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We Love Halloween!


happy halloween

Here at Spellzone, we love Halloween. Many words and phrases in the English language have gruesome origins, and October 31st seems like the perfect time to explore them!

Last year we looked at three everyday-seeming idioms which have terrifying origin myths – ever wondered where the phrases ‘saved by the bell’, ‘rule of thumb’ or ‘bless you’ might have come from? You can find out here!

This year, we’ve been looking at idioms and their definitions. Scroll down for figurative phrases about cats, witches, and ghosts…as well as a number of different ways of expressing just how scared you are!

  • a Jekyll and Hyde – someone who alternates between displaying good and evil personalities.

  • a skeleton in the closet - a shameful secret from someone’s past.

  • afraid of one’s own shadow – easily frightened.

  • dead man walking – a person in a doomed situation.

  • Frankenstein’s monster – something that has turned against the person who made it.

  • ghost town – a deserted town.

  • graveyard shift – a work shift that is in the early hours of the morning.

  • green-eyed monster – the personification of jealousy.

  • heebie jeebies – a state of nervousness.

  • in cold blood – ruthlessly, without mercy.

  • out for someone’s blood – determined to seek revenge.

  • Over my dead body! – “I completely oppose this!”.

  • scared out of one’s wits – extremely frightened.

  • scared stiff – extremely frightened.

  • to break out in a cold sweat – to sweat due to fear or anxiety.

  • to dance with death/the devil – to behave in a risky manner.

  • to freak out – to act in a dramatic manner due to fear or excitement / to frighten someone.

  • to get the jitters – to feel very nervous.

  • to have bats in one’s belfry – to be batty/mad/eccentric.

  • to jump out of one’s skin – to be startled.

  • to look daggers at – to glare angrily at.

  • to make someone’s blood boil – to infuriate someone.

  • to make someone’s blood run cold – to horrify someone.

  • to scare the living daylights out of – to severely frighten someone.

  • to smell a rat – to suspect a trick/lie.

  • to spirit away – to sneakily or mysteriously move someone or something from a place.

  • to stab in the back – to betray someone.

  • to twist the knife – to make someone’s suffering worse.

  • witch hunt – to campaign against/punish a person/group with unorthodox/unpopular/threatening views.

  • witching hour – the time of night when supernatural beings are said to appear, midnight.
  • If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?

    Avani Shah


    31 Oct 2014
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