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feel a draft To sense negative feelings of others toward one-self; to perceive subtle manifestations of hostility, often racial. This phrase, obviously based on the dual dimensions of physical and emotional coldness, originated in the jazz world.
The black audience would send a draft toward the Negro leader who hired a white man instead of a black man of comparable talent and stylistic inclination. (Downbeat, May 16, 1968)
The British use the expression feel the draught to describe a sense of inconvenience or discomfort, often in relation to one’s financial situation.
With only so much national advertising to go round … the oldest commercial stations are feeling the draught as well. (Listener, June, 1966)
have [someone’s] number To know a person’s real motives or intentions; to be a perceptive and astute judge of character; to size another up. The practice of assigning numbers to identify people is the probable source of this expression. Although one’s “number” is a superficial designation, the expression connotes a deeper, more profound understanding of a person. Have [someone’s] number dates from the mid-19th century and is current today.
Do you remember the day before when he made that crack at you in front of Miss Crozier? I had his number right then. (R. D. Paine, Comr. Rolling Ocean, 1921)
know a hawk from a handsaw To be capable of differentiating between two things; to be wise, not easily fooled or duped. Handsaw is a corruption of heronshaw ‘a young heron.’ Thus, to differentiate between two similar things implies a more refined intelligence than is suggested by the expression in its present form. Shakespeare used this expression in Hamlet:
I am but mad north-northwest. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw. (II, ii)
It has also been conjectured that hawk refers not to the bird of prey but to a tool like a pickax. In that case, both hawk and handsaw would denote instruments.
know chalk from cheese To be able to differentiate between two things that are superficially alike but essentially dissimilar; to be discerning, to have a keen mind; to know the real thing from a counterfeit. As early as the 14th century, these two words were set apart as opposites.
Lo, how they feignen chalk for cheese. (John Gower, Confessio Amantis, 1393)
The implication is that “cheese” is superior to or finer than “chalk.” Thus, to be as “different as chalk and cheese” is to be as different as black and white, or day and night, even though chalk and cheese are similar in appearance.
look beneath the surface To go beyond appearances to try to perceive the true nature of something; not to be fooled by superficial glitter or plainness. This proverbial saying is attributed to the Roman Emperor, philosopher, and writer Marcus Aurelius (121-180):
Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee. (Meditations)
look through a millstone To be discerning and sharp-sighted; to exercise keen powers of perception. A millstone is a large, opaque stone used in grinding grains. Therefore the physically impossible challenge to see through a millstone can be met only figuratively by one of extraordinarily keen perception. The expression appeared in print by the mid-16th century.
Your eyes are so sharp, that you cannot only look through a Millstone, but clean through the mind. (John Lyly, Euphues and his England, 1680)
read between the lines To understand the implications of another’s words or actions; to see beyond the explicit and be sensitive to the implications of subtleties and nuances; to get the underlying message, whether intended or not, regardless of the words that couch it or the actions that convey it. The phrase was once literal; methods of cryptogrammic communication included the use of invisible ink for writing “between the lines” or the practice of relating the secret message in alternate lines. Thus, “reading between the lines” was crucial to receiving the message sent. Today the expression often refers to an ability to sense an author’s tone or a person’s ulterior motives.
People who have not the shrewdness to read a little between the lines … are grievously misled. (The Manchester Examiner, January, 1886)
|Noun||1.||perceptiveness - a feeling of understanding|
sensibility - refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions; "cruelty offended his sensibility"
|2.||perceptiveness - delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values); "arrogance and lack of taste contributed to his rapid success"; "to ask at that particular time was the ultimate in bad taste"|
vogue, style, trend - the popular taste at a given time; "leather is the latest vogue"; "he followed current trends"; "the 1920s had a style of their own"
culture - the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
|3.||perceptiveness - perception of that which is obscure|
perception - knowledge gained by perceiving; "a man admired for the depth of his perception"
|4.||perceptiveness - the quality of insight and sympathetic understanding|
sensitiveness, sensitivity - the ability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment
unperceptiveness - the lack of insight and sympathetic understanding