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skin alive

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Punish severely, as in If I find the guy who slashed my tire I'll skin him alive. This hyperbolic expression transfers the barbaric practice of flaying a live prisoner to other forms of punishment. [Colloquial mid-1800s]

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON PARENTHESES AND BRACKETS APLENTY!

Set some time apart to test your bracket symbol knowledge, and see if you can keep your parentheses, squares, curlies, and angles all straight!
Question 1 of 7
Let’s start with some etymology: What are the origins of the typographical word “bracket”?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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