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as if (one's) life depends on it
With maximum, possibly desperate, effort or energy (i.e., as if one is at risk of losing one's life if one fails). The boxer started the third round throwing punches as if his life depended on it. This project could very well determine the future of the company, so start working as if your lives depend on it!
depend (up)on (someone or something)
1. To rely on someone or something. You can depend on Tom, so if he said he'd be here at 11:30, then he'll be here at 11:30. I still haven't found a job, so, yes, I depend upon my parents for money.
2. To be dictated by certain conditions. Where we hold the wedding ceremony depends entirely on the weather—if it's rainy, then we'll have it indoors.
3. To be addicted to something. I have a harder time falling asleep these days, but at least I don't depend on sleeping pills anymore.
See also: depend
depend on the kindness of strangers
A reference to the final words of Blanche DuBois, a character in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams: "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
1. To rely on the generosity and goodwill of those around us, especially those we don't know personally. Many of us these days choose or have to leave home in search of work. Without friends and family around us, we must depend on the kindness of strangers. When I was in my twenties, I used to travel the world with nothing but a backpack full of clothes, depending on the kindness of strangers to get by each day.
2. To rely on outside support or assistance, especially financially. As the company's long-term outlook worsens, they are having to depend more and more on the kindness of strangers to remain operational. Basing our country's economy on cross-border trade is a bit like depending on the kindness of strangers at times—it can dry up when economic issues hit on a global scale and other countries start spending less.
if (one's) life depended on it
Under any circumstances; no matter what. (Used almost exclusively with a negative statement regarding something that one couldn't or wouldn't do.) No way am I going to karaoke night. I couldn't sing if my life depended on it! No thanks, I wouldn't see that film if my life depended on it.
it (all) depends
The possibility or likelihood of some outcome depends on one or more unspecified factors. A: "So, would you be willing to join our company?" B: "Well, it depends—what kind of salary are we talking about?" Is it legal? Yes. Is it ethical? Well, it all depends.
See also: depend
like (one's) life depends on it
With maximum, possibly desperate, effort or energy (i.e., as if one is at risk of losing one's life if one fails). The boxer started the third round throwing punches like his life depended on it. This project could very well determine the future of the company, so start working like your lives depend on it!
success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone
Success is achieved through dedication and effort, not one's hopes, dreams, or wishful thinking. You need to work on your writing every single day if you really want to be a famous author because success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone.
that (all) depends
The possibility or likelihood of some outcome depends on one or more unspecified factors. A: "So, would you be willing to join our company?" B: "Well, that depends—what kind of salary are we talking about?" Is it legal? Yes. Is it ethical? Well, that all depends.
where you stand depends on where you sit
Your view of a situation is shaped by your personal relationship to it. The phrase is sometimes called "Miles's Law," as it is attributed to Rufus Miles, a US government official in the early 20th century. A: "Naturally, they support a policy change that directly benefits their department." B: "Of course. Where you stand depends on where you sit." Where you stand depends on where you sit. So you don't see the urgent need for a security guard in our building because you don't live here and aren't dealing with all these break-ins.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
depend (up)on someone or something
to rely upon someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Can I depend on you to do this right? You can depend upon me for help.
That (all) depends.
My answer depends on factors that have yet to be discussed. Tom: Will you be able to come to the meeting on Thursday night? Mary: That all depends. Bob: Can I see you again? Sally: That depends.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
it/that (all) deˈpends(informal) perhaps; possibly: ‘Would you marry him if he asked you to?’ ‘I might. It all depends.’ ♢ ‘But is it right to send people to prison?’ ‘It depends what you mean by right!’
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
depend onor depend upon
1. To be contingent upon something or someone for an outcome: Whether or not we go on the picnic depends on the weather.
2. To rely on something or someone, especially for support or maintenance: Children depend on adults for food and shelter.
3. To place trust or confidence in someone or something: You can depend upon my honesty.
4. To have a chronic or compulsive need for something; be addicted to something: As time went by, he began to depend on painkillers to get him through the day.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
depend on the kindness of strangers
A form of self-deception. The phrase comes from Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), in which Blanche DuBois, with delusions of grandeur, has a destructive effect on her sister Stella’s marriage to Stanley Kowalski. Stanley rapes her, leading to her nervous breakdown, and commits her to a mental hospital. As the doctor leads her off, she says, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” The phrase “kindness of strangers” occasionally appears in other contexts, as in “With no rain for a month, my garden depends on the kindness of strangers.” Sue Miller used it in her novel The Lake Shore Limited (2010). Talking about two characters in her play, the playwright said: “Well, you are not Jay . . . a guy who’s betraying his wife. And I’m not Elena. I’m not . . . dependent upon the kindness of strangers.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer