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(a) quarter of (a given hour in time)

A quarter of an hour (15 minutes) before the named hour in time (e.g., "quarter of six" would mean 5:45). Primarily heard in US. A: "What time does the movie start?" B: "Not until a quarter of eight, so we've got plenty of time!" I thought I'd be home already, but with this traffic, it'll be quarter of before I'm back.
See also: given, hour, of, quarter

quarter past (a given hour in time)

A quarter of an hour (15 minutes) after the named hour in time. A: "What time does the movie start?" B: "Not until a quarter past eight, so we've got plenty of time!" I thought I'd be home already, but with this traffic, it'll be quarter past before I'm back.
See also: given, hour, past, quarter

four score and seven years ago

Eighty-seven years ago. (A "score" is a set of 20 items.) The iconic first line of US President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the speech he delivered at the dedication of the national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln gave this speech in 1863—87 years after 1776, the year of the founding of the United States. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
See also: ago, and, four, score, seven, year

seven-day wonder

A person or thing that generates interest for only a short amount of time. The band's biggest fear was becoming a seven-day wonder, soon to be forgotten when the next big sound hit the airwaves.
See also: wonder

you should know a man seven years before you stir his fire

In interactions with people you don't know well, you should behave with caution and avoid meddling in their affairs. Mother, you don't know Sir Harold well enough to inquire about his personal life. Remember: you should know a man seven years before you stir his fire.
See also: before, fire, know, man, seven, should, stir, year

at sixes and sevens

Frazzled or disorganized. The phrase likely originated from a dice game in which rolling a six or a seven was unfavorable. After caring for three sick kids all week, I'm totally at sixes and sevens. I'm at sixes and sevens now that the whole schedule has been rearranged.
See also: and, seven, six

be at sixes and sevens

To be frazzled or disorganized. The phrase likely originated from a dice game in which rolling a six or a seven was unfavorable. After caring for three sick kids all week, I'm at sixes and sevens. Now that the whole schedule has been rearranged, I'm at sixes and sevens.
See also: and, seven, six

the seven-year itch

The supposed inclination of a man to begin longing for sexual relations with other women after seven years of marriage with his wife. Everyone warned me about the seven-year itch, but I've been completely content with my wife every second that we've been together. A: "I heard Jack has been having an affair with a bartender from across town." B: "Hmm, sounds like the seven-year itch to me."
See also: itch

at sixes and sevens

lost in bewilderment; at loose ends. Mrs. Smith is at sixes and sevens since the death of her husband. Bill is always at sixes and sevens when he's home by himself.
See also: and, seven, six

in seventh heaven

Fig. in a very happy state. Ann was really in seventh heaven when she got a car of her own. I'd be in seventh heaven if I had a million dollars.
See also: heaven, seventh

Keep a thing seven years and you'll (always) find a use for it.

Prov. If you keep a seemingly useless thing for seven years, you will supposedly have some occasion to use it during that time. Jill: My mother sent me a four-foot-tall ceramic vase for my birthday. What can I possibly use it for? Jane: Keep it seven years and you'll find some use for it.
See also: and, find, keep, seven, thing, use, year

a seven-day wonder

Fig. a person or a process supposedly perfected in only seven days. (Sarcastic.) Tommy is no seven-day wonder. It took him 6 years to get through high school!
See also: wonder

seven-year itch

a real or imagined longing for other women in a man's seventh year of marriage. Looks like Jack has the seven-year itch. The seven-year itch is just a rumor.
See also: itch

at sixes and sevens

Confused, disorganized, disorderly, as in We've just moved in, and the office is still at sixes and sevens, or The new college admissions tests were poorly explained, leaving the students at sixes and sevens . This ancient term is thought to come from a game of dice in which throwing a six or seven had a particular significance. The name of the game has been lost, but most likely betting on such a throw was very risky, denoting disorder and confusion. [Late 1300s]
See also: and, seven, six

in seventh heaven

In a state of bliss, as in John was in seventh heaven when the director praised his speech. Used figuratively since the early 1800s, this term alludes to the dwelling place of God in highest of the seven concentric spheres that surround the earth in the system recognized by both Muslims and ancient Jews.
See also: heaven, seventh

in seventh heaven

If you are in seventh heaven, you are extremely happy. After I was given my first camera I was in seventh heaven. Actor Siddig El Fadil is in seventh heaven after being picked for the new Star Trek series. Note: According to Islam, there are seven heavens. The seventh is the most glorious and is governed by Abraham. In the Jewish religion, the seventh heaven is the dwelling place of God and his angels.
See also: heaven, seventh

at sixes and sevens

mainly BRITISH, INFORMAL
If something or someone is at sixes and sevens, they are disorganized and confused. Of course everything in the office is at sixes and sevens. None of us know what we should be doing. The home side were at sixes and sevens in the first half. Note: Two origins have been suggested for this phrase. The first is from a dice game, and the second is from a dispute that arose between two of the guilds or craft organizations in medieval London about who was to go sixth and who seventh in the annual procession through the city. The dispute was resolved by the guilds taking turns, and this still happens today.
See also: and, seven, six

seven-league boots

the ability to travel very fast on foot.
This phrase comes from the fairy story of Hop o' my Thumb, in which magic boots enable the wearer to travel seven leagues at each stride.
See also: boot

in seventh heaven

in a state of ecstasy.
In late Jewish and Muslim theology, there were considered to be seven heavens, and the seventh of these was the highest, where a state of eternal bliss was to be enjoyed.
See also: heaven, seventh

at sixes and sevens

in a state of total confusion or disarray.
This phrase originated as gambling slang and may be an alteration or corruption of Old French cinque (five) and sice (six), these being the highest numbers on dice. The idea of risking all your goods on the two highest numbers led to the idea of carelessness and neglect of your possessions and eventually to the development of the phrase's current meaning.
1998 Oldie But if you arrive in the afternoon we may be a bit at sixes and sevens as we're doing a wedding reception.
See also: and, seven, six

twenty-four seven

all the time; twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
The phrase, which originated in the US, is often written 24/7 .
See also: seven

the seven year ˈitch

(informal) the wish for a new sexual partner because you are bored with your husband or wife: He’s started looking at all the women in the office. It must be the seven year itch.
See also: itch, seven, year

be at ˌsixes and ˈsevens

(informal) be in a state of confusion; not be well organized: I’m completely at sixes and sevens this week. My secretary’s ill, I’ve got a report to write, and we’re moving offices.
See also: and, seven, six

seven-seven-three-aitch

and 773H
n. hell. (This is based on the printed word HELL rotated 180 degrees. Jocular.) What the seven-seven-three-aitch is going on around here?

seven-year itch

n. a real or imagined longing for other women in a man’s seventh year of marriage. Looks like Jack has the seven-year itch.
See also: itch

twenty-four, seven

and 24-7
mod. all the time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He’s always at home, 24-7!
See also: seven

at sixes and sevens

In a state of confusion or disorder.
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

In complete disorder. The most likely source of the phrase is an old dice game called hazard, in which to bet on cinque and sice (from the French words for “five” and “six”) was particularly risky business. Anyone who did so was considered careless or confused. English-speaking players misheard or chose to pronounce cinque and sice as “sixes and sevens.”
See also: and, seven, six
References in classic literature ?
At all events, Thomas Maule became the architect of the House of the Seven Gables, and performed his duty so faithfully that the timber framework fastened by his hands still holds together.
Between the ages of seven months and eight months those children were changed in the cradle"--he made one of this effect- collecting pauses, and added--"and the person who did it is in this house
It would be impossible, I know," replied Elinor, "to convince you that a woman of seven and twenty could feel for a man of thirty-five anything near enough to love, to make him a desirable companion to her.
We were seven to nineteen then, or thought we were, and that's as bad to bear.
Supposing seven years have passed without news of Ali Cogia, he need not be dead for all that, and may come back any day.
Then they told her that they had become the servants of the Dragon for seven long years, and how he had given them money as plentifully as blackberries; but as they had signed their names they were his, unless when the seven years had passed they could guess a riddle.
Cisco was reached at seven in the morning; and an hour later the dormitory was transformed into an ordinary car, and the travellers could observe the picturesque beauties of the mountain region through which they were steaming.
He consented to do nothing for me for seven roubles a month.
The escape was fixed to take place at seven o'clock; there was therefore three-quarters of an hour to wait.
No, monseigneur; there want seven hundred and forty thousand livres.
Thus it happened that his seven ministers were all noted for their accomplishments as jokers.
Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof.
If there is anything sensible which you wish to say to me, you can see me here, just where we are, at seven o'clock.
There were seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle, and all with beautiful birds in them.
From these old walls you have the finest view of the desolate scene where once stood Ephesus, the proudest city of ancient times, and whose Temple of Diana was so noble in design, and so exquisite of workmanship, that it ranked high in the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.