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cat in the sack

A ruse, swindle, or suspicious transaction. In English, the more common phrase is "(to buy a) pig in the poke" (a "poke" being an older word for a bag or sack), meaning to buy something without verifying its contents or value first; the "cat in the sack" (a phrase more common to other European languages) refers to an item of lesser quality or value that has been substituted in its place. This is also the basis for the phrase "the cat's out of the bag" (and iterations thereof), meaning the swindle or secret has been exposed. I thought I was getting a great deal buying my car from that online seller, but as soon as I drove it home, I realized I'd bought a cat in the sack.
See also: cat, sack

give (one) the sack

To fire someone from a job or task. The new secretary is so rude—I need to give her the sack. I tried so hard to do a good job in Mrs. Smith's garden, but she gave me the sack anyway.
See also: give, sack

an empty sack cannot stand upright

One must eat in order to carry out one's duties. Have some dinner before you go back to your research. An empty sack cannot stand upright, you know.
See also: cannot, empty, sack, stand, upright

can't carry a tune

Can't sing well; totally lacks musical talent. I think it's lovely that George wants to be in his church choir, but that boy can't carry a tune!
See also: carry, tune

hit the hay

To get into bed and go to sleep. I have to get up early for work tomorrow, so I think I'd better hit the hay.
See also: hay, hit

hit the sack

To get into bed and go to sleep. I have to get up early for work tomorrow, so I think I'd better hit the sack.
See also: hit, sack

get the sack

To be fired from a job or task. The new secretary is so rude—it's time she got the sack. I tried so hard to do a good job in Mrs. Smith's garden, but I got the sack anyway.
See also: get, sack

sack out

To go to bed or to fall asleep. I'd been getting up so early all week long that I was ready to sack out by 11 on Friday night. Jonathan sacked out in the passenger seat, so I had to drive nearly the whole way in total silence.
See also: out, sack

hold the sack

To bear the responsibility or burden of dealing with or suffering the consequences of an undesirable situation, especially due to a lack of accountability from others. Because the bank was considered too large to fail, the government was left holding the sack when its value plummeted during the economic crash. Unfortunately, small businesses are going to be the ones holding the sack if this agriculture bill is passed.
See also: hold, sack

sad sack

1. noun A hopelessly inept, blundering person who can't do anything right. That poor sad sack Sarah has been stuck in the same dead-end role in this company for years.
2. noun A sad, moping person, especially one who refuses to try and improve their mood or situation. Don't be such a sad sack—I know you're disappointed about missing the concert, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun tonight! He just sat there like a sad sack, sulking in the corner of the party.
3. verb To be in a sad, moping mood, especially while refusing to try and improve one's mood or situation. Usually used in the continuous tense; sometimes hyphenated. If you don't quit sad sacking back there, I'm going to turn the car around and drive us all straight back home! Bill's been sad-sacking around the office ever since he got passed over for the promotion.
See also: sack, sad

nut up

1. slang To lose one's reason or sanity; to become crazy or psychotic. In this phrase, "nut" is a derogatory slang term meaning "a crazy person." All those days of sleep deprivation finally caused him to start nutting up. It seems that the former employee nutted up after being fired and began planning an attack against his ex-employers.
2. vulgar slang To start acting in a strong, confident, and/or courageous manner, especially after having previously failed to do so. In this phrase, "nut" is the singular of "nuts," a vulgar slang term for testicles also used figuratively to mean confidence, courage, bravado, etc. The phrase is not exclusively applied to males. Often used as an imperative. You need to nut up and ask your boss for a raise already! Janet, I know you're nervous about asking Tom out on a date, but just nut up and give it a shot!
See also: nut, up

sack rat

slang Someone who spends an inordinate amount of time sleeping or lounging in bed. ("Sack" is a colloquial term for "bed.") I used to be such a sack rat when I was in college, spending entire days in bed. Now that I have kids, I'm lucky if I can get eight uninterrupted hours in bed each night.
See also: rat, sack

sack time

1. slang Bedtime. ("Sack" is a colloquial term for "bed.") OK, kids, sack time—everyone up the stairs and into your pajamas!
2. slang Time spent asleep in bed. I get up with the kids on the weekends to give my wife a bit of extra sack time.
See also: sack, time

sack up

1. To put or pack something into a sack or bag. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sack" and "up." My first job was sacking up people's groceries at the store down the road for $5 an hour. Don't worry about wrinkling the clothes. Just sack them up.
2. vulgar slang To start acting in a strong, confident, and/or courageous manner, especially after having previously failed to do so. In this usage, "sack" is slang for the scrotum, a reference to testicles, which are used figuratively to represent confidence, courage, bravado, etc. The phrase is not exclusively applied to males. Often used as an imperative. You need to sack up and ask your boss for a raise already! What's he going to do, fire you? Janet, I know you're nervous about asking Tom out on a date, but just sack up and give it a shot!
3. slang To have sexual relations with someone. In this usage, "sack" is slang for a bed. A: "I heard that Tom has been sacking up with some 30-year-old accountant from his old law firm." B: "Wow, he hasn't even been divorced a month!" I can't believe you and your ex-boyfriend sacked up again.
See also: sack, up

sack up with (one)

slang To have sexual relations with one. A: "I heard that Tom has been sacking up with some 30-year-old accountant from his old law firm." B: "Wow, he hasn't been divorced for longer than a month!" I can't believe you sacked up with your ex-boyfriend again.
See also: sack, up

the sack

Dismissal from employment. Usually used after "get" or "give." They gave me the sack for sleeping on the job. After they announced cutbacks, a lot of us were afraid of getting the sack.
See also: sack

fart sack

rude slang A bed. I don't need anything fancy—any old fart sack will do for the night.
See also: fart, sack

can't carry a tune

 and cannot carry a tune; can't carry a tune in a bushel basket; can't carry a tune in a bucket; can't carry a tune in a paper sack
Fig. [to be] unable to sing a simple melody; lacking musical ability. I wish that Tom wouldn't try to sing. He can't carry a tune. I don't know why Mary's in the choir. She can't carry a tune in a bushel basket. Joe likes to sing in the shower, though he can't carry a tune in a bucket. I'd try to hum the song for you, but I can't carry a tune in a paper sack.
See also: carry, tune

An empty sack cannot stand upright.

Prov. A poor or hungry person cannot function properly. Sit down and have something to eat before you go back to work. An empty sack can't stand upright.
See also: cannot, empty, sack, stand, upright

hit the hay

 and hit the sack
Fig. to go to bed. I have to go home and hit the hay pretty soon. Let's hit the sack. We have to get an early start in the morning.
See also: hay, hit

nut up

Sl. to go crazy. (See also crack up.) I knew I would nut up if I didn't quit that job. I almost nutted up at the last place I worked.
See also: nut, up

*sack

 and *ax
dismissal from one's employment. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) Poor Tom got the sack today. He's always late. I was afraid that Sally was going to get the ax.

sack out

to go to bed or go to sleep. It's time for me to sack out. Let's sack out early tonight.
See also: out, sack

sack something up

to put something into bags or sacks. Please sack the groceries up and put them in the cart. I will sack up your groceries.
See also: sack, up

sacked out

asleep. Mary is sacked out in her room. Here it is ten o'clock, and you are still sacked out!
See also: out, sack

get the ax

Also, get the boot or bounce or can or heave-ho or hook or sack . Be discharged or fired, expelled, or rejected. For example, He got the ax at the end of the first week, or The manager was stunned when he got the boot himself, or We got the bounce in the first quarter, or The pitcher got the hook after one inning, or Bill finally gave his brother-in-law the sack. All but the last of these slangy expressions date from the 1870s and 1880s. They all have variations using give that mean "to fire or expel someone," as in Are they giving Ruth the ax?Get the ax alludes to the executioner's ax, and get the boot to literally booting or kicking someone out. Get the bounce alludes to being bounced out; get the can comes from the verb can, "to dismiss," perhaps alluding to being sealed in a container; get the heave-ho alludes to heave in the sense of lifting someone bodily, and get the hook is an allusion to a fishing hook. Get the sack, first recorded in 1825, probably came from French though it existed in Middle Dutch. The reference here is to a workman's sac ("bag") in which he carried his tools and which was given back to him when he was fired. Also see give someone the air.
See also: ax, get

get the sack

see under get the ax.
See also: get, sack

hit the hay

Also, hit the sack. Go to bed, as in I usually hit the hay after the eleven o'clock news, or I'm tired, let's hit the sack. The first colloquial expression dates from the early 1900s, the variant from about 1940.
See also: hay, hit

sack out

Go to sleep, go to bed, as in We sacked out about midnight. This slangy idiom is a verbal use of the noun sack, slang for "bed" since about 1940; it alludes to a sleeping bag and appears in such similar phrases as in the sack, in bed, and sack time, bedtime.
See also: out, sack

sad sack

A singularly inept person, as in Poor George is a hopeless sad sack. This term alludes to a cartoon character, Sad Sack, invented by George Baker in 1942 and representing a soldier in ill-fitting uniform who failed at whatever he tried to do. It was soon transferred to clumsily inept civilians.
See also: sack, sad

hit the sack

INFORMAL or

hit the hay

mainly AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If someone hits the sack, they go to bed. We were tired, so we only half-unpacked the car and then hit the sack. Do you want me to take you up to your bed? Are you ready to hit the hay? Note: In the past, people sometimes used sacks and hay as bedding.
See also: hit, sack

hit the hay

go to bed. informal
See also: hay, hit

hit the sack

go to bed. informal
See also: hit, sack

hold the sack

bear an unwelcome responsibility. North American
See also: hold, sack

sad sack

an inept blundering person. informal, chiefly US
See also: sack, sad

hit the ˈsack/ˈhay

(informal) go to bed: I think it’s time to hit the sack. Sack and hay both refer to simple beds. In the past a bed was often just a sack or piece of rough cloth with hay inside. Sailors in the navy also slept in hammocks (= a type of bed hung between two posts, etc.) similar to sacks.
See also: hay, hit, sack

give somebody/get the ˈsack

(informal) tell somebody/be told to leave a job, usually because of something that you have done wrong: If you don’t work harder you’ll get the sack.She gave him the sack because he was always late.This may refer to a servant losing their job. They were given their sack (= bag) of belongings and told to leave the house.
See also: get, give, sack, somebody

sack out

v. Slang
To sleep or go to sleep: After a long day at work, I sacked out on the couch.
See also: out, sack

fart sack

n. one’s bed. (Military. Apparently a place where one can break wind at will. Usually objectionable.) Come on! Get out of the fart sack and get moving!
See also: fart, sack

get the sack

and get the ax
tv. to be dismissed from one’s employment. Poor Tom got the sack today. He’s always late. If I miss another day, I’ll get the ax.
See also: get, sack

get the ax

verb
See also: ax, get

hit the hay

and hit the sack
tv. to go to bed. Time to go home and hit the hay! Let’s hit the sack. We have to get an early start in the morning.
See also: hay, hit

hit the sack

verb
See also: hit, sack

nut up

1. in. to go crazy; to go nuts. I’ve got to have a vacation soon, or I’m going to nut up.
2. and sack up in. get courage; to grow some balls. Come on, man! Nut up! Stand up for yourself! Sack up and let’s go win this game.
See also: nut, up

sack up

verb
See nut up
See also: sack, up

sack

1. n. a bed. I was so tired I could hardly find my sack.
2. tv. to dismiss someone from employment; to fire someone. If I do that again, they’ll sack me.
3. and the sack n. a dismissal. (Always with the in this sense.) The boss gave them all the sack.
4. tv. in football, to tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. I tried to sack him, but he was too fast.
5. n. the completion of a tackle in football. Andy made the sack on the ten-yard line.

the sack

verb
See sack
See also: sack

sack out

in. to go to bed or go to sleep. (see also sacked out.) It’s time for me to sack out.
See also: out, sack

sack rat

n. someone who spends a lot of time in bed; someone who does not ever seem to get enough sleep. Tom is such a sack rat. He can’t seem to get enough sleep.
See also: rat, sack

sack time

1. n. a period of time spent in bed. I need more sack time than most people.
2. n. time to go to bed. Okay, gang, it’s sack time. Go home so I can get some sleep!
See also: sack, time

sacked out

mod. asleep. Here it is ten o’clock, and you are still sacked out!
See also: out, sack

sad sack

n. a sad person; a listless or depressed person. Tom always looks like such a sad sack.
See also: sack, sad

hit the hay/sack, to

Go to bed, go to sleep. The first expression dates from about 1900 and presumably alludes to a hayloft as a soft bed. A sports book of 1905 held it to be baseball players’ slang. The second term dates from World War II, although sack for “bed” originated in the U.S. Navy in the 1820s.
See also: hay, hit

sack, to get/give the

To be fired or dismissed from work; to fire someone. This slangy expression dates from the seventeenth century or even earlier, probably originating in France. In those days workmen provided their own tools and carried them in a bag—sac in French—which they took away with them upon leaving. The term appears in Randle Cotgrave’s dictionary of 1611, under sac (“On luy a donné son sac—said of a servant whom his master hath put away”), and a similar term was used in Dutch as well. A newer synonym is to get/give the ax, which dates from the second half of the 1800s and alludes to the executioner’s ax. Both expressions also have been reduced to verbs meaning “to fire”: to sack someone (“I got sacked this morning”), or to ax someone/something (“The board axed the proposal for a new school building”).
See also: get, give

sad sack, a

A pathetically inept individual. The term comes from a cartoon character named Sad Sack, invented by Sgt. George Baker and very popular during World War II. Baker’s representation of a limp-looking soldier in ill-fitting, loose-hanging uniform, who tried to do his best but was neither smart nor lucky and consequently failed at whatever he undertook, caught on, and the name was transferred to the inept in civilian life.
See also: sad
References in periodicals archive ?
Prescott was sacked six times by a formidable Carolina front-seven.
A former director at Rudd Realty, and agent for Charles Greenthal Management, Sacks is launching her firm with four client buildings she has serviced since the beginning of her career.
Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, Zamboanga peninsula police spokesperson, said a pickup loaded with 200 sacks were seized in Barangay Sinunuc.
Two weeks before he died, Sacks outlined the contents of The River of Consciousness and directed the book's three editors to arrange its publication.
The sacks of rice had been stored in two toilets of the Evelio B.
BPI Recycled Products, which supplies 270, 000 tonnes of polythene products to customers annually, says that too often buyers of plastic refuse sacks have not received what they paid for--for example, refuse sacks are described as 'Heavy Duty' but in reality fall short of the claim on the box.
Stating that, the coal was provided by Ayvalyk Governorship social aid organization, Havutca told that people in need were given 40 sacks of coal each.
After having planted a variety of vegetables in burlap sacks, I found crop production and yields above average using half the money, half the time and half the space usually spent growing and maintaining fresh healthy foods on the land.
He added: "The greater strength of the sack bottom makes it feasible to work with lighter weight fabric, not to mention the elimination of the seam allowance required for sewing." Both coated and uncoated IC STAR sacks can be produced using the new process, which has the additional advantage of ensuring a tightly sealed sack bottom.
Kadaohan-San Jose-Guintiguian Farmer-Irrigators Multipurpose Cooperative (MPC) which received 87 sacks of seeds (18 kls.
Sam Bodinnar is running the Children's Christmas Sack Campaign and has been promised more than 300 sacks full of goodies which she will distribute to underprivileged children or those in the care system.
Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author, wrote recently of seeing the night sky "powdered with stars" (in Milton's phrase) while spending a night in the countryside.
Because if the club sacks me they sack the best manager this club ever had.
A CHARITY is warning of the danger of nappy sacks after a baby's death.