Words and phrases I learned from House of Cards – 1

notch in one’s belt

A remarkable success or achievement, especially one in a successive string, list, or tally of other such ones.

“The successful negotiation of the merger between the two companies was another notch on the young executive’s belt.”


cause a severe loss in the dignity of and respect for (someone or something).

“I had demeaned the profession”
“I wouldn’t demean myself by asking my parents for money.”

put something to bed

to successfully deal with something or solve a problem.

“We thought we’d put the issue to bed, but it was brought up again at the next meeting.”


(of a fabric, rope, or cord) unravel or become worn at the edge, typically through constant rubbing.
“cheap fabric soon frays

a situation of intense competitive activity.
“ten companies intend to bid for the contract, with three more expected to enter the fray”

a battle or fight.
“he charged into the thick of the fray and went down fighting”

wave a wand

To provide the perfect solution to a given problem or difficulty, as if by magic.

“We can’t just wave a magic wand and make poverty go away. It will have to be a systematic effort by many stakeholders.”


an intensive or sudden military attack.
“a heavy artillery blitz

a sudden concerted effort to deal with something.
“Katrina and I had a blitz on the cleaning”

attack or seriously damage (a place) in a blitz.
“news came that Rotterdam had been blitzed


(n.) a person chosen by a group or organization that is in a difficult situation to speak officially for them to the public and answer questions and criticisms: A PUBLICITY AGENT

(v.) publicize or promote.
“each author is flacking his ‘exclusive’ account of the whole mess”

song and dance

a long and often familiar statement or explanation that is usually not true or pertinent

“instead of simply denying our request, the mayor’s representative gave us a song and dance about legal issues and municipal liability.”

sweep something under the rug

to hide something damaging or unpleasant and try to keep it secret:

“This scandal can’t be swept under the rug.”


an unnecessary trip by a government official which is paid for with public money.

“The senator is off on another junket to Hawaii at taxpayers’ expense.”

a drop in the bucket / a drop in the ocean

a very small amount compared to the amount needed.

“All the money we raised was just a drop in the bucket.”


extremely bad in a way that is very noticeable.

“It was an egregious error for a statesman to show such ignorance.”


power to influence people and get the results you want:
If the United Nations had more troops in the area, it would have greater leverage.

the act of using borrowed money to buy an investment or a company:
With leverage, the investor’s $100,000 buys $500,000 or more of stock if he wants.


a stiff, smooth material that is used for covering floors


a person who enjoys talking about other people’s private lives : a person who spreads gossip

knock (one) down a peg

To reduce or damage one’s ego or pride; to humble or humiliate one.

“I’m really glad that pompous oaf lost his court case—maybe that will knock him down a peg or two.”
“It’s about time that someone knocked Sarah down a peg. Her snotty arrogance is intolerable!”


a person who takes part in an organized attempt to influence legislators.

“industry lobbyists pushed the government to undo the decision”


  • a trusted follower : a right-hand man
  • a political follower whose support is chiefly for personal advantage
  • a member of a gang

someone who does unpleasant or illegal things for a powerful person:
“Like other dictators, he tried to distance himself from the dirty deeds carried out by his henchmen.”

up the ante

increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute.
“he decided to up the ante in the trade war”

If you up the ante, you increase your demands or the risks in a situation in order to achieve a better result:
“The government has upped the ante by refusing to negotiate until a ceasefire has been agreed.”


A piece of writing that is libelous contains bad and false statements about a person:

libelous accusations”
“The court ruled that the article was false and libelous.”

(at) full throttle

moving or progressing as fast as possible:

“She was roaring up the freeway at full throttle.”
“We’re going ahead full throttle on this project.”

break even

reach a point in a business venture when the profits are equal to the costs.

“the firm will break even at the operating level this year”

white knuckle

A white-knuckle experience or activity makes you feel very frightened and often excited:

“a white-knuckle ride in a theme park.”


1: the part of a racecourse between the last turn and the winning post

2: a final stage


make small movements, especially of the hands and feet, through nervousness or impatience.

“the audience began to fidget and whisper”


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