seem

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can't seem to

Apparently unable to or incapable of doing something. I've been over these figures three times, but I just can't seem to get them to add up. He couldn't seem to figure out how to work the machine.
See also: seem

long shot

1. A bet that has a low probability of winning. That horse is a long shot, but the bet will pay well if he wins the race.
2. Something that has a very small chance of succeeding. I know it's a long shot because of his busy schedule, but maybe I can convince him to help me with this project. Her candidacy was a long shot from the beginning, and her landslide defeat was no surprise.
See also: long, shot

high-and-mighty

Fig. self-important and arrogant. I don't know why William is so high-and-mighty. He's no better than the rest of us. The boss acts high-and-mighty because he can fire us all.

*long shot

Fig. a risky bet; an attempt, bet, or proposition that has a low probability of success. (*Typically: be ~; seem like ~.) Your solution is a long shot, but we'll try it and hope it works.
See also: long, shot

*oneself again

showing signs of being healthy again or restored. (*Typically: act like ~; be ~; feel like ~; seem like ~.) After such a longillness, it'sgoodto be myself again. I'm sorry that I lost my temper. I think I feel like myself again now.
See also: again

*out of place

 
1. Lit. not in the proper place. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; knock something ~.) The book I wanted was out of place, and I almost did not find it. How did the furniture in this room get out of place?
2. Fig. inappropriate. (*Typically: be ~; Seem ~.) That kind of behavior is out of place at a party. Your crude language is out of place.
3. Fig. [of someone ] awkward and unwelcome. (*Typically: be ~; feel ~; seem ~.) I feel out of place at formal dances. Bob and Ann felt out of place at the picnic, so they went home.
See also: of, out, place

*pressed for time

 and *pushed for time
Fig. needing time; in a hurry. (*Typically: be ~; become ~; get ~; Seem ~.) If I weren't so pressed for time, I could help you. I can't talk to you. I'm too pushed for time. Can't talk to you now. I'm pressed for time.
See also: press, time

*putty in someone's hands

Fig. [of someone] easily influenced by someone else; excessively willing to do what someone else wishes. (Putty is soft and malleable. *Typically: be ~; seem like ~.) Bob's wife is putty in his hands. She never thinks for herself. Jane is putty in her mother's hands. She always does exactly what her mother says.
See also: hand, putty

seem like someone or something

to appear to be like some kind of person or something. You seemed like such a nice person when I met you. This seems like a nice day.
See also: like, seem

Things are seldom what they seem.

Prov. Things often appear different from what they really are. Emily seems to be a fine young lady, but be careful. Things are seldom what they seem. To judge from his elegant clothing and luxurious car, William was a wealthy man. But things are seldom what they seem; in fact, he was in desperate need of money.
See also: seem, seldom, Thing, what

out of place

not comfortable or suitable for a particular situation He is worried about his job and feels out of place in a large organization. The tree-lined streets of this city wouldn't be out of place in a small town.
See also: of, out, place

putty in your hands

willing to do anything you want As soon as Jones realized he could get in trouble if they reported him, he became putty in their hands.
See also: hand, putty

pressed for time

feeling that you have to hurry and are late I was pressed for time to finish my business and catch my plane.
See also: press, time

make something seem like a picnic

if a difficult experience makes another experience seem like a picnic, it makes it seem very easy because it is much more difficult University makes school seem like a picnic.
See also: like, make, picnic, seem

can't seem to

Be apparently unable to, as in No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to concentrate on this book. This phrase gives added emphasis to a negative statement, as in the example. [Late 1800s]
See also: seem

out of place

Not in the proper situation, not belonging; inappropriate for the circumstances or location. For example, A high school graduate, she felt out of place among all these academics with advanced degrees , or This velvet sofa is out of place on the porch. This idiom uses place in the sense of "a fitting position." [First half of 1800s]
See also: of, out, place

pressed for time

In a hurry, as in How long will it take? I'm really pressed for time. This idiom uses press in the sense of "subject to pressure," a usage dating from the late 1600s.
See also: press, time

long shot

n. a wild guess; an attempt at something that has little chance of succeeding. You shouldn’t expect a long shot to pay off.
See also: long, shot

pressed for time

In a hurry; under time pressure.
See also: press, time
References in classic literature ?
Sometimes, as the road was cut through the pine woods that seemed in the darkness to be closing down upon us, great masses of greyness which here and there bestrewed the trees, produced a peculiarly weird and solemn effect, which carried on the thoughts and grim fancies engendered earlier in the evening, when the falling sunset threw into strange relief the ghost-like clouds which amongst the Carpathians seem to wind ceaselessly through the valleys.
He went rapidly to where the blue flame arose, it must have been very faint, for it did not seem to illumine the place around it at all, and gathering a few stones, formed them into some device.
It seems as if; over here, I had learned to come out with everything.
But it seems as if I couldn't help taking a peep now and then, in advance--with a Bostonian.
It would seem that my visit to this remote island should immediately revive my interest in Strickland, but the work I was engaged in occupied my attention to the exclusion of something that was irrelevant, and it was not till I had been there some days that I even remembered his connection with it.
Strange as at first glance it may seem to suppose that the Massacre of St.
These dispositions and orders only seem worse than previous ones because the battle of Borodino was the first Napoleon did not win.
Yet there is a clear note of originality (so it seems to us) in the peculiar charm of his strictly personal compositions; and, generally, in such touches as he gives us of the soul, the life, of the [114] nineteenth century.
Nor seems it strange indeed To hold the happy creed That all fair things that bloom and die Have conscious life as well as I.
It seems callous of us to have come," Penelope declared.
Every one in the place, except one poor woman, seems to look upon him as a sort of supernatural being.
IT HATH been an opinion, that the French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
It seemed strange that he should frizzle in hell merely because he was a Chinaman; but if salvation was possible whatever a man's faith was, there did not seem to be any particular advantage in belonging to the Church of England.
They despised the roads, and took their way across the fields; and yet, from their appearance, it did not seem as if they cared much where they walked so long as the way did not actually trip them up.
They had an independent bearing, resolute eyes, a restrained manner; and we seem yet to hear their soft voices speaking of battles, travels, and escapes; boasting with composure, joking quietly; sometimes in well-bred murmurs extolling their own valour, our generosity; or celebrating with loyal enthusiasm the virtues of their ruler.