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play the hand (one) is dealt

To accept, deal with, and make the most of one's current situation or circumstances; to make use of that which one is afforded or has available. I know you feel unsatisfied with your life at the moment, but we all have to play the hand we're dealt. Just keep working hard and things are bound to improve! I never asked to be responsible for the business, but I'm going to play the hand I was dealt.
See also: dealt, hand, play

he who smelt it dealt it

A retort made when someone has passed gas that places the blame on the first person to acknowledge the smell. A: "What's that awful smell?" B: "Hey, he who smelt it dealt it!"
See also: dealt, he, smelt, who

deal a death blow

1. To hit or otherwise strike someone and cause immediate death. The warrior swiftly dealt a death blow to his adversary on the battlefield.
2. By extension, to cause the abrupt end of something. His arrest and subsequent conviction dealt a death blow to his successful career as an attorney. Despite the company's recent success, the massive recall dealt it a death blow.
See also: blow, deal, death

deal in (something)

1. To work in a particular field. I deal in medical supplies these days, selling X-ray and MRI machines to hospitals. Mike has been acting so secretive lately that I'm starting to think he's dealing in something illegal.
2. To focus on or include something. Your term paper for this class must deal in the major themes of modernism.
See also: deal

deal out

1. To distribute something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "deal" and "out." Deal out the itinerary so we can see which landmark we're visiting first.
2. To exclude one from something. The phrase is likely tied to card games, in which cards are distributed among the players by "dealing" them. In this usage, the excluded person is typically stated between "deal" and "out." If you guys are going to keep playing poker, then deal me out—I have to go home. Bobby isn't going to the conference anymore, so deal him out of this project.
See also: deal, out

deal with (someone or something)

1. To manage or handle someone or something (usually someone or something unpleasant). The phrase "deal with it" can be used dismissively to leave a task to someone else. I just can't deal with him when gets hysterical like this. I'll deal with the construction problems at the house—you go on ahead to work. A: "Sir, I'm not sure how you want me to handle all these calls." B: "Oh, just deal with it, Jeff."
2. To focus on or include something. Your term paper must deal with the major themes of modernism and link them to your chosen text.
3. To conduct business with someone or something. That company is a pain to deal with. They sent us the wrong size t-shirts and then took weeks to issue a refund.
4. To treat someone in a particular way. The owner dealt with me very nicely, so I'll definitely go back to his shop.
5. slang To kill someone. Don't worry, once I deal with the informant, he won't go running to the cops ever again.
See also: deal

deal something out

to pass something out piece by piece, giving everyone equal shares. The manager dealt the proposals out, giving each person an equal number to read. I'll deal out some more proposals.
See also: deal, out

deal out

1. Distribute, as in He dealt out more and more work. [Late 1300s] Also see deal in, def. 3.
2. deal someone out. Exclude someone, as in I don't have time for this project, so deal me out. This usage is the opposite of deal in, def. 3.
See also: deal, out

deal out

1. To exclude someone from a card game by not giving that player cards: Deal me out—I have to go to the bathroom.
2. To distribute something to someone: The dealer dealt the cards out. The politician dealt out pamphlets explaining her position on the issues. Deal out another hand; I'm ready to play.
See also: deal, out
References in classic literature ?
He spoke but to command, and commanded but to be obeyed; he dealt sparingly with his words, and bountifully with his whip, never using the former where the latter would answer as well.
They came from Exeter, well provided with admiration for the use of Sir John Middleton, his family, and all his relations, and no niggardly proportion was now dealt out to his fair cousins, whom they declared to be the most beautiful, elegant, accomplished, and agreeable girls they had ever beheld, and with whom they were particularly anxious to be better acquainted.
At that hour the tidings of her husband's death had dealt the mortal blow.
Lorry, "that I was very unhandsomely dealt with, and that I ought to have had a voice in the selection of my pattern.
Sitting in among the wares he dealt in, by a charcoal stove, made of old bricks, was a grey-haired rascal, nearly seventy years of age; who had screened himself from the cold air without, by a frousy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters, hung upon a line; and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement.
On my imparting this discovery in confidence to Peggotty, she informed me that her brother dealt in lobsters, crabs, and crawfish; and I afterwards found that a heap of these creatures, in a state of wonderful conglomeration with one another, and never leaving off pinching whatever they laid hold of, were usually to be found in a little wooden outhouse where the pots and kettles were kept.
As to me, I think my sister must have had some general idea that I was a young offender whom an Accoucheur Policemen had taken up (on my birthday) and delivered over to her, to be dealt with according to the outraged majesty of the law.