More than one way to skin a cat This means that there's more than one way to do something. For example, you keep on pressing the remote control but the television won't respond. Then your friend gives the TV a thump and the picture comes on. He grins and says: 'There's more than one way to skin a cat.' This idiom is often used for a less respectable way of doing something. You have tried the obvious approach and it does not work; then someone shows you another way of achieving your aim. As usual, the meaning of this expression is clear while the origin is not. Let's look at some of the possibilities. In some areas of the United States if you hang by your arms from a beam or branch, pull your feet up through your arms and end up sitting on the beam, you have skinned the cat. Then there are catfish - simply called cats - which need to be skinned before they are cooked. The trouble is the idiom was first used in Britain. There are suggestions that cats were skinned and then sold as rabbits for dinner. Or maybe the skin was sold as fur. Early Europeans were not nice to cats. They were associated with witchcraft and suffered all sorts of nasty ends. There was panic in Paris when young men went round hanging all the cats in town. It is probably a rather unpleasant saying intended to be humorous. A blind alley A blind alley is a street that leads nowhere; in other words, a dead end. If you have no prospects of promotion at work, you have a dead-end job. If you are up a blind alley or have reached a dead end, there is no way forward. The expression can also be used when a promising investigation proves to be useless. Sometimes detectives who follow up on clues end up in a blind alley. As if two words were not enough to describe a street that is blocked at one end, English has also borrowed the French cul-de-sac, which can also be used for any situation where progress is not possible. Presumably a blind alley got its name because you cannot see beyond it. There is a blank wall at the end of the street. A more interesting play on the word 'blind' comes from the expression 'a blind date', when you agree to meet someone whom you have never seen before. If you meet someone who is intensely annoying or very unattractive, that blind date will unquestionably be a blind alley. A blind spot is an area we cannot see. For example, an area a driver cannot see in the rearview mirror. This expression can also be used as a metaphor: 'It's no good telling his mother. She has a blind spot about him and thinks he can do no wrong.'