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bowl (someone) a googly

To present someone with a question, situation, or piece of information that is surprising or unexpected. Taken from cricket, in which a "googly" is a ball thrown counter to that which the batsman expects. Primarily heard in UK. Dave really bowled me a googly when he asked if I'd like to go on a date with him. The manager bowled us a googly by announcing we'd have this Friday off.
See also: bowl, googly

a goldfish bowl

A place, situation, or environment in which one has little or no privacy. A reference to the (typically) spherical bowls in which pet fish are often kept, which can be seen into from all sides. One of the prices of success for a pop star is having to live in a goldfish bowl under the scrutiny of the public eye. I feel like I'm in a goldfish bowl working at this new company, with all their security cameras posted everywhere.
See also: bowl, goldfish

sell (one's) birthright for a bowl of soup

To exchange something of great, important, or fundamental value for some financial gain that proves to be of little, trivial, or no value but which appears to be attractive or valuable on first reckoning. (A variant of "sell one's birthright for a mess of pottage," an allusion to Esau in Genesis 25:29–32, who sells to Jacob his birthright to his family's estate for a bowl of lentil stew (pottage).) If we allow our obsession with job creation to undermine the health of the environment, humanity will ultimately end up selling its birthright for a bowl of soup.
See also: birthright, bowl, of, sell, soup

slop bowl

dated A bowl or other receptacle into which the dregs and leftovers of tea or coffee are collected from drinkers' cups (i.e., so that they may be refilled with a fresh drink). Tabitha, will you please come take the slop bowl away and empty it? It's becoming conspicuously full.
See also: bowl, slop

turd in the punchbowl

vulgar slang Something or someone that spoils, ruins, or needlessly complicates a situation or circumstance; a disagreeable nuisance or source of irritation. For these greedy corporate executives, restrictions put in place by regulators to protect consumers are just turds in the punchbowl. Not to be the turd in the punchbowl, but I really think we should take this money we found to the police, instead of keeping it for ourselves.
See also: turd

bowl of cherries

Wonderful; very pleasant. Typically used in the metaphoric expression, "life is (not) just a bowl of cherries." I got a promotion and got engaged in the span of a week! Life is just a bowl of cherries these days!
See also: bowl, cherry, of

take the Browns to the Super Bowl

slang To defecate. It is a pun in which "Super Bowl" refers to a toilet, and "the Browns" refers to the Cleveland Browns football team (chosen because feces are brown). Hang on, I've got to take the Browns to the Super Bowl before we leave the house.
See also: bowl, Brown, super, take

Puppy Bowl

A TV program that airs on Animal Planet on the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday. Puppies play on a mock football field, and kittens take the field for the "Kitten Halftime Show." The animals shown are usually available for adoption. Who cares about the Super Bowl—when is Puppy Bowl on?
See also: bowl, puppy

bowl over

1. Literally, to collide with and force someone or something to fall to the ground. A noun can be used between "bowl" and "over" or after "over." When they were reunited at the airport, my daughter leapt into her boyfriend's arms and bowled him over. It seems that the wind has bowled over all of our trashcans.
2. To thoroughly shock, impress, or overwhelm. A noun can be used between "bowl" and "over" or after "over." My daughter was totally bowled over when her boyfriend returned from his business trip early and showed up at her birthday party. The show of support from everyone just bowled me over.
See also: bowl, over

bowl up

To add a substance that can be smoked to the bowl of a pipe. I just carry this pipe to evoke the air of Sherlock Holmes—I never actually bowl up.
See also: bowl, up

life is just a bowl of cherries

Life is wonderful or very pleasant. I got a promotion and got engaged in the span of a week! Life is just a bowl of cherries these days!
See also: bowl, cherry, just, life, of

bowl someone over

1. Lit. to knock someone over. (Fixed order.) We were bowled over by the wind. Bob hit his brother and bowled him over.
2. Fig. to surprise or overwhelm someone. (Fixed order.) The news bowled me over. The details of the proposed project bowled everyone over.
See also: bowl, over

bowl up

to fill a pipe bowl with smokable material. The detective bowled up and struck a match. Roger bowled up, but forgot to light his pipe.
See also: bowl, up

Life is just a bowl of cherries.

Prov. Everything is going well.; Life is carefree. (Often used ironically, as in the second example.) The real estate salesman tried to convince us that life in the suburbs is just a bowl of cherries. Jill: Hi, Jane. How are you? Jane: Oh, my alarm clock didn't go off this morning, and then my car wouldn't start, and I missed the bus and got to work late, and I just found out my rent's going up fifty dollars a month. Life is just a bowl of cherries.
See also: bowl, cherry, just, life, of

bowl of cherries, life is just a

These are happy circumstances; life is wonderful. This phrase is often used ironically, as in My husband is about to get laid off-life is just a bowl of cherries, right? Originating as the title of a song (1931) by Lew Brown (lyrics) and composer Ray Henderson, this term expressed the idea that everything was going very well. However, its ironical use was established by the 1970s. Also see bed of roses.
See also: bowl, just, life, of

bowl over

Astonish, surprise greatly, overwhelm, as in I was simply bowled over by their wonderful performance. This term originated in cricket, where it means "to knock all the bails off the wicket." [Mid-1800s]
See also: bowl, over

goldfish bowl

A situation affording no privacy, as in Being in a goldfish bowl comes with the senator's job-there's no avoiding it. The glass bowl allowing one to view goldfish from every direction was transferred first, in the 1920s, to a police interrogation room equipped with a one-way mirror. By the mid-1900s the expression was being used more broadly.
See also: bowl, goldfish

life is a bowl of cherries

If you say that life is a bowl of cherries, you mean that life is full of pleasure and enjoyment. To him, life was a bowl of cherries. Life's not exactly a bowl of cherries when you're an international champ.
See also: bowl, cherry, life, of

a bowl of cherries

a very pleasant or enjoyable situation or experience.
See also: bowl, cherry, of

goldfish bowl

a place or situation lacking privacy.
See also: bowl, goldfish

bowl out

Chiefly British In the game of cricket, to retire some batsman with a bowled ball that knocks the bails off the wicket. Used chiefly in the passive: They played well but were bowled out shortly after lunch.
See also: bowl, out

bowl over

1. To knock someone or something down to the ground: The kids ran down the hallway, bowling over everyone in their way. A strong wind will bowl that billboard over.
2. To make a powerful impression on someone; astound someone: She bowled over everyone at the meeting with her amazing presentation. His new songs bowled me over, so I bought his new CD. You must go hear this poet—you will be bowled over!
See also: bowl, over


n. a pipe or other device for smoking cannabis. (Drugs.) There’s somebody’s bowl out in the hall. Go get it before the neighbors call the fuzz.

party bowl

n. a marijuana pipe large enough to serve a number of smokers. (Drugs.) The cops thought the party bowl was a flower vase!
See also: bowl, party
References in classic literature ?
the cripple and the legless man, in his bowl, came up on their side in great haste, and with great clamor of bowl and crutches, upon the pavement.
Nicholas distended his stomach with a bowl of porridge, for much the same reason which induces some savages to swallow earth--lest they should be inconveniently hungry when there is nothing to eat.
I have now no chela, but I will take the alms- bowl and thus enable the charitable to acquire merit.
Now and then some bold child would be allowed the honour, and Purun Bhagat would hear him drop the bowl and run as fast as his little legs could carry him, but the Bhagat never came down to the village.
The very pipe, in which burned the spell of all this wonderwork, ceased to appear as a smoke-blackened earthen stump, and became a meerschaum, with painted bowl and amber mouthpiece.
They gave him some more porridge and Morel with a laugh set to work on his third bowl.
If only I had not poured my medicine into Nana's bowl," said Mr.
He uttered little crooning noises, alternating with sharp cries akin to pain, half-ecstatic, half-petulant, as he drew a black clay pipe from a hole in his ear-lobe, and into the bowl of it, with trembling fingers, untwisted and crumbled the cheap leaf of spoiled Virginia crop.
A MAN to Whom Time Was Money, and who was bolting his breakfast in order to catch a train, had leaned his newspaper against the sugar- bowl and was reading as he ate.
He is entertained there by Polyxenus and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and Agamedes and Augeas then follows.
He placed his right hand in that of the landlord, and, seizing the bowl with his left, uttered the usual words, and then made his libation.
If ever I have drunk a full draught of the foaming spice- and confection- bowl in which all things are well mixed:
Finally, he insisted upon having a bowl of rack punch; everybody had rack punch at Vauxhall.
Still, if you can bowl a bit your low cunning won't get rusty, and always looking for the weak spot's just the kind of mental exercise one wants.
Afterwards it used to turn up in all sorts of places--at the bottom of small drawers, among my studs in cardboard boxes--till at last it found permanent rest in a large wooden bowl containing some loose keys, bits of sealing wax, bits of string, small broken chains, a few buttons, and similar minute wreckage that washes out of a man's life into such receptacles.