Words and phrases I learned from House of Cards – 5

pit against

set in direct opposition or competition

“The civil war pitted brother against brother.”


the fact of having and expressing strong, unreasonable beliefs and disliking other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life

“We will not tolerate bigotry in our organization.”

Look over one’s shoulder

to worry or think about the possibility that something bad might happen

“You have to be looking over your shoulder in this business.”

upset the apple cart

spoil a plan or disturb the status quo

“He was making a fantastic profit until a competitor upset the applecart by cutting prices.”


a husband’s (or wife’s) provision for a spouse after separation or divorce; maintenance.

“he is said to have paid ₹80,00,000 alimony to his first wife.”


(in polygamous societies) a woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives.

“Abstain if possible from taking a concubine.”
“The difference between the position of the wife and that of the concubine is marked.”


  • to bark sharply, shrilly, or snappishly; yelp.
  • Slang. to talk shrilly, noisily, or foolishly.

“His little dogs greeted him, yapping and licking, climbing up the front of his bathrobe.”
“The dog was yapping all night.”
“The kids were yapping in the back of the room.”


hit (someone) hard.
“If he does that, I’ll clobber him.”

treat or deal with harshly.
“The recession clobbered other parts of the business.”

to punish someone
“The government is proposing new measures to clobber tax dodgers.”


a small, strong bag carried on the back or over the shoulder, used especially by soldiers and walkers.


acting in a confused or ineffectual way; incompetent.

“he is a bumbling fool.”


an absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.

“talk of unity was nothing more than a charade.”

run an errand

To make a short trip to complete a specific task or chore.

“Can you see if your father can come pick you up? I’ve been running errands all day, and I don’t want to trek across town yet again.”
“I’m just stepping out to run an errand. I’ll be back soon.”


a person who is easily taken advantage of, especially by being cheated or blamed for something.
“the blonde was drop-dead gorgeous but she was nobody’s patsy.

a person who is easily cheated or made to suffer
“He claimed he was a patsy being framed by the police.”


supporting discussion or other peaceful solutions in political relationships rather than the use of force

“He is a dovish politician who was one of the signers of a model peace treaty.”


show (someone) to be involved in a crime.
“he implicated his government in the murders of three judges.”

convey (a meaning) indirectly through what one says, rather than stating it explicitly.
“by saying that coffee would keep her awake, Mary implicated that she didn’t want any”

run (or take) its course

complete its natural development without interference.

“The doctor’s advice is to let the fever run its course.
“I had to accept that the relationship had run its course.”

be privy to something

to be told information that is not told to many people

“I was never privy to conversations between top manangement.”
“There were no secrets in the little village to which he was not privy.”


investigate (someone) thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.

“each applicant will be vetted by police.”

on edge

tense, nervous, or irritable.

“never had she felt so on edge before an interview.”

a clean slate

a state in which you are starting an activity or process again, not considering what has happened in the past at all

“The previous negotiations did not go anywhere, and we intend to start them again next week with a clean slate.

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