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forty minutes of hell

In collegiate basketball, the entire duration (40 minutes) of a game played in a suffocatingly aggressive manner. The phrase was reportedly coined by Nolan Richardson while coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks in the mid-1990s. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. OK, everyone, go out there and give them forty minutes of hell—don't even give them a chance to breathe!
See also: forty, hell, minute, of

forty 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 forty ways from Sunday by the newcomer. We researched the case forty ways from Sunday, but there didn't seem to be any way that we could win with the evidence at hand.
See also: forty, Sunday, way

forty 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 forty ways to Sunday by the newcomer. We researched the case forty ways to Sunday, but there didn't seem to be any way that we could win with the evidence at hand.
See also: forty, Sunday, way

back forty

Sprawling, uncultivated acreage, as would be found on a farm. I often go to the back forty of my property when I need some quiet time to think.
See also: back, forty

go two-forty

To move very quickly; to race. The phrase refers to a horse racing record of a mile completed in two minutes and 40 seconds. I need to start going two-forty through this paperwork if I want to have it done by the deadline.
See also: go

catch forty winks

To sleep for a short time; to take a nap. Dad's upstairs catching forty winks before dinner.
See also: catch, forty, wink

forty winks

A nap or a brief sleep. When you have a baby for the first time, you are suddenly forced to learn how to operate on only forty winks at a time. I'm going to go grab a quick forty winks before everyone starts arriving for the dinner party.
See also: forty, wink


1. adjective Of an unspecified age in one's forties. He looks like he's in his 60s, but he's really just forty-something.
2. noun A person who is in their forties. Usually used in the plural. I felt really out of place being so young at a party of forty-somethings.

40 acres and a mule

1. Something given by the government. The phrase refers to a promise made during the Civil War by Union general William T. Sherman that freed slaves would receive 40 acres of land and a mule. However, after the war that land was given back to its original owners. I'm doing just fine on my own—I don't need 40 acres and a mule from Uncle Sam.
2. A promise or assurance that proves to be false. I think he's just tempting us with that offer, and it'll turn out to be 40 acres and a mule.
See also: 40, acre, and, mule

life begins at 40

cliché One has the skills, experience, and means by age 40 to truly enjoy life to its fullest. A: "I'm so depressed that I'm going to turn 40 next year." B: "Come on, Tom, life begins at 40. You've still got all sorts of adventures ahead of you!"
See also: 40, begin, life

catch forty winks

 and take forty winks; have forty winks
Fig. to take a nap; to get some sleep. I'll just catch forty winks before getting ready for the party. I think I'll go to bed and take forty winks. See you in the morning.
See also: catch, forty, wink

forty winks

Fig. a nap; some sleep. I could use forty winks before I have to get to work. I need forty winks before I get started again.
See also: forty, wink

Life begins at forty.

Prov. By the time you are forty years old, you have enough experience and skill to do what you want to do with your life. (Often said as an encouragement to those reaching middle age.) Alan: Why are you so depressed? Jane: Tomorrow's my fortieth birthday. Alan: Cheer up! Life begins at forty. For Pete, life began at forty, because by that time he had enough financial security to enjoy himself now and then, rather than having to work all the time.
See also: begin, forty, life

forty winks

A brief nap, as in There's just time for forty winks before we have to leave. This expression supposedly was first recorded in 1828 and relies on wink in the sense of "sleep," a usage dating from the 14th century.
See also: forty, wink

forty winks

If you have forty winks, you have a short sleep. He always has forty winks after supper.
See also: forty, wink

forty winks

a short sleep or nap, especially during the day. informal
This expression dates from the early 19th century, but wink in the sense of ‘a closing of the eyes for sleep’ is found from the late 14th century.
See also: forty, wink

forty ˈwinks

(informal) a short sleep, especially during the day: I managed to get forty winks after lunch.
See also: forty, wink

forty winks

n. a nap; sleep. (Usually with a quantifier. Either forty or some, a few, a bunch of, etc.) I could use forty winks before I have to get to work.
See also: forty, wink

Forty acres and a mule

A a government handout; a broken promise. As Union general William T. Sherman marched through Georgia and other parts of the confederacy during the Civil War, he promised freed slaves the gift of forty acres of South Carolina and Georgia farmland and an army mule with which to work the soil. Following the war, however, President Johnson rescinded Sherman's order, and the appropriated land was restored to its owners. While most citizens adopted the phrase as a metaphor for either any form of government handout (or a trifling salary or bonus from their employer), African-Americans who remembered the expression's history used it as a rueful reminder of a offer that was reneged upon.
See also: acre, and, forty, mule
References in periodicals archive ?
Forty Carrots' mental health resources, offered to all families through fee-based or sliding scale payment options provide specialized therapy for all ages and circumstances.
Have a Forty Christmas with tees from just PS40 at www.
While we stay true to our mission of excellence by providing the best market experience to our visitors, change is the one constant here," said Laurie Burns, senior vice president and director of Forty One Madison.
Five Forty, in return, traded two parcels totaling 31 acres that sit between North 48th Street and Interstate 49, north of the Sunset Avenue exit.
CUTLINE: Pamela Parker, left, director of programs and special events for the Arthritis Foundation Massachusetts Chapter, presents Forty Arroyo with the Lisa Maisels Achievement Award.
According to unofficial reports from breeders in Japan, Forty Niner was bred to about 45 mares this year but fewer than six have been confirmed in foal.
This major work on spirituality from the eleventh century has forty chapters that deal with knowledge, religious requirements, social relationships, behavior, and the inner life of the soul.
True has maintained a private piano studio in Warrensburg, Missouri, for the past forty years and has appeared as a collaborative artist and duet and two-piano partner with her husband, Wesley.
Yet, even in two weeks' time that sense was fading, and I could well imagine forty days being about as long as you could hang on to this kind of presence.
Forty percent said the government should have greater powers to monitor Muslim groups.
WARRINGTON software company Forty One is to merge with hardware specialists QMC to create a new company with an estimated turnover of pounds 2.
20 to 25, for which both Forty One Madison and 225 will be offering complimentary shuttle service.
FORTY per cent of cheaters have been married twice.
The first notable sign that this was to become an issue that would find huge resonance among both dancers and audiences was the founding in 1991 of Netherlands Dance Theater 3, a chamber company of four or five dancers over forty who had all enjoyed illustrious careers in both ballet and contemporary dance, yet found themselves too old to be part of conventional troupes.
Sometimes, when I'm driving there, I understand how the Lost Forty came to be lost.