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little gray cells

Knowledge or the power to think critically. A reference to brain cells. This medication has very serious side effects, and I would rather hang on to all of my little gray cells than extend what remains of my life by a couple of years. The detective credited his little gray cells as the reason he was able to solve such a complex and mysterious case.
See also: cell, gray, little

not have two (something) to rub together

To be totally bereft of or lacking in something. Oh please, that fool doesn't have two brain cells to rub together—there's no way he could pull off such an elaborate plan! There were a few months during college when I didn't have two nickels to rub together, and I had to survive off the handouts of my friends and housemates.
See also: have, not, rub, to, together, two

not have two brain cells to rub together

To be particularly stupid; to lack any intelligence or common sense. Oh please, that fool doesn't have two brain cells to rub together—there's no way he could pull off such an elaborate plan!
See also: brain, cell, have, not, rub, to, together, two

padded cell

dated A room in a psychiatric hospital that has padding on the walls to prevent patients from injuring themselves. If that patient is banging his head on the wall, move him to a padded cell so he doesn't hurt himself. Being inpatient in a psych ward today is a far cry from padded cells and straitjackets, at least in my experience.
See also: cell, pad
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

little grey cells

brain cells (as symbolic of high intelligence or mental acuity).
The phrase is particularly associated with the cerebral Belgian detective Hercule Poirot , invented by Agatha Christie .
2006 Scotland on Sunday They…show an amazing capacity to solve every cryptic clue, code and secret that comes their way, often merely by the use of their little grey cells and a leap of the imagination.
See also: cell, grey, little
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

not have two brain cells, pennies, etc. to rub toˈgether

(British English, informal) be very stupid, have no money, etc: How can they afford a new car? They haven’t got two pennies to rub together.
See also: brain, have, not, rub, to, together, two
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
L'evolution des depenses recouvre principalement une hausse de 12,2% des charges de fonctionnement et de 47,5% de celles d'investissement, ainsi qu'une baisse de 25,2% des depenses de compensation.
* Les autres groupes de produits ont affiche une baisse de 12,6%, en lien avec le retrait des importations du fer ou acier non allies de 40,5%, de celles de l'huile brut de soja ou raffinee de 44,3%, de celles des minerais de plomb de 100% et de celles des tubes, tuyaux et profiles en fonte, fer et acier de 67,9%.
Je ne veux pas delaisser celle qui ne la jamais oublier
Il y a eu donc la liste concernant les agrements dans le transport routier, celle des exploitants de carrieres, celle des associations beneficiant des subventions de l'Etat, celle des etudiants boursiers, celle des locataires des cites universitaires et celle de ceux et celles qui squattent les logements de fonction du ministere de l'Education nationale.
La dette publique d'Espagne, qui englobe celles de l'administration centrale, des communautes autonomes et des municipalites, s'est elevee en 2011 a 734,961 milliards euros, soit 68,5% du Produit interieur Brut (PIB).
Quelle administration casser, Leo, celle de la liberte ou des Ponts et Chaussees, celle du frangais, langue de Celine, ou celle de la justice, du pinard, ou de la bonne mine?