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kick in the breech
A humiliating disappointment or setback. Losing my job after my car broke down was a real kick in the breech.
too big for (one's) breeches
Overconfident in one's importance, skill, or authority; behaving as if one is more important or influential than one actually is. He's gotten too big for his breeches ever since he got that promotion. John's been too big for his breeches now that he's been scouted by pro teams.
too big for (one's) britches
Overconfident in one's importance, skill, or authority; behaving as if one is more important or influential than one actually is. He's gotten too big for his britches ever since he got that promotion. John's been too big for his britches now that he's been scouted by pro teams.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
kick in the pants, a
1. Also, a kick in the teeth. A humiliating setback or rebuff. For example, That rejection was a real kick in the pants, or That review was a kick in the teeth. A third, vulgar variant of these colloquial terms is a kick in the ass. Versions of this last expression- kick in the breech, kick in the behind-have been used since the early 1800s.
2. A cause of enjoyment, as in That show was a real kick in the pants. This meaning is virtually the opposite of def. 1 and can be differentiated from it only by the context. [1960s]
See also: kick
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.
too big for one's britches (breeches)
Conceited, self-important. This expression, alluding to becoming so swelled with self-importance as to burst out of one’s clothes, sounds ancient but dates only from about 1900, as does the closely related too big for one’s boots. The latter appeared in Sir Henry Maxwell’s Life of W. H. Smith (1894): “Sometimes a young man, ‘too big for his boots,’ would sniff at being put in charge of a railway bookstall.” And H. G. Wells (Kipp, The Story of a Simple Soul, 1905) wrote, “He’s getting too big for ’is britches.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer