Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

skin an eel by the tail

To do something in an ill-advised way. Why are you skinning an eel by the tail? You know you can't back out of the driveway until you clear all that snow out of the way!
See also: eel, skin, tail

skin the bear at once

To address an issue directly. Primarily heard in US. A: "Jen means well, but she can be a little blunt." B: "Yeah, she tends to skin the bear at once." This is a big problem to tackle, so let's skin the bear at once, gentlemen—there's no time to waste.
See also: bear, once, skin

keep one's eyes peeled

(for someone or something) Go to keep one's eyes open (for someone or something).
See also: eye, keep, peel


Fig. not easily upset or hurt; insensitive. (The opposite of thin-skinned. Typically: be ~; become ~; grow ~.) Tom won't worry about your insults. He's completely thick-skinned. Jane's so thick-skinned she didn't realize Fred was being rude to her.


Fig. easily upset or hurt; sensitive. (The opposite of thick-skinned. Typically: be ~; become ~; grow ~.) You'll have to handle Mary's mother carefully. She's very thin-skinned. Jane weeps easily when people tease her. She's too thin-skinned.

keep your eyes peeled (for something)

to watch carefully for someone or something keep an eye out (for somebody/something) Keep your eyes peeled for a taxi.
See also: eye, keep, peel

keep your eyes peeled/skinned

to watch very carefully for something (often + for ) Keep your eyes peeled for a signpost.
See also: eye, keep, peel


if you are thick-skinned, you do not notice or get upset when people criticize you You have to be a bit harsher than that with Caroline to offend her - she's pretty thick-skinned.


if you are thin-skinned, you are too easily upset when other people criticize you You can't be too thin-skinned if you're in the public eye.

keep one's eyes open

Also, keep one's eyes peeled or skinned . Be watchful and observant. For example, We should keep our eyes open for a change in the wind's direction, or Keep your eyes peeled for the teacher. The first phrase dates from the late 1800s; the second and third, both colloquial and alluding to the lids not covering the eyes, date from the mid-1800s and 1830s, respectively.
See also: eye, keep, open


mod. able to withstand much criticism. (Compare this with thin-skinned.) You gotta be more thick-skinned if you want to be a cop.


mod. sensitive to criticism. (Compare this with thick-skinned.) Don’t be so thin-skinned. You can’t expect everyone to like you.