Definition: A creative group technique to stimulate ideas

Example: Doyle and his two co-workers spent most of the day brainstorming a name for the client’s new biscuits. The best they could come up with was “Yummies’. They did manage to eat all the samples though.


Iddy’s not sure if  brainstorming is a true idiom, or simply a term, but it confused the heck out of him, so here we go…

It was coined by advertising executive Alex F. Osborn in the 1950s. It was a technique he pioneered when he realised individuals were not coming up with many ideas within his agency. Throwing them together in a room, probably with lots of coffee, yielded far more creative ideas.

He had four components to create the perfect brainstorming session:

  1. QUANTITY. The more ideas, the better
  2. NO CRITICS. There is no such thing as a bad idea at the session.
  3. BE WILD. Encourage crazy thinking
  4. COMBINE TO IMPROVE. Throw ideas together to see if they can complement each other.

Now sit back and watch the creative lightning rain down from the heavens!


Definition: Stay out of trouble!

Example: Robby tried his best to keep his nose clean as he didn’t want to go back to prison. But the wedding cake in the bakery window was begging to be stolen.


There are a lot of claims as to the origin of this idiom…

1)  It is a 1970s reference to cocaine usage, but the term predates this assertion by a century.

2) It is a childhood warning about personal hygiene and the spreading of germs through runny noses. There seems to be little supporting evidence for this.

3) It is a warning over the abuse of alcohol, that the foam from an upturned glass of beer ‘dirties’ the nose. Still not sold.

What we do know is that there was an earlier UK English phrase ‘keep your hands clean‘ which upon crossing the Atlantic to America, somehow morphed into keep your nose clean. It then returned to the UK and replaced the original phrase. Its meaning changed as well during its ocean crossing. The first version had more of a personal hygiene meaning, but in the States it took on more of a avoiding corruption twist. Most recently however, it seems to relate exclusively to the world of crime. Somebody keeping their nose clean is staying out of criminal activity.

Iddy’s had to borrow somebody else’s nose in order to illustrate the idiom. He doesn’t have one of his own.



Definition: To be kind or generous

Example: Despite the fact that Bella frowns her way through life, she actually has a heart of gold.


Having a heart of gold has been with us for quite some time. It appears in William Shakespeare’s play Henry V, written about 1599. The simple explanation is that gold was, and still is, thought of as both pure and precious. These are characteristics you can apply to somebody’s personality, and thus, their heart.

Iddy doesn’t have a gold one himself. I don’t know who he stole that one from. His own is probably made of the blackest carbon. Don’t let that smile fool you!


sitting pretty


Definition: To be in a comfortable place, especially in a financial sense

Example: Mr. Morgan was sitting pretty after finding pirate treasure while digging in his garden.


‘Sitting pretty’ is almost exclusively used in the US, and is relatively new, not surfacing until the twentieth century. There are no specific theories flying about concerning where it came from. It probably is simply the marriage of two positive words. Sitting is a comfortable position and pretty is generally considered to be a good thing. That’s it.

Iddy doesn’t look very comfortable though, does he? Relax Iddy. You look good in a floral print.