Crowded, in a confined space, as in We could use a lot more room; this tiny office puts us at close quarters. This idiom makes figurative use of quarters in the sense of “military lodgings” but originated in 18th-century naval warfare. When the enemy boarded a ship, the crew would retreat behind wooden barriers erected for this purpose and would continue to fire through loopholes. They thus were very near the enemy, fighting in close quarters. [ c. 1800 ]
- At costs
the price paid to acquire, produce, accomplish, or maintain anything: the high cost of a good meal. an outlay or expenditure of money, time, labor, trouble, etc.: What will the cost be to me? a sacrifice, loss, or penalty: to work at the cost of one’s health. costs, Law. money allowed to a successful party […]
- At close range
Very nearby, as in At close range, the rock band was unbearably loud. Derived from shooting—range denotes the distance that missile or projectile can be made to travel—this expression soon came to mean anything in close proximity.
- At cross purposes
an opposing or contrary purpose. at cross-purposes, in a way that involves or produces mutual misunderstanding or frustration, usually unintentionally. noun a contrary aim or purpose at cross-purposes, conflicting; opposed; disagreeing With aims or goals that conflict or interfere with one another, as in I’m afraid the two departments are working at cross purposes. This […]
an opposing or contrary purpose. at cross-purposes, in a way that involves or produces mutual misunderstanding or frustration, usually unintentionally. Historical Examples I am not prone on my green couch, frayed, frazzled, bowed-down in spirit from a day of frightful stress and cross-purpose. I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane If we find every fact of life […]