Also, rarely ever, scarcely ever. Very seldom, almost never, as in This kind of thief is hardly ever caught, or He rarely ever brings up his wartime experiences. The ever in these expressions, first recorded in 1694, serves as an intensifier.
Are New Idioms Ever Created?Many idioms—expressions that are not taken literally—are so old and so familiar that we don’t think twice about using them. We say, for example, “it’s raining cats and dogs” to indicate that it’s pouring outside, and “comfortable as an old shoe” to explain an easy and familiar relationship. We can trace the etymology of some idioms to books and sayings that were first used hundreds …
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.