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the terrible twos

A developmental stage of children, generally at or around the age of two, marked by increased rebelliousness and frequent tantrums. Becca's been having really bad temper tantrums lately and just keeps saying "no" to everything we say to her. I guess she's going into the terrible twos.
See also: terrible, two

a mind is a terrible thing to waste

Education and exercising one's mind is important. No, you absolutely must go to college after you graduate in the spring! A mind is a terrible thing to waste!
See also: mind, terrible, thing, waste

enfant terrible

A famous person who is known to behave inappropriately, often to others' shock or horror. As this phrase is French for "terrible child," it is typically pronounced with a French accent. If you continue to have tantrums on the court, you will be known as the enfant terrible of tennis. He is the enfant terrible of high society, so of course he wore blue jeans to the gala.
See also: terrible

paint a (some kind of) picture of (something)

To give an elaborate or detailed description of something that portrays it in a specific way. The board meeting painted a pretty grim picture of the company's future. Jonathan always paints an idyllic picture of our childhood, glossing over the bad memories of our father.
See also: kind, of, paint, picture

I'm terrible at names.

 and I'm awful at names.
I can't seem to remember anyone's name. (Said as an apology to someone whose name you have forgotten.) I'm terrible at names. Please tell me yours again. Haven't we met already? I'm awful at names.
See also: name, terrible

paint a terrible, depressing, rosy, etc. ˈpicture (of somebody/something)

describe something in a particular way; give a particular impression of somebody/something, often a negative one: You paint a depressing picture of your childhood!People who don’t like students paint the worst possible picture of their behaviour.The book paints a vivid picture of life in the city.
See also: paint, picture
References in periodicals archive ?
v) Imamu Amiri Baraka and Fundi (Billy) Abernathy, In Our Terribleness (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co.
The terribleness of justice is to claim that Santa owes us something because we have agreed to be virtuous.
Ghostly emanations of southern economies of violence against the black body toss and turn me," he writes in Turning South Again--the voice of a seer possessed, destabilized, undone, Yet as his own willingness to reverse his past judgments might lead us to view his current critical dislikes as subject to future modification, so I critique his haunted pronouncements about the "utter terribleness of our new millennium" only at the risk of myself being forced later to admit the truth of his prophetic cry.
One almost feels that he became a painter in order to engage not just with how to be an artist but how, as an artist, to deal with the terribleness of history.
Some people get really depressed at all the terribleness out there, and others see inspiration for a cheeky new skirt length.
He lists these sites and their lack of determinancy: postcolonialism as a stable relationship bereft of any certain power, where self and other become blurred, the terribleness of holocaust literature, and its descriptions of concentration camp hierarchi es, and, finally, revisionist African American literature that shows the refashioning of silent characters engulfed by slavery and oppression.
So much seems to be compressed into those simple words: that the sailor was not doing anything very terrible; that the terribleness was in her mother's imagination; that her mother was directly responsible for her own terror of the sexual act.
Hence, the "quality" of fearfulness, terribleness or (and what I mean comes out best in this word) dangerousness of the feared object has a dubious status, lending support to a relativistic approach.
When someone does attempt to play down the terribleness of what the Germans did, it is nearly always Holocaust denial rather than displacement of responsibility to which they resort.
Since then I have written one hundred such works at every hint, but this one remains a true in memoriam to my enfant terribleness.
The Last, on the Terribleness, and the Moral Cause of Earthquakes; Delivered at Leominster.
It has been a decade of awfulness, 10 years of despair, 3,652 days of utter terribleness.
One might even say that everywhere on earth where there is still solemnity, seriousness, secrecy, gloomy colors in the life of man and of a people, something of that terribleness continues to be felt with which everywhere on earth one formerly promised, pledged, vowed.
Hence, Morrison might be expected to share the old midwife Lone's subsequent use of exceptionalist rhetoric: "How hard they had worked for this place; how far away they once were from the terribleness they have just witnessed.
Review of In Our Terribleness (some elements and meaning black style) by Imamu Amiri Baraka and Fundi]