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not playing with a full deck

1. Not mentally sound; crazy or mentally deranged. A: "Look at that guy talking to himself on the corner." B: "I reckon he's not playing with a full deck."
2. Not very bright or intelligent; dimwitted. Jim's a nice guy, but with some of the foolish things he does, I wonder if he's not playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, not, play

be one card shy of a (full) deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card shy of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card shy of a deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, one, shy

be several cards short of a (full) deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be several cards short of a deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's several cards short of a full deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, several, short

several cards short of a (full) deck

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be several cards short of a deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's several cards short of a full deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, several, short

one card shy of a (full) deck

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card shy of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card shy of a deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, of, one, shy

all hands on deck

1. A call for all members of a ship's crew to come to the deck, usually in a time of crisis. (A "hand" is a member of a ship's crew.) We're under attack! All hands on deck!
2. By extension, everyone available to help with a problem, or a call for those people to help. Your grandmother arrives tomorrow and the house is still a mess—I need all hands on deck to help me clean! All hands on deck! We've got to roll out this tarp before the rain starts. Now let's go!
See also: all, deck, hand, on

be one card short of a full deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be one card short of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's one card short of a full deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, full, of, one, short

be several cards short of a full deck

To be not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. This expression can appear in many different forms and variations (e.g., "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," "one brick short of a load.," etc.). He says he's going to start a business selling bees as pets—I think he may be several cards short of a full deck. The new manager is nice enough, but he's several cards short of a full deck, if you ask me.
See also: card, deck, full, of, several, short

clear the deck(s)

1. Literally, of sailors, to prepare for something (such as a battle) by removing or securing objects on the deck of a ship. That enemy ship is getting too close—clear the deck!
2. By extension, to cease doing something in preparation for a more important task or happening. I know you're busy with that paperwork, but clear the decks—I've got a big client coming in this afternoon.
3. To flee hastily; to depart quickly Uh oh, here comes mean old Mr. Jerome. Clear the decks, everyone! The staff cleared the decks when they saw the boss asking for volunteers to work on the weekend.
See also: clear

stack the deck (against) (someone or something)

To make arrangements that result in an unfair advantage over someone or something. (Likened to fixing a deck of playing cards in one's favor during a game.) By dating the boss's daughter, Jeremy has stacked the deck against the rest of us for an early promotion. The mega corporation has been accused of trying to stack the deck by spending millions to influence members of congress.
See also: deck, stack

deck out

1. To dress in an especially extravagant manner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "deck" and "out." Wow, you sure got decked out for the party tonight! Maybe I should have worn something nicer than jeans.
2. To decorate something lavishly or elaborately. A noun or pronoun can be used between "deck" and "out." Wow, you really decked out the house for the party tonight—I've never seen so many Christmas lights in my life!
See also: deck, out

cards are stacked against (one)

[informal] luck is against one. I have the worst luck. The cards are stacked against me all the time. How can I accomplish anything when the cards are stacked against me?
See also: card, stacked

clear the decks

 
1. Lit. [for everyone] leave the deck of a ship and prepare for action. (A naval expression urging seaman to stow gear and prepare for battle or other action.) An attack is coming. Clear the decks.
2. Fig. get out of the way; get out of this area. Clear the decks! Here comes the teacher. Clear the decks and take your seats.
See also: clear, deck

deck someone or something out (in something)

 and deck someone or something out (with something)
to decorate someone or something with something. Sally decked all her children out for the holiday party. She decked out her children in Halloween costumes. Tom decked the room out with garlands of flowers.
See also: deck, out

few bricks short of a load

 and few cards shy of a full deck; few cards short of a deck; not playing with a full deck; two bricks shy of a load
Fig. lacking in intellectual ability. (Many other variants.) Tom: Joe thinks he can build a car out of old milk jugs. Mary: I think Joe's a few bricks short of a load. Ever since she fell and hit her head, Jane's been a few bricks short of a load, if you know what I'm saying. Bob's nice, but he's not playing with a full deck. You twit! You're two bricks shy of a load.
See also: brick, few, load, of, short

have the cards stacked against (one)

 and have the deck stacked against one
Fig. to have one's chance at future success limited by factors over which one has no control; to have luck against one. You can't get very far in life if you have the deck stacked against you. I can't seem to get ahead. I always have the cards stacked against me.
See also: card, have, stacked

have the deck stacked against

one Go to have the cards stacked against one.
See also: deck, have, stacked

hit the deck

 
1. Fig. to fall down; to drop down to the floor or ground. Hit the deck. Don't let them see you. I hit the deck the minute I heard the shots.
2. Fig. to get out of bed. Come on, hit the deck! It's morning. Hit the deck! Time to rise and shine!
See also: deck, hit

on deck

 
1. Lit. on the deck of a boat or a ship. Everyone except the cook was on deck when the storm hit. Just pull up the anchor and leave it on deck.
2. Fig. ready (to do something); ready to be next (at something). Ann, get on deck. You're next. Who's on deck now?
See also: deck, on

play with a full deck

 
1. Lit. to play cards with a complete deck, containing all the cards. Are we playing with a full deck or did some card drop on the floor? I haven't seen the three of hearts all evening!
2. Fig. to operate as if one were mentally sound. (Usually in the negative. One cannot play cards properly with a partial deck.) That guy's not playing with a full deck. Look sharp, you dummies! Pretend you are playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, play

stack the deck (against someone or something)

 and stack the cards (against someone or something)
to arrange things against someone or something. (Originally from card playing; stacking the deck is to cheat by arranging the cards to be dealt out to one's advantage.) I can't get ahead at my office. Someone has stacked the cards against me. Do you really think that someone has stacked the deck? Isn't it just fate?
See also: deck, stack

cards are stacked against

Many difficulties face someone or something, as in The cards are stacked against the new highway project. This term originated in gambling, where to stack the cards or stack the deck means to arrange cards secretly and dishonestly in one's own favor or against one's opponent. [Mid-1800s]
See also: card, stacked

clear the decks

Prepare for action, as in I've finished all these memos and cleared the decks for your project, or Clear the decks-here comes the coach. This expression originated in naval warfare, when it described preparing for battle by removing or fastening down all loose objects on the ship's decks. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: clear, deck

deck out

Decorate, dress up, as in They were all decked out in their best clothes. [Mid-1700s]
See also: deck, out

hit the deck

Also, hit the dirt. Fall to the ground, usually for protection. For example, As the planes approached, we hit the deck, or We heard shooting and hit the dirt. In the early 1900s the first expression was nautical slang for "jump out of bed," or "wake up," and somewhat later, "get going." The current meaning dates from the 1920s.
See also: deck, hit

on deck

1. Available, ready for action, as in We had ten kids on deck to clean up after the dance. [Slang; second half of 1800s]
2. In baseball, scheduled to bat next, waiting near home plate to bat, as in Joe was on deck next. [1860s] Both usages allude to crew members being on the deck of a ship, in readiness to perform their duties.
See also: deck, on

be not playing with a full deck

mainly AMERICAN
If someone is not playing with a full deck, they are not being completely honest and therefore have an unfair advantage over other people. This guy is either very good or he's not playing with a full deck. Note: A deck of cards can have cards taken out before a game in order to give one player an advantage.
See also: deck, full, not, play

hit the deck

If someone or something hits the deck, they suddenly fall to the ground. `We'll have to get a doctor!' I hit the deck yowling. My hands were wrapped round my knees. Instead of pulling up, the plane seemed to go faster and faster before it hit the deck. Note: `Deck' normally means the floor of a ship or, in American English, a raised platform outside a house. Here it means the floor or ground.
See also: deck, hit

stack the deck

or

load the deck

mainly AMERICAN
If you stack the deck or load the deck, you give someone or something an unfair advantage or disadvantage. Mr Howard is doing all he can to stack the deck in favour of the status quo. We've developed a culture where it's really hard to eat well and exercise. We're kind of stacking the deck against ourselves. As you can see, I'm loading the deck so that we get the results we want. Note: A stacked or loaded deck of cards is one that has been altered before a game in order to give one player an advantage.
See also: deck, stack

clear the decks

mainly BRITISH or

clear the deck

AMERICAN
COMMON If someone clears the decks, they finish what they are doing so that they are ready to start doing something else. The British commanders had wanted to clear the decks for possible large-scale military operations. Clear the decks before you think of taking on any more responsibilities. Note: In the past, all unnecessary objects were cleared off the decks or floors of a warship before a battle, so that the crew could move around more easily.
See also: clear, deck

all hands on deck

mainly BRITISH
If a situation requires all hands on deck, it needs everyone to work hard to achieve an aim or do a task. Come on then, boys, all hands on deck tonight, we need all the help we can get. Your job was so big that we needed all hands on deck. Note: Members of a ship's crew are sometimes called hands and `deck' refers to the floor of a ship.
See also: all, deck, hand, on

deck

1. tv. to knock someone to the ground. Fred decked Bob with one blow.
2. n. a pack of cigarettes. Can you toss me a deck of fags, please?

hit the deck

1. tv. to get out of bed. Come on, hit the deck! It’s morning.
2. tv. to fall down; to drop down. I hit the deck the minute I heard the shots.
See also: deck, hit

play with a full deck

in. to operate as if one were mentally sound. (Usually in the negative. One cannot play cards with a partial deck.) Look sharp, you dummies! Pretend you are playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, play

stack the deck

tv. to arrange things secretly for a desired outcome. (From card playing where a cheater may arrange the order of the cards that are to be dealt to the players.) The president stacked the deck so I would be appointed head of the finance committee.
See also: deck, stack

clear the deck

Informal
To prepare for action.
See also: clear, deck

hit the deck

Slang
1. To get out of bed.
2. To fall or drop to a prone position.
3. To prepare for action.
See also: deck, hit

on deck

1. On hand; present.
2. Sports Waiting to take one's turn, especially as a batter in baseball.
See also: deck, on

play with a full deck

Slang
To be of sound mind: didn't seem to be playing with a full deck.
See also: deck, full, play
References in classic literature ?
But by what perversity of taste had the artist represented his principal figure as so wrinkled and decayed, while yet he had decked her out in the brightest splendor of attire, as if the loveliest maiden had suddenly withered into age, and become a moral to the beautiful around her
It might be palace without, but it was wigwam within; so that, between the stateliness of his mansion and the squalidness of his furniture, the gallant White Plume presented some such whimsical incongruity as we see in the gala equipments of an Indian chief on a treaty-making embassy at Washington, who has been generously decked out in cocked hat and military coat, in contrast to his breech-clout and leathern legging; being grand officer at top, and ragged Indian at bottom.
Poyser disapproved; but she would have been ready to die with shame, vexation, and fright if her aunt had this moment opened the door, and seen her with her bits of candle lighted, and strutting about decked in her scarf and ear-rings.
If I have ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon the Danaans.
The girls, decked out in their savage finery, danced; the old men chanted; the warriors smoked and chatted; and the young and lusty, of both sexes, feasted plentifully, and seemed to enjoy themselves as pleasantly as they could have done had it been a wedding.
As the Duke of Norfolk gave his commands, a large boat or barge, decked with flags, and capable of holding about twenty rowers and fifteen passengers, was slowly lowered from the side of the admiral's vessel.