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800-pound gorilla

A person, group, or organization so powerful (either by size or by influence) that it does not need to heed the rules or threats of others. It refers to the riddle "Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit?" (Answer: "Wherever it likes.") Primarily heard in US. Don't mess with that guy; he's like an 800-pound gorilla! These big corporations act like 800-pound gorillas, making up the rules to suit themselves.
See also: gorilla

have one over (the) eight

To have enough alcoholic drinks to be thoroughly inebriated. Primarily heard in UK. I was composed and in control of myself for most of the evening, but somewhere around midnight, I had one over the eight and started making a show of myself. It seems like Jenny makes a point of having one over eight every time she goes out on the weekend.
See also: eight, have, one, over

be one over (the) eight

To be thoroughly inebriated. Primarily heard in UK. I think someone should drive Jerry home, he's one over the eight. I guess I was making something of a show of myself, but I was having too much fun to realise that I was one over eight.
See also: eight, one, over

one over (the) eight

1. adjective Thoroughly inebriated. Primarily heard in UK. I think someone should drive Jerry home, he's one over the eight. I guess I was making something of a show of myself, but I was having too much fun to realise that I was one over eight.
2. noun The final alcoholic drink that pushes a person from mild or safe intoxication to being very drunk. Primarily heard in UK. I was composed and in control of myself for most of the evening, but somewhere around midnight, I had one over the eight and started making a show of myself. It seems like Jenny makes a point of having one over eight every time she goes out on the weekend.
See also: eight, one, over

(a) quarter of (a given hour in time)

A quarter of an hour (15 minutes) before the named hour in time (e.g., "quarter of six" would mean 5:45). Primarily heard in US. A: "What time does the movie start?" B: "Not until a quarter of eight, so we've got plenty of time!" I thought I'd be home already, but with this traffic, it'll be quarter of before I'm back.
See also: given, hour, of, quarter

quarter past (a given hour in time)

A quarter of an hour (15 minutes) after the named hour in time. A: "What time does the movie start?" B: "Not until a quarter past eight, so we've got plenty of time!" I thought I'd be home already, but with this traffic, it'll be quarter past before I'm back.
See also: given, hour, past, quarter

eight ways from Sunday

Thoroughly or completely; in every possible way; from every conceivable angle. Everyone had their money on the reigning champion, but he was beaten eight ways from Sunday by the newcomer. We researched the case eight ways from Sunday, but there didn't seem to be any way that we could win with the evidence at hand.
See also: eight, Sunday, way

eight ways to Sunday

Thoroughly or completely; in every possible way; from every conceivable angle. Everyone had their money on the reigning champion, but he was beaten eight ways to Sunday by the newcomer. We researched the case eight ways to Sunday, but there didn't seem to be any way that we could win with the evidence at hand.
See also: eight, Sunday, way

be behind the eight ball

To be in a challenging situation; to be at a disadvantage. An "eight ball" is one of the numbered balls used in the game of pool, and the last one supposed to be hit into a pocket. If the eight ball is accidentally hit into a pocket prematurely, the player will lose, and it therefore needs to be avoided. If we don't leave early tomorrow, we'll be behind the eight ball, and I doubt we'll reach the cabin by dusk. Because I got the flu, I'm behind the eight ball with my Christmas shopping.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

In a challenging situation; at a disadvantage. An "eight ball" is one of the numbered balls used in the game of pool, and the last one supposed to be hit into a pocket. If the eight ball is accidentally hit into a pocket prematurely, the player will lose, and it therefore needs to be avoided. If we don't leave early tomorrow, we'll be behind the eight ball, and I doubt we'll reach the cabin by dusk. Because I got the flu, I'm behind the eight ball with my Christmas shopping.
See also: ball, behind, eight

eight ball

1. One of the numbered balls used in the game of pool, and the last one supposed to be hit into a pocket. And now, for the win: eight ball, corner pocket.
2. A billiard game in which the winner must hit seven balls into the pockets followed by the eight ball. Pocketing the eight ball before any of the others results in an automatic loss. Here's a pool cue—do you know how to play eight ball?
3. slang One-eighth ounce of an illegal drug (often cocaine or an amphetamine). I scored us some eight balls from my dealer.
See also: ball, eight

at the tender age of

This phrase is used to emphasize how young one was when one did something in particular. (The age is stated after "of.") I'm not surprised to hear that he was doing science experiments at the tender age of seven—he's a child genius!
See also: age, of, tender

on the stroke of

Exactly at a specific hour. ("Of" is followed by that time.) The store is opening its doors on the stroke of midnight for the Black Friday sale. If you're not home on the stroke of 11, you're grounded!
See also: of, on, stroke

*behind the eight ball

 
1. Fig. in trouble; in a weak or losing position. (Alludes to the eight ball in pool, which in certain games cannot be touched without penalty. *Typically: be ~; get ~; have someone ~; put someone ~.) I'm behind the eight ball again and can't see how to relieve my dilemma. John is behind the eight ball because he started writing his term paper far too late.
2. Fig. broke. Sorry, I'm really behind the eight ball this month. I can't make a contribution. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; have someone ~; put someone ~.) I was behind the eight ball again and couldn't make my car payment.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

In trouble or an awkward position, out of luck, as in His check bounced, leaving Jim behind the eight ball with his landlord. The term comes from pocket billiards or pool, where in certain games if the number eight ball is between the "cue ball" and "object ball" the player cannot make a straight shot. [Colloquial; c. 1920]
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

AMERICAN
If someone or something is behind the eight ball, they are in trouble or in a difficult situation. If a child doesn't get the basics in primary school, they are way behind the eight ball. Note: In the game of pool, the `eight ball' is a ball with a number 8 on it, which players have to pot (= put in the net) last. If the eight ball is between the cue ball (= white ball that you hit) and the ball which the player is trying to hit, the player is likely to hit the eight ball first, which is a foul shot.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

at a disadvantage; baffled. North American
The black ball is numbered eight in a variety of the game of pool known as eight-ball pool .
See also: ball, behind, eight

one over the eight

slightly drunk. British informal
The idea behind this idiom is that a drinker can reasonably be expected to consume eight glasses of beer without becoming drunk. The expression was originally armed forces' slang from the early 20th century.
See also: eight, one, over

be/have one over the ˈeight

(informal) be slightly drunk: From the way he was walking it was obvious he’d had one over the eight.This may come from a belief that a normal person could only drink eight glasses of beer without becoming drunk.
See also: eight, have, one, over

behind the ˈeight ball

(American English) in a difficult situation, with many risks and disadvantages: Basically, I made mistakes and put us right behind the eight ball.
In the game of pool, if you hit the eight ball (= the black ball) into one of the holes at the wrong time, you lose the game. If your ball is behind the eight ball, the risks of doing this are greater.
See also: ball, behind, eight

on/at the ˌstroke of ˈeight, ˈmidnight, etc.

at exactly eight o’clock, midnight, etc: She gets to work at the stroke of nine every day.
See also: of, on, stroke

behind the eight ball

1. mod. in trouble; in a weak or losing position. I’m behind the eight ball again.
2. mod. broke. I was behind the eight ball again and couldn’t make my car payment.
See also: ball, behind, eight

the eighty-eight

n. a piano. (Pianos have eighty-eight keys.) Sam can really beat the eighty-eight.

behind the eight ball

Slang
In an unfavorable or uncomfortable position.
See also: ball, behind, eight

behind the eight ball

In a precarious situation. In certain games of pool or billiards, a player whose cue ball (the ball that strikes the other balls) is behind the 8 ball is unlikely to make any shot. Therefore, to be behind the eight ball is to be in a losing situation.
See also: ball, behind, eight
References in classic literature ?
I have no doubt, Twenty Eight,' returned the questioner, 'that the gentleman you refer to feels very strongly - as we all must - what you have so properly said.
With this, Number Twenty Eight retired, after a glance between him and Uriah; as if they were not altogether unknown to each other, through some medium of communication; and a murmur went round the group, as his door shut upon him, that he was a most respectable man, and a beautiful case.
Twenty Eight,' returned my informant, speaking throughout in a low tone, and looking over his shoulder as we walked along the passage, to guard himself from being overheard, in such an unlawful reference to these Immaculates, by Creakle and the rest; 'Twenty Eight (also transportation) got a place, and robbed a young master of a matter of two hundred and fifty pounds in money and valuables, the night before they were going abroad.
Creakle, that Twenty Seven and Twenty Eight were perfectly consistent and unchanged; that exactly what they were then, they had always been; that the hypocritical knaves were just the subjects to make that sort of profession in such a place; that they knew its market-value at least as well as we did, in the immediate service it would do them when they were expatriated; in a word, that it was a rotten, hollow, painfully suggestive piece of business altogether.
The eight ourang-outangs, taking Hop-Frog's advice, waited patiently until midnight (when the room was thoroughly filled with masqueraders) before making their appearance.
Hop-Frog, clinging to the chain as it rose, still maintained his relative position in respect to the eight maskers, and still (as if nothing were the matter) continued to thrust his torch down toward them, as though endeavoring to discover who they were.
In less than half a minute the whole eight ourang-outangs were blazing fiercely, amid the shrieks of the multitude who gazed at them from below, horror-stricken, and without the power to render them the slightest assistance.
The eight corpses swung in their chains, a fetid, blackened, hideous, and indistinguishable mass.
SOCRATES: What line would give you a space of eight feet, as this gives one of sixteen feet;--do you see?
SOCRATES: Good; and is not a space of eight feet twice the size of this, and half the size of the other?
SOCRATES: Then the line which forms the side of eight feet ought to be more than this line of two feet, and less than the other of four feet?
The eight men would doubtless have failed had they not been assisted by twenty soldiers of the regiment of Italians in the king's service, who are in garrison in this town so that your friends were overpowered by numbers.
The town has eight thousand to ten thousand inhabitants.
There is no particle of trimming about this monstrous capote, as they call it--it is just a plain, ugly dead- blue mass of sail, and a woman can't go within eight points of the wind with one of them on; she has to go before the wind or not at all.
For eight days Cornelius and Rosa had not seen each other.