blow hot and cold


To change one's mind constantly about the value of something: “The administration should stop issuing such contradictory statements on taxes; they are alienating the voters by blowing hot and cold on tax reform.”

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“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with blow hot and cold

blow hot and cold

Change one's mind, vacillate, as in Jean's been blowing hot and cold about taking a winter vacation. This expression comes from Aesop's fable (c. 570 b.c.) about a man eating with a satyr on a winter day. At first the man blew on his hands to warm them and then blew on his soup to cool it. The satyr thereupon renounced the man's friendship because he blew hot and cold out of the same mouth. The expression was repeated by many writers, most often signifying a person who could not be relied on. William Chillingworth put it: “These men can blow hot and cold out of the same mouth to serve several purposes” (The Religion of Protestants, 1638).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.