It’s Glossophilia’s 8th birthday! We’re celebrating with phrases that contain the word “eight”. It was difficult to come up with eight (there really aren’t that many!), so three of them are a bit dodgy: please add any I might have missed in the comments below. [Update: we now have nine, thanks to Jim H.]
1. Eight ways to/from Sunday: Thoroughly or completely; in every possible way; from every conceivable angle.
2. Behind the eight ball: in trouble; in a weak or losing position. (From the eight ball in pool, which in certain games cannot be touched without penalty.)
3. One over the eight: used both adjectively, to describe the person who’s had it (thoroughly inebriated), and as a noun, to describe what that person has had (the final alcoholic drink that pushes them from mild intoxication to being very drunk. (Primarily and not surprisingly British. ) From the idea that most people can drink 8 beers before becoming drunk. Originally armed forces’ slang from the early 20th century.
4. The eighth wonder of the world: something extraordinary. There are officially seven wonders of the world…
5. A piece of eight: a Spanish dollar, equivalent to 8 reals. (historical)
A phrase that has sprung up from a famous song lyric:
6. Eight days a week: a poetic form of always: more than every day (from the Beatles song)
Not strictly eight, but eight-ish (and I doubt Glossophilia will make it to 86, let alone 800):
7. To eighty-six someone: to get rid of something by burying it, ejecting someone, or refusing service (American slang)
8. Play the eighty-eights: play the piano (which has 88 keys)
9. Eight-hundred-pound gorilla: an American-English expression for a person or organization so powerful that it can act without regard to the rights of others or the law. The phrase is rooted in a riddle-joke: “Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit?” [The answer is “Anywhere it wants to.”]
And last but not least:
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