The allusion in this metaphoric idiom is unclear, that is, why a thumb rather than a fist or some other anatomic part should symbolize control.
[Mid-1700s] 10- The writing on the wall / handwriting on the wall If the writing's on the wall for something, it is doomed to fail.
5- Bear with Put up with, make allowance for He'll just have to bear with them until they decide.
Nicholas Udall used this term in Ralph Roister Doister (c.
4- Beat out Knock into shape by beating She managed to beat out all the dents in the fender. 1600] Surpass or defeat someone, be chosen over someone He got to the head of the line, beating out all the others.
Beat out of Cheat someone of something He was always trying to beat the conductor out of the full train fare.
This expression alludes to turning the page of a book to a new page.
[Early 1500s] 4- Burn the candle at both ends Exhaust one's energies or resources by leading a hectic life Joseph's been burning the candle at both ends for weeks, working two jobs during the week and a third on weekends.
[Mid-1500s] 2- Storm in a tea cup If someone exaggerates a problem or makes a small problem seem far greater than it really is, then they are making a storm in a teacup 3- To keep late hours Stay awake until late at night Never call Ethel before noon; she keeps late hours and sleeps all morning.
This expression is a translation of the French cela va sans dire.
[Second half of 1800s] 7- Like a red rag to a bull If something is a red rag to a bull, it is something that will inevitably make somebody angry or cross.
8- Not a leg to stand on With no chance of success He tried to get the town to change the street lights, but because there was no money in the budget he found himself without a leg to stand on.
A related idiom is not having a leg to stand on Once the detective exposed his false alibi, he didn't have a leg to stand on.