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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

powder (one's) nose

A polite expression used, usually by women, when excusing oneself to the restroom. I'll join you at the table in a minute, I just need to powder my nose.
See also: nose, powder

keep (one's) powder dry

To be prepared to act with little advance notice. I know this job opportunity didn't work out, but keep your powder dry for the next one that comes along.
See also: dry, keep, powder

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

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

keep your powder dry

If you keep your powder dry, you remain ready to take action if necessary. He must keep his powder dry for the really important issues. Note: The powder referred to here is gunpowder. The expression comes from a story about the English leader Oliver Cromwell. He is said to have ended a speech to his soldiers, who were about to cross a river and go into battle, by saying: `Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.'
See also: dry, keep, powder

take a powder

If you take a powder, you leave a place very quickly and usually secretly. I knew that even if they realized I'd taken a powder, they wouldn't go looking for me.
See also: powder, take

a powder keg

A powder keg is a very dangerous situation or place in which something very bad could happen at any time. His imprisonment is a political powder keg. The region has long been regarded as the powder keg of Europe. Note: You can say that someone is sitting on a powder keg if they are in a very dangerous situation. The Prime Minister was all too aware that he was sitting on a powder keg which could explode at any moment. Note: A powder keg was a small barrel which was used to store gunpowder.
See also: keg, powder

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 ?
But I suppose, as the last powder was taken two days ago, it is not of much importance?
There he crushed to a powder two soluble tablets, each containing a quarter of a grain of morphia.
For an instant he hung suspended by the rock, and looking about him, with a countenance of peculiar care, he added bitterly, "Had the powder held out, this disgrace could never have befallen
We were all hard at work, changing the powder and the berths, when the last man or two, and Long John along with them, came off in a shore-boat.
But I repeat, having no powder, I use air under great pressure, which the pumps of the Nautilus furnish abundantly.
The sprawling Martians were no longer to be seen, the mound of blue-green powder had risen to cover them from sight, and a fighting-machine, with its legs contracted, crumpled, and abbreviated, stood across the corner of the pit.
Campbell and his men embarked with the peltries, Fitzpatrick took charge of all the horses, amounting to above a hundred, and struck off to the east, to trap upon Littlehorn, Powder, and Tongue rivers.
You may call it by what larned name you please, Judge,” said the hunter, throwing his rifle across his left arm, and knocking up a brass lid in the breech, from which he took a small piece of greased leather and, wrapping a bail in it, forced them down by main strength on the powder, where he continued to pound them while speaking.
Then you pour the powder in, and get hold of a bit of felt from some door, and then shove the bullet in.
The officer had followed the brilliant train in the air; he endeavored to precipitate himself upon the barrel and tear out the match before it reached the powder it contained.
Perhaps the Powder of Life couldn't either," said Ojo.
Hiram Sloane told me the other day that a big envelope addressed to the Rollings Reliable Baking Powder Company of Montreal had been dropped into the post office box a month ago, and she suspicioned that somebody was trying for the prize they'd offered for the best story that introduced the name of their baking powder.
They had not come from Berande; neither had the forty flasks of black powder found under the corner-post of the house; and while he could not be sure, he could remember no loss of eight boxes of detonators.
What sort of a Magic Powder was it that made your friend the Pumpkinhead live?
True," replied the president; "but we will overcome that, for the force of impulsion will depend on the length of the engine and the powder employed, the latter being limited only by the resisting power of the former.