pen


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poison pen

1. adjective (hyphenated and used before a noun) Spiteful, malicious, or defamatory in composition, as of a letter or other written work, generally sent anonymously and with the aim of damaging or destroying a person's, group's, or organization's reputation or happiness. After agreeing to defend the alleged mass-murderer, the public defendant began receiving a large number of poison-pen letters from around the city. We've had enough trouble getting this restaurant up and running without having a poison-pen review like that in the papers!
2. adjective (hyphenated and used before a noun) Characterized by, typified by, or inclined toward the writing and sending of such letters or pieces of writing. The outspoken feminist figure has been the target of a hateful poison-pen campaign by online misogynists who have hidden behind the shield of anonymity to conduct their attacks.
3. noun A disposition, attitude, inclination, or ability typified by the writing and sending such letters or pieces of writing. Every year or so, there is a new piece of diatribe and vitriol from the poison pen of the infamous white supremacist. The poison pen of the oft-feared but well-respected critic has been enough to cause the downfall of more than one virtuoso's career.
See also: pen, poison

slip of the pen

An unintentional mistake in one's writing, such as incorrect spelling, word choice, or meaning. Whoops, I meant to tell my mother that she was welcome to call over next Monday, but I actually wrote "next month" instead. Oh well, she'll understand that it was just a slip of the pen. Now take your time while writing these test essays—you don't want a few slips of the pen to be the reason you get a lower grade!
See also: of, pen, slip

pen pusher

One who has a boring, meaningless office job. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Gary was tired of being a pen pusher, so he decided to quit and start his own business.
See also: pen, pusher

poison-pen letter

A letter that contains malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or another party. Shortly after announcing his candidacy, he received an anonymous poison-pen letter attacking his platform.
See also: letter

put pen to paper

1. To write or begin to write something, especially on paper. My first advice to anyone struggling with their emotions is to keep a small journal and put pen to paper as often as possible. Writers from across the country have been putting pen to paper for the annual nonfiction festival.
2. To sign a contract. The football star has refused to put pen to paper until his pay exceeds that of his last contract.
See also: paper, pen, put

set pen to paper

To write or begin to write something, especially on paper. My first advice to anyone struggling with their emotions is keep a small journal and set pen to paper as often as possible. Writers from across the country have been setting pen to paper for the annual nonfiction festival.
See also: paper, pen, set

slip of the lip

An unintentional mistake made while one is speaking, such as incorrect pronunciation, word choice, or meaning. The news anchor's innocent slip of the lip has gone viral, of course.
See also: lip, of, slip

the pen is mightier than the sword

Strong, eloquent, or well-crafted speech or writing is more influential on a greater number of people than force or violence. Through his hugely popular online campaign, the writer has harnessed the voices of millions of people to have the government stop its violent intervention in the region, proving that the pen truly is mightier than the sword.
See also: mighty, pen, sword

dip (one's) pen in gall

To write something that conveys one's animosity, anger, or malice. The critic must have dipped his pen in gall before writing that very negative review.
See also: dip, gall, pen

*in the bull pen

 
1. Lit. [of a baseball pitcher to be] in a special place near the playing field, warming up to pitch. (*Typically: be ~; go [into] ~.) You can tell who is pitching next by seeing who is in the bull pen. Our best pitcher just went into the bull pen. He'll be pitching soon.
2. Fig. in reserve, ready if needed. I'm willing to be in the bull pen. Just call me if you need me.
See also: bull, pen

pen is mightier than the sword

Prov. Eloquent writing persuades people better than military force. Believing that the pen is mightier than the sword, the rebels began publishing an underground newspaper. Alan: Why do you want to become a journalist? Bill: The pen is mightier than the sword.
See also: mighty, pen, sword

pen (someone or an animal) in (some place)

to confine someone or an animal in a pen. We penned all the kids in out in the backyard while we got the party things ready in the house. We had to pen in the kids to keep them away from the traffic. Alice penned her dog in.
See also: pen

pen (someone or an animal) up

to confine someone to a confined space or an animal to a pen. He said he didn't want them to pen him up in an office all day. They penned up the dog during the day.
See also: pen, up

poison-pen letter

A letter, usually anonymous, that makes malicious statements about the recipient or a third party. For example, She told the police about the poison-pen letters, but they said they couldn't pursue the matter . [Early 1900s]
See also: letter

slip of the lip

Also, slip of the tongue or pen . An inadvertent mistake in speaking (or writing), as in It was just a slip of the lip that made me say the wrong name, or She didn't mean it; it was a slip of the tongue, or He intended to write "the honorable" but a slip of the pen turned it into "reverend." The usage with pen dates from the mid-1600s; the others are a century or so younger.
See also: lip, of, slip

a pen pusher

mainly BRITISH or

a pencil pusher

AMERICAN or

a paper pusher

COMMON If you describe someone as a pen pusher or a pencil pusher, you mean that they have a boring office job and do not make any important decisions. People who used to be called administrators, and perhaps seen as just pen pushers, have been transformed into senior managers. Many of the men who now sit on company boards are pencil pushers with qualifications from top schools, but lack experience in business. Note: In both American and British English, you can also call someone a paper pusher. I didn't want to be just another faceless paper pusher. Note: You can refer to office work as pen-pushing, pencil-pushing, or paper-pushing. You can also say that office workers push papers or push pens. I want our police officers freed from paper-pushing. I'm very thankful that I can make a living from my art, rather than working as a waiter or pushing papers eight hours a day.
See also: pen, pusher

a slip of the pen

A slip of the pen is something you wrote by mistake. The translator dated his letter `Plymouth 1 June 1618'. This is wrong, and probably a slip of the pen for 11 June.
See also: of, pen, slip

dip your pen in gall

write unpleasantly or spitefully.
Gall is another word for bile, the bitter secretion of the liver; it is used in many places in the Bible as a metaphor for bitterness or affliction. See also wormwood and gall (at wormwood).
See also: dip, gall, pen

the pen is mightier than the sword

writing is more effective than military power or violence. proverb
See also: mighty, pen, sword

slip of the pen (or the tongue)

a minor mistake in writing (or speech).
The equivalent Latin phrases, lapsus calami and lapsus linguae , are also sometimes used in formal English.
See also: of, pen, slip

the ˌpen is ˌmightier than the ˈsword

(saying) people who write books, poems, etc. have a greater effect on history and human affairs than soldiers and wars
Mightier means ‘stronger’ or ‘more powerful’.
See also: mighty, pen, sword

put ˌpen to ˈpaper

(formal) write or start to write something: He spent hours thinking about what he should write, and it was midnight before he finally put pen to paper.
See also: paper, pen, put

a ˌpoison ˈpen letter

an unpleasant letter which is not signed and is intended to upset the person who receives it: Most politicians get poison pen letters, sometimes threatening their lives.
See also: letter, pen, poison

a slip of the ˈtongue/ˈpen

a small mistake when speaking or writing: Did I say North Street? Sorry, that was a slip of the tongue — I meant South Street.
See also: of, pen, slip, tongue

pen in

v.
To confine someone or something in or as if in a pen: The farmer penned the pigs in for the night. If you don't pen in the chickens, the wolves will get them.
See also: pen

pen

n. a penitentiary; prison. (Underworld.) Bart got sent to the pen for fifteen years.
References in periodicals archive ?
I'm probably a wimp compared to other people, but I'll buy a floaty pen anytime, anywhere,'' she said.
6 And remember, the most important thing about being a pen pal is to follow all of our rules on being a safe cyber or pen pal.
Nigel Leith, a company partner, says rolling out the Field Cable application has been a goal of Pen Systems for several years.
Another limited edition is Krone's Abraham Lincoln Pen (847-215-0011).
Berger also stated, "The digital pen and paper technology created by Anoto is extremely user-friendly, letting reviewers write their findings as if they were using a regular pen and paper, while dramatically streamlining the process of capturing information and transforming it into data reports to be acted on.
The Los Angeles-based company claims to make ``the world's most comfortable pen,'' with a patented Plasmium displacement grip designed to eliminate finger-cramping.
And a journey to the Fountain Pen Shop is an eye-opening trip into the pleasures of the fountain pen.
Fisher went on to open a machine shop but was ever mindful of the leaky pen's success, and in 1948, he founded the Fisher Pen Co.
And don't even think of rough-housing when you're holding a fountain pen, said Meghan Carter, 8.
Dutch logistics company, bVa, demonstrates a straightforward and effective use of the Anoto Functionality by providing customers with the technology to sign waybills and shipping instructions with a Bluetooth-enabled digital pen.
With the Logitech ioTags feature, the pen improves people's efficiency by allowing them to send portions of their handwritten notes directly into their e-mail and calendar applications by using written shortcuts.
But it's not just in the jewellery industry that this historic quarter is famous - it's also renowned as having once been at the "centre of the world's pen trade.
Every writing pen his company makes is made by hand.