Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
1. noun A prize for first place. In contests, the person or thing that wins first place is often awarded a blue ribbon. Congratulations on winning the blue ribbon! It was certainly well-deserved—I never knew pecan pie could taste so good!
2. adjective By extension, excellent or the best of a particular group or category. Often hyphenated. Wow, Sharon, this is a blue-ribbon pie—I never knew pecan pie could taste so good!
cut (someone or something) to ribbons
1. Literally, to badly cut or gash someone or something. Kids, get away from the broken window—all that glass could cut you to ribbons!
2. To judge or criticize someone or something harshly. I thought I had done a good job on the project, but my boss just cut me to ribbons, pointing out every little thing I had overlooked.
cut a/the ribbon
To formally open or begin something, which can include the act of cutting a ceremonial ribbon. The CEO should definitely be there when we cut the ribbon on the new hospital wing tomorrow.
shoot to ribbons
To shoot something multiple times and thus break it into pieces or destroy it. A noun or pronoun is used between "shoot" and "to ribbons." The gangsters shot the poor man to ribbons right on the doorstep of his house. Rebel soldiers shot the government building to ribbons during their attack.
shot full of holes
1. Shot multiple times. Police found the gangster shot full of holes. My car was parked outside of the bank during the robbery, and it ended up shot full of holes during the ensuing gunfight with police.
2. Comprehensively unsound or flawed; having many faults or problems that do not stand up to scrutiny or criticism. Alludes to a vessel that has been pierced multiple times by bullets and thus can no longer hold its contents. Does anyone have a better suggestion? Mark's idea is clearly shot full of holes. The suspect's whole alibi is shot full of holes.
shot to ribbons
Shot multiple times and thus broken into pieces or destroyed. Police found the gangster shot to ribbons. My car was parked outside of the bank during the robbery, and it ended up shot to ribbons during the ensuing gunfight with police.
tear (someone or something) to ribbons
1. Literally, to destroy something by ripping or tearing it. I got so frustrated with that sketch that I finally just tore it to ribbons.
2. To judge or criticize someone or something harshly. I thought I had done a good job on the project, but my boss just tore me to ribbons, pointing out every little thing I had overlooked.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
cut someone to ribbons
1. Lit. to cut or slice someone severely. He broke a mirror and the glass cut his hand to ribbons.
2. Fig. to criticize someone severely. The critics just cut her acting to ribbons!
shot full of holesand shot to ribbons; shot to hell; shot to pieces
1. Fig. [of an argument that is] demolished or comprehensively destroyed. Come on, that theory was shot full of holes ages ago. Your argument is all shot to hell.
2. to be very intoxicated due to drink or drugs. Tipsy? Shot to ribbons, more like! Boy, I really felt shot full of holes. I'll never drink another drop.
3. totally ruined. (Use hell with caution.) My car is all shot to hell and can't be depended on. This rusty old knife is shot to hell. I need a sharper one.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
cut a (or the) ribbonperform an opening ceremony, usually by formally cutting a ribbon strung across the entrance to a building, road, etc.
cut (or tear) something to ribbons1 cut (or tear) something so badly that only ragged strips remain. 2 damage something severely.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
cut, tear, etc. something to ˈribbonscut, tear, etc. something very badly: She was so furious when she discovered her husband with another woman that she cut all his clothes to ribbons.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
Of outstanding excellence; also, first prize. The term comes from the wide blue ribbon that is the badge of honor of the Garter, the highest order of British knighthood. It was founded by King Edward III about 1350 and reestablished in the nineteenth century. The choice of a blue garter allegedly dated from a court ball where a lady lost her blue garter. The king picked it up and, seeing knowing smirks among the guests, bound it around his own leg and said, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (“Shame on him who thinks evil”). The saying became the motto of the Order of the Garter. The award was originally limited to members of the royal family and 25 other knights, but in the 1900s it was granted to a few commoners, among them Sir Winston Churchill (in 1953). In the mid-1800s the term began to be transferred to any outstanding accomplishment and today it is applied to excellent schools (Blue Ribbon Schools Program), as a name for restaurants and menu items (blue-ribbon special), and as the first prize in athletic competitions.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer