Oct 31st, 2011, 05:02 am
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Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
| | Re: Two idiomatic expressions
1. "step up to the plate" is originally an American expression - it comes from baseball. the "plate" is the area where the batter stands to hit the ball when it's pitched, so to "step up to" the plate means to get ready to act / take responsibility for doing something. It was used as the title of a 2008 British cookery programme, where amateur and professional cooks competed, the title obviously playing on the meaning of the word "plate". It's now used regularly in British English - here's the start of a recent article on the economic crisis from the UK newspaper The Independent:
25 Sep 2011 – Leadership is what the markets craved; and it now seems the world's leaders have finally stepped up to the plate. Reports that European ...
2. To "be in the zone" means to be in a mental state in which you do everything absolutely right, to the best of your ability and even to a level you hadn't previously realised you could reach. You are 100% concentrated and focused on the task, energised, and totally positive. Technically, the psychological term for this is "flow".
You'll often find it used in connection with sport - obviously it's a mental state that athletes try to obtain - but it can be used for anything.