play ball :
work willingly with others
cooperate – informal
The literal sense is of play ball is play a team ball game such as baseball or cricket.
start the ball rolling
set an activity in motion
make a start
the whole ball of wax
everything – North American informal
a whole new ball game
a completely new set of circumstances – informal
The phrase originated in North America where a ball game is a baseball match.
1989 – Looks - Making the film was a whole new ball game... for Kylie.
fly into a rage – informal
1998 - New Scientist - The French nuclear industry, local authorities around La Hague and some government agencies went ballistic. Viel was fiercely condemned for his findings.
go down like a lead balloon
= go over like a lead balloon
(especially of a speech, proposal or joke) fail
be a flop – informal
1996 - Prospect - Simon Jenkins's book, Accountable to None, has gone down like a lead balloon with most Conservative reviewers.
when the balloon goes up
when the action or trouble starts – informal
before the balloon goes up
before the action or trouble starts – informal
The balloon alluded to is probably one released to mark the start of an event.
1959 – Punch - The international rules of war are apt to be waived when the balloon goes up.
lead someone a dance
= lead someone a merry dance
cause someone a great deal of trouble or worry – British
1993 - Isidore Okpewho – Tides - I will be content to lead my friends at the NSS a merry dance if only to get even with them for messing me up the way they did.
lead someone by the nose
control someone totally, especially by deceiving them – informal
in the ballpark
in a particular area or range – informal
The phrase originated in the USA where a ballpark is a baseball ground.
the bamboo curtain
an impenetrable political, economic and cultural barrier between China and non-Communist countries
Formed on the pattern of the iron curtain - this phrase dates back to the 1940s.
a small tropical state especially one in central America whose economy is regarded as wholly dependent on its fruit-exporting trade
become extremely angry or excited
go mad – informal
1992 - Jim Lehrer - A Bus of My Own – I predicted John Erlichman would probably go bananas when he testified the next day.
the second most important person in an organization or activity, informal - chiefly North American
the most important person in an organization or activity - informal - chiefly North American
The two expressions above originated in US theatrical slang. The top banana was originally the comedian who topped the bill in a show, while the second banana was the supporting comedian.
slip on a banana skin
make a silly and embarrassing mistake.
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