ebb and flow
A decline and increase, constant fluctuations. For example, He was fascinated by the ebb and flow of the Church's influence over the centuries. This expression alludes to the inward and outward movement of ocean tides. [Late 1500s]
Why Are We Calling Everything A “Wave”?Why have so many waves found their way into our cultural lexicon in recent years? In this article, the first in the column Mincing Metaphors, we unpack this oceanic metaphor to better understand what it means and why it’s proving so useful right now.
Why Do “Left” And “Right” Mean Liberal And Conservative?During election seasons the words left and right denote political affiliation more than spatial direction. But where do these associations come from? The left hand has long been associated with deviance. The word “sinister” originally meant “to the left” in Latin. The word “left” comes from the Old English word lyft, which literally meant “weak, foolish.” To avoid the negative and superstitious associations of the …
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.