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straight arrow

An honest, ethical person who makes good decisions. Kristen was often mocked by her peers for being a straight arrow who always followed the rules and stayed out of trouble.
See also: arrow, straight

slings and arrows

Criticisms or judgments. Now that you're the boss, get ready to face slings and arrows from everyone who is unhappy with your company.
See also: and, arrow, sling

arrow of time

A phrase used to describe the one-way direction of time as it moves from past to future. It is typically associated with scientific study. The arrow of time may seem like an obvious concept, but it has no real analogue in the physical world.
See also: arrow, of, time

arrow in the quiver

One of several options or alternatives available. With all this varied job experience under my belt, I have more than one arrow in the quiver if this particular career path isn't to my liking. I've got a job interview next week, but I'm still handing out my résumé so that I'll have another arrow in the quiver.
See also: arrow, quiver

(as) straight as an arrow

1. Literally, totally straight. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Don't worry, the road is straight as an arrow for the rest of the journey, so I don't think you'll get carsick anymore. We need to make sure this beam is as straight as an arrow before we put it into place.
2. Very truthful, reliable, and morally upright. Kate would never cheat on an exam—she's as straight as an arrow. I know Bob's story sounds ridiculous, but I believe him because he's straight as an arrow.
See also: arrow, straight

(as) swift as an arrow

Incredibly swiftly or speedily. The karate expert had the would-be mugger unconscious on the ground as swift as an arrow. Swift as an arrow, Mary finished her exam and raced out of the classroom. The shopped ran through mall swift as arrows in search of great deals.
See also: arrow, swift

*straight as an arrow

 
1. Cliché [of something] very straight. (*Also: as ~.) The road to my house is as straight as an arrow, so it should be very easy to follow.
2. . Cliché [of someone] honest or forthright. (Straight here means honest. *Also: as ~.) Tom is straight as an arrow. I'd trust him with anything.
See also: arrow, straight

*swift as an arrow

 and *swift as the wind; *swift as thought
very fast. (*Also: as ~.) The new intercity train is swift as an arrow. You won't have to wait for me long; I'll be there, swift as thought.
See also: arrow, swift

straight as an arrow

Honest, genuine, as in You can trust Pat with the money; he's straight as an arrow. This simile alludes to the arrow's undeviating flight through the air. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: arrow, straight

a straight arrow

mainly AMERICAN
If you describe someone as a straight arrow, you mean that they are very conventional, honest, and moral. I was very much a product of my environment. I was very traditional, a real straight arrow in lots of ways. Several friends describe Mr. Menendez as `a straight arrow' who rarely drank and was close to his family. Note: You can use straight-arrow before a noun. It was impossible to imagine such a well-scrubbed, straight-arrow group of young people rioting over anything.
See also: arrow, straight

slings and arrows

mainly BRITISH, LITERARY
Slings and arrows are bad things that happen to you and that are not your fault. She seemed generally unable to cope with the slings and arrows of life. He endured the usual slings and arrows of a life lived in the media spotlight. Note: This expression comes from the line the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, in Shakespeare's play `Hamlet'. People sometimes use this line in full. Ah well, we all have to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Note: This is a quotation from a speech in Shakespeare's play `Hamlet', where Hamlet is considering whether or not to kill himself: `To be, or not to be - that is the question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?' (Act 3, Scene 1)
See also: and, arrow, sling

straight as an arrow

1. If someone is as straight as an arrow, they are completely honest. Hardworking, straight as an arrow, he had been proud of never taking a bribe.
2. If something is as straight as an arrow, it is completely straight. We drove up a mile-long avenue, straight as an arrow and lined with beech trees.
See also: arrow, straight

an arrow in the quiver

one of a number of resources or strategies that can be drawn on or followed.
See also: arrow, quiver

arrow of time (or time's arrow)

the direction of travel from past to future in time considered as a physical dimension.
See also: arrow, of, time

a straight arrow

an honest or genuine person. North American
See also: arrow, straight

slings and arrows

adverse factors or circumstances.
This expression is taken from the ‘to be or not to be’ speech in Hamlet: ‘Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them’.
2001 Ian J. Deary Intelligence The genetic lottery and the environmental slings and arrows influence the level of some of our mental capabilities.
See also: and, arrow, sling

the ˌslings and ˈarrows (of something)

the problems and difficulties (of something): As a politician you have to deal with the slings and arrows of criticism from the newspapers.This comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet: ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’.
See also: and, arrow, sling

(as) straight as an ˈarrow

in a straight line or direction: You can’t get lost if you follow this track. It runs as straight as an arrow through the middle of the forest.
See also: arrow, straight

straight arrow

n. an honest person; a law-abiding citizen. (see also straight shooter.) Willy is really a straight arrow at heart—as long as he’s not around Max. Max is not a straight arrow. Slime is more like it.
See also: arrow, straight

slings and arrows

Difficulties or hardships.
See also: and, arrow, sling

straight as an arrow

Without twists, bends, or turns; upright; direct. This simile, which likens the arrow’s path to a straight line, dates from medieval times and appears in English sources from then on. Chaucer (The Miller’s Tale) had another version: “Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt,” a bolt being the short, heavy arrow used with a crossbow. George Eliot, commenting on a person’s youthful appearance, wrote (Felix Holt, 1868), “You are as straight as an arrow still.”
See also: arrow, straight

straight arrow

A conventional and ethical person. As morally straight as an arrow, that person is likely to be dull. As used in colleges during the mid- 20th century, a straight arrow wasn't the type who'd get drunk or use drugs. If female, her necking, petting, or going further was out of the question.
See also: arrow, straight
References in classic literature ?
Then he returned to me, climbing into the fork and examining the arrow. He tried to pull it out, but one way the flesh resisted the barbed lead, and the other way it resisted the feathered shaft.
Once again Lop-Ear tried to drag the arrow through the flesh, and I angrily stopped him.
Again Nalasu waited, until the rustlings of a fresh drawing-in of the circle could be heard, whereupon Nalasu, Jerry accompanying him, picked up all his arrows and moved soundlessly half-way around the circle.
And the blind man defended himself only with a bow and a hundred arrows. He discharged many hundreds of arrows which Jerry retrieved for him and which he discharged over and over.
It was the archer's contest for the golden arrow, and twenty men stepped forth to shoot.
The central box contained the lean but pompous Sheriff, his bejeweled wife, and their daughter, a supercilious young woman enough, who, it was openly hinted, was hoping to receive the golden arrow from the victor and thus be crowned queen of the day.
But Menelaus reassured him and said, "Take heart, and do not alarm the people; the arrow has not struck me in a mortal part, for my outer belt of burnished metal first stayed it, and under this my cuirass and the belt of mail which the bronze-smiths made me."
Presently a Manyuema forged ahead of his companions; there was none to see from what direction death came, and so it came quickly, and a moment later those behind stumbled over the dead body of their comrade--the inevitable arrow piercing the still heart.
In advance were fifty black warriors armed with slender wooden spears with ends hard baked over slow fires, and long bows and poisoned arrows. On their backs were oval shields, in their noses huge rings, while from the kinky wool of their heads protruded tufts of gay feathers.
In the world of my birth I never had drawn a shaft, but since our escape from Phutra I had kept the party supplied with small game by means of my arrows, and so, through necessity, had developed a fair degree of accuracy.
He took an arrow that was lying upon the table {165}--for those which the Achaeans were so shortly about to taste were all inside the quiver--he laid it on the centre-piece of the bow, and drew the notch of the arrow and the string toward him, still seated on his seat.
Then he chose the stoutest bow among them all, next to Robin's own, and a straight gray goose shaft, well-feathered and smooth, and stepping to the mark--while all the band, sitting or lying upon the greensward, watched to see him shoot--he drew the arrow to his cheek and loosed the shaft right deftly, sending it so straight down the path that it clove the mark in the very center.
Again and again the Arabs charged, at last forming a stationary circle about the little fortress, and outside the effective range of the defenders' arrows. From their new position they fired at will at the windows.
Sometimes he was compelled to leave the trail and creep and climb through the jungle so as to approach the man-traps from behind; and on one occasion, in spite of his precaution, a spring-bow was discharged, the flying arrow barely clipping the shoulder of one of the waiting Poonga-Poonga boys.
They use small arrows or darts, tipped with wild cotton, instead of feathers."