often


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as often as not

Frequently; more than half the time. The phrase is not always preceded by the adverb "as." As often as not, I end up disliking coming back to my hometown for a visit. I'll have a drink with dinner often as not.
See also: not, often

bad workers always blame their tools

If someone performs a job or task poorly or unsuccessfully, they will usually lay the blame on the quality of their equipment, or other such external factors, rather than take responsibility for their own failure. The football player blamed the overinflated ball for costing his team the game, but as they say, bad workers always blame their tools.
See also: always, bad, blame, tool, worker

(as) often as not

In most instances; usually; at least, if not more than, half the time. As often as not, Jamie's and David's debates end up turning into petty arguments. I find these introductory college courses to be, often as not, a rather boring waste of one's time.
See also: not, often

the pitcher will go to the well once too often

A period of good luck will eventually end. I know that being on a winning streak is very exciting, but just remember that the pitcher will go to the well once too often. I'm sure he will continue to break the law until he gets caught. The pitcher will go to the well once too often.
See also: go, often, once, pitcher, well, will

every so often

Sometimes; occasionally. Josh does stop by the store every so often, but I haven't seen him lately. I don't eat a lot of sweets, but every so often I just need a piece of chocolate cake.
See also: every, often

(have done) more (something) than (one) has had hot dinners

Has more experience at something than the person one is referring to. Oh please, I've completed more of these reports than he's had hot dinners, so no, I'm not going to listen to any of his suggestions.
See also: dinner, hot, more

more often than not

Much of the time. Tom is late more often than not—he just never gets caught.
See also: more, not, often

once too often

One time too many; the latest in a series of actions, the one that finally results in notice, reprisal, punishment, or some other consequence. It seems he tried to hide his earnings from the IRS once too often, and is now facing a tax bill that could possibly bankrupt him. He'd insulted her once too often, so she packed up her things and left the house.
See also: often, once

little and often fills the purse

Earning or save small amounts of money as frequently as possible will provide the income or savings that one needs. I never had a proper career, instead making my living by doing various jobs for people all around the city. I might not have had a fat paycheck at the end of each month, but little and often fills the purse. Try to get into the habit of dropping 10, 20, 30 dollars into a savings account whenever you can spare it—little and often fills the purse.
See also: and, fill, little, often, purse

Half the truth is often a whole lie.

Prov. If you do not tell the whole truth, you can mislead people just as if you tell them an outright lie. Jill: You lied to me. Jane: I did not. Everything I said was true. Jill: But you didn't tell me the whole story. And half the truth is often a whole lie.
See also: half, lie, often, truth, whole

Little and often fills the purse.

Prov. If you get a little bit of money frequently, you will always have enough. Jill: I don't think I'll ever be able to save very much; I can only afford to save such a little bit of money from every paycheck. Jane: Ah, but little and often fills the purse.
See also: and, fill, little, often, purse

more often than not

Fig. usually. These flowers will live through the winter more often than not. This kind of dog will grow up to be a good watchdog more often than not.
See also: more, not, often

every now and then

Also, every now and again; every once in a while; every so often. Occasionally, from time to time; also, periodically. For example, Every now and then I long for a piece of chocolate, or We take long walks every now and again, or Every once in a while he'll call, or Every so often she washes the car. The first term dates from the first half of the 1700s, the last from the mid-1900s. Also see from time to time; once in a while.
See also: and, every, now

more often than not

Also, often as not. Fairly frequently, more than or at least half the time, as in More often than not we'll have dinner in the den, or Dean and Chris agree on travel plans, often as not. [First half of 1900s]
See also: more, not, often

often as not

See also: not, often

more .../more often than somebody has had hot ˈdinners

(informal, often humorous) used for emphasizing how much/many or how often somebody has done something: He’s won more medals than you’ve had hot dinners.She’s been to France more often than you’ve had hot dinners.
See also: dinner, hot, more, often, somebody

ˌevery so ˈoften

occasionally: I usually drink tea, but every so often I have coffee after dinner.
See also: every, often

(as) ˌoften as ˈnot

,

more ˌoften than ˈnot

frequently; usually: As often as not I watch TV after dinner.
See also: not, often

ˌonce too ˈoften

used to say that somebody has done something wrong or stupid again, and this time they will suffer because of it: You’ve tried that trick once too often.
See also: often, once

every so often

At intervals; occasionally.
See also: every, often

go to the well too often

Keep calling on the same resource after it has been exhausted. This expression is a modern version of an ancient proverb, appearing in various ways and numerous languages from the fourteenth century on. Thomas Fuller (Gnomologia, 1732) put it, “The pitcher that often goes to the well comes home broken at last.”
See also: go, often, well
References in classic literature ?
The whole beaver household, old and young, set out upon this business, and will often make long journeys before they are suited.
The beaver, when entrapped, often gets fastened by the chain to sunken logs or floating timber; if he gets to shore, he is entangled in the thickets of brook willows.
There are the brave champion, whether noble or common man, who conquers or falls against overwhelming odds; the faithful lover of either sex; the woman whose constancy, proving stronger than man's fickleness, wins back her lover to her side at last; the traitorous old woman (victim of the blind and cruel prejudice which after a century or two was often to send her to the stake as a witch); the loyal little child; and some few others.
The verbal style of the ballads, like their spirit, is vigorous and simple, generally unpolished and sometimes rough, but often powerful with its terse dramatic suggestiveness.
David had noticed nothing, but I was strangely uncomfortable, and, despite my efforts at talk, often lapsed into silence, to be roused from it by a feeling that Paterson was looking at me covertly.
These ghosts made me to sweat in bed, not merely that night, but often when some new shock brought them back in force, yet, unsupported, they would have disturbed me little by day.
The child had no playmates, so he did not know that boys often dig out the inside of a "pumpkin-jack," and in the space thus made put a lighted candle to render the face more startling; but he conceived an idea of his own that promised to be quite as effective.
The old man, I could perceive, often endeavoured to encourage his children, as sometimes I found that he called them, to cast off their melancholy.
In the day, I believe, he worked sometimes for a neighbouring farmer, because he often went forth and did not return until dinner, yet brought no wood with him.
I feel as if it were right to ask her as often as I can if she doesn't consider every one equal; but she always says she doesn't, and she confesses that she doesn't think she is equal to "Lady Something-or-other," who is the wife of that relation of her father.
I had difficulty often in securing a satisfactory teacher.
The laws governing inheritance are quite unknown; no one can say why the same peculiarity in different individuals of the same species, and in individuals of different species, is sometimes inherited and sometimes not so; why the child often reverts in certain characters to its grandfather or grandmother or other much more remote ancestor; why a peculiarity is often transmitted from one sex to both sexes or to one sex alone, more commonly but not exclusively to the like sex.
The maids of honour often invited Glumdalclitch to their apartments, and desired she would bring me along with her, on purpose to have the pleasure of seeing and touching me.
We do not shun our dying friends; the not having distinctly taken leave of one among them, whom we left in all kindness and affection, will often embitter the whole remainder of a life.
So often have you asked me about my former existence--about my mother, about Pokrovski, about my sojourn with Anna Thedorovna, about my more recent misfortunes; so often have you expressed an earnest desire to read the manuscript in which (God knows why) I have recorded certain incidents of my life, that I feel no doubt but that the sending of it will give you sincere pleasure.