a perpetual feast

If happy and satisfied, one will not strive to acquire more. Once I reframed my priorities, I realized that I had everything I could ever want. I guess it's true that a contented mind is a perpetual feast.

contented mind is a perpetual feast

Prov. If you are mentally at peace, you will always feel that you have enough of everything, and will not have to strive to get more. Jill: Lillian doesn't make very much money, but she seems to be happy all the time. I wonder how she manages that? Jane: A contented mind is a perpetual feast.

*(either) feast or famine

Fig. either too much (of something) or not enough (of something). (*Typically: be ~; have ~.) This month is very dry, and last month it rained almost every day. Our weather is either feast or famine. Sometimes we are busy, and sometimes we have nothing to do. It's feast or famine.
See also: feast

Enough is as good as a feast.

Prov. You do not need more than enough of anything. We don't have much of a surplus of food for dinner tonight, but enough is as good as a feast. Jane: I wish I could offer you more lavish hospitality. Jane: Don't be silly. Enough is as good as a feast.
See also: enough, feast, good

feast one's eyes (on or upon someone or something)

Fig. to enjoy the sight of someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Just feast your eyes on that beautiful beach. Jane feasted her eyes on Roger for a while and then went on with her studying.
See also: eye, feast

feast (up)on something

to eat a great deal of something; to eat a feast built around something in particular. We will feast upon turkey for weeks. We feasted on the fish Harry had caught.
See also: feast, on

movable feast

1. Lit. a religious holiday that is on a different date from year to year. Easter is the best known movable feast.
2. Fig. a meal that is served in motion or with different portions of the meal served at different locations. (Jocular or a complete misunderstanding of {1} but in wide use.) We enjoyed a real movable feast on the train from Washington to Maimi.
See also: feast, movable

feast your eyes on somebody/something

to look at someone or something with pleasure We spent one whole day feasting our eyes on paintings I never thought I'd have the chance to see.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form a feast for the eyes (someone or something that is pleasing to look at): Potter's film is a feast for the eyes.
See also: eye, feast, on

(either) feast or famine

either too much or too little of something It's feast or famine - last week I had no work, and now I am too busy!
Usage notes: often used in the form it's (either) feast or famine, as in the example
See also: feast

Enough is as good as a feast.

  (British old-fashioned)
something that you say which means you should not have more of something than you need No, thank you, nothing more to drink for me. Enough is as good as a feast.
See also: enough, feast, good

feast or famine

something that you say which means that you either have too much of something or you have too little It's either feast or famine on television; last week there was nothing I wanted to see and this week there are three good films on at the same time.
See also: feast

feast your eyes on something

to look at something with a lot of pleasure Just feast your eyes on this fabulous painting.
See also: eye, feast, on

the ghost/spectre at the feast

  (British literary)
something or someone that spoils your enjoyment by making you remember something unpleasant John was the spectre at the feast, always reminding her of her broken promise.
See also: feast, ghost

a movable feast

something that happens often but at different times so that you are not certain when it will next happen They usually have a party at some point in the summer but it's something of a movable feast.
See also: feast, movable

feast one's eyes on

Be delighted or gratified by the sight of, as in I'm feasting my eyes on this new sculpture-it's wonderful. This metaphoric expression may have been originated by Shakespeare, who used it in Sonnet 47: "With my love's picture then my eye doth feast."
See also: eye, feast, on

feast or famine

Also, either feast or famine. Either too much or too little, too many or too few. For example, Free-lancers generally find it's feast or famine-too many assignments or too few, or Yesterday two hundred showed up at the fair, today two dozen-it's either feast or famine . This expression, which transfers an overabundance or shortage of food to numerous other undertakings, was first recorded in 1732 as feast or fast, the noun famine being substituted in the early 1900s.
See also: feast

feast (one's) eyes on

To be delighted or gratified by the sight of: We feasted our eyes on the paintings.
See also: eye, feast, on
References in periodicals archive ?
Scientists have speculated that feasting began before the Neolithic period, which starts about 11,500 years ago," Natalie Munro, who led the research team, said.
A major reason why humans began feasting -- and later began to cultivate their own food -- is because faster human population growth had begun to crowd the landscape, Munro explains.
Detection of feasting nearly 12,000 years ago may signal important culture changes.
This all suggests that one or a number of special occasions took place over a short spell of time during which several hundred people were involved in feasting, and remains of their feasts were carefully collected and deposited in this pit.
Jeremy Rutter discusses the evidence for cooking and feasting in a public area of the site: there a limited number of types of cooking vessel hint at a limited menu, and fine and more utilitarian types of drinking vessels suggest that the gatherings consisted of both high ranking and less privileged individuals.
Wright's edited volume examines in great detail the evidence for feasting in late Bronze Age Greece.
Feasting at the palace of Nestor at Pylos has already been referred to but the deposit of bones found in Room 7 of the Archives complex deserves special mention.
Henry says that during the veteran's commemorative feasting the names of English nobles will be "familiar in his mouth as household words" (line 52).
2) Of interest here is the work of Battaglia (1990, 1992 and 1993) and Kuchler (1987, 1988 and 1993) who, in addition to exploring the relationship between memory and the body, have examined the mnemonic processes at work in mortuary feasting of Melanesian peoples.
In the contestations over memory during feasting, the body is present in all its physicality and viscerality in a way that is not evident in the ethnographic cases of Battaglia or Kuchler.
This paper is centrally concerned with the creation of distinctive memory, and in particular with the actions in the feasting milieu which aim, through a triggering mechanism which targets the body, to create a particular memory of the event.
3) My focus is upon the sorts of contestation and struggle occurring over memory in the competitive milieu of Lelet mortuary feasting.
Still, feasting ceremonies have arisen in a variety of locales since the dawn of farming communities around 10,000 years ago, he asserts.
Many mound sites contain signs of having hosted public ceremonies that included feasting, Knight says.
Along with abundant food-related items, the feasting structure contains ritual items, including a headdress made from a deer skull.