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10 Idioms for Danger: Or Expressions which are followed by, "Oh Shit!".
English Expressions for Danger
Words and Idioms for Danger
Here in Brazil I teach English, sometimes this is to a class and other times on a one to one basis. I try and think the way the students would to find words and phrases in English which they might need to know but would find confusing. This is where the idea of this post came from.
There are many phrases or idioms in English which, if dissected down to their words, don't make a lot of sense especially if you are new to the language. Some of these phrases are often heard on television or in films. Where would action films be if their main character wasn't in mortal danger?
Because you never know when you might hear them, it is best to learn them now so you can be prepared. Because I always believe learning should be fun, I've thrown a bit of humor in as well.
Because English can be confusing this book makes learning fun. Explaining why we use them and where they came from. It is also a great converstaion starter and can loosen up a class with some of the crazy idioms we use.
Fire in the Hole
This does not mean that someone has dug a hole and built a fire in it. Nor does it mean that the curry you ate last night is causing you intestinal grief.
If you are a fan of war films you may have heard this on television or at the cinema. Often these films will be peppered with this expression when someone tosses a hand grenade into a room and shouts this warning to his comrades.
The expression orginated not in a war zone but in mines, hence the word 'hole' , when explosives were set to detonate in a confined space. People were meant to shelter behind something substancial and usually protect their ears from loud blast.
Yes of course you, as an English speaker knows this means to make yourself lower to the ground otherwise you could get hit. To a non-English speaker, they may do the opposite and look to the sky searching for a flock of ducks.
If something such as a ball or other object has been thrown at you or is coming in your direction you may hear someone shout, "Duck!"
This does not mean to take your Timex, Rolex, or Apple watch out. It means to be alert to the current situation. If this is shouted in your direction, it implies something unexpected is about to occur.
This can also be used as general advice:
'You'd better watch out that you don't get your heart broken by that Greek waiter.'
This has recently taken on a different meaning in regards to advance notice of something in a general sense.
'Heads up Bob, the boss is in a bad mood.'
It also means to watch out as explained above.
Although this usually is less life threatening. Let's say you could get hit on the head with a beach ball as opposed to an angry man running towards you with an baseball bat clutched in his hands.
Put Your Hands Up/ Keep Your Hands Where I Can see Them
Both of these are warnings usually issued by a police officer. Failure to do so, could get you wounded or worse. This is so the officer can see that you are not reaching for a hidden weapon. The hands should be up or away from your body. Do not try and cover your mouth to cough or scratch that itch, just keep your hands elevated.
Although there is a bird called a booby this is not referring to a trap to capture it.
Also in the US the term 'booby' can refer to a woman's breast, here too this is not what a booby trap is referring to.
A booby trap is a device which has been designed to injure or kill without a person knowing. A good example was the movie Speed starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in which a bus was booby trapped with a bomb which was set to explode if the bus went below 50mph. Dennis Hopper who played the bomber also booby-trapped an elevator and his own house in the film.
Thanks to another Hubpages author DzyMsLizzy we have a few more examples. If you saw the film Home Alone, Kevin booby-trapped the house to defend it against the bungling burglars. By throwing marbles on the floor Kevin created a booby trap which made the 'bad guys' lose their footing and fall. A paint can which was suspended on a roped swinging down hitting them in the face, an iron falling onto someone's face and a hot doorknob were all used to great effect in the film.
The word 'boob' is a foolish person and can be heard in the phrase, "What's on the boob tube?" This is a reference to television as it is credited with creating stupid or foolish people.
Hit the Deck
This is not in reference to playing with a deck of cards.
This phrase means you should lie on the floor and possibly put your hands around your head to protect it from whatever is about to occur. The deck is in reference to a ship's deck when there were often low flying enemy planes attacking. By lowering yourself you make less of a target.
Although one can normally expect to easily walk across sand, this video shows just how deceptive it can be. It also includes how to get out of it. You are in fact more likely to die from exposure to the sun, wild animals or a rising tide whilst stuck in their. The key point is don't panic!
It may be unlikely you will be walking in an area with quicksand but it is wise to be prepared.
This is not referring to a blanket, or insurance coverage .
This means something dangerous such as gunfire or an explosion is about to happen and you should get out of the way. Here again either on the floor or behind a wall which would shield you from danger. If someone is instructing you to take cover it is probably too late to flee the scene.
This could be if you are in a moving vehicle and turning quickly. To avoid injuring yourself someone may shout, “Hang On” telling you to grab something to secure yourself.
In a car as a passenger you may opt to grab the 'Jesus Bar' which is a term used for the handle above the door. We believe the term comes from the cries of 'Oh Jesus' which are undoubtly shouted as the car heaves heavily to one side as it takes a corner at speed.
© 2015 Mary Wickison