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Can You Finish These Misremembered Idioms Correctly?

I'll wait with bated breath. Baited breath? I'll be holding my breath.

  1. I ____ care less.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "I couldn't care less."

    When you can't care less, you care the least amount you could! If you could care less, you do care. "Could care less" is very common and widely accepted, but "couldn't" makes more sense and dates back earlier.

  2. I'll have to
    make ____.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "I'll have to make do."

    The misspelling "make due" isn't as common as it used to be, but it still comes up.

  3. Nip it in
    the ____.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "Nip it in the bud."

    It's a metaphor meaning to stop something early, like you would cut off a plant's bud before it blooms. "Nip it in the butt" is just kind of...risqué.

  4. Could ____, should
    ____, would ____.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "Could have, should have, would have."

    People probably started writing "could of" because it sounds a lot like how we pronounce "could've."

  5. For all ____
    purposes.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "For all intents and purposes."

    "Intensive purposes" doesn't really make sense, but it sounds a lot like "intents and purposes," a phrase that dates back to the 16th century.

  6. We're one ____
    the same.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "We're one and the same."

    When you're trying to clarify that two references are referring to the same thing or person, it makes sense that you'd say they're one thing/person and also the same. "One in the same" is kind of a stretch of logic.

  7. I'm waiting with
    ____ breath.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "I'm waiting with bated breath."

    "Bated" is a word that we don't really use anymore outside of this phrase that was probably also made up by Shakespeare, so it's understandable if you haven't heard of it. It means "reduced," so just "less breath."

  8. It ____ my
    interest.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "It piqued my interest."

    Again, "pique" isn't really a common word these days, but it means "to excite," which means it makes just a touch more sense in this phrase than "to hit the highest level."

  9. You have free ____.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "You have free rein."

    "Reign" does make sense here because it means control, but unfortunately, this idiom is also a metaphor. "Free rein," just like "loosening the reins" is a reference to horseback riding where holding the reins loosely gives the horse more freedom.

  10. She's a ____-in.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "She's a shoo-in."

    It's shoo, like in the "shoo, fly, don't bother me" sense. In this case, her victory is so certain that she’s almost “shooed” into it. No idea how "shoe" would work, but it looks right, doesn't it?

  11. You've got another
    ____ coming.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "You've got another think coming."

    The full phrase would typically be something like, "If he thinks I'm moving, he's got another think coming." And although "thing" is used just as often now, "think" appears to predate it.

  12. We need to ____
    in on this.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "We need to home in on this."

    You can hone skills, meaning sharpen them like a blade, but if you want to say you're finding your target or zeroing in on something, it's "home" (like a GPS homing device).

  13. I'm going to ____ it
    off on someone else.

    Tessa Fahey / BuzzFeed
    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    "I'm going to palm it off on someone else."

    Okay, we're getting maybe a little too deep in it here. Both "palm," as in passing through sleight of hand, and "pawn," as in selling something, kind of make sense here. It's unclear why "pawn off" came about, but "palm off" definitely came first and better fits the deception that this idiom implies.

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