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(as) busy as a one-armed paperhanger (with an itch)
Constantly busy, active, or occupied (with something). I'm currently choreographing three plays, so I'm busy as one-armed paperhanger. Can we meet next week instead? I'm just as busy as a one-armed paperhanger with an itch right now.
slang Tall, angled handlebars on a motorcycle. I like how ape hangers look, but they make my arms go numb after a while.
1. An ending of a piece of fiction (e.g., a television episode, chapter of a book, a film, etc.) characterized by a dramatically suspenseful and uncertain end. A good summer book always has a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter so that you never want to put it down! Judging by that movie's cliffhanger, I'd say we'll be seeing a sequel coming out fairly soon.
2. A serial television or film production characterized by such endings. That show is a cliffhanger—the episodes never really have endings.
3. Any contest, competition, or other such situation in which the outcome is suspenseful and uncertain until the very end. The two teams have been neck and neck for the entire second half, and with two minutes left this match has become a real cliffhanger. This election is looking like a cliffhanger, and we won't be able to truly say who's won until all the votes are counted.
Someone who spends time with a person or a group of people hoping to benefit in some way from the association. The term implies that such a person is sycophantic and/or unwanted. Ever since Jennifer became a famous actress, she's surrounded by hangers-on trying to use her to further their own careers.
One who writes bad or dishonored checks, especially out of habit or as a criminal profession. Sometimes hyphenated. Apparently there's been a paper hanger passing through the state, depositing bad checks on Fridays and then skipping town before the banks are open on Monday. He was a paper-hanger for a while back in college. Nothing too serious, mostly just did it to pay for groceries or school supplies when he was low on cash.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
n. long steering handles on a bicycle or motorcycle. Who is that guy riding the bike with ape hangers?
n. someone who cannot decide which side to be on. We need to find a way to persuade the fence hangers to come over to our side.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A situation whose outcome is in extremely suspenseful doubt until the last moment. The term comes from serialized adventure films popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, in which, at the end of each installment, the hero or heroine is left in a very dangerous situation, sometimes literally dangling from a cliff. The rationale, of course, was to entice the audience to return for the next installment in order to see what happened. By the 1940s the term was being transferred to other suspenseful states of affairs—for example, “the election was a cliff-hanger.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer