Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
To be in a state of disuse for a prolonged period of time. Why do you want another video game console? You already have three collecting dust under the television! My father has lots of old trinkets and memorabilia collecting dust in the attic.
collect (one's) wits
To try to calm oneself and think clearly and rationally. Take a moment to collect your wits, then tell us how the accident happened.
collect (one's) thoughts
To pause and think before speaking or taking action. Can I please just have a second to collect my thoughts before I respond? Susie paused to collect her thoughts and come up with a tactful response to her seething sister.
collect around (someone or something)
To gather around someone or something. The kids collected around the clown to watch him make balloon animals.
collect for (someone or something)
To solicit money, especially that which is owed, for a particular reason. People keep calling to collect for my credit card bills. There's a boy at the door collecting for charity.
collect (something) from (someone)
1. To solicit or gather something, often money, from someone. There's a boy at the entrance collecting money from people for charity. They're doing a food drive at work, and they want to collect canned food from us.
2. To obtain a biological specimen from someone, as for medical testing. We'll need to collect a urine sample from you.
collect on (something)
To request or pursue something that has been offered or promised to one. Remember when you offered to watch the baby? Well, I need to collect on that now. It's time to collect on that debt he owes me.
To gather items. A noun or pronoun can be used between "collect" and "up." I need someone to help me collect up all of these donations for the food drive. Collect your toys up—it's time for bed!
gather (one's) wits
To try to calm oneself and think clearly and rationally. Sir, you've just been in an car accident. Take a moment to gather your wits, then please tell us what happened. If your opponent starts badgering you during the debate, remember to gather your wits before responding.
To compose oneself so that one's actions are not dictated by one's emotions. I know you're angry, so you need to collect yourself before you go in there and say something you'll regret to your boss.
To remember or become aware of one's purpose, intention, or situation, especially after a momentary interruption, diversion, or distraction; to become recomposed. The protestor's chants threw the presentation into chaos for a moment, but the speaker soon recollected himself and carried on as before. She appeared to drift off into thought halfway through her story, before recollecting herself and picking up where she left off.
See also: recollect
pay (for something) collect on delivery
To pay for a purchase when it is delivered, as opposed to paying in advance at the time of ordering. I always prefer to pay collect on delivery so I can inspect my order before handing over any money. If you do not have a credit card when ordering online or over the phone, you can arrange to pay for your purchase collect on delivery.
send (something) collect on delivery
To dispatch something to a recipient who must pay for it upon successful delivery. All our products are sent collect on delivery, so please be sure to have payment ready when your item arrives. I asked them to send the furniture collect on delivery so I could inspect it before handing over any money.
collect around someone or something
to gather around someone or something; to accumulate around someone or something. The guests collected around the table that held the birthday cake. The children collected around the birthday boy.
collect (money) for someone or something
to solicit money for the benefit of someone or something. I would like to collect some money for Fred, who is in the hospital. I am collecting for the church building fund.
collect (money) for something
to solicit money that is owed. I'm collecting money for payment on your loan. Someone is calling to collect for the newspaper delivery.
collect on something
to take or receive payment on a debt or promise. I have come to collect on your debt. I will have to assign your account to an agency to collect on this bill.
collect one's thoughts
Fig. to take time to think through an issue; to give some thought to a topic. I'll speak to the visitors in a moment. I need some time to collect my thoughts.
collect something from someone
1. to gather up something from someone; to gather money from someone. I'm here to collect used clothing from you. She is out collecting donations from the neighbors.
2. to take a medical specimen from a person. I am here to collect a urine specimen from the patient. The phlebotomist collected the specimen from Todd and left the room.
collect something up
to gather something up. Collect your things up, and let's go. I collected up all my luggage and left.
collect your witsor
gather your witsLITERARY
If you collect your wits or gather your wits, you make an effort to control yourself and become calm again, after a frightening or shocking experience. I took a deep breath and tried to gather my wits. The news was so shocking that I was scarcely able to take it in. Sinking into a leather armchair, I attempted to collect my wits and decide what on earth I was going to tell Lucy.
collect yourself/your thoughts
1 try to control your emotions and become calm: I’m fine — I just need a minute to collect myself.
2 prepare yourself mentally for something: She paused to collect her thoughts before entering the interview room.
collect/gather your ˈwitstry to become calm and think clearly: After such a shock I found it difficult to gather my wits.
To become composed again, especially after one has been flustered or confused.