seem

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can't seem to

Apparently unable to or incapable of doing something. I've been over these figures three times, but I just can't seem to get them to add up. He couldn't seem to figure out how to work the machine.
See also: seem

long shot

1. A bet that has a low probability of winning. That horse is a long shot, but the bet will pay well if he wins the race.
2. Something that has a very small chance of succeeding. I know it's a long shot because of his busy schedule, but maybe I can convince him to help me with this project. Her candidacy was a long shot from the beginning, and her landslide defeat was no surprise.
See also: long, shot

make (something) seem like a picnic

To be so difficult, complicated, or harmful as to make something else that is normally very difficult or negative seem easy, simple, or pleasant by comparison. If we don't act now, the financial crisis waiting for us will make the last recession seem like a picnic.
See also: like, make, picnic, seem

out of place

1. Not in the usual or proper place. We need to put everything back perfectly—Mom and Dad will know if even one book is out of place. The detective noticed that the picture frame was out of place.
2. Not appropriate for or fitting with the current surroundings or environment. I'm afraid your type of humor might be a little out of place in such a formal venue. I always felt out of place in school, like I was there by mistake. Their wild nautical-themed house is totally out of place in the neatly organized suburb.
See also: of, out, place

pressed for time

Having a small or limited amount of time available; in a hurry. I'm sorry, I can't chat for long. I need to go pick up the kids, and I'm a bit pressed for time. Don't plan an elaborate meal if you're pressed for time—we can just order a pizza instead.
See also: press, time

high-and-mighty

Fig. self-important and arrogant. I don't know why William is so high-and-mighty. He's no better than the rest of us. The boss acts high-and-mighty because he can fire us all.

*long shot

Fig. a risky bet; an attempt, bet, or proposition that has a low probability of success. (*Typically: be ~; seem like ~.) Your solution is a long shot, but we'll try it and hope it works.
See also: long, shot

*oneself again

showing signs of being healthy again or restored. (*Typically: act like ~; be ~; feel like ~; seem like ~.) After such a longillness, it'sgoodto be myself again. I'm sorry that I lost my temper. I think I feel like myself again now.
See also: again

*out of place

 
1. Lit. not in the proper place. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; knock something ~.) The book I wanted was out of place, and I almost did not find it. How did the furniture in this room get out of place?
2. Fig. inappropriate. (*Typically: be ~; Seem ~.) That kind of behavior is out of place at a party. Your crude language is out of place.
3. Fig. [of someone ] awkward and unwelcome. (*Typically: be ~; feel ~; seem ~.) I feel out of place at formal dances. Bob and Ann felt out of place at the picnic, so they went home.
See also: of, out, place

*pressed for time

 and *pushed for time
Fig. needing time; in a hurry. (*Typically: be ~; become ~; get ~; Seem ~.) If I weren't so pressed for time, I could help you. I can't talk to you. I'm too pushed for time. Can't talk to you now. I'm pressed for time.
See also: press, time

*putty in someone's hands

Fig. [of someone] easily influenced by someone else; excessively willing to do what someone else wishes. (Putty is soft and malleable. *Typically: be ~; seem like ~.) Bob's wife is putty in his hands. She never thinks for herself. Jane is putty in her mother's hands. She always does exactly what her mother says.
See also: hand, putty

seem like someone or something

to appear to be like some kind of person or something. You seemed like such a nice person when I met you. This seems like a nice day.
See also: like, seem

Things are seldom what they seem.

Prov. Things often appear different from what they really are. Emily seems to be a fine young lady, but be careful. Things are seldom what they seem. To judge from his elegant clothing and luxurious car, William was a wealthy man. But things are seldom what they seem; in fact, he was in desperate need of money.
See also: seem, seldom, Thing, what

can't seem to

Be apparently unable to, as in No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to concentrate on this book. This phrase gives added emphasis to a negative statement, as in the example. [Late 1800s]
See also: seem

out of place

Not in the proper situation, not belonging; inappropriate for the circumstances or location. For example, A high school graduate, she felt out of place among all these academics with advanced degrees , or This velvet sofa is out of place on the porch. This idiom uses place in the sense of "a fitting position." [First half of 1800s]
See also: of, out, place

pressed for time

In a hurry, as in How long will it take? I'm really pressed for time. This idiom uses press in the sense of "subject to pressure," a usage dating from the late 1600s.
See also: press, time

out of ˈplace


1 not in the correct place: Some of these files seem to be out place.
2 not suitable for a particular situation: Your silly remarks were completely out of place at such an important meeting.I feel quite out of place at a smart party like this.
See also: of, out, place

long shot

n. a wild guess; an attempt at something that has little chance of succeeding. You shouldn’t expect a long shot to pay off.
See also: long, shot

pressed for time

In a hurry; under time pressure.
See also: press, time
References in classic literature ?
It seemed like a new misanthropic belief which had fallen on human beings, carrying with it the negation of all hope.
After a few days, men began to grow desperate; their very words as well as their senses seemed to be in chains.
The road was rugged, but still we seemed to fly over it with a feverish haste.
Here and there seemed mighty rifts in the mountains, through which, as the sun began to sink, we saw now and again the white gleam of falling water.
But although it seemed likely that she would soon control her anger with him, the certainty that he did not love her, confirmed by every word of his proposal, forbade any freedom of speech.
The obstacles in the way of his desire seemed to him purely artificial, and yet he could see no way of removing them.
During this moment of leisure they seemed all to be engaged in staring with astonishment at him.
His flesh seemed strange- ly on fire, and the sounds of the battle continued in his ears.
All existence seemed to beat with a lower pulse than her own, and her religious faith was a solitary cry, the struggle out of a nightmare in which every object was withering and shrinking away from her.
Celia's marriage seemed more serious than it used to do.
Even through the veil of my confusion the earth seemed very fair.
Everything still seemed grey, but presently I remarked that the confusion in my ears was gone.
Athelny spoke of the mystical writers of Spain, of Teresa de Avila, San Juan de la Cruz, Fray Luis de Leon; in all of them was that passion for the unseen which Philip felt in the pictures of El Greco: they seemed to have the power to touch the incorporeal and see the invisible.
He had always had a passion for life, and the idealism he had come across seemed to him for the most part a cowardly shrinking from it.
She was suddenly conscious of a shiver which seemed to spread from her heart throughout her limbs.