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

seem like (something)

To appear to be or give the impression of being a particular kind of person or thing. A: "Have you met Tom's new boyfriend?" B: "Yeah, he seems like a nice guy." Though it seemed like a good idea at the time, the direction we pursued with the company nearly bankrupted us.
See also: like, seem

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 only seemed to Napoleon that it all took place by his will.
I try and persuade her all I can that she is; but it seems as if she didn't want to be persuaded; and when I ask her if Lady So-and-so is of the same opinion (that Miss Vane isn't her equal), she looks so soft and pretty with her eyes, and says, "Of course she is!" When I tell her that this is right down bad for Lady So-and-so, it seems as if she wouldn't believe me, and the only answer she will make is that Lady So-and-so is "extremely nice." I don't believe she is nice at all; if she were nice, she wouldn't have such ideas as that.
Vane, also (the brother), seems to have the same prejudices, and when I tell him, as I often think it right to do, that his sister is not his subordinate, even if she does think so, but his equal, and, perhaps in some respects his superior, and that if my brother, in Bangor, were to treat me as he treates this poor young girl, who has not spirit enough to see the question in its true light, there would be an indignation, meeting of the citizens to protest against such an outrage to the sanctity of womanhood--when I tell him all this, at breakfast or dinner, he bursts out laughing so loud that all the plates clatter on the table.
All day long we seemed to dawdle through a country which was full of beauty of every kind.
4 May--I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count, directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but on making inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, and pretended that he could not understand my German.
"It is very hard indeed to make you understand over here how we feel about such things,--there seems to be a different spirit amongst you Western races, a different spirit or a lack of spirit--I do not know which I should say.
"All the women seem to be wearing smart frocks, and some of those foreign uniforms are gorgeous."
There is telephonic communication with the house, and he seems to have used the sitting-room as a sort of studio.
Every one in the place, except one poor woman, seems to look upon him as a sort of supernatural being.
The tramp of their boots upon the dry road seemed to asseverate nothing, nothing, nothing.
Neither song nor chirp was heard--silence seemed to have taken the place of the normal voices of bird life.
I might seem some old-world savage animal, only the more dreadful and disgusting for our common likeness--a foul creature to be incontinently slain.
Philip, silent still, returned to the photograph of Toledo, which seemed to him the most arresting picture of them all.
Their beams of crimson seemed to get no purchase upon the bodies of their foes; the latter seemed to evade them with ease, and come through, between, around, and about with unopposed skill.
She was glowing from her morning toilet as only healthful youth can glow: there was gem-like brightness on her coiled hair and in her hazel eyes; there was warm red life in her lips; her throat had a breathing whiteness above the differing white of the fur which itself seemed to wind about her neck and cling down her blue-gray pelisse with a tenderness gathered from her own, a sentient commingled innocence which kept its loveliness against the crystalline purity of the outdoor snow.