on the contrary

‘You left Paris yesterday, sir?’ he said to Monseigneur, as he took his seat at table.

‘Yesterday. And you?’

‘I come direct.’

‘From London?’


‘You have been a long time coming,’ said the Marquis, with a smile.

On the contrary; I come direct.’

‘Pardon me! I mean, not a long time on the journey; a long time intending the journey.’

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859.

on the contrary
used to show that you think or feel the opposite of what has just been stated:
“Didn’t you find the film exciting?” “On the contrary, I nearly fell asleep half way through it!” [CALD]

on the contrary Idiom
used to introduce a statement that says the opposite of the last one:
‘It must have been terrible.’ ‘On the contrary, I enjoyed every minute.’ [OALD]

on the contrary Idiom
In opposition to what has been stated or what is expected:
I’m not sick; on the contrary, I’m in the peak of health. [AHD4]

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joking apart/aside

Sipperly laughed wheezily, then he saw that Janson was serious. An avaricious look crept over his fleshy features. “Well, joking aside, I’m really very fond of that dog,” he recovered. “He’s truly one-of-a-kind. Excellent guard dog … ”

Robert Ludlum, The Janson Directive, 2002.

joking apart/aside
said when you want to start speaking seriously about something after making jokes and laughing about it:
Joking apart, will you be able to manage on your own? [Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus]

joking apart
seriously: said to recall a discussion to seriousness after there has been joking [CED]

hot button

One of the biggest hot button issues of all time has to be eugenics. In a nutshell, eugenics is the idea that humans should practice selective reproduction in an effort to “improve” the species.

Tara Rodden Robinson, Genetics for Dummies, Wiley, 2005.

hot button noun [C] US SLANG
a subject that is important to people and which they feel strongly about:
Gender issues have become something of a hot button.
Abortion has become a hot button issue. [CALD]

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in a nutshell

Sam nodded. “In a nutshell, yes.”

She watched Jones. “And who will protect the pillars the next time the komatsus invade?”

Jaye Patrick, Huntress, 2007.

nutshell noun
the hard shell around a nut
in a nutshell SPOKEN
used for saying that you are going to express something in a simple direct way:
To put it in a nutshell, we lost the case. [MEDA]

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