Catch Word #236 – No biggie

Episode description

There are many ways to say, “It’s OK” and reassure someone. In this episode, Kassy and Andrew cover ways you can calm people down or make them feel better.

Fun fact

Everyone reacts differently to stress. In general, women tend to think, talk, and reach out to others. Men tend to use distraction, like physical activity.

Expressions included in the study guide

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Let [something] slide off you
  • Big picture
  • On that note
  • No biggie
  • On island time

Don’t sweat the small stuff (Idiom)

Don’t sweat the small stuff is used to tell someone not to worry about the small details or unimportant things. As Andrew and Kassy explain in this episode, the idiom comes from the idea that people sweat when they’re stressed. So you shouldn’t waste your efforts (sweat) on small matters. The expression is used for any negative emotion, not just stress. You can use this idiom to calm someone who is worried, angry, or sad.

Don’t sweat it is a variation on this idiom. It means the same thing, but it’s used as a response to someone doing something directly to you. For example, in the situation with the roommates, if the second roommate had specifically asked the first roommate to buy bread but he forgot, then she could have said, “Don’t sweat it” instead of “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Here are a couple more examples with don’t sweat the small stuff:

Yasmina:  It’s almost done, I promise.
Jalil:  Yasmina! This was due to the printers today. We need to submit it now, or we’re going to mess up the production schedule.
Yasmina:  I know, I know! Everyone keeps telling me not to sweat the small stuff, but I know, I just know, that the perfect font will set our book apart from all the others in the contest.
Jalil:  It’s just a font! Pick one that looks halfway nice and let’s get this done.

Mitsuko:  I wish Tony wouldn’t say stuff like that.
Lena:  What? That your handwriting is messy?
Mitsuko:  Yeah. It’s mean.
Lena:  Sweetie, it’s not an insult. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just keep being you and writing the way you write.

Let [something] slide off you (Verb)

Let [something] slide off you means to not let it bother or affect you. While don’t sweat the small stuff means don’t worry about unimportant things, let [something] slide off you refers to a reaction to a negative situation.

The “something” in this expression is usually an insult or argument. If you let [something] slide off you, you don’t react to it happening. The full phrase is to let [something] slide off your back. You could also say let it roll off your back.

This comes from a simile commonly used in England, like water off a duck’s back. Water doesn’t soak into a duck’s feathers; it slides off without getting the duck wet. When you use this phrase, you’re telling someone to let the problem slide off of them like water slides off a duck.

Here are a couple more examples with let [something] slide off you:

Chandra:  Wow, that was intense. You didn’t deserve to be yelled at like that. How did you keep your cool with Mr. Johnson in your face?
Jeremy:  Why shouldn’t I have kept my cool? It wasn’t my fault, so I just let it all slide off my back. Mr. Johnson just needed to yell at someone.
Chandra:  I wish I had your attitude about stuff like that.

Ian:  I hate all these tabloids. How can they get away with spreading all those lies?
Laureanne:  I have no idea. But I do have a lot of respect for the celebrities they gossip about.
Ian:  Me too. I don’t know how they manage to just let the insults roll off their backs like they do.
Laureanne:  I bet it’s not as easy as it looks.

Big picture (Noun)

Big picture means the broad, overall view or entire perspective of a situation or issue. The term is used when you want to emphasize that there are important facts about a situation that someone is overlooking. For example, saying, “We need to focus on the big picture” means that one should think about the future or other factors that might be important, rather than thinking about the small details or steps involved in the situation or issue.

You can also use big picture as an adjective to describe a situation, issue, or scheme. For example, you could say, “These are big picture projections. We’ll worry about the details later.”

Here are a couple more examples with big picture:

Mira:  At the meeting, the board of directors asked that we improve our annual sales and move into at least one new market this year.
Jamie:  Did they give us any idea of how they want us to do that? We’ve been trying to boost sales—that’s our jobs as salesmen—but moving into a new market is a big request.
Mira:  I don’t know. I asked but they just said they’re looking at the big picture, and this is the way of the future.
Jamie:  I’ll ask the team to start coming up with some ideas.

Dipak:  How’s it going, man?
Simon:  So bad. Today just is not going my way.
Dipak:  What happened?
Simon:  Well, first I slept in. Then someone was parked in my spot at the office, so I had to park on the street. I had to walk 5 minutes to get to the office, making me even more late.
Dipak:  Oh, man. That sucks.
Simon:  Oh, wait, dude. It gets worse. I parked on the street all day, which of course got me a parking ticket. I know one parking ticket isn’t important in the big picture, but it was just that on top of everything else, and now I’m really annoyed.
Dipak:  Sounds like you need a drink. Come on, it’s my treat.

On that note (Phrase)

On that note is a transition phrase, like the word “anyways.” The word “note” in this expression means topic, theme, or emotion. You’re saying, “Let’s move on to the next thing, which is related to what was just said.” On that note is used at the start of a paragraph or sentence to show a change from one topic to a similar topic. It’s also used to transition to a conclusion. If you were making a speech, your final concluding statement could start with on that note.

You could expand on the phrase to show an emotional change by saying on a happier note or on a sad note. For example, if you’re talking about something sad that happened to a friend, you could say on a happier note before mentioning a positive thing that happened to you or your friend.

Here are a couple more examples with on that note:

Jonathan:  I just had the worst date ever.
Suriya:  What happened?
Jonathan:  She was beautiful and made great conversation for most of the night. But she wouldn’t stop burping. Really big belches without covering her mouth. When she offered to burp out the alphabet, I decided I needed to leave.
Suriya:  Oh … Wow. How did you tell her?
Jonathan:  I said, “On that note, I need to get home.” I had no idea what else to say and couldn’t continue to have a normal conversation because I was so grossed out.

Rafal:  I’m sorry, but you are too young to get your ears pierced.
Vesna:  You’re always telling me to try new things. Getting my ears pierced would be a new thing.
Rafal:  On that note, I have some new food here for you to try.
Vesna:  No!
Rafal:  If you try this new food, you can pierce your ears.
Vesna:  Deal!

No biggie (Slang)

No biggie means something is not important or not a problem. As Kassy mentions in this episode, this slang term is shortened from it’s not a big deal. This is a very informal expression that is most often used between friends, family, or anyone who has a close relationship. You probably won’t hear this expression in professional situations or work environments.

Here are a couple more examples with no biggie:

Topias:  Is Saturday the only day you’re free?
Mackenzie:  No, if you can’t meet me Saturday, it’s no biggie. Shall we reschedule?
Topias:  Yeah, my parents need my help this weekend. Can we meet up Monday?
Mackenzie:  Monday works for me.

Ju:  I like your sunglasses.
Fiona:  Thanks! This is my third pair this summer. I keep misplacing them.
Ju:  What? You lost two other pairs? You need one of those straps for your glasses.
Fiona:  I don’t mind buying new ones. I get them at the dollar store so they’re cheap and losing a pair is no biggie.

Island time (Noun)

Island time refers to the leisurely, relaxed attitude most commonly found in people who live on islands. When someone is on island time, they are not worried about appointments or schedules, and they will most likely be late for everything. It is the same as being in vacation mode. You have a carefree attitude, and being late is completely acceptable.

This is most often used in a humorous or funny way. Island time isn’t an official time zone like Standard Time, Greenwich Mean Time, or Coordinated Universal Time. Be careful, though: some islanders may consider this an insult.

Here are a couple more examples with island time:

Karen:  Where is the cashier? She should be here! I need to catch the boat!
Rin:  I think she went to the back to check something.
Karen:  Service this slow is unacceptable.
Rin:  Relax. They’re on island time, Karen. We’ll catch the boat just fine.

Kathryn:  How’s your vacation treating you?
Jeong:  Amazing. I’m so relaxed, it’s kind of crazy.
Kathryn:  That must be wonderful.
Jeong:  Well, after my second nap, I walked around, looked out the window, and had a cocktail. So, yeah, it’s pretty wonderful.
Kathryn:  You’re definitely on island time now.

Catch Word #236 – No biggie


1. Describe a situation where you might use “on that note.”
2. Tell about a situation during which you decided not to sweat the small stuff.
3. When was a time you managed to let something slide off you?
4. Describe a time you were so focused on the details that you needed to step back to look at the big picture.
5. Have you ever experienced island time? If so, what made it so different from your usual, everyday experience? If not, what do you think island time would be like?

Hosts: Andrew Bates and Kassy White
Music: Something Elated by Broke For Free
Episode preparation/research: Andrew Bates
Audio editor: Andrew Bates
Transcriptionist: Heather Bates
Study guide writer: Lisa Hoekstra
English editor: Stephanie MacLean
Business manager: Tsuyoshi Kaneshima
Image: Sydney Rae (

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