feast

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Barmecide feast

That which pretends or is imagined to be extravagant, plentiful, or opulent, but which in reality is comprised of little or nothing; that which proves to be illusory or unreal. Taken from the name of a prince in Arabian Nights who offers a feast to a beggar but gives him only empty plates. The money you make on the stock market can end up as a Barmecide feast: you think you're making millions of dollars, and then in the blink of an eye it is all gone.
See also: feast

a feast for the eyes

An especially attractive, pleasing, and/or remarkable sight or visual experience. His newest film has such lush cinematography that it is truly a feast for the eyes. He emerged from the tailor in a brand new designer suit, and I thought he was a feast for the eyes.
See also: eye, feast

feast (one's) eyes

To gaze upon something with joy or pleasure. Feast your eyes! Dinner has been served! I got my report card today—feast your eyes on all those A's!
See also: eye, feast

movable feast

An event or occurrence that does not happen on a predictable schedule. Since Easter does not fall on the same calendar date each year, it's often called a movable feast.
See also: feast, movable

skeleton at the feast

One whose pessimistic outlook or behavior dampens the mood at a happy event. Don't invite Chris to your engagement party—he's always so gloomy and will just be a skeleton at the feast.
See also: feast, skeleton

a contented mind is a perpetual feast

If happy and satisfied, one will not strive to acquire more. Once I reframed my priorities, I realized that I had everything I could ever want. I guess it's true that a contented mind is a perpetual feast.

enough is as good as a feast

Just having enough of something is plenty. Primarily heard in UK. A: "Would you like more?" B: "Oh, no thank you. Enough is as good as a feast."
See also: enough, feast, good

the ghost at the feast

Someone or something that acts as a reminder of something negative and thus ruins the enjoyment of something. Primarily heard in UK. I think I'll stay home. I'm afraid that since everyone knows about my recent diagnosis, I will be the ghost at the feast.
See also: feast, ghost

feast (one's) eyes on (something)

To gaze upon something with joy, pleasure, or admiration. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the most powerful home computer ever created. I got my report card today—feast your eyes on all those A's!
See also: eye, feast, on

feast or famine

Excessive or limited in quantity. Freelance projects always seem to be feast or famine, unfortunately—this line of work is very unpredictable.
See also: feast

contented mind is a perpetual feast

Prov. If you are mentally at peace, you will always feel that you have enough of everything, and will not have to strive to get more. Jill: Lillian doesn't make very much money, but she seems to be happy all the time. I wonder how she manages that? Jane: A contented mind is a perpetual feast.

*(either) feast or famine

Fig. either too much (of something) or not enough (of something). (*Typically: be ~; have ~.) This month is very dry, and last month it rained almost every day. Our weather is either feast or famine. Sometimes we are busy, and sometimes we have nothing to do. It's feast or famine.
See also: feast

Enough is as good as a feast.

Prov. You do not need more than enough of anything. We don't have much of a surplus of food for dinner tonight, but enough is as good as a feast. Jane: I wish I could offer you more lavish hospitality. Jane: Don't be silly. Enough is as good as a feast.
See also: enough, feast, good

feast one's eyes (on or upon someone or something)

Fig. to enjoy the sight of someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Just feast your eyes on that beautiful beach. Jane feasted her eyes on Roger for a while and then went on with her studying.
See also: eye, feast

feast (up)on something

to eat a great deal of something; to eat a feast built around something in particular. We will feast upon turkey for weeks. We feasted on the fish Harry had caught.
See also: feast, on

movable feast

 
1. Lit. a religious holiday that is on a different date from year to year. Easter is the best known movable feast.
2. Fig. a meal that is served in motion or with different portions of the meal served at different locations. (Jocular or a complete misunderstanding of {1} but in wide use.) We enjoyed a real movable feast on the train from Washington to Maimi.
See also: feast, movable

feast one's eyes on

Be delighted or gratified by the sight of, as in I'm feasting my eyes on this new sculpture-it's wonderful. This metaphoric expression may have been originated by Shakespeare, who used it in Sonnet 47: "With my love's picture then my eye doth feast."
See also: eye, feast, on

feast or famine

Also, either feast or famine. Either too much or too little, too many or too few. For example, Free-lancers generally find it's feast or famine-too many assignments or too few, or Yesterday two hundred showed up at the fair, today two dozen-it's either feast or famine . This expression, which transfers an overabundance or shortage of food to numerous other undertakings, was first recorded in 1732 as feast or fast, the noun famine being substituted in the early 1900s.
See also: feast

feast your eyes on something/someone

If you feast your eyes on something or someone, you look at them with a great deal of pleasure. While you enjoy the music, you can feast your eyes on the superb architecture and paintings in one of Rome's finest churches. Park for free, get your chairs and picnic out of the boot and feast your eyes on one of the best views in the South of England. Note: You can also say that something or someone is a feast for the eyes a feast for the eyes. In France almost every shop is a feast for the eyes and tastebuds. Note: The idea is of allowing your eyes to appreciate something visually in the same way that your mouth allows you to enjoy the quantity and quality of food at a feast or large meal.
See also: eye, feast, on, something

enough is as good as a feast

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you say enough is as good as a feast, you mean that there is no point in having more of something than you need or want. I'm afraid it's only soup and bread for lunch but enough is as good as a feast, as my great aunt Daisy would say. Nobody loves a tune better than I do. But I always say enough is as good as a feast; do you not agree? Note: This was first used by the Greek writer Euripides in the 5th century BC to explain that it is wrong to be greedy.
See also: enough, feast, good

feast or famine

If someone describes a situation as feast or famine, they mean that there is always either too much or too little of something. Money is a problem. `It's feast or famine with me,' she says. Note: People often vary this expression. This new series is a feast in what is otherwise a famine of intelligent television. After a long famine, a mini-feast: investors are once again providing banks with the capital they need.
See also: feast

a movable feast

If an event is a movable feast, it can happen at different times or in different places. Held about 29 May, the festival was a movable feast. Working parents wish to spend time with their children after they get home, so bedtime has become a movable feast. Note: This expression originally referred to religious holidays that are always celebrated at about the same time of year, but not always on exactly the same day.
See also: feast, movable

the spectre at the feast

or

the ghost at the feast

BRITISH
If someone or something is the spectre at the feast or the ghost at the feast, they make people feel uncomfortable because they remind them of an unhappy event or situation. At the funeral, Lindsay had stood apart, the ultimate spectre at the feast. That question was the ghost at the feast and cast a shadow over the celebrations. Note: According to the Greek writer Plutarch, the Ancient Egyptians used to place a skeleton at the table during a feast, to remind them that they would die one day.
See also: feast, spectre

enough is as good as a feast

moderation is more satisfying than excess. proverb
See also: enough, feast, good

feast your eyes on

gaze at with pleasure.
See also: eye, feast, on

feast of reason

intellectual talk.
This expression comes from the poet Alexander Pope's description of congenial conversation in Imitations of Horace: ‘The feast of reason and the flow of soul’.
See also: feast, of, reason

feast or famine

either too much of something or too little.
See also: feast

a ghost (or spectre) at the feast

someone or something that brings gloom or sadness to an otherwise pleasant or celebratory occasion.
The ghost or spectre of Banquo at the feast in Shakespeare's Macbeth is the most famous literary instance of this. There are other versions of the expression. A skeleton at the feast dates from the mid 19th century and probably refers to the ancient Egyptian practice of having the coffin of a dead person, adorned with a painted portrait of the deceased, present at a funeral banquet. A death's head at the feast alludes to the use of a death's head or skull as a memento mori (an object which serves as a reminder of death).
See also: feast, ghost

a movable feast

an event which takes place at no regular time.
In a religious context a movable feast is a feast day (especially Easter Day and the other Christian holy days whose dates are related to it) which does not occur on the same calendar date each year.
See also: feast, movable

feast your ˈeyes (on somebody/something)

look at somebody/something and get great pleasure: Wow! Come and feast your eyes on this birthday cake!
See also: eye, feast

feast (one's) eyes on

To be delighted or gratified by the sight of: We feasted our eyes on the paintings.
See also: eye, feast, on
References in classic literature ?
Accordingly I entered and whilst the rest of the party were devouring green tea and buttered toast, we feasted ourselves in a more refined and sentimental Manner by a confidential Conversation.
While the chiefs thus revelled in hall, and made the rafters resound with bursts of loyalty and old Scottish songs, chanted in voices cracked and sharpened by the northern blast, their merriment was echoed and prolonged by a mongrel legion of retainers, Canadian voyageurs, half-breeds, Indian hunters, and vagabond hangers-on who feasted sumptuously without on the crumbs that fell from their table, and made the welkin ring with old French ditties, mingled with Indian yelps and yellings.
They feasted the returned prodigal behind drawn curtains, cut off in their great happiness, while the trains roared in and out around them.
For when Robin Hood caught a baron or a squire, or a fat abbot or bishop, he brought them to the greenwood tree and feasted them before he lightened their purses.
Now busk ye, my merry men all," quoth he, "and bring forth the best we have, both of meat and wine, for his worship the Sheriff hath feasted me in Nottingham Guild Hall today, and I would not have him go back empty.
Several present, such as the Candy Man, the Rubber Bear, Tik-tok, and the Scarecrow, were not made so they could eat, and the Queen of Merryland contented herself with a small dish of sawdust; but these enjoyed the pomp and glitter of the gorgeous scene as much as did those who feasted.
The tale goes that one day King Conor and his nobles feasted at the house of Felim, his chief story-teller.