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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 ?
If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.
Just as some dismal fooleries of this nature had made my heart quake there came a tremendous shriek, careering along the valley as if a thousand devils had burst their lungs to utter it, but which proved to be merely the whistle of the engine on arriving at a stopping-place.
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.
Over forty thousand copies have already been sold in the United States and Canada, and a new edition of twenty thousand is on the presses.
And, after telling the whole story, under the promise of secrecy, to Gabriel and Mercier, they put the twenty thousand francs into the envelope and without asking for explanations, handed it to Mme.
I took care of him, and as I had a thousand sequins to spare I gave them to him, and he re-opened his shop.
By such and many other allurements a larger idea of telephone service was given to the public mind; until in 1909 at least eighteen thousand New York-Chicago conversa- tions were held, and the revenue from strictly long-distance messages was twenty-two thousand dollars a day.
It was a common opinion that our men should not have shut themselves up in the Goletta, but should have waited in the open at the landing-place; but those who say so talk at random and with little knowledge of such matters; for if in the Goletta and in the fort there were barely seven thousand soldiers, how could such a small number, however resolute, sally out and hold their own against numbers like those of the enemy?
A package of banknotes, to the value of fifty-five thousand pounds, had been taken from the principal cashier's table, that functionary being at the moment engaged in registering the receipt of three shillings and sixpence.
He has lost four or five vessels, and suffered by three or four bankruptcies; but it is not for me, although I am a creditor myself to the amount of ten thousand francs, to give any information as to the state of his finances.
Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day.
Oh, how gladly I could throw those fifty thousand roubles in his face, and spit in it, and then rub the spittle in
d'Artagnan, alone, are equal to a thousand men, but where are we to find thirty-nine men equal to you?
Let us suppose, gentle reader, that it is now the year of the world three thousand eight hundred and thirty, and let us, for a few minutes, imagine ourselves at that most grotesque habitation of man, the remarkable city of Antioch.
Let each citizen then in the state have a thousand children, but let none of them be considered as the children of that individual, but let the relation of father and child be common to them all, and they will all be neglected.