Allusion test

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catch-22

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catch-22

a no win situation, absurd

originated: Joseph Heller- book setting in WWII, airman request wouldn't be relieved, only if insane, but it was seen sane to do a dangerous mission

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Lot's wife, pillar of salt

someone who disobeys rule; looks back on their actions

Lot and family allowed to leave city before destroyed, God told them not to look back, but wife did and she got turned to salt

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letting the cat out of the bag

secret is being revealed

originated: medieval times when farmer tried to sell cats instead of pigs

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buying a pig in a poke

buying something without seeing it; an unwise decision because of the risks involved

originated: medieval times, buy pigs without checking if it was a cat

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fifteen minutes of fame

when someone receives attention for something trivial

originated: Andy Warhol, American pop artist, commented on his media coverage by saying it could happen to anyone

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skeleton in the closet

a unpleasant secret that one would prefer to keep hidden

originated: skeleton's can be frightening, who would want to see one

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burning bush

a medium which a voice of absolute authority speaks

originated: God spoke to Moses through a bush which burned but was never consumed; told him to lead that people to the Promise Land

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noble savage

a person who has not been corrupted by society

originated: Rousseau, believed people were born good and innocent, and it was civilization that caused them to loose it

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a chip on one's shoulder

someone who is resentful; looking to pick a fight

originated: young boys would dare someone to knock off a wood chip on their shoulders, would be the reason to start a fight

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loaves and fishes

having a miraculous abundance of something when it seemed scarce

originated: in the gospels Jesus would preach to thousands of people, only had five loaves and two fish; fed everyone plus extra left

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fiddle while Rome burns

showing indifference in a time of emergency

originated: Roman emperor Nero played his fiddle while Rome was consumed in flames, disregarded people's hardship

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white elephant

something that is seen as an inconvenience to owner, no use; may even cause financial hardship

originated: the rare breed of elephant did not work, so the cost of feeding them was more than the profit they generated; King of Siam would gift them to those he disliked

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non sequitur

unrelated to what has been said before, doesn't logically follow

originated: Latin for "it does not follow"

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golden calf

an idol that is not worthy of worship

originated: people out of the Promise Land started to worship a golden calf they created; Moses was angered because they weren't worshipping God

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left-handed compliment

a compliment that is more insulting in a way

originated: being left-handed is associated with a sinister side sometimes in the English language

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emperor's new clothes

someone who points out the falseness of something even when others are afraid to point out the truth

originated: in a Hans Christian Anderson story, swindlers claim to make the fitting clothes of r a emperor, call them "invisible" clothes, emperor wears them to parade and a little boy finally shouts that he is naked

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waterloo

meeting one's ultimate defeat

originated: Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Waterloo 1815

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NIMBY

even though people are aware of some unpleasant realities, they insist for them to be located away from where they live; example is prisons or landfills

originated: acronym for "not in my backyard"

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bread and circus

polices in place meant to keep the public content while there are concerning issues going on

originated: Roman Empire, government would provide people with food and entertainment to keep them in line; write declared this shameful that they could easily be regulated

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an Icarus, fly too close to the sun

someone to fail because of too much ambition and lack of caution

originated: Icarus was warned by his father not to fly close to the sun because his wings were constructed of wax, he did not listen and fell to his death

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sound and fury

a great passionate uproar that ends up being meaningless

originated: in Shakespeare's Macbeth, when Macbeth finds out his wife had died, but ended up saying life is meaningless anyways

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all that glitters is not gold

appearances can be deceiving, something that appears valuable may be fake

originated: a proverb from Aristotle

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ivory tower

someone who is secluded from the real world, out of touch with reality

originated: poet, Alfred deVigny shut himself in a ivory tower to write

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thirty pieces of silver

payment received for an act of betrayal

originated: Judas received thirty pieces of silver for identifying Jesus

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betrayed with a kiss

when a supposed friends betrays you

originated: Judas was a disciple of Jesus but betrayed him for a payment, identified him to the authorities with a kiss

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read the riot act

to issue a stern warning that if bad behavior does not cease, then their will be consequence

originated: the English Common Law had to read the Riot Act to a unruly crowd to force them to disperse

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sirens

anything that tempts a person towards a destructive path/decision

originated: Greek mythology, sirens would lure sailors to their deaths with a beautiful and irresistible song

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crocodile tears

to show false sympathy for someone

originated: previously thought that crocodiles shed tears before devouring their prey, obviously don't really have feelings of remorse

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pearls before swine

giving something precious to someone without them being able to appreciate its value

originated: Jesus told people to spread the word to those who would appreciate it; "cast not your pearls before swine" pigs wouldn't appreciate pearls

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crossing the Rubicon

taking an irreversible step

originated: when Caesar took his army across the Rubicon river, entering civil war because he violated the law

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pound of flesh

someone's insistence on being repaid, even if it causes damage to the debtor

originated: Shakespeare, moneylender demanded pound of flesh because fleet of ships didn't return

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Achille's heel

a person's spot of vulnerability

originated: his heel was the only place that did not touch the River Styx, and so when a arrow hit his heel, he died

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