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A BINOMIAL or BINOMIAL PAIR is an expression containing two words which are joined by a conjunction. The word order is usually fixed. Here are some common binomials:

DONE AND DUSTED finished. Completely and successfully finished. So finished that we can go home now. This pair is based on alliteration, i.e. the two words begin with the same sound.

"Now that the accounts are done and dusted for the year, do you fancy a pint?"

DOWN AND OUT destitute or otherwise devoid of any resources; lacking funds or prospects; penniless; broke; no money, no home; not doing well at all.

"Tony? Don't ask about Tony. He's basically down and out these days."

FAR AND WIDE a large number of places, across a large area; often used with "from".

"People travel from far and wide to see the birthplaces of the Beatles."

It is also often used with verbs like search, look for, reach, travel, etc.

"He traveled far and wide looking for the answer to the universe. Then, he gave up and opened a café in Ipswich."

HIGH AND DRY in a situation where you feel abandoned and helpless. Often used with the verb "leave".

"Can't pick me up? Gosh, I'm in the middle of nowhere — there's no frigging bus for 7 hours! Don't leave me high and dry like this!"

Literally, it means out of the water, esp. stranded by the sea as it retreats.

"When the tide goes out, a lot of boats are left high and dry."

LOUD AND CLEAR clearly audible and very easy to understand. Often means "Yes, I understand you, now kindly leave me alone." Also said when something is in-your-face and apparent.

"You don't have to shout – I can hear you loud and clear."

Commonly used in radio communications to report that the communications link is working properly. Do you copy?

A:"Houston, are you reading me, over?" B: "Loud and clear, over."

NEAT/CLEAN AND TIDY clean, organized, tidy. Exactly what you'd expect!

"Her house is always very neat and tidy: there’s never anything out of place."

NICE AND EASY in a way that is slow, careful, gentle, or easy.

"I asked the masseuse to go nice and easy because my muscles were so sore."

SAFE AND SOUND safe; out of danger. Another example of alliteration.

"The inspectors have checked, and the building is safe and sound. We can move in tomorrow!"

This is often used to mean still alive or unharmed after being in danger. 

"After walking through the red-light district for hours, we finally got back to our hotel safe and sound."

SHORT AND SWEET very quick and to-the-point; of minimum length and no longer than it needs to be; short but also rather nice; relevant to the situation.

"His speech was short and sweet, just a few sentences." 

SICK AND TIRED (OF) thoroughly fatigued or bored; annoyed or frustrated with sb/sth and at the point of getting angry or losing your patience; fed up.

"I'm sick and tired of our neighbors making such a noise – I'm calling the cops."

Due to their catchiness binomials have always been ubiquitous in pop culture. Can you share a good song with a binomial title or lyrics? 


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