Blue pencil: censor.
e.g. The committee will blue pencil whatever you are going to say.
Get the hang of: understand.
e.g. I still don't get the hang of how this machine works.
Put one's shirt on: wager everything.
e.g. We have to put our shirt on this project; we've no other option.
e.g. I was pooped after working for nine hours in the yard.
Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.
e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?
Bang out: reveal.
e.g. If you go into politics, you must be prepared to let all your secrets bang out.
Deliver the goods: do what is expected or required.
e.g. The new employee seems to deliver the goods -- very hard working and conscientious.
e.g. What do you take me for? A fool half-baked!
Not worth powder and shot: not worth the effort.
e.g. If I were you, I would just give it up; it's not worth powder and shot.
Have someone by the short hair: have control over; have someone at a disadvantage.
e.g. Not having adequate preparation will let your opponent have you by the short hair.
Cry blue murder: make a great fuss.
e.g. Just ignore him: he's crying blue murder over everything.
e.g. All these years he has it in for you: you married his sweetheart.
Gift of the gab: ability to give effective speeches.
e.g. The new Mayor has the gift of the gab: people like listening to him.
Keep one's head above water: stay out of debt or a difficult situation.
e.g. In this economic environment, it is not easy to keep your head above water.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau