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dry powder

finance Cash reserves kept to cover unforeseen future obligations or purchases; low-risk liquid assets or securities that can easily be converted to cash. I learned early on in my career that any viable business has to have dry powder ready for anything. I've kept a decent amount of dry powder on hand, so we should be able to get through your unemployment.
See also: dry, powder

powder keg

A situation that could quickly become very volatile and dangerous. It became obvious we were sitting on a powder keg as the protests in the city became more frequent.
See also: keg, powder

Can I use your powder room?

A request to use the restroom in one's house. (Traditionally, a "powder room" is a smaller room containing only a toilet and sink, not a tub or shower.) We had a long ride—can I use your powder room?
See also: can, powder, use

Could I use your powder room?

 and Can I use your powder room?; May I use your powder room?; Where is your powder room?
Euph. a polite way to ask to use the bathroom in someone's home. (Alludes to a woman powdering her nose. Sometimes used jocularly by men. See also powder one's nose.) Mary: Oh, Sally, could I use your powder room? Sally: Of course. It's just off the kitchen, on the left. Tom: Nice place you've got here. Uh, where is your powder room? Beth: At the top of the stairs.
See also: could, powder, use

powder one's nose

 and powder one's face
to depart to the bathroom. (Usually said by women, or jocularly by men.) Excuse me, I have to powder my nose. She just went out to powder her face.
See also: nose, powder

powder up

Sl. to drink heavily; to get drunk. Let's go out and powder up. He's at the tavern powdering up.
See also: powder, up

Put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry.

 and Keep your powder dry.
Prov. Have faith that God will make sure that you win a conflict, but be prepared to fight well and vigorously. (Supposed to have been said by Oliver Cromwell; powder means gunpowder.) Bill: Am I going to win my lawsuit? Alan: All you can do is put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry.
See also: and, dry, keep, powder, put, trust

sitting on a powder keg

Fig. in a risky or explosive situation; in a situation where something serious or dangerous may happen at any time. (A powder keg is a keg of gunpowder.) Things are very tense at work. The whole office is sitting on a powder keg. The fire at the oilfield seems to be under control for now, but all the workers there are sitting on a powder keg.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

take a powder

Sl. to leave; to leave town. (Underworld.) Why don't you take a powder? Go on! Beat it! Willie took a powder and will lie low for a while.
See also: powder, take

powder your nose

to use a public toilet “I'm going to powder my nose,” Vera said, following Elise out of the room.
Usage notes: usually said by women
See also: nose, powder

keep your powder dry

to be ready to do something if necessary We're not ready to start buying yet. We'll keep our powder dry until we think prices are as low as they'll go.
Etymology: from the idea that gunpowder (an explosive substance in the form of a powder) will not explode if it is wet
See also: dry, keep, powder

keep your powder dry

to be ready to take action if necessary All you have to do is keep your powder dry and await orders.
See also: dry, keep, powder

a powder keg

a situation that could suddenly become extremely dangerous
Usage notes: A powder keg was a wooden container for gunpowder (= a substance used for making explosions).
We left just before the revolution, realizing that we were sitting on a powder keg.
See also: keg, powder

powder your nose

if a woman says she is going to powder her nose, she means she is going to go to the toilet Well, if you'll excuse me a moment, I'm going to powder my nose.
See also: nose, powder

take a powder

  (American informal)
to leave a place suddenly, especially in order to avoid an unpleasant situation He saw the police coming and took a powder.
See keep powder dry
See also: powder, take

keep one's powder dry

Stay alert, be careful, as in Go ahead and take on the opposition, but keep your powder dry. This colloquial expression, which originally alluded to keeping gunpowder dry so that it would ignite, has been used figuratively since the 1800s but today is less common than take care.
See also: dry, keep, powder

sitting on a powder keg

In imminent danger, in an explosive situation, as in Our office is sitting on a powder keg while management decides whether or not to close us down . This metaphoric term alludes to sitting on a keg of gunpowder that could go off at any moment. [First half of 1900s]
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

take a powder

Make a speedy departure, run away, as in I looked around and he was gone-he'd taken a powder. This slangy idiom may be derived from the British dialect sense of powder as "a sudden hurry," a usage dating from about 1600. It may also allude to the explosive quality of gunpowder.
See also: powder, take

chicken powder

n. powdered amphetamine. (Drugs.) Those kids seem to be satisfied with chicken powder.
See also: chicken, powder

powder monkey

n. a specialist in the use of dynamite. (see also grease monkey.) How long do powder monkeys usually live?
See also: monkey, powder

powder one’s nose

1. and powder one’s face tv. to depart to the bathroom. (Usually said by women, or jocularly by men.) She just went out to powder her face.
2. tv. to use cocaine. John is in the bedroom powdering his nose. What a habit!
See also: nose, powder

powder one’s face

See also: face, powder

powder room

1. n. a small bathroom without bathing facilities in a private home, usually located for the convenience of guests. Excuse me, where is the powder room?
2. n. the ladies’ restroom in a public place, especially a restaurant; the place women go to powder their noses. (The emphasis is on comforts other than toilet facilities, such as mirrors, places to rest, and even a maid to help with emergency repairs of makeup or clothing.) The ladies went to the powder room. They’ll be back in a minute.
See also: powder, room

powder up

in. to drink heavily; to get drunk. He’s at the tavern powdering up.
See also: powder, up

powdered (up)

mod. alcohol intoxicated. Most of the bums in the gutter are really powdered.
See also: powder, up


See also: powder

take a powder

tv. to leave; to leave town. (Underworld.) Bruno took a powder and will lie low for a while.
See also: powder, take

keep (one's) powder dry

To be ready for a challenge with little warning.
See also: dry, keep, powder

take a powder

To make a quick departure; run away.
See also: powder, take

sitting on a powder keg

In imminent danger. This phrase that arose in the early 19th century (if not before) suggests being atop a barrel of gunpowder that could explode at any time.
See also: keg, on, powder, sitting

Take a powder!

Scram! This tough-guy phrase came from the days when a ladies' bathroom was euphemistically called the powder room, the place where women went, among other reasons, to apply makeup. As gangster movies would have us believe, a lady's escort who wanted to discuss a matter in privacy with another gent told her to “take a powder.” Similarly, a genteel way to say you were going to the ladies' room was “I'm going to powder my nose.”
See also: take
References in classic literature ?
No servant will come here because the place is so lonely and out-of-the-way, so my clever husband, the Crooked Magician, proposed that I make a girl out of some sort of material and he would make her live by sprinkling over her the Powder of Life.
What do you think a mother would feel like if she found her child tattooed over with a baking powder advertisement?
Afterward, Ozma used the last of the Powder to bring the Flying Gump to life; but as soon as it had carried her away from her enemies the Gump was taken apart, so it doesn't exist any more.
It's too bad the Powder of Life was all used up," remarked the shaggy man; "it would be a handy thing to have around.
A while ago the crooked Sorcerer who invented the Magic Powder fell down a precipice and was killed.
Well," continued the Tin Woodman, "the old woman had an idea that the Powder in the bottle must be moth-powder, because it smelled something like moth-powder; so one day she sprinkled it on her bear rug to keep the moths out of it.
Therefore I believe it is a good thing that all the Magic Powder of Life is now used up, as it can not cause any more trouble.
And then my lamps fall on another party present, who, I says to myself, is failin' in a proper affection toward his comin' son-in- law, so I watches my chance and dumps that powder in old man Riddle's coffee--see?
Say," said McGowan, looking up suddenly, "say, Ikey, ain't there a drug of some kind--some kind of powders that'11 make a girl like you better if you give 'em to her?
I thought," went on Chunk hopefully, "that if I had one of them powders to give Rosy when I see her at supper to-night it might brace her up and keep her from reneging on the proposition to skip.
However, I said no more to the boy, but bade him lie still, and I took our biggest gun, which was almost musket-bore, and loaded it with a good charge of powder, and with two slugs, and laid it down; then I loaded another gun with two bullets; and the third (for we had three pieces) I loaded with five smaller bullets.
This was game indeed to us, but this was no food; and I was very sorry to lose three charges of powder and shot upon a creature that was good for nothing to us.
They came down-stairs with powder before them and powder behind, the elder sister haughty and the younger sister humbled, and were shut out into unpowdered Harley Street, Cavendish Square.
The powders were neatly enough made up, but not with the nicety of the dispensing chemist; so that it was plain they were of Jekyll's private manufacture: and when I opened one of the wrappers I found what seemed to me a simple crystalline salt of a white colour.
He thanked me with a smiling nod, measured out a few minims of the red tincture and added one of the powders.