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at the very least
1. At or of the lowest amount possible; at the absolute minimum. Often indicates the belief that a greater amount is likely or should be considered. I know you don't have much money, but you should pay for your own dinner at the very least. The contractor said the repair work would cost $900 at the very least.
2. In any event; regardless; despite what else may have happened or is the case. I know you aren't interested in seeing this play, but at the very least we'll have a nice night out on the town. I know you don't see eye to eye with your father, but he's trying to maintain a relationship with you at the very least.
at the very worst
At or of the worst, least favorable, or least desirable outcome possible. Often indicates a belief or insinuation that such an outcome will not be disastrous or that a more positive outcome is as likely. You should ask him out on a date. At the very worst, he might say no, which really isn't that big a deal! He thought at the very worst he'd get detention for bringing alcohol to school; he wasn't expecting them to expel him.
before (one's) very eyes
Happening or unfolding right in front of one or while one is watching. Someone smashed into my parked car right before my very eyes. Each day, right before our very eyes, we see signs of poverty and need.
this (very) minute
1. Right away; at once; immediately. Billy, get in here this minute and explain how my favorite vase got broken! Oh jeepers, look at the time! I've got to go this very minute, or I'm going to be late!
2. At this moment or just a moment ago. I'm sorry I can't chat longer, but I'm heading off this minute for a doctor's appointment. You only just missed Daniel, he left this very minute.
in front of (one's) very eyes
Right in plain sight or while one is watching. Someone smashed into my parked car in front of my very eyes. Each day, in front of our very eyes, we see signs of poverty and need on our city's streets.
under (one's) very eyes
Right in plain sight or while one is watching. Someone smashed into my parked car under my very eyes. Each day, under our very eyes, we see signs of poverty and need on our city's streets.
*dull as dishwaterand *dull as ditch water
very uninteresting. (*Also: as ~.) I'm not surprised that he can't find a partner. He's as dull as dishwater. Mr. Black's speech was as dull as dishwater.
(I've) seen better.
a noncommittal and not very positive judgment about something or someone. Alice: How did you like the movie? John: I've seen better. Bill: What do you think about this weather? Bob: Seen better.
oceans of someone or somethingand an ocean of someone or something
a very large amount of something. The naughty student was in oceans of trouble. After a week of vacation, there was an ocean of work to do.
on the verge (of doing something)and on the verge of something
at the very beginning of doing something; just about to do something. Bill was on the verge of leaving town when he found a job. Susan was on the verge of laughter, so she left the lecture hall.
See also: verge
*spit and image of someoneand *the spitting image of someone
the very likeness of someone; a very close resemblence to someone. (*The second version is a frequent error. *Typically: be ~; look like ~.) John is the spit and image of his father. At first, I thought you were saying "spitting image."
Thank you very much.and Thank you so much, a
more polite and emphatic way of saying Thank you. Tom: Welcome. Come in. Bob: Thankyou very much. Bill: Here's the book I promised you. Sue: Thankyou so much.
that very thing
exactly that. Why, I was just looking for that very thing! You know, I was just about to say that very thing.
The very idea!
I do not approve!; That is outrageous! Resignation? The very idea! The very idea! Absolutely not!
See also: very
1. It is good. John: How do you like your lobster? Alice: Mmm. Very good. Jane: What did you think of the movie? Fred: Very good. Jane: Is that all? Fred: Yeah.
2. Thank you for your instructions. (Typically said by someone in a serving role, such as a clerk, waiter, waitress, butler, maid, etc.) Waiter: What are you drinking, madam? Sue: It's just soda. No more, thanks. Waiter: Very good. Mary: Would you charge this to my account? Clerk: Very good.
Fig. the end; an absolute end of something. At the very last of the movie, the hero gets killed. Bill stayed at the party until the very last.
Fig. the exact thing that is required. The vacuum cleaner is the very thing for cleaning the stairs. I have the very thing to remove that stain.
You scared the hell out of me.and You scared the crap out of me.; You scared the dickens out of me.; You scared the devil out of me.; You scared me out of my wits.; You scared the pants off (of) me.
You frightened me very badly. (Also with subjects other than second person. Of is usually retained before pronouns.) He scared the hell out of all of us. She really scared the pants off of me.
all very well
good but not good enough It's all very well to fully discuss a problem, but finally you have to stop talking and do something about it.
very much so(spoken)
to a great degree My father did inspire me, very much so. “So crime is a big concern where you live?” “Very much so.”
1. probably Stress could very well have triggered her heart attack. The robber might very well have been in the house when the police arrived.
2. clearly The little boy knew very well that the neighbors didn't like his father.
all very well
acceptable It's all very well to give money to help people, but there needs to be some way of helping them to help themselves.
Usage notes: said about something that is good but not enough by itself
be all very wellalso be all well and good
if you say that something is all very well, you mean that although it is good in some ways, it is bad in some ways too (usually + but ) Electric heating is all very well, but what happens if there's a power cut?
all very well
All right or quite true as far as it goes. For example, It's all very well for Jane to drop out, but how will we find enough women to make up a team? This idiom, first recorded in 1853, generally precedes a question beginning with "but," as in the example. Also see well and good.
dull as dishwater
Boring, tedious, as in That lecture was dull as dishwater. The original simile, dull as ditchwater, dating from the 1700s, alluded to the muddy water in roadside ditches. In the first half of the 1900s, perhaps through mispronunciation, it became dishwater, that is, the dingy, grayish water in which dirty dishes had soaked.
Also, the very idea. See under what's the idea.
See also: idea
very thing, the
Exactly what is needed or wanted, as in That hat's the very thing to complete the costume. This idiom, which uses very to denote exact identity, was first recorded in 1768.
See also: very
1. Exceedingly healthy, as in How are you?-Very well, thank you.
2. Extremely skillfully or properly, as in He manages that sailboat very well.
3. All right, I agree to, as in Will you take her hand?-Very well, but only to cross the street. Also see all very well.
what's the idea
Also, what's the big idea; the very idea. What do you think you are doing? What foolishness do you have in mind? For example, What's the idea of taking the car without permission? or You've invited yourself along? What's the big idea? or Take a two-year-old up Mount Washington? The very idea! These phrases, all implying the speaker's disapproval, use idea in the sense of "what one has in mind." The first two date from about 1900; the third is heard more in Britain than America.
See also: idea
dull as dishwaterverb
thank you very much
phr. a (sometimes sarcastic) tag added to a statement for emphasis. (Often used when there is really nothing to thank anyone for.) I will manage somehow to find my own way out, thank you very much.