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cat in the pan
obsolete A traitor. The phrase is thought to refer to the cooking of a "cate" (an archaic word for a delicacy, such as a cake), which would be turned from one side to the other in a pan. Is Benedict Arnold our country's most famous cat in the pan?
down the drain
1. In a state of failure or ruination. My father's company is now going down the drain because of the incompetent new CEO.
2. Squandered or wastefully discarded. All of our savings have gone down the drain ever since Jack had his little gambling spree in Las Vegas.
down the pan
Completely and irreversibly wasted, lost, or destroyed. Primarily heard in UK. In an instant, we saw all our hopes for our business go down the pan. All those years of research down the pan. I guess it's back to the drawing board.
flash in the pan
Someone or something whose success or popularity is short-lived. With only one hit song, it was obvious that the young pop star was going to be just another flash in the pan. The new startup created a lot of buzz, but it ended up being just another flash in the pan, out of business after just two years.
go down the pan
To fail or be completely and irreversibly squandered, lost, or destroyed. Primarily heard in UK. In an instant, we saw all our hopes for our business go down the pan. All those years of research went down the pan when they pulled our funding.
if ifs and ands were pots and pans
proverb A phrase that advises against wishing for impossible or absurd things to happen. The full phrase is, "If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there'd be no work for tinkers' hands." A: "If only my parents would give me a car, life would be so much easier." B: "Yeah, well, if ifs and ands were pots and pans, right?"
out of the frying pan (and) into the fire
From a bad, stressful, or dangerous situation into one that is even worse. Those poor refugees escaped the famine but ended up in a war zone—out of the frying pan into the fire. I thought my old job was stressful, but my new one is 10 times worse. It's like going out of the frying pan and into the fire.
pan across to (someone or something)
To rotate the field of view of a video camera until it focuses on someone or something. The film opens on a dramatic view of the Grand Canyon at dusk before panning across to a man sitting in his car watching the sunset. Start by filming the athletes running on the track, then pan across to the stadium of cheering fans.
pan for (something)
To attempt to find mineral deposits of precious metals (especially gold) by using a pan to separate them from the sand or stones in a river- or streambed. I heard he struck it rich panning for gold in the Rocky Mountains.
pan in (on someone or something)
To use a zoom lens on a video camera to bring someone or something into close-up while recording. The film opens on a dramatic view of the Grand Canyon before slowly panning in on a man tiptoeing along its edge. Start by filming the football game, then pan in on the name of the protagonist written on the back of his jersey. Make sure you linger on serenity of the suburbs before panning in.
1. To conclude in a successful or pleasing manner; to work out. I'm delighted with how that all panned out! I hope this decision pans out for him.
2. To rest or fall asleep, especially in a sprawling or prostrate position. Tom is panned out on the sofa, if you're looking for him. Would you mind fixing dinner tonight? I need to go pan out for a little while.
To rotate the field of view of a video camera or the view on a screen. Make sure you pan over at some point so we can see the crowds of protesters standing at the gates. As the camera begins panning over, a police officer suddenly puts her hand over the lens. As the film pans over the length and breadth of the Grand Canyon, you can really feel its sheer size and majesty.
pan over to (someone or something)
To rotate the field of view of a video camera until it focuses on someone or something. The film opens on a dramatic view of the Grand Canyon at dusk before panning over to a man sitting in his car watching the sunset. Start by filming the athletes running on the track, then pan over to the stadium of cheering fans.
Peter Pan syndrome
A psychological state or condition in which a grown person cannot or refuses to act like an adult; a stubborn and persistent immaturity found in an adult person. I seem cursed to only find men who have some damned Peter Pan syndrome. I'm tired of going out with guys who act like children!
the best thing since sliced pan
Extremely good, wonderful, impressive, or revolutionary, often said facetiously or sarcastically. Taken from the more common expression "the best thing since sliced bread." In this usage, a pan, in which a loaf of bread is baked, refers to the loaf of bread itself. Primarily heard in Ireland. I don't care what you say, I think she's the best thing since sliced pan! This new smartphone design really is the best thing since sliced pan.
1. verb To turn a light off. In this usage, a noun or pronoun (often "the light" or "the lights") can be used between "turn" and "out." Time to turn out the lights and go to bed. We turned our lights out and waited to hear what was happening. Your reading light is a bit bright. Would you mind turning it out?
2. verb To arrive for attendance, especially in large numbers. We had more people turn out for the conference this year than ever before.
3. verb To manufacture or produce something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "out." We turn out nearly 4 million books every year. Once the strike ends, we can start turning cars out again. If I get into the zone, I can turn out 10 pages a night.
4. verb To point, curve, or fold outward. The edges of the desk turn out to give a more rounded appearance. My feet turn out slightly, which makes it awkward to dance.
5. verb To point, curve, or fold something outward. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "out." He turned the book out so I could see what was on the page. Stop turning your toes out like that!
6. verb To result or end up as; to be ultimately discovered or considered to be (something). I thought the dinner turned out really well! He turned out to be a liar when all was said and done. Turns out I never lost the ticket—it was in my pocket the whole time!
7. verb To evict, eject, or expel someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "out." It broke my heart to turn the family out, but they hadn't paid rent in three months. The B&B turned me out for playing loud music late at night.
8. verb To outfit, equip, or adorn. Typically used in a passive construction. The children had been adorably turned out in their costumes. It looks plain now, but you'll be amazed how the hall gets turned out for the event.
9. verb To get out of bed. I'd rather not turn out too early tomorrow—let's sleep in a little.
10. verb To get someone out of bed. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "out." I don't know how you manage to turn out the kids and get them ready in time for school every morning.
11. noun The amount of people in attendance. As a noun, the phrase is usually spelled as one word. We had a great turnout for the conference this year.
turn the cat in the pan
obsolete To betray (someone or something). The phrase is thought to refer to the cooking of a "cate" (an archaic word for a delicacy, such as a cake), which would be turned from one side to the other in a pan. Benedict Arnold was a general in the Revolutionary War. At what point did he turn the cat in the pan?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
flash in the pan
Fig. someone or something that draws a lot of attention for a very brief time. I'm afraid that my success as a painter was just a flash in the pan. Tom had hoped to be a major film star, but his career was only a flash in the pan.
If ifs and ands were pots and pans (there'd be no work for tinkers' hands).
Prov. Wishing for things is useless. (Often said in reply to someone who says something beginning with "If only....") Daughter: If only we didn't have to move out of town, I'd be the happiest girl in the world. Grandmother: If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there'd be no work for tinkers' hands.
*out of the frying pan (and) into the fire
Fig. from a bad situation to a worse situation. (*Typically: get ~; go ~; jump ~.) When I tried to argue about my fine for a traffic violation, the judge charged me with contempt of court. I really went out of the frying pan into the fire. I got deeply in debt. Then I really got out of the frying pan into the fire when I lost my job.
pan across to someone or something
to turn or rotate a film or television camera so that the picture follows movement or moves to and settles on someone or something. The camera panned across to Mary, who was sitting, looking out the window. The camera operator panned across to the window on the opposite side of the room.
pan for something
to search for a precious metal, usually gold, by using a pan to locate the bits of metal in sand and gravel in a stream bed. When I was in Alaska, I panned for gold in a little stream set aside for tourists. The old prospector spent many hours panning for gold.
(on someone or something) Go to zoom in (on someone or something).
See also: pan
1. and zoom out to move back to a wider angle picture using a zoom lens. The camera zoomed out. Pan out at this point in the script and give a wider view of the scene.
2. Go to turn out (all right).
pan over someone or something
to turn or rotate a film or television camera so that the picture moves across a view of someone or something. The camera panned over the skyline, picking up interesting cloud formations. It panned over Roger as if he weren't there—which is exactly the effect the director wanted.
[for something] to aim outward. Her toes turned out just right for a ballet dancer. The legs of the chair turned out just a little, adding a bit of stability.
turn out (all right)and pan out; work out (all right)
to end satisfactorily. I hope everything turns out all right. Oh, yes. It'll all pan out. Things usually work out, no matter how bad they seem.
(for something) [for people, especially an audience] to [leave home to] attend some event. A lot of people turned out for our meeting. Almost all the residents turned out for the meeting.
somehow to end in a particular way, such as well, badly, all right, etc. I hope everything turns out all right. The party did not turn out well.
turn out (that)
to happen; to end up; to result. After it was all over, it turned out that both of us were pleased with the bargain. Have you heard how the game turned out?
turn someone out
1. Lit. to send someone out of somewhere. I didn't pay my rent, so the manager turned me out. I'm glad it's not winter. I'd hate to turn out someone in the snow.
2. Fig. to train or produce someone with certain skills or talents. The state law school turns lawyers out by the dozen. A committee accused the state university of turning out too many veterinarians.
turn something out
1. to manufacture or produce something in numbers. The factory turns too few cars out. The factory turns out about seventy-five cars a day.
2. to turn off a light. Please turn the hall light out. Turn out the light.
zoom in(on someone or something)
1. . and pan in (on someone or something) to move in to a close-up picture of someone or something, using a zoom lens or a similar lens. The camera zoomed in on the love scene. The camera operator panned in slowly.
2. . to fly or move rapidly at someone or something. The hawk zoomed in on the sparrow. The angry bees zoomed in on Jane and stung her. When the door opened, the cat zoomed in.
3. . to concentrate on a matter related to someone or a problem. Let's zoom in on this matter of debt. She zoomed in and dealt quickly with the problem at hand.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
down the drain
On the way to being lost or wasted; disappearing. For example, Buying new furniture when they can't take it with them is just pouring money down the drain , or During the Depression huge fortunes went down the drain. This metaphoric term alludes to water going down a drain and being carried off. [Colloquial; c. 1920] For a synonym, see down the tubes.
flash in the pan
An effort or person that promises great success but fails. For example, His second novel proved to be a flash in the pan, or We had high hopes for the new director, but she was a flash in the pan. This metaphoric term alludes to the 17th-century flintlock musket, which could be fired only when the flash of the priming powder in the lockpan ignited the charge in the bore. When it failed to ignite, there was only a flash in the pan and the gun did not shoot.
out of the frying pan into the fire
From a bad situation to one that is much worse. For example, After Karen quit the first law firm she went to one with even longer hours-out of the frying pan into the fire . This expression, a proverb in many languages, was first recorded in English in 1528.
Turn out well, succeed, as in If I don't pan out as a musician, I can always go back to school. This expression alludes to washing gold from gravel in a pan. [Mid-1800s]
1. Shut off, as in He turned out the light. [Late 1800s]
2. Arrive or assemble for an event, as in A large number of voters turned out for the rally. [Mid-1700s]
3. Produce, as in They turn out three thousand cars a month. [Mid-1700s]
4. Be found to be in the end; also, end up, result, as in The rookie turned out to be a fine fielder, or The cake didn't turn out very well. [First half of 1700s] Also see turn out all right.
5. Equip, outfit, as in The bride was turned out beautifully. [First half of 1800s]
6. Get out of bed, as in Come on, children; time to turn out. [Colloquial; early 1800s]
7. Evict, expel, as in The landlord turned out his tenant. [Early 1500s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
down the drainBRITISH, AMERICAN or
down the tubesBRITISH, AMERICAN or
down the panBRITISH
COMMON If something is going down the drain, down the tubes or down the pan, it is getting worse or being destroyed and it is unlikely to recover. They were aware that their public image was rapidly going down the drain. People don't like to see marriages going down the tubes. Note: Words such as plughole and toilet are sometimes used instead of drain. Neil admitted recently that long working hours mean his personal life has gone down the toilet.
1. If money, work, or time has gone down the drain, down the tubes or down the pan, it has been lost or wasted. Over the years, the government has poured billions of dollars down the drain propping up its national airlines and other firms. You have ruined everything — my perfect plans, my great organization. All those years of work are down the drain. Note: Words such as plughole and toilet are sometimes used instead of drain. Millions of dollars have gone down the plughole.
a flash in the pan
1. If an achievement or success is a flash in the pan, it is unlikely to be repeated or to last. In the days following Beckon's victory, the British establishment has gone out of its way to try and dismiss the result as a flash in the pan.
2. If someone who has had a success is a flash in the pan, their success is unlikely to be repeated. Hopefully now I'll be taken seriously, I'm not a flash in the pan. Note: You can use flash-in-the-pan before a noun. Hers is no flash-in-the-pan talent, but a major and mature new voice. Note: This expression has its origins in the way that an old-fashioned gun worked. Pulling the trigger produced a spark which set light to a small amount of gunpowder held in the `pan'. This in turn lit the rest of the gunpowder. However, if it failed to do so there was just a `flash in the pan' and the gun did not fire properly. `Hang fire' has a similar origin.
out of the frying pan into the fireor
from the frying pan into the fire
If someone has gone out of the frying pan into the fire or from the frying pan into the fire, they have moved from a bad situation to an even worse one. I was hoping to get my career back on track after a bad time at Villa. But as it turned out, I'd gone out of the frying pan into the fire. Having finally left one bad relationship, she jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
down the draintotally wasted or spoilt. informal
1930 W. Somerset Maugham The Breadwinner All his savings are gone down the drain.
flash in the pana thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable.
This phrase developed from the priming of a firearm, the flash being from an explosion of gunpowder within the lock.
1998 New Scientist But Java…may turn out to be flash in the pan: books on human– computer interaction struggle to stay abreast of rapid developments in computing.
out of the frying pan into the firefrom a bad situation to one that is worse.
go down the panreach a stage of abject failure or uselessness.
1997 Ian Rankin Black & Blue My company's just about given up trying to sell to the oil industry. They'd rather buy Yank or Scandinavian…no wonder Scotland's down the pan.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
(go) down the ˈdrain(British English also (go) down the ˈplughole) (informal) (be) wasted or lost; (get) much worse: He watched his business, which had taken so long to build up, go slowly down the drain.
a ˌflash in the ˈpan(informal) a success which lasts for a short time and is not likely to be repeated: He scored a lot of goals early in the season, but hasn’t scored any since, so it may have been just a flash in the pan.This refers to an old type of gun. Sometimes the gunpowder in the pan (= a small container at the top of the gun) exploded but failed to set fire to the gunpowder inside the gun with the result that the gun did not fire a bullet.
out of the ˈfrying pan (and) into the ˈfire(saying) out of one situation of danger or difficulty into another (usually worse) one: It was a case of out of the frying pan into the fire: she divorced her husband, who was an alcoholic, and then married another man with the same problem.
go down the ˈpan(British English, slang) be wasted or spoiled: That’s another brilliant idea down the pan.
Pan is an informal word for the bowl of a toilet.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
1. To prove successful, effective, or satisfactory; turn out well: I'm glad to see that your business plan has panned out.
2. To have some specified result: My plans panned out poorly.
1. To turn some light off: We turned out the lights. I turned the light out.
2. To arrive or assemble, as for a public event or entertainment: Many protesters have turned out for the rally.
3. To produce something, as by a manufacturing process; make something: The assembly line turns out 100 cars every hour. The artist turns a new painting out every week.
4. To be found to be something, as after experience or trial: The rookie turned out to be the team's best hitter. It turns out that he knew about the crime all along.
5. To end up; result: The cake turned out beautifully.
6. To equip someone or something; outfit someone or something. Used chiefly in the passive: The troops were turned out lavishly. They were turned out in brilliant colors.
7. To get out of bed: We turned out before the sun was up.
8. To get someone out of bed: The babysitter turned the children out at 8:00.
9. To evict someone; expel someone: The landlord turned out the tenants. The hotel turned the rowdy guests out.
1. To simulate movement toward an object with or as if with a zoom lens: The director zoomed in on a face in the crowd. The shot zooms in through a window to a family sitting at a table.
2. To increase the apparent size of part of an image of something in order to view it more closely, as when using a magnifying lens: The camera can't zoom in far enough to capture their expressions. Zoom in on this part of the document too see whether the text lines up with the illustration.
3. To enter rapidly: The firefighting helicopter zoomed in to pick up more water.
4. zoom in on To narrow and intensify the examination of someone or something: In our presentation we zoomed in on the financial problems facing the company.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
down the drain
mod. gone; wasted. A lot of money went down the drain in that Wilson deal.
n. the face. (see also deadpan.) Look at that guy! I’ve never seen such an ugly pan in my life.
in. [for something] to work out or turn out all right. Don’t worry. Everything will pan out okay.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
down the drain
To or into the condition of being wasted or lost: All of our best laid plans are down the drain.
flash in the pan
One that promises great success but fails.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
down the drain
Wasted resources. The term, alluding to water flowing down a drain, was transferred to expending effort or funds on a useless enterprise. “Well, fancy giving money to the Government! Might as well have put it down the drain,” wrote Sir Alan Patrick Herbert (1890–1971) in Too Much. To go down the drain means to become worthless. It was so used by W. Somerset Maugham (The Breadwinner, 1930): “All his savings are gone down the drain.”
flash in the pan
A brief triumph, or a promising start followed by a failure. This expression comes from the seventeenth-century flintlock musket, which had a depression in the lockpan to hold the priming powder. When all went well, the flash of the priming powder ignited the charge in the bore and fired the weapon. Sometimes, however, it failed, and there was only a flash in the pan.
out of the frying pan into the fire
From bad to much worse. This cliché, a proverb in many languages, was already known in the early sixteenth century, appearing in Sir Thomas More’s treatise on heresy (1528), “They lepe lyke a flounder out of the fryenge panne into the fyre.” Shaw used it in one of his cynical remarks: “We shall fall out of the frying-pan of the football club into the fire of the Sunday School” (The Revolutionist’s Handbook, 1903).
pan out, to
To succeed. The term alludes to the pan used by prospectors to wash gold from the gravel of streams; what remained in the pan was the ore. The term was transferred to other kinds of success in the late nineteenth century. Bret Harte used it in Drift from Two Shores (1879): “That depends pretty much on how things pan out.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
flash in the pan
An ultimate disappointment after a promising start. Flintlock muskets and pistols had a priming pan that was filled with a small quality of gunpowder. When the trigger was pulled, the flint struck a piece of steel to create a spark that ignited the powder, which in turn set off the main gunpowder charge to launch the musket ball. Whenever the flint-and-steel spark failed to light the main charge, there was a flash in the pan, but no shot. And that was the disappointment after a potentially useful beginning.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price