Saturday, February 3, 2001
W O R D  P O W E R

Wardrobe words

Glad rags: Best clothes of a woman or of a man, full evening dress.

She looked very glamorous in her glad rags.

Gloves are off: Somebody is ready for a fight or an argument.

The gloves are off and all the politicians are ready for the elections.

To put on one’s thinking cap: To give serious consideration to a matter, to try and solve a problem by thinking about it.

The members of the transport committee put on their thinking caps and finally came to a decision regarding the new routes to be followed by the local buses.

To put yourself in somebody’s shoes: To identify with somebody, be in a similar situation.

Considering the comfortable job that you have, I would love to be in your shoes.


To wear the breeches:
Used for a married woman who rules the house.

— In their family, Mrs Kaushik wears the breeches.

Handle somebody with kid gloves: To deal with somebody in a very gentle manner so as not to cause any offence.

— I have to handle Neera with kid gloves because she is extremely sensitive.

Cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth: To do only what one can manage to do or has enough money to do.

— We believe in cutting our coat according to our cloth, so we have decided not to buy that peice of land.

Tied to one’s mother’s apron strings: To be under the influence and control of one’s mother.

Sara is tied to her mother’s apron strings and that’s the main reason why she can’t make a success of her marriage.


Match the words in column A with their meaning in column B:

A                                B

1. slip — slop                a) willingly or unwillingly

2. shilly — shally           b) careless

3. willy — wally             c) reckless and wild

4. wishy — washy         d) in disordered haste

5. harum — scarum       e) characterless

6. helter — skelter        f) to be undecided

Looking back

The ragtag and bobtail refers to members of the lowest class in a community. In Middle English, "a tag" meant a piece of torn garment. A "bob" tail originally meant a horse’s tail cut short but later it was used for a contemptible person.


The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together. — Saadi

Score card

1b, 2f, 3a, 4e, 5c, 6d.

— Illa Vij