cell


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Related to cell: cell theory, Cell structure

little grey cells

Knowledge or the power to think critically. A reference to brain cells. This medication has very serious side effects, and I would rather hang on to all of my little grey cells than extend what remains of my life by a couple of years. The detective credited his little grey cells as the reason he was able to solve such a complex and mysterious case.
See also: cell, grey, little

not have two brain cells to rub together

To be particularly stupid; to lack any intelligence or common sense. Oh please, that fool doesn't have two brain cells to rub together—there's no way he could pull off such an elaborate plan!
See also: brain, cell, have, not, rub, together, two

not have two (something) to rub together

To be totally bereft of or lacking in something. Oh please, that fool doesn't have two brain cells to rub together—there's no way he could pull off such an elaborate plan! There were a few months during college when I didn't have two nickels to rub together, and I had to survive off the handouts of my friends and housemates.
See also: have, not, rub, together, two

little grey cells

brain cells (as symbolic of high intelligence or mental acuity).
The phrase is particularly associated with the cerebral Belgian detective Hercule Poirot , invented by Agatha Christie .
2006 Scotland on Sunday They…show an amazing capacity to solve every cryptic clue, code and secret that comes their way, often merely by the use of their little grey cells and a leap of the imagination.
See also: cell, grey, little

not have two brain cells, pennies, etc. to rub toˈgether

(British English, informal) be very stupid, have no money, etc: How can they afford a new car? They haven’t got two pennies to rub together.
See also: brain, have, not, rub, together, two
References in classic literature ?
We must suppose the Melipona to make her cells truly spherical, and of equal sizes; and this would not be very surprising, seeing that she already does so to a certain extent, and seeing what perfectly cylindrical burrows in wood many insects can make, apparently by turning round on a fixed point.
From the experiment of the ridge of vermilion wax, we can clearly see that if the bees were to build for themselves a thin wall of wax, they could make their cells of the proper shape, by standing at the proper distance from each other, by excavating at the same rate, and by endeavouring to make equal spherical hollows, but never allowing the spheres to break into each other.
Then turning again to the concerns of earth, and having satisfied himself that he was alone in his dungeon, he drew from his breast the three bulbs of the black tulip, and concealed them behind a block of stone, on which the traditional water-jug of the prison was standing, in the darkest corner of his cell.
In another cell, there was a German, sentenced to five years' imprisonment for larceny, two of which had just expired.
In a third cell, was a tall, strong black, a burglar, working at his proper trade of making screws and the like.
There were sheets on sheets of level, even brood-comb that had held in its time unnumbered thousands of unnamed workers; patches of obsolete drone-comb, broad and high-shouldered, showing to what marks the male grub was expected to grow; and two-inch deep honey-magazines, empty, but still magnificent, the whole gummed and glued into twisted scrap-work, awry on the wires; half-cells, beginnings abandoned, or grandiose, weak-walled, composite cells pieced out with rubbish and capped with dirt.
When he had issued his instructions relative to every other part of the building, and the mob were dispersed from end to end, and busy at their work, he took a bundle of keys from a kind of cupboard in the wall, and going by a kind of passage near the chapel (it joined the governors house, and was then on fire), betook himself to the condemned cells, which were a series of small, strong, dismal rooms, opening on a low gallery, guarded, at the end at which he entered, by a strong iron wicket, and at its opposite extremity by two doors and a thick grate.
He sat in this way for some minutes, while the four men in the cells, who were certain that somebody had entered the gallery, but could not see who, gave vent to such piteous entreaties as wretches in their miserable condition may be supposed to have been inspired with: urging, whoever it was, to set them at liberty, for the love of Heaven; and protesting, with great fervour, and truly enough, perhaps, for the time, that if they escaped, they would amend their ways, and would never, never, never again do wrong before God or man, but would lead penitent and sober lives, and sorrowfully repent the crimes they had committed.
As the Inquisition rarely allowed its victims to be seen with their limbs distorted and their flesh lacerated by torture, so madness is always concealed in its cell, from whence, should it depart, it is conveyed to some gloomy hospital, where the doctor has no thought for man or mind in the mutilated being the jailer delivers to him.
This horrible place contained fifty cells; their inhabitants were designated by the numbers of their cell, and the unhappy young man was no longer called Edmond Dantes -- he was now number 34.
In accordance with the fashion of the epoch, a Latin inscription on the wall indicated to the learned passer-by the pious purpose of this cell. The custom was retained until the middle of the sixteenth century of explaining an edifice by a brief device inscribed above the door.
As there was no door to the walled cell of the Tour-Roland, these two words had been carved in large Roman capitals over the window,--
We heard the guard moving about from cell to cell, and finally, his rounds completed, he again entered ours.
There we found several other guards, and with them the red Martian youth who occupied another cell upon Shador.
There the Abbot, an excellent manager of merchant origin, received Sergius simply and quietly and placed him in Hilary's cell, at first assigning to him a lay brother but afterwards leaving him alone, at Sergius's own request.