Meaning: When a person wants more than is good for them.
Origin: A person seeing a table piled high with sumptuous food has a tendency to get too many and/or too large a portion. Since the problem is brought on by the eyes and a lack of reason, the person is portrayed a one whose eyes are bigger than their stomach.
Elephant in the room
Meaning: An important and obvious topic, which everyone present is aware of, but which isn't discussed, as such discussion is considered to be uncomfortable.
Origin: The theme of the exhibition was global poverty. By painting the elephant in the same bold pattern as the room's wallpaper, Banksy emphasized the phrase's meaning, by both making the elephant even more obvious and by giving those who chose to ignore it (like the woman in the tableau) an opportunity to pretend that it had blended into the wallpaper background.
Even at the turning of the tide
Meaning: The phrase is used to denote some change from a previously stable course of events.
Origin: The phrase comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V where he use turning of the tide in a letter.
Meaning: Music with an instant appeal but with little lasting significance.
Origin: The term may have been in use before 1977, although I can find no references to it in print that predate Reddy's album title. The term did get picked up though and soon became a generic term for music that was initially attractive but with little lasting substance. Candy is of course what the US calls the confectionery that many parts of the English-speaking world call sweets. The sugary, insubstantial imagery is well suited to these phrases.
Excuse my French
Meaning: Please forgive my swearing.
Origin: A coy phrase used when someone who has used a swear-word attempts to pass it off as French. The coyness comes from the fact the both the speaker and listener are of course both well aware the swear-word is indeed English.
Fair and square
Meaning: Honest and straightforward, especially of business dealings.
Origin: In the 16th century 'square' meant 'fair and honest' so 'fair and square' is tautological. George Puttenham used that meaning of square in The arte of English poesie, 1589:"[Aristotle] termeth a constant minded man - a square man."Francis Bacon's essay Of Prophecies, 1604 is the first known use of 'fair and square': Fast asleep
Meaning: soundly asleep.
Origin: The 'fast' in 'fast asleep' derives from the Old German 'fest', meaning 'stuck firmly'; 'not easily moveable' - as in 'stuck fast'. 'Asleep' derives from 'sleep' in the same way that nautical adverbs like 'aground' and 'astern' derive from 'ground' and 'stern'. To be 'fast asleep' was to be stuck firmly in sleep, analogous to a beached ship being 'fast aground'. Filthy rich
Meaning: Very rich, possibly having become so by unfair means. Origin: The phrase comes from the word “filthy lucre” means money from dishonorable gain. This was first used as a noun phrase meaning "rich people; who have become so by dishonorable means" like gambling. Face the music
Meaning: Face the truth
Origin: Comes from the British military. When someone was court marshaled, there would be a military drum squad playing, hence face the music. The term "drummed out of the military" came from this practice....
From stem to stern
Meaning: Thorough, complete.
Origin: The very front of a ship is called the stem, the rear is called the stern. From stem to stern includes the entire ship.
Get a leg up
Meaning: To get a boost or advantage.
Origin: This phrase may incorrectly invoke images of a dog raising its leg.
In fact "Getting a leg up" is from the act of an equestrian receiving help in mounting a horse. The helper would create a foothold by cupping the hands to heft the rider upward, throwing a leg up and over the steed.
Get of the wrong foot...