sitting


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sit like piffy on a rock cake

To be conspicuous but ignored or left out, especially from a group or activity. (A "rock bun" or "rock cake" is a type of hard cake with currants; what "piffy" refers to is unknown.) Primarily heard in UK. I was excited to go with my wife to her awards ceremony, but I didn't know anyone there and ended up sitting like piffy on a rock cake. After Tommy hit one of the other boys in his class, he was left sitting like piffy on a rock cake during playtime.
See also: cake, like, on, piffy, rock, sit

sit like piffy on a rock bun

To be conspicuous but ignored or left out, especially from a group or activity. (A "rock bun" or "rock cake" is a type of hard cake with currants; what "piffy" refers to is unknown.) Primarily heard in UK. I was excited to go with my wife to her awards ceremony, but I didn't know anyone there and ended up sitting like piffy on a rock bun. After Tommy hit one of the other boys in his class, he was left sitting like piffy on a rock bun during playtime.
See also: bun, like, on, piffy, rock, sit

sit tall in the/(one's) saddle

To be or remain proud, stoical, or august in one's manner or composure. Even after two years of a losing war, the general still sat tall in his saddle before his troops. I'll have nothing to do with your schemes or plot. One day, you're going to be locked up and lose everything, and I'll be sitting tall in the saddle when you do.
See also: saddle, sit, tall

sit a spell

To sit down, relax, and socialize for a while at one's leisure. This saloon is a great place to sit a spell and catch up with old friends. Well hey there, honey! Now you come in here and sit a spell, we haven't seen you in a dog's age!
See also: sit, spell

sit at (someone's) feet

To be in a position of devotion or worship to someone; to pay homage or reverential attention to someone. I've been sitting at the feet of the renowned professor ever since I heard his astounding lecture on quantum mechanics. My brother chose to sit at the saints' feet for the rest of his life, but I do not intend to pursue such a life of the cloth.
See also: feet, sit

not take (something) sitting down

To refuse to accept something unpleasant, unfortunate, or unjust without resistance, argument, or action. I just found out my wife has been cheating on me for the last year, and I'm not about to take it sitting down! I've been at this job for nearly 30 years and not once have I been given a raise. I'm telling you that I won't take this sitting down any longer!
See also: down, not, sitting, take

take (something) sitting down

To accept something unpleasant, unfortunate, or unjust without resistance, argument, or action. (Usually used in the negative to express the opposite.) I just found out my wife has been cheating on me for the last year, and I'm not about to take it sitting down! I've been at this job for nearly 30 years and not once have I been given a raise. If you think I'm going to take it sitting down any longer, then you have another think coming!
See also: down, sitting, take

sitting duck

Something that is unprotected and vulnerable to an easy attack. When my car broke down in a bad neighborhood, I felt like a sitting duck, just waiting to get robbed. We can't go into that area unarmed, we'd be sitting ducks!
See also: duck, sitting

sit upon hot cockles

To be impatient. Quit sitting on hot cockles—you'll get your birthday present soon enough.
See also: cockle, hot, sit, upon

at a sitting

During one period of time devoted to a particular task. How much work can you get done at a sitting? How many people can the restaurant accommodate at a sitting?
See also: sitting

at one sitting

During one uninterrupted period of time. Our teenage sons can finish a whole turkey at one sitting. How much research can you get done at one sitting?
See also: one, sitting

be (sitting) in the catbird seat

To be in a powerful position. The phrase likely refers to the catbird's preference for high tree branches (which keep predators at bay). Primarily heard in US. As the CEO's assistant, you are definitely sitting in the catbird seat. I know you were hoping to be elected president over Joe, but, as vice president, you're in the catbird seat if he resigns.
See also: catbird, seat

be (sitting) on (one's) tail

To follow close behind someone or something. Why is this guy sitting on my tail when I'm already going over the speed limit? The cops are definitely on our tail now—we have to turn ourselves in!
See also: on, tail

be (sitting) on top of the world

To be very happy. I was on top of the world when I found out that I'd gotten an A on my hardest exam. Cathy has been sitting on top of the world ever since she got that big promotion at work.
See also: of, on, top, world

at a sitting

at one time; during one period. (Usually refers to an activity that takes place while a person is seated.) The restaurant could feed only sixty people at a sitting. I can read about three hundred pages at a sitting.
See also: sitting

*sitting duck

Fig. someone or something vulnerable to attack, physical or verbal. (Alludes to a duck floating on the water, not suspecting that it is the object of a hunter or predator. *Typically: be ~; like ~; looking like~.) You look like a sitting duck out there. Get in here where the enemy cannot fire at you. The senator was a sitting duck because of his unpopular position on school reform.
See also: duck, sitting

sitting on a gold mine

Fig. in control of something very valuable; in control of something potentially very valuable. When I found out how much the old book was worth, I realized that I was sitting on a gold mine. Mary's land is valuable. She is sitting on a gold mine.
See also: gold, mine, on, sitting

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

*sitting pretty

living in comfort or luxury; living in a good situation. (*Typically: be ~; leave someone ~.) My uncle died and left enough money for me to be sitting pretty for the rest of my life. Now that I have a good-paying job, I'm sitting pretty.
See also: pretty, sitting

at one sitting

also in one sitting
during a short period of time A month's supply of that drug taken at one sitting would kill you. I read the book in one sitting and couldn't get to sleep after I finished it.
See also: one, sitting

sitting pretty

in a good situation She's sitting pretty as one of the music world's fastest-rising stars. These investments can provide cash to keep you sitting pretty once you retire.
See also: pretty, sitting

at/in one sitting

if you do something at one sitting, you do it during one period of time without stopping I read the whole book in one sitting.
See also: one, sitting

a sitting duck

something or someone that is easy to attack or criticize Unarmed policemen walking the streets late at night are sitting ducks.
See also: duck, sitting

be sitting on a goldmine

to have or own something that is very valuable When property prices doubled in our area, we suddenly realised we were sitting on a goldmine.
See also: goldmine, on, sitting

be sitting pretty

to be in a good situation, usually because you have a lot of money They bought their house when prices were much lower so they're sitting pretty.
See be in the catbird seat, at one sitting, be on tail
See also: pretty, sitting

at a sitting

At one time, during one period. For example, The cruise ship could feed about 500 passengers at a sitting, or We read the entire poem at a sitting. Since the word sitting implies just that posture, the term means "during a period when one is seated and engaged in a single continuous activity."
See also: sitting

sitting duck

An easy target, as in If you park in front of a fire hydrant, you're a sitting duck for a ticket. This term alludes to the ease with which a hunter can shoot a duck that remains in one spot, in contrast to one in flight. [First half of 1900s]
See also: duck, sitting

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

sitting pretty

In an advantageous position; also, financially well off. For example, The terms of the will left Mary sitting pretty. Although the use of pretty in the sense of "advantageous" is much older, this colloquialism dates only from the early 1900s. It was given extra currency as the title of two different musicals, Sittin' Pretty (M. Moore, 1921) and Sitting Pretty (G. Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, 1924).
See also: pretty, sitting

sitting duck

n. someone who waits unsuspectingly for doom or destiny; an easy target for something bad. Get out of the way! You’re a sitting duck.
See also: duck, sitting

sitting pretty

mod. doing very nicely; in a very pleasant and secure position. She married a millionaire, and now she’s sitting pretty.
See also: pretty, sitting

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