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be skating on thin ice

To be doing something very risky or dangerous that could result in imminent disaster or ruin. I hope you realize that you'll be skating on thin ice if you decide to gamble your employees' retirement funds on such a dodgy investment.
See also: ice, on, skate, thin

get (one's) skates on

To hurry up or move faster. Timmy, get your skates on, or we'll be late to the party! If these guys don't get their skates on, we'll be here moving boxes all day.
See also: get, on, skate

on thin ice

Precariously close to getting into trouble, difficulty, or danger. You're on thin ice, Jefferson: if you come in late one more time, you're fired! Following his recent comments, the senator has found himself on thin ice with conservative voters.
See also: ice, on, thin

put (one's) skates on

To hurry up or move faster. Timmy, put your skates on, or we'll be late to the party! If these guys don't put their skates on, we'll be here moving boxes all day.
See also: on, put, skate

*awkward as a cow on a crutch

 and *awkward as a cow on roller skates
very clumsy or off balance. (*Also: as ~.) When Lulu was overweight, she was awkward as a cow on a crutch. Tom will never be a gymnast. He's as awkward as a cow on roller skates!
See also: awkward, cow, crutch, on

on thin ice

1. Lit. on ice that is too thin to support one. (See also skate on thin ice; walk on thin ice.) Billy is on thin ice and is in great danger.
2. Fig. in a risky situation. If you try that you'll really be on thin ice. That's too risky. If you don't want to find yourself on thin ice, you must be sure of your facts.
See also: ice, on, thin

skate around

to skate here and there in no particular direction. Let's go over to the pond and skate around. We will skate around for a while until we get too cold.
See also: around, skate

skate around someone or something

1. to skate to one side or the other of someone or something. Somehow I managed to skate around the child without knocking her down. I skated around the tree limb and avoided an accident.
2. to circle someone or something while skating. The children skated around their instructor until she was satisfied with their form. We skated around the post in a circle.
See also: around, skate

skate on something

to skate on a particular surface. You can't skate on that ice! It's too thin. Don't skate on the ice until it has been scraped smooth.
See also: on, skate

skate on thin ice

Fig. to be in a risky situation. (Fig. on the image of someone taking the risk of ice skating on thin ice.) I try to stay well informed so I don't end up skating on thin ice when the teacher asks me a question. You are skating on thin ice when you ask me that!
See also: ice, on, skate, thin

skate over something

1. Lit. to move over something, skating. I love to be the first one to skate over newly frozen ice. I skated over the pond too soon and the ice cracked while I was on it.
2. Fig. to move over or deal with something quickly. The speaker skated over the touchy issues with discretion. I will skate over the things that I am not sure about.
See also: over, skate

cheap skate

A stingy person, as in He's a real cheap skate when it comes to tipping. This idiom combines cheap (for "penurious") with the slang usage of skate for a contemptible or low individual. It has largely replaced the earlier cheap John. [Slang; late 1800s]
See also: cheap, skate

on thin ice

In a precarious or risky position, as in After failing the midterm, he was on thin ice with his math teacher. This metaphor is often rounded out as skate on thin ice, as in He knew he was skating on thin ice when he took his rent money with him to the racetrack. This idiom, which alludes to the danger that treading on thin ice will cause it to break, was first used figuratively by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Prudence (1841): "In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed."
See also: ice, on, thin

skate over

Treat superficially or hurriedly, avoid mentioning, as in He concentrated on the main points of the contract and skated over the details. This idiom transfers the gliding motion of skating to dealing with something in a cursory way. [Mid-1900s]
See also: over, skate

be skating on thin ice

COMMON If someone is skating on thin ice, they are doing something which could have unpleasant consequences for them. He told me I was skating on thin ice and should change my attitude. Note: Verbs such as tread, walk or stand can be used instead of skate. Watch it Max, Christopher thought gleefully, you're treading on very thin ice. Note: You can also just say that someone is on thin ice. I could see I was on thin ice. His professional pride was injured.
See also: ice, on, skate, thin

get your skates on

If someone tells you to get your skates on, they are telling you to hurry up. Come on, get your skates on — we should be there by now! Bargain hunters had better get their skates on — the best properties are selling fast.
See also: get, on, skate

(skating) on thin ice

in a precarious or risky situation.
See also: ice, on, thin

get your skates on

make haste; hurry up. British informal
See also: get, on, skate

get/put your ˈskates on

(British English, informal) hurry up: If you don’t put your skates on, you’ll be late for work.
See also: get, on, put, skate

be skating/walking on ˌthin ˈice

be in a risky or dangerous situation: They were skating on very thin ice, publishing the election result before it had been confirmed.
See also: ice, on, skate, thin, walking


1. n. a drinking bout. He’s off on another three-day skate.
2. n. a drunkard; a person on a drinking spree. A couple of skates celebrating the new year ran into my car.
3. n. something really easy. The test was a skate!
4. in. to get drunk. Let’s go out and skate, okay?


n. shoes. It looks like somebody looged on your skates!
See also: skate


mod. drug intoxicated. He’s high all right—I’d say he’s skating. He took some wicked pills and is totally skating.
See also: skate

on thin ice

In a precarious position.
See also: ice, on, thin
References in periodicals archive ?
We skated them, and then went and checked into a hotel to get cleaned up.
But we always skated together and had fun so there was never really any competition skating-wise.
It wasn't that Arakawa skated the long program of her life.
I skated all the time and my body was not so damaged, so I could actually rip.
We all skated tough, then Dirty and the Donuts started it off.
They skated wonderfully, but based on what the criteria is for presentation, there was enough room that you could argue for the Russians.
There was a Phelps look-a-like doing damage on the back-and-forth vert section, and the two mini local kids skated so damn gnarly it put everyone to shame.
World champions Elena Berezhnaya and Anaton Siharulidze skated another smooth, elegant program to take the lead.
In the winter when the skate bug would hit we walked into the underground parkades (heated if we were lucky) and skated whatever we could find.
It's great to come back here and let the kids know that you can do anything you set your mind to,'' Ness said during a visit to the Valencia Ice Station, where he skated with about 60 children from local YMCA groups.
I went with Spanky and Alex Parker and we went and skated that bank behind the Radisson in LA--Natas had a trick there back in the day.
The teens were weary of being asked to leave every site around the city where they skated and police officers were tired of handing out citations to 13-year-olds.
Also, I'm not into skating stuff just because other people skated it.
Nancy O'Weger's daughter, Roxanne, 7, skated for the first time on the rink last week and returned for another round on Sunday.