Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

by the thousands

In huge quantities, presumably numbering several thousand. When the potato famine hit Ireland, the Irish began emigrating—especially to America—by the thousands.
See also: thousand

by the thousand

In huge quantities, presumably numbering several thousand. When the potato famine hit Ireland, the Irish began emigrating by the thousand.
See also: thousand

a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

A daunting task can usually be started by doing a simple thing. I'm feeling really overwhelmed about my research project, but I have to start somewhere, since a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

a picture paints a thousand words

A picture can express something more clearly or succinctly than words can. I know I'm doing a bad job of capturing the scene by describing it, so look here—a picture paints a thousand words, doesn't it?
See also: paint, picture, thousand, word

bat a thousand

1. In baseball, to get a hit every time one is at bat (resulting in a batting average of 1.000). The slugger is still batting a thousand after a record eight at-bats.
2. By extension, to be successful in an endeavor or in multiple areas of one's life. I'm really batting a thousand this week—I got an A on my exam, I got the lead in the school play, and I won the poetry contest!
See also: bat, thousand

by the dozen

in groups of 12. (Compare this with by the dozens.) Eggs are normally sold by the dozen.
See also: dozen

if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times

Fig. an expression that introduces a scolding, usually to a child. Mother: If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, don't leave your clothes in a pile on the floor! Bill: Sorry. "If I've toldyou once, I've told you a thousand times, keep out of my study!" yelled Bob.
See also: if, thousand, times, told

No, no, a thousand times no!

Fig. Very definitely, no! (Jocular.) Bob: Here, have some sweet potatoes. Bill: No, thanks. Bob: Oh, come on! Bill: No, no, a thousand times no! Sue: The water is a little cold, but it's invigorating. Come on in. Bill: How cold? Sue: Well, just above freezing, I guess. Come on in! Bill: No, no, a thousand times no!
See also: thousand, times

Not in a thousand years! and Never in a thousand years!

Fig. No, never! John: Will you ever approve of her marriage to Tom? Sue: No, not in a thousand years! Mary: Will all this trouble ever subside? John: Never in a thousand years!
See also: and, never, not, thousand

one in a thousand

 and one in a hundred; one in a million
Fig. nearly unique; one of a very few. He's a great guy. He's one in million. Mary's one in a hundredsuch a hard worker.
See also: one, thousand

picture is worth a thousand words

Prov. Pictures convey information more efficiently and effectively than words do. It's much easier to learn how machines work by looking at pictures, rather than by hearing someone describe them. A picture is worth a thousand words. The newspaper editor decided to devote more space to photographs of the disaster than to text, since a picture is worth a thousand words.
See also: picture, thousand, word, worth

by the dozen

in large numbers He would sit all day in the dark watching videos by the dozen.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of by the dozen (in groups of twelve)
See also: dozen

be batting a thousand

to do something extremely well and better than you had hoped to do it Gloria felt she was batting a thousand. She'd got everything she asked for when she saw her boss.
See be on a sticky wicket
See also: batting, thousand

by the dozen

if something is being produced by the dozen, large numbers of that thing are being produced The government is producing new policies by the dozen.
See also: dozen

the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question

  (informal) also the million-dollar question (informal)
an important or difficult question which people do not know the answer to So will she marry him or not? - that's the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question.
See beg the question, call into question, pop the question
See also: question

bat one thousand

Have a perfect record, as in In meeting deadlines, she's batting one thousand. The term comes from baseball statistics, where it signifies getting a hit for every turn at bat. It was transferred to other activities in the 1920s.
See also: bat, one, thousand

by the dozen

Also, by the hundred or thousand . According to a definite quantity, as in She's buying tapes by the dozen. This usage is generally employed for some kind of rate. A 1950 film about efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth and his family was entitled Cheaper by the Dozen. [c. 1300]
See also: dozen

one in a million

Also, one in a thousand or billion . Extraordinary, rare, as in She's the kindest soul-she's one in a million, or This ring is one in a thousand. All these terms are hyperbolic.
See also: million, one

picture is worth a thousand words, one

A graphic illustration conveys a stronger message than words, as in The book jacket is a big selling point-one picture is worth a thousand words. This saying was invented by an advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard. To promote his agency's ads he took out an ad in Printer's Ink in 1921 with the headline "One Look Is Worth a Thousand Words" and attributed it to an ancient Japanese philosopher. Six years later he changed it to "Chinese Proverb: One Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Words," illustrated with some Chinese characters. The attribution in both was invented; Barnard simply believed an Asian origin would give it more credibility.
See also: one, picture, thousand, worth

if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times

phr. I know I have told you many, many times. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t lean back in that chair.
See also: if, thousand, times, told

Take it down a thou(sand)!

in. Cool down!; Calm down!; Quiet down! You are wild! Take it down a thou and let’s try again to talk this out.
See also: down, take
References in classic literature ?
Put the twenty thousand in the envelope and hand it to our excellent Mme.
But when they had made their preparation, and they began to buy the merchandise we needed, they found they had spent every piece of the thousand sequins I had given them.
Then it reached out to master an area of four hundred and thirteen thousand square miles--a great Lone Land of undeveloped resources.
Fogg," said he, "it shall be so: I will wager the four thousand on it.
No matter," replied De Boville, in supreme good-humor at the certainty of recovering his two hundred thousand francs, -- "no matter, I can fancy it.
Upon this I was paid out notes and gold until I had by my side a total sum of two thousand gulden.
Or else, what is much better, I deliver him up to King Charles, who, having no longer either a general or an army to fear, nor a diplomatist to trick him, will restore himself, and when once restored, will pay down to me the hundred thousand crowns in question.
While the horrid clamor was still ringing in our ears we heard an exulting strain, as if a thousand instruments of music, with height and depth and sweetness in their tones, at once tender and triumphant, were struck in unison, to greet the approach of some illustrious hero, who had fought the good fight and won a glorious victory, and was come to lay aside his battered arms forever.
he says the king is coming in triumph; that he is dressed in state; that he has just finished putting to death, with his own hand, a thousand chained Israelitish prisoners
No, Jack; it will be worth more than a thousand dollars--when you get it done.
However, were the forty-four thousand eight hundred and forty-seven cubic feet of gas of which we speak, all introduced into the balloon, it would be entirely filled; but that would not do, because, as the balloon continued to mount into the more rarefied layers of the atmosphere, the gas within would dilate, and soon burst the cover containing it.
Although it has been my privilege to be the medium through which a good many hundred thousand dollars have been received for the work at Tuskegee, I have always avoided what the world calls "begging.
In reality it already exceeded twenty thousand rubles.
Finally I promised one little girl, who made a long journey to see me and prefer her request, -- and she is a "Dorothy," by the way -- that when a thousand little girls had written me a thousand little letters asking for the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman I would write the book, Either little Dorothy was a fairy in disguise, and waved her magic wand, or the success of the stage production of "The Wizard of OZ" made new friends for the story, For the thousand letters reached their destination long since -- and many more followed them.
The shares are hundred dollar ones, and there are ten thousand of them.