Welcome to American English Idioms: Lesson 8. In this lesson you have 3 American English idioms to read, listen to, translate, and pronounce in English. Please focus and do your best so that you can learn and improve your knowledge of American English idioms. Don’t forget to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and what you’ve learned today.
Directions 1: Watch the video 2 or more times, and pay close attention to the audio and text.
Directions 2: Read the following text in English, then translate it using the translator on this page into your language if needed. When you finish, feel free to write a comment in the comments section below and let us know how you feel about what you’ve learned, as well as what you’ve learned.
BACK TO THE WALL, HAVE (ONE’S)
When you are backed up against the wall, it is hard to move back or away from what is in front of you. If someone has their back to the wall, they are in an intense situation where they are feeling trapped with no way out.
A person could be back to the wall if they are in a difficult or desperate situation. This means that they have no other options left and their position is very bad. This term is often used as a figurative expression for someone who has been defeated, or as an idiom referring to one’s final defenses being overrun by enemy forces. One example of how the term is used is “He was backed up against the wall and didn’t know what to do next.
In a situation where one has their back to the wall, it can be a difficult or desperate time. Especially if there is no other way out. For instance, if you were backed into a corner and had nowhere else to go. It can be a time when decisions are made that might not have been made otherwise because the situation is so dire.
Back to the wall is a term that describes a difficult situation, typically used when it feels like there’s no way out. The expression originates from boxing, where it refers to the boxer who is standing at the furthest point on the back of the ring.
At last, all hope seemed lost. I had my back to the wall.
A backhanded compliment is a criticism that is phrased in such a way that it appears to be a compliment. It can be difficult to spot because the person may not be aware of the insult, or they may simply not want to cause conflict. For example, if someone’s first sentence about your outfit is “You look stunning,” but follow it up with, “but you should have worn white jeans.
A backhanded compliment is typically used to disguise criticism. It usually involves praising someone for something unrelated to the criticism, but still includes the criticism in some way. The person receiving this form of compliment can sometimes be able to see or sense what is really being said, and may even become angry because of it. Backhanded compliments are often used in an academic setting because it is easier to critique someone through their work without directly confronting them about their work’s quality.
The backhanded compliment is a criticism that is phrased in such a way that it appears to be a compliment. This can have many different effects on the person being addressed depending on the intention of the speaker. If the speaker intentionally tells you that you are doing or saying something well, but then says that you do not deserve this compliment because of an underlying issue, it will likely make you feel bad about yourself.
A backhanded compliment is an insult disguised as a compliment. There are many types of backhanded compliments, some more sly than others. For example, saying “you look so much better now that you’ve lost weight” or “you really made this difficult for me.”
A back-seat driver is a person who gives driving orders when he/she is not the driver. This can be seen as rude and inconsiderate, as well as unnecessary due to the fact that they are not the one actually driving the car. Especially if it is someone who does not know much about driving, or has never driven before in their life, they should refrain from giving such orders.
The term backseat driver, or “co-pilot”, was coined by Henry David Thoreau, who used it to describe the negative influence of people who offer unsolicited advice. This term has been used to describe people who give unwanted advice to someone in the driver’s seat.
The term “back-seat driver” is used to describe a person who gives driving orders when he/she is not the driver. It comes from the phrase “back-seat driver,” which was coined in the early 20th century as drivers’ cars became more modern and could accommodate passengers in the back seat. The phrase now describes those who, as passengers, give orders to the driver as if they were at the wheel themselves.
The term back-seat driver is used to describe a person who sits in the passenger seat and gives driving orders when he or she is not the driver. In the context of an automobile, this person is often a passenger. When back-seat drivers are present in a car, there is likely to be conflict between the driver and the back-seat driver as one tries to take control of a situation he or she does not have authority over.