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Last updated at 13:14 GMT, Friday, 02 November 2012

To give a leg up

Cheerleaders at the Wembley Stadium, London

Cheerleaders perform before the NFL football game between the St Louis Rams and the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium in London. Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples

Today's Phrase

The expression 'to give someone a leg up' means to help someone improve their situation.

For example:

I have a great job in a posh restaurant. My mother gave me a leg up when she taught me to cook French dishes.

Mary had an uncle well connected to the business world. It gave her a leg up.

Don't confuse it with

The expression 'to pull someone's leg' means to play a trick on someone or tell them something that isn't true.

What?! You’ve won a million dollars in the lottery? You are pulling my leg.

Interesting fact

According to some authors, cheerleading started around 1877 in the United States, when Princeton University students yelled chants from the stands at games. Nowadays most cheerleaders are women.

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