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be packed (in) like sardines
To be very tightly or snugly packed together, especially in a small space. We didn't want to take more than one car, so we had to be packed like sardines in Jeff's little sedan for the four-hour drive to Moab. Having a concert in our friends café was such a good idea! Sure, we were packed in like sardines, but everyone had a great time.
1. informal Filled or packed to capacity. The bus always gets jam-packed at that hour. I don't think I can fit anything else in the box. It's pretty jam-packed as it is.
2. informal Containing a great deal (of something). I know kale is supposed to be jam-packed with nutrients, but I just can't stand the taste. The band's anniversary album is jam-packed with all their biggest hits throughout the years.
3. informal Having a great many events, activities, performances, etc., scheduled to occur within a relatively short period of time. We're only in Italy for two weeks, but our itinerary is jam-packed with fun things to do and see. The festival promises to be a jam-packed weekend of musical performances.
pack (someone or something) (in) like sardines
To fit many people or things very tightly or snugly into a small space. We didn't want to take more than one car, so Jeff packed us like sardines in his little sedan for the four-hour drive to Moab. Having a concert in our friends café was such a good idea! Sure, we had to pack people in like sardines, but everyone had a great time. I wish you would just let us buy you a bigger backpack! It makes my own back hurt watching you pack those books like sardines into your little shoulder bag.
pack (someone or something) into (something or some place)
1. To pack something into a container or enclosed space of some kind so that it may be stored or carried for future use. I'm sorry, I already packed the toothpaste into the suitcase for our trip. Isn't there another tube somewhere? I'm packing my maternity clothes into a box so we can keep it up in the attic, just in case we decide to have another baby sometime in the future.
2. To manage to fit a lot of people or things into some enclosed space. Wow, they really pack the garlic into this dish, huh? Managers of the club have been accused of packing people into the club beyond its safety limits.
3. To manage to schedule a lot of activities into a limited amount of time. You sure packed a lot into just a week! I've stopped trying to pack so many things to do into every trip I take because I end up not enjoying the location itself.
pack (someone or something) off to (some place)
To send someone or something to a certain location, often (of a person) abruptly, hastily, or unceremoniously. The kids were starting to drive us crazy, so we packed them off to a summer camp for a few weeks. We're excited to announce that we'll be packing the first copies of the book off to stores tomorrow!
pack a gun
To have a firearm, especially a handgun, currently on one's person. There just aren't guns anywhere in the country. Even most of the police don't pack guns! I make sure I'm always packing a gun when I go through this part of town.
pack a punch
1. To be able to punch powerfully. For such a scrawny kid, George sure can pack a punch—even the older kids are afraid of him!
2. By extension, to have a powerful effect or impact. I don't like spicy food, so I hope this salsa doesn't pack a punch.
pack a wallop
1. To be able to punch very powerfully. For such a scrawny kid, George sure can pack a wallop—even the older kids are afraid of him!
2. By extension, to have a powerful effect or impact. I don't like spicy food, so I hope this salsa doesn't pack a wallop.
1. To pack something into a container or enclosed space of some kind so that it may be stored or carried for future use. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "away." After the dinner party was over, they packed the good dishes and silverware away. I'm packing away my maternity clothes in case we decide to have another baby sometime in the future. I'm sorry, I already packed the toothpaste away for the trip. Isn't there another tube somewhere?
2. To eat a lot of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "away." Wow, that kids can really pack away the cake! He was so hungry that he packed two sandwiches away in about ten minutes.
To press, push, or tamp something downward to compress it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "down." I packed down the clothes as far as I could, but I still couldn't get the suitcase shut. We'll need to pack the soil down to create a strong foundation for the concrete.
To have one or more firearms, especially handguns, currently on one's person. Everyone in that gang packs heat, so I'd steer clear of them if I were you! I make sure I'm always packing heat when I go through this part of town.
1. To pack something into a container or enclosed space of some kind so that it may be stored or carried for future use. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "in." I packed in an extra chocolate bar as a treat for your lunch today. I'm packing my maternity clothes in a box in the attic we decide to have another baby sometime in the future. I'm sorry, I already packed the toothpaste in the suitcase for our trip. Isn't there another tube somewhere?
2. To manage to fit a lot of people or things into some enclosed space. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "in." Wow, they really pack the garlic in this dish, huh? Managers of the club have been accused of packing in people beyond its safety limits.
3. To manage to schedule a lot of activities into a limited amount of time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "in." You sure packed in a lot in just a week! I've stopped trying to pack so many things to do in every time I travel because I end up not enjoying the location itself.
4. To surround something snugly within some substance or material. A noun or pronoun is used between "pack" and "in." We'll have to pack the finger in ice if we want to have any chance of reattaching it. They packed the stereo equipment in foam to ensure it wasn't damaged during delivery.
5. To quit or give up something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "in." I'm so glad you packed in the smoking—I wouldn't have been able to bear it if you had fallen ill from it. Tom packed his job in and moved to the countryside to work on his father's farm.
pack it in
1. To cease doing something, especially a job, hobby, or endeavor. Once he was no longer able to keep his hand steady, Tom knew he had to pack it in as a surgeon. Video games have gotten too expensive and time-consuming—I think I'm ready to pack it in. Sales have dwindled down to nothing. I think it's about time we packed it in for the season.
2. To eat a large amount of food, especially when doing so is surprising. Often used with "can" or "could." For such a skinny little guy, you can really pack it in! I could always pack it in when I was younger without gaining a pound. Now, I just look at a piece of cake, and I seem to put on weight!
1. To load someone or something onto something, especially a vehicle. They really packed us on the tour bus. I didn't even have enough room to stretch my arms! We packed on as much as we could fit inside the van.
2. To gain fat or muscle mass, especially very quickly. I tend to pack on a few extra pounds during the holidays, so I make a point of hitting the gym in January to trim back down again. You can lift weights all you want, but you need to alter your diet if you want to really pack some muscle on.
pack on the pounds
To put on weight quickly, especially a large or excessive amount. Wow, Jim really packed on the pounds on while he was on his sabbatical. I'm trying to pack on the pounds so I can make it on the football team this fall!
1. To fill some space with spectators or audience members. Often used in passive constructions. (In each usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "out.") Over 20,000 people packed out Madison Square Garden to watch the Heavyweight Championship. The theater was totally packed out for the movie premiere.
2. To pack someone's possessions in order to be moved out of the current location. We hired a moving company to pack us out and deliver our belongings to the new house in Connecticut. Tommy and I were packing out a couple last Sunday who had a baboon for a pet—I swear to God!
3. To pack something, especially garbage, in order to remove it from one's current location. Used especially in reference to camping, hiking, or other outdoor activities. You can bring bears down into the campsite if you don't pack your trash out when you leave. Let's make sure we pack out all our rubbish when we're leaving.
4. To cause snow to be tightly packed. Often used in passive constructions. Skiers and snowshoers have packed out the snow all around the area. There hasn't been fresh powder for a while, so all the snow on the slopes is pretty packed out.
pack the pounds on
To put on weight quickly, either from fat or from muscle mass. Wow, Jim really packed the pounds on while he was on his sabbatical. The coach said I'll need to pack the pounds on if I want to make it on the football team this fall, so I've been hitting the weight room every day after school.
pack them in
To bring or draw in a large number of people as an audience. Let's move to a bigger venue. That way, we'll really be able to pack them in! We need a big act to pack them in.
To fit multiple people or things into a confined space or container. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pack" and "together." They packed all 20 of us together into a hot, stuffy meeting room to listen to the boss's boring lecture about workplace safety. I don't know how they packed together so many things into one box.
packed (in) like sardines
Very tightly or snugly packed together, especially in a small space. We didn't want to take more than one car, so we had to drive for about four hours packed like sardines in Jeff's little sedan. Having a concert in our friends café was such a good idea! Sure, we were packed in like sardines, but everyone had a great time.
packed to the gills
Completely full; teeming; having no room to spare. I've got so many meetings and deadlines these days that my schedule is packed to the gills! Her mind was packed to the gills with ideas for her new book. I felt packed to the gills after my grandmother's Thanksgiving meal.
packed to the rafters
Completely full; teeming; having no room to spare. I've got so many meetings and deadlines these days that my schedule is packed to the rafters! Her mind was packed to the rafters with ideas for her new book. I felt packed to the rafters after my grandmother's Thanksgiving meal.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pack a wallopand pack a punch
Fig. to provide a burst of energy, power, or excitement. Wow, this spicy food really packs a wallop. I put a special kind of gasoline in my car because I thought it would pack a punch. It didn't.
[for something] to settle down in a container. The cereal has packed down in the box so that it seems that the box is only half full. Everything was packed down carefully inside.
pack it in
1. Fig. to quit trying to do something; to give up trying something and quit. I was so distressed that I almost packed it in. I've had enough! I'm going to pack it in.
2. Fig. to go to bed. Good night. It's time for me to pack it in. We drove to a hotel and packed it in.
pack someone or something together
to press or squeeze people or things together. The ushers packed the people together as much as they dared. They packed together all the people standing in the room. They packed the cups together too tightly and some broke.
pack something away
to pack something up and put it away. Pack this mirror away where it will be safe. Please pack away this mirror carefully.
pack something down
to make something more compact; to press something in a container down so it takes less space. The traffic packed down the snow. Pack the grass down in the basket so the basket will hold more.
pack something in something
to surround or enclose something in something. They packed his wounded hand in Ice, then took him to the hospital. Pack the vase in shredded paper before you close the box.
pack them in
Fig. to draw a lot of people. It was a good night at the theater. The play really packed them in. The circus manager knew he could pack them in if he advertised the lion tamer.
packed (in) like sardines
Fig. packed very tightly. It was terribly crowded there. We were packed in like sardines. The bus was full. The passengers were packed like sardines.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
pack a punch
Also, pack a wallop.
1. Be capable of a forceful blow; also, deliver a forceful blow. For example, Knowing Bob could pack a wicked punch, they were careful not to anger him, or She swung her handbag, really packing a wallop. [Colloquial; c. 1920]
2. Have a powerful effect, as in That vodka martini packed a wallop. Thomas Wolfe had this figurative usage in a letter (c. 1938): "I think my play, The House, will pack a punch."
packed in like sardines
Extremely crowded, as in I could barely breathe-we were packed in like sardines. This term, alluding to how tightly sardines are packed in cans, has been applied to human crowding since the late 1800s.
pack it in
Stop working or abandon an activity, as in Let's pack it in for the day. This usage alludes to packing one's things before departing, and during World War I became military slang for being killed. It also is used as an imperative ordering someone to stop, as in Pack it in! I've heard enough out of you. In Britain it is also put as pack it up. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
pack them in
Attract a large audience, as in A big star will always pack them in. This idiom alludes to tightly filling a hall. [c. 1940]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
pack a punchINFORMAL
COMMON If something packs a punch, it has a very powerful effect. He is known for designing clothes that really pack a punch. The advert packs a punch with its straightforward, real, no-tricks approach. Note: People also sometimes say that something packs a wallop. Many years after it was made, this movie still packs a wallop.
packed like sardines
If a group of people are packed like sardines, they are standing very close together because there is not enough room in an enclosed space. We were packed like sardines in the ship and could barely move. Note: Other words such as crammed, jammed or squashed are sometimes used instead of packed. The male sauna was really packed. There were about five people squashed in there like sardines. Note: The image here is of tinned sardines which have been tightly packed.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
pack heatcarry a gun. North American informal
pack it instop what you are doing. informal
pack a punch1 be capable of hitting with skill or force. 2 have a powerful effect.
packed like sardinescrowded very close together.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
ˌpack it ˈin(informal, especially British English) stop doing something: Your guitar playing is getting on my nerves. Pack it in, will you? ♢ I didn’t like my last job so I packed it in.
ˌpack a (hard, etc.) ˈpunch(informal)
1 be able to hit very hard: He’s a boxer who packs a nasty punch!
2 have a powerful effect on somebody: Their latest advertising campaign packs a hard punch. ♢ Don’t drink too much of his home-made beer — it packs quite a punch!
ˌpack them ˈin,
ˌpack the ˈhouseattract a large audience; fill a theatre, hall, etc: This group’s been playing for twenty years but they’re still packing them in. ♢ The city orchestra always plays to a packed house.
packed (together) like sarˈdines(informal) (of people) pressed tightly together in a way that is uncomfortable or unpleasant: On the tube in the rush hour the passengers are packed like sardines.
Sardines are a type of fish that are usually sold packed tightly together in small tins.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
1. To put something in a container for storage: We packed away the winter clothes for summer. After the trip, I packed my souvenirs away.
2. To fit into a container for storage: The shaving kit packs away easily into your suitcase.
3. To eat a large amount of something: We packed it away at the banquet. The kids really packed away those hot dogs!
1. To fit something into some enclosed space for storage or travel: I packed our sandwiches in the picnic basket.
2. To fit something into some limited space: Do you think you could pack in a few more pairs of socks in your bag? There was not much room in the trunk for the bags, but I was able to pack them in.
3. To stop doing something, as a job or habit; retire from doing something: He packed in his career as a railroad engineer when the trains were sold. She wasn't making any money through her work, so she decided to pack it in.
4. To attract a large number of people: The speaker's seminars have been packing in audiences all month. Good marketing will pack audiences in at the premiere.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
mod. full. This day has been jampacked with surprises.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
pack it inInformal
To cease work or activity: Let's pack it in for the day.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
packed in like sardines
Close together, crowded. Canned sardines are jammed together as tightly as practically any such object. The condition was transferred to human crowds by the late nineteenth century. Spike Milligan played with it in his poem “Sardines” (A Book of Milliganimals, 1968): “A baby Sardine saw her first submarine, She was scared and watched through a peephole, ‘O come, come, come, come,’ said the Sardine’s mum, ‘It’s only a tin full of people.’”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer