Words and Phrases I learned from House of Cards – 3

long shot

an attempt or guess that has only the slightest chance of succeeding or being accurate.

“it’s a long shot but well worth trying.”

rub shoulders (with)

to meet and spend time with someone.

“she claims that she rub shoulders with royalty all the time.”
“he rubbed shoulders with TV stars at the party.”


the ability to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination

“She had the gumption to write directly to the company manager and persuade him to give her a job.”
“the president would hire almost any young man who had the gumption to ask for a job.”

steal someone’s thunder

to do what someone else was going to do before they do it, especially if this takes success or praise away from them

get hitched

get married

“Is Ronnie really getting hitched?”


(n.) a plant disease, typically one caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts, and smuts.
“the vines suffered blight and disease.”

(n.) a thing that spoils or damages something.
“the vacant properties are a blight on the neighbourhood.”

(v.) have a severely detrimental effect on.
“the scandal blighted the career of sevaral leading politicians.”

(v.) infect (plants) with blight.
“a peach tree blighted by leaf curl”

off the hook

no longer in difficulty or trouble.

“I lied to get him off the hook.


a simultaneous discharge of artillery or other guns in a battle.
“a deafening salvo of shots rang out.”

a sudden, vigorous, or aggressive act or series of acts.
“the pardons provoked a salvo of accusations.”


a thing that is readily ignited.
“dry winds and no rains have turned parts of the state into a tinderbox.

a dangerous and uncontrolled situation in which violence is likely to happen
“the racial tension in the area makes it a tinderbox ready to ignite.”

in someone’s wheelhouse

In, related to, or matching someone’s general interests, abilities, or area of familiarity; in someone’s comfort zone.

“It’s clear, however, that the political implications of this issue are well in the author’s wheelhouse.
“Kevin’s always stayed in his wheelhouse when it comes to dating women. He doesn’t usually go for anyone very different from himself.”

in (someone’s) wheelhouse


a large cave or chamber in a cave.


(n.) a thing that fails to work properly or is otherwise unsatisfactory or worthless.
“all three bombs were duds.”

(n.) an ineffectual person.
“a complete dud, incapable of even hitting the ball”

(n.) clothes
“buy yourself some new duds.”

(adj.) not working or meeting standards; faulty.
“a dud ignition switch”


(adj.) providing necessary support to the primary activities or operation of an organization, system, etc.
ancillary staff”

(n.) a person whose work provides necessary support to the primary activities of an organization, system, etc.
“the employment of specialist teachers and ancillaries”


abandon or leave.

“he would never forsake Ronnie”


a short piece of writing, music, acting, etc. that clearly expresses the typical characteristics of something or someone

“She wrote sevaral vignettes of small-town life.”


annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand.

“he wondered if the doctor was being deliberately obtuse.”

play hooky

Be absent from school or some other obligation without permission

“It was such a beautiful day that Sandy played hooky from work.”

like pulling teeth

If you say that making someone do something was like pulling teeth, you mean it was very difficult and they did not want to do it

“Getting her to tell me about her childhood was like pulling teeth.”
“It’s like pulling teeth to get a straight answer from him.”

be slow (or quick) on the uptake

be slow (or quick) to understand something.

“he shows irratation with people who are slow on the uptake.

silver bullet

a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem.

“There’s no ‘silver bullet‘ that can prevent flooding entirely”


move or cause to move up and down or from side to side with small rapid movements.

“Ronnie wiggled her toes”
“He tried wiggling the control stick but nothing happened.”
“She wiggled her toes in the water.”
“Her hips wiggle as she walks.”

trickle down

(of wealth) gradually benefit the poorest as a result of the increasing wealth of the richest.


the theory that the poorest in society gradually benefit as a result of the increasing wealth of the richest.
“the trickle-down effect”

have a leg up

to have an advantage over others

“The company has a leg up on the competition thans to the recent publicity.”


uncompromising and ruthless methods or dealings.
“the leadership played hardball to win the vote”

a method that is forceful, determined, and often unpleasant:
hardball approach/tactics
“Now the agency wants the money back – and is prepared to play hardball to get it, holding out the threat of criminal prosecution.”


a drug addict.

a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something.
power junkies“, “a computer junkie“, “a publicity junkie


a group of geese

a disorderly group of people.
“the gaggle of photographers that dogged his every step”

a group of noisy or silly people
“There was the usual gaggle of journalists waiting for the star.”

in limbo

in a situation where you do not know what will happen or when something will happen
“We were in limbo for weeks while the jury tried to make a decision in the case.”

In a condition of oblivion or neglect
“They kept her application in limbo for months.”

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