Words and phrases I learned from House of Cards – 4


a very large hairy spider found chiefly in tropical and subtropical America, some kinds of which are able to catch small lizards, frogs, and birds.

fall off the wagon

to start drinking alcohol, after a period when you have drunk none

“When his wife died, he fell off the wagon.

Read this.

run amok (Also, run riot or wild.)

Behave in a frenzied, out-of-control, or unrestrained manner.

“I was afraid that if I left the toddler alone she would run amok and have a hard time calming down.”
“The weeds are running riot in the lawn.”
“The children were running wild in the playground.”

concession speech

[US] (in an election) the speech given by a losing candidate when conceding defeat.


the area within the walls or perceived boundaries of a particular building or place.
“a former MP who still works in the precincts of the House”

an enclosed or clearly defined area of ground around a cathedral, church, or college.
“the precincts of the abbey church”


a round building or room, especially one with a dome.

(as) thick as thieves

(of two or more people) very close or friendly.

“Kevin and Ronnie are thick as thieves.

hose down

rain heavily.
“it’s fair hosing down this morning”

suppress or deny something.
“ministers were trying to hose down public alarm”


lacking unusual or special aspects; ordinary.

“a run-of-the-mill job”

haul/rake (someone) over the coals

to criticize (someone) very severely

“The government was then raked over the coals for refusing to send out information about the candidates.”
“The headmaster was angry. So angry, indeed, that he did what in a more lucid interval he would not have done. He hauled a senior over the coals in the hearing of a number of juniors …”


a fit of rage or hysterics.

“his client was having conniptions on the phone”

dredge something up

to talk about something bad or unpleasant that happened in the past

“The article dredged up details of her unhappy childhood.”


an act of giving financial assistance to a failing business or economy to save it from collapse.

“Three years of huge losses forced the bank to seek a government bailout.

keep one’s head above water

avoid succumbing to difficulties, typically debt.

to try to manage a difficult situation, especially when it involves a lot of work or a lack of money
“The business has lurched from one financial crisis to another but we have managed to keep our heads above water.”
“We have so much debt that we’re barely able to keep our heads above water.”


(v.) (of a fluid) slowly trickle or seep out of something.
“blood was oozing from a wound in his scalp”

(v.) slowly exude or discharge a viscous fluid.
“her mosquito bites were oozing and itching like mad”

(v.) give a powerful impression of (a quality).
“she oozes a raunchy sex appeal”

(n.) the sluggish flow of a fluid.
“I picked a fruit and watched the ooze of fig milk from the stem.”


to arrange dishonestly for the result of something, for example an election, to be changed

“Previous elections in the country have been rigged by the ruling party.”

pull an oar

To contribute toward a group effort.


reduce to fine particles.
“the brick of the villages was pulverized by the bombardment”

defeat utterly.
“he had a winning car and pulverized the opposition”


a brand name for a drug used to treat anxiety

“It turns out she was taking Xanax for depression.”

dark horse

a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.

a person who keeps their interests and ideas secret, especially someone who has a surprising ability or skill
“Anna’s such a dark horse – I had no idea she’d published a novel.”


a home providing care for the sick or terminally ill.


an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck.

“their victory was a bit of fluke


(of a task) carried out clumsily or incompetently.

“a bungled bank raid”


to walk in an energetic way and with more movement than necessary

“It’s pathetic to see 50-year-old rock stars prancing around on stage as if they were still teenagers.”
“She pranced into the office and demanded to speak to the manager.”


the projecting part of the face, including the nose and mouth, of an animal such as a dog or horse.
“she patted the horse’s velvety muzzle”

the open end of the barrel of a firearm.
“Davlin jammed the muzzle of the gun into the man’s neck”

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