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Related to Element 116: Element 118, Element 114, Element 115, Element 117
brave the elements
To go out into and endure bad or stormy weather. Usually used hyperbolically. Thank you for braving the elements to come pick me up. I know there's a slight drizzle, but if you can brave the elements, then you may go play outside for a while.
element of surprise
A method of stealth or secrecy employed to catch someone off-guard. I'll get mom to let me stay out till midnight, but I can't ask her now, when she's expecting it—I need the element of surprise. The fish camouflages itself and disappears onto the ocean floor, relying on the element of surprise to catch its prey.
be in (one's) element
To be doing something that one is very comfortable with or proficient in. My mother is in her element in the kitchen and can make just about any dish.
be out of (one's) element
To be uncomfortable in a certain situation, typically because one lacks experience or familiarity with it. She usually just orders takeout, so she's really out of her element in the kitchen. I know you're out of your element in this new school, but you'll make friends soon, and things will get better. I asked Alex to consult on this project because I'm out of my element here.
in (one's) element
Doing something that one is very comfortable with or proficient in. My mother is in her element in the kitchen and can make just about any dish. Look how effortlessly she skates. You can tell she's in her element.
in one's element
Fig. in a natural or comfortable situation or environment. Sally is in her element when she's working with algebra or calculus. Bob loves to work with color and texture. When he's painting, he's in his element.
*out of one's element
Fig. not in a natural or comfortable situation. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) When it comes to computers, I'm out of my element. Sally's out of her element in math.
brave the elements
Go out in stormy weather, as in We've just about run out of food; I'll brave the elements and walk to the store. The use of elements for atmospheric agencies dates from the early 16th century but is rare today except in this expression, which is often used hyperbolically.
in one's element
In an environment naturally suited to or associated with one; doing what one enjoys. For example, He's in his element when he's doing woodworking. This term alludes to one's natural abode, as does the antonym, out of one's element (used by Daniel Defoe in Robinson Crusoe, 1719: "When they came to make boards ... they were quite out of their element"). [Late 1500s] Also see in one's glory.
out of one's element
see under in one's element.
in your element
COMMON If you are in your element, you are doing something that you enjoy and do well. My stepmother was in her element, organizing everything. `The sale will now commence. We will proceed in steps of two hundred thousand,' declared Bunbury, who was in his element. Note: You can say that someone is out of their element when they are doing something that they do not enjoy and do not do well. He stayed in the trade eight years, but was bored by the work and felt out of his element. As I hadn't done much cooking recently I felt a bit out of my element in the kitchen. Note: Ancient and medieval philosophers believed that all substances were composed from the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. To be `in your element' is to be in your natural surroundings, like a bird in air or a fish in water.