Make a living

Earn enough to support oneself, as in Can he make a living as a freelance trumpeter? This term was first recorded in 1632.


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  • Make a long story short

    Get to the point, as in To make a long story short, they got married and moved to Omaha. Although the idea of abbreviating a long-winded account is ancient, this precise phrase dates only from the 1800s. Henry David Thoreau played on it in a letter of 1857: “Not that the story need be long, […]

  • Make a mess

    verb phrase To defecate; crap, shit: I’m afraid the kid has made a mess in his pants (1903+)

  • Make a mess of something

    verb phrase To make a jumble of; mangle; botch; MAKE A HASH OF something: He gave it his best shot, but made a mess of it (1862+)

  • Make a monkey out of someone

    verb phrase To make someone seem stupid or inept; make a fool of someone: Are you trying to make a monkey out of me? (1900+)

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