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  #21  
Old Thursday, October 11, 2007
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Common English Idioms



The idioms and expressions below are some of the most common in English. The example sentences show how idioms are used in context.


1. as easy as pie means "very easy" (same as "a piece of cake")

Example: He said it is a difficult problem, but I don't agree. It seems as easy as pie to me!

2. be sick and tired of means "I hate" (also "can't stand")

Example: I'm sick and tired of doing nothing but work. Let's go out tonight and have fun.


3. bend over backwards means "try very hard" (maybe too much!)

Example: He bent over backwards to please his new wife, but she never seemed satisfied.


4. bite off more than one can chew means "take responsibility for more than one can manage"

Example: John is so far behind in his studies. Besides classes, he plays sports and works at a part-time job. It seems he has bitten off more than he can chew.


5. broke means "to have no money"

Example: I have to borrow some money from my Dad. Right now, I'm broke.


6. change one's mind means "decide to do something different from what had been decided earlier"

Example: I was planning to work late tonight, but I changed my mind. I'll do extra work on the weekend instead.


7. Cut it out! means "stop doing something bad"

Example: That noise is really annoying. Cut it out!


8. drop someone a line means "send a letter or email to someone"

Example: It was good to meet you and I hope we can see each other again. Drop me a line when you have time.


9. figure something out means "come to understand a problem"

Example: I don't understand how to do this problem. Take a look at it. Maybe you can figure it out.



10. fill in for someone means "do their work while they are away"

Example: While I was away from the store, my brother filled in for me.


11. in ages means "for a very long time"

Example: Have you seen Joe recently? I haven't seen him in ages.



12. give someone a hand means "help"

Example: I want to move this desk to the next room. Can you give me a hand?


13. hit the hay means "go to bed" (also "hit the sack")

Example: It's after 12 o'clock. I think it's time to hit the hay.



14. in the black means "the business is making money, it is profitable"

Example: Our business is really improving. We've been in the black all year.



15. in the red means "the business is losing money, it is unprofitable"

Example: Business is really going poorly these days. We've been in the red for the past three months.


16. in the nick of time means "not too late, but very close!"

Example: I got to the drugstore just in the nick of time. It's a good thing, because I really need this medicine!


17. keep one's chin up means "remain brave and keep on trying"

Example: I know things have been difficult for you recently, but keep your chin up. It will get better soon.


18. know something like the back of your hand means "know something very, very well"

Example: If you get lost, just ask me for directions. I know this part of town like the back of my hand



19. once in a while means "sometimes, not very often"

Example: Have you been to the new movie theater? No, only see movies once in a while. I usually stay home and watch TV.


20. sharp means "exactly at a that time"

Example: I'll meet you at 9 o'clock sharp. If you're late, we'll be in trouble!



21. sleep on it means "think about something before making a decision"

Example: That sounds like a good deal, but I'd like to sleep on it before I give you my final decision.


22. take it easy means "relax"

Example: I don't have any special plans for the summer. I think I'll just take it easy.


23. to get the ball rolling means "start something, especially something big"

Example: We need to get this project started as soon as possible. I'm hoping you will help me get the ball rolling.



24. up to the minute means "the most recent information"

Example: I wish I knew more about what is happening in the capital city. We need more up to the minute news.




25. twenty-four/seven means "every minute of every day, all the time"

Example: You can access our web site 24/7. It's very convenient!
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  #22  
Old Friday, October 12, 2007
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Another List Of 700 Idioms







a background check /a backgrounder

We did a background check on him. He's clean. No prison record, outstanding warrants, that kind of stuff.

a ballpark figure

Just give me the ballpark figure for the project, I don't need it down to the exact cent.

a big deal /a really big deal

"So I blew my curfew, big deal," said the teenager.

a bitter pill

After their winning streak, and intensive training schedule, the team's defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.

a box office hit/a blockbuster

The movie was a great success, a box office hit, a blockbuster.

a breadbasket

The Prairies are the breadbasket of Canada, they grow many of Canada's food products.

a breadwinner

As the main wage earner, he is the breadwinner of the household.

a brief interlude

After a brief interlude, they resumed their work.

a brief respite

The shower offered a brief respite from the searing heat of August.

a calming influence

This teddy bear is a calming influence for my toddler.

a case of mistaken identity

They talked to me as though I were my twin sister. It was clearly a case of mistaken identity.

a change of habit

Unless you show a change of habit, you will fail.

a combined total

They added the subtotals of the two sections to arrive at the combined total.

a crime of passion

He killed his lover. It was a crime of passion.

a crucial component

Studying is a crucial component in academic success. A student
cannot succeed without studying.

a day off /a week off /a month off / time off

She wanted a week off, but her boss only gave her three days off.

a dirty trick/dirty tricks

He played a dirty trick and deceived them.

a dog's breakfast

The book covered too many things too quickly, it was a real dog's
breakfast, a mixed up mess.

a fact-finding mission

The diplomat went to the Middle East on a fact-finding mission.

a fait accompli

It is too late to change your mind, the order has been shipped. It is a fait accompli, an accomplished fact.

a fat cat

Some say that rich, privileged people are fat cats.

a feverish pace

They rushed to complete the highway before the deadline. They had been working at a feverish pace.

a fitting memorial

The sports scholarship fund was a fitting memorial to the famous athlete.

a flash in the pan

He had high grades in his first semester, but quit school partway through his second semester. He was just a flash in the pan.

a flat out lie /a flat out guess

She meant to deceive them, but they caught her, accusing her of a flat-out lie.
He didn't win the count-the-pennies contest through skill, he just made a flat-out guess.

a foregone conclusion

They predicted events would turn out like this. Everyone could see it coming. It was a foregone conclusion.

a gene pool

He is a habitual criminal. So you can't say he made a positive contribution to the gene pool.

a habitual liar

Why believe her? She's just a habitual liar. She lies as a habit, a lot of the time, about many things.

a half-baked idea

His plan won't work. He hasn't thought about it enough yet. All it is is some half-baked scheme he has.

a hell-hole

The hottest area of the combat zone was a real hell-hole.

a hidden agenda

The union is accusing the management of having a hidden agenda, something they aren't willing to admit.

a hit and run accident

The car struck the pedestrian and left. It was a hit and run accident.

a hope and a prayer

He is an incompetent pilot. He flies on a hope and a prayer.

a key witness

The success of the case rests on the testimony of the prosecution's key witness.

a level playing field

Business is unfair to newcomers, who naively expect a level playing field, where everyone is treated equally.

a major threat

Airport security considers passengers armed with weapons a major threat.

a make-up examination

Since you were away for the test, you will have to write a make-up examination.

a manila envelope

He carried the important papers in a plain brown manila envelope.

a marked improvement

He is out of bed after the operation, and has made a marked improvement.

a matter of time

They kept borrowing heavily, so it was just a matter of time before they ran out of credit.

a merciful solution
Some Europeans feel euthanasia is a merciful solution to shorten the suffering of terminally ill patients.

a mission of mercy
The aid workers flew in food and supplies to the war-torn country on a mission of mercy.

a near miss
The planes came within 20 meters of each other, so it was a near miss.

a new kid on the block
Since the boss has only been here one week, he doesn't know how things work. He's the new kid on the block.

a newcomer to the list
As one of the nouveau riche, she was a newcomer to the elite list.

a niche market
The successful company manufactured and sold scooters for seniors and captured a niche market.

a once in a lifetime opportunity

Their participation in the Olympics was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the team members.

a passion for living /life
Her obituary mentioned her great passion for life.


a person of interest
The police are looking for him in connection with the beating death. He is a person of interest.

a pick-me-up
A café latte is a great pick-me-up. It gives me so much energy when I am tired.
(a picture is worth a thousand words)
A picture is worth a thousand words.

a point-by-point breakdown
The sportscaster gave a point-by-point breakdown of the game.

a pretty picture
All this mud on the floor, clothes everywhere, empty chip bags and pop cans; such a pretty picture!

a priority list
The provincial government took the women's centre off the spending priority list.

a public eyesore
The rusted bench was ugly; it was a public eyesore.

a runaway success
The movie sold out. The packed house proved it was a runaway success.

a scare tactic /scare tactics
The older child bullied her younger sister. She used every scare tactic she could think of.

a scattergun approach
The company mismanaged the affair by using a scattergun approach. It was all hit and miss.


a skeleton in the closet
He's not telling you everything, bet he has a skeleton or two in the closet.

a slice of life
Teenage school woes, parental pressure, dating nightmares, how's that for a slice of life?

a slippery slope
Don't even start on that issue. Don't go there. It's a slippery slope.

a smash success /a smashing success
The program was well received, a smashing success.

a smattering of applause
The lukewarm speech received a smattering of applause.

a sore spot
She's very sensitive and touchy on that issue. It's a real sore spot.

a speedy recovery
We wish you a speedy recovery. Get well soon!

a splash of colour
The red maple tree was a splash of colour on the bare lawn.

a square peg in a round hole
He doesn't fit in this department. He's a square peg in a round hole.

a standing ovation
The outstanding performance rated a standing ovation from the audience. Everyone stood up and clapped.

a state of affairs
The roast was burning in the oven, the washer had gone off balance, and then the smoke alarm went off upstairs. What a pretty state of affairs!

a stitch in time saves nine
Better think and act ahead; a stitch in time saves nine.

a sucker punch
He came up from behind, grabbed his head, and landed a sucker punch, right to his face.

a sure thing
The deal's done, I promise. It's a sure thing.

a sweet deal /a really sweet deal
He gets plenty of perks with his job, it's a really sweet deal.

a symptom of a larger problem
The inadequate level of English at the university level is just a symptom of a larger problem.

a tight schedule
He had only thirty minutes between planes, it was a very tight schedule.

a tight spot
If you get in trouble with the teacher, don't expect me to get you out of a tight spot.

a time slot
Her school schedule was almost full. She had only one time slot left.

a toothy grin
The witch's mask stared back with a toothy grin.

a trade-off
I'll mend your pants if you will babysit. It will be a trade-off.

a train of thought
She was sitting quietly, but he interrupted her and broke her train of thought.

a vintage car
He had a pristine, restored, 1930's Packard, truly a beautiful vintage car.

a weather vane
The wind whistled over the barn roof, spinning the weather vane
around and around.

a welcome change
The vacation was a welcome change from months of hard work.

a while ago /a short while ago
He left work a short while ago. He has been gone about fifteen minutes.

a world of difference
Your donation to our cause will make a world of difference in a child's life.


all of a sudden
He had just gotten off his bike, when all of a sudden, he collapsed.


an economic disaster
Their personal finances are nothing short of an economic disaster. They are flat broke all the time.

an eager beaver
I gave him the project to work on, and he started right away. He's a real eager beaver.

an errand of mercy
She took the pie to the sick man on an errand of mercy.

an instant success
Sales took right off and the company's products became an instant
success.

an open and shut case
He was caught red-handed. There were plenty of credible witnesses. It was an open and shut case.

an opportunity for advancement
The job ad promised the successful applicant opportunity for
advancement, a chance for a promotion.

an unbiased opinion
You say your girlfriend is very beautiful? Now isn't that an unbiased opinion!

an undisclosed source
The news report was based on information from an undisclosed source.

as far as something /someone is concerned
The father told his adult son, that as far as he was concerned, he could do anything he wanted. He trusted him.

at any (given) time
We are finished here, so you are free to go at any time.

(at the end of the day)
When all was said and done, at the end of the day, the company was a success.

at the last minute /a last minute change
He changed his mind at the last minute.

at this (moment in) time /at this (point in) time
At this time, the Manager is on a business trip overseas.

aware /unaware of the discrepancy
The bank staff seemed to be unaware of the discrepancy in our
chequing account.

bear with me
This is long, so please be patient and bear with me.

best of show
The tiny dog in the pink collar won Best of Show.

better...or else
You better do what he says, or else!

better and better
She loved country life. It was better and better each passing year.

between a rock and a hard place
He shouldn't have lied. As a result of his lie, he was caught between a
rock and a hard place.

big bucks
He's just dreaming if he thinks he is going to be making big bucks at that job. They don't pay much.

bread and butter
The wife spends lots of time doing volunteer work, but her husband's job is their bread and butter. His job pays their bills.

break and enter
All the doors were locked, so the police charged the burglar with Break and Enter.

breakneck speed
The two motorcyclists raced down the street at breakneck speed.

but then again
She could do that for you, but then again, why should she do it if she knows you don't like her?

can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear
Don't trust your confidences to a low class gossip. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

can't see the forest for the trees
He is way too close to the situation. He can't see the forest for the trees.

carry out attacks
The army will carry out the attacks as planned.

cat got your tongue
Are you in shock or something? What's the matter, cat got your tongue? You haven't said anything.

catch-as-catch-can
She's a real free spirit. She has lived her life catch-as-catch-can.

cheek by jowl
They built the houses without side yards. They were packed in cheek by jowl on the property.

come on
Come on, hurry up, or we will be late.

command central
The whole war is run out of Command Central.

cost effective
It would be more cost effective to hire two hard workers than three lazy people.

couldn't care less
She went on and on about it. I didn't tell her that I couldn't care less.

crack troops
Some nations boast they have crack troops who are better than any others.

cutthroat competition
After University, he encountered more cutthroat competition in the job market. He was even unemployed for a few months.

damage control
The CEO sent his First Vice President to assess the situation and do damage control after the fiasco.

day in and day out
He worked hard day in and day out to solve the problem, but had little success.

details have been forthcoming / details have not been forthcoming
The government is silent on the issue. After last week's press release few details have been forthcoming.

difficult to find...a more
It would be difficult to find a more dedicated employee.

Do you get it? (also past, Did you get it?)
Did you understand what he said? Did you get it?

domestic violence
That family is known for its domestic violence. The oldest brother beats up the little kids all the time.

don't give it a second thought
It's okay if the vase broke. Don't give it a second thought. It is replaceable.

don't look a gift horse in the mouth
You should be grateful for anything given to you. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

down and out
The Great Depression ruined the fortunes of many people. They were quickly down and out.

dream on
You think he will hire all your friends? Dream on!

dressed to kill
She spent oodles of money on her prom dress. She was dressed to kill. Her father, when he found out the cost, was fit to be tied.

easy for you to say
Just because you learned to water-ski in two hours, you think I can
too? That's easy for you to say!

end over end
The piano tumbled down the steps end over end, pulling one of the movers with it.

endless speculation
Further discussion will only produce endless speculation.

every nook and cranny
I looked high and low for that gold brooch, searching every nook and cranny of the house.

experts recommend
Experts recommend rest, ice and elevation for a sprained ankle.

far-fetched
She says she will be a millionaire by age forty, but everybody who knows her thinks that idea is far-fetched.

far-flung
The fur trade spread to the far-flung corners of the Empire [everywhere].

first in line
We camped out all night to be first in line to buy a condo at the new development.

fishy /sounds fishy /looks fishy /smells fishy /seems fishy
You think she is telling the truth? I don't. Every time I hear more of her story it sounds fishier and fishier to me.

fit to be tied
He is so upset about his daughter's mistake, he is fit to be tied.

fly by night
They won't be here long, They are just a fly by night operation.

fly off the handle
Don't get angry at her. Why are you so quick to fly off the handle?

folks on the street
The official story is that the project was a real money-loser, but the
folks on the street know better.

for a song
He sold the property for so little, you could say that it went for a song.

for hours /days /months on end
I suppose now we will have to endure his whining for days on end?

for the birds
That doesn't make sense! That's for the birds!

fresh out of something
I'm sorry sir, the kitchen is fresh out of pie [we don't have any more].

full of potential
She is just wasting her life going out with him. She is so full of potential, why lose everything? Bad mistake!

fun to be with
I really like her. She is a good conversationalist, and so fun to be with.

Get lost!
They kept pestering him after he told them no, so he told them to get lost.

(glass half full /glass half empty)
An optimist sees the glass half full. A pessimist sees it half empty.

go to the dogs
With all the break and enters, and other crime, this neighborhood is really going to the dogs.

Good riddance!
He finally got kicked out of office by his own party? Good riddance!

Got a minute?
I have something to show you. Got a minute?

hard hit by
The area was hard hit, first by wildfires, then by flooding.

hard to come by
A vase like that, in mint condition, could prove hard to come by [very
hard to find anywhere else].

hard to resist
The marketing pitch proved hard to resist. So he bought the CD player.

hash it out among themselves
If they have their differences, leave them to hash it out among themselves. They will work it out, eventually.

Haste makes waste.
Don't run with that milk and spill it! Haste makes waste.

high time for a change
The opposition party said it was high time for a change.

Hip, hip, hooray!
The celebrating crowd shouted "Hip, hip, hooray!"

hit or miss
It didn't seem well planned, it seemed hit or miss.

honourable mention
First, second, and third prizes went to others, but her work received honourable mention [fourth best].

I hear what you're saying
I'm kind of tired of this argument, but I hear what you are saying [I am listening to you and understanding you, but I am upset].

if push comes to shove
We'll handle that if, and when, we have to; if push comes to shove.

in a round-about way
He wasn't direct about anything, he always told a story in a round-about way.

in (actual) fact
In fact, events were quite different.

in living memory
There had never been such a large parade in the small town in living memory [even the oldest person there had never seen one].

in no uncertain terms
I told her off, and made it clear to her what the consequences would be in no uncertain terms.

in terms of
In terms of physical mobility, he is doing okay. In terms of weight loss, he is not.

in the foreseeable future
The government has budgeted no further funding for this project in the foreseeable future.

in the near future
It won't happen tomorrow, but in the near future we expect another grant.

it just goes to show you
It just goes to show you, you can't trust a habitual liar.

it's a deal /it's a done deal
If you want that car for that price, then it's a done deal, by me.

it's all in a day's work
I know I went out of my way to do that for you, but it is just all in a day's work.

it's not for someone to say
It's not for her to say whether you get the job. She's not the Manager.

it's not rocket science
The parents should have been able to figure out the toy assembly diagram; it's not rocket science.

it's such a tragedy
Now three of his immediate family are gone. It's such a tragedy. They
all died too young.

just in the nick of time
She stopped the toddler from crossing the street alone just in the nick of time by quickly grabbing him by the collar.

let's get with it /let's get on with it
Enough coffee break, guys. Now let's get on with the job.

long, long ago
There were dinosaurs long, long ago [a long, long, time ago].

made public
Voters want the party's final expenses made public [announced so everyone will know].

make it quick /better make it quick
Yes, you can run and get your sweater, but better make it quick. We have to leave right now.

markets dry up
He started a small manufacturing business, but events took a twist, and his markets dried up [there were no buyers for his product].

missing in action
Some soldiers who didn't return from the war were listed as missing in action.

money talks
He was accused of bribery. His hallmark statement was that money talks [he used his money to bribe people].

more than enough time
Don't rush around so. We have more than enough time to get ready.

much to my surprise [or his/her/their]
Much to our surprise, our children gave us a cruise to Greece for our anniversary.

navel-gazing
They are so self-absorbed. That group practices and preaches a lot of
navel-gazing.

neck and neck
The two horses were even at the finish line, having gone 40 yards neck and neck.

net-savvy
She may be a senior citizen, but she knows a lot about the computer. She is very net-savvy.

never a dull moment
Four things went wrong in the office that day. There was never a dull moment.

next to nothing
Shop at a thrift store and clothes will cost you next to nothing.

nice and soft /nice and warm
My toddler says her blankie is nice and soft.

nip and tuck
The students may barely make it through this semester sharing that house with all its expensive extras. It will be nip and tuck.

no less
He wants forty dollars for that ratty looking old leather jacket, no less!

no rest for the weary
Something else needs to be done after our long day of work? No rest for the weary, I guess.

no trespassing
Stay off our property. No Trespassing

not a chance /small chance
He's just dreaming if he thinks they will pay his way to go to the expensive management course. Small chance! [No way!]

not an issue at this time
Whether the government will place the children with another family
permanently is not an issue at this time [they are reserving judgment and not saying yet].

not as (adjective) as everyone seems to think
Such a heartthrob! Well, let me tell you, Mr. Muscles is not as strong as everyone seems to think.

not at all
Don't bother to thank me for the favour. Don't mention it, not at all.

not at the moment
"Do you have any cooked chickens?" she asked.
"Not at the moment," he answered, " but we will have some in half an hour."

not by any stretch of the imagination
Our family budget did not cover her extra expenses, not by any stretch of the imagination.

(not) hardly Note, "not hardly" is used in some regions, but is incorrect because it is a double negative, it should always be "hardly"
Do you really think that happened that way? Hardly!

not lose any sleep over
It didn't work out this time, but it's not that important. Don't lose any sleep over it.

not worth the paper it's written on
His guarantee is not worth the paper it is written on [useless].

not worth talking about
She won't even discuss it. She says it is not worth talking about.

nothing ventured, nothing gained
Sure, take the risk and do it. You know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

nuts to you
I don't believe you, and I don't want to talk about it. Nuts to you!
of one kind or another
We will find you a suitable replacement of one kind or another.
oh, my /oh, my dear
Look at all this mess. Oh, my dear!

(on a) daily/weekly/monthly (basis)
He checks the rain gauge daily.

(on a month-to-month basis)
Bank statements should be reviewed monthly.

on a need-to-know basis
Please distribute this confidential information on a need-to-know basis only [don't tell everyone].

on condition of anonymity
She provided key details to the reporter, on condition of anonymity, asking that her identity remain hidden.

on notice about
The company put the gardener on notice about his sloppy grounds keeping. He had to change or risk being fired.

on the money /right on the money
That bet you placed at the racetrack yesterday sure paid off. You were right on the money!

on the run
She usually skips a sit-down breakfast and eats on the run.

on the run from the law
The three convicts escaped from prison, and are on the run from the law.

on the table /on the table during discussions
The issue of contracting-out should be on the table during discussions [negotiable].

on-again, off-again
Their love affair is on-again, off-again, come and go, up and down.

once and for all
Let me tell you, when he talks to the Service Rep, he will straighten him out once and for all.

Once burned, twice shy.
After his disastrous experience hang-gliding he will probably stay on the ground. Once burned, twice shy.

once upon a time
The phrase "Once upon a time..." begins many children's stories.

one of a kind
That work of art will never be repeated. It is one of a kind.

open for business
Today, they are still setting up the kitchen, but tomorrow the restaurant will be open for business.

out of place
He wasn't used to wearing a suit and tie, and felt quite out of place at the cocktail party.

Out of sight, out of mind.
The toddler fretted over the broken toy until her mother removed it, saying "Out of sight, out of mind."

out of step with /in step with
When he goes off on those wild tangents, he shows he is out of step with the rest of the management board.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
They moved from a rental to a very old house that soon needed major structural repairs. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

outstanding in [one's] field
She is an excellent teacher, positively outstanding in her field.

over and done with
Don't cry over the past. It is over and done with.

over, and over again
He covered the same material thoroughly, rewording it over and over again.

over the moon about
Wow are they ever in love! She is just over the moon about him.

over-the-counter
Rather than use a prescription drug, the doctor recommended an over-the-counter drug, easily available at the pharmacy.

paid a pittance
We think we got a good deal on that used bike. We bought it at a thrift shop and paid a pittance.

part and parcel of
His story is part and parcel of the entire fraud. They cannot be separated.

peace of mind
Only when she knew her daughter was taken care of did she have
peace of mind.

poised to take action
The entrepreneur is poised to take action if she sees an opening in the market.

prepared to offer
Perhaps the buyers are prepared to offer a slightly higher price on the property.

pretty good
You did just fine, kid. That was pretty good for a beginner.

pretty straightforward
The terms of the deal seem to be clear. Everything looks pretty straightforward.

prices plunge
The company will lose too much money on current stock if prices plunge.

pros and cons
The government is weighing its options before it decides. There are both benefits and drawbacks, pros and cons.

quiet reflection
Facing a hectic afternoon, she paused for a moment of quiet reflection in the small courtyard garden.

rapt attention
The toddler was watching the cartoon show with rapt attention, just fascinated.

ready.....at all times
The troops were ready to face the enemy at all times.

ready for action
The troops were armed and ready for action.

ready for business
The water was mopped up, and the gutter unblocked. The store was
ready for business again three hours after the rain storm.

ready to party
Exams are over, and every student is ready to party.

reverse engineering
A foreign company stole the patented design by taking apart the design through reverse engineering.

right now
Come on, we have to leave right now!

right this minute
Come here, now, right this minute!

ripe for the kill
He is sure that the market for his new product is ready, ripe for the kill

risk management
The company plans very carefully, showing careful risk management to maximize profits and cut losses.

sales are down /up
The housing market is soft right now. Sales are down.

sales decline
Sales of that product declined last year for the first time following ten years of steady gain.

sales fall off
It was a very hot market until recently, when sales fell off.

scout's honour
I promise it will be delivered tomorrow. Scout's Honour!

severance pay
When he was laid off, he made a special trip to the office to collect his severance pay [final pay].

share and share alike
Here's the pizza, kids. Now nobody hogs it, okay? It will be share and
share alike.

six of one, half a dozen of the other
Both options are equal; six of one, half a dozen of the other.

someone has such a hard life
Oh you poor girl! Only two cookies and not three. You have such a hard life!

someone's heart is in the right place
When she was in the hospital, the office sent her flowers. Someone's heart was in the right place.

someone's luck ran out
The death was just a freak accident. They say his luck ran out.

someone's standing in the polls
That politician has recently enjoyed a high standing in the polls. He is really popular.

sound effects
The performers added sound effects to the song, tooting like train whistles at the end.

speaking of which
We have been talking about food all morning, speaking of which, would you like to go get some lunch?

split down the middle
The voters returned a 51.1, 49.9 split down the middle for the incumbent.

split half-and-half
It doesn't make sense to buy two of these huge drinks for two children. Why not get an extra glass and split one half-and-half?

strange bedfellows
Politics makes strange bedfellows. People whom you don't expect to work together, do.

stream-of-consciousness
He just spoke whatever came to his mind. It was a stream-of-consciousness speech.

strictly speaking
I will let you have that for free, but strictly speaking, we aren't allowed to give them away [don't tell the boss].

such is life
So you didn't win the lottery after all? Such is life.

sugar-coated
He was so polite to the angry customer; his story was sugar-coated.

(sure to please)
We will decide for you which colour to send when you order. Our
selection is sure to please.

survival of the fittest
The competition was fierce. It was survival of the fittest.

survival tactics
The rescue guides trained the skiers in avalanche survival tactics.

thanks to
Thanks to quick thinking on his part, the car fire did not spread to the gas tank.

the backbone of a plan
The government now has in place the backbone of a plan to handle further political setbacks in that area.

the biggest loser
If you cheat on an exam, even if you pass, the biggest loser will be you, not anyone else.

the bottom line
They expected huge financial losses, but the bottom line did not look bad.

the final curtain call
The actors came back for one final curtain call at the end of the play.

the heart of an issue
That's more like it. Now that he is being honest, we are getting to the heart of the issue.

the hit parade
Few songs are big sellers, finding a place on the hit parade.

the onus falls on
The onus falls on the parents to care for the child. It is their responsibility.

the pot calling the kettle black
But she is like that too, and even more so! When she says that, it's just the pot calling the kettle black.

the real world
You thought you would get rich by winning the lottery? Welcome back to the real world!

the right to die
There has been a public debate in Canada regarding the issue of euthanasia, or the right to die.

the school of hard knocks
He had a rough life, but learned much in the school of hard knocks.

The show's not over until the fat lady sings.
I guess we'll wait and see what happens. I am reserving judgment. The show's not over until the fat lady sings.

the survival of the fittest
The market competition in realty is stiff. It's a case of the survival of
the fittest.

the turn of the century
At the turn of the last century, parts of Europe were untouched by recent active warfare. That was soon to change.

the will to live
The elderly woman's health declined when she lost her will to live.

the wraps come off
Once the new building is unveiled and the wraps come off, we may consider leasing some space.

these are exciting times /to live in exciting times
"John is involved in so many sports, and now he has this girlfriend," said the teenager's mother. "We sure live in exciting times."

things look bad/good/better/worse
Things are looking better outside our house, now that we have the new gardens planted. Everything looked pretty bad for a while.

thinly veiled
Her distaste for the decorator's choice of fabrics was thinly veiled.

time for a change
The premier of that province has been in office too long. It is time for a change.

time for action
Come on, boys, coffee break is over. It's time for action.

to just get by
We just get by on my pay rate.

to accept change
Some people are very much creatures of habit; it is very hard for them
to accept change.

to add up to
Everything you are buying adds up to forty dollars.
Yes, you are right it is expensive. It sure adds up, doesn't it?

to address an issue
The politician refused to address the issue.

to apply for a job
I applied for a job in computer science yesterday.

to assess information
Once we have read the company's application, and assessed the information, we will contact them.

to avoid responsibility
He was gone from home long hours in order to avoid the responsibility of caring for his young son.

to barely survive
The cat barely survived the accident with the car.

to be a lemon
That vehicle had three major repairs in the first two years we owned it. It has turned out to be a real lemon.

to be an item
Did you know she is dating the courier driver? That's right, they are an item.

to be at stake
We can't lose this game because the whole championship is at stake. We won't advance to the finals if we lose.

to be based on information
Part of the news report was based on information from an unnamed source.

to be beyond belief
Have you seen what she did to her hair? It's beyond belief. [You will be shocked.]

to be called to account for /to account for
The school called him to account for the way he had spent the last three weeks.

to be derelict in one's duty
Parents who neglect their children are derelict in their duty.

to be honest /to be honest with you /to be perfectly honest
I am truly confused. To be perfectly honest, I don't know.
To be honest with you, I don't know the first thing about how to do
this assignment.

to be in the hole
They spent fifty bucks on the supplies, but only charged forty bucks for the stuff they sold. So, they went [are] in the hole ten bucks.

to be knee deep in something
The farmer waded into the flooded field to rescue the horse until he was nearly knee deep in mud.

to be marginalized by society
The couple felt that they were being left out of every group, because of their circumstances. They believed they were marginalized by society.

to be no fun
"I don't want to go to the doctor," wailed the six-year-old, "that will be no fun!"

to be no stranger to
Those people are no strangers to success, they have had two gold medalists in their family.

to be no surprise /to come as no surprise
It should come as no surprise that their teenage daughter has racked up yet another awesome credit card bill.

to be on call for
The emergency room physician was on call for the weekend. He had his cell phone turned on and with him at all times.

to be reduced to tears
When the toddler grabbed the books from her sister's arms, her sister was reduced to tears.

to be sick and tired of
I'm sick and tired of you two children fighting.

to be sitting pretty
If they sell that house for the list price, they will be sitting pretty.

to be there for someone
I know you are having a hard time right now, but I'll be there for you [support you] when you need me.

to be tied down
The mother of the baby triplets was tied down to a schedule of diaper changes, bottles, laundry and naps.

to be true to oneself
If you speak up for what you believe in, you are being true to yourself.

to be willing to negotiate
Union and management were both willing to negotiate a deal to avert a strike or lockout.

to be worried sick
Ever since her daughter had failed the test, the mother had been worried sick about her future.

to bend over backwards
The salesperson bent over backwards to be helpful when they bought the car.

to blank out /to draw a blank about something
She couldn't find the right words. She just blanked out.
When they asked the postal code at her last address, she drew a blank.

to brace for the worst
There is a hurricane warning, and residents of Atlantic Canada are bracing for the worst.

to break even
The business is making as much as it has spent, so it is breaking even. It is viable.

to break every rule in the book
The dishonest company made the sale, but in the process, it broke every rule in the book.

to break into
The thief broke into the store through the back window, and stole the computer.

to break open
The little girl broke the chocolate egg open and pulled out the prize.

to break the bank
If our son spends any more on fancy cars, he'll break the bank. We just can't afford it.

to bring to bear on
They brought all the facts to bear on the case and solved it.

to bring to justice
The criminals were brought to justice. They will all be doing time behind bars.

to burn the candle at both ends
He has committed far too much of his available time. He's only sleeping five hours at night; burning the candle at both ends.

to burst the bubble
The man was quite attracted to the woman until she mentioned her husband and burst the bubble.

to buy off
Rumours are that they have bought off half the team. It's all rigged.

to call the shots /to call all the shots
In that family, Dad makes the money, but Mom calls all the shots.

to call to someone's attention / to call someone's attention to something
Someone walking by their car called their attention to the flat tire.

to carve out a niche
That company is trying to carve out a niche in the interior design market.

to cause quite a stir
Her engagement is causing quite a stir at work, since she has dated several men there.

to cave in
Dad caved in and bought his oldest daughter a car for her graduation.

to celebrate a victory /birthday
The winning team went out to a pub to celebrate their victory.

to chicken out
He dared his sister to a roller blade race, but she chickened out at the last minute.

to chill out
The weary mother told her screaming toddler to settle down and chill out.

to clean up a mess
The cat got sick [threw up, vomited, up-chucked, barfed] on the rug and Dad had to clean up the mess.

to coast to victory
They worked hard during the beginning of the campaign, and then at the end seemed to coast to victory without much effort.

to come away with something
There were several consolation prizes, so even though they didn't win a first or second prize, they came away with something.

to come in contact with
If you work at a hospital laundry, you will come in contact with a variety of communicable diseases.

to come to grief
Better not try to cheat on that exam, or you will come to grief.

to come to mind
She thought very hard about where the lost papers could be, but nothing came to mind.

to come to nothing /nought
The family worried about the bullying, but the issue disappeared, and it came to nought.

to come to terms with
She is still coming to terms with her mother's death.

to come under the influence of
During his time at that university, he came under the influence of some right-wing thinkers.

to come undone
After her boyfriend ended their relationship, she collapsed. She couldn't take it, she just came undone.

to conduct a study
The research group is conducting a study of their new product.

to convey a message /the convey the message that
The official wanted to convey the message that the family had not been forgotten in their sorrow.

to cramp someone's style
She's an actress, and he is so straight-laced, he just cramps her style.

to create a disturbance
The gang members gathered often at the club, broke bottles and yelled, and generally created a disturbance.

to create confusion
When the accident blocked both exits, that created confusion for commuters.

to cross one's heart and hope to die
"I promise I won't break it," yelled the little boy, grabbing the toy boat, "cross my heart and hope to die."

to crow about something
He just won the thousands on the lottery, so now he really has something to crow about.

to cry in one's soup
It's all doom and gloom with that family, they are always crying in their soup over something or other.

to cry over spilled milk
It's too late to cry over spilled milk.

to cut a deal
The two companies cut a deal and merged.

to cut to the chase
He stopped further discussion, and cut to the chase, calling for a decision from the board.

to defend a decision
She defended her decision to become a lawyer, saying she had wanted
to bring justice in society.

to deliver on one's promise
The company performed the service repair on the car for free. They really delivered on their promise.

to derive a list
He took the directory and derived a list of prospective clients.

to deserve praise for a job well done
Today, we are honouring our longest-serving volunteer, who certainly deserves praise for a job well done.

to distance oneself from
The politician refused to be drawn into the discussion, distancing herself from the issue by claiming it was another minister's department.

to disturb the peace
The police warned him about using the bullhorn to disturb the peace.

to do a favor
"Do me a favor, please, and be quiet while I am on the phone," the mother told her little girl.

to do a snow job
They believed him alright, he really did a snow job and conned them all. Wait until they find out he lied!

to down drink /food
Because it was so hot, and he was so thirsty, he downed three glasses in a row, then stopped to talk.

to draw attention to something
The store would like to draw your attention to the specials in the women's shoe department.

to draw a conclusion
The students will be asked to draw a conclusion from the information presented in live debate.

to dredge up something
Don't dredge up anything from a past relationship to poison a new one.

to drive someone around the bend
The toddler's lengthy temper tantrums nearly drove her mother around the bend.

to drive someone up the wall
When he got a busy signal repeatedly after calling the company all afternoon, it really drove him up the wall.

to drop a hint
What she really wanted for Valentine's Day was a diamond ring from her boyfriend, so she dropped a hint or two. Now they are engaged.

to earn a living
He earns a living as a customer service representative.

to earn brownie points
The man earned brownie points from his wife every time he mopped the kitchen floor. She was pleased and surprised.

to eke out an existence
During the Depression, Prairie farmers barely eked out an existence, as soil blew away from their farms.

to exacerbate a condition
Don't get him involved in this argument, that will just exacerbate the condition. It will get much worse fast.

to face off against someone
The two teams faced off against each other on centre ice, and the game began.

to fare better /worse /well overall
He didn't do very well on Part III of the exam, but he fared well overall, earning a higher grade than twenty of his classmates.

to feast one's eyes on
She entered the small boutique and feasted her eyes on the pleasant display of soaps and perfumes.

to feed someone a line
You don't really believe what that guy told you, do you? He was just feeding you a line.

to feel for someone
"Oh, you work so hard," said the girl to her older brother who had just gotten his first job. "I really feel for you!"

to feel like a million dollars
"Wow," said the senior citizen, "now that the Doctor put me on that new medicine, I feel like a million dollars!"

to fiddle with
Don't fiddle with that TV remote, you will screw up the channel selections.
There's been some fiddling with the financial figures for the organization, and some money is apparently missing.

to fight fire with fire
The company finally rearranged their sales tactics, and began to make more money. They were gaining over the competition by fighting fire with fire [a response appropriate to the threat].

to figure it out
I just can't understand these instructions, the girl said. She hoped her father could figure it out.

to fill someone's shoes
He is a valuable employee. When he retires from the company, it will be hard to fill his shoes.

to fill in for
She was gone from work Friday so a co-worker filled in for her.

to find a way to make it happen
Don't worry about money, the parent promised. If you want to go to college, son, we will find a way to make it happen.

to find common ground
The two sides were able to solve the labour dispute by finding common ground about benefits and contracting out.

to find the time
"Come see me next week if you manage to find the time in your busy schedule," the mother told her daughter.

to fix up with
She wants to fix me up with some cousin of hers, but I really don't want
to start dating again.

to flex one's muscles
We don't think he is serious about threatening to sue, he's just flexing his muscles.

to float a loan
The son was able to able to enlist two relatives to help him and floated a loan from his father in order to buy the new car.

to foil a plot
The company foiled a plot by hackers to break into their client database.

to forge ahead
The research arm of the corporation didn't let the failure hold them back. They just forged ahead with new work in a related area.

to funnel money
The thugs funneled money through a series of bank accounts until they reached their source of supply.

to gather information /intelligence
According to the information the investigators have gathered, he is very deeply involved in the smuggling ring.

to get one's nose out of joint
"Oh don't get your nose out of joint," the mother told her toddler, "I'm sorry I spilled juice on your pants."

to get hooked on
They fed the kid marshmallows, and now she is hooked on candy, a real "sugarholic."

to get off someone's back
The employee had an abusive boss who wouldn't get off his back about the new performance standards.

to get over someone
She broke up with her boyfriend yesterday, but it may take a couple of weeks for her to get over him.

to get the ax
That government program will either get the ax or get more money.

to get the ball rolling
The new company opened on time with plenty of publicity to get the ball rolling.

to get to the bottom of
We are waiting to see it they will investigate far enough to get to the bottom of it.

to get up on the wrong side of the bed
She was very crabby. He told her she must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.

to give credit for /to
The awards ceremony emcee gave credit to the organizers of the gala for the fine job they did on the food and entertainment.

to give someone something to think about
The time he spent in jail gave the drunk driver something to think about.

to give someone the heebie-jeebies
That horror flick gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'll be scared of the dark, now.

to go around in circles
They don't know what to do now that they haven't heard from their son. They are just going around in circles.

to go from crisis to crisis
That couple seems to live their lives going from crisis to crisis.

to go hungry
"If you don't eat your peas, you will just have to go hungry," said the father to his toddler.

to go to bat for someone
We are pretty sure he will make the team. His former team coach is going to bat for him to get him a spot.

to hand over the goods /money
"Please hand over the CD player," the angry teenager told his little brother.

to hang on
She is still hanging on to the hope that they might be able to buy the more expensive house.

to hang out
He hangs out with some tough-looking kids at the coffee shop.

to harbour a secret
The diary harbored a secret the family had never known.

to have a chance to
"I wish we had a chance to buy a new toy, Mama," said the little girl.

to have a change of heart
He told her no, but then had a change of heart and bought the new bicycle anyway.

to have a hole in one's head
Why is he crossing six lanes of highway outside of the crosswalk? Does he have a hole in his head?

to have a knack for /to have an eye for /to have a flare for
She has a knack for crafts. She knits the most fabulous sweaters. She really has an eye for colour and a flare for design.

to have a reputation for
That company has a reputation for fine service.

to have a ripple effect
He thinks his actions won't hurt anyone, but it will have a ripple effect. People he doesn't even know will be damaged.

to have been saying that all along
"I knew that would happen," the father told his son. "Haven't I been saying that all along?"

to have gone missing / went missing
I can't find my red shoe, it's gone missing. It went missing yesterday, I think.

to have mixed feelings about something
She had mixed feelings about dating him. Sometimes he just didn't
seem to be her type.

to have the world by the tail
If he wins the lottery, he'll have the world by the tail.

to have unfinished business
He returned to his homeland to sell his home. This wrapped up his unfinished business.

to head out for
They were heading out for a camping trip when they got the news about the tornado.

to hit a home run
The last batter connected with the ball so well that he rounded all the bases before the catcher caught the ball. It was a home run.

to hold the dubious distinction of
He holds the dubious distinction of changing departments more often than anyone else in our company.

to hope for the best
The cat was very injured, but the vet operated on her and they all hoped for the best.

to horse around
The kids were horsing around in the water, getting everybody wet.

to hunker down
During the thunderstorm, we just lit some candles and hunkered down in the cabin.

to identify a group /target /trigger
He has identified the preschool children as his target audience for his magician's act.

to increase /decrease dramatically
Spending has increased dramatically over the last two decades.

to issue a directive
The company issued a directive to its middle management to cut back on all non-essential training expenses.

to jump to a conclusion
She looked at the way he was dressed and jumped to the conclusion that he had money.

to keep afloat
They hoped the extra loan from the bank would keep the business afloat during the mill strike.

to keep an eye on
Keep an eye on the beans I put on to cook so they don't burn, while I go take the wash out of the dryer.

to keep an account of
We will have to keep a good account of the money we spend on extras, because the mortgage is going to take a pretty big chunk out of our pay.

to keep it under your hat
She says not to tell anybody she is expecting a baby again. Just keep it under your hat.

to keep under wraps
The company president kept the new plan under wraps until the funding was all worked out.

to kick the bucket
Sometime during the night, the sick frog kicked the bucket. They buried it's body this morning.

to knock one's socks off
He did a really good job on the public relations work. It just knocked off our socks to see how hard he worked.

to land a job
He's sure happy. He landed the job he has always wanted.

to launch an investigation
The police launched an investigation into the killings.

to lead to misunderstanding
Too many careless remarks like that will lead to misunderstanding.

to leave (all) one's options open
If you take a broad variety of courses in the first two years of university, you can leave your options open for a career choice.

to leave high and dry
She lost her wallet at the bus depot. It left her high and dry for cash
to get a ride home.

to let someone know
If you don't want to come next week, please let me know.

to limit out
They caught several fish this morning, and limited out for the day.

to live on the growing edge
That's my son, he's into high tech. He loves to live on the growing edge.

to look at the ramifications
Before you change neighborhoods, look at all the ramifications of your children changing schools.

to look down on
Among other things, multiculturalism teaches us not to look down on anyone because of their ethnic background.

to look down the road
That plan won't work for our community. They should be able to see that if they just look down the road a few years.

to look like a joke
After I had been gardening, my new shoes were so dirty they looked like a joke.

to look up to
The small girl really looked up to her aunt and uncle. She just adored them.

to lose out on
If you don't get back to the tour bus on time, you will lose out on the explanation the tour guide is giving about the next stop.

to lose the scent
The dog tracked the rabbit through the bushes, and then lost the scent.

to lose track of
She enjoyed the new book so much, she lost track of time and two hours went by before she realized it.

to make one's mark
He has really made his mark in the art world and now sells his work for many thousands of dollars a piece.

to make a good /bad showing
The junior soccer team is making a good showing, winning three games so far this season.

to make a mockery of
In that trial, the acquittal of the accused makes a mockery of justice.

to make a mountain out of a molehill
"Don't make such a fuss," said the parent to her toddler, "you are making a mountain out of a molehill."

to make a pact
The seven-year-old girls made a pact to start a secret club where no boys would be allowed.

to make amends for
The young offender will have to make amends for the damage he caused. Some are suggesting community service would be appropriate.

to make an effort
I know you can pass the exam if you apply yourself to studying the material and really make an effort.

to make ends meet
Between the two of them, her parents make enough money to make ends meet.

to make it to the top of a list
She made it to the top of the list of post-doctoral candidates they were interviewing for the job.

to make the most of an opportunity
In order to make the most of the opportunity, you must act now, before all the units are sold.

to maximize your return
Certain investments will do better than others, maximizing your return on the dollars you invest.

to meet the criteria for
He met all the criteria for entrance to the elite school. He met all their entrance requirements.

to mess around
Do it right, don't just mess around.
Don't mess around with that cat now, or he will claw you.

to milk something dry
He renewed the business contract until the hiring company ran out of money for his project. He had milked them dry.

to miss the action /to miss all the action
If she comes to the party two hours late, she is going to miss all the action.

to miss out (on)
Three people showed up at the Canada Day Celebrations an hour after the last of the cake was gone. They missed out on a very good cake.

to miss the boat
If she waits too late to apply for that school, she will miss the boat and not get in.

to miss the mark
He was aiming for a bank balance of $5,000 this month, but it's only about $4,500. So, he missed the mark by about $$500.

to mix metaphors
Parts of two different metaphors should not be used together. For instance, "to pull the wool out from under (someone's) feet" and "to pull the rug over (someone's) eyes," are both incorrect. They are mixed metaphors. The correct metaphors are "to pull the rug out from under (someone's) feet," and "to pull the wool over {someone's}eyes."

to muddy the waters
The professor asked the class if they understood his explanation, or whether it had only muddied the waters and made things worse.

to name a panel
The firm named a panel of distinguished members to lead the public discussions.

to need a crutch
He does just fine in his third language, but his mother still needs a crutch, so she takes an a dictionary everywhere.

to opt for
"I'll opt for the blue sports car," the game show contestant said. "That's my choice."

to opt out of
They opted out of the undercoating for their new car, because the local road maintenance crews use sand, not salt. So they reasoned the car wouldn't rust.

to owe a debt of gratitude
She saved our son's life when he was drowning, so we owe her a debt of gratitude.

to paint the town red
The old fashioned song said they would have a really good time partying, painting the town red.

to pass on the savings
We were able to get a very good deal on the wholesale price of these computers, so we are passing on the savings to you, our customers.

to pass up a deal
They could not pass up the deal and bought the house when it dropped in price by ten percent.

to pay attention to
"Will you stand up straight, and pay attention to what you are doing?" the crabby mother asked her jiggling toddler.

to pay the piper
He won't get away with what he did. He'll have to pay the piper someday.

to pay through the nose
She made the mistake of trusting her new friend with her purse, and the "friend" took some money from her. Now she is paying through the nose
for her ignorance.

to pin down
The politician evaded their questions. He was hard to pin down.

to pinch hit for
The Principal is unexpectedly gone today, so the Vice Principal is pinch hitting for him.

to pinch pennies
Neither of them makes much money, so they really have to pinch pennies or they will be in debt.

to play around with
The cat just played around with the snake, and then left it.

to play hooky
He is gone when he is supposed to be here. Why does he always play hooky on Friday's?

to play with fire
You should know better than to get involved in that scheme. Don't play with fire or you will get burned.

to plow through
In their search, they ploughed through hundreds of job applications before they found a suitable applicant.

to polish off
He finished the apple pie and congratulated himself that he had polished off the whole meal.

to pop into one's mind /head
It just popped into the student's head that the answer to question number three was "were" not "was."

to pose a problem
That leak in the roof poses quite a problem for us if we want to go on vacation during wet weather.

to post a notice
She posted a rental-wanted notice on the Library bulletin board.

to present a basis for
The first person giving the talk will present the basis for our argument.

to present a threat to
The militant groups present a threat to cross-country travel in that country.

to press one's luck
You already have one freebie this visit, don't press your luck to get another one.

to prove to be someone's salvation
The web site proved to be his salvation on the essay part of his
homework.

to pull a fast one /to pull a fast one on someone
I can hardly believe they got away with what they did. They cheated us. They really pulled a fast one.

to pull a stunt
He got away with too much. Next time someone pulls that kind of stunt, call us.

to pull someone's leg
You don't believe his story, do you? He is just pulling your leg.

to pull the plug on
The government pulled the plug on the funding program, causing the clinic to shut down.

to pull the rug out from under
They changed their minds at the last minute and decided not to rent the suite to her. They pulled the rug out from under her feet, and left her with nowhere to go.

to pull the wool over someone's eyes
That company is not telling you truth. They are just pulling the wool over your eyes.

to push the envelope
If the company wants to keep growing, they have to keep pushing the envelope, staying ahead of market trends.

to put a spin on something
She isn't telling you all of the story, just her side. You know she always likes to put her own spin on things, and twist them.

to put on hold
The bank put a hold on his account so he could not make debit transactions because he was bouncing so many cheques.

to put on the back burner
She wanted to marry him, but after meeting his family, and finding out she didn't like them, she decided to put the idea on the back burner for a while.

to put one's money where one's mouth is
Your promises are all empty. Why don't you put your money where you mouth is?

to put /place the blame on
Without placing any blame, we can state that someone made a very big mistake here.

to put something behind oneself
She tried hard to put the loss of her friends behind her and concentrate on the future at the new school.

to rain on someone's parade
I hate to rain on your parade, but it won't be as simple as you think. The solution is much more complicated.

to reach an agreement
The union and management reached an agreement over the terms of the new contract.

to reject an idea
She quickly saw he was very tired, and rejected her earlier idea that they would go out this evening.

to rely solely on /upon
The pilots will be relying solely on their instruments when the plane takes off in this much fog.

to remain calm
"Please remain calm," said the teacher. I am sure the laptop cord is here somewhere. It can't be too far away. We will find it.

to render ineffective
He took a second medication in addition to the first, and it rendered the first ineffective, cancelling it out.

to return a favour /the favour
I really appreciate your link to our web site. How can I return the favour?

to reveal (the) specifics
He has some plan or other to work things out, but he won't reveal the specifics to his wife.

to reverse a negative trend
Housing sales have picked up again, reversing the negative trend from last year. Realtors say the increase in sales is welcome.

to review the matter
The committee has promised to take another look at the finances in order to keep the school open. After they review the matter, they will contact us.

to run a risk
If you eat undercooked hamburger, you run the risk of getting e-coli.

to run for cover
The fox ran for cover when the dogs approached.

to run with an idea / to take an idea and run with it
That company is very successful. They act quickly when they enter new markets. They really take an idea and run with it.

to save face
He needs to keep his dignity, so you better not mention his mistake. Just let him save face, for once.

to save the best for last
Wow! Chocolate torte after that super dinner? You sure saved the best for last.

to save the day
That take-out food really saved the day for our volunteer movers. They were so hungry after all that work.

to say the least /at the very least
It wasn't right that you didn't know your financial manager made an expensive mistake. He should have contacted you about the error, to say the least.

to scramble to come up with
After the flash flooding, the disaster relief agency had to scramble to come up with fresh water and food for the victims.

to screw up /to be screwed up
The car repair place screwed up and cancelled the wrong appointment. It's all screwed up now.

to scrimp and save
If she scrimps and saves, she can make a down payment on the condo.

to see no end in sight
The toddler's parents saw no end of the temper tantrums in sight, but fortunately, they were wrong.

to sell off
He is going to sell off all his possessions and move to Canada.

to sell someone down the river
It is too late for them to back out now, they have too much invested. That lawyer really sold them down the river with his advice.

to sell someone short
Don't sell him short, he may be able to produce what he has promised.

to serve as a reminder
The cenotaph in the park serves as a reminder of the veterans.

to set the stage for
Her success at gymnastics set the stage for her success later in
synchronized swimming.

to settle a score
His former roommate stole $300 from him. We hope they will find a peaceful way to settle the score.

to settle an argument
The mother walked into the room and asked her daughters if they needed help to settle their argument.

to shake a leg
Come on, we don't have much time to get there. We will really have to shake a leg or we will be late.

to shake on it
Let's stop the bargaining and declare the deal final. Would you like to shake on it?

to share information
We would like the school to share more information with us about our daughter's progress in reading.

to shed a few pounds /some pounds
She was overweight, so she started running every other day, and shed a few pounds.

to shed light on
You must know something about this. Please tell us what you know and shed some light on the matter.

to shell out
The father shelled out a cool ten grand ($10,000.00) for his oldest daughter's wedding.

to shoot off one's mouth
He doesn't know what he is talking about. He is just shooting off his mouth.

to shoot the rapids
Some drivers weave through rush hour traffic like rafters shooting the rapids.

to show cause
If he has evidence we need to hear that he was wronged by the tenants' group, then he should tell us. Come on, show cause.

to sign off on
The school secretary signed off on the courier package delivery.

to siphon off money
The tutoring service is siphoning off money as it passes from the student to the tutor. Everybody wants a piece of the pie.

to skirt around
Don't you think she is just skirting around the issue? Or is she really dealing with every part of the argument?

to smarten up
"Don't mess in that mud," the father told his son. "When you wear good clothes, you have to smarten up and stay clean or Mom will be angry."

to smell a rat
There is something not right about her explanation. I think I smell a rat.

to sort out in the end
I am sure we will sort it all out in the end, although it seems very confused now.

to spend a bundle
The mother spent a bundle on their back-to-school clothes this year, so she wants the school to begin requiring school uniforms, instead.

to spill the beans
The little girl told her brother Dad had gotten him a camera for his birthday. She ruined the surprise, and spilled the beans.

to spot a fake
A jeweler can spot a fake diamond. A customs officer should be able to spot a fake passport. A merchant should learn to spot a fake $20 bill.

to square away
Settle the debts you have and get squared away, and then contact me again about buying the boat.

to squeeze in /into
We can just squeeze one more word into your classified ad.

to squeeze out
She applied to medical school, but got squeezed out by the competition. She will try again, I guess.

to squelch a rumor /rumors
The minister responsible for that portfolio squelched the rumor that the funds had been mishandled.

to stage an attack
The rebels staged an attack at night and took the town.

to stand by
We can't just stand by and watch, we want to be involved.

to stand in for
The bride's brother walked her down the aisle, standing in for her
absent father.

to stand in the gap
The call to patriotism in some countries involves a call to stand in the gap against "evil forces."

to stand up
for He is capable of standing up for what he believes.

to step up the action
They stepped up the action in the war, fighting more battles with more troops.

to stick to a plan
If they would pick a good plan and just stick to it, they would be out of debt soon.

to stretch the truth
The little boy was very good at fibbing, stretching the truth into little lies.

to strike out
They really struck out in that game. It is game over and they are out
of the playoffs.

to string someone along
He won't be able to hire all those people. He is just stringing them along.

to suffer withdrawal symptoms
She suffered withdrawal symptoms when she gave up coffee, but soon the headaches were over.

to support an agenda
The parents seem to support the principal's agenda about the discipline in the school.

to suss out something
He is very clever about sussing out the truth when he researches that kind of topic.

to swear by something
Parents usually swear by a certain brand of diaper that it prevents leaks.

to sweep an issue under the carpet
He may be a successful politician, but sometimes he does sweep an issue under the carpet, and not answer our questions directly.

to sweeten the pot /to sweeten the deal
Can I offer you free car mats to sweeten the deal on the sports model?

to switch horses in midstream
Switching majors in the third year of university is like switching horses midstream.

to take a chance
They bought the house, even though they knew they were taking a chance that the roof would soon need to be replaced.

to take a crack at
Want to go to Reno and take a crack at winning something on the slots?

to take a decision
The decision has been taken about the school. It will remain open for the time being.

to take a second look
Can we come back to the house you showed us last week and take a second look? We may want to buy it.

to take action
The police are taking action against auto theft and using bait cars that videotape thieves stealing the cars.

to take issue with
He wants to take issue with anyone who asks any questions about his son's behavior.

to take measures
They will take measures to secure the borders of the country if the government falls.

to take off (on someone)
The toddler was right with his parents in the boys clothing, but his mother let go of his hand and he just took off on them.

to take over
She said she would take over the payments on the car.

to take steps
The doctor is taking steps to stop the progression of the disease.

to take the fall
The two boys pulled the stunt together, buy only one boy was caught. He took the fall for it.

to take the heat
She resigned from the minister's portfolio because she could not take the heat about the scandal.

to take the plunge
Are you ready to take the plunge from engagement into marriage?

to take something to heart
I promise I won't do it again. I will really take your advice to heart next
time, and resist.

to target individuals
The new tax law targets individuals earning between $80,000 and $100,000 a year.

to tell it like it is
She is sometimes too honest, always trying to tell it like it is.

to tell one's own version
He wants to tell us his version of events, so we should be quiet and listen.

to tend to exaggerate /to tend not to exaggerate
She tends not to exaggerate, so I would be surprised if she is wrong about the affair.

to test a response
That party is testing the public response to their platform in the polls.

to think outside the box
The youngest members of that company seem to be the best at innovations and thinking outside the box.

to tighten controls
The corporation has tightened controls on executive expense accounts in order to save money.

to tighten one's belt
He lost his job last week, but has already found work starting next week. They just have to tighten their belts and spend less for a couple of weeks.

to trace ancestry
He can trace his ancestry back to the first settlers in that area.

to trade places
I might complain, but I wouldn't trade places with you for anything in the world.

to turn over a new leaf
She has practiced the piano every day this month. She seems to be turning over a new leaf and really applying herself for a change.

to uncover a plan
The R.C.M.P. has uncovered a plan by a theft ring to fence bank card with stolen account numbers.

to undermine the process
When they aren't honest with the police, they just undermine the process of investigation.

to underscore the need to /for
The beggars on the streets underscore the need for more social programs.

to understand how to best help
If is difficult for parents in that situation to understand how to best help their child.

to use as a measuring stick
The tutor uses her marked work as a measuring stick to customize lesson plans for the student.

to volunteer for a job
The teenagers volunteered to do a variety of cleaning jobs for the senior citizens.

to wander away from
The older man wandered away from the group and became disoriented in the large mall.

to want it yesterday
They are in too much of a hurry for that job to be done. He told me he wants it yesterday.

to warm up to
After about an hour of chat, he was just warming up to his topic. No one knew how to stop him

to wash one's hands of
I'm not involved. I wash my hands of the whole affair.

to waste an opportunity
She is just wasting the opportunity to get a higher degree if she quits school to work now.

to water down
Don't water down the story too much or there won't be any fun left.

to wear out one's welcome
Her aunt stayed a very long three months with them, so she had really worn out her welcome when she left.

to weasel out of
They promised to fix the steering by Friday, but they had too many service jobs to handle. Now they are trying to weasel out of their promise. Now that's bad management.
What a shame!
Did you just say that she fell and broke her leg yesterday? What a shame!

to wimp out
The third student wimped out on the other two and left them stranded at the work party. He was too tired to work hard, so he just left.


to wish someone well
We are sorry to hear you are leaving the company. We will really miss you, We certainly wish you well in your new position.

to wish upon a star
The toddler was learning from the storybook all about how to wish upon a star, the stuff of magic and fairy tales.

to wolf down (food)
The two boys stopped hiking just long enough to wolf down a cheese sandwich, and two chocolate bars each and drink two bottles of water.

to work in cooperation with
The police are working in cooperation with the parents to keep the school ground safe.

to work up a sweat
The painters were out in the hot sun scraping the fence boards, really working up a sweat.

to work without a net
Because he is self-employed, he doesn't have the unemployment benefits he used to have. Now he is really working without a net.

to worry about nothing
The small girl said she stayed awake afraid of the dark. Her mother reminded her that she was worrying about nothing.

to wrap up a deal
They agreed on the final price for the vehicle and wrapped up the deal.

to yield insight into
The government report yields a little insight into the financial problems of that organization.

to zip around
She bought a tiny little two-seater to zip around town.

too wonderful for words
Your gifts to our daughter were too wonderful for words.

totally awesome
"All right," the teenager gloated, "a new car, totally awesome!"

touch base
Every couple of weeks or so, please touch base with the district manager to let him know how you are doing.

trumped up charges
The family felt the charges against their son had been manufactured. He was in jail in another country on trumped up charges.

trying to perfect
The corporation has been trying to perfect their customer support web site for months.

twenty-four/seven, 24/7
If you need help, we provide that 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's right, 24/7.

under pressure
He works so well under pressure, they ought to promote him.

under the weather
She got sick yesterday, and is still under the weather this morning.

unmitigated disaster
The toddler's playroom was an unmitigated disaster, toys scattered everywhere, juice and cookies ground into the carpet, and the drapes pulled down.

up and over
The father boosted his son up and over the bars of the jungle gym.

up in arms
The girls were up in arms about being excluded from the sports team.

up in the air
We don't know what is going on. Our whole trip is in jeopardy since the travel company declared bankruptcy. Everything is up in the air.

up one's sleeve
The Dad had so many tricks up his sleeve, his young daughter was often spellbound as he performed for her.

up-to-date
He has old information. The new web site is much more up-to-date.

up-to-the minute
Their live coverage will give you up-to-the minute coverage of the election results as they are received.

vastly overrated
That hot sauce is vastly overrated. It isn't hot at all.

very much so
Would you like to have a copy of your last examination results? Yes please, very much so.

Walk softly and carry a big stick.
The strategy to win over the competition without them realizing what you have done is to walk softly and carry a big stick.

way cool /so cool /cool dude
Oh, he is so cool, so way cool. Even his sister calls him one cool dude.
way to go
Another goal! Way to go, team!

welcome back
Boy did we ever miss you. We worked so hard when you were gone. Welcome back.

what goes around, comes around
She got what she deserved. You know what they say, what goes around comes around.

What world do you live in?
He is not being realistic. What world does he live in?

What's the matter?
Oh, sweetheart, you look so depressed. Is something the matter? What is it? What's the matter?
(when all is said and done)
When all is said and done, when it is final, then we will know the result.

When the cat's away, the mice will play.
The boys had a loud party when their parents were away for the night.
When the cat's away, the mice will play.

Where there's a will, there's a way.
It looks like there is no solution, but where there's a will, there's a way.

which way the wind is blowing
We need to do some market testing to find out which way the wind is blowing before we launch our new product.

winners and losers
In every contest, there are winners and losers. Don't feel badly if you don't win this time.

with all due respect
With all due respect to the Honourable Member, I don't believe his facts are correct.

with reckless abandon
She spent the last of her inheritance with reckless abandon, buying a large diamond and a sports car.

worth a try
We don't know if this medical treatment will work, but at this stage, it is worth a try.

worthy of merit
Also worthy of merit was the fine work done by our newest quilting club member.

written in stone
You can always choose new parameters afterwards, nothing is written in stone.

you do what you have to do
When you are as desperate as I am, you do what you have to do to change the situation.






Quote:
Note : many of these expressions are far too informal for formal writing. If you are not familiar with an expression you see here, and need to know if you may use it in formal written work. Decisions about the use of idioms in formal writing are often decided on a case-by-case basis, one at a time. I have not had time to make these decisions and mark acceptability partly because there would be 700 decisions to be made!

Quote:
Ref: www.speak-read-write.org Copyright 2004-2007 Sally Jennings
__________________
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Last edited by Sureshlasi; Friday, October 12, 2007 at 06:32 AM.
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A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush
"Dan has asked me to go to a party with him. What if my boyfriend finds out?" Reply: "Don't go. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

A Blessing In Disguise
"My car broke down again, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise; I've been wasting too much time driving around anyway."

A Chip On Your Shoulder
"What's bothering that guy?" Answer: "Nothing; he's just got a chip on the shoulder."

A Dime A Dozen
"I don't need friends like him; they are a dime a dozen."

A Drop In The Bucket
"I'd like to do something to change the world but whatever I do seems like a drop in the bucket."

A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted
Example: "Her husband can't seem to hold onto any amount of money; he either spends it or loses it. A fool and his money are easily parted."

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned
"I'm going to give you $20 but I want you to put it in the bank; a penny saved is a penny earned!"

A Piece Of Cake
"Do you think you will win your tennis match today?" Answer: "It will be a piece of cake."

A Shot In The Dark
"That was such a difficult question! How did you get it right?" Reply: "I just took a shot in the dark."

A Slap On The Wrist
"He should be in jail for what he did, but he got off with just a slap on the wrist."

A Slip Of The Tongue
"Be careful talking to the police tomorrow; one slip of the tongue could get us into big trouble."

A Taste Of Your Own Medicine
"It looks like she got a taste of her own medicine."

A Toss-Up
"Do you think they'll make it one time?" Answer: "I really don't know. It's a toss-up."

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
"Don't trust the salespeople at that store; they are all wolves in sheep's clothing!"

About Face
"Do an about face, get back in that bathroom, and brush your teeth!"

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
"The time we spend apart has been good for us; absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"Don't tell me how to do this; show me! Actions speak louder than words."

Add Fuel To The Fire
"I would like to do something to help, but I don't want to add fuel to the fire."

Against The Clock
"We worked against the clock all day to get this report done by 5PM."

Against The Grain
"I jog at this track everyday and there is always that one guy who has to go against the grain and run in the opposite direction."

All Bark And No Bite
"The new manager threatened to fire me but I know he won't do it; he is all bark and no bite."

All Greek
"Did you understand what he just said?" Reply: "Nope. It was all Greek to me."

All In The Same Boat
"We can't fight against each other; we need to work together. We're all in the same boat!"

All That Glitters Is Not Gold
"Be careful when shopping for your new car; all that glitters is not gold!"

All Thumbs
"Hey! You are pouring my coffee on the table!" Reply: "Oh, I'm so sorry! I have been all thumbs today."

An Arm And A Leg
"Be careful with that watch; it cost me an arm and a leg."

An Axe To Grind
"I have an axe to grind with you." Answer: "Oh no; what did I do wrong?"

Arm In Arm
"What a nice afternoon. We walked arm in arm along the beach for hours."

Around The Block
"You kids are too young to fall in love: Wait until you have been around the block a time or two."

As Blind As A Bat
"Without his glasses, my father is as blind as a bat."

As High As A Kite
"The ball got stuck up there on the roof. It's as high as a kite."

As Light As A Feather
"Wow, you lift that box so easily!" Reply: "Oh, come on. It is as light as a feather."

At The Drop Of A Hat
"Would you travel around the world if you had the money?" Answer: "At the drop of a hat."

At Wit's End
"We have been at wit's end trying to figure out how we are going to pay our taxes."

Back To The Drawing Board
"It looks like my plan to kill the weeds in the garden has failed. Back to the drawing board."

Barking Up The Wrong Tree
"I have been trying to solve this math problem for 30 minutes but I think I've been barking up the wrong tree."

Beat A Dead Horse
"There's no use in beating a dead horse."

Beating Around The Bush
"If you want to ask me, just ask; don't beat around the bush."

Bend Over Backwards
"We bent over backwards to help him, and he never even thanked us!"

Better Late Than Never
"Sorry I was late for the meeting today; I got stuck in traffic." Answer: "That's okay; better late than never."

Between A Rock And A Hard Place
"I'd like to help you but I am stuck between a rock and a hard place."

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together
"Look; the volleyball players are eating at the same table together, as always." Answer: "Birds of a feather flock together."

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
"I thought I could finish this report within one month, but it looks like I have bitten off more than I can chew."

Bite Your Tongue
"Whenever that professor says something I don't like, I have to bite my tongue."

Blood Is Thicker Than Water
"When my best friend and my brother got in a fight I had to help my brother; blood is thicker than water."

Break Down
"Did your car break down again?"

Break In
"They broke in to my apartment when I was gone, and they took everything!"

Break The Tie
"Whoever wins in Florida will have enough votes to break the tie."

Burn Your Bridges
"I wish you hadn't been rude to that man just now; he is very important in this town and you shouldn't go around burning bridges."

Burning The Candle At Both Ends
"Ever since this new project started I have been burning the candle at both ends. I can't take much more of it."

Burning The Midnight Oil
"Our son has been working hard preparing for his final exams!" Answer: "Yes, he's been up each night burning the midnight oil."

Call It Off
"Tonight's game was called off because of the rain."

Can't Cut The Mustard
"Bob dropped out of medical school; he couldn't cut the mustard."

Cold Turkey
"I want to quit drinking right now. As of this moment, I am going cold turkey."

Come Hell Or High Water
"Will you be at the family reunion next year?" Answer: "Yes- we'll be there, come hell or high water!"

Cross Your Fingers
"Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best!"

Cry Over Spilt Milk
"Let's not go crying over spilt milk."

Cry Wolf
"That kid on the other team just fell down; it looks like he might be hurt!" Answer: "He's not hurt; he's just crying wolf."

Curiosity Killed The Cat
"Hey, I wonder what's down that street; it looks awfully dark and creepy." Answer: "Let's not try to find out. Curiosity killed the cat."

Dead Heat
"It looks like were going to have to find another way to decide a winner. That one was a dead heat."

Dog-Eat-Dog
"I have been in this business for twenty years. It's dog-eat-dog; the competition is always trying to steal your customers."

Don't Count Your Chickens Until They're Hatched
"Next Friday I will be able to pay you back that money I owe you." Answer: "I won't be counting my chickens..."

Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth! When you buy your own beers you can decide what brand you want."

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
"The best way to gamble is to only bet small amounts of money and never put all your eggs in one basket."

Down To The Wire
"It looks like this race is going to come right down to the wire!"

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures
"Sales have been slow and we had to let go three of our employees; drastic times call for drastic measures."

Dry Spell
"Sam is a great salesman, though lately he's been having a bit of a dry spell."

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
"I found a new job after all and I like this one much better than the last!" Answer: "You see, every cloud has a silver lining."

Everything But The Kitchen Sink
"Whenever we go camping my wife wants to bring everything but the kitchen sink!"

Fair And Fair Alike
"Michael stayed home to take care of your sister last night, so tonight it is your turn. Fair and fair alike."

Finding Your Feet
"Don't worry about it. We will help you while you are finding your feet."

Fixed In Your Ways
"Sometimes it is hard to accept that your parents are fixed in their ways."

Flash In The Pan
"What a great first year he had, but after that... nothing!" Answer: "Just another flash in the pan."

From Rags To Riches
"My uncle is a real rags to riches story."

Get Over It
"I was very sick yesterday, but I got over it quickly."

Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed
"Don't start yelling at me just because you got up on the wrong side of the bed."

Give Him The Slip
"My brother will be at the movie tonight. Afterwards, let's give him the slip and go to a party."

Go For Broke
"The way to be successful is to decide exactly what you want, then go for broke."

Great Minds Think Alike
"I have decided that this summer I am going to learn how to scuba dive." Answer: "Me too! I have already paid for the course. Great minds think alike!"

Haste Makes Waste
"You should always take your time when doing your taxes and check your numbers very carefully; haste makes waste."

Have No Idea
"I can't find my keys. I have no idea where I put them."

He Lost His Head
"Okay- I'll tell you what happened. But don't lose your head."

Head Over Heels
"I have been head over heels about my girlfriend since the day I met her."

Icing On The Cake
"I've been accepted by the university, and they've offered me a position on the basketball team!" Answer: "That's wonderful! Icing on the cake."

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools
"It makes me nervous to see those kids outside just standing around; idle hands are the devils tools!"

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another
"First the car broke down, and now I can't find my keys! If it's not one thing, it's another!"

In And Out
"I know this city in and out."

In Over Your Head
"Go ahead and lead the meeting today; I'll help you out if you get in over your head."

In The Dark
"Did you know that today was her birthday?" Answer: "No, I was in the dark."

In The Doghouse
"You kids will be in the doghouse with your mother after that mess you made in her garden!"

In The Heat Of The Moment
"Sorry about what I said; I got caught up in the heat of the moment."

It Takes Two To Tango
"Her husband is awful; they fight all the time." Answer: "It takes two to tango."

It's A Small World
"Hey, it's funny seeing you here." Reply: "It's a small world."

Its Anyone's Call
"Who do you think will win this election?" Answer: "Its anyone's call."

Keep An Eye On Him
"I have to run to the bathroom. Can you keep an eye on my suitcase while I am gone?"

Labor Of Love
"Taking care of this dog is a labor of love."

Lend Me Your Ear
"Friends, Romans, countrymen; lend me your ear."

Let Bygones Be Bygones
"You and I have had our disagreements; let's let bygones be bygones."

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
"I wanted to ask her what she thought of her ex-husband, but I figured it was better to let sleeping dogs lie."

Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
"Bob didn't tell anyone that he was sick, but his wife let the cat out of the bag."

Mad As A Hatter
"Everybody in my family knew that our uncle was as mad as a hatter."

Method To My Madness
"Give me a moment to explain; there is method to my madness."

Neck And Neck
"They're coming around the final corner. They're neck and neck!"

Neither A Borrower, Nor A Lender Be
"Could you lend me twenty dollars?" Answer: "Sorry, neither a borrower nor a lender be."

Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You
"We have been your best customers for years. How could you suddenly treat us so rudely? You should never bite the hand that feeds you."

Nose Out Of Joint
"We were only joking; don't get your nose out of joint."

Not A Chance
"Do you think you will be able to finish your report by five o'clock today?" Answer: "Not a chance. I'll be busy in meetings all day."

Off Limits
"Guns are off limits within New York City."

Off On The Wrong Foot
"Let's try to start on time tomorrow and get off on the right foot."

Off The Hook
"You're lucky; it turns out that Dad never heard you come in late last night." Answer: "Great, that means I'm off the hook!"

On Pins And Needles
"Jean was on pins and needles the whole time her father was in the hospital."

On The Fence
"Has he decided whether he will take the job yet?" Answer: "No, he's still on the fence."

On The Same Page
"Before we make any decisions today, I'd like to make sure that everyone is on the same page."

On Top Of The World
"What a great time we had that night; we were on top of the world!"

On Your Last Leg
"I would be glad to sell you my car, but I must tell you that it is on its last leg."

On Your Mind
"You have been on my mind all day."

One For The Road
"Bartender- I'll have one more whiskey for the road."

Out And About
"Where have you been all day?" Answer: "Oh, out and about."

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
"I meant to read that book, but as soon as I put it down, I forgot about it." Answer: "Out of sight, out of mind."

Out Of The Blue
"Why did she do that?" Answer: "I have no idea. It was completely out of the blue."

Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire
"I didn't like that job because I was working too hard. Yet in this new job I work even harder!" Answer: "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

Out Of The Woods
"Joe was sick two weeks ago and we were very worried, but now it looks like he is out of the woods."

Out Of Your Element
"He is a great tennis player on the hard courts, but he is out of his element on grass."

Out On A Limb
"I want this project to succeed just as much as you do, but I am not willing to go out on a limb."

Out On The Town
"Do you want to join us tonight? We're going out on the town."

Over My Dead Body
"All of my friends are going out to the lake tonight and I'm going too!" Answer: "Over my dead body you are!"

Par For The Course
"I get sick every time I travel." Answer: "That's just par for the course."

Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish
"We've worked so hard to save money that if we took a vacation now it would be penny-wise, pound-foolish."

People Who Live In Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones
"Look at what time it is... you are late again!" Answer: "Hey, how often are you not on time? People who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

Practice Makes Perfect
"You see how quickly you are getting better at the piano! Practice makes perfect!"

Practice What You Preach
"Good managers always lead by example and practice what they preach."

Preaching To The Choir
"You don't need to tell me this project is important; you're preaching to the choir."

Protest Too Much
"Do you think he is telling the truth?" Answer: "I think he protests too much."

Pulling Your Leg
"I want to ask you a question and I would like an honest answer; no pulling my leg."

Put Your Best Foot Forward
"I want you to get out on that field and put your best foot forward!"

Put Your Foot In Your Mouth
"Let's all be very careful what we say at the meeting tomorrow. I don't want anyone putting their foot in their mouth."

Raise Cain
"Have you two boys been out raising cain again?"

Rock The Boat
"Everybody wants to go except for you. Why do you have to rock the boat?"

Roll Out The Red Carpet
"We are all so excited about your coming home that we're going to roll out the red carpet."

Rome Was Not Built In One Day
"It is taking me a long time to write this computer program." Answer: "Rome was not built in one day."

Round About
"Well, I know how to get there in a round about way, but maybe we should check the map."

Rub Salt In An Old Wound
"Oh please, let's not rub salt in old wounds!"

Second Nature
"It has always been second nature for me to draw with both hands."

Shake A Leg
"They are waiting outside in the car; let's shake a leg!"

Sick As A Dog
"I heard you were uncomfortable yesterday." Answer: "Uncomfortable? I was as sick as a dog!"

Sink Or Swim
"When we interview new teachers, we just put them in with the students and see how they do. It's sink or swim."

Six Of One, A Half-Dozen Of The Other
Example: "I say she's a stewardess. She says she's a flight attendant. It's six of one, a half-dozen of the other."

Skeletons In The Closet
"I had only known her for one week. How could I know what skeletons she had in her closet?"

Split Down The Middle
"The election is split down the middle with no clear winner at the moment."

Start From Scratch
"How are you going to build your business?" Answer: "Just like everyone else does: starting from scratch."

The Apple Of Your Eye
"Even when they were young, she was always the apple of his eye."

The Ball Is In Your Court
"My uncle helped me to get an interview at his company, now the ball is in my court."

The Best Of Both Worlds
"My wife and I bought one house in Paris and one in New York; it gives us the best of both worlds."

The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall
"Are you worried that he might be too strong?" Answer: "No I'm not. He is big, but the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

The Devil Is In The Details
"I can sketch a basic outline of the plan for you and it may look very simple, but the devil is in the details."

The Early Bird Catches The Worm
"I always arrive at work 30 minutes early; the early bird catches the worm!"

The Ends Justify The Means
"I agree with your goal, but the ends do not justify the means."

The Jury Is Out
"Its hard to say if what we did was the right thing. The jury is still out on it."

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black
"Here comes the guy who is always late for work." Answer: "Aren't you the pot calling the kettle black?"

The Pros And Cons
"I've considered the pros and cons and I've decided: it is going to be expensive, but I still want to go to college."

The Sky Is The Limit
"After I graduate from business school, the sky's the limit!"

The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back
"You've been rude to me all day, and I've had it. That's the last straw!"

The Writing On The Wall
"Can't you see the writing on the wall?"

Third Wheel
"You two go on ahead without me. I don't want to be the third wheel."

Tie The Knot
"Did you hear about Dan and Jenny? They finally decided to tie the knot!"

To Err Is Human, To Forgive Divine
"I will never forgive my mother for what she has done!" Answer: "Don't be angry at her. To err is human, to forgive divine."

Tooth And Nail
"That was a tough match; they fought us tooth and nail!"

Truer Words Were Never Spoken
"The earlier I get up, the better the day I have." Answer:" Truer words were never spoken."

Turn Over A New Leaf
"I'm turning over a new leaf; I've decided to quit smoking."

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right
"That boy pushed me yesterday and I am going to get him back today!" Answer: "No you are not! Two wrongs do not make a right."

Two's Company; Three's a Crowd
"Why did you have to bring your sister? Two's company; three's a crowd!"

Under The Gun
"Everyone at the office has been working under the gun since the new manager arrived."

Under The Weather
"What's wrong?" Answer: "I'm a bit under the weather."

Up Against
"We have been up against stronger opponents in the past."

Up For Grabs
"Quick- that table is up for grabs; let's get it before someone else does."

Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Example: "We were originally planning to go to Mexico on our vacation this year - like we did last year - but we decided to go to Egypt instead. Variety is the spice of life!"

Water Under The Bridge
"Aren't you still angry about what he said?" Answer: "No, that was a long time ago. It's all water under the bridge."

Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve
"My brother always lets you know how he feels; he wears his heart on his sleeve."

What They Don't Know Won't Hurt Them
"Don't tell your father what happened; what he doesn't know won't hurt him."

When In Rome, Do As The Romans Do
"Are you sure we should eat this with our hands?" Answer: "Why not? All of these people are eating it that way. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!"

When It Rains, It Pours
"Sometimes we have no customers for two or three hours then suddenly we get 20 people all at once; when it rains, it pours!"

When Pigs Fly
"Would you ever take her on a date?" Answer: "Sure- when pigs fly!"

Wine And Dine
"That man is really is really crazy about my sister. He has been wining and dining her all month."

With Your Back Up Against The Wall
"I'm sorry I can't help you; I've got my back up against the wall."

Without A Doubt
"Are you going to watch the game tomorrow?" Answer: "Without a doubt!"

Word Of Mouth
"Where did you hear about that?" Answer: "Just word of mouth."

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover
"He dresses in plain clothing and drives an ordinary car. Who would know he is the richest man in town? You can't judge a book by its cover!"

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
"Excuse me, what time does the bus arrive?" Answer: "Your guess is as good as mine; I almost never take the bus."
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Idioms index A to Z list of the most popular idioms Idioms quiz

This page lists the most popular idioms from A to Z
GoEnglish.com Most Popular Idioms page
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A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush
"Dan has asked me to go to a party with him. What if my boyfriend finds out?" Reply: "Don't go. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

A Blessing In Disguise
"My car broke down again, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise; I've been wasting too much time driving around anyway."

A Chip On Your Shoulder
"What's bothering that guy?" Answer: "Nothing; he's just got a chip on the shoulder."

A Dime A Dozen
"I don't need friends like him; they are a dime a dozen."

A Drop In The Bucket
"I'd like to do something to change the world but whatever I do seems like a drop in the bucket."

A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted
Example: "Her husband can't seem to hold onto any amount of money; he either spends it or loses it. A fool and his money are easily parted."

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned
"I'm going to give you $20 but I want you to put it in the bank; a penny saved is a penny earned!"

A Piece Of Cake
"Do you think you will win your tennis match today?" Answer: "It will be a piece of cake."

A Shot In The Dark
"That was such a difficult question! How did you get it right?" Reply: "I just took a shot in the dark."

A Slap On The Wrist
"He should be in jail for what he did, but he got off with just a slap on the wrist."

A Slip Of The Tongue
"Be careful talking to the police tomorrow; one slip of the tongue could get us into big trouble."

A Taste Of Your Own Medicine
"It looks like she got a taste of her own medicine."

A Toss-Up
"Do you think they'll make it one time?" Answer: "I really don't know. It's a toss-up."

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
"Don't trust the salespeople at that store; they are all wolves in sheep's clothing!"

About Face
"Do an about face, get back in that bathroom, and brush your teeth!"

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
"The time we spend apart has been good for us; absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"Don't tell me how to do this; show me! Actions speak louder than words."

Add Fuel To The Fire
"I would like to do something to help, but I don't want to add fuel to the fire."

Against The Clock
"We worked against the clock all day to get this report done by 5PM."

Against The Grain
"I jog at this track everyday and there is always that one guy who has to go against the grain and run in the opposite direction."

All Bark And No Bite
"The new manager threatened to fire me but I know he won't do it; he is all bark and no bite."

All Greek
"Did you understand what he just said?" Reply: "Nope. It was all Greek to me."

All In The Same Boat
"We can't fight against each other; we need to work together. We're all in the same boat!"

All That Glitters Is Not Gold
"Be careful when shopping for your new car; all that glitters is not gold!"

All Thumbs
"Hey! You are pouring my coffee on the table!" Reply: "Oh, I'm so sorry! I have been all thumbs today."

An Arm And A Leg
"Be careful with that watch; it cost me an arm and a leg."

An Axe To Grind
"I have an axe to grind with you." Answer: "Oh no; what did I do wrong?"

Arm In Arm
"What a nice afternoon. We walked arm in arm along the beach for hours."

Around The Block
"You kids are too young to fall in love: Wait until you have been around the block a time or two."

As Blind As A Bat
"Without his glasses, my father is as blind as a bat."

As High As A Kite
"The ball got stuck up there on the roof. It's as high as a kite."

As Light As A Feather
"Wow, you lift that box so easily!" Reply: "Oh, come on. It is as light as a feather."

At The Drop Of A Hat
"Would you travel around the world if you had the money?" Answer: "At the drop of a hat."

At Wit's End
"We have been at wit's end trying to figure out how we are going to pay our taxes."

Back To The Drawing Board
"It looks like my plan to kill the weeds in the garden has failed. Back to the drawing board."

Barking Up The Wrong Tree
"I have been trying to solve this math problem for 30 minutes but I think I've been barking up the wrong tree."

Beat A Dead Horse
"There's no use in beating a dead horse."

Beating Around The Bush
"If you want to ask me, just ask; don't beat around the bush."

Bend Over Backwards
"We bent over backwards to help him, and he never even thanked us!"

Better Late Than Never
"Sorry I was late for the meeting today; I got stuck in traffic." Answer: "That's okay; better late than never."

Between A Rock And A Hard Place
"I'd like to help you but I am stuck between a rock and a hard place."

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together
"Look; the volleyball players are eating at the same table together, as always." Answer: "Birds of a feather flock together."

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
"I thought I could finish this report within one month, but it looks like I have bitten off more than I can chew."

Bite Your Tongue
"Whenever that professor says something I don't like, I have to bite my tongue."

Blood Is Thicker Than Water
"When my best friend and my brother got in a fight I had to help my brother; blood is thicker than water."

Break Down
"Did your car break down again?"

Break In
"They broke in to my apartment when I was gone, and they took everything!"

Break The Tie
"Whoever wins in Florida will have enough votes to break the tie."

Burn Your Bridges
"I wish you hadn't been rude to that man just now; he is very important in this town and you shouldn't go around burning bridges."

Burning The Candle At Both Ends
"Ever since this new project started I have been burning the candle at both ends. I can't take much more of it."

Burning The Midnight Oil
"Our son has been working hard preparing for his final exams!" Answer: "Yes, he's been up each night burning the midnight oil."

Call It Off
"Tonight's game was called off because of the rain."

Can't Cut The Mustard
"Bob dropped out of medical school; he couldn't cut the mustard."

Cold Turkey
"I want to quit drinking right now. As of this moment, I am going cold turkey."

Come Hell Or High Water
"Will you be at the family reunion next year?" Answer: "Yes- we'll be there, come hell or high water!"

Cross Your Fingers
"Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best!"

Cry Over Spilt Milk
"Let's not go crying over spilt milk."

Cry Wolf
"That kid on the other team just fell down; it looks like he might be hurt!" Answer: "He's not hurt; he's just crying wolf."

Curiosity Killed The Cat
"Hey, I wonder what's down that street; it looks awfully dark and creepy." Answer: "Let's not try to find out. Curiosity killed the cat."

Dead Heat
"It looks like were going to have to find another way to decide a winner. That one was a dead heat."

Dog-Eat-Dog
"I have been in this business for twenty years. It's dog-eat-dog; the competition is always trying to steal your customers."

Don't Count Your Chickens Until They're Hatched
"Next Friday I will be able to pay you back that money I owe you." Answer: "I won't be counting my chickens..."

Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth! When you buy your own beers you can decide what brand you want."

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
"The best way to gamble is to only bet small amounts of money and never put all your eggs in one basket."

Down To The Wire
"It looks like this race is going to come right down to the wire!"

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures
"Sales have been slow and we had to let go three of our employees; drastic times call for drastic measures."

Dry Spell
"Sam is a great salesman, though lately he's been having a bit of a dry spell."

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
"I found a new job after all and I like this one much better than the last!" Answer: "You see, every cloud has a silver lining."

Everything But The Kitchen Sink
"Whenever we go camping my wife wants to bring everything but the kitchen sink!"

Fair And Fair Alike
"Michael stayed home to take care of your sister last night, so tonight it is your turn. Fair and fair alike."

Finding Your Feet
"Don't worry about it. We will help you while you are finding your feet."

Fixed In Your Ways
"Sometimes it is hard to accept that your parents are fixed in their ways."

Flash In The Pan
"What a great first year he had, but after that... nothing!" Answer: "Just another flash in the pan."

From Rags To Riches
"My uncle is a real rags to riches story."

Get Over It
"I was very sick yesterday, but I got over it quickly."

Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed
"Don't start yelling at me just because you got up on the wrong side of the bed."

Give Him The Slip
"My brother will be at the movie tonight. Afterwards, let's give him the slip and go to a party."

Go For Broke
"The way to be successful is to decide exactly what you want, then go for broke."

Great Minds Think Alike
"I have decided that this summer I am going to learn how to scuba dive." Answer: "Me too! I have already paid for the course. Great minds think alike!"

Haste Makes Waste
"You should always take your time when doing your taxes and check your numbers very carefully; haste makes waste."

Have No Idea
"I can't find my keys. I have no idea where I put them."

He Lost His Head
"Okay- I'll tell you what happened. But don't lose your head."

Head Over Heels
"I have been head over heels about my girlfriend since the day I met her."

Icing On The Cake
"I've been accepted by the university, and they've offered me a position on the basketball team!" Answer: "That's wonderful! Icing on the cake."

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools
"It makes me nervous to see those kids outside just standing around; idle hands are the devils tools!"

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another
"First the car broke down, and now I can't find my keys! If it's not one thing, it's another!"

In And Out
"I know this city in and out."

In Over Your Head
"Go ahead and lead the meeting today; I'll help you out if you get in over your head."

In The Dark
"Did you know that today was her birthday?" Answer: "No, I was in the dark."

In The Doghouse
"You kids will be in the doghouse with your mother after that mess you made in her garden!"

In The Heat Of The Moment
"Sorry about what I said; I got caught up in the heat of the moment."

It Takes Two To Tango
"Her husband is awful; they fight all the time." Answer: "It takes two to tango."

It's A Small World
"Hey, it's funny seeing you here." Reply: "It's a small world."

Its Anyone's Call
"Who do you think will win this election?" Answer: "Its anyone's call."

Keep An Eye On Him
"I have to run to the bathroom. Can you keep an eye on my suitcase while I am gone?"

Labor Of Love
"Taking care of this dog is a labor of love."

Lend Me Your Ear
"Friends, Romans, countrymen; lend me your ear."

Let Bygones Be Bygones
"You and I have had our disagreements; let's let bygones be bygones."

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
"I wanted to ask her what she thought of her ex-husband, but I figured it was better to let sleeping dogs lie."

Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
"Bob didn't tell anyone that he was sick, but his wife let the cat out of the bag."

Mad As A Hatter
"Everybody in my family knew that our uncle was as mad as a hatter."

Method To My Madness
"Give me a moment to explain; there is method to my madness."

Neck And Neck
"They're coming around the final corner. They're neck and neck!"

Neither A Borrower, Nor A Lender Be
"Could you lend me twenty dollars?" Answer: "Sorry, neither a borrower nor a lender be."

Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You
"We have been your best customers for years. How could you suddenly treat us so rudely? You should never bite the hand that feeds you."

Nose Out Of Joint
"We were only joking; don't get your nose out of joint."

Not A Chance
"Do you think you will be able to finish your report by five o'clock today?" Answer: "Not a chance. I'll be busy in meetings all day."

Off Limits
"Guns are off limits within New York City."

Off On The Wrong Foot
"Let's try to start on time tomorrow and get off on the right foot."

Off The Hook
"You're lucky; it turns out that Dad never heard you come in late last night." Answer: "Great, that means I'm off the hook!"

On Pins And Needles
"Jean was on pins and needles the whole time her father was in the hospital."

On The Fence
"Has he decided whether he will take the job yet?" Answer: "No, he's still on the fence."

On The Same Page
"Before we make any decisions today, I'd like to make sure that everyone is on the same page."

On Top Of The World
"What a great time we had that night; we were on top of the world!"

On Your Last Leg
"I would be glad to sell you my car, but I must tell you that it is on its last leg."

On Your Mind
"You have been on my mind all day."

One For The Road
"Bartender- I'll have one more whiskey for the road."

Out And About
"Where have you been all day?" Answer: "Oh, out and about."

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
"I meant to read that book, but as soon as I put it down, I forgot about it." Answer: "Out of sight, out of mind."

Out Of The Blue
"Why did she do that?" Answer: "I have no idea. It was completely out of the blue."

Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire
"I didn't like that job because I was working too hard. Yet in this new job I work even harder!" Answer: "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

Out Of The Woods
"Joe was sick two weeks ago and we were very worried, but now it looks like he is out of the woods."

Out Of Your Element
"He is a great tennis player on the hard courts, but he is out of his element on grass."

Out On A Limb
"I want this project to succeed just as much as you do, but I am not willing to go out on a limb."

Out On The Town
"Do you want to join us tonight? We're going out on the town."

Over My Dead Body
"All of my friends are going out to the lake tonight and I'm going too!" Answer: "Over my dead body you are!"

Par For The Course
"I get sick every time I travel." Answer: "That's just par for the course."

Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish
"We've worked so hard to save money that if we took a vacation now it would be penny-wise, pound-foolish."

People Who Live In Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones
"Look at what time it is... you are late again!" Answer: "Hey, how often are you not on time? People who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

Practice Makes Perfect
"You see how quickly you are getting better at the piano! Practice makes perfect!"

Practice What You Preach
"Good managers always lead by example and practice what they preach."

Preaching To The Choir
"You don't need to tell me this project is important; you're preaching to the choir."

Protest Too Much
"Do you think he is telling the truth?" Answer: "I think he protests too much."

Pulling Your Leg
"I want to ask you a question and I would like an honest answer; no pulling my leg."

Put Your Best Foot Forward
"I want you to get out on that field and put your best foot forward!"

Put Your Foot In Your Mouth
"Let's all be very careful what we say at the meeting tomorrow. I don't want anyone putting their foot in their mouth."

Raise Cain
"Have you two boys been out raising cain again?"

Rock The Boat
"Everybody wants to go except for you. Why do you have to rock the boat?"

Roll Out The Red Carpet
"We are all so excited about your coming home that we're going to roll out the red carpet."

Rome Was Not Built In One Day
"It is taking me a long time to write this computer program." Answer: "Rome was not built in one day."

Round About
"Well, I know how to get there in a round about way, but maybe we should check the map."

Rub Salt In An Old Wound
"Oh please, let's not rub salt in old wounds!"

Second Nature
"It has always been second nature for me to draw with both hands."

Shake A Leg
"They are waiting outside in the car; let's shake a leg!"

Sick As A Dog
"I heard you were uncomfortable yesterday." Answer: "Uncomfortable? I was as sick as a dog!"

Sink Or Swim
"When we interview new teachers, we just put them in with the students and see how they do. It's sink or swim."

Six Of One, A Half-Dozen Of The Other
Example: "I say she's a stewardess. She says she's a flight attendant. It's six of one, a half-dozen of the other."

Skeletons In The Closet
"I had only known her for one week. How could I know what skeletons she had in her closet?"

Split Down The Middle
"The election is split down the middle with no clear winner at the moment."

Start From Scratch
"How are you going to build your business?" Answer: "Just like everyone else does: starting from scratch."

The Apple Of Your Eye
"Even when they were young, she was always the apple of his eye."

The Ball Is In Your Court
"My uncle helped me to get an interview at his company, now the ball is in my court."

The Best Of Both Worlds
"My wife and I bought one house in Paris and one in New York; it gives us the best of both worlds."

The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall
"Are you worried that he might be too strong?" Answer: "No I'm not. He is big, but the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

The Devil Is In The Details
"I can sketch a basic outline of the plan for you and it may look very simple, but the devil is in the details."

The Early Bird Catches The Worm
"I always arrive at work 30 minutes early; the early bird catches the worm!"

The Ends Justify The Means
"I agree with your goal, but the ends do not justify the means."

The Jury Is Out
"Its hard to say if what we did was the right thing. The jury is still out on it."

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black
"Here comes the guy who is always late for work." Answer: "Aren't you the pot calling the kettle black?"

The Pros And Cons
"I've considered the pros and cons and I've decided: it is going to be expensive, but I still want to go to college."

The Sky Is The Limit
"After I graduate from business school, the sky's the limit!"

The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back
"You've been rude to me all day, and I've had it. That's the last straw!"

The Writing On The Wall
"Can't you see the writing on the wall?"

Third Wheel
"You two go on ahead without me. I don't want to be the third wheel."

Tie The Knot
"Did you hear about Dan and Jenny? They finally decided to tie the knot!"

To Err Is Human, To Forgive Divine
"I will never forgive my mother for what she has done!" Answer: "Don't be angry at her. To err is human, to forgive divine."

Tooth And Nail
"That was a tough match; they fought us tooth and nail!"

Truer Words Were Never Spoken
"The earlier I get up, the better the day I have." Answer:" Truer words were never spoken."

Turn Over A New Leaf
"I'm turning over a new leaf; I've decided to quit smoking."

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right
"That boy pushed me yesterday and I am going to get him back today!" Answer: "No you are not! Two wrongs do not make a right."

Two's Company; Three's a Crowd
"Why did you have to bring your sister? Two's company; three's a crowd!"

Under The Gun
"Everyone at the office has been working under the gun since the new manager arrived."

Under The Weather
"What's wrong?" Answer: "I'm a bit under the weather."

Up Against
"We have been up against stronger opponents in the past."

Up For Grabs
"Quick- that table is up for grabs; let's get it before someone else does."

Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Example: "We were originally planning to go to Mexico on our vacation this year - like we did last year - but we decided to go to Egypt instead. Variety is the spice of life!"

Water Under The Bridge
"Aren't you still angry about what he said?" Answer: "No, that was a long time ago. It's all water under the bridge."

Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve
"My brother always lets you know how he feels; he wears his heart on his sleeve."

What They Don't Know Won't Hurt Them
"Don't tell your father what happened; what he doesn't know won't hurt him."

When In Rome, Do As The Romans Do
"Are you sure we should eat this with our hands?" Answer: "Why not? All of these people are eating it that way. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!"

When It Rains, It Pours
"Sometimes we have no customers for two or three hours then suddenly we get 20 people all at once; when it rains, it pours!"

When Pigs Fly
"Would you ever take her on a date?" Answer: "Sure- when pigs fly!"

Wine And Dine
"That man is really is really crazy about my sister. He has been wining and dining her all month."

With Your Back Up Against The Wall
"I'm sorry I can't help you; I've got my back up against the wall."

Without A Doubt
"Are you going to watch the game tomorrow?" Answer: "Without a doubt!"

Word Of Mouth
"Where did you hear about that?" Answer: "Just word of mouth."

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover
"He dresses in plain clothing and drives an ordinary car. Who would know he is the richest man in town? You can't judge a book by its cover!"

Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
"Excuse me, what time does the bus arrive?" Answer: "Your guess is as good as mine; I almost never take the bus."



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Check the idioms
This website is very helpful for the idoms

Last edited by Sureshlasi; Friday, October 12, 2007 at 05:21 PM.
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Default link for some proverbs

aoa here is the link to the site with the interpretation of some english proverbs:

http://www.syvum.com/cgi/online/serv...?question_hide

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Default website for idioms

http://www.idiomconnection.com/aquiz.html
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Default Idiom in Native language

Idioms in English to sound like a native English speaker? Americans and other native English speakers are using a lot of English idioms in daily life. And for a Non-English, it gets confused sometimes. Because they don’t make sense when you translate them word to word. So you just have to know the meanings that stand behind those phrases.

1: Beat around the bush.
If you again translated the word into word, it means like beating something and run around bushes or like that. But actually mean is not speaking directly. It is like avoiding the main topic. A good Example is. Sometime When you watching the video by some blogger and he names the video ” I got married”. But in the video, he is talking anything but his marriage. And you say like ” come on stop beating around the bush”.

2: Best of Both Worlds.
Sometimes if you go to some famous restaurant. People say ” it has the best of both worlds”. So it has the best food. Mean of this Idiom is ” it has all the advantages”.

3: Bite off more than you can chew.
It means taking up A lot A lot of responsibilities that you can not really handle. Like sometimes I feel I am biting more than I can chew. I have studied, and a job, I have a blog then I have household things, nd many other things to do.

4: Next in our Idioms is “blessing in disguise”
It means that something is bad at first sight but it’s actually good. A good example of that is. Imagine that you are not accepted into the university of your dreams, you cry about it. But then in two months, you got a job of your dreams. Which is even better because you go into practical life.

5: Can’t judge a book by its cover.
It’s mean that doesn’t judge the people by their look. For example, you meet a guy, wearing very cheap clothes or dust on his hairs. You judge him a poor man. But when you ask him about his job or business and he replies ” I own 2000 Sheeps”. The appearance is not the main factor that you should use. You can not judge a person by his appearance.

6: Give the benefit of the doubt.
This means believing somebody stated without any proof. For example, when you fall in love you tend to believe “you’re loved one, and you don’t look for any proof. You can always use this phrase with many other idioms in an English country.

7: In the Heat of a Moment.
Doing something in the heat of a moment means. Like You are overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. You do something stupid and you regret it. But then you have an excuse because you were in the heat of a moment. Something was going on and you couldn’t help. So your action was the need of that specific moment.

8: Kill two birds with one stone.
This is one of my favourite idioms in every language. It means to do something in such a way that you cam getting another extra benefit along that thing.

9: Let the Cat out of the bag.
This means, reveal information that was previously concealed. For example, your brother comes home and you see him excited as he has something to tell you. But he is playing around with the words and making you more curious. Or he is hiding something which you want to know. Then suddenly that secret leaks out by anyway or accidentally by himself. It means he let the cat out of the bag. He just let the information spread.

Learn English and become Advance English Speaker.

10: Miss the Boat.
This means ” miss the chance”. For example, you had an opportunity to go somewhere or do something. But you became late or for any other reason, you couldn’t reach that opportunity. It is like you missed the boat.

11: Once in a Blue moon.
We can say this about an event that happens really rarely. For example, meeting your favourite celebrity suddenly. It happens very rarely that you meet a person you always dreamed to meet. You don’t even see those celebrities walking around.

12: Take with a Grain of Salt.
This means, not taking something that somebody says too seriously. For example, somebody tells you ” you will never get into the university of your dreams”. Take this with a Grain of Salt. Because those people are just critics. They don’t even know what they are talking about. It’s up to you. Great things happen and believe in yourself.

13: Be up in the Air.
Be uncertain or unsure. You thought you might be going to the cinema with your friends but it is still up in the air. Because all of your friends yet not agreed. They might be busy with their homes or with their job. So you are not sure whether you are going to the cinema or not.

14: Stab someone in the back.
This means that somebody was in your circle. He was a good friend of you. Then you betrayed him when he wasn’t looking and he was trusting you. It is a bad thing to do so don’t stab someone in his back.

15: Lose Your Touch.
It means losing your ability or talent to deal with certain things the way you used to deal before. For example, someone was a good singer. But then his voice just disappeared. So you can say ” he’s lost his touch in singing “.

Link below
http://globepk.com/2018/11/29/idioms-english/
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