People Share Which Phrases Actually Mean Their Exact Opposite


The English language is fun because you never really know what the rules are.

Sometimes the past tense and present tense are exactly the same word. Same with the singular and the plural. And there are no rules.

And then there are idioms, which obey no real rules. In fact, they can often mean the opposite.

u/suddenly_satire asked:

What phrase means the exact opposite of what it says?

Here were some of those answers.

Holding Forever

Your call is important to us

Your call is important to us. Please hold while we tell you that: Your call is important to us.


"Yeah, right." Always sarcastic.

There's an old joke where a professor says, "In some languages, like English, a double negative is a positive. In some, like Russian, a double negative is still a negative. But in no language is a double positive a negative." And a student in the back goes, "Yeah, right!"


Break a leg.

Fun fact, that phrase is from the time of Shakespeare, the poorest, lowest class people at a play would stand at the very edge of the stage, drooling, depending on how good the play was. The idea was if you were good enough on stage, the groundlings would drool so much you'd slip and break a leg.


Inflammable. Same as flammable

"Inflammable" is actually older than "flammable" for the same meaning.

No Rhyme Or Reason

Bottom of the totem pole, being on the bottom means you're the most important and being on the top means you're the least important.

The saying came from people who didn't know much about totem poles, and assumed that they went from order of importance, the top figure being the most important. But totem poles don't always have any order of importance at all, sometimes they're a bunch of figures that the carvers wanted to make a monument to, but they have many other uses as well so the linearity of them varies wildly.

Work Isn't Cut

"He has his work cut out for him" People say this to mean the task will be difficult. For a tailor or shoemaker, having your work cut out for you is a good thing.


I could care less. It's logically pointless. The correct phrase is I couldn't care less.

Have you run across those that claim "I could care less" is actually a separate saying? Wow, just wow. How fragile is someone's ego when they can't just admit they misused a phrase?

All Sarcasm

Good one, Einstein.

Usually means "nice mistake, idiot". :D

I hate that calling people "Einstein" or "genius" is used almost exclusively as sarcasm. I'm afraid it will get to a point where the words straight up mean the exact opposite of what they were originally supposed to.

Nothing But The Beginning

"Jack of all trades, master of none" is what people say but it is followed by ...."but better than master of one"

Knowing something about many things is better than knowing everything about one thing and nothing about anything else!

As Per

"As per my last email," =

"What are you, braindead? Can you not read? Are you so illiterate that you cannot process anything I told you? To what point are you willing to go to force me to repeat single thing I told you? I's impossibly easy to say that nobody on this very Earth is as stupid as you."

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