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1. adjective Amusingly foolish or idiotic; of or characterized by clownish behavior or sensibilities, especially in public. Though at first I found him quite funny, Tommy's merry-andrew routine has grown quite tiresome lately.
2. noun A person who acts like a clown or buffoon in public, especially for the amusement of others; a fool or idiot in general. I know you enjoy the attention that being a merry-andrew brings, but if you act like a fool all the time, people will start believing you actually are one.
eat, drink, and be merry
A call for others to enjoy themselves, usually in the context of a party or other festive gathering. Come on, people, this is a party—eat, drink, and be merry!
in merry pin
Happy; in good spirits. I'm glad to see my sister in merry pin on our vacation because she's usually so stressed out these days.
A deliberate waste of time. She led me on a merry dance as she tried to explain why she missed our meeting.
eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die
A call for others to enjoy themselves, usually in the context of a party or other festive gathering. The phrase is often shortened to "eat, drink, and be merry." Come on, people, this is a party—eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
lead (one) (on) a merry dance
To waste someone's time or cause someone a great deal of confusion through deceitful, manipulative, or inexplicable behavior. You should have just said you weren't interested in investing from the beginning, rather than leading us on a merry dance for three weeks! If someone in whom you are uninterested is pursuing you romantically, do not lead them a merry dance—make your feelings clear from the get go.
play (merry) hell with (someone or something)
informal To cause issues or disruptions for someone or something. This wonky Internet signal is playing merry hell with my site edits right now.
more the merrier
A phrase used to welcome one to join a group or activity. Oh sure, you can come to the mall with us—the more the merrier!
play merry hell
To complain loudly or disruptively; to behave in a chaotic or disruptive manner. The team's star quarterback played merry hell about the team's new policy, but he fell in line once the season started. The kids have been playing merry hell since dinner. I think we need to get them to bed!
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Prov. Enjoy yourself whenever you can, because you may die soon. ("Eat, drink, and be merry" by itself is simply a way of encouraging people to enjoy themselves.) Fred: No cake for me, thank you. I'm on a diet. Jane: But, Fred, this is a birthday party. Eat, drink, and be merry. Natasha encouraged all her guests to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
lead someone on a merry chase
Fig. to lead someone in a purposeless pursuit. What a waste of time. You really led me on a merry chase. Jane led Bill on a merry chase trying to find an antique lamp.
to have fun; to have an enjoyable time. The guests certainly made merry at the wedding. The children were making merry in the backyard.
*merry as a cricketand *merry as the day is long
very happy and carefree. (*Also: as ~.) Mary is as merry as a cricket whenever she has company come to call. The little children are as merry as the day is long.
more the merrier
Cliché the more people there are, the happier the situation will be. Of course you can have a ride with us! The more the merrier. The manager hired a new employee even though there's not enough work for all of us now. Oh, well, the more the merrier.
lead a chase
Also, lead a merry chase or dance . Mislead someone; waste someone's time. For example, Mary refuses to commit herself and is leading John a merry chase, or Harry led us all a dance; we were waiting at the hotel and he'd gone to the movies. [First half of 1500s]
more the merrier, the
The larger the number involved, the better the occasion. For example, John's invited all his family to come along, and why not? The more the merrier. This expression was first recorded in 1530, when it was put as "The more the merrier; the fewer, the better fare" (meaning "with fewer there would be more to eat"), an observation that made its way into numerous proverb collections.
See also: more
lead someone a merry danceBRITISH
If someone leads you a merry dance while you are trying to achieve something, they cause a lot of problems for you, often by doing something to trick you. They had led the Irish Government a merry dance for the last seven months. Note: You can also say that someone leads you a dance or leads you a merry chase. I began to court the lady who last year became my second wife. She led me quite a dance, but I never gave up. He was fast becoming a kind of cult figure, always leading the police a merry chase.
play merry hellmainly BRITISH
If someone plays hell or plays merry hell, they cause trouble by behaving badly or complaining a lot. I went to the school and played hell with them. She played merry hell and stormed out in a rage. Note: Verbs such as kick up, raise or create can be used instead of play. I will be raising merry hell at the meeting tomorrrow.
play hell with somethingor
play merry hell with somethingmainly BRITISH
If one thing plays hell with another or plays merry hell with another, the first thing has a bad effect on the second one or causes great confusion. Divorce and remarriage play hell with property and inheritance law. Slugs play merry hell with growing plants.
merry (or lively) as a grigfull of fun; extravagantly lively.
The meaning and origin of the word grig are unknown. Samuel Johnson conjectured in his Dictionary that it referred to ‘anything below the natural size’. A sense that fits in with the lively version of this idiom is ‘a young or small eel in fresh water’. The phrases merry grig and merry Greek , meaning ‘a lively, playful person’, were both in use in the mid 16th century, but it is impossible to establish the precise relationship between them or to be certain which may be an alteration of the other.
See also: merry