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wear rose-colored glasses

To assume an unduly optimistic and cheerful attitude (toward something); to focus solely or primarily on the positive aspects (of something). Primarily heard in US. Many of us wear rose-colored glasses when we think back to our childhoods. It's part of the reason nostalgia is such a powerful emotional draw. I find it a little irksome how you always wear rose-colored glasses, even in the worst of times!
See also: glass, wear

wear sackcloth and ashes

To act in a way that shows one's penitence or remorse for one's misdeeds or poor behavior. Darren has been wearing sackcloth and ashes ever since his girlfriend broke up with him for cheating on her. There's no way to turn back time on the way I treated my brother growing up. All I can do now is wear sackcloth and ashes.
See also: and, ash, sackcloth, wear

wear too many hats

business slang To hold too many responsibilities or assume too many roles at the same time. One of the pitfalls many entrepreneurs fall into when setting up a new company is to wear too many hats, which not only spreads themselves very thin, but ends up being counterproductive to the operation as a whole.
See also: hat, many, wear

wear the bull's feather

To have an adulterous wife; to be cuckolded. The cuckold is traditionally associated with horns, and a "bull's feather" was once a term for a horn. I never thought I would wear the bull's feather, but it's true—my wife cheated on me.
See also: feather, wear

wear the cap and bells

To provide humor and merriment (sometimes by acting as a target for mockery). The phrase refers to the hat adorned with bells that court jesters once wore. Sean will wear the cap and bells—you can always count on him to liven up a party. I guess I'm wearing the cap and bells today because they are having a great time ridiculing me.
See also: and, bell, cap, wear

wear the horns

To have an adulterous wife; to be cuckolded. The cuckold is traditionally associated with horns. I never thought I would wear the horns, but it's true—my wife cheated on me.
See also: horn, wear

wear the willow

To grieve. The willow tree is traditionally associated with sadness. My grandmother has been wearing the willow ever since my grandfather died. I wore the willow after my true love married another man.
See also: wear, willow

wear several hats

To hold or function in more than one position or role. I work from home, so I'm able to wear several hats: stay-at-home dad, soccer coach, and website developer. Both our editorial assistant and our copywriter left the company at the same time, so I've been wearing several hats ever since.
See also: hat, several, wear

wear (one's particular profession's) hat

To act as one would in one's particular profession while in a different setting. Bobby, I know you're off duty, but can you please wear your doctor's hat for five minutes and tell me what's wrong with my arm? I don't want to have to go to the hospital. My wife was still wearing her judge's hat when she tried to intervene with our neighbor's arguing kids.
See also: hat, particular, wear

wear out (one's) welcome

1. To remain a guest in a place, especially someone's home, for too long, to the point where the host no longer wishes one to stay. After the cool reception I received at breakfast, it was apparent that I had worn out my welcome at the cottage of my father's friend.
2. By extension, to do something that makes one no longer welcome in or at a place. Things were going fine at the dinner meeting until my coworker made an off-color joke, at which point it seemed that we had worn out our welcome.
See also: out, wear, welcome

wear (one's) fingers to the bone

To work excessively hard. Likened to literally wearing the skin off of one's hands. I have worn my fingers to the bone renovating this house, and I'm glad to say that it has all been worth it. You have everyone wearing their fingers to the bone. You need to give them a break or they'll burn out.
See also: bone, finger, wear

wear (something) on (one's) sleeve

To openly display or make known one's belief, value, emotion, or sentiment. Most commonly seen as "wear (one's) heart on (one's) sleeve," which comes from Shakespeare's Othello. Love him or hate him, Larry always wears his heart on his sleeve, and you always know exactly where he stands. My father was always very closed off regarding his feelings, so when I had kids, I made a point of wearing my love for them on my sleeve.
See also: on, sleeve, wear

wear the trousers

To be in charge in a relationship or family. The phrase is typically applied to a woman. Trousers were historically only worn by men, who were traditionally the decision makers. I think it's pretty obvious who wears the trousers in that family—Grandma Helene. Actually, in our relationship, we both wear the trousers—we make decisions together.
See also: trouser, wear

wear the trousers


wear the pants

If one person in a couple wears the trousers or wears the pants, they make all the important decisions. She may give the impression that she wears the trousers but it's actually Tim who makes all the big decisions. My father said he wanted to discuss the investment with my mother, to which the salesman demanded, `Who wears the pants in your family?' Note: This expression is usually used about women who seem to control their husbands or partners.
See also: trouser, wear

wearing (or in) short pants

very young. informal
A little boy was traditionally dressed in shorts before attaining a certain age, when he would be allowed to wear long trousers.
See also: pant, short, wearing

wear the trousers

be the dominant partner in a marriage or the dominant person in a household. informal
See also: trouser, wear

in/wearing your ˈbirthday suit

(informal, humorous) wearing no clothes; naked: The towel fell off, and there he was in his birthday suit!
See also: birthday, suit, wearing

wear the ˈtrousers

(British English) (American English wear the ˈpants) (often disapproving) (especially of a woman) be the partner in a marriage who makes the decisions and tells the other person what to do: It’s not difficult to see who wears the trousers in their house!
See also: trouser, wear

wearing (nothing but) a smile

tv. naked. This doll came on stage and within ten minutes she was wearing nothing but a smile.
See also: but, nothing, smile, wearing

wearing a smile

See also: smile, wearing
References in periodicals archive ?
It was found that the wear in the abrasive mass, steel 65G tempered in oil (30-35 HRC) wearing less than the steel tempered in water (58-60 HRC) [9].
MARLENE DIETRICH (March 29, 1951): Dietrich received a standing ovation when she presented the award for foreign language film wearing this jaw-dropping black satin cocktail dress.
It does seem unlikely that motorists who have become accustomed to wearing seat belts during the last two decades will suddenly rebel when enforcement becomes stricter.
In a rant that conflates athletic intensity and religious fervor, the coach condemns the visiting team's dark uniforms by screaming, "The devil's wearing black jerseys
I have high arches, and I started wearing Gaynor Minden pointe shoes because all other brands were breaking too easily on my feet.
Early in their tour, several women shop with Wearing to find the black scarf and manteau that will be her outer garments for the duration, and for the chador, heavier and all encompassing, which she must wear to sacred sites or on holy days.
My client [a builder] was wearing Wrangler jeans and a short-sleeved shirt
An adult man in the village is not taken seriously unless he is wearing a jallabia.
Hearing aid wearers must be prepared to wear hearing aids, become active and informed consumers, understand the benefits of the aids, and learn to adjust to the experience of wearing these mechanical devices.
However, two States (California and Wisconsin) opted not to create separate substantive offenses, but rather, adopted enhancing statutes that impose an additional sentence when an individual is convicted of committing a crime while wearing body armor.
Today, it's not surprising to find a seven-year-old urban boy and a 70-year-old suburban woman both wearing the same outfit.
As for their famous advertising campaign "Individuals of Style"--the one featuring real people of varying degrees of realness wearing Gap clothing the way they alone wear it--I thought it was darn effective.
But two new studies now find that patients wearing disposable lenses have higher rates of this eye inflammation than people with other kinds of contacts.