8 “eight” phrases on Glosso’s Eighth

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:

   An eight on its side = Infinity.

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