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What does " scratches the itch " mean figuratively ? 1. I mean what it means literally , but I'm not sure about its figurative meaning , and I don't know what kind of context I should put it in , can you give me some examples? 2. If I " use sb as my pawn " , does it mean that I try to take advantage of that person ? Are the two phrases idiomatic usages ? And are they commonly used in daily conversations? Thanks a lot
Oct 9, 2018 10:51 AM
Answers · 3
Hi Apple! Here are the answers to your questions: 1. If something "scratches the itch", it means it satisfies a need. For example, "I really wanted to travel this year, so I booked a trip to Paris to scratch the itch." This expression is not very common. 2. You are right about the meaning of this phrase. This expression is more common than the other one. Hope this helps!
October 9, 2018
Apple, you are learning the wrong way. You have to see these things in a real context a few times and then you will understand how/when to use them. If you just try to understand like this, you will use it incorrectly, and that's not good. (people's examples might be too general, you know?) Wait until you see them again in a TC show or something - you will understand better. :)
October 9, 2018
They are both idiomatic. (They are not really "idioms" but they are idiomatic). I'm trying to lose weight. When I desperately want a snack, I eat an apple instead of potato chips or candy. Apples scratch my itch to eat something crunchy, as well as satisfying my sugar craving. You are correct about the meaning of the second phrase. However, nobody ever admits to doing something like that. I can't imagine anybody saying "So-and-so is my pawn." It's usually used in the context of politics--world politics, national politics, or even just workplace politics. It's a reference to the game of chess. In you aren't familiar with it, pawns are the shortest of the chess pieces; every other piece stands taller. Each player gets eight pawns. They have very little power. It is often judged that a queen is worth nine pawns. And players are very willing to sacrifice pawns, let the other player capture them in order to get some strategic advantage. A recent example of use was a newspaper editorial with the headline, "X is Y's pawn," where X and Y were the names of world leaders. The meaning of course is that Y is playing a complicated game--figuratively, chess. And that while X may believe he or she is important, Y is manipulating X, treating X like a chess pawn--an unimportant piece, of little value, that can be easily sacrificed if the need arises. A Google search finds me some other good examples. A 2008 book asked "First, was Yezhov just Stalin's pawn?" A 2013 book about US President Harry S. Truman. He was vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt. The book described an editorial cartoon by saying "The implication was that he possessed no leadership ability of his own and would simply be Roosevelt's pawn." Sometimes, people say "we're just pawns," meaning that even though, say, the CEO of a company praises us and says our jobs are important, in reality they treat us as chess pawns--unimportant pieces.
October 9, 2018
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language