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

be sitting on a gold mine

To have immediate access to a plentiful amount of something valuable or desirable, especially something that one has not yet profited from. Who knew that my grandfather was sitting on a gold mine of priceless antiques all these years? If your social networking site is attracting millions of new users every month, then you guys are definitely sitting on a gold mine.
See also: gold, mine, on, sitting

be sitting pretty

To be in an ideal living situation (typically because one is financially comfortable), or or in an advantageous position. With all the money you inherited from Aunt Myrtle, you'll be sitting pretty for the rest of your life. I'll be sitting pretty for the rest of the semester if I'm able to ace this test.
See also: pretty, sitting

sit at the feet of (someone)

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

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
References in classic literature ?
He slept through a troubled and unrestful hour, then unconsciousness began to shred away, and presently he rose drowsily to a sitting posture.
And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself, `if one only knew the right way to change them--' when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.
HE was sitting on a log; he sniffed the air, and kept glancing uneasily round the wood.
Well, shall we join and disappoint them of half their lecture upon sitting down out of doors at this time of year, by being up before they can begin?
The children, however, were sitting outside the forest, and when they saw from afar the three servants running, Lina said to Fundevogel: 'Never leave me, and I will never leave you.
It had been made into a separate apartment by a glass partition, and here they found Watson sitting back in a chair, reading The Sportsman.
Natasha wept, sitting on the blue-striped feather bed and hugging her friend.
I put him down for one of your garrulous fellows who try to lure strangers into talk, but next day, when we found him sitting on the Story-seat itself, I had a longer scrutiny of him.
The night- clerk was there, behind the desk, sitting in the dim light of another tallow candle--just sitting and staring.
And an old man was sitting on it--a bent old man with long, snow-white hair and beautiful sad blue eyes.
The second reading confirmed her in a resolution which she had privately taken, while she had been sitting by Anne on the sofa--a resolution destined to lead to far more serious results in the future than any previsions of hers could anticipate.
On the second morning after the departure of Nicholas for Yorkshire, Kate Nickleby sat in a very faded chair raised upon a very dusty throne in Miss La Creevy's room, giving that lady a sitting for the portrait upon which she was engaged; and towards the full perfection of which, Miss La Creevy had had the street-door case brought upstairs, in order that she might be the better able to infuse into the counterfeit countenance of Miss Nickleby, a bright salmon flesh- tint which she had originally hit upon while executing the miniature of a young officer therein contained, and which bright salmon flesh- tint was considered, by Miss La Creevy's chief friends and patrons, to be quite a novelty in art: as indeed it was.
She was lately, it is said, sitting on her throne--which is not very amusing after all--when she began humming an old tune, and it was just, 'Oh, why should I not be married?
So young a child,' said the gentleman sitting opposite to her
When Stepan Arkadyevitch had disappeared, she went back to the sofa where she had been sitting, surrounded by the children.