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Witleastisms

witleast

In A TALL HORS D’OEUVRE, you’ll meet a bird by the name of Witleast. Despite his penguinlike appearance, he’s no penguin; if you want to know, he’s a Black Phoebe, a small flycatcher. Witleast is also a big flubphrase; that is, he has a bad habit of flubbing common expressions that we almost always use right. These nutty mistakes can be called Witleastisms, and they seemingly occur whenever he opens his beak.


For example, one common expression is “You took the words right out of my mouth.” It means that you said exactly what I was going to say. What Witleast says is “You took the words right out of my mouse.” One special kind of expression is an idiom. With idioms, even though you know what all the words mean by themselves, unless you already know it’s an idiom, you won’t understand what the idiom means when you put the words together. One common idiom is “Chew the fat.” It means to have small talk. What Witleast says is “Chew the vat.”


If you want to, every time Witleast appears, pay close attention to what he says; when you find one of his many bungled expressions (there are 220 of them!), keep track of it.


As soon as you’re done, take a look at the full list below.




CHAPTER 1

1. WITLEASTISM: Take a licorice and keep on ticking

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take a licking and keep on ticking (to be resilient)

Witleast, the little black and white bird, being a pal of Thoorl’s, toddled towards the dazed squirrel. “I hope you can take a licorice and keep on ticking.” (p. 4)


2. WITLEASTISM: Keep a stiff supper lip

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Keep a stiff upper lip (to be tough)

“Oh, he’s tough,” Witleast said. “But to me, it looks like he’s trying to keep a stiff supper lip.” (p. 5)


3. WITLEASTISM: You took the words right out of my mouse

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You took the words right out of my mouth (someone said exactly what you were about to say)

You took the words right out of my mouse,” Witleast said. (p. 5)


4. WITLEASTISM: Like a bat out of jail

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Like a bat out of hell (wildly fast)

“Were you two playing a game?” Witleast asked. “I saw you running like a bat out of jail.” (p. 5)


5. WITLEASTISM: Missed the bolt

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Miss the boat (to miss an opportunity)

“Oh well. I guess I missed the bolt,” Witleast said. “But actually, I don’t have time for games. Actually, I’m busy. Do you want to know why?” (p. 6)


6. WITLEASTISM: Cross my heart and hope for pie

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Cross my heart and hope to die (you swear you’re telling the truth)

Cross my heart and hope for pie! I’ll show you!” (p. 6)


7. WITLEASTISM: One good turnip deserves another

RIGHT EXPRESSION: One good turn deserves another (if someone helps you, you should help them)

“How about you come along anyways? You can hold the little round things,” Witleast said. “I helped you in my own way. Help me. After all, one good turnip deserves another.” (p. 7)


8. WITLEASTISM: In a splash

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In a flash (in no time)

“It won’t take long,” Witleast said. “We’ll be done in a splash.” (p. 7)


9. WITLEASTISM: I couldn’t have read it any better myself

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You couldn’t have said it any better yourself (you’re right)

Witleast nodded. “I couldn’t have shed it any better myself.” (p. 7)




CHAPTER 2

10. WITLEASTISM: A chip off the old clock

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A chip off the old block (a person who is similar to their parent)

“You’ll like him. I’ll introduce you,” Witleast said. “You’ll see that I’m a chip off the old clock.” (p. 9)


11. WITLEASTISM: Let’s get down to brass yaks

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Let’s get down to brass tacks (let’s get down to business)

“You’re happy, he’s happy, and I’m happy,” Witleast said, still scratching his side, “and that’s great, but let’s get down to brass yaks; we didn’t come here to chew the vat or shoo the breeze. We have something more important to talk about.” (p. 11)


12. WITLEASTISM: Chew the vat

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Chew the fat (to have small talk)

“You’re happy, he’s happy, and I’m happy,” Witleast said, still scratching his side, “and that’s great, but let’s get down to brass yaks; we didn’t come here to chew the vat or shoo the breeze. We have something more important to talk about.” (p. 11)


13. WITLEASTISM: Shoo the breeze

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Shoot the breeze (to have small talk)

“You’re happy, he’s happy, and I’m happy,” Witleast said, still scratching his side, “and that’s great, but let’s get down to brass yaks; we didn’t come here to chew the vat or shoo the breeze. We have something more important to talk about.” (p. 11)


14. WITLEASTISM: A wholesome bunch

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A whole bunch (a lot)

“This,” Witleast said, pointing to the quarter Thoorl was holding. “And the other little round things like it. We need a wholesome bunch of them.” (p. 11)


15. WITLEASTISM: Pulling your leg of lamb

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Pull someone’s leg (to kid someone)

“A whopper?” Witleast asked. “Do you think I’m pulling your leg of lamb?” (p. 11)


16. WITLEASTISM: Take a reindeer check

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take a rain check (to wait for another time)

“I think he’ll take a reindeer check,” Witleast said. (p. 13)


17. WITLEASTISM: Chauffers sew good

RIGHT EXPRESSION: So far, so good (no problems yet)

“Coins,” Witleast said. “Yes. Chauffeurs sew good.” (p. 13)


18. WITLEASTISM: Cut to the cheese

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Cut to the chase (to get to the important part)

“Great. But let’s cut to the cheese. How many little round things do we need?” Witleast asked. (p. 14)


19. WITLEASTISM: Not my crop of tea

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Not your cup of tea (not something that interests you)

“Ah, numbers,” Witleast said. “I don’t like numbers. They’re not my crop of tea. I don’t know if I saw one. There was this though: there was a line like a tree trunk, and then there was a little round stone, and then there were two eggs by it.” (p. 14)


20. WITLEASTISM: Nose sweat

RIGHT EXPRESSION: No sweat (not difficult)

“I hope it’s nose sweat to understand,” Witleast whispered to Thoorl. (p. 15)


21. WITLEASTISM: Jumped the gunny sack

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Jump the gun (to react too early)

This time, wanting to show his attentiveness, Witleast began nodding first, assuming that the question was going to be the same. But when he saw that Thoorl wasn’t nodding, he slowly stopped nodding. “Oops. It looks like I jumped the gunny sack.” (p. 16)


22. WITLEASTISM: A tall hors d’oeuvre

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A tall order (something hard to accomplish)

Witleast whistled. “This is going to be a tall hors d’oeuvre.” (p. 17)




CHAPTER 3

23. WITLEASTISM: Keep a simple tongue in your mouth

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Keep a civil tongue in your mouth (to not rudely voice your complaints)

“Oh,” Witleast said. “I see. You’re trying to keep a simple tongue in your mouth.” (p. 19)


24. WITLEASTISM: Music to my ears of corn

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Music to my ears (good news)

“That’s music to my ears of corn.” (p. 19)


25. WITLEASTISM: No big seal

RIGHT EXPRESSION: No big deal (no problem)

Witleast took one last look at the quarter before handing it back to Thoorl. “No big seal.” (p. 20)


26. WITLEASTISM: Make my bloodhound boil

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Make your blood boil (to make you mad)

Witleast waved him off with a wing. “Did you think that would make my bloodhound boil, or that I would be as mad as a wet inn?” (p. 21)


27. WITLEASTISM: As mad as a wet inn

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As mad as a wet hen (very angry)

Witleast waved him off with a wing. “Did you think that would make my bloodhound boil, or that I would be as mad as a wet inn?” (p. 21)


28. WITLEASTISM: Get your coat

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Get your goat (to upset you)

“Listen.” Witleast said. “Don’t let this task get your coat. Patience is going to be very important.” (p. 21)


29. WITLEASTISM: As a mad deer of fact

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As a matter of fact (in truth)

As a mad deer of fact, he is.” (p. 22)


30. WITLEASTISM: As sharp as a tackle box

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As sharp as a tack (very smart)

“You’re right,” Witleast said. “He’s as sharp as a tackle box.” (p. 23)


31. WITLEASTISM: As smart as a whippet

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As smart as a whip (very smart)

“He’s as smart as a whippet too.” (p. 23)


32. WITLEASTISM: Have bigger fish to fly

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Have bigger fish to fry (to have more important problems to deal with)

“We do have bigger fish to fly.” (p. 24)


33. WITLEASTISM: Hit the jagged pot

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hit the jackpot (to be very successful)

When Witleast heard Thoorl’s labored breathing, he turned around, and in his wings, he had a nickel. “Look! We hit the jagged pot!” (p. 25)




CHAPTER 4

34. WITLEASTISM: Pin our hoops on him

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Pin your hopes on someone (to believe that someone can help you)

“That’s why I knew we could pin our hoops on him,” Witleast said. “I knew what he promised to show us was no cow pie in the sky.” (p. 27)


35. WITLEASTISM: Cow pie in the sky

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Pie in the sky (unrealistic promise)

“That why I knew we could pin our hoops on him,” Witleast said. “I knew what he promised to show us was no cow pie in the sky.” (p. 27)


36. WITLEASTISM: Two heads of cattle are better than one

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Two heads are better than one (two people can solve more problems than one person can solve alone)

Admiring the coin, Witleast whistled. “Just like two heads of cattle are better than one.” (p. 27)


37. WITLEASTISM: Have our heads of lettuce in the clouds

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Have your head in the clouds (to daydream or not think realistically)

“But speaking of heads, we can’t have our heads of lettuce in the clouds. We have to keep our ice peeled for little round things.” (p. 27)


38. WITLEASTISM: Keep our ice peeled

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Keep our eyes peeled (to be attentive)

“But speaking of heads, we can’t have our heads of lettuce in the clouds. We have to keep our ice peeled for little round things.” (p. 27)


39. WITLEASTISM: Keep up the good workhorse

RIGHT OF EXPRESSON: Keep up the good work (to continue doing a good job)

“Good. Keep up the good workhorse.” (p. 27)


40. WITLEASTISM: Work your two shakes of a lamb’s telephone off

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Work your tail off (to work very hard) and In two shakes of a lamb’s tail (in a short amount of time)

“Yes, but don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to work your two shakes of a lamb’s telephone off.” (p. 27)


41. WITLEASTISM: Stopped on a mime

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Stop on a dime (to stop suddenly)

Witleast was quiet for a moment. “You probably want to know why I stopped on a mime.” (p. 28)


42. WITLEASTISM: A shrinking violin

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A shrinking violet (a very shy person)

“No, of course not. This finch, he’s a shrinking violin. He’s very shy.” (p. 28)


43. WITLEASTISM: Wouldn’t even herd a fly

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Wouldn’t even hurt a fly (to not be dangerous)

Witleast toddled to the nearby tree. “Believe me, this squirrel’s okay; he wouldn’t even herd a fly.” (p. 28)


44. WITLEASTISM: Can’t carry a dune in a bucket

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Can’t carry a tune in a bucket (to not be able to sing)

“Your song was lovely,” Thoorl said. “I myself can’t carry a —”

Dune in a bucket,” Witleast said, interrupting to finish Thoorl’s thought incorrectly. (p. 29)


45. WITLEASTISM: Leave you out in the cold turkey

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Leave someone out in the cold (to not tell someone important information)

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you out in the cold turkey,” Witleast said. “He’s going to get something for an errand he wants us to run for him.” (p. 30)


46. WITLEASTISM: Have a lock on our plate

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Have a lot on your plate (to be very busy)

“I know, I know. We have a lock on our plate, but what you don’t know is this: he knows where a little round thing is.” (p. 30)


47. WITLEASTISM: A nervous knelling

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A nervous Nellie (a nervous person)

“He’s a nervous knelling,” Witleast said. (p. 31)




CHAPTER 5

48. WITLEASTISM: Give him his doodle

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Give someone their due (to give someone credit)

“It’s actually from a finch,” Witleast said. “I should give him his doodle.” (p. 36)


49. WITLEASTISM: Worked like a dog catcher

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Work like a dog (to work very hard)

“He’s shy, and he’s little, but he worked like a dog catcher to —” (p. 37)


50. WITLEASTISM: A lawn story

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A long story (a long explanation)

“That’s a lawn story.” (p. 37)


51. WITLEASTISM: Hit the heyday

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hit the hay (to go to bed)

“I guess I could hit the heyday.” (p. 38)




CHAPTER 6

52. WITLEASTISM: The squeaky whale gets the grease

RIGHT EXPRESSION: The squeaky wheel gets the grease (the one who makes the most noise about a problem gets help)

The squeaky whale gets the grease.” (p. 42)


53. WITLEASTISM: In his neck of the woodsman

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In someone’s neck of the woods (in the area where someone lives)

“Because this is an old friend and we’re in his neck of the woodsman,” Witleast said, and then he flew to a wire stretching between poles some distance from the park’s path. (p. 42)


54. WITLEASTISM: Don’t move a mousehole

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Don’t move a muscle (stay where you are)

“Fine,” Witleast said, leaping off the wire. “Don’t move a mousehole! I’ll be right back!” (p. 43)


55. WITLEASTISM: A newt point

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A moot point (an unimportant point)

“That’s a newt point,” Witleast said, showing off the nickel. “But here’s what I was talking about. (p. 44)


56. WITLEASTISM: That’s for me to know and for you two fine owls

RIGHT EXPRESSION: That’s for me to know and for you to find out (I know the answer, but you’ll have to find it for yourself)

That’s for me to know and for you two fine owls.” (p. 44)


57. WITLEASTISM: At any crate

RIGHT EXPRESSION: At any rate (anyways)

At any crate, I imagine that you’ve flown here and there today. Have you seen any? We think the park has lots.” (p. 44)


58. WITLEASTISM: Hot dog collar

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hot dog (great!)

Hot dog collar! Where?” (p. 44)


59. WITLEASTISM: On the sane page

RIGHT EXPRESSION: On the same page (in agreement)

“A worm for a little round thing?” Witleast asked. “Are we on the sane page?” (p. 46)


60. WITLEASTISM: Curiosity killed the cot

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Curiosity killed the cat (being too curious is dangerous)

Nodding, Witleast prepared to set out, but curiosity kept him on the wire. “I know that curiosity killed the cot, but since the burly bird gets the worm, how come you need me to get you one?” (p. 46)


61. WITLEASTISM: The burly bird gets the worm

RIGHT OF EXPRESSION: The early bird gets the worm (being early enables you to get what you need before others can get it)

Nodding, Witleast prepared to set out, but curiosity kept him on the wire. “I know that curiosity killed the cot, but since the burly bird gets the worm, how come you need me to get you one?” (p. 46)


62. WITLEASTISM: Under the weathervane

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Under the weather (sick)

Witleast stared at the feathery sluggard. “Are you under the weathervane?” (p. 46)


63. WITLEASTISM: As fit as a fiddler crab

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As fit as a fiddle (healthy)

“I thought so. you look as fit as a fiddler crab and as healthy as a horseshoe crab,” Witleast said. “Then why?” (p. 46)


64. WITLEASTISM: As healthy as a horsehoe crab

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As healthy as a horse (healthy)

“I thought so. you look as fit as a fiddler crab and as healthy as a horseshoe crab,” Witleast said. “Then why?” (p. 46)


65. WITLEASTISM: Different yokes for different folks

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Different strokes for different folks (people like different things)

“Well, different yokes for different folks,” Witleast said, and muttering about the pigeon’s laziness, he flew away. (p. 46)


66. WITLEASTISM: Catch you up to spud

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Catch someone up to speed (to tell someone the latest news)

“I’ll catch you up to spud later.” (p. 48)


67. WITLEASTISM: Nobody’s foal

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Nobody’s fool (not a stupid person)

“I might be what I am, but I’m nobody’s foal.” (p. 48)




CHAPTER 7

68. WITLEASTISM: What’s noodle

RIGHT EXPRESSION: What’s new (what is the latest news)

What’s noodle?” Witleast asked. (p. 51)


69. WITLEASTISM: Look like you’ve seen a ghostwriter

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You look like you’ve seen a ghost (you look surprised)

You look like you’ve seen a ghostwriter,” Witleast said. “I told you that I’d meet you. Don’t you know that you can count on meatballs? After all, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouse.” (p. 51)


70. WITLEASTISM: You can count on meatballs

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You can count on someone (you can depend on someone)

“You look like you’ve seen a ghostwriter,” Witleast said. “I told you that I’d meet you. Don’t you know that you can count on meatballs? After all, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouse.” (p. 51)


71. WITLEASTISM: Heard it straight from the horse’s mouse

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth (to hear something directly from the person involved)

“You look like you’ve seen a ghostwriter,” Witleast said. “I told you that I’d meet you. Don’t you know that you can count on meatballs? After all, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouse.” (p. 51)


72. WITLEASTISM: Let’s shake a table leg

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Let’s shake a leg (let’s hurry up and go)

“Well, let’s shake a table leg!” Witleast said, and he got going. “Those little round things aren’t going to find themselves!” (p. 51)


73. WITLEASTISM: That stands to raisin

RIGHT EXPRESSION: That stands to reason (something makes sense)

“Right. That stands to raisin,” Witleast said. “What it was was that the pigeon robbed me the wrong way. He’s like me, and he likes worms, and he knew where the worms were, but he was so lazy that he didn’t feel like getting them by himself.” (p. 51)


74. WITLEASTISM: Robbed me the wrong way

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Rub someone the wrong way (to bother someone)

“Right. That stands to raisin,” Witleast said. “What it was was that the pigeon robbed me the wrong way. He’s like me, and he likes worms, and he knew where the worms were, but he was so lazy that he didn’t feel like getting them by himself.” (p. 51)


75. WITLEASTISM: Thank my lucky steers

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Thank your lucky stars (to be appreciative of good fortune)

“Well, I can thank my lucky steers that while looking for the pigeon’s worm, I happened upon a little round thing,” Witleast said. “After that, I didn’t want the pigeon to know, so I was especially secretive, and that’s why I didn’t want to tell you everything then.” (p. 52)


76. WITLEASTISM: In any invention

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In any event (anyways)

In any invention, we’re one less little round thing away from being done.” (p. 52)


77. WITLEASTISM: Long time no seagull

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Long time no see (You haven’t seen someone in a long time)

Long time no seagull,” Witleast said. (p. 52)


78. WITLEASTISM: Scared him out of his weeds

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Scare someone out of their wits (to really scare someone)

“A friend of mine,” Witleast said. “And it looks like you’ve scared him out of his weeds.” (p. 53)


79. WITLEASTISM: His bark is worse than his overbite

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Someone’s bark is worse than their bite (someone sounds scary, but they really aren’t)

“Don’t worry about him,” Witleast said. “His bark is worse than his overbite.” (p. 53)


80. WITLEASTISM: Have a lunch

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Have a hunch (to have a good feeling about something)

“Don’t worry,” Witleast said, gazing at the vanishing barn swallow. “I have a lunch that this is going to turn out well.” (p. 55)


81. WITLEASTISM: Look on the bright sign

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Look on the bright side (take good things into account instead of dwelling on bad things)

Look on the bright sign.” (p. 55)


82. WITLEASTISM: Monkey in the bank

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Money in the bank (something guaranteed)

“Don’t worry,” Witleast said. “This is monkey in the bank.” (p. 57)




CHAPTER 8

83. WITLEASTISM: Blew wheat

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Blow it (to mess something up)

“I blew wheat.” p. 59)


84. WITLEASTISM: A horshoe end

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A shoo-in (someone guaranteed to win)

Witleast raised his head more. “After all, I was a horseshoe end to win.” (p. 60)


85. WITLEASTISM: If at first you don’t sow a seed, try, try again

RIGHT EXPRESSION: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again (don’t quit after your first failure)

Witleast raised his head as high as it would go. “If at first you don’t sow a seed, try, try again.” (p. 60)


86. WITLEASTISM: That’s the ticky-tacky nit

RIGHT EXPRESSION: That’s the ticket (you’re exactly right)

That’s the ticky-tacky nit!” (p. 60)


87. WITLEASTISM: Slapped my mind

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Slip your mind (to forget something)

“Wait!” Witleast said. “I was so glum that it must have slapped my mind!” (p. 61)


88. WITLEASTISM: A silly filly

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A silly billy (a silly person)

“I’m such a silly filly,” Witleast said. “I can’t believe I forgot.” (p. 61)


89. WITLEASTISM: What’s the pig idea

RIGHT EXPRESSION: What’s the pig idea (what in the world are you doing)

What’s the pig idea?” Witleast asked, scratching his head. (p. 63)




CHAPTER 9

90. WITLEASTISM: Take a cattle nap

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take a cat nap (to take a short nap)

“I hope he’s not napping,” Witleast said. “This is about the time of day when he likes to take a cattle nap.” (p. 65)


91. WITLEASTISM: Tulip scents

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Two cents (someone’s opinion)

It was reasonable, and Witleast nodded. “I sure would like to get his tulip scents before doing so though.” (p. 66)


92. WITLEASTISM: What in the whorl

RIGHT EXPRESSION: What in the world (what)

Witleast giggled. “What in the whorl are you two talking about? I’m over here feeling like the thirty-fifth wheel.” (p. 67)


93. WITLEASTISM: Thirty-fifth wheel

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Third wheel (unnecessary person) and Fifth wheel (unnecessary person)

Witleast giggled. “What in the whorl are you two talking about? I’m over here feeling like the thirty-fifth wheel.” (p. 67)


94. WITLEASTISM: From the locks of it

RIGHT EXPRESSION: From the looks of it (from the way things seem)

“Good. From the locks of it, it seemed like you two were discussing something secretive,” Witleast said. “I thought that maybe you two were thinking that I have a bean in my bonnet.” (p. 68)


95. WITLEASTISM: Have a bean in my bonnet

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Have a bee in your bonnet (to have a silly idea that you won’t let go of)

“Good. From the locks of it, it seemed like you two were discussing something secretive,” Witleast said. “I thought that maybe you two were thinking that I have a bean in my bonnet.” (p. 68)


96. WITLEASTISM: Quiet as a mousetrap

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Quiet as a mouse (very quiet)

“Your words were quiet as a mousetrap.” (p. 69)


97. WITLEASTISM: At the head of the glass

RIGHT EXPRESSION: At the head of the class (the smartest person in a group)

Witleast giggled. “If that’s so, then I should be at the head of the glass.” (p. 69)


98. WITLEASTISM: In a giraffey

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In a jiffy (in a hurry)

“I’ll get it then,” Witleast said. “I’ll be back in a giraffey.” (p. 70)




CHAPTER 10

99. WITLEASTISM: Running on flumes

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Running on fumes (very tired)

“Not much,” Witleast said. “Why? Are you running on flumes?” (p. 73)


100. WITLEASTISM: The momentum of truth

RIGHT EXPRESSION: The moment of truth (the crucial moment)

“Well, now is the momentum of truth,” Witleast said. “Are the little round things all in order?” (p. 74)


101. WITLEASTISM: It’s a small word

RIGHT EXPRESSION: It’s a small world (it’s surprising to meet people in places that you didn’t expect to meet them)

“Wow! It’s a small word!” (p. 74)


102. WITLEASTISM: A sight for soaring eyes

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A sight for sore eyes (someone you’re glad to see)

“Well, aren’t you a sight for soaring eyes!” Witleast said. “What made you change your mind?” (p. 75)


103. WITLEASTISM: Larger than lice

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Larger than life (unbelievably big)

“It’s larger than lice,” Witleast said. “It’s as big as the outhouse’s doors.” (p. 75)


104. WITLEASTISM: As big as the outhouse’s doors

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As big as the outdoors (very big)

“It’s larger than lice,” Witleast said. “It’s as big as the outhouse’s doors.”(p. 75)


105. WITLEASTISM: Catch your driftwood

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Catch someone’s drift (to understand what someone is indirectly saying)

“Right. The little round things,” Witleast said. “I catch your driftwood.” (p. 75)


106. WITLEASTISM: Haven’t the veiniest idea

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Haven’t the faintest idea (to be clueless)

“I haven’t the veiniest idea.”(p. 79)


107. WITLEASTISM: Be my guesthouse

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Be my guest (go ahead)

“Be my guesthouse.” (p. 79)




CHAPTER 11

108. WITLEASTISM: Burnt outside

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Burnt out (exhausted)

“If we had any gusto left,” Witleast said. “And I don’t know about you, but I’m burnt outside.” (p. 82)


109. WITLEASTISM: Call it a daydream

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Call it a day (to quit for the day)

Call it a daydream? Isn’t that what you’ve wanted to do all afternoon?” (p. 82)


110. WITLEASTISM: Go back to the bored drawing

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Go back to the drawing board (to come up with a new approach for solving a problem)

“Are you telling me that you have what it takes to go back to the bored drawing and start from square wand?” (p. 82)


111. WITLEASTISM: Start from square wand

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Start from square one (to start from the beginning)

“Are you telling me that you have what it takes to go back to the bored drawing and start from square wand?” (p. 82)


112. WITLEASTISM: An anthill battle

RIGHT EXPRESSION: An uphill battle (a difficult challenge)

“It’s going to be an anthill battle.” (p. 82)


113. WITLEASTISM: By the skin of our teaspoon

RIGHT EXPRESSION: By the skin of our teeth (barely)

“And even if we succeed, it’ll just be by the skin of our teaspoon.” (p. 82)


114. WITLEASTISM: Can hardly wade

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Can hardly wait (to be so excited that you can’t wait)

Witleast giggled again. “I can hardly wade!” (p. 82)


115. WITLEASTISM: You can bet your bottom sand dollar

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You can bet your bottom dollar (you can be sure of something)

You can bet your bottom sand dollar we would!” Witleast said. (p. 84)


116. WITLEASTISM: Let’s stalk turkey

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Let’s talk turkey (let’s talk about the important matter)

“Good,” Witleast said. “But let’s stalk turkey.” (p. 84)




CHAPTER 12

117. WITLEASTISM: Pancake out

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Pan out (to work out)

“It did,” Witleast said. “But it didn’t pancake out.” (p. 88)


118. WITLEASTISM: Left no stove unturned

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Leave no stone unturned (to look everywhere

“We left no stove unturned,” Witleast said. “We looked hi and hello.” (p. 88)


119. WITLEASTISM: Looked hi and hello

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Look high and low (to look everywhere)

“We left no stove unturned,” Witleast said. “We looked hi and hello.” (p. 88)


120. WITLEASTISM: Go apricot

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Go ape (to go crazy)

“I remember,” Witleast said. “Speaking of the raccoon, do you think that he’d go apricot for some of the sweets in the big box?” (p. 88)


121. WITLEASTISM: Lickety-banana-split

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Lickety-split (in a hurry)

“Let’s go lickety-banana-split!” (p. 89)


122. WITLEASTISM: A pig’s tie

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A pigsty (a mess)

“It doesn’t look like he’s been tending to his front yard,” Witleast said. “This place is a pig’s tie.” (p. 89)


123. WITLEASTISM: Point out the elephant in the restroom

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Point out the elephant in the room (to draw attention to an obvious problem that no one wants to discuss)

Witleast, after trudging without a peep, chimed in. “I don’t want to be the one to point out the elephant in the restroom, but I don’t think the raccoon’s here.” (p. 90)


124. WITLEASTISM: Kicked the buck’s first-aid kit

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Kick the bucket (to die)

“Maybe he kicked the buck’s first-aid kit.” (p. 90)


125. WITLEASTISM: Don’t beat around the bushel

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Don’t beat around the bush (don’t waste time by not saying what you really want to say or need to say)

Don’t beat around the bushel,” Witleast said. (p. 91)


126. WITLEASTISM: A smart owlet

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A smart aleck (someone who tries to be funny)

“Don’t be a smart owlet,” Witleast said. (p. 91)


127. WITLEASTISM: Gazelle height

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Gesundheit (God bless you)

Gazelle height!” Witleast said. (p. 91)


128. WITLEASTISM: Shake like a tree and leave

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Make like a tree and leave (to leave)

Witleast wiped some cockroach spittle off his face while whispering to Thoorl. “Should we shake like a tree and leave?” (p. 93)




CHAPTER 13

129. WITLEASTISM: Look what the caterpillar dragged in

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Look what the cat dragged in (look who’s here)

A real bird’s voice, Witleast’s, came from a distance, where Thoorl and Witleast were waving. “Well, look what the caterpillar dragged in!” (p. 99)




CHAPTER 14

130. WITLEASTISM: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride the train

RIGHT EXPRESSION: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride (if wishes always came true, people would always have what they want)

“I wish,” Witleast said. “But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride the train.” (p. 101)


131. WITLEASTISM: Upset the apple cartwheels

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Upset the applecart (to ruin plans)

“Well, something upset the apple cartwheels,” Witleast said. “We have nothing.” (p. 101)


132. WITLEASTISM: Ain’t that the tooth

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Ain’t that the truth (you’re right)

Witleast’s head was down. “Ain’t that the tooth!” (p. 102)


133. WITLEASTISM: You’re telephoning me

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You’re telling me (you’re right)

You’re telephoning me,” Witleast said. (p. 102)


134. WITLEASTISM: It’s not over till the fat ladybug sings

RIGHT EXPRESSION: It’s not over till the fat lady sings (something isn’t over till the very end)

“That’s right,” Witleast said, encouraged. “It’s not over till the fat ladybug sings.” (p. 104)




CHAPTER 15

135. WITLEASTISM: Nothing to wheeze at

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Nothing to sneeze at (not a small amount)

“We’ve had some luck recently!” Witleast said, searching. “What we’ve got now is nothing to wheeze at.” (p. 106)


136. WITLEASTISM: Reinvent the ferris wheel

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Reinvent the wheel (to be overly innovative)

“If we just keep doing what we’re doing, how can we not end up with what we need?” Witleast asked. “I mean, there’s no need to reinvent the ferris wheel. We just have to keep plucking away.” (p. 106)


137. WITLEASTISM: Keep plucking away

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Keep plugging away (to be persistent)

“If we just keep doing what we’re doing, how can we not end up with what we need?” Witleast asked. “I mean, there’s no need to reinvent the ferris wheel. We just have to keep plucking away.” (p. 106)


138. WITLEASTISM: In lightbulb of

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In light of (considering)

“And I don’t know about you, but in lightbulb of our latest finds, I feel fervent and could look for little round things till the owls come home.” (p. 106)


139. WITLEASTISM: Till the owls come home

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Till the cows come home (forever)

“And I don’t know about you, but in lightbulb of our latest finds, I feel fervent and could look for little round things till the owls come home.” (p. 106)


140. WITLEASTISM: Litterpug

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Litterbug (a person who litters)

Witleast shook his head. “Hardly. It’s just something some litterpug left.” (p. 106)


141. WITLEASTISM: One manatee’s trash is another manatee’s treasure

RIGHT EXPRESSION: One man’s trash is another man’s treasures (what is worthless to one person is often valuable to another person)

“That’s not for us, but one manatee’s trash is another manatee’s treasure,” Witleast said. “After all, beauty is in the eye of the bee holder.” (p. 107)


142. WITLEASTISM: Beauty is in the eye of the bee holder

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (people find different things beautiful)

“That’s not for us, but one manatee’s trash is another manatee’s treasure,” Witleast said. “After all, beauty is in the eye of the bee holder.” (p. 107)


143. WITLEASTISM: Put all our eggs in one bassinet

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Put all your eggs in one basket (to put all your time and effort into one strategy without worrying about other strategies)

Witleast, not having stopped, was further ahead. “Do you think it’s wrong to put all our eggs in one bassinet?” (p. 107)


144. WITLEASTISM: X mars the spot

RIGHT EXPRESSION: X marks the spot (what you’re looking for is indicated by an obvious mark)

“It’s not like we’re able to go around and see an X on the ground and know that X mars the spot. And since that’s true, maybe searching, no matter how persistent we are, is a waste.” (p. 107)


145. WITLEASTISM: No skin off my gnus

RIGHT EXPRESSION: No skin off your nose (something doesn’t bother you)

A rude wing Witleast waved. “No skin off my gnus!” (p. 108)


146. WITLEASTISM: Strike the right notebook

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Strike the right note (to sound good)

“That offer has to strike the right notebook,” Witleast said. “So?” (p. 110)


147. WITLEASTISM: Put a socket wrench in it

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Put a sock in it (be quiet)

“Why don’t you put a socket wrench in it?” Witleast asked. (p. 110)




CHAPTER 16

148. WITLEASTISM: Old boy

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Oh boy (wow)

Old boy!” Witleast said, jerking his head out of the potato chip bag. “I’m on clod nine! We’re in the cat’s birdseed now! The world is our cloister!” (p. 114)


149. WITLEASTISM: On clod nine

RIGHT EXPRESSION: On cloud nine (in a good position)

“Old boy!” Witleast said, jerking his head out of the potato chip bag. “I’m on clod nine! We’re in the cat’s birdseed now! The world is our cloister!” (p. 114)


150. WITLEASTISM: In the cat’s birdseed

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In the catbird seat (in a good position)

“Old boy!” Witleast said, jerking his head out of the potato chip bag. “I’m on clod nine! We’re in the cat’s birdseed now! The world is our cloister!” (p. 114)


151. WITLEASTISM: The world is our cloister

RIGHT EXPRESSION: The world is your oyster (you’re in a good position)

“Old boy!” Witleast said, jerking his head out of the potato chip bag. “I’m on clod nine! We’re in the cat’s birdseed now! The world is our cloister!” (p. 114)


152. WITLEASTISM: In seventh haven

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In seventh heaven (in a good position)

I’m in seventh haven!” (p. 114)


153. WITLEASTISM: It’s all dunghill from here

RIGHT EXPRESSION: It’s all downhill from here (things are going to be easy now that the hard part is over)

“With these three whoppers, it’s all dunghill from here!” (p. 114)


154. WITLEASTISM: Has the cat got your dung

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Has the cat got your tongue (why aren’t you talking)

Little by little, Witleast’s exuberance diminished, for although it took him a while to realize it, he eventually did realize that Thoorl wasn’t as celebratory as he was. Without reflecting on the causes, he questioned him. “What’s wrong? Has the cat got your dung?” (p. 114)


155. WITLEASTISM: Your art was in the right place

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Your heart is in the right place (you mean well)

“That wasn’t anything. You were just trying to get him to give us a little round thing. Your art was in the right place.” (p. 115)


156. WITLEASTISM: Get his dust desserts

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Get your just desserts (to receive what you deserve as a punishment or a reward)

“Don’t worry,” Witleast said. “He’ll get his dust desserts. Anyways, if I wanted to, I could still find any of his holes. But I don’t want to. I want these worms in a bag. And now, because of all the little round things we have, I’m that much closer to getting them.” (p. 115)


157. WITLEASTISM: Let bisons be bisons

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Let bygones be bygones

“Well, let bisons be bisons,” Witleast said. (p. 115)


158. WITLEASTISM: By a gully

RIGHT EXPRESSION: By golly (wow)

By a gully, we’re really going to do this!” Witleast said. “Now, come on! Let’s get on with the snow!” (p. 115)


159. WITLEASTISM: Let’s get on with the snow

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Let’s get on with the show (let’s begin)

“By a gully, we’re really going to do this!” Witleast said. “Now, come on! Let’s get on with the snow!” (p. 115)


160. WITLEASTISM: Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn owl

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Can’t hit the broad side of a barn (to not be able able to aim well at all)

“You couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn owl,” Witleast said. (p. 116)


161. WITLEASTISM: You look like the cat burglar that swallowed the canary

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You look like the cat that swallowed the canary (you look happy with what you’ve done)

“Don’t you look like the cat burglar that swallowed the canary!” Witleast said. (p. 116)


162. WITLEASTISM: Gone by nana’s

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Go bananas (to go crazy)

“No! Have you gone by nana’s?” Witleast asked. (p. 116)


163. WITLEASTISM: Started off on the wrong footprint

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Start off on the wrong foot (to start a relationship badly)

“Wait!” Witleast said again. “No more swatting. I think you and the dragonfly started off on the wrong footprint. He actually wants to help.” (p. 117)


164. WITLEASTISM: Lend him an earwig

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Lend someone an ear (to listen to someone)

“Why not lend him an earwig?” Witleast asked. “He says that he can help us get coins. Isn’t that nice of him?” (p. 117)


165. WITLEASTISM: Flip your earwig

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Flip your wig (to react in a frantic manner)

“Don’t flip your earwig,” Witleast said, amused by the dragonfly’s antics. “Don’t flip your eyelid either.” (p. 118)


166. WITLEASTISM: Flip your eyelid

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Flip your lid (to react in a frantic manner)

“Don’t flip your earwig,” Witleast said, amused by the dragonfly’s antics. “Don’t flip your eyelid either.” (p. 118)




CHAPTER 17

167. WITLEASTISM: In full sling

RIGHT EXPRESSION: In full swing (already started)

Witleast waved from a distance, his other wing around a quarter. “It looks like the celebration is in full sling!” (p. 125)




CHAPTER 18

168. WITLEASTISM: More fun than a bear full of monkeys

RIGHT EXPRESSION: More fun than a barrel of monkeys (very fun)

“When we’ve got good luck like we’ve got,” Witleast said, “looking for little round things is more fun than a bear full of monkeys. And I’m no fork-flusher when I say that we must be the best at it. Just think of all the little round things we’ve found and lost.” (p. 127)


169. WITLEASTISM: Fork-flusher

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Four-flusher (someone who bluffs or deceives)

“When we’ve got good luck like we’ve got,” Witleast said, “looking for little round things is more fun than a bear full of monkeys. And I’m no fork-flusher when I say that we must be the best at it. Just think of all the little round things we’ve found and lost.” (p. 127)


170. WITLEASTISM: A tough pillbug to swallow

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A tough pill to swallow (something difficult to accept)

“True. That was a tough pillbug to swallow,” Witleast said. “But we made it through that roof patch, and now we’re back on the bean.” (p. 127)


171. WITLEASTISM: Roof patch

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Rough patch (a difficult time)

“True. That was a tough pillbug to swallow,” Witleast said. “But we made it through that roof patch, and now we’re back on the bean.” (p. 127)


172. WITLEASTISM: Back on the bean

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Back on the beam (back in a good position)

“True. That was a tough pillbug to swallow,” Witleast said. “But we made it through that roof patch, and now we’re back on the bean.” (p. 127)


173. WITLEASTISM: Like the pot calling the cat tail black

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Like the pot calling the kettle black (someone with the same fault criticizes another person for having that fault)

“Me too excited?” Witleast asked, chuckling. “That’s like the pot calling the cat tail black.” (p. 127)


174. WITLEASTISM: At the drop of a hat box

RIGHT EXPRESSION: At the drop of a hat (at any moment)

“With our luck, we should be excited, and we should be ready to journey to the next little round things at the drop of a hat box.” (p. 127)


175. WITLEASTISM: Run like the windmill

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Run like the wind (to run fast)

Run like the windmill!” Witleast yelled. (p. 128)


176. WITLEASTISM: With all dewy respect

RIGHT EXPRESSION: With all due respect (without tyring to be rude)

Witleast, not in awe, stood around till his impatience opened his beak. “But it’s not even a little round thing. With all dewy respect, I think you’re walnuts!” (p. 129)


177. WITLEASTISM: You’re walnuts

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You’re nuts (you’re crazy)

Witleast, not in awe, stood around till his impatience opened his beak. “But it’s not even a little round thing. With all dewy respect, I think you’re walnuts!” (p. 129)


178. WITLEASTISM: Make haywire while the sun shines

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Make hay while the sun shines (to do a lot of work at the most productive time)

A baffled wing Witleast waved at them. “Don’t take too long. We have to make haywire while the sun shines and strike the ironing board while it’s hot.” (p. 129)


179. WITLEASTISM: Strike the ironing board while it’s hot

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Strike the iron while it’s hot (to do a lot of work at the most productive time)

A baffled wing Witleast waved at them. “Don’t take too long. We have to make haywire while the sun shines and strike the ironing board while it’s hot.” (p. 129)


180. WITLEASTISM: Minding my own busy nest

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Mind your own busines (to concern yourself with your problems, not other people’s)

“Nothing. I’m just minding my own busy nest.” (p. 129)


181. WITLEASTISM: No rhino reason

RIGHT EXPRESSION: No rhyme or reason (no particular reason)

No rhino reason.” (p. 129)


182. WITLEASTISM: Not by any retch of the imagination

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Not by any stretch of the imagination (in no conceivable way)

“No. They’re not accomplices, not by any retch of the imagination,” Witleast said. “On the canary, our actions are on the upstairs and upstairs.” (p. 130)


183. WITLEASTISM: On the canary

RIGHT EXPRESSION: On the contrary (actually)

“No. They’re not accomplices, not by any retch of the imagination,” Witleast said. “On the canary, our actions are on the upstairs and upstairs.” (p. 130)


184. WITLEASTISM: On the upstairs and upstairs

RIGHT EXPRESSION: On the up and up (respectable)

“No. They’re not accomplices, not by any retch of the imagination,” Witleast said. “On the canary, our actions are on the upstairs and upstairs.” (p. 130)


185. WITLEASTISM: Hook, lime, and sinker

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hook, line, and sinker (completely)

Hook, lime, and sinker.” (p. 130)


186. WITLEASTISM: Sure as shoed hen

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Sure as shooting (absolutely)

Sure as shoed hen.” (p. 130)


187. WITLEASTISM: Hawk-eyebrowed

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hawk-eyed (having extraordinary vision)

“How did you see me from under the lake? You must be hawk-eyebrowed.” (p. 130)


188. WITLEASTISM: Shoot my elf in the foot

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Shoot yourself in the foot (to do something that ends up doing more harm than good to you)

“Which word?” Witleast asked. “You seem smart enough that you might be able to help me, and I don’t want to shoot my elf in the foot.” (p. 131)


189. WITLEASTISM: A happy hamper

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A happy camper (a satisfied person)

“Understood,” Witleast said. “I won’t say it again, and I hope that makes you a happy hamper.” (p. 131)


190. WITLEASTISM: Goat head

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Go ahead (proceed)

Goat head,” Witleast said. (p. 131)


191. WITLEASTISM: A birdhouse in the hand is worth two in the bush

RIGHT EXPRESSION: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (having at least one of something is better than possibly winding up with none by trying to get more)

“No,” Witleast said. “One isn’t good enough. I know that a birdhouse in the hand is worth two in the bush, but let’s go whole hawk. How can we get all of them?” (p. 132)


192. WITLEASTISM: Go whole hawk

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Go whole hog (to give your best effort)

“No,” Witleast said. “One isn’t good enough. I know that a birdhouse in the hand is worth two in the bush, but let’s go whole hawk. How can we get all of them?” (p. 132)


193. WITLEASTISM: Put my footrest in my mouth

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Put your foot in your mouth (to say something that gets you in trouble)

“Nothing to fret over. I just put my footrest in my mouth again,” Witleast said. (p. 133)


194. WITLEASTISM: Where there’s a wheelbarrow, there’s a way

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Where there’s a will, there’s a way (if you’re willing to work hard, you can accomplish something)

Where there’s a wheelbarrow, there’s a way,” Witleast said. “This might be risky, but we have to throw cotton to the wind. So how can we get out there?” (p. 133)


195. WITLEASTISM: Throw cotton to the wind

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Throw caution to the wind (to do something risky in spite of the consequences)

“Where there’s a wheelbarrow, there’s a way,” Witleast said. “This might be risky, but we have to throw cotton to the wind. So how can we get out there?” (133).




CHAPTER 19

196. WITLEASTISM: Put up or shut the house up

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Put up or shut up (to do what you say you’re going to do or be quiet)

“It’s time to put up or shut the house up,” Witleast said. “I’m ready!” (p. 135)


197. WITLEASTISM: You can’t squeeze mud out of a turnip

RIGHT EXPRESSION: You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip (you can’t ask for the impossible)

“Were doing what we can,” Witleast said. “You can’t squeeze mud out of a turnip. What else can we do? We’re on the horns of a dull llama. But just remember that this is our last trip, our swamp song.” (p. 135)


198. WITLEASTISM: On the horns of a dull llama

RIGHT EXPRESSION: On the horns of a dilemma (in the difficult position of having to decide between two bad options)

“Were doing what we can,” Witleast said. “You can’t squeeze mud out of a turnip. What else can we do? We’re on the horns of a dull llama. But just remember that this is our last trip, our swamp song.” (p. 135)


199. WITLEASTISM: Swamp song

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Swan song (final performance)

“Were doing what we can,” Witleast said. “You can’t squeeze mud out of a turnip. What else can we do? We’re on the horns of a dull llama. But just remember that this is our last trip, our swamp song.” (p. 135)


200. WITLEASTISM: As mad as a hatter’s hen’s scarce teeth

RIGHT EXPRESSION: As mad as a hatter (crazy) and Scarcer than hen’s teeth (very hard to come by)

“Some might say that were as mad as a hatter’s hen’s scarce teeth,” Witleast said. “But I would disagree. I would take the criticism in stripe and with a grain of sawdust.” (p. 135)


201. WITLEASTISM: Take the criticism in stripe

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take something in stride (to not let something anger you)

“Some might say that were as mad as a hatter’s hen’s scarce teeth,” Witleast said. “But I would disagree. I would take the criticism in stripe and with a grain of sawdust.” (p. 135)


202. WITLEASTISM: Take the criticism with a grain of sawdust

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take something with a grain of salt (to not wholly believe something)

“Some might say that were as mad as a hatter’s hen’s scarce teeth,” Witleast said. “But I would disagree. I would take the criticism in stripe and with a grain of sawdust.” (p. 135)


203. WITLEASTISM: It’s a dog catcher’s life

RIGHT EXPRESSION: It’s a dog’s life (it’s a rough life)

“Nonetheless, it’s a dog catcher’s life,” Witleast said. “We’re certainly not living the life of riled leaves. But it’s worth it. Don’t you think so?” (p. 135)


204. WITLEASTISM: Living the life of riled leaves

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Live the life of Riley (to live a pleasant life)

“Nonetheless, it’s a dog catcher’s life,” Witleast said. “We’re certainly not living the life of riled leaves. But it’s worth it. Don’t you think so?” (p. 135)


205. WITLEASTISM: Inch by inch, life’s a singe

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Inch by inch, life’s a cinch (life is easy when you take it one step at a time)

“But inch by inch, life’s a singe,” Witleast said. “Good wreath! Getting you to see the glass eye half full is like pulling teeter-totters.” (p. 136)


206. WITLEASTISM: Good wreath

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Good grief (give me a break)

“But inch by inch, life’s a singe,” Witleast said. “Good wreath! Getting you to see the glass eye half full is like pulling teeter-totters.” (p. 136)


207. WITLEASTISM: See the glass eye half full

RIGHT EXPRESSION: See the glass half full (to be optimistic)

“But inch by inch, life’s a singe,” Witleast said. “Good wreath! Getting you to see the glass eye half full is like pulling teeter-totters.” (p. 136)


208. WITLEASTISM: Like pulling teeter-totters

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Like pulling teeth (very difficult)

“But inch by inch, life’s a singe,” Witleast said. “Good wreath! Getting you to see the glass eye half full is like pulling teeter-totters.” (p. 136)


209. WITLEASTISM: Take the wind out of our snails

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take the wind out of your sails (to discourage you)

“We can’t let this last part of the task take the wind out of our snails,” Witleast said. “Now, I don’t want to take you to tusk for your momentary languishing, as you and I both know all we’ve been through, and I hope you don’t take this the runway, but you’ve got to bucket up, put your shoulder to the willow, and fish or cut beets!” (p. 136)


210. WITLEASTISM: Take you to tusk

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take someone to task (to criticize someone)

“We can’t let this last part of the task take the wind out of our snails,” Witleast said. “Now, I don’t want to take you to tusk for your momentary languishing, as you and I both know all we’ve been through, and I hope you don’t take this the runway, but you’ve got to bucket up, put your shoulder to the willow, and fish or cut beets!” (p. 136)


211. WITLEASTISM: Take this the runway

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Take something the wrong way (to let your feelings get hurt)

“We can’t let this last part of the task take the wind out of our snails,” Witleast said. “Now, I don’t want to take you to tusk for your momentary languishing, as you and I both know all we’ve been through, and I hope you don’t take this the runway, but you’ve got to bucket up, put your shoulder to the willow, and fish or cut beets!” (p. 136)


212. WITLEASTISM: Bucket up

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Buck up (to summon more strength)

“We can’t let this last part of the task take the wind out of our snails,” Witleast said. “Now, I don’t want to take you to tusk for your momentary languishing, as you and I both know all we’ve been through, and I hope you don’t take this the runway, but you’ve got to bucket up, put your shoulder to the willow, and fish or cut beets!” (p. 136)


213. WITLEASTISM: Put your shoulder to the willow

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Put your shoulder to the wheel (to work hard)

“We can’t let this last part of the task take the wind out of our snails,” Witleast said. “Now, I don’t want to take you to tusk for your momentary languishing, as you and I both know all we’ve been through, and I hope you don’t take this the runway, but you’ve got to bucket up, put your shoulder to the willow, and fish or cut beets!” (p. 136)


214. WITLEASTISM: Fish or cut beets

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Fish or cut bait (to help with something or get out of the way)

“We can’t let this last part of the task take the wind out of our snails,” Witleast said. “Now, I don’t want to take you to tusk for your momentary languishing, as you and I both know all we’ve been through, and I hope you don’t take this the runway, but you’ve got to bucket up, put your shoulder to the willow, and fish or cut beets!” (p. 136)


215. WITLEASTISM: Like shooing fish in a barrel

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Like shooting fish in a barrel (easy)

“This is going to be like shooing fish in a barrel,” Witleast said. (p. 136)


216. WITLEASTISM: Last ditsy effort

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Last-ditch effort (final try)

“It’s no use. I’ll go,” Witleast said. “It’s our last ditsy effort.” (p. 138)




CHAPTER 20

217. WITLEASTISM: Pull the wool over my ice

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Pull the wool over someone’s eyes (to deceive someone)

“Are you trying to pull the wool over my ice?” Witleast asked. (p. 144)


218. WITLEASTISM: Here grows nothing

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Here goes nothing (here comes your attempt)

“Well, here grows nothing,” Witleast said, leading Thoorl, Co, and the seagull towards the vending machine. (p. 145)


219. WITLEASTISM: Hang on to your hatters

RIGHT EXPRESSION: Hang on to your hats (prepare for something unpredictable)

Hang on to your hatters!” Witleast said, putting the bill into the bill insertion slot. (p. 146)


220. WITLEASTISM: It’s on the teepee of my tongue

RIGHT EXPRESSION: It’s on the tip of your tip (you can’t quite recall the word you’re looking for)

“It’s . . . I . . . it’s . . . I . . . it’s on the teepee of my tongue . . .” Witleast stammered. (p. 147)