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With bells on

[ 2010-10-22 10:59]     字号 [] [] []  
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With bells on
Nelly Min

Reader's question:

1.He is a rascal with bells on.

2.Mary went to the ball with bells on.

Could you explain “with bells on”?

My comments:

"With bells on" means "eager; ready to participate."

If you describe something as a thing with bells on, you mean that it has similar qualities to that thing but they are more extreme. Example: This latest series is melodrama with bells on.

If you go somewhere or do something with bells on, you do it with a lot of interest and energy. This phrase is frequently used in reply to a party invitation. Example: I'll be at the party with bells on.

The phrase originated in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and most of the early citations suggest a US origin.

It is also used as an aggressive response to a challenge.

Related stories:

No harm, no foul

Pick up the slack

length and breadth of

get up to speed on something

Borrowed time

On a shoestring

Shake a leg

Sing to a new tune

Truth lies somewhere in the middle

For all intents and purposes

Kick sth.when it's down

Opening credits

God only knows

Speak of the devil

Hold a candle to

Jump the gun

Be possible if not probable

Draw a line in the sand

That's saying a lot

Come hell or high water

Right on cue


Quote unquote

Pull one's weight


About the author:

Nelly Min is a journalist at the China Daily website.