tom


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any Tom, Dick, or Harry

Any common, undistinguished person; anyone at all, indiscriminately. You don't want any Tom, Dick, or Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want just any Tom, Dick, or Harry turning up.
See also: any, harry

Tom, Dick, or Harry

A common, undistinguished person; any manner of person, indiscriminately. (Usually in the form "(just) any Tom, Dick, or Harry.") You don't want just any Tom, Dick, or Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want Tom, Dick, or Harry turning up.
See also: harry

peeping Tom

A man who secretly observes women undressing or engaging in sexual intercourse. Unless you want to be a target for peeping Toms, you better get curtains for your bedroom windows soon.
See also: peep, tom

an Uncle Tom

A derisive term for a black person who is submissive or servile to white people. The phrase refers to the titular faithful black servant in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. He was once a passionate activist, but he's become an Uncle Tom.
See also: tom, uncle

every Tom, Dick, and Harry

Every kind of common, undistinguished person; anyone at all, indiscriminately. You don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry turning up.
See also: and, every, harry

Tom, Dick, and Harry

Common, undistinguished people; any manner of person, indiscriminately. (Usually in the form "every Tom, Dick, and Harry.") You don't want Tom, Dick, and Harry coming to your performance, but then you don't want to limit the amount of business you might bring in, either. Kate's being very selective as to who gets invited to the wedding, as she doesn't want Tom, Dick, and Harry to end up coming.
See also: and, harry

Tom Tiddler's ground

1. A children's game in which a player (dubbed "Tom Tiddler") must catch other players who try to invade or cross into their area to "steal" their "gold." I remember being kids and playing games like Tom Tiddler's round or hopscotch; nowadays, kids just sit around on their phones watching videos online.
2. By extension, an area or situation in which one may make significant profits but is or might be at risk or in danger. The region has become something of a Tom Tiddler's ground for the three major countries surrounding it, each one claiming of its resources as their own. The deregulation created a Tom Tiddler's ground for corporations who exploited every avenue possible to maximize profits, though such an unstable market eventually lead to one of the largest economic crashes in history.
See also: ground, tom

Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all

And a large number of other people; et al. Used to indicate that a list of people is frustratingly long. An allusion to a folk song called "Widecombe Fair," the chorus of which lists a large number of people ending with "Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all." Sometimes spelled "Cobley." Primarily heard in UK. Everyone from the Prime Minister, the Governor of Bank of England, the Mayor of London, the Director of the International Monetary Fund to Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all convinced us that we needed these austerity measures to survive the recession, yet here we are nearly a decade later, and information comes to surface that this was all an elaborate con job.
See also: all, and, tom, uncle

Uncle Tom Cobley and all

And a large number of other people; et al. Used to indicate that a list of people is frustratingly long. An allusion to a folk song called "Widecombe Fair," the chorus of which lists a large number of people ending with "Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all." Sometimes spelled "Cobleigh." Primarily heard in UK. Everyone from the Prime Minister, the Governor of Bank of England, the Mayor of London, the Director of the International Monetary Fund to Uncle Tom Cobley and all convinced us that we needed these austerity measures to survive the recession, yet here we are nearly a decade later, and information comes to surface that this was all an elaborate con job.
See also: all, and, tom, uncle

(every) Tom, Dick, and Harry

 and any Tom, Dick, and Harry
Fig. everyone, without discrimination; ordinary people. (Not necessarily males.) The golf club is very exclusive. They don't let any Tom, Dick, or Harry join. Mary's sending out very few invitations. She doesn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry turning up.
See also: and, harry

every Tom, Dick, and Harry

Also, every mother's son; every man Jack. Everyone, all ordinary individuals, as in This model should appeal to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. The use of masculine names in this way dates from Shakespeare's time (he used Tom, Dick, and Francis in 1 Henry IV), but the current one dates from the early 1800s. The two variants are largely British usage but occasionally are used in America. The first is recorded as early as 1583, whereas the second dates from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: and, every, harry

peeping Tom

A person who secretly watches others, especially for sexual gratification; a voyeur. For example, The police caught a peeping Tom right outside their house. This expression, first recorded in 1796, alludes to the legend of the tailor Tom, the only person to watch the naked Lady Godiva as she rode by and who was struck blind for this sin.
See also: peep, tom

every Tom, Dick, and Harry

or

every Tom, Dick, or Harry

People say every Tom, Dick, and Harry or every Tom, Dick, or Harry to talk about many different people, especially people they do not think are special or important. These days, the hotel is letting in every Tom, Dick and Harry. Note: This expression is very variable, for example, any can be used instead of every, and Harriet and other names are sometimes used instead of Harry. You cannot sell a gun to any Tom Dick or Harry, can you? Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can put on a jacket and say, `I'll be a producer.' Note: All of these names used to be very common, and so they began to be used to refer to ordinary people in general.
See also: and, every, harry

Tom, Dick, and Harry

used to refer to ordinary people in general.
This expression is first recorded in an 18th-century song: ‘Farewell, Tom, Dick, and Harry. Farewell, Moll, Nell, and Sue’. It is generally used in mildly derogatory contexts (he didn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry knowing their business ) to suggest a large number of ordinary or undistinguished people.
See also: and, harry

Tom Tiddler's ground

a place where money or profit is readily made.
Tom Tiddler's ground was the name of a children's game in which one of the players, named Tom Tiddler, marked out their territory by drawing a line on the ground. The other players ran over this line calling out ‘We're on Tom Tiddler's ground, picking up gold and silver’. They were then chased by Tom Tiddler and the first (or, sometimes, the last) to be caught took his or her place.
See also: ground, tom

Uncle Tom Cobley (or Cobleigh) and all

used to denote a long list of people. British informal
Uncle Tom Cobley is the last of a long list of men enumerated in the ballad ‘Widdicombe Fair’, which dates from around 1800 .
1966 Guardian It seems clear that a compromise, half-way solution had equally been ruled out by Government, Opposition, economists, press, TV, Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all.
See also: all, and, tom, uncle

a ˌPeeping ˈTom

(disapproving) a person who likes to watch people secretly, especially when they are taking off their clothesIn 1040 in the English town of Coventry, Lady Godiva rode through the streets completely naked in an attempt to make her husband change his mind about forcing people to pay high taxes. In the story, only one man, Tom, watched her and he suddenly became blind.
See also: Peep, tom

every/any ˌTom, ˌDick and/or ˈHarry

(usually disapproving) any ordinary person; people of no special value to you: We don’t want just any Tom, Dick or Harry marrying our daughter.
See also: and, any, dick, every, harry

Tom Swifty

A punning word game. Tom Swift was the hero of a series of boys' adventure books first published in 1910. Author Victor Apppleton rarely used the word “said” without adding adverbs, a style that someone turned into a word game in which punsters add adverbs that suit what Tom is saying. Classic examples of Tom Swiftys (or Swifties) are “Sesame,” said Tom openly; “I only use one herb when I cook,” said Tom sagely; and “I swallowed some of the glass from that broken window,” Tom said painfully.
See also: tom
References in classic literature ?
Be this as it may, another light was obtained, and Tom was conducted through a maze of rooms, and a labyrinth of passages, to the apartment which had been prepared for his reception, where the girl bade him good-night and left him alone.
Of any other queer chair, Tom would only have thought it was a queer chair, and there would have been an end of the matter; but there was something about this particular chair, and yet he couldn't tell what it was, so odd and so unlike any other piece of furniture he had ever seen, that it seemed to fascinate him.
Tom was come home, and she had thought how happy she should be; and now he was cruel to her.
Well, then, she would stay up there and starve herself,--hide herself behind the tub, and stay there all night,--and then they would all be frightened, and Tom would be sorry.
Mother Sparsit's feeling for Loo is more than admiration, I should think,' said Tom.
He had heard that Tom had been trying to get his father to sell the boy down the river, and he wanted to prevent the scandal--for public sentiment did not approve of that way of treating family servants for light cause or for no cause.
But that was nothing; his uncle told him he should be his heir and have all his fortune when he died; so Tom was comforted.
So he encouraged Tom in his intimacy with the boys of the village, and forwarded it by all means in his power, and gave them the run of a close for a playground, and provided bats and balls and a football for their sports.
Now the wheelwright was a choleric man, and one fine afternoon, returning from a short absence, found Tom occupied with one of his pet adzes, the edge of which was fast vanishing under our hero's care.
Will's a 'dig,'" growled Tom, shutting his eyes again, as if nothing more could be said of the delinquent William.
You need n't sniff at him, for he is nice, and treats me with respect," cried Maud, with an energy that made Tom laugh in her face.
I'm afraid neither of them would be quite up to telephone talk yet," laughed Tom.
I'm willing to be your financial manager, Tom Swift, but please don't ask me to be a high-brow.
No, I'll never love anybody but you, Tom, and I'll never marry anybody but you -- and you ain't to ever marry anybody but me, either.
The big eyes told Tom his blunder and he stopped, confused.