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A military term for sleep. Is it time for blanket drill yet? I'm exhausted.
Chinese fire drill
1. A wild or chaotic situation. Today, this term is often considered offensive. Boy, that meeting quickly devolved into a Chinese fire drill with people just shouting over each other.
2. A prank in which people get out of a car (while it is stopped at a red light) and run around it to change seats. Now that you have your own car, I don't want to hear about you kids doing Chinese fire drills or any other ridiculous things like that.
drill (someone) (with questions)
To intensely or vigorously interrogate someone. My parents wouldn't stop drilling me with questions as I was heading out the door—I thought I'd never be able to leave! Would you stop drilling me? I don't know where he is!
The pointed part of a drill that bores a hole into the surface or material being drilled. I think we'll need a different size drill bit to make a bigger hole in this wood.
1. To bore a hole down into something; to drill in a downward direction. Unfortunately, we need to drill down into the ground to try to find the burst pipe.
2. To examine or study something in detail. OK, how can I drill down and get more information on each payee on this spreadsheet?
To teach something through repetition. A noun or pronoun can be used between "drill" and "in." When I was a kid, our teachers simply drilled the times tables in. We're going to keep drilling in these formulas until you know them off by heart!
drill in(to) (someone or something)
1. Literally, to bore into or pierce something. Unfortunately, we need to drill into the ground to try to find the burst pipe.
2. To teach something through repetition. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "drill" and "in." When I was a kid, the times tables were simply drilled into us.
1. A non-commissioned officer in military or police forces usually assigned the duty of training new recruits. (More formally called a "drill instructor," as the title of "sergeant" is only given in certain territories and branches.) My drill sergeant made me run laps around the barracks until I vomited. Your drill sergeant may be tough, but they are making sure you become a reliable soldier.
2. By extension, someone in a position of authority or mentorship who is particularly exacting or ruthless. Our band teacher is a real drill sergeant, making us repeat the same sections over and over again until they're perfect. The coach may be seen as a drill sergeant by the athletes, but the success she has achieved with them is undeniable.
1. An organized evacuation of a building to prepare its occupants for the proper procedure in the event of an actual fire. Less than an hour after the school day began, the students were ushered out onto the lawn for a fire drill.
2. By extension, any event, activity, or situation that is useless, unproductive, or a complete waste of time. Usually used in business. The massive flop of the company's newest smartphone means that the huge amount of time and money they invested in it ultimately proved to be nothing but a fire drill.
3. Any unexpected, hurried, and particularly chaotic task, activity, event, or situation. Usually used in business. The boss dropped a fire drill in my lap at the last minute, saying I needed to write up a 15-page report for the board by the end of the hour.
know the drill
To be familiar with what happens or what needs to be done, without having to be told. OK, everyone, you know the drill! Stand beside your bunks and do not speak unless spoken to. The boss usually goes off on a tirade like this every week or so, but we all know the drill at this point—it's just a big show.
no names, no pack drill
If no names or specific details are mentioned, then no punishment or blame can be administered. There is a group of employees—no names, no pack drills—who figured out a way to manipulate the company's overtime policy. No names, no pack drill, but certain other candidates have been using taxpayers' money to fund personal trips and expenses.
short arms inspection
obsolete A public, visual inspection of soldiers' genitals conducted by a medical officer to determine whether or not they had contracted any sexually transmitted infections, especially gonorrhea. This practice was discontinued by the US military following the Vietnam war. As a young man of 19, it was deeply embarrassing being marched out at the crack of dawn for a short arms inspection alongside everyone in your squad—even more so because of the fear that the doctor might find something!
What's the drill?
What is the standard way that something needs to happen or function? A: "Hey, I'm new here. What's the drill when something like this happens?" B: "Oh, don't worry about it. Just stay at your desk until the quarantine is lifted." So, what's the drill for getting a new permit?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
drill down (to something)
to bore downward to something or some distance. We drilled down to a layer of waterbearing sand, hoping to make a well. They had to drill down to bedrock to make a base for the piers that hold the building up.
drill in (to something)
to bore into or penetrate something. The worker drilled into the wall in three places. Please don't drill into the wall here, where it will show.
drill someone in something
to give someone practice in something. Now, I am going to drill you in irregular verbs. The teacher drilled the students in the use of the passive.
drill something into someone or somethingand drill something in
Fig. to force knowledge into someone or something Learn this stuff! Drill it into your brain. Drill in this information so you know it by heart!
What's the drill?
1. Inf. What is going on here? Bill: I just came in. What's the drill? Tom: We have to carry all this stuff out to the truck. "What's the drill?" asked Mary. "Why are all these people sitting around like this?"
2. Inf. What are the rules and procedures for doing this? Bill: I need to apply for new license plates. What's the drill? Is there a lot of paperwork? Clerk: Yes, there is. Bill: I have to get my computer repaired. Who do I talk to? What's the drill? Bob: You have to get a purchase order from Fred.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
no names, no pack drillpunishment or blame cannot be meted out if names and details are not mentioned.
Pack drill is a form of military punishment in which an offender has to perform parade-ground exercises while carrying a heavy pack. This early 20th-century expression is often used as an aside to recommend reticence about a particular subject.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
1. To penetrate some surface by boring: The geologist drilled into the Earth's crust.
2. To teach or inculcate something to someone by constant, intense repetition: The teacher drilled the multiplication tables into the bored students. The teacher tried to drill into our heads the capital of every country.
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.
n. a night’s sleep; sleep. (Military.) Fred is still on blanket drill. He’s in for it.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chinese fire drill
A state of utter confusion. This cliché dates from about 1940 and today is considered quite offensive, disparaging the Chinese as disorganized. Nevertheless, it has not yet died out.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
Chinese fire drill
A politically incorrect term for chaos. The phrase supposedly originated in the early 1900s. A ship with British officers and a Chinese crew practiced an engine room fire drill. The bucket brigade drew water from the ship's starboard side, carried it to the engine room, and simulated throwing it on the “fire.” Another crew carried the buckets to the main deck and threw the water over the port side. But when orders became confused in translation, the bucket brigade started to draw the water from the starboard side, run over to the port side, and then throw the water overboard, bypassing the engine room completely. A 1960s stunt was for a carload of teenagers of college students to stop at a red light, whereupon at the command “Chinese fire drill,” driver and passengers got out, ran around the car, and returned to their original seats. The same idea is sometimes heard as the equally politically incorrect “Chinese square dance.”
short arms inspection
Military inspection for venereal diseases. Beginning with World War II, the military made visual determinations with regard to sexually transmitted diseases (primarily gonorrhea) through what was called a short arms inspection (or drill). Held early in the morning, men dressed in only their boots, helmet liners, and overcoat were summoned out of their barracks or bunks and ordered to line up. When indicated by the medical officer, each man opened his coat to bare his penis, which he then “milked” in a stripping motion to show whether there was any infectious discharge. The term distinguished between a man's governmentissued firearm and his own “short arm.” The inspection practice ended after the Vietnam conflict.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price