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"Scraping the barrel" - Phrase of the week

The English language has a large number of strange sayings that are commonly used in everyday life. 

For a student living in the UK and learning English as a second language these can be very confusing so every week we do our best to try and explain a few for you!

Phrase    "Scraping the barrel"    
Examples
  • “Have you heard? The new Saw film is out next week. They’re really scraping the barrel now, it must be, like, the 10th film!”
  • Rihanna’s really scraping the barrel, her new song sounds just like the last one!
  • They’re really scraping the barrel for sales assistants here, aren’t they? They don’t seem to know what they’re doing!
Meaning
  • Over-using an existing / old idea, often because it’s easy and can make quick money.
  • Struggling to find something new
  • Having to use something even if it is not very good, as there is nothing better available.
Uses
  • The phrase is mainly used in conversational English – but could also be used by newspaper and magazine writers.
  • It is used to express negative feelings about something that is supposedly new but is, in their opinion, old and uninteresting.
That's interesting!   
  • To scrape means to rub something against a rough surface, often to remove something from it. For example, scraping the mud off your boots
  • A barrel is a large, curved (usually) wooden container, like those used to store wine.
  • The last bit in the barrel (the dregs) is not the nicest, but if you were desperate for some wine, you would scrape the last bits out.

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