OF ALL TRADES
a person who knows a little about a lot of different
subjects or activities, but not a lot about any one of them
The expression is part of the saying “He’s a jack of all
trades but a master of none.” Being described as a jack of
all trades can be either a compliment (usually when it is
used without the second half of the saying) or an insult
(when it occurs in the saying and the emphasis is on the
fact that one is master of none).
1. Walt is good at so many things: he can fix the plumbing
and wiring in his house, he fixed his roof when it leaked,
he installed his washer and dryer, and he paints the house
when it needs it. He’s really a jack of all trades.
2. The position in the company required someone who knew
everything about a very narrow subject. They weren’t looking
for a jack of all trades.
jack up prices during the holidays.
|jam on the
||stop the car suddenly
||Because of the cow on
the road she had to jam on the brakes.
||This club is really
popular and always jam-packed.
||causing me trouble
||Recently it seems like
everyone is jerking me around.
||maneuvering to get an
||The candidates for the
presidency were jockeying for position.
||Another John Doe
was driving while intoxicated.
1. If you’ll just put your John Hancock on this line at the
bottom of the contract, you can drive the car away right
2. They sent the check back because he forgot to put his
John Hancock on it. The expression refers to the signature
of the first person to sign the American Declaration of
Independence in 1776. John Hancock’s signature was larger
than the others and stood out clearly.
||Please put your
John Henry on the application form.
Compare to: wet behind the ears
The expression is used to dismiss someone’s importance due
to a lack of experience.
1. You can’t expect to join the company, take over
immediately, and not cause some hard feelings. To the
workers, you’re a Johnny come lately.
2. The author of the book was under attack because he was a
Johnny come lately to the field and didn’t have the
reputation that the older, more established authors had.
||in the right place at
the right time
||He always seems to be
|jump all over
||For no reason, he began
to jump all over me.
||She knew that he would
jump at the chance to go to Japan.
|jump down one's
||yell at him
||She began to
jump down his throat over being late.
|jump on someone
||The boss would
jump on him for even a small mistake.
on the bandwagon
|jump out of
||be badly frightened
||She looked as if she
would jump out of her skin while she was
watching the horror movie.
to do something prematurely; to start early, before all the
preparations have been made.
The expression probably originates from foot racing, in
which an overly anxious runner would accidentally begin the
race before the starting gun was fired.
1. You can’t begin the project yet. You’re going to have to
wait until the plan is thoroughly developed. Don’t jump the
2. You bought your son a football and he’s only six weeks
old. Don’t you think you’re jumping the gun a little?
|jump through a
||obey any order
||He is always ready to
jump through a hoop for his boss.
||make quick conclusions
||You should not
jump to conclusions until you know all the facts.
a starting place or inspiration
This expression is usually used for discussions or creative
1. Kelly used her mother’s lasagna recipe as a jumpingoff
point, but added her favorite ingredients to make it the way
she liked it.
2. Joe used sheet music as a jumping-off point for his song.
He played the tune as written, but added to it as he went.
food that is relatively unhealthy, high in sugar and fat and
lacking in vitamins, minerals and other body-building
1. My children seem to live on junk food: hamburgers, French
fries, milkshakes, chips, cakes, cookies, candy, and soda
2. The parents brought snacks for the children to eat. The
school had asked them to bring healthy foods like fresh
fruit and vegetables, yogurt and cheese. They asked them not
to bring junk food.
||I waited just
about one hour for her to come.
||this very moment
||The movie began
|just off the
||He acts like he is
just off the boat.
||close to perfect
||She always makes sure
that her hair is just so before she goes
|just the same
||I told her not to come
early but just the same she came early
|just what the
||exactly what was needed
||The extra day off from
work was just what the doctor ordered.