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In the clutch

adverb phrase

At the moment when heroic performance under pressure is needed: He’s a good one to have around in the clutch

[1920s+; probably a baseball term originally]


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  • In the cold light of day

    Dispassionately, unemotionally, especially at a later time. For example, They had a terrible fight about the mix-up, but in the cold light of day they realized they were both at fault. This expression transfers the illumination of daylight to rational understanding and uses cold to emphasize the lack of passion.

  • In the coop

    adjective phrase Sleeping on the job; off duty for unauthorized rest: The cruise car for that street was supposed to be in the coop (1960s+ Police)

  • In the course of

    Also, during the course of. In the process or progress of, as in the famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence (1776), “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands …” These phrases have been criticized as needlessly wordy (in or during alone are adequate), […]

  • In the cross-hairs

    adverb phrase Fixed as a target; aimed at: Detroit’s Big Three found themselves again in the media cross hairs [1884+; the date shows the earliest use of the term for a telescope or telescopic sight indicator]

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