عبارات اصطلاحی در گویش های مختلف زبان انگلیسی

Complate list Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

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Number of Idioms: 3148
1 A bit much If something is excessive or annoying, it is a bit much.
2 A chain is no stronger than its weakest link This means that processes, organisations, etc, are vulnerable because the weakest person or part can always damage or break them.
3 A day late and a dollar short (USA) If something is a day late and a dollar short, it is too little, too late.
4 A fool and his money are soon parted This idiom means that people who aren't careful with their money spend it quickly. 'A fool and his money are easily parted' is an alternative form of the idiom.
5 A fool at 40 is a fool forever If someone hasn't matured by the time they reach forty, they never will.
6 A hitch in your giddy-up If you have a hitch in your giddy-up, you're not feeling well. ('A hitch in your gittie-up' is also used.)
7 A lick and a promise If you give something a lick and a promise, you do it hurriedly, most often incompletely, intending to return to it later.
8 A little bird told me If someone doesn't want to say where they got some information from, they can say that a little bird told them.
9 A little learning is a dangerous thing A small amount of knowledge can cause people to think they are more expert than they really are.eg. he said he'd done a course on home electrics, but when he tried to mend my table lamp, he fused all the lights! I think a little learning is a dangerous thing
10 A long row to hoe Something that is a long row to hoe is a difficult task that takes a long time.
11 A lost ball in the high weeds A lost ball in the high weeds is someone who does not know what they are doing, where they are or how to do something.
12 A OK If things are A OK, they are absolutely fine.
13 A penny for your thoughts This idiom is used as a way of asking someone what they are thinking about.
14 A penny saved is a penny earned This means that we shouldn't spend or waste money, but try to save it.
15 A picture is worth a thousand words A picture can often get a message across much better than the best verbal description.
16 A poor man's something Something or someone that can be compared to something or someone else, but is not as good is a poor man's version; a writer who uses lots of puns but isn't very funny would be a poor man's Oscar Wilde.
17 A pretty penny If something costs a pretty penny, it is very expensive.
18 A problem shared is a problem halved If you talk about your problems, it will make you feel better.
19 A rising tide lifts all boats This idiom, coined by John F Kennedy, describes the idea that when an economy is performing well, all people will benefit from it.
20 A rolling stone gathers no moss People say this to mean that that an ambitious person is more successful than a person not trying to achieve anything. Originally it meant the opposite and was critical of people trying to get ahead.
21 A slice off a cut loaf is never missed Used colloquially to describe having sexual intercourse with someone who is not a virgin, especially when they are in a relationship. The analogy refers to a loaf of bread; it is not readily apparent, once the end has been removed, exactly how many slices have been taken.('You never miss a slice from a cut loaf' is also used.)
22 A steal If something is a steal, it costs much less than it is really worth.
23 A still tongue keeps a wise head Wise people don't talk much.
24 A watched pot never boils Some things work out in their own time, so being impatient and constantly checking will just make things seem longer.
25 A1 If something is A1, it is the very best or finest.
26 Abide by a decision If you abide by a decision, you accept it and comply with it, even though you might disagree with it.
27 Abject lesson (India) An abject lesson serves as a warning to others. (In some varieties of English 'object lesson' is used.)
28 About as useful as a chocolate teapot Someone or something that is of no practical use is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
29 About face If someone changes their mind completely, this is an about face. It can be used when companies, governments, etc, change their position on an issue.
30 Above board If things are done above board, they are carried out in a legal and proper manner.
31 Above par Better than average or normal
32 Absence makes the heart grow fonder This idiom means that when people are apart, their love grows stronger.
33 Accident waiting to happen If something is an accident waiting to happen, there's definitely going to be an accident or it's bound to go wrong. ('Disaster waiting to happen' is also used.)
34 Ace in the hole An ace in the hole is something other people are not aware of that can be used to your advantage when the time is right.
35 Ace up your sleeve If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something that will give you an advantage that other people don't know about.
36 Achilles' heel A person's weak spot is their Achilles' heel.
37 Acid test An acid test is something that proves whether something is good, effective, etc, or not.
38 Across the board If something applies to everybody, it applies across the board.
39 Across the ditch (NZ) This idiom means on the other side of the Tasman Sea, used to refer to Australia or New Zealand depending on the speaker's location.
40 Across the pond (UK) This idiom means on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, used to refer to the US or the UK depending on the speaker's location.
41 Act of God An act of God is something like an earthquake or floods that human beings cannot prevent or control.
42 Act of war An act of war is a action that is either intended to start a war or that is interpreted as being sufficient cause for a war.
43 Actions speak louder than words This idiom means that what people actually do is more important than what they say- people can promise things but then fail to deliver.
44 Adam's apple The Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men.
45 Add fuel to the fire If people add fuel to the fire, they make a bad situation worse.
46 Add insult to injury When people add insult to injury, they make a bad situation even worse.
47 After your own heart A person after your own heart thinks the same way as you.
48 Against the clock If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
49 Against the grain If doing something goes against the grain, you're unwilling to do it because it contradicts what you believe in, but you have no real choice.
50 Age before beauty When this idiom is used, it is a way of allowing an older person to do something first, though often in a slightly sarcastic way.
51 Agony aunt An agony aunt is a newspaper columnist who gives advice to people having problems, especially personal ones.
52 Ahead of the pack If you are ahead of the pack, you have made more progress than your rivals.
53 Ahead of time If something happens ahead of time, it happens early or before the set time.
54 Air your dirty laundry in public If you air your dirty laundry in public, you reveal aspects of your private life that should really remain private, by telling a secret, arguing in public, etc.
55 Albatross around your neck An albatross around, or round, your neck is a problem resulting from something you did that stops you from being successful.
56 Alike as two peas If people or things are as alike as two peas, they are identical.
57 Alive and kicking If something is active and doing well, it is alive and kicking. (It can be used for people too.)
58 All along If you have known or suspected something all along, then you have felt this from the beginning.
59 All and sundry This idiom is a way of emphasising 'all', like saying 'each and every one'.
60 All bark and no bite When someone talks tough but really isn't, they are all bark and no bite.
61 All bets are off (USA) If all bets are off, then agreements that have been made no longer apply.
62 All dressed up and nowhere to go You're prepared for something that isn't going to happen.
63 All ears If someone says they're all ears, they are very interested in hearing about something.
64 All eyes on me If all eyes are on someone, then everyone is paying attention to them.
65 All fingers and thumbs If you're all fingers and thumbs, you are too excited or clumsy to do something properly that requires manual dexterity. 'All thumbs' is an alternative form of the idiom.
66 All hat, no cattle (USA) When someone talks big, but cannot back it up, they are all hat, no cattle.('Big hat, no cattle' is also used.)
67 All heart Someone who is all heart is very kind and generous.
68 All hell broke loose When all hell breaks loose, there is chaos, confusion and trouble.
69 All in a day's work If something is all in a day's work, it is nothing special.
70 All in your head If something is all in your head, you have imagined it and it is not real.
71 All mod cons If something has all mod cons, it has all the best and most desirable features. It is an abbreviation of 'modern convenience' that was used in house adverts.
72 All mouth and trousers (UK) Someone who's all mouth and trousers talks or boasts a lot but doesn't deliver. 'All mouth and no trousers' is also used, though this is a corruption of the original.
73 All my eye and Peggy Martin (UK) An idiom that appears to have gone out of use but was prevalent in the English north Midlands of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire from at least the turn of the 20th century until the early 1950s or so. The idiom's meaning is literally something said or written that is unbelievable, rumor, over embellished, the result of malicious village gossip etc.
74 All of the above This idiom can be used to mean everything that has been said or written, especially all the choices or possibilities.
75 All over bar the shouting When something is all over bar the shouting, the outcome is absolutely certain.('All over but the shouting' is also used.)
76 All over the map (USA) If something like a discussion is all over the map, it doesn't stick to the main topic and goes off on tangents.
77 All over the place If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the place.
78 All over the shop If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the shop.
79 All over the show If something is all over the show, it's in a complete mess.An alternative to 'All over the shop'.
80 All roads lead to Rome This means that there can be many different ways of doing something.
81 All set If you're all set, you are ready for something.
82 All sixes If something is all sixes, it doesn't matter how it's done; it's the same as 'six of one and half a dozen of the other'.
83 All skin and bone If a person is very underweight, they are all skin and bone, or bones.
84 All square If something is all square, nobody has an advantage or is ahead of the others.
85 All talk and no trousers (UK) Someone who is all talk and no trousers, talks about doing big, important things, but doesn't take any action.
86 All that glitters is not gold This means that appearances can be deceptive and things that look or sound valuable can be worthless. ('All that glistens is not gold' is an alternative.)
87 All the rage If something's all the rage, it is very popular or fashionable at the moment.
88 All the tea in China If someone won't do something for all the tea in China, they won't do it no matter how much money they are offered.
89 All your eggs in one basket If you put all your eggs in one basket, you risk everything at once, instead of trying to spread the risk. (This is often used as a negative imperative- 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket'. 'Have your eggs in one basket' is also used.)
90 All's fair in love and war This idiom is used to say that where there is conflict, people can be expected to behave in a more vicious way.
91 All's well that ends well If the end result is good, then everything is good.
92 All-singing, all-dancing If something's all-singing, all-dancing, it is the latest version with the most up-to-date features.
93 Alter ego An alter ego is a very close and intimate friend. It is a Latin phrase that literally means 'other self'.
94 Always a bridesmaid, never a bride If someone is always a bridesmaid, never a bride, they never manage to fulfill their ambition- they get close, but never manage the recognition, etc, they crave.
95 Ambulance chaser A lawyer who encourages people who have been in accidents or become ill to sue for compensation is an ambulance chaser.
96 Amen Some use 'Amen' or 'Amen to that' as a way of agreeing with something that has just been said.
97 An apple a day keeps the doctor away Eating healthy food keeps you healthy.
98 An old flame An old flame is a person that somebody has had an emotional, usually passionate, relationship with, who is still looked on fondly and with affection.
99 An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure This expression means that is is better to try to avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise.
100 And all that jazz This idiom means that everything related or similar is included.
101 Angry as a bear If someone is as angry as a bear, they are very angry.('Angry as a bear with a sore foot' is also used.)
102 Angry as a bull If someone is as angry as a bull, they are very angry.
103 Answers on a postcard This idiom can be used to suggest that the answer to something is very obvious or that the person would really like to hear what people think.
104 Ants in your pants If someone has ants in their pants, they are agitated or excited about something and can't keep still.
105 Any port in a storm This means that in an emergency any solution will do, even one that would normally be unacceptable.
106 Any Tom, Dick or Harry If something could be done by any Tom, Dick or Harry, it could be done by absolutely anyone.
107 Apple of your eye Something or, more often, someone that is very special to you is the 'apple of your' eye.
108 Apple pie order Everything is in perfect order and tidy if it is in apple pie order.
109 Apples and oranges Tis used when people compare or describe two totally different things. ('Apples to oranges' is also used.)
110 Apples for apples An apples for apples comparison is a comparison between related or simialr things. ('Apples to apples' is also used.)
111 Apron strings A man who is tied to a woman's apron strings is excessively dependent on her, especially when it is his mother's apron strings.
112 Argue the toss (UK) If you argue the toss, you refuse to accept a decision and argue about it.
113 Arm and a leg If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive.
114 Armchair critic An armchair critic is someone who offers advice but never shows that they could actually do any better.
115 Armed to the teeth If people are armed to the teeth, they have lots of weapons.
116 Around the clock If something is open around the clock, it is open 24 hours a day. For example, an airport is open around the clock.
117 Arrow in the quiver An arrow in the quiver is a strategy or option that could be used to achieve your objective.
118 As a rule If you do something as a rule, then you usually do it.
119 As cold as ice This idiom can be used to describe a person who does not show any emotion.
120 As cold as stone If something is as cold as stone, it is very cold. If a person is as cold as stone, they are unemotional.
121 As cool as a cucumber If someone is as cool as a cucumber, they don't get worried by anything.
122 As good as new If something has been used but is still in extremely good condition, it is as good as new.
123 As mad as a hatter This simile means that someone is crazy or behaves very strangely. In the past many people who made hats went insane because they had a lot of contact with mercury.
124 As mad as a wrongly shot hog (USA) If someone is as mad as a wrongly shot hog, they are very angry. (Same as, Angry as a bear or Angry as a bull).
125 As much use as a chocolate fire-guard A fire-guard is used in front of a fireplace for safety. A chocolate fire-guard is of no use. An alternative to 'As much use as a chocolate teapot'.
126 As much use as a chocolate teapot Something that is as much use as a chocolate teapot is not useful at all.
127 As much use as a handbrake on a canoe This idiom is used to describe someone or something as worthless or pointless.
128 As neat as a new pin This idiom means tidy and clean.
129 As one man If people do something as one man, then they do it at exactly the same time or in complete agreement.
130 As the actress said to the bishop (UK) This idiom is used to highlight a sexual reference, deliberate or accidental.
131 As the crow flies This idiom is used to describe the shortest possible distance between two places.
132 As you sow, so shall you reap This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things.
133 Asleep at the switch If someone is asleep at the switch, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities very carefully. 'Asleep at the wheel' is an alternative.
134 Asleep at the wheel If someone is asleep at the wheel, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities very carefully. 'Asleep at the switch' is an alternative.
135 At a drop of a dime (USA) If someone will do something at the drop of a dime, they will do it instantly, without hesitation.
136 At a loose end (UK) If you are at a loose end, you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
137 At a loss If you are at a loss, you are unable to understand or comply.
138 At a snail's pace If something moves at a snail's pace, it moves very slowly.
139 At arm's length If something is at arm's length, it is a safe distance waway from you.
140 At cross purposes When people are at cross purposes, they misunderstand each other or have different or opposing objectives.
141 At daggers drawn If people are at daggers drawn, they are very angry and close to violence.
142 At death's door If someone looks as if they are at death's door, they look seriously unwell and might actually be dying.
143 At each other's throats If people are at each other's throats, they are fighting, arguing or competing ruthlessly.
144 At full tilt If something is at full tilt, it is going or happening as fast or as hard as possible.
145 At large If a criminal is at large, they have not been found or caught.
146 At loggerheads If people are at loggerheads, they are arguing and can't agree on anything.
147 At loose ends (USA) If you are at a loose end, you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
148 At odds If you are at odds with someone, you cannot agree with them and argue.
149 At sea If things are at sea, or all at sea, they are disorganized and chaotic.
150 At the bottom of the totem pole (USA) If someone is at the bottom of the totem pole, they are unimportant. Opposite is at the top of the totem pole.
151 At the coalface If you work at the coalface, you deal with the real problems and issues, rather than sitting in a office discussing things in a detached way.
152 At the drop of a hat If you would do something at the drop of a hat, you'd do it immediately.
153 At the end of the day This is used to mean 'in conclusion' or 'when all is said and done'.
154 At the end of your rope (USA) If you are at the end of your rope, you are at the limit of your patience or endurance.
155 At the end of your tether (UK) If you are at the end of your tether, you are at the limit of your patience or endurance.
156 At the fore In a leading position
157 At the top of my lungs If you shout at the top of your lungs, you shout as loudly as you possibly can.
158 At the top of the list If something is at the top of the list, it is of highest priority, most important, most urgent, or the next in one's line of attention.
159 At the top of your lungs If you shout at the top of your lungs, you shout as loudly as you possibly can.
160 At the top of your voice If you talk, shout or sing at the top of your voice, you do it as loudly as you can.
161 At your wit's end If you're at your wit's end, you really don't know what you should do about something, no matter how hard you think about it.
162 At your wits' end If you are at your wits' end, you have no idea what to do next and are very frustrated.
163 Average Joe An average Joe is an ordinary person without anything exceptional about them.
164 Avowed intent If someone makes a solemn or serious promise publicly to attempt to reach a certain goal, this is their avowed intent.
165 Away with the fairies If someone is away with the fairies, they don't face reality and have unrealistic expectations of life.
166 Awe inspiring Something or someone that is awe inspiring amazes people in a slightly frightening but positive way.
167 AWOL AWOL stands for "Absent Without Leave", or "Absent Without Official Leave". Orignially a military term, it is used when someone has gone missing without telling anyone or asking for permission.
168 Axe to grind If you have an axe to grind with someone or about something, you have a grievance, a resentment and you want to get revenge or sort it out. In American English, it is 'ax'.
169 Babe in arms A babe in arms is a very young child, or a person who is very young to be holding a position.
170 Babe in the woods A babe in the woods is a naive, defenceless, young person.
171 Baby boomer (USA) A baby boomer is someone born in the years after the end of the Second World War, a period when the population was growing very fast.
172 Back burner If an issue is on the back burner, it is being given low priority.
173 Back foot (UK) If you are on your back foot, you are at a disadvantage and forced to be defensive of your position.
174 Back number Something that's a back number is dated or out of fashion.
175 Back the wrong horse If you back the wrong horse, you give your support to the losing side in something.
176 Back to back If things happen back to back, they are directly one after another.
177 Back to square one If you are back to square one, you have to start from the beginning again.
178 Back to the drawing board If you have to go back to the drawing board, you have to go back to the beginning and start something again.
179 Back to the salt mine If someone says they have to go back to the salt mine, they have to return to work.
180 Back to the wall If you have your back to the wall, you are in a difficult situation with very little room for manoeuvre.
181 Backseat driver A backseat driver is an annoying person who is fond of giving advice to the person performing a task or doing something, especially when the advice is either wrong or unwelcome.
182 Bad Apple A person who is bad and makes other bad is a bad apple.
183 Bad blood If people feel hate because of things that happened in the past, there is bad blood between them.
184 Bad egg A person who cannot be trusted is a bad egg. Good egg is the opposite.
185 Bad hair day If you're having a bad hair day, things are not going the way you would like or had planned.
186 Bad mouth (UK) When you are bad mouthing,you are saying negative things about someone or something.('Bad-mouth' and 'badmouth' are also used.)
187 Bad shape If something's in bad shape, it's in bad condition. If a person's in bad shape, they are unfit or unhealthy.
188 Bad taste in your mouth If something leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, you feel there is something wrong or bad about it.
189 Bad workers always blame their tools "A bad worker always blames their tools" - If somebody does a job badly or loses in a game and claims that they were let down by their equipment, you can use this to imply that this was not the case.
190 Bag of bones If someone is a bag of bones, they are very underweight.
191 Bag of nerves If someone is a bag of nerves, they are very worried or nervous.
192 Baker's dozen A Baker's dozen is 13 rather than 12.
193 Bald as a coot A person who is completely bald is as bald as a coot.
194 Ball is in your court If the ball is in your court, it is up to you to make the next decision or step.
195 Ballpark figure A ballpark figure is a rough or approximate number (guesstimate) to give a general idea of something, like a rough estimate for a cost, etc.
196 Banana republic Banana republic is a term used for small countries that are dependent on a single crop or resource and governed badly by a corrupt elite.
197 Banana skin (UK) A banana skin is something that is an embarrassment or causes problems.
198 Bandit territory An area or an industry, profession, etc, where rules and laws are ignored or flouted is bandit territory.
199 Baptism of fire A baptism of fire was a soldier's first experience of shooting. Any unpleasant experience undergone, usually where it is also a learning experience, is a baptism of fire.
200 Bar fly A bar fly is a person who spends a lot of time drinking in different bars and pubs.
201 Bare your heart If you bare your heart to someone, you tell them you personal and private feelings. ('Bare your soul' is an alternative form of the idiom.)
202 Barefaced liar A barefaced liar is one who displays no shame about lying even if they are exposed.
203 Bark is worse than their bite Someone who's bark is worse than their bite may well get angry and shout, but doesn't take action.
204 Barking up the wrong tree If you are barking up the wrong tree, it means that you have completely misunderstood something or are totally wrong.
205 Barkus is willing This idiom means that someone is willing to get married.
206 Barrack-room lawyer (UK) A barrack-room lawyer is a person who gives opinions on things they are not qualified to speak about.
207 Barrel of laughs If someone's a barrel of laughs, they are always joking and you find them funny.
208 Basket case If something is a basket case, it is so bad that it cannot be helped.
209 Bat an eyelid If someone doesn't bat an eyelid, they don't react or show any emotion when surprised, shocked, etc.
210 Bated breath If someone says they're waiting with bated breath, they're very excited and find it difficult to be patient.('Baited breath' is a common mistake.)
211 Batten down the hatches If you batten down the hatches, you prepare for the worst that could happen to you.
212 Battle of nerves A battle of nerves is a situation where neither side in a conflict or dispute is willing to back down and is waiting for the other side to weaken. ('A war of nerves' is an alternative form.)
213 Be all ears If you are all ears, you are very eager to hear what someone has to say.
214 Be careful what you wish for If you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.('Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.' and 'Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.' are also used.)
215 Be on the pig's back If you're on the pig's back, you're happy / content / in fine form.
216 Be out in force If people are out in force, they are present somewhere in large numbers.
217 Be out in left field (USA) To be out in left field is not to know what's going on. Taken from baseball, when youngsters assign less capable players to the outfield where the ball is less likely to be hit by a young player. In business, one might say, 'Don't ask the new manager; he's out in left field and doesn't know any answers yet.'
218 Be that as it may Be that as it may is an expression which means that, while you are prepared to accept that there is some truth in what the other person has just said, it's not going to change your opinions in any significant manner.
219 Be true blue If a person/object/situation is considered to be 'true blue', it is considered genuine.
220 Be up the spout (UK) If a woman is up the spout, she is pregnant.
221 Bean counter A bean counter is an accountant.
222 Bear fruit If something bears fruit, it produces positive results.
223 Bear market A bear market is a period when investors are pessimistic and expect financial losses so are more likely to sell than to buy shares.
224 Bear the brunt People who bear the brunt of something endure the worst of something bad.
225 Beard the lion in his own den If you confront a powerful or dangerous rival on their territory, you are bearding the lion in his own den.
226 Beat about the bush If someone doesn't say clearly what they mean and try to make it hard to understand, they are beating about (around) the bush.
227 Beat someone to the draw (USA) If you beat someone to the draw, you do something before they do.
228 Beat swords into ploughshares If people beat swords into ploughshares, they spend money on humanitarian purposes rather than weapons. (The American English spelling is 'plowshares')
229 Beat the daylights out of someone If someone beats the daylights out of another person, they hit them repeatedly. ('Knock' can also be used and it can be made even stronger by saying 'the living daylights'.)
230 Beat the rap If you beat the rap, you escape conviction and punishment for a crime or something you have done wrong.
231 Beat to the punch If you beat someone to the punch, you act before them and gain an advantage.
232 Beat your brains out If you beat your brains out, you think hard about something but cannot solve, understand or remember it.
233 Beating a dead horse (USA) If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they're beating a dead horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work.
234 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Beauty is in the eye of the beholder means that different people will find different things beautiful and that the differences of opinion don't matter greatly.
235 Beauty is only skin deep This idiom means that appearances can be deceptive and something that seems or looks good may turn out to be bad.
236 Beck and call Someone who does everything for you, no matter when you ask, is at your beck and call.
237 Bedroom eyes Someone with bedroom eyes has a sexy look in their eyes.
238 Bee in your bonnet If someone is very excited about something, they have a bee in their bonnet.
239 Bee's Knees If something is the bee's knees, it's outstanding or the best in its class.
240 Beeline for If you make a beeline for a place, you head there directly.
241 Been in the wars (UK) If someone has been in the wars, they have been hurt or look as if they have been in a struggle.
242 Been there, done that People say this when they have already experienced what is being discussed.
243 Beer and skittles (UK) People say that life is not all beer and skittles, meaning that it is not about self-indulgence and pleasure.
244 Before the ink is dry If people make an agreement or contract and then the situation changes very quickly, it changes before the ink is dry.
245 Before you can say Jack Robinson The term Jack Robinson represents 'a short amount of time'. When you do something before you can say Jack Robinson, you do it very quickly.
246 Beg the question In philosophy "to beg the question" is to assume something to be true that has not yet been proved. I have seen the idiom also to mean that a question is crying out to be asked.
247 Beggars can't be choosers This idiom means that people who are in great need must accept any help that is offered, even if it is not a complete solution to their problems.
248 Behind bars When someone is behind bars, they are in prison.
249 Behind closed doors If something happens away from the public eye, it happens behind closed doors.
250 Behind someone's back If you do something behind someone's back, you do it without telling them.
251 Behind the eight ball A difficult position from which it is unlikely one can escape.
252 Behind the times Someone that is behind the times is old-fashioned and has ideas that are regarded as out-dated.
253 Believe in the hereafter A belief in the hereafter is a belief in the afterlife, or life after death. It is, therefore, associated with religions and the soul's journey to heaven or to hell, whichever way being just deserts for the person based on how they led their life.
254 Bells and whistles Bells and whistles are attractive features that things like computer programs have, though often a bit unnecessary.
255 Bells on (USA) To be somewhere with bells on means to arrive there happy and delighted to attend.
256 Belly up If things go belly up, they go badly wrong.
257 Below par If something isn't up to standard, or someone isn't feeling or doing very well, they are below par.
258 Below the belt If someone says something that is cruel or unfair, it is below the belt, like the illegal punches in boxing.
259 Belt and braces (UK) Someone who wears belt and braces is very cautious and takes no risks.
260 Belt and suspenders (USA) Someone who wears belt and suspenders is very cautious and takes no risks.
261 Bend over backwards If someone bends over backwards, they do everything they can to help someone.
262 Bend someone's ear To bend someone's ear is to talk to someone about something for a long-enough period that it becomes tiresome for the listener.
263 Benjamin of the family The Benjamin of the family is the youngest child.
264 Beside the point If something is beside the point, it's not relevant to the matter being discussed or considered.
265 Beside themselves If people are beside themselves, they are very worried or emotional about something.
266 Beside yourself If you are beside yourself, you are extremely angry.
267 Best of a bad bunch The best that could be obtained from a list of options that were not exactly what was required.
268 Best of both worlds If you have the best of both worlds, you benefit from different things that do not normally go together.
269 Best thing since sliced bread If something is the best thing since sliced bread, it is excellent. ('The greatest thing since sliced bread' is also used.)
270 Bet your bottom dollar (USA) If you can bet your bottom dollar on something, you can be absolutely sure about it.
271 Better half Your better half is your husband or wife.
272 Better late than never This idiom suggests that doing something late is better than not doing it at all.
273 Better safe than sorry This idiom is used to recommend being cautious rather than taking a risk.
274 Better than a kick in the teeth If something is better than a kick in the teeth, it isn't very good, but it is better than nothing.
275 Better than a stick in the eye If something is better than a stick in the eye, it isn't very good, but it is better than nothing.
276 Better the devil you know This is the shortened form of the full idiom, 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't', and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
277 Between a rock and a hard place If you are caught between a rock and a hard place, you are in a position where you have to choose between unpleasant alternatives, and your choice might cause you problems; you will not be able to satisfy everyone.
278 Between the devil and the deep blue sea If you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a dilemma; a difficult choice.
279 Between you and me and the cat's whiskers This idiom is used when telling someone something that you want them to keep secret.
280 Beyond a shadow of a doubt If something's beyond a shadow of a doubt, then absolutely no doubts remain about it.
281 Beyond belief If people behave in such a way that you find it almost impossible to accept that they actually did it, then you can say that their behaviour was beyond belief.
282 Beyond our ken If something's beyond your ken, it is beyond your understanding.
283 Beyond the black stump (AU) An Australian idiom idicating that even if you go as far as you can, the black stump is still a little further.
284 Beyond the pale If something's beyond the pale, it is too extreme to be acceptable morally or socially.
285 Big Apple (USA) The Big Apple is New York.
286 Big bucks If someone is making big bucks, they are making a lot of money.
287 Big cheese The big cheese is the boss.
288 Big Easy (USA) The Big Easy is New Orleans, Louisiana
289 Big fish An important person in a company or an organisation is a big fish.
290 Big fish in a small pond A big fish in a small pond is an important person in a small place or organisation.
291 Big girl's blouse A person who is very weak or fussy is a big girl's blouse.
292 Big hitter A big hitter is someone who commands a lot of respect and is very important in their field.
293 Big nose If someone has a big nose, it means they are excessively interested in everyone else's business.
294 Big picture The big picture of something is the overall perspective or objective, not the fine detail.
295 Big time This can be used to with the meaning 'very much'- if you like something big time, you like it a lot.
296 Bigger fish to fry If you aren't interested in something because it isn't important to you and there are more important things for you to do, you have bigger fish to fry.
297 Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything.
298 Bird's eye view If you have a bird's eye view of something, you can see it perfectly clearly.
299 Bird-brain Someone who has a bird-brain, or is bird-brained, is stupid.
300 Birds and the bees If a child is taught about the birds and the bees, they are taught about sex.
301 Birds of a feather flock together This idiom means that people with similar interests will stick together.
302 Birthday suit If you are in your birthday suit, you are naked.
303 Bit between your teeth If you take or have the bit between your teeth, you take or have control of a situation. (Bit = piece of metal in a horse's mouth)
304 Bit part If someone has a small or unimportant role in something, they have a bit part.
305 Bit player A bit player has a small or unimportant role in something.
306 Bite off more than you can chew If you bite off more than you can chew, you take on more responsibilities than you can manage. 'Don't bite off more than you can chew' is often used to advise people against agreeing to more than they can handle.
307 Bite someone's head off If you bite someone's head off, you criticise them angrily.
308 Bite the bullet If you have to bite the bullet, you have to accept or face something unpleasant because it cannot be avoided.
309 Bite the dust This is a way of saying that somebody has died, especially if they are killed violently like a soldier in battle.
310 Bite your lip If you have to bite your lip, you have to make a conscious effort not to react or to keep quiet about something that displeases you.
311 Bite your tongue If you bite your tongue, you refrain from speaking because it is socially or otherwise better not to.
312 Bits and bobs Bits and bobs are small, remnant articles and things- the same as 'odds and ends'.
313 Bitter end If you do something to the bitter end, you do it to the very end, no matter how unsuccessful you are.
314 Bitter pill to swallow A bitter pill to swallow is something that is hard to accept.
315 Black and blue This means bruised, either physically or metaphorically.
316 Black and white When it is very clear who or what is right and wrong, then the situation is black and white.
317 Black as Newgate's knocker (UK) If things are as black as Newgate's knocker, they are very bad. Newgate was an infamous prison in England, so its door knocker meant trouble.
318 Black hole If there is a black hole in financial accounts, money has disappeared.
319 Black sheep Someone who is the black sheep doesn't fit into a group or family because their behaviour or character is not good enough.
320 Blackball If you vote against allowing someone to be a member of an organisation or group, you are blackballing him or her.
321 Blank cheque If you are given a blank cheque, you are allowed to use as much money as you need for a project.
322 Bleeding edge Similar to 'cutting edge', this implies a technology or process that is at the forefront or beyond current practices. However, because it is unproven, it is often dangerous to use (hence the 'bleeding').
323 Bleeding heart A bleeding heart is a person who is excessively sympathetic towards other people.
324 Bless your pointy little head This expression is used as to patronise someone, especially when they don't realise that they're not very clever.('Bless your pointes little head' is also used.)
325 Blessing in disguise If some bad luck or misfortune ultimately results in something positive, it's a blessing in disguise.
326 Blind acceptance If people accept thing blindly, they accept them without questioning them at all.
327 Blind as a bat If you are in total darkness and can't see anything at all, you are as blind as a bat.
328 Blind leading the blind When the blind are leading the blind, the people in charge of something don't know anything more than the people they are in charge of, when they should have greater knowledge.
329 Blink of an eye If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens so fast it is almost impossible to notice it.
330 Blood and thunder An emotional speech or performance is full of blood and thunder.
331 Blood from a turnip It is impossible to get something from someone if they don't have it, just as you cannot get blood from a turnip.
332 Blood is thicker than water This idiom means that family relationships are stronger than others.
333 Blood is worth bottling (AU) If an Australian says to you "Your blood is worth bottling", he/she is complimenting or praising you for doing something or being someone very special.
334 Blood out of a stone If something is like getting blood out of a stone, it is very difficult indeed.
335 Blood, sweat and tears If something will take blood, sweat and tears, it will be very difficult and will require a lot of effort and sacrifice.
336 Blow a gasket If you blow a gasket, you get very angry.
337 Blow by blow A blow-by-blow description gives every detail in sequence.
338 Blow hot and cold If you blow hot and cold on an idea, your attitude and opinion keeps changing; one minute you are for it, the next you are against.
339 Blow me down People say '(well,) blow me down' when you have just told them something surprising, shocking or unexpected. ('Blow me down with a feather' is also used.)
340 Blow off steam (USA) If you blow off steam, you express your anger or frustration.
341 Blow out of the water If something, like an idea, is blown out of the water, it is destroyed or defeated comprehensively.
342 Blow smoke (USA) If people blow smoke, they exaggerate or say things that are not true, usually to make themselves look better.
343 Blow the cobwebs away If you blow the cobwebs away, you make sweeping changes to something to bring fresh views and ideas in.
344 Blow the whistle If somebody blows the whistle on a plan, they report it to the authorities.
345 Blow your mind Something that will blow your mind is something extraordinary that will amaze you beyond explanation.
346 Blow your own horn If you blow your own horn, you boast about your achievements and abilities. ('Blow your own trumpet' is an alternative form.)
347 Blow your own trumpet If someone blows their own trumpet, they boast about their talents and achievements. ('Blow your own horn' is an alternative form.)
348 Blow your stack If you blow your stack, you lose your temper.
349 Blow your top If someone blows their top, they lose their temper.
350 Blue blood Someone with blue blood is royalty.
351 Blue-eyed boy Someone's blue-eyed boy is their favourite person.
352 Bob's your uncle (UK) This idiom means that something will be successful: Just tell him that I gave you his name and Bob's your uncle- he'll help you.
353 Body politic A group of people organised under a single government or authority (national or regional) is a body politic.
354 Bold as brass Someone who is as bold as brass is very confident and not worried about how other people will respond or about being caught.
355 Bolt from the blue If something happens unexpectedly and suddenly, it is a bolt from the blue.
356 Bone of contention If there is an issue that always causes tension and arguments, it is a bone of contention.
357 Bone to pick If you have a bone to pick with someone, you are annoyed about something they have done and want to tell them how you feel.
358 Boot is on the other foot When the boot's on the other foot, a person who was in a position of weakness is now in a position of strength.
359 Born to the purple Someone who is born to the purple is born in a royal or aristocratic family. ("Born in the purple" is also used.)
360 Born with a silver spoon in your mouth If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you are born into a rich family.
361 Both ends meet If you make both ends meet, you live off the money you earn and don't go into debt.
362 Bottom line In accountancy, the bottom line is net income, and is used idiomatically to mean the conclusion.
363 Bounce ideas If you bounce ideas off someone, you share your ideas with them to know whether they think they would work.
364 Bounce off the walls If someone's bouncing off the walls, they are very excited about something.
365 Bouquet of orchids Id someone deserves a bouquet of orchids, they have done something worthy of praise.
366 Box and dice Box and dice means everything.
367 Box clever (UK) If you box clever, you use your intelligence to get what you want, even if you have to cheat a bit.
368 Boxing and coxing If people are boxing and coxing, they are sharing responsibilities so that one of them is working while the other isn't. It can also be used when couples are sharing a house, but their relationship has broken down and when one is at home, the other stays out.
369 Boys in blue The boys in blue are the police.
370 Brain surgery If something is not brain surgery, it isn't very complicated or difficult to understand or master.
371 Brass monkey If it's brass monkey weather, or cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, it is extremely cold.
372 Brass neck (UK) Someone who has the brass neck to do something has no sense of shame about what they do.
373 Brass tacks If you get down to brass tacks, you get down to the real business.
374 Bread and butter Bread and butter issues are ones that affect people directly and in a very important way.
375 Breadwinner Used to describe the person that earns the most money. For example - She's the breadwinner in the family.
376 Break a leg This idiom is a way of wishing someone good luck.
377 Break even If you break even, you don't make any money, but you don't lose any either.
378 Break ground If you break ground, or break new ground, you make progress, taking things into a new area or going further than anyone has gone before. 'Ground-breaking' is used an adjective.
379 Break the back of the beast If you break the back of the beast, you accomplish a challenge.
380 Break the ice When you break the ice, you get over any initial embarrassment or shyness when you meet someone for the first time and start conversing.
381 Break your duck (UK) If you break your duck, you do something for the first time.
382 Break your heart If someone upsets you greatly, they break your heart, especially if they end a relationship.
383 Breathe down your neck If someone follows you or examines what you're doing very closely, they are breathing down your neck.
384 Breathe life into If you breathe life into something, you give people involved more energy and enthusiasm again. ('Breathe new life' is also used.)
385 Breathe your last When you breathe your last, you die.
386 Bridge the gap If you bridge the gap, you make a connection where there is a great difference.
387 Bright and breezy When someone is cheerful and full of energy, they are bright and breezy.
388 Bright as a button A person who is as bright as a button is very intelligent or smart.
389 Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed If someone's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they are full of energy and enthusiasm.
390 Brighten up the day If something brightens up your day, something happens that makes you feel positive and happy all day long.
391 Bring a knife to a gunfight If someone brings a knife to a gunfight, they are very badly prepared for something.
392 Bring home the bacon A person who brings home the bacon earns the money that a family live on.
393 Bring on board To make people embrace the ideas intended by the leader or agree to join a team or project is to bring them on board.
394 Bring someone to book If somebody is brought to book, they are punished or made to account for something they have done wrong.
395 Bring someone to heel If you bring someone to heel, you make them obey you.('Call someone to heel' is also used.)
396 Bring the house down Something that brings the house down is acclaimed and praised vigorously.
397 Bring to the table If you bring something to the table, you make a contribution or an offer in a discussion or negotiation..
398 Broad church If an organisation is described as broad church, it is tolerant and accepting of different opinions and ideas.
399 Broad strokes If something is described or defined with broad stokes, then only an outline is given, without fine details.
400 Broke as a joke and it ain't funny This idiom in my opinion describes how it's not funny to be without a cent and just uses broke and joke as rhyming words that help explain this idiom a lot better.
401 Broken record When someone sounds like a broken record, they keep on repeating the same things. ('Stuck record' is also used.)
402 Brown nose When someone tries to make themselves popular with somebody, usually in a position of authority, especially by flattering them, they are brown nosing.
403 Browned off To be tired of or fed up with
404 Brownie points If you try to earn Brownie points with someone, you do things you know will please them.
405 Brush under the carpet If you brush something under the carpet, you are making an attempt to ignore it, or hide it from others.
406 Buggles' turn (UK) If it Buggles' turn, someone gets promotion through length of service rather than ability, especially in the British civil service.
407 Bull in a China shop If someone behaves like a bull in a China shop, they are clumsy when they should be careful.
408 Bull market A bull market is a period when investors are optimistic and there are expectations that good financial results will continue.
409 Bull session If you have a bull session, you have an informal group discussion about something.
410 Bull-headed If you're a bull-headed, you're stubborn or inflexible.
411 Bums on seats The people who have paid to watch a performance are bums on seats.
412 Bun in the oven If a woman has a bun in the oven, she is pregnant.
413 Bundle of nerves Someone who is a bundle of nerves is very worried or nervous.
414 Bur under my saddle A bur under your saddle is something that annoys you or spurs you into action.('Burr' is an alternative spelling.)
415 Burn rubber If you burn rubber, you drive very fast to get somewhere.
416 Burn the candle at both ends Someone who burns the candle at both ends lives life at a hectic pace, doing things which are likely to affect their health badly.
417 Burn the midnight oil If you stay up very late working or studying, you burn the midnight oil.
418 Burn your bridges If you burn your bridges, you do something that makes it impossible to go back from the position you have taken.
419 Burn your fingers If you burn your fingers, you suffer a loss or something unpleasant as the result of something you did, making you less likely to do it again.
420 Burning question A burning question is something we all want to know about.
421 Burst at the seams To be filled to or beyond normal capacity: This room will be bursting at the seams when all the guests arrive.
422 Bury the hatchet If you bury the hatchet, you make peace with someone and stop arguing or fighting.
423 Bury your head in the sand If someone buries their head in the sand, they ignore something that is obviously wrong.
424 Busman's holiday A busman's holiday is when you spend your free time doing the same sort of work as you do in your job.
425 Bust my chops When someone says that they're not going to bust their chops, it means they are not going to work that hard or make much effort.
426 Busted flush Someone or something that had great potential but ended up a useless failure is a busted flush.
427 Busy as a beaver If you're as busy as a beaver, you're very busy indeed.
428 Busy as a bee If you are as busy as a bee, you are very busy indeed.
429 Butt naked If someone is butt naked, they have no clothes on at all, often when they can be seen.
430 Butt of a joke If something or someone becomes the butt of a joke it or they are not taken seriously anymore.
431 Butter wouldn't melt in their mouth If someone looks as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouth, they look very innocent.
432 Butterfingers Someone who has butterfingers is clumsy and drops things.
433 Butterflies in your stomach The nervous feeling before something important or stressful is known as butterflies in your stomach.
434 Button your lip If you button your lip, you keep quiet and don't speak. It is also used as a way of telling someone to shut up.
435 Buy the farm When somebody has bought the farm, they have died.
436 By a hair's breadth If a person escapes from some danger by a hair's breadth, they only just managed to avoid it. The breadth is the thickness of a hair, so they probably feel somewhat lucky because the margin between success and what could easily have been failure was so close.
437 By a long chalk (UK) If you beat somebody by a long chalk, you win easily and comfortably.
438 By a whisker If you do something by a whisker, you only just manage to do it and come very near indeed to failing.
439 By and large By and large means usually or generally.
440 By cracky A term used by rural folks in years past to emphasize a matter of importance or urgency. An example: 'By cracky, you need to get out there in the field with that mule and plow and finish the sod-busting before dark.'
441 By dint of This means 'as a result of' or 'because of': It would be good to think he'd risen to position of Chief Executive by dint of hard work.
442 By heart If you learn something by heart, you learn it word for word.
443 By hook or by crook If you are prepared to do something by hook or by crook, you are willing to do anything, good or bad, to reach your goal.
444 By leaps and bounds Something that happens by leaps and bounds happens very quickly in big steps.
445 By the back door If something is started or introduced by the back door, then it is not done openly or by following the proper procedures.
446 By the book If you do something by the book, you do it exactly as you are supposed to.
447 By the by This is used as a way of introducing an incidental topic in a conversation or to say that something is irrelevant. ('By the bye' is also used.)
448 By the numbers If something is done by the numbers, it is done in a mechanical manner without room for creativity.
449 By the same token If someone applies the same rule to different situations, they judge them by the same token: If things go well, he's full of praise, but, by the same token, when things go wrong he gets furious.
450 By the seat of your pants If you do something by the seat of your pants, you achieve something, but only by a narrow margin or do something without advance preparation.
451 By the skin of your teeth If you do something by the skin of your teeth, you only just manage to do it and come very near indeed to failing.
452 By word of mouth If something becomes known by word of mouth, it gets known by being talked about rather than through publicity or advertising, etc.
453 Cake's not worth the candle If someone says that the cake's not worth the candle, they mean that the result will not be worth the effort put in to achieve it.
454 Calf lick A calf lick is the weird parting in your fringe where your hair grows in a different direction, usually to one side.
455 Call a spade a spade A person who calls a spade a spade is one speaks frankly and makes little or no attempt to conceal their opinions or to spare the feelings of their audience.
456 Call it a day If you call it a day, you stop doing something for a while, normally at least until the following day.
457 Call on the carpet If you are called on the carpet, you are summoned for a reprimand by superiors or others in power.
458 Call the dogs off If someone calls off their dogs, they stop attacking or criticising someone.
459 Call the shots If you call the shots, you are in charge and tell people what to do.
460 Call the tune The person who calls the tune makes the important decisions about something.
461 Calm before the storm A calm time immediately before period of violent activity or argument is the calm before the storm.
462 Can of worms If an action can create serious problems, it is opening a can of worms.
463 Can't dance and it's too wet to plow (USA) When you can't dance and it's too wet to plow, you may as well do something because you can't or don't have the opportunity to do anything else.
464 Can't do it for toffee If you can't so something for toffee, you are incapable of doing something properly or to any sort of standard.
465 Can't hack it Unable to perform an act, duty, job etc. (example: I have to quit my job as a computer technician; I just can't hack it.)
466 Can't hold a candle If something can't hold a candle to something else, it is much worse.
467 Can't see the forest for its trees If someone can't see the forest for its trees, they are too focused on specific details to see the picture as a whole.
468 Canary in a coal mine (UK) A canary in a coal mine is an early warning of danger.
469 Card up your sleeve If you have a card up your sleeve, you have a surprise plan or idea that you are keeping back until the time is right.
470 Carpetbagger A carpetbagger is an opportunist without any scruples or ethics, or a politican who wants to represent a place they have no connection with.
471 Carrot and stick If someone offers a carrot and stick, they offer an incentive to do something combined with the threat of punishment.
472 Carry the can If you carry the can, you take the blame for something, even though you didn't do it or are only partly at fault.
473 Carry the day If something carries the day, it wins a battle (the sense is that the battle has been long and could have gone either way) or competition for supremacy.
474 Case by case If things are done case by case, each situation or issue is handled separately on its own merits and demerits.
475 Case in point Meaning an instance of something has just occurred that was previously discussed. For instance, a person may have told another that something always happens. Later that day, they see it happening, and the informer might say, 'case in point'.
476 Cash cow A product, business, etc, that generates a continuous flow of money or a high proportion of overall profits is a cash cow.
477 Cash in your chips If you cash in your chips, you sell something to get what profit you can because you think its value is going to fall. It can also mean 'to die'.
478 Cast a long shadow Something or someone that casts a long shadow has considerable influence on other people or events.
479 Cast aspersion If you cast aspersion, you try to blacken someone's name and make people think badly of them.
480 Cast doubt on If you make other people not sure about a matter, then you have cast doubt on it.
481 Cast iron stomach A person with a cast iron stomach can eat or drink anything without any ill effects.
482 Cast pearls before swine If you cast pearls before swine, you offer something of value to someone who doesn't appreciate it- 'swine' are 'pigs'.
483 Cast sheep's eyes at If you cast sheep's eyes at at someone, you look lovingly or with longing at them.
484 Cast your mind back If somebody tells you to cast your mind back on something, they want you to think about something that happened in the past, but which you might not remember very well, and to try to remember as much as possible.
485 Cast your net widely If you cast your net widely, you use a wide range of sources when trying to find something.
486 Casting vote The casting vote is a vote given to a chairman or president that is used when there is a deadlock.
487 Castles in the air Plans that are impractical and will never work out are castles in the air.
488 Cat among the pigeons If something or someone puts, or sets or lets, the cat among the pigeons, they create a disturbance and cause trouble.
489 Cat and dog life If people lead a cat and dog life, they are always arguing.
490 Cat burglar A cat burglar is a skillful thief who breaks into places without disturbing people or setting off alarms.
491 Cat fur and kitty britches (USA) When I used to ask my grandma what was for dinner, she would say 'cat fur and kitty britches'. This was her Ozark way of telling me that I would get what she cooked. (Ozark is a region in the center of the United States)
492 Cat got your tongue? If someone asks if the cat has got your tongue, they want to know why you are not speaking when they think you should.
493 Cat nap If you have a short sleep during the day, you are cat napping.
494 Cat's lick (Scot) A cat's lick is a very quick wash.
495 Cat's pajamas (USA) Something that is the cat's pajamas is excellent.
496 Cat's whiskers Something excellent is the cat's whiskers.
497 Catch as catch can This means that people should try to get something any way they can.
498 Catch hell If you catch hell, you get into trouble or get scolded. ('Catch heck' is also used.)
499 Catch some z's If you catch some z's, you get some sleep.
500 Catch someone red-handed If someone is caught red-handed, they are found doing something wrong or illegal.
501 Catch-22 Catch-22 is a situation where conflicting rules make the desired outcome impossible. It comes from a novel by the American author Joseph Heller, in which pilots would not have to fly missions if they were mentally ill, but not wanting to fly dangerous missions was held to be proof of sanity, so they had to fly anyway. ('Catch 22', without the hyphen, is also used.)
502 Caught with your hand in the cookie jar (USA) If someone is caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar, he or she is caught doing something wrong.
503 Chalk and cheese Things, or people, that are like chalk and cheese are very different and have nothing in common.
504 Champ at the bit If someone is champing at the bit, they are very eager to accomplish something. ('Chomping at the bit' is also used.)
505 Champagne taste on a beer budget Someone who lives above their means and likes things they cannot afford has champagne taste on a beer budget.
506 Change horses in midstream If people change horses in midstream, they change plans or leaders when they are in the middle of something, even though it may be very risky to do so.
507 Change of heart If you change the way you think or feel about something, you have a change of heart.
508 Change tack If you change tack, you use a different method for dealing with something.
509 Change your tune If someone changes their ideas or the way they talk about them, they change their tune.
510 Chaps my ass When something/someone really annoys you, it chaps your ass.
511 Chapter and verse When you know something very well, and can quote it, you know it chapter and verse.
512 Charity begins at home This idiom means that family members are more important than anyone else, and should be the focus of a person's efforts.
513 Chase rainbows If someone chases rainbows, they try to do something that they will never achieve.
514 Chase your tail If you are chasing your tail, you are very busy but not being very productive.
515 Cheap as chips (UK) If something is very inexpensive, it is as cheap as chips.
516 Cheap at half the price If something's cheap at half the price, it's very cheap indeed.
517 Cheap shot A cheap shot is an unprincipled criticism.
518 Cheat death If someone cheats death, they narrowly avoid a major problem or accident.
519 Cheek by jowl If things or people are cheek by jowl, they are very close together.
520 Cherry pick If people cherry pick, they choose things that support their position, while ignoring things that contradict it.
521 Chew on a bone If someone is chewing on a bone, he or she is thinking about something intently.
522 Chew the cud If you chew the cud, you think carefully about something.
523 Chew the fat If you chew the fat with someone, you talk at leisure with them.
524 Chickenfeed If something is small or unimportant, especially money, it is chickenfeed.
525 Child's play If something is child's play, it is very easy and simple.
526 Chinese walls Chinese walls are regulatory information barriers that aim to stop the flow of information that could be misused, especially in financial corporations.
527 Chinese whispers (UK) When a story is told from person to person, especially if it is gossip or scandal, it inevitably gets distorted and exaggerated. This process is called Chinese whispers.
528 Chip off the old block If someone is a chip off the old block, they closely resemble one or both of the parents in character.
529 Chip on your shoulder If someone has a chip on their shoulder, they are resentful about something and feel that they have been treated badly.
530 Chop and change If things chop and change, they keep changing, often unexpectedly.
531 Cigarette paper If you cannot get or put a cigarette paper between people, they are so closely bonded that nothing will separate them or their positions on issues.
532 Circle the wagons (USA) If you circle the wagons, you stop communicating with people who don't think the same way as you to avoid their ideas. It can also mean to bring everyone together to defend a group against an attack.
533 Circling the drain If someone is circling the drain, they are very near death and have little time to live. The phrase can also describe a project or plan or campaign that that is on the brink of failure.
534 Class act Someone who's a class act is exceptional in what they do.
535 Clean as a whistle If something is as clean as a whistle, it is extremely clean, spotless. It can also be used to mean 'completely', though this meaning is less common nowadays. If somebody is clean as a whistle, they are not involved in anything illegal.
536 Clean bill of health If something or someone has a clean bill of health, then there's nothing wrong; everything's fine.
537 Clean break If you make a clean break, you break away completely from something.
538 Clean hands Someone with clean hands, or who keeps their hands clean, is not involved in illegal or immoral activities.
539 Clean sheet When someone has a clean sheet, they have got no criminal record or problems affecting their reputation. In football and other sports, a goalkeeper has a clean sheet when let no goals in.
540 Clean slate If you start something with a clean slate, then nothing bad from your past is taken into account.
541 Clean sweep If someone makes a clean sweep, they win absolutely everything in a competition or contest.
542 Clean your clock If you clean your clock, you beat someone decisively in a contest or fight.
543 Clear as a bell If something is as clear as a bell, it is very clear or easy to understand.
544 Clear as mud If something is as clear as mud, then it is very confusing and unclear.
545 Cliffhanger If something like a sports match or an election is a cliffhanger, then the result is so close that it cannot be predicted and will only be known at the very end.
546 Climb on the bandwagon When people climb on the bandwagon they do something because it is popular and everyone else is doing it.
547 Climb the greasy pole Advance within an organisation - especially in politics.
548 Cling to hope If people cling to hope, they continue to hope though the chances of success are very small.
549 Close at hand If something is close at hand, it is nearby or conveniently located.
550 Close but no cigar (USA) If you are close but no cigar, you are close to success, but have not got there.
551 Close call If the result of something is a close call, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the parties involved and to say who has won or whatever. It can also mean that you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.
552 Close shave If you have a close shave, you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.
553 Close the stable door after the horse has bolted If people try to fix something after the problem has occurred, they are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. 'Close the barn door after the horse has bolted' is alternative, often used in American English.
554 Close to your heart If something is close to your heart, you care a lot about it. ('Dear to your heart' is an alternative.)
555 Closed book to me If a subject is a closed book to you, it is something that you don't understand or know anything about.
556 Cloth ears If you don't listen to people, they may suggest you have cloth ears.
557 Cloud cuckoo land If someone has ideas or plans that are completely unrealistic, they are living on cloud cuckoo land.
558 Cloud nine If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. ('cloud seven' is a less common alternative)
559 Cloud of suspicion If a cloud of suspicion hangs over an individual, it means that they are not believed or are distrusted.
560 Cloud on the horizon If you can see a problem ahead, you can call it a cloud on the horizon.
561 Clutch at straws If someone is in serious trouble and tries anything to help them, even though their chances of success are probably nil, they are clutching at straws.
562 Clutch play If an activity is referred to as a clutch play, it means that the activity was the key to the success or failure of the venture. For instance, a clutch play in a baseball game may be striking out a batter with the bases loaded.
563 Coals to Newcastle (UK) Taking, bringing, or carrying coals to Newcastle is doing something that is completely unnecessary.
564 Coast is clear When the coast is clear, the people supposed to be watching you are not there and you are able to move or leave.
565 Cock a snook To make a rude gesture by putting one thumb to the nose with the fingers outstretched.
566 Cock and bull story A cock and bull story is a lie someone tells that is completely unbelievable.
567 Cock in the henhouse This is used to describe a male in an all-female environment.
568 Cock of the walk A man who is excessively confident and thinks he's better than other people is the cock of the walk.
569 Cold day in hell This is used as a prediction there is no chance some event or condition will ever happen.'There will be a cold day in hell before he manages it.'
570 Cold feet If you get cold feet about something, you lose the courage to do it.
571 Cold fish A cold fish is a person who doesn't show how they feel.
572 Cold light of day If you see things in the cold light of day, you see them as they really are, not as you might want them to be.
573 Cold shoulder If you give or show someone the cold shoulder, you are deliberately unfriendly and unco-operative towards them.
574 Cold sweat If something brings you out in a cold sweat, it frightens you a lot.
575 Cold turkey If someone suddenly stops taking drugs, instead of slowly cutting down, they do cold turkey.
576 Colder than a witches tit If it is colder than a witches tit, it is extremely cold outside.
577 Collateral damage Accidental or unintended damage or casualties are collateral damage.
578 Collect dust If something is collecting dust, it isn't being used any more.
579 Color bar Rules that restrict access on the basis of race or ethnicity are a color bar.
580 Come a cropper (UK) Someone whose actions or lifestyle will inevitably result in trouble is going to come a cropper.
581 Come clean If someone comes clean about something, they admit to deceit or wrongdoing.
582 Come hell or high water If someone says they'll do something come hell or high water, they mean that nothing will stop them, no matter what happens.
583 Come of age When something comes of age it develops completely and reaches maturity. When someone comes of age, they reach adulthood or fulfill their potential.
584 Come on hard If you come on hard, you are aggressive in your dealing with someone.
585 Come on the heels of If something comes on the heels of something, it follows very soon after it.
586 Come out in the wash If something will come out in the wash, it won't have any permanent negative effect.
587 Come out of the woodwork When things come out of the woodwork, they appear unexpectedly. ('Crawl out of the woodwork' is also used.)
588 Come out of your shell If someone comes out of their shell, they stop being shy and withdrawn and become more friendly and sociable.
589 Come rain or shine If I say I'll be at a place come rain or shine, I mean that I can be relied on to turn up; nothing, not even the vagaries of British weather, will deter me or stop me from being there.
590 Come to a head If events reach a crisis point, they come to a head.
591 Come to bear If something comes to bear on you, you start to feel the pressure or effect of it.
592 Come to call If someone comes to call, they respond to an order or summons directly.
593 Come to grips If you come to grips with a problem or issue, you face up to it and deal with it.
594 Come to heel If someone comes to heel, they stop behaving in a way that is annoying to someone in authority and start being obedient.
595 Come up roses If things come up roses, they produce a positive result, especially when things seemed to be going badly at first.
596 Come up smelling of roses (UK) If someone comes up smelling of roses, they emerge from a situation with their reputation undamaged.
597 Come up trumps When someone is said to have 'come up trumps', they have completed an activity successfully or produced a good result, especially when they were not expected to.
598 Come what may If you're prepared to do something come what may, it means that nothing will stop or distract you, no matter how hard or difficult it becomes.
599 Come with the territory If something comes with the territory, it is part of a job or responsibility and just has to be accepted, even if unpleasant.
600 Comes with the territory If something comes with the territory, especially when undesirable, it is automatically included with something else, like a job, responsibility, etc.('Goes with the territory' is also used.)
601 Comfort zone It is the temperature range in which the body doesn't shiver or sweat, but has an idiomatic sense of a place where people feel comfortable, where they can avoid the worries of the world. It can be physical or mental.
602 Connect the dots When you connect the dots, you understand the connections and relationships.
603 Constitution of an ox If someone has the constitution of an ox, they are less affected than most people by things like tiredness, illness, alcohol, etc.
604 Cook someone's goose If you cook someone's goose, you ruin their plans.
605 Cook the books If people cook the books, they keep false accounts to make money illegally or avoid paying tax.
606 Cook up a storm If someone cooks up a storm, they cause a big fuss or generate a lot of talk about something.
607 Cool as a cat To act fine when you a actually scared or nervous
608 Cool your heels If you leave someone to cool their heels, you make them wait until they have calmed down.
609 Coon's age (USA) A very long time, as in 'I haven't seen her in a coon's age!'
610 Corner a market If a business is dominant in an area and unlikely to be challenged by other companies, it has cornered the market.
611 Couch potato A couch potato is an extremely idle or lazy person who chooses to spend most of their leisure time horizontal in front of the TV and eats a diet that is mainly junk food.
612 Could eat a horse If you are very hungry, you could eat a horse.
613 Couldn't give two hoots If you couldn't give two hoots about something, you don't care at all about it.
614 Count sheep If people cannot sleep, they are advised to count sheep mentally.
615 Count your blessings When people count their blessings, they concentrate on all the good things in their lives instead of the negative ones.
616 Country mile (USA) A country mile is used to describe a long distance.
617 Cover all the bases If you cover all the bases, you deal with all aspects of a situation or issue, or anticipate all possibilities. ('Cover all bases' is also used.)
618 Crack a nut with a sledgehammer If you use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, you apply too much force to achieve a result. ('Jackhammer' is also used.)
619 Crash a party If you crash a party, or are a gatecrasher, you go somewhere you haven't been invited to.
620 Cream of the crop The cream of the crop is the best there is.
621 Cream rises to the top A good person or idea cannot go unnoticed for long, just as cream poured in coffee or tea eventually rises to the top.
622 Creature comforts If a person said "I hate camping. I don't like giving up my creature comforts." the person would be referring, in particular, to the comfortable things he/she would have at home but not when camping. At home, for example, he/she would have complete shelter from the weather, a television, a nice comfortable warm bed, the ability to take a warm bath or shower, comfortable lounge chairs to relax in and so on. The person doesn't like giving up the material and psychological benefits of his/her normal life.
623 Crème de la crème The crème de la crème is the very best of something.
624 Crocodile tears If someone cries crocodile tears, they pretend to be upset or affected by something.
625 Crooked as a dog's hind leg Someone who is very dishonest is as crooked as a dog's hind leg.
626 Cross swords When people cross swords, they argue or dispute. This expression is used when some groups accuse each other for non-adherence to norms. Actually no sword is used but the tempo of the argument is high enough to cause worsening of the already bad situation. It is a tussle (vehement struggle without use of arms) between the parties to establish supremacy.
627 Cross that bridge when you come to it If you will cross that bridge when you come to it, you will deal with a problem when it arises, but not until that point
628 Cross to bear If someone has a cross to bear, they have a heavy burden of responsibility or a problem that they alone must cope with.
629 Crossing the Rubicon When you are crossing the Rubicon, you are passing a point of no return. After you do this thing, there is no way of turning around. The only way left is forward.
630 Crunch time When people, companies, etc, have to make an important decision that will have a considerable effect on their future, it is crunch time.
631 Cry wolf If someone cries wolf, they raise a false alarm about something.
632 Cry your eyes out If you cry your eyes out, you cry uncontrollably.
633 Cry-baby A cry-baby is a person who gets emotional and cries too easily.
634 Cuckoo in the nest Is an issue or a problem, etc, is a cuckoo in the nest, it grows quickly and crowds out everything else.
635 Cupboard love (UK) To show love to gain something from someone
636 Curate's egg (UK) If something is a bit of a curate's egg, it is only good in parts.
637 Curiosity killed the cat As cats are naturally curious animals, we use this expression to suggest to people that excessive curiosity is not necessarily a good thing, especially where it is not their business.
638 Curry favour If people try to curry favour, they try to get people to support them. ('Curry favor' is the American spelling.)
639 Curve ball (USA) If something is a curve ball, it is deceptive.
640 Cut a long story short This idiom is used as a way of shortening a story by getting to to the end or the point.
641 Cut a rug To cut a rug is to dance.
642 Cut above If a person is described as a cut above other people, they are better in some way.
643 Cut and dried If something is cut and dried, then everything has already been decided and, in the case of an opinion, might be a little stale and predictable.
644 Cut and run If people cut and run, they take what they can get and leave before they lose everything.
645 Cut corners If people try to do something as cheaply or as quickly as possible, often sacrificing quality, they are cutting corners.
646 Cut down the tall poppies (AU) If people cut down the tall poppies, they criticise people who stand out from the crowd.
647 Cut it fine If you cut it fine, you only just manage to do something- at the very last moment. 'Cut things fine' is the same. 'Cut it a bit fine' is a common variation.
648 Cut off your nose to spite your face If you cut off your nose to spite your face, you do something rash or silly that ends up making things worse for you, often because you are angry or upset.
649 Cut someone some slack To relax a rule or make an allowance, as in allowing someone more time to finish something.
650 Cut the Gordian knot If someone cuts the Gordian knot, they solve a very complex problem in a simple way.
651 Cut the mustard (UK) If somebody or something doesn't cut the mustard, they fail or it fails to reach the required standard.
652 Cut to the chase If you cut to the chase, you get to the point, or the most interesting or important part of something without delay.
653 Cut to the quick If someone's cut to the quick by something, they are very hurt and upset indeed.
654 Cut your coat according to your cloth If you cut your coat according to your cloth, you only buy things that you have sufficient money to pay for.
655 Cut your losses If you cut your losses, you avoid losing any more money than you already have by getting out of a situation before matters worsen.
656 Cut your teeth on The place where you gain your early experience is where you cut your teeth.
657 Cute as a bug (USA) If something is as cute as a bug, it is sweet and endearing.
658 Cuts no ice If something cuts no ice, it doesn't have any effect or influence.
659 Cutting edge Something that is cutting edge is at the forefront of progress in its area.
660 Daft as a brush (UK) Someone who is daft as a brush is rather stupid.
661 Damp squib (UK) If something is expected to have a great effect or impact but doesn't, it is a damp squib.
662 Dancing on someone's grave If you will dance on someone's grave, you will outlive or outlast them and will celebrate their demise.
663 Dark horse If someone is a dark horse, they are a bit of a mystery.
664 Davey Jones' locker Davey Jones' locker is the bottom of the sea or resting place of drowned sailors.('Davy Jones' locker' is an alternative spelling.)
665 Day in the sun If you have your day in the sun, you get attention and are appreciated.
666 Daylight robbery If you are overcharged or underpaid, it is a daylight robbery; open, unfair and hard to prevent. Rip-off has a similar meaning.
667 Days are numbered When someone’s days are numbered, they are expected to die soon.
668 Dead air When there is a period of total silence, there is dead air.
669 Dead and buried If something is dead and buried, it has all long been settled and is not going to be reconsidered.
670 Dead as a dodo If something's dead as a dodo, it is lifeless and dull. The dodo was a bird that lived the island of Mauritius. It couldn't fly and was hunted to extinction.
671 Dead as a doornail This is used to indicate that something is lifeless.
672 Dead duck If something is a dead duck, it is a failure.
673 Dead even If people competing are dead even, they are at exactly the same stage or moving at exactly the same speed.
674 Dead from the neck up Someone who's dead from the neck up is very stupid indeed.
675 Dead heat If a race ends in a dead heat, two or more finish with exactly the same result.
676 Dead in the water If something is dead in the water, it isn't going anywhere or making any progress.
677 Dead level best If you try your dead level best, you try as hard as you possibly could to do something.
678 Dead man walking A dead man walking is someone who is in great trouble and will certainly get punished, lose their job or position, etc, soon.
679 Dead meat This is used as a way of threatening someone: You'll be dead meat if you don't go along.
680 Dead men's shoes If promotion or success requires replacing somebody, then it can only be reached by dead men's shoes' by getting rid of them.
681 Dead right This means that something or someone is absolutely correct, without doubt.
682 Dead to the world If somebody's fast asleep and completely unaware of what if happening around them, he or she's dead to the world.
683 Dead wrong If someone is dead wrong, they are absolutely in error, absolutely incorrect or of incorrect opinion.
684 Deaf as a post Someone who is as deaf as a post is unable to hear at all.
685 Dear John letter A letter written by a partner explaining why they are ending the relationship is a Dear John letter.
686 Death of a thousand cuts If something is suffering the death of a thousand cuts, or death by a thousand cuts, lots of small bad things are happening, none of which are fatal in themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise.
687 Death warmed up (UK) If someone looks like death warmed up, they look very ill indeed. ('death warmed over' is the American form)
688 Decorate the mahogany (USA) When someone buys a round a pub or bar, they decorate the mahogany; putting cash on the bar.
689 Deep pockets If someone has deep pockets, they are wealthy.
690 Deep pockets but short arms Someone who has money but never puts his hand in his pocket to pay for anything has deep pockets but short arms.
691 Deer in the headlights When one is caught offguard and needs to make a decision, but cannot react quickly.
692 Deliver the goods Do what is required, come up to expectations. For example, Kate delivered the goods and got us the five votes we needed. This phrase alludes to delivering an order of groceries or other items. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]
693 Demon weed Tobacco is the demon weed.
694 Derring-do If a person shows derring-do, they show great courage.
695 Devil finds work for idle hands When people say that the devil finds work for idle hands, they mean that if people don't have anything to do with their time, they are more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality.
696 Devil is in the detail When people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on.
697 Devil may care If you live a devil-may-care life it means you are willing to take more risks than most people.
698 Devil's advocate If someone plays Devil's advocate in an argument, they adopt a position they don't believe in just for the sake of the argument
699 Diamond in the rough A diamond in the rough is someone or something that has great potential, but isn't not refined and polished.
700 Die is cast If the die is cast, a decision has been made that cannot be altered and fate will decide the consequences.
701 Different kettle of fish If something is a different kettle of fish, it is very different from the other things referenced.
702 Different ropes for different folks (USA) This idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.
703 Different strokes for different folks (USA) This idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.
704 Dig way down deep When someone digs way down deep, they look into their inner feelings to see how they feel about it.
705 Dig your heels in If you dig your heels in, you start to resist something.
706 Dime a dozen (USA) If something is a dime a dozen, it is extremely common, possibly too common.
707 Dine on ashes I someone is dining on ashes he or she is excessively focusing attention on failures or regrets for past actions.
708 Dinosaur A dinosaur is a person who is thought to be too old for their position.
709 Dip your toes in the water If you dip your toes in the water, you try something tentatively because you are not sure whether it will work or not.
710 Dirty dog A dirty dog is an untrustworthy person.
711 Discerning eye If a person has a discerning eye, they are particularly good at judging the quality of something.
712 Discretion is the better part of valour This idiom means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems.
713 Dish the dirt If you dish the dirt on something or someone, you make unpleasant or shocking information public.
714 Do a Devon Loch (UK) If someone does a Devon Loch, they fail when they were very close to winning. Devon Loch was a horse that collapsed just short of the winning line of the Grand National race.
715 Do a Lord Lucan (UK) If someone disappears without a trace or runs off, they do a Lord Lucan. (Lord Lucan disappeared after a murder)
716 Do a runner (UK) If people leave a restaurant without paying, they do a runner.
717 Do as you would be done by Treat and respect others as you would hope to be respected and treated by them.
718 Do the needful (India) If you do the needful, you do what is necessary.
719 Do the running (UK) The person who has to do the running has to make sure that things get done. ('Make the running' is also used.)
720 Do their dirty work Someone who does someone's dirty work, carries out the unpleasant jobs that the first person doesn't want to do. Someone who seems to enjoy doing this is sometimes known as a 'henchman'.
721 Do's and don't's The do's and don't's are what is acceptable or allowed or not within an area or issue, etc.
722 Dodge the bullet If someone has dodged a bullet, they have successfully avoided a very serious problem.
723 Dog and pony show (USA) A dog and pony show is a presentation or some marketing that has lots of style, but no real content.
724 Dog days Dog days are very hot summer days.
725 Dog eat dog In a dog eat dog world, there is intense competition and rivalry, where everybody thinks only of himself or herself.
726 Dog in the manger (UK) If someone acts like a dog in the manger, they don't want other people to have or enjoy things that are useless to them.
727 Dog tired If you are dog tired, you are exhausted.
728 Dog's dinner Something that is a dog's dinner is a real mess.
729 Dog's life If some has a dog's life, they have a very unfortunate and wretched life.
730 Dog-eared If a book is dog-eared, it is in bad condition, with torn pages, etc.
731 Dog-whistle politics (AU) When political parties have policies that will appeal to racists while not being overtly racist, they are indulging in dog-whistle politics.
732 Doggy bag If you ask for a doggy bag in a restaurant, they will pack the food you haven't eaten for you to take home.
733 Doldrums If a person is in the doldrums, they are depressed. If a project or something similar is in the doldrums, it isn't making any progress.
734 Dollars for doughnuts (USA) If something is dollars for doughnuts, it is a sure bet or certainty.
735 Don't bite the hand that feeds When someone says this to you, they are trying to tell you not to act against those on whom you depend.
736 Don't catch your chickens before they're hatched This means that you should wait until you know whether something has produced the results you desire, rather than acting beforehand. ('Don't count your chickens until they've hatched' is an alternative.)
737 Don't cry over spilt milk When something bad happens and nothing can be done to help it people say, 'Don't cry over spilt milk'.
738 Don't give up the day job This idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly.
739 Don't hold your breath If you are told not to hold your breath, it means that you shouldn't have high expectations about something.
740 Don't judge a book by the cover This idiom means that you should not judge something or someone by appearances, but should look deeper at what is inside and more important.
741 Don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon If you don't know what to do, you don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon.
742 Don't look a gift horse in the mouth This means that if you are given something, a present or a chance, you should not waste it by being too critical or examining it too closely.
743 Don't mention the war This means that you shouldn't speak about things that could cause an argument or tension.This idiom was used in a classic episode of the much-loved British comedy series Fawlty Towers. As a consequence if you use this phrase in Britain, listeners will understand you to be referring to Germans, or just start laughing.
744 Don't push my buttons! This can be said to someone who is starting to annoy you.
745 Don't stand there with curlers in your hair This means 'don't keep me waiting'. It's said to someone who is taking too long to get moving.
746 Don't sweat the small stuff (USA) This is used to tell people not to worry about trivial or unimportant issues.
747 Don't take any wooden nickels (USA) This idiom is used to advise people not to be cheated or ripped off.
748 Don't throw bricks when you live in a glass house Don't call others out on actions that you, yourself do. Don't be a hypocrite.
749 Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you Don't go looking for trouble or problems- let them come to you.
750 Don't upset the applecart If you are advised not to upset the applecart, you are being told not to disturb the way things are done because it might ruin things.
751 Don't wash your dirty laundry in public (UK) People, especially couples, who argue in front of others or involve others in their personal problems and crises, are said to be washing their dirty laundry in public; making public things that are best left private. (In American English, 'don't air your dirty laundry in public' is used.)
752 Done to death If a joke or story has been done to death, it has been told so often that it has stopped being funny.
753 Donkey work Donkey work is any hard, boring work or task.
754 Donkey's years This idiom means 'a very long time'.
755 Doormat A person who doesn't stand up for themselves and gets treated badly is a doormat.
756 Dot all the i's and cross all the t's If you dot all the i's and cross all the t's, you do something very carefully and thoroughly.
757 Double Dutch (UK) If something is double Dutch, it is completely incomprehensible.
758 Double take If someone does a double take, they react very slowly to something to show how shocked or surprised they are.
759 Double whammy A double whammy is when something causes two problems at the same time, or when two setbacks occur at the same time.
760 Double-edged sword If someone uses an argument that could both help them and harm them, then they are using a double-edged sword sword; it cuts both ways.
761 Doubting Thomas A Doubting Thomas is someone who only believes what they see themselves, not what they are told.
762 Down and out If someone is down and out, they are desperately poor and need help.
763 Down at heel Someone who is down at heel is short of money. ('Down in heel' is used in American English)
764 Down for the count If someone is down for the count, they have lost a struggle, like a boxer who has been knocked out.
765 Down in the doldrums If somebody's down in the doldrums, they are depressed and lacking energy.
766 Down in the dumps If someone's down in the dumps, they are depressed.
767 Down in the mouth If someone is down in the mouth, they look unhappy or depressed.
768 Down the drain If something goes down the drain, especially money or work, it is wasted or produces no results.
769 Down the hatch This idiom can be said before drinking alcohol in company.
770 Down the pan If something has gone down the pan, it has failed or been ruined.
771 Down the tubes If something has gone down the tubes, it has failed or been ruined.
772 Down to the wire (USA) If something goes down to the wire, like a competition, then it goes to the very last moment before it is clear who has won.
773 Down-to-earth Someone who's down-to-earth is practical and realistic. It can also be used for things like ideas.
774 Drag your feet If someone is dragging their feet, they are taking too long to do or finish something, usually because they don't want to do it.
775 Drag your heels If you drag your heels, you either delay doing something or do it as slowly as possible because you don't want to do it.
776 Draw a blank If you try to find something out and draw a blank, you don't get any useful information.
777 Draw a line in the sand If you draw a line in the sand, you establish a limit beyond which things will be unacceptable.
778 Draw a long bow If someone draws a long bow, they lie or exaggerate.
779 Draw the line When you draw the line, you set out limits of what you find acceptable, beyond which you will not go.
780 Draw the shortest straw If someone draws the shortest straw, they lose or are chosen to do something unpleasant.
781 Dress someone down If you dress someone down, you scold them.
782 Dress to kill When someone is dressed to kill, they are dressed very smartly.
783 Dressed to the nines If you are in your very best clothes, you're dressed to the nines.
784 Drink like a fish If someone drinks like a fish, they drink far too much alcohol.
785 Drive a wedge If you drive a wedge between people, you exploit an issue so that people start to disagree.
786 Drive home The idiomatic expression 'drive home' means 'reinforce' as in 'The company offered unlimited technical support as a way to drive home the message that customer satisfaction was its highest priority.'
787 Drive someone up the wall If something or someone drives you up the wall, they do something that irritates you greatly.
788 Drive you spare If someone or something drives you spare, it is extremely annoying.
789 Driven by a motor This is used to describe people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when they talk excessively: 'they act as if driven by a motor.'
790 Drop a bombshell If someone drops a bombshell, they announce something that changes a situation drastically and unexpectedly.
791 Drop a dime (USA) If you tell someone to drop a dime, you're suggesting he or she telephone you at some future time.
792 Drop in the bucket (USA) A drop in the bucket is something so small that it won't make any noticeable difference.
793 Drop in the ocean A drop in the ocean implies that something will have little effect because it is small and mostly insignificant.
794 Drop into your lap If something drops into your lap, you receive it suddenly, without any warning. ('Fall into your lap' is also used.)
795 Drop like flies This means that something is disappearing very quickly. For example, if you said people were dropping like flies, it would mean that they were dying off, quitting or giving up something rapidly.
796 Drop someone a line If you drop someone a line, you send a letter to them.
797 Drop the ball If someone drops the ball, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities seriously enough and let something go wrong.
798 Dropped like a hot cake If something is dropped like a hot cake, it is rejected or disposed of very quickly.
799 Drown your sorrows If someone gets drunk or drinks a lot to try to stop feeling unhappy, they drown their sorrows.
800 Drunk as a lord (UK) Someone who is very drunk is as drunk as a lord.
801 Drunker than a peach orchard boar (USA) Southern US expression - Very drunk, as when a boar would eat fermented peaches that have fallen from the tree.
802 Dry as a bone If your lawn is as dry as a bone, the soil is completely dry.
803 Dry as snuff If something is as dry as snuff, it is very dry indeed.
804 Dry run A dry run is a full rehearsal or trial exercise of something to see how it will work before it is launched.
805 Dry spell If something or someone is having a dry spell, they aren't being as successful as they normally are.
806 Duck soup (USA) If something is duck soup, it is very easy.
807 Duck to water If you take to something like a duck to water, you find when you start that you have a natural affinity for it.
808 Ducks in a row (USA) If you have your ducks in a row, you are well-organized.
809 Dull as ditchwater (UK) If something is as dull as ditchwater, it is incredibly boring. A ditch is a long narrow hole or trench dug to contain water, which is normally a dark, dirty colour and stagnant (when water turns a funny colour and starts to smell bad). (In American English,'things are 'dull as dishwater'.)
810 Dumb as a rock If you are dumb as a rock, you have no common sense and are stupid.
811 Dunkirk spirit (UK) Dunkirk spirit is when people pull together to get through a very difficult time.
812 Dutch auction If something is sold by setting a price, then reducing it until someone buys it, it is sold in a Dutch auction. It can also mean that something is changed until it is accepted by everyone.
813 Dutch courage Dutch courage is the reckless bravery caused by drinking too much.
814 Dutch treat If something like a meal is a Dutch treat, then each person pays their own share of the bill.
815 Dutch uncle A Dutch uncle is a person who gives unwelcome advice.
816 Dutch wife A Dutch wife is a long pillow or a hot water bottle.
817 Dwell on the past Thinking too much about the past, so that it becomes a problem is to dwell on the past.
818 Dyed-in-the-wool If someone is a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of a political party, etc, they support them totally, without any questions.
819 Each to their own Different people have different preferences. In American English, 'Each to his own' is more common.
820 Eager beaver A person who is extremely keen is an eager beaver.
821 Eagle eyes Someone who has eagle eyes sees everything; no detail is too small.
822 Early bath (UK) If someone has or goes for an early bath, they quit or lose their job or position earlier than expected because things have gone wrong.
823 Early bird catches the worm The early bird catches the worm means that if you start something early, you stand a better chance of success.
824 Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise It means that sleeping well and not staying up late will help you out physically and financially.
825 Earn a living To make money Ex: We need to get a good job to earn a decent living.
826 Easier said than done If something is easier said than done, it is much more difficult than it sounds. It is often used when someone advises you to do something difficult and tries to make it sound easy.
827 Easy as ABC Something that is as easy as ABC is very easy or simple.
828 Easy as beans Something that is so easy that anyone can do it is easy as beans.
829 Easy as pie If something is easy as pie, it is very easy indeed.
830 Easy come, easy go This idiom means that money or other material gains that come without much effort tend to get spent or consumed as easily.
831 Easy peasy (UK) If something is easy peasy, it is very easy indeed. ('Easy peasy, lemon squeezy' is also used.)
832 Eat crow (USA) If you eat crow, you have to admit that you were wrong about something.
833 Eat humble pie If someone apologises and shows a lot of contrition for something they have done, they eat humble pie.
834 Eat like a bird If someone eats like a bird, they eat very little.
835 Eat like a horse Someone who eats like a horse, eats a lot.
836 Eat like a pig If some eats like a pig, they either eat too much or they have bad table manners.
837 Eat my hat People say this when they don't believe that something is going to happen e.g. 'If he passes that exam, I'll eat my hat!'
838 Eat someone alive If you eat someone alive, you defeat or beat them comprehensively.
839 Eat your heart out If someone tells you to eat your heart out, they are saying they are better than you at something.
840 Eat your words If you eat your words, you accept publicly that you were wrong about something you said.
841 Economical with the truth (UK) If someone, especially a politician, is economical with the truth, they leave out information in order to create a false picture of a situation, without actually lying.
842 Egg on your face If someone has egg on their face, they are made to look foolish or embarrassed.
843 Elbow grease If something requires elbow grease, it involves a lot of hard physical work.
844 Elbow room If you haven't got enough elbow room, you haven't got enough space.
845 Elephant in the room An elephant in the room is a problem that everyone knows very well but no one talks about because it is taboo, embarrassing, etc.
846 Eleventh hour If something happens at the eleventh hour, it happens right at the last minute.
847 Empty vessels make the most noise The thoughtless often speak the most.
848 End in smoke If something ends in smoke, it produces no concrete or positive result. This expression refers to the boasting by a person, of having put in a lot of efforts by him, for a particular cause or to attain a result which is very difficult to be done by any person. (This mainly refers to an investigation of a crime or solving a serious offence or a mystery). But at the end, when the desired result is not obtained, his claims are found to be false and not worth mentioning. So, he looses his credibility.
849 Etched in stone Something, especially rules and customs, that cannot be changed at all is said to be etched in stone.
850 Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while This expression means that even if people are ineffective or misguided, sometimes they can still be correct just by being lucky.
851 Even a broken clock is right twice a day This is used when people get lucky and are undeservedly successful.('Even a stopped clock is right twice a day' is also used.)
852 Even keel If something is on an even keel, it is balanced.
853 Even Stevens If everything is equal between people, they are even Stevens.
854 Even the dogs in the street know (Irish) This idiom is used frequently in Ireland, and means something is so obvious that even the dogs in the street know it.
855 Every ass likes to hear himself bray This means that people like the sound of their own voice.
856 Every cloud has a silver lining People sometimes say that every cloud has a silver lining to comfort somebody who's having problems. They mean that it is always possible to get something positive out of a situation, no matter how unpleasant, difficult or even painful it might seem.
857 Every dog has its day This idiom means that everyone gets their moment to shine.
858 Every man and his dog A lot of people - as in sending out invitations to a large number of people
859 Every man for himself If it's every man for himself, then people are trying to save themselves from a difficult situation without trying to help anyone else.
860 Every man has his price Anyone's opinion or support can be bought, everyone's principles have a limit.
861 Every man jack If every man jack was involved in something, it is an emphatic way of saying that absolutely everybody was involved.
862 Every nook and cranny If you search every nook and cranny, you look everywhere for something.
863 Every Tom, Dick and Harry If every Tom, Dick and Harry knows about something, then it is common knowledge.
864 Every trick in the book If you try every trick in the book, you try every possible way, including dishonesty and deceit, to get what you want.
865 Everybody and their uncle This basically means a lot of people or too many people; everybody and their uncle was there.
866 Everything but the kitchen sink If people include everything but the kitchen sink, they include every possibility, regardless of whether they are useful.
867 Exception that proves the rule This expression is used by many to indicate that an exception in some way confirms a rule. Others say that the exception tests the rule. In its original legal sense, it meant that a rule could sometimes be inferred from an exemption or exception. In general use, the first meaning predominates nowadays, much to the annoyance of some pedants.
868 Explore all avenues If all avenues are being explored, then every conceivable approach is being tried that could possibly get the desired result.
869 Eye candy When a person is very attractive, they can be described as eye candy - sweet to look at!
870 Eye for an eye This is an expression for retributive justice, where the punishment equals the crime.
871 Eye- wash This expression 'eye-wash' is generally used to cover up the anxiety of a person who is seeking a concrete reply or justification for an act or an event that had affected his personal image or caused him a loss. The affected person usually represents his case to the higher-ups and puts forth his demands for redressal. But the authority, in order to avoid embarassment to his organisation or to himself, is not in a position to expose the entire material or evidence which in turn tell upon the credibility of the organisation. In such circumstances, he will usually call for an investigation to satisfy the complainant, but will not be keen in disposing the case. The authority will drag on the issue, (at the same time pretending to be serious) until the seriousness of the issue dies down and no finality is reached. So, ' The investigation on the issue by the authority is an eye-wash'.
872 Eye-opener Something surprising, unexpected which reveals the truth about something or someone.
873 Eyes are bigger than one's stomach If someone's eyes are bigger than their stomach, they are greedy and take on more than they can consume or manage.
874 Face like thunder If someone has a face like thunder, they are clearly very angry or upset about something.
875 Face only a mother could love When someone has a face only a mother could love, they are ugly.
876 Face the music If you have to face the music, you have to accept the negative consequences of something you have done wrong.
877 Face value If you take something at face value, you accept the appearance rather than looking deeper into the matter.
878 Face your demons If you face your demons, you confront your fears or something that you have been trying hard to avoid.
879 Facts of life When someone is taught the facts of life, they learn about sex and reproduction.
880 Failure is the mother of success Failure is often a stepping stone towards success.
881 Faint heart never won fair lady This means that you will not get the partner of your dreams if you lack the confidence to let them know how you feel.
882 Fair and square If someone wins something fair and square, they follow the rules and win conclusively.
883 Fair crack of the whip (UK) If everybody has a fair crack of the whip, they all have equal opportunities to do something.
884 Fair shake of the whip (USA) If everybody has a fair shake of the whip, they all have equal opportunities to do something.
885 Fair thee well Meaning completely and fully: I am tied up today to a fair-thee-well.
886 Fairweather friend A fairweather friend is the type who is always there when times are good but forgets about you when things get difficult or problems crop up.
887 Fall by the wayside To fall by the wayside is to give up or fail before completion.
888 Fall from grace If a person falls from grace, they lose favor with someone.
889 Fall off the back of a lorry (UK) If someone tries to sell you something that has fallen of the back of a lorry, they are trying to sell you stolen goods.
890 Fall off the turnip truck (USA) If someone has just fallen off the turnip truck, they are uninformed, naive and gullible. (Often used in the negative)
891 Fall off the wagon If someone falls off the wagon, they start drinking after having given up completely for a time.
892 Fall on our feet If you fall on your feet, you succeed in doing something where there was a risk of failure.
893 Fall on your sword If someone falls on their sword, they resign or accept the consequences of some wrongdoing.
894 Familiarity breeds contempt This means that the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them.
895 Famous last words This expression is used as a way of showing disbelief, rejection or self-deprecation.'They said we had no chance of winning- famous last words!'
896 Fast and furious Things that happen fast and furious happen very quickly without stopping or pausing.
897 Fat cat A fat cat is a person who makes a lot of money and enjoys a privileged position in society.
898 Fat chance! This idiom is a way of telling someone they have no chance.
899 Fat head A fat head is a dull, stupid person.
900 Fat hits the fire When the fat hits the fire, trouble breaks out.
901 Fat of the land Living off the fat of the land means having the best of everything in life.
902 Fate worse than death Describing something as a fate worse than death is a fairly common way of implying that it is unpleasant.
903 Feast today, famine tomorrow If you indulge yourself with all that you have today, you may have to go without tomorrow.
904 Feather in your cap A success or achievement that may help you in the future is a feather in your cap.
905 Feather your own nest If someone feathers their own nest, they use their position or job for personal gain.
906 Feathers fly When people are fighting or arguing angrily, we can say that feathers are flying.
907 Fed up to the back teeth When you are extremely irritated and fed up with something or someone, you are fed up to the back teeth.
908 Feel at home If you feel relaxed and comfortable somewhere or with someone, you feel at home.
909 Feel free If you ask for permission to do something and are told to feel free, the other person means that there is absolutely no problem
910 Feel like a million If you feel like a million, you are feeling very well (healthy) and happy.
911 Feel the pinch If someone is short of money or feeling restricted in some other way, they are feeling the pinch.
912 Feeling blue If you feel blue, you are feeling unwell, mainly associated with depression or unhappiness.
913 Feet of clay If someone has feet of clay, they have flaws that make them seem more human and like normal people.
914 Feet on the ground A practical and realistic person has their feet on the ground.
915 Fence sitter Someone that try to support both side of an argument without committing to either is a fence sitter.
916 Few and far between If things are few and far between, they happen very occasionally.
917 Fiddle while Rome burns If people are fiddling while Rome burns, they are wasting their time on futile things while problems threaten to destroy them.
918 Fifth columnist (UK) A fifth columnist is a member of a subversive organisation who tries to help an enemy invade.
919 Fifth wheel (USA) A fifth wheel is something unnecessary or useless.
920 Fight an uphill battle When you fight an uphill battle, you have to struggle against very unfavourable circumstances.
921 Fight tooth and nail If someone will fight tooth and nail for something, they will not stop at anything to get what they want. ('Fight tooth and claw' is an alternative.)
922 Fighting chance If you have a fighting chance, you have a reasonable possibility of success.
923 Find your feet When you are finding your feet, you are in the process of gaining confidence and experience in something.
924 Fine and dandy (UK) If thing's are fine and dandy, then everything is going well.
925 Fine tuning Small adjustments to improve something or to get it working are called fine tuning.
926 Fine words butter no parsnips This idiom means that it's easy to talk, but talk is not action.
927 Finger in the pie If you have a finger in the pie, you have an interest in something.
928 Fingers and thumbs If you are all fingers and thumbs, you are being clumsy and not very skilled with your hands.
929 Fire away If you want to ask someone a question and they tell you to fire away, they mean that you are free to ask what you want.
930 Fire on all cylinders If something is firing on all cylinders, it is going as well as it could.
931 First come, first served This means there will be no preferential treatment and a service will be provided to those that arrive first.
932 First out of the gate When someone is first out of the gate, they are the first to do something that others are trying to do.
933 First port of call The first place you stop to do something is your first port of call.
934 Fish in troubled waters Someone who fishes in troubled waters tries to takes advantage of a shaky or unstable situation. The extremists were fishing in troubled waters during the political uncertainty in the country.
935 Fish or cut bait (USA) This idiom is used when you want to tell someone that it is time to take action.
936 Fish out of water If you are placed in a situation that is completely new to you and confuses you, you are like a fish out of water.
937 Fishy If there is something fishy about someone or something, there is something suspicious; a feeling that there is something wrong, though it isn't clear what it is.
938 Fit as a fiddle If you are fit as a fiddle, you are in perfect health.
939 Fit for a king If something is fit for a king, it is of the very highest quality or standard.
940 Fit like a glove If something fits like a glove, it is suitable or the right size.
941 Fit of pique If someone reacts badly because their pride is hurt, this is a fit of pique.
942 Fit the bill If something fits the bill, it is what is required for the task.
943 Fit to be tied If someone is fit to be tied, they are extremely angry.
944 Five o'clock shadow A five o'clock shadow is the facial hair that a man gets if he doesn't shave for a day or two.
945 Flash in the pan If something is a flash in the pan, it is very noticeable but doesn't last long, like most singers, who are very successful for a while, then forgotten.
946 Flat as a pancake It is so flat that it is like a pancake- there is no head on that beer it is as flat as a pancake.
947 Flat out If you work flat out, you work as hard and fast as you possibly can.
948 Fleet of foot If someone is fleet of foot, they are very quick.
949 Flesh and blood Your flesh and blood are your blood relatives, especially your immediate family.
950 Flogging a dead horse (UK) If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they're flogging a dead horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work.
951 Flowery speech Flowery speech is full of lovely words, but may well lack substance.
952 Fly by the seat of one's pants If you fly by the seat of one's pants, you do something difficult even though you don't have the experience or training required.
953 Fly in the ointment A fly in the ointment is something that spoils or prevents complete enjoyment of something.
954 Fly off the handle If someone flies off the handle, they get very angry.
955 Fly on the wall If you are able to see and hear events as they happen, you are a fly on the wall.
956 Fly the coop When children leave home to live away from their parents, they fly the coop.
957 Fly the flag If someone flies the flag, they represent or support their country. ('Wave the flag' and 'show the flag' are alternative forms of this idiom)
958 Follow your nose When giving directions, telling someone to follow their nose means that they should go straight ahead.
959 Food for thought If something is food for thought, it is worth thinking about or considering seriously.
960 Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me This means that you should learn from your mistakes and not allow people to take advantage of you repeatedly.
961 Fools rush in where angels fear to tread This idiom is used where people who are inexperienced or lack knowledge do something that more informed people would avoid.
962 Foot in mouth This is used to describe someone who has just said something embarrassing, inappropriate, wrong or stupid.
963 Foot in the door If you have or get your foot in the door, you start working in a company or organisation at a low level, hoping that you will be able to progress from there.
964 Foot the bill The person who foots the bill pays the bill for everybody.
965 Football's a game of two halves (UK) If something's a game of two halves, it means that it's possible for someone's fortunes or luck to change and the person who's winning could end up a loser.
966 For a song If you buy or sell something for a song, it is very cheap.
967 For donkey's years (UK) If people have done something, usually without much if any change, for an awfully long time, they can be said to have done it for donkey's years.
968 For England (UK) A person who talks for England, talks a lot- if you do something for England, you do it a lot or to the limit.
969 For kicks If you do something for kicks, or just for kicks, you do it purely for fun or thrills.
970 For my money This idiom means 'in my opinion'.
971 For Pete's sake This is used as an exclamation to show exasperation or irritation.
972 For the birds If something is worthless or ridiculous, it is for the birds.
973 For the love of Pete Usually used in exasperation, as in 'Oh, for the love of Pete!'
974 For the time being For the time being indicates that an action or state will continue into the future, but is temporary. I'm sharing an office for the time being.
975 Forbidden fruit Something enjoyable that is illegal or immoral is forbidden fruit.
976 Foregone conclusion If the result of, say, a football match is a foregone conclusion, then the result is obvious before the game has even begun.
977 Forest for the trees (USA) If someone can't see the forest for the trees, they get so caught up in small details that they fail to understand the bigger picture.
978 Fortune knocks once at every man's door Everyone gets one good chance in a lifetime.
979 Foul play If the police suspect foul play, they think a crime was committed.
980 Four corners of the earth If something goes to, or comes from, the four corners of the earth, it goes or comes absolutely everywhere.
981 Four-eyes A person who wears glasses
982 Four-square behind If someone stands four-square behind someone, they give that person their full support.
983 Fourth estate This is an idiomatic way of describing the media, especially the newspapers.
984 Free rein If someone has a free rein, they have the authority to make the decisions they want without any restrictions. ('Free reign' is a common mistake.)
985 Free-for-all A free-for-all is a fight or contest in which everyone gets involved and rules are not respected.
986 French leave To take French leave is to leave a gathering without saying goodbye or without permission.
987 Fresh from the oven If something is fresh from the oven, it is very new.
988 Freudian Slip If someone makes a Freudian slip, they accidentally use the wrong word, but in doing so reveal what they are really thinking rather than what they think the other person wants to hear.
989 Friendly footing When relationships are on a friendly footing, they are going well.
990 From a different angle If you look at something from a different angle, you look at it from a different point of view.
991 From Missouri (USA) If someone is from Missouri, then they require clear proof before they will believe something.
992 From pillar to post If something is going from pillar to post, it is moving around in a meaningless way, from one disaster to another.
993 From rags to riches Someone who starts life very poor and makes a fortune goes from rags to riches.
994 From scratch This idiom means 'from the beginning'.
995 From soup to nuts If you do something from soup to nuts, you do it from the beginning right to the very end.
996 From the bottom of your heart If someone does something from the bottom of their heart, then they do it with genuine emotion and feeling.
997 From the get-go (USA) If something happens from the get-go, it happens from the very beginning.
998 From the horse's mouth If you hear something from the horse's mouth, you hear it directly from the person concerned or responsible.
999 From the sublime to the ridiculous If something declines considerably in quality or importance, it is said to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.
1000 From the word go From the word go means from the very beginning of something.
1001 Full as a tick If you are as full as a tick, you have eaten too much.
1002 Full bore If something is full bore, it involves the maximum effort or is complete and thorough.
1003 Full circle When something has come full circle, it has ended up where it started.
1004 Full Monty (UK) If something is the Full Monty, it is the real thing, not reduced in any way.
1005 Full of beans If someone's full of beans, they are very energetic.
1006 Full of hot air Someone who is full of hot air talks a lot of rubbish.
1007 Full of oneself Someone who acts in a arrogant or egotistical manner is full of himself/herself.
1008 Full of piss and vinegar Someone who's full of piss and vinegar is full of youthful energy.
1009 Full of the joys of spring If you are full of the joys of spring, you are very happy and full of energy.
1010 Full swing If a something is in full swing, it is going or doing well.
1011 Full throttle If you do something full throttle, you do it with as much speed and energy as you can.
1012 Fullness of time If something happens in the fullness of time, it will happen when the time is right and appropriate.
1013 Fur coat and no knickers Someone with airs and graces, but no real class is fur coat and no knickers.
1014 Fuzzy thinking Thinking or ideas that do not agree with the facts or information availabl.
1015 Game on When someone says 'Game on!', it means that they are accepting a challenge or ready to get something done.
1016 Game plan A game plan is a strategy.
1017 Garbage fee A garbage fee is a charge that has no value and doesn't provide any real service.
1018 Garbage in, garbage out If a computer system or database is built badly, then the results will be bad.
1019 Gardening leave (UK) If someone is paid for a period when they are not working, either after they have given in their notice or when they are being investigated, they are on gardening leave.
1020 Gather pace If events gather pace, they move faster.
1021 Gather steam If something gathers speed, it moves or progresses at an increasing speed.
1022 Get a handle on When you get a handle on something, you come to understand it.
1023 Get a sheepskin Getting a sheepskin (or your sheepskin) means getting a degree or diploma. (Sheepskin refers to the parchment that a degree is printed on- parchment comes from sheepskin.)
1024 Get along famously If people get along famously, they have an exceedingly good relationship.
1025 Get away scot-free If someone gets away scot-free, they are not punished when they have done something wrong. ('Get off scot-free' is an alternative.)
1026 Get away with murder If you get away with murder, you do something bad and don't get caught or punished.('Get away with blue murder' is also used.)
1027 Get back on the horse that bucked you When you start drinking again after being hungover from drinking the previous night.
1028 Get in on the act If people want to get in on the act, they want to participate in something that is currently profitable or popular.
1029 Get in on the ground floor If you get in on the ground floor, you enter a project or venture at the start before people know how successful it might be.
1030 Get it in the neck (UK) If you get it in the neck, you are punished or criticised for something.
1031 Get it off your chest If you get something off your chest, you confess to something that has been troubling you.
1032 Get my drift If you get someone's drift, you understand what they are trying to say. ('Catch their drift' is an alternative form.)
1033 Get off the ground If a project or plan gets off the ground, it starts to be put into operation.
1034 Get on like a house on fire If people get on like a house on fire, they have a very close and good relationship.
1035 Get on your nerves If something gets on your nerves, it annoys or irritates you.
1036 Get on your soapbox If someone on their soapbox, they hold forth (talk a lot) about a subject they feel strongly about.
1037 Get out of bed on the wrong side If you get out of bed on the wrong side, you wake up and start the day in a bad mood for no real reason.
1038 Get the axe If you get the axe, you lose your job. ('Get the ax' is the American spelling.)
1039 Get the ball rolling If you get the ball rolling, you start something so that it can start making progress.
1040 Get the green light If you get the green light to do something, you are given the necessary permission, authorisation.
1041 Get the monkey off your back If you get the monkey off your back, you pass on a problem to someone else.
1042 Get the nod (UK) If you get the nod to something, you get approval or permission to do it.
1043 Get the picture If you get the picture, you understand a situation fully.
1044 Get the show on the road If you get the show on the road, you put a plan into operation or begin something.
1045 Get to grips If you get to grips with something, you take control and do it properly.
1046 Get up and go If someone has lots of get up and go, they have lots of enthusiasm and energy.
1047 Get wind of If you get wind of something, you hear or learn about it, especially if it was meant to be secret.
1048 Get your ducks in a row If you get your ducks in a row, you organise yourself and your life.
1049 Get your feathers in a bunch If you get your feathers in a bunch, you get upset or angry about something.
1050 Get your feet wet If you get your feet wet, you gain your first experience of something.
1051 Get your goat If something gets your goat, it annoys you.
1052 Get your hands dirty If you get your hands dirty, you become involved in something where the realities might compromise your principles. It can also mean that a person is not just stuck in an ivory tower dictating strategy, but is prepared to put in the effort and hard work to make the details actually happen.
1053 Get your head around something If you get your head around something, you come to understand it even though it is difficult to comprehend.
1054 Get your teeth into If you get your teeth into something, you become involved in or do something that is intellectually challenging or satisfying. ('Dig you teeth into' and 'sink your teeth into' are also used.)
1055 Get your wires crossed If people get their wires cross, they misunderstand each other, especially when making arrangements. ('Get your lines crossed' is also used.)
1056 Ghost of a chance If something or someone hasn't got a ghost of a chance, they have no hope whatsoever of succeeding.
1057 Ghostly presence You can feel or otherwise sense a ghostly presence, but you cannot do it clearly only vaguely.
1058 Gift of the gab If someone has the gift of the gab, they speak in a persuasive and interesting way.
1059 Gild the lily If you gild the lily, you decorate something that is already ornate.
1060 Gilded cage If someone is in a gilded cage, they are trapped and have restricted or no freedom, but have very comfortable surroundings- many famous people live in luxury but cannot walk out of their house alone.
1061 Girl Friday A girl Friday is a female employee who assists someone without any specific duties.
1062 Give a big hand Applaud by clapping hands. 'Let's give all the contestents a big hand.'
1063 Give a dog a bad name A person who is generally known to have been guilty of some offence will always be suspected to be the author of all similar types of offence. Once someone has gained a bad reputation, it is very difficult to lose it.
1064 Give and take Where there is give and take, people make concessions in order to get things they want in negotiations.
1065 Give as good as you get If you give as good as you get, you are prepared to treat people as badly as they treat you and to fight for what you believe.
1066 Give it some stick (UK) If you give something some stick, you put a lot of effort into it.
1067 Give me a hand If someone gives you a hand, they help you.
1068 Give me five If someone says this, they want to hit your open hand against theirs as a way of congratulation or greeting.
1069 Give someone a leg up If you give someone a leg up, you help them to achieve something that they couldn't have done alone.
1070 Give someone a piece of your mind If you give someone a piece of your mind, you criticise them strongly and angrily.
1071 Give someone a run for their money If you can give someone a run for the money, you are as good, or nearly as good, as they are at something.
1072 Give someone enough rope If you give someone enough rope, you give them the chance to get themselves into trouble or expose themselves. (The full form is 'give someone enough rope and they'll hang themselves)
1073 Give someone stick (UK) If someone gives you stick, they criticise you or punish you.
1074 Give someone the runaround If someone gives you the runaround, they make excuses and give you false explanations to avoid doing something.
1075 Give the nod (UK) If you give the nod to something, you approve it or give permission to do it.
1076 Give up the ghost People give up the ghost when they die. Machines stop working when they give up the ghost.
1077 Give your eye teeth If you really want something and would be prepared to sacrifice a lot to get it, you would give your eye teeth for it.
1078 Given the day that's in it (Irish) This idiom is used when something is obvious because of the day that it occurs: traffic, for example would be busy around a football stadium on game day, given the day that's in it. On any other day the traffic would be unexplainable, but because its game day its obvious why there is traffic.
1079 Glass ceiling The glass ceiling is the discrimination that prevents women and minorities from getting promoted to the highest levels of companies and organisations.
1080 Glory hound A glory hound is a person seeking popularity, fame and glory.
1081 Gloves are off When the gloves are off, people start to argue or fight in a more serious way. ('The gloves come off' and 'take the gloves off' are also used. It comes from boxing, where fighters normally wear gloves so that they don't do too much damage to each other.)
1082 Glutton for punishment If a person is described as a glutton for punishment, the happily accept jobs and tasks that most people would try to get out of. A glutton is a person who eats a lot.
1083 Gnaw your vitals If something gnaws your vitals, it troubles you greatly and affects you at a very deep level. ('Gnaw at your vitals' is also used.)
1084 Go against the grain A person who does things in an unconventional manner, especially if their methods are not generally approved of, is said to go against the grain. Such an individual can be called a maverick.
1085 Go awry If things go awry, they go wrong.
1086 Go bananas If you go bananas, you are wild with excitement, anxiety, or worry.
1087 Go blue If you go blue, you are very cold indeed. ('Turn blue' is an alternative form.)
1088 Go bust If a company goes bust, it goes bankrupt.
1089 Go by the board When something has gone by the board, it no longer exists or an opportunity has been lost.
1090 Go by the boards If something goes by the boards, it fails to get approved or accepted.
1091 Go down like a cup of cold sick (UK) An idea or excuse that will not be well accepted will go down like a cup of cold sick.
1092 Go down like a lead balloon (UK) If something goes down like a lead balloon, it fails or is extremely badly received.
1093 Go down swinging If you want to go down swinging, you know you will probably fail, but you refuse to give up.
1094 Go down without a fight If someone goes down without a fight, they surrender without putting up any resistance.
1095 Go Dutch If you go Dutch in a restaurant, you pay equal shares for the meal.
1096 Go fly a kite (USA) This is used to tell someone to go away and leave you alone.
1097 Go for broke If someone goes for broke, they risk everything they have for a potentially greater gain.
1098 Go fry an egg (USA) This is used to tell someone to go away and leave you alone.
1099 Go hand in hand If things go hand in hand, they are associated and go together.
1100 Go nuts If someone goes nuts, they get excited over something.
1101 Go off on a tangent If someone goes off on a tangent, they change the subject completely in the middle of a conversation or talk.
1102 Go over like a lead balloon (USA) If something goes over like a lead balloon, it will not work well, or go over well.
1103 Go overboard If you go overboard, you do something excessively.
1104 Go pear-shaped If things have gone wrong, they have gone pear-shaped.
1105 Go play in traffic This is used as a way of telling someone to go away.
1106 Go round in circles If people are going round in circles, they keep discussing the same thing without reaching any agreement or coming to a conclusion.
1107 Go south If things go south, they get worse or go wrong.
1108 Go spare (UK) If you go spare, you lose your temper completely.
1109 Go tell it to birds This is used when someone says something that is not credible or is a lie.
1110 Go the distance If you go the distance, you continue until something ends, no matter how difficult.
1111 Go the extra mile If someone is prepared to go the extra mile, they will do everything they can to help or to make something succeed, going beyond their duty what could be expected of them .
1112 Go the whole hog If you go the whole hog, you do something completely or to its limits.
1113 Go through the motions When you go through the motions, you do something like an everyday routine and without any feelings whatsoever.
1114 Go to seed If someone has gone to seed, they have declined in quality or appearance.
1115 Go to the wire If someone goes to the wire, they risk their life, job, reputation, etc, to help someone.
1116 Go to your head If something goes to your head, it makes you feel vain. If alcohol goes to your head, it makes you feel drunk quickly.
1117 Go under the hammer If something goes under the hammer, it is sold in an auction.
1118 Go west If something goes west, it goes wrong. If someone goes west, they die.
1119 Go with the flow If you go with the flow, you accept things as they happen and do what everyone else wants to do.
1120 Go-to guy A go-to guy is a person whose knowledge of something is considerable so everyone wants to go to him or her for information or results.
1121 Going concern A successful and active business is a going concern.
1122 Going overboard If you go overboard with something, then you take something too far, or do too much.
1123 Golden handshake A golden handshake is a payment made to someone to get them to leave their job.
1124 Golden rule The golden rule is the most essential or fundamental rule associated with something. Originally, it was not a general reference to an all purpose first rule applicable to many groups or protocols, but referred to a verse in the Bible about treating people they way you would want them to treat you, which was considered the First Rule of behavior towards all by all.
1125 Golden touch Someone with a golden touch can make money from or be successful at anything they do.
1126 Gone fishing If someone has gone fishing, they are not very aware of what is happening around them.
1127 Gone for a burton (UK) If something's gone for a burton, it has been spoiled or ruined. If a person has gone for a burton, they are either in serious trouble or have died.
1128 Gone pear-shaped (UK) If things have gone pear-shaped they have either gone wrong or produced an unexpected and unwanted result.
1129 Gone to pot If something has gone to pot, it has gone wrong and doesn't work any more.
1130 Gone to the dogs If something has gone to the dogs, it has gone badly wrong and lost all the good things it had.
1131 Good antennae Someone with good antennae is good at detecting things.
1132 Good as gold If children are as good as gold, they behave very well.
1133 Good egg A person who can be relied on is a good egg. Bad egg is the opposite.
1134 Good fences make good neighbours This means that it is better for people to mind their own business and to respect the privacy of others. ('Good fences make good neighbors' is the American English spelling.)
1135 Good hand If you are a good hand at something, you do it well.
1136 Good Samaritan A good Samaritan is a persoon wh helps others in need.
1137 Good shape If something's in good shape, it's in good condition. If a person's in good shape, they are fit and healthy.
1138 Good spell A spell can mean a fairly or relatively short period of time; you'll hear weather forecasts predict a dry spell. Sports commentators will say that a sportsperson is going through a good spell when they're performing consistently better than they normally do.
1139 Good time If you make good time on a journey, you manage to travel faster than you expected.
1140 Good to go Someone or something that meets one's approval. 'He is good to go.' 'The idea you had is good to go.'
1141 Good walls make good neighbours Your relationship with your neighbours depends, among other things, on respecting one another's privacy.
1142 Goody two-shoes A goody two-shoes is a self-righteous person who makes a great deal of their virtue.
1143 Grab the bulls by its horns If you grab (take) the bull by its horns, you deal head-on and directly with a problem.
1144 Grain of salt If you should take something with a grain of salt, you shouldn't necessarily believe it all. ('pinch of salt' is an alternative)
1145 Grasp the nettle (UK) If you grasp the nettle, you deal bravely with a problem.
1146 Grass may be greener on the other side but it's just as hard to mow 'The grass may be greener on the other side but it's just as hard to mow' is an expression used to mean a person's desire to have that which another person has in the belief it will make their life easieris false as all situations come with their own set of problems.
1147 Grass roots This idioms is often used in politics, where it refers to the ordinary people or voters. It can be used to mean people at the bottom of a hierarchy.
1148 Grass widow A grass widow is a woman whose husband is often away on work, leaving her on her own.
1149 Graveyard shift If you have to work very late at night, it is the graveyard shift.
1150 Gravy train If someone is on the gravy train, they have found and easy way to make lots of money.
1151 Grease monkey A grease monkey is an idiomatic term for a mechanic.
1152 Grease someone's palm If you grease someone's palm, you bribe them to do something.
1153 Grease the skids If you grease the skids, you facilitate something.
1154 Greased lightning If something or someone moves like greased lightning, they move very fast indeed.
1155 Great guns If something or someone is going great guns, they are doing very well.
1156 Great Scott An exclamation of surprise.
1157 Great unwashed This is a term used for the working class masses.
1158 Great white hope Someone who is expected to be a great success is a great white hope.
1159 Greek to me If you don't understand something, it's all Greek to you.
1160 Green around the gills If someone looks green around the gills, they look ill.
1161 Green fingers (UK) Someone with green fingers has a talent for gardening.
1162 Green light If you are given the green light, you are given approval to do something.
1163 Green thumb (USA) Someone with a talent for gardening has a green thumb.
1164 Green with envy If you are green with envy, you are very jealous.
1165 Green-eyed monster The green-eyed monster is an allegorical phrase for somebody's strong jealousy
1166 Greenhorn A greenhorn or someone who is described simply as green lacks the relevant experience and knowledge for their job or task
1167 Grey area A grey/gray area is one where there is no clear right or wrong.
1168 Grey Cardinal Someone who is a Grey Cardinal exerts power behind the scenes, without drawing attention to himself or herself.
1169 Grey cells 'Grey cells' means 'brain' Eg: Use your grey cells to understand it
1170 Grey matter Grey/gray matter is the human brain.
1171 Grey pound (UK) In the UK, the grey pound is an idiom for the economic power of elderly people.
1172 Grey suits The men in grey suits are people who have a lot of power in business or politics, but aren't well-known or charismatic.
1173 Grin and bear it If you have to grin and bear it, you have to accept something that you don't like.
1174 Grin like a Cheshire cat If someone has a very wide smile, they have a grin like a Cheshire cat.
1175 Grinds my gear Something that is very annoying grinds your gear.
1176 Grist for the mill Something that you can use to your advantage is grist for the mill. ('Grist to the mill' is also used.)
1177 Guinea-pig If you are a guinea-pig, you take part in an experiment of some sort and are used in the testing.
1178 Gunboat diplomacy If a nation conducts its diplomatic relations by threatening military action to get what it wants, it is using gunboat diplomacy.
1179 Gung ho If someone is gung ho about something, they support it blindly and don't think about the consequences.
1180 Hail-fellow-well-met Someone whose behavior is hearty, friendly and congenial.
1181 Hair of the dog If someone has a hair of the dog, they have an alcoholic drink as a way of getting rid of a hangover, the unpleasant effects of having drunk too much alcohol the night before. It is commonly used as a way of excusing having a drink early on in the day.
1182 Hairy at the heel (UK) Someone who is hairy at the heel is dangerous or untrustworthy.
1183 Hale and hearty Someone who is hale and hearty is in very good health.
1184 Half a mind If you have half a mind to do something, you haven't decided to do it, but are thinking seriously about doing it.
1185 Half-baked A half-baked idea or scheme hasn't not been thought through or planned very well.
1186 Hammer and tongs If people are going at it hammer and tongs, they are arguing fiercely. The idiom can also be used hen people are doing something energetically.
1187 Hand in glove If people are hand in glove, they have an extremely close relationship.
1188 Hand in hand Hand in hand= work together closely When people in a group, say in an office or in a project, work together with mutual understanding to achieve the target, we say they work hand in hand. There is no lack of co-operation and each synchoranises the activity with that of the other.
1189 Hand that rocks the cradle Women have a great power and influence because they have the greatest influence over the development of children- the hand that rocks the cradle. ('The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world' is the full form.)
1190 Hand to mouth Someone who's living from hand to mouth, is very poor and needs the little money they have coming in to cover their expenses.
1191 Hands down If someone is better hands down than everyone else, they are much better.
1192 Handwriting like chicken scratch If your handwriting is very hard to read, it is like chicken scratch.
1193 Hang by a thread If something hangs by a thread, there is a very small chance indeed of it being successful or surviving.
1194 Hang in the balance If an outcome is hanging in the balance, there are at least two possibilities and it is impossible to predict which will win out.
1195 Hang out to dry If you hang someone out to dry, you abandon them when they are in trouble.
1196 Hangdog expression A hangdog expression is one where the person's showing their emotions very clearly, maybe a little too clearly for your liking. It's that mixture of misery and self-pity that is similar to a dog when it's trying to get something it wants but daren't take without permission.
1197 Hanged for a sheep as a lamb This is an expression meaning that if you are going to get into trouble for doing something, then you ought to stop worrying and should try to get everything you can before you get caught.
1198 Happy medium If you reach a happy medium, you are making a compromise; reaching a conclusion or decision.
1199 Hard as nails A person who is as hard as nails is either physically tough or has little or no respect for other people's feelings.
1200 Hard by "Hard by" means mean "close to" or "near".
1201 Hard cheese (UK) Hard cheese means hard luck.
1202 Hard of hearing Someone who's hard of hearing is a bit deaf.
1203 Hard on someone's heels If you are hard on someone's heels, you are close to them and trying to catch or overtake them. ('Hot on someone's heels' is also used.)
1204 Hard sell If someone puts a lot of pressure on you to do or buy something, they are hard selling it.
1205 Hard to come by If something is hard to come by, it is difficult to find.
1206 Hard up If you are hard up, you have very little money.
1207 Haste makes waste This idiom means that if you try to do something quickly, without planning it, you're likely to end up spending more time, money, etc, doing it.
1208 Hat trick Three successes one after the other is a hat trick.
1209 Hatchet job A piece of criticism that destroys someone's reputation is a hatchet job.
1210 Have a ball If you have a ball, you have a great time, a lot of fun.
1211 Have a bash If you have a bash at something, you try to do it, especially when there isn't much chance of success.
1212 Have a blast It means "to have a lot of fun".
1213 Have a crack If you have a crack at something, you try to do it. If someone is attempting to do something and they are unsuccessful, you might say, "Let me have a crack at it" suggesting that you might be successful at performing the task. ('Take a crack' is also used.)
1214 Have a go If you have a go, you try to do something, often when you don't think you have much chance of succeeding.
1215 Have a heart If someone has a heart, they arekind and sympathetic. If you say, 'Have a heart' to someone, you are asking them to be understanding and sympathetic.
1216 Have a ripper If you have a ripper of a time, you enjoy yourself.
1217 Have a trick up your sleeve If you have a trick up your sleeve, you have a secret strategy to use when the time is right.
1218 Have no truck with If you have no truck with something or someone, you refuse to get involved with it or them.
1219 Have the floor If someone has the floor, it is their turn to speak at a meeting.
1220 Have the guts Someone who has enough courage to do something has the guts to do it.
1221 Have your cake and eat it too If someone wants to have their cake and eat it too, they want everything their way, especially when their wishes are contradictory.
1222 Have your collar felt If someone has their collar felt, they are arrested.
1223 Have your fill If you have had your fill, you are fed up of somebody or something.
1224 Have your lunch handed to you If you have you lunch handed to you, you are outperformed and shown up by someone better.
1225 Have your moments Someone who has his or her moments exhibits a positive behavior pattern on an occasional basis but not generally.
1226 Have your tail up If someone has their tail up, they are optimistic and expect to be successful.
1227 Have your work cut out If you have your work cut out, you are very busy indeed.
1228 Having a gas If you're having a gas, you are having a laugh and enjoying yourself in company.
1229 Hay is for horses This idiom is used as a way of telling children not to say the word 'hey' as in hey you or hey there.
1230 He that travels far knows much People who travel widely have a wide knowledge.
1231 He who hesitates is lost If one waits too long, the opportunity vanishes.
1232 Head for the hills If people head for the hills, they run away from trouble.
1233 Head is in the clouds If a person has their head in the clouds, they have unrealistic, impractical ideas.
1234 Head is mince (Scot) When someone's thoughts are in a state of abject confusion, especially when facing a severe dilemma, their head is mince.
1235 Head nor tail If you can't make head nor tail of something, you cannot understand it at all or make any sense of it.
1236 Head on a spike If someone wants a head on a spike, they want to be able to destroy or really punish a person.
1237 Head on the block If someone's head is on the block, they are going to be held responsible and suffer the consequences for something that has gone wrong.
1238 Head over heels in love When someone falls passionately in love and is intoxicated by the feeling has fallen head over heels in love.
1239 Head south If something head south, it begins to fail or start going bad.'The project proceeded well for the first two months, but then it headed south.'
1240 Heads will roll If heads will roll, people will be punished or sacked for something that has gone wrong.
1241 Headstrong A headstrong person is obstinate and does not take other people's advice readily.
1242 Healthy as a horse If you're as healthy as a horse, you're very healthy.
1243 Heap coals on someone's head To do something nice or kind to someone who has been nasty to you. If someone felt bad because they forgot to get you a Christmas gift, for you to buy them a specially nice gift is heaping coals on their head. ('Heap coals of fire' is also used.)
1244 Hear a pin drop If there is complete silence in a room, you can hear a pin drop.
1245 Hear on the grapevine To receive information indirectly through a series of third parties, similar to a rumour.
1246 Heart in the right place If someone's heart is in the right place, they are good and kind, though they might not always appear to be so.
1247 Heart in your boots If you're heart is in your boots, you are very unhappy.
1248 Heart in your mouth If your heart is in your mouth, then you feel nervous or scared.
1249 Heart isn't in it If your heart is not in something, then you don't really believe in it or support it.
1250 Heart misses a beat If your heart misses a beat, you are suddenly shocked or surprised. ('Heart skips a beat' is an alternative)
1251 Heart of glass When someone has a heart of glass, they are easily affected emotionally.
1252 Heart of gold Someone with a heart of gold is a genuinely kind and caring person.
1253 Heart of steel When someone has a heart of steel, they do not show emotion or are not affected emotionally.
1254 Heart-to-heart A heart-to-heart is a frank and honest conversation with someone, where you talk honestly and plainly about issues, no matter how painful.
1255 Heaven knows If you ask someone a question and they say this, they have no idea.
1256 Heavenly bodies The heavenly bodies are the stars.
1257 Heavy-handed If someone is heavy-handed, they are insensitive and use excessive force or authority when dealing with a problem.
1258 Hedge your bets If you hedge your bets, you don't risk everything on one opportunity, but try more than one thing.
1259 Hell for leather If you do something hell for leather, especially running, you do it as fast as you can.
1260 Hell in a handcart If something is going to hell in a handcart, it is getting worse and worse, with no hope of stopping the decline.
1261 Herding cats If you have to try to co-ordinate a very difficult situation, where people want to do very different things, you are herding cats.
1262 Here today, gone tomorrow Money, happiness and other desirable things are often here today, gone tomorrow, which means that they don't last for very long.
1263 Hide nor hair When there's no trace of something or a person, you haven't seen hide nor hair of it or them.('Neither hide nor hair' is also used.)
1264 Hiding to nothing If people are on a hiding to nothing, their schemes and plans have no chance of succeeding. 'Hiding to nowhere' is an alternative.
1265 High and dry If you are left high and dry, you are left alone and given no help at all when you need it.
1266 High and low If you search high and low, you look everywhere for something or someone.
1267 High and mighty The high and mighty are the people with authority and power. If a person is high and mighty, they behave in a superior and condescending way.
1268 High as a kite If someone's as high as a kite, it means they have had too much to drink or are under the influence of drugs.
1269 High on the hog To live in great comfort with lots of money.
1270 High-handed If someone is high-handed, they behave arrogantly and pompously.
1271 High-wire act A high-wire act is a dangerous or risky strategy, plan, task, etc.
1272 Highway robbery Something that is ridiculously expensive, especially when you have no choice but to pay, is a highway robbery.
1273 Himalayan blunder A Himalayan blunder is a very serious mistake or error.
1274 Hindsight is twenty-twenty After something has gone wrong, it is easy to look back and make criticisms.
1275 Hit a nerve If something hits a nerve, it upsets someone or causes them pain, often when it is something they are trying to hide.
1276 Hit and miss Something that is hit and miss is unpredictable and may produce results or may fail.
1277 Hit me with your best shot If someone tells you to hit them with your best shot, they are telling you that no matter what you do it won't hurt them or make a difference to them.
1278 Hit rock bottom When someone hits rock bottom, they reach a point in life where things could not get any worse.
1279 Hit rough weather If you hit rough weather, you experience difficulties or problems.
1280 Hit the airwaves If someone hits the airwaves, they go on radio and TV to promote something or to tell their side of a story.
1281 Hit the books If you hit the books, you study or read hard.
1282 Hit the bull's-eye If someone hits the bull's-eye, they are exactly right about something or achieve the best result possible. "Bulls-eye" and "bullseye" are alternative spellings.
1283 Hit the ceiling If someone hits the ceiling, they lose their temper and become very angry.
1284 Hit the fan When it hits the fan, or, more rudely, the shit hits the fan, serious trouble starts.
1285 Hit the ground running If someone hits the ground running, they start a new job or position in a very dynamic manner.
1286 Hit the hay When you hit the hay, you go to bed.
1287 Hit the mark If someone hits the mark, they are right about something.
1288 Hit the nail on the head If someone hits the nail on the head, they are exactly right about something.
1289 Hit the road When people hit the road, they leave a place to go somewhere else.
1290 Hit the roof If you lose your temper and get very angry, you hit the roof.
1291 Hit the sack When you hit the sack, you go to bed.
1292 Hive of worker bees A hive of worker bees is a group of people working actively and cooperatively. Example: The classroom was a hive of worker bees.
1293 Hobson's choice A Hobson's choice is something that appears to be a free choice, but is really no choice as there is no genuine alternative.
1294 Hoist with your own petard If you are hoist with your own petard, you get into trouble or caught in a trap that you had set for someone else.
1295 Hold all the aces If you hold all the aces, you have all the advantages and your opponents or rivals are in a weak position.
1296 Hold the baby (UK) If someone is responsible for something, they are holding the baby.
1297 Hold the bag (USA) If someone is responsible for something, they are holding the bag.
1298 Hold the fort If you hold the fort, you look after something or assume someone's responsibilities while they are away.
1299 Hold the torch If you hold the torch for someone, you have an unrequited or unspoken love.
1300 Hold water When you say that something does or does not 'hold water', it means that the point of view or argument put forward is or is not sound, strong or logical. For e.g., 'Saying we should increase our interest rates because everyone else is doing so will not hold water'.
1301 Hold your horses If someone tells you to hold your horses, you are doing something too fast and they would like you to slow down.
1302 Hold your own If you can hold your own, you can compete or perform equally with other people.
1303 Hold your tongue If you hold your tongue, you keep silent even though you want to speak.
1304 Holier-than-thou Someone who is holier-than-thou believes that they are morally superior to other people.
1305 Hollow leg Someone who has a hollow leg eats what seems to be more than his stomach can hold.
1306 Hollow victory A hollow victory is where someone wins something in name, but are seen not to have gained anything by winning.
1307 Holy smoke! This is a way of expressing surprise: "Holy smoke! Look at all of those geese!"
1308 Home and hearth 'Home and hearth' is an idiom evoking warmth and security.
1309 Home is where you lay your hat Wherever you are comfortable and at ease with yourself is your home, regardless where you were born or brought up.('Home is where you lay your head' and 'Home is where you hang your hat' are also used.)
1310 Home stretch The home stretch is the last part of something, like a journey, race or project.
1311 Home sweet home This is said when one is pleased to be back at one's own home.
1312 Home, James (UK) This is a cliched way of telling the driver of a vehicle to start driving. It is supposed to be an order to a chauffeur (a privately employed driver). The full phrase is 'Home, James, and don't spare the horses'.
1313 Honest truth If someone claims that something is the honest truth, they wish to sound extra-sincere about something.
1314 Honor among thieves If someone says there is honor among thieves, this means that even corrupt or bad people sometimes have a sense of honor or integrity, or justice, even if it is skewed. ('Honour among thieves' is the British English version.)
1315 Honours are even If honours are even, then a competition has ended with neither side emerging as a winner.
1316 Hook, line, and sinker If somebody accepts or believes something hook, line, and sinker, they accept it completely.
1317 Hop, skip, and a jump If a place is a hop, skip, and a jump from somewhere, it's only a short distance away.
1318 Hope against hope If you hope against hope, you hope for something even though there is little or no chance of your wish being fulfilled.
1319 Hope in hell If something hasn't got a hope in hell, it stands absolutely no chance of succeeding.
1320 Hornets' nest A hornets' nest is a violent situation or one with a lot of dispute. (If you create the problem, you 'stir up a hornets' nest'.)
1321 Horns of a dilemma If you are on the horns of a dilemma, you are faced with two equally unpleasant options and have to choose one.
1322 Horse of a different color (USA) If something is a horse of a different color, it's a different matter or separate issue altogether.
1323 Horse trading Horse trading is an idiom used to describe negotiations, especially where these are difficult and involve a lot of compromise.
1324 Horses for courses Horses for courses means that what is suitable for one person or situation might be unsuitable for another.
1325 Hostile takeover If a company is bought out when it does not want to be, it is known as a hostile takeover.
1326 Hot air Language that is full of words but means little or nothing is hot air.
1327 Hot as blue blazes If something's as hot as blue blazes, it's extremely hot.
1328 Hot as Hades If something's as hot as Hades, it's extremely hot.
1329 Hot button (USA) A hot button is a topic or issue that people feel very strongly about.
1330 Hot foot If you hot foot it out of a place, you leave very quickly, often running.
1331 Hot ticket (USA) A hot ticket is something that is very much in demand at the moment.
1332 Hot to trot If someone is hot to trot, they are sexually aroused or eager to do something.
1333 Hot under the collar If you're hot under the collar, you're feeling angry or bothered.
1334 Hot water If you get into hot water, you get into trouble.
1335 Hot-blooded Someone who is hot-blooded is easily excitable or passionate.
1336 Hot-headed A hot-headed person gets angry very easily. (The noun 'hothead' can also be used.)
1337 Hour of need A time when someone really needs something, almost a last chance, is their hour of need.
1338 House of cards Something that is poorly thought out and can easily collapse or fail is a house of cards.
1339 How come If you want to show disbelief or surprise about an action, you can ask a question using 'how come'. How come he got the job? (You can't believe that they gave the job to somebody like him)
1340 How do you like them apples (USA) This idiomatic expression is used to express surprise or shock at something that has happened. It can also be used to boast about something you have done.
1341 How long is a piece of string If someone has no idea of the answer to a question, they can ask 'How long is a piece of string?' as a way of indicating their ignorance.
1342 How's tricks? This is used as a way of asking people how they are and how things have been going in their life.
1343 Hue and cry Hue and cry is an expression that used to mean all the people who joined in chasing a criminal or villain. Nowadays, if you do something without hue and cry, you do it discreetly and without drawing attention.
1344 Hung the moon If you refer to someone as having hung the moon, you think they are extremely wonderful, or amazing, or good.
1345 Hungry as a bear If you are hungry as a bear, it means that you are really hungry.
1346 Hunky Dory If something is hunky dory, it is perfectly satisfactory, fine
1347 I hereby give notice of my intention Hereby is used sometimes in formal, official declarations and statements to give greater force to the speaker' or the writer's affirmation. People will say it sometimes to emphasise their sincerity and correctness.
1348 I may be daft, but I'm not stupid I might do or say silly things occasionally, but in this instance I know what I am doing (Usually used when someone questions your application of common-sense).
1349 I should cocoa (UK) This idiom comes from 'I should think so', but is normally used sarcastically to mean the opposite.
1350 I'll cross that road when I come to it I'll think about something just when it happens, not in advance.
1351 I'll eat my hat You can say this when you are absolutely sure that you are right to let the other person know that there is no chance of your being wrong.
1352 I've got a bone to pick with you If somebody says this, they mean that they have some complaint to make against the person they are addressing.
1353 I've got your number You have made a mistake and I am going to call you on it. You are in trouble (a threat). I have a disagreement with you. I understand your true nature.
1354 Icing on the cake This expression is used to refer to something good that happens on top of an already good thing or situation.
1355 Idle hands are the devil's handiwork When someone is not busy, or being productive, trouble is bound to follow.
1356 If at first you don't succeed try try again When you fail, try until you get it right!
1357 If I had a nickel for every time (USA) When someone uses this expression, they mean that the specific thing happens a lot. It is an abbreviation of the statement 'If I had a nickel for every time that happened, I would be rich'
1358 If it ain't broke, don't fix it Any attempt to improve on a system that already works is pointless and may even hurt it.
1359 If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed If something cannot or will not happen the easy way, then sometimes it must be done the hard way.
1360 If the cap fits, wear it This idiom means that if the description is correct, then it is describing the truth, often when someone is being criticised. ('If the shoe fits, wear it' is an alternative)
1361 If wishes were horses, beggars would ride This means that wishing for something or wanting it is not the same as getting or having it.
1362 If you are given lemons make lemonade Always try and make the best out of a bad situation. With some ingenuity you can make a bad situation useful.
1363 If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen Originally a Harry S. Truman quote, this means that if you can't take the pressure, then you should remove yourself from the situation.
1364 If you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows If you wish to be associated with a particular high risk and/or high profile situation and benefit from the rewards of that association, you have to accept the consequences if things go wrong - you cannot dissociate yourself.
1365 If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.
1366 If you lie down with the Devil, you will wake up in hell This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.
1367 If you will 'If you will' is used as a way of making a concession in a sentence: He wasn't a very honest person, a liar if you will. Here, it is used a way of accepting that the reader or listener might think of the person as a liar, but without commit the writer or speaker to that position fully.
1368 If you'll pardon my French (UK) This idiom is used as a way of apologising for swearing.
1369 Ill at ease If someone is ill at ease, they are worried or uncomfortable.
1370 Ill-gotten gains Ill-gotten gains are profits or benefits that are made either illegally or unfairly.
1371 In a cleft stick If you are in a cleft stick, you are in a difficult situation, caught between choices.
1372 In a fix If you are in a fix, you are in trouble.
1373 In a flash If something happens in a flash, it happens very quickly indeed.
1374 In a fog If you're in a fog, you are confused, dazed or unaware.
1375 In a heartbeat If something happens very quickly or immediately, it happens in a heartbeat.
1376 In a jam If you are in a jam, you are in some trouble. If you get out of a jam, you avoid trouble.
1377 In a jiffy If something happens in a jiffy, it happens very quickly.
1378 In a nutshell This idiom is used to introduce a concise summary.
1379 In a pickle If you are in a pickle, you are in some trouble or a mess.
1380 In a rut In a settled or established pattern, habit or course of action, especially a boring one.
1381 In a tick (UK) If someone will do something in a tick, they'll do it very soon or very quickly.
1382 In a tight spot If you're in a tight spot, you're in a difficult situation.
1383 In all honesty If you say something in all honesty, you are telling the complete truth. It can be used as a way of introducing a negative opinion whilst trying to be polite; in all honesty, I have to say that I wasn't very impressed.
1384 In an instant If something happens in an instant, it happens very rapidly.
1385 In another's shoes It is difficult to know what another person's life is really like, so we don't know what it is like to be in someone's shoes.
1386 In apple-pie order If something is in apple-pie order, it is very neat and organised.
1387 In broad daylight If a crime or problem happens in broad daylight, it happens during the day and should have been seen and stopped.
1388 In cahoots If people are in cahoots, they are conspiring together.
1389 In cold blood If something is done in cold blood, it is done ruthlessly, without any emotion.
1390 In dire straits If you're in dire straits, you're in serious trouble or difficulties.
1391 In donkey's years 'I haven't seen her in donkey's years.' - This means for a very long time.
1392 In dribs and drabs If people arrive in dribs and drabs, they come in small groups at irregular intervals, instead of all arriving at the same time.
1393 In droves When things happen in droves, a lot happen at the same time or very quickly.
1394 In for a penny, in for a pound If something is worth doing then it is a case of in for a penny, in for a pound, which means that when gambling or taking a chance, you might as well go the whole way and take all the risks, not just some.
1395 In full swing If things are in full swing, they have been going for a sufficient period of time to be going well and very actively.
1396 In high gear (USA) If something is in high gear, it is in a quick-paced mode. If someone is in high gear, they are feverishly on the fast track.
1397 In high spirits If someone is in high spirits, they are in a very good mood or feeling confident about something.
1398 In hot water If you are in hot water, you are in serious trouble.
1399 In light of 'In light of' is similar to 'due to'.
1400 In like Flynn Refers to Errol Flynn's popularity with women in the 40's. His ability to attract women was well known throughout the world. ('In like flint' is also used.)
1401 In my bad books If you are in someone's bad books, they are angry with you. Likewise, if you are in their good books, they are pleased with you.
1402 In my book This idiom means 'in my opinion'.
1403 In my good books If someone is in your good books, you are pleased with or think highly of them at the moment.
1404 In one ear and out the other If something goes in one ear and out the other, you forget it as soon as you've heard it because it was too complicated, boring etc.
1405 In over your head If someone is in over their head, they are out of the depth in something they are involved in, and may end up in a mess.
1406 In perfect form When something is as it ought to be. Or, when used cynically, it may refer to someone whose excesses are on display; a caricature.
1407 In rude health (UK) If someone's in rude health, they are very healthy and look it.
1408 In so many words This phrase may be used to mean 'approximately' or 'more or less'. I think it may have a sarcastic connotation in that the individual listening needed 'so many words' to get the point. It also may suggest the effort on the part of the speaker to explain an unpleasant truth or difficult concept.
1409 In someone's pocket If a person is in someone's pocket, they are dependent, especially financially, on them.
1410 In spades (UK) If you have something in spades, you have a lot of it.
1411 In stitches If someone is in stitches, they are laughing uncontrollably.
1412 In tandem If people do things in tandem, they do them at the same time.
1413 In the bag If something is in the bag, it is certain that you will get it or achieve it
1414 In the ballpark This means that something is close to the adequate or required value.
1415 In the black If your bank account is in credit, it is in the black.
1416 In the cards If something is in the cards, it is bound to occur, it is going to happen, or it is inevitable.
1417 In the catbird seat (USA) If someone is in the catbird seat, they are in an advantageous or superior position.
1418 In the clear If someone is in the clear, they are no longer suspected of or charged with wrongdoing.
1419 In the clink (UK) If someone is in the clink, they are in prison.
1420 In the club (UK) If a woman's in the club, she's pregnant. 'In the pudding club' is an alternative form.
1421 In the dock If someone is in the dock, they are on trial in court.
1422 In the doghouse If someone is in the doghouse, they are in disgrace and very unpopular at the moment.
1423 In the driver's seat If you are in the driver's seat, you are in charge of something or in control of a situation.
1424 In the face of If people act in the face of something, they do it despite it or when threatened by it.
1425 In the family way If a woman is in the family way, she is pregnant.
1426 In the flesh If you meet or see someone in the flesh you actually meet or see them, rather than seeing them on TV or in other media.
1427 In the gravy If you're in the gravy, you're rich and make money easily.
1428 In the hole If someone is in the hole, they have a lot of problems, especially financial ones.
1429 In the hot seat If someone's in the hot seat, they are the target for a lot of unwelcome criticism and examination.
1430 In the know If you are in the know, you have access to all the information about something, which other people don't have.
1431 In the lap of luxury People in the lap of luxury are very wealthy and have have everything that money can buy.
1432 In the long run This means 'over a long period of time', 'in the end' or 'in the final result'.
1433 In the loop If you're in the loop, you are fully informed about what is happening in a certain area or activity.
1434 In the lurch If you are left in the lurch, you are suddenly left in an embarrassing or tricky situation.
1435 In the making When something is in the making, it means it is in the process of being made.
1436 In the offing If something is in the offing, it is very likely to happen soon.
1437 In the pink If you are in very good health, you are in the pink.
1438 In the pipeline If something's in the pipeline, it hasn't arrived yet but its arrival is expected.
1439 In the red If your bank account is overdrawn, it is in the red.
1440 In the saddle If you're in the saddle, you are in control of a situation.
1441 In the same boat If people are in the same boat, they are in the same predicament or trouble.
1442 In the short run This refers to the immediate future.
1443 In the soup If you're in the soup, you're in trouble.
1444 In the swim If you are in the swim, you are up-to-date with and fully informed about something.
1445 In the swing If things are in the swing, they are progressing well.
1446 In the tall cotton A phrase that expresses good times or times of plenty and wealth as tall cotton means a good crop.
1447 In the twinkling of an eye If something happens in the twinkling of an eye, it happens very quickly.
1448 In the zone If you are in the zone, you are very focused on what you have to do.
1449 In turn This means one after the other. Example: She spoke to each of the guests in turn.
1450 In two minds If you are in two minds about something, you can't decide what to do.
1451 In your blood A trait or liking that is deeply ingrained in someone's personality and unlikely to change is in their blood. A similar idiom is 'in his DNA.'
1452 In your element If you are in your element, you feel happy and relaxed because you are doing something that you like doing and are good at. "You should have seen her when they asked her to sing; she was in her element."
1453 In your face If someone is in your face, they are direct and confrontational. (It is sometime written 'in yer face'colloquially)
1454 In your sights If you have someone or something in your sights, they are your target to beat.
1455 Indian file If people walk in Indian file, they walk in a line one behind the other.
1456 Indian giver An Indian giver gives something, then tries to take it back.
1457 Indian summer If there is a period of warmer weather in late autumn, it is an Indian summer.
1458 Ins and outs If you know the ins and outs of something, you know all the details.
1459 Into each life some rain must fall This means that bad or unfortunate things will happen to everyone at some time.
1460 Into thin air If something vanishes or disappears without trace, it vanishes into thin air; no-one knows where it has gone.
1461 Iron fist Someone who rules or controls something with an iron fist is in absolute control and tolerates no dissent. An iron fist in a velvet glove is used to describe someone who appears soft on the outside, but underneath is very hard. 'Mailed fist' is an alternative form.
1462 Irons in the fire A person who has a few irons in the fire has a number of things working to their advantage at the same time.
1463 Is Saul also among the prophets? It's a biblical idiom used when somebody known for something bad appears all of a sudden to be doing something very good.
1464 It ain't over till the fat lady sings This idiom means that until something has officially finished, the result is uncertain.
1465 It cost an arm and a leg If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive indeed.
1466 It cost the earth If something costs the earth, it is very expensive indeed.
1467 It never rains but it pours 'It never rains but it pours' means that when things go wrong, they go very wrong.
1468 It takes a village to raise a child It takes many people to teach a child all that he or she should know.
1469 It takes two to tango This idiom is used to suggest that when things go wrong, both sides are involved and neither side is completely innocent.
1470 It's an ill wind that blows no good This is said when things have gone wrong; the idea being that when bad things happen, there can also be some positive results.
1471 It's no use crying over spilt milk This idiom means that getting upset after something has gone wrong is pointless; it can't be changed so it should be accepted.
1472 It's not the size of the dog in fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog Usually refering to a small dog attacking a larger animal, this means that fierceness is not necessarily a matter of physical size, but rather mental/psychological attitude.
1473 It's not the size of the man in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the man This idiom means that determination is often more important than size, strength, or ability. ('It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.' is also used.)
1474 It's your funeral The other person has made a decision that you think is bad. However, it is their choice; it is their funeral.
1475 Itch to If you are itching to do something, you are very eager to do it.
1476 Itchy feet One gets itchy feet when one has been in one place for a time and wants to travel.
1477 Ivory tower People who live in ivory towers are detached from the world around them.
1478 Jack Frost If everything has frozen in winter, then Jack Frost has visited.
1479 Jack the Lad A confident and not very serious young man who behaves as he wants to without thinking about other people is a Jack the Lad.
1480 Jack-of-all-trades A jack-of-all-trades is someone that can do many different jobs.
1481 Jam on your face If you say that someone has jam on their face, they appear to be caught, embarrassed or found guilty.
1482 Jam tomorrow (UK) This idiom is used when people promise good things for the future that will never come.
1483 Jane Doe Jane Doe is a name given to an unidentified female who may be party to legal proceedings, or to an unidentified person in hospital, or dead. John Doe is the male equivalent.
1484 Jekyll and Hyde Someone who has a Jekyll and Hyde personality has a pleasant and a very unpleasant side to the character.
1485 Jersey justice (UK) Jersey justice is very severe justice.
1486 Jet set Very wealthy people who travel around the world to attend parties or functions are the jet set.
1487 Jet-black To emphasise just how black something is, such as someone's hair, we can call it jet-black.
1488 Job's comforter Someone who says they want to comfort, but actually discomforts people is a Job's comforter. (Job's is pronounced 'jobes', not 'jobs')
1489 Jobs for the boys Where people give jobs, contracts, etc, to their friends and associates, these are jobs for the boys.
1490 Jockey for position If a number of people want the same opportunity and are struggling to emerge as the most likely candidate, they are jockeying for position.
1491 Jog my memory If you jog someone's memory, you say words that will help someone trying to remember a thought, event, word, phrase, experience, etc.
1492 John Doe John Doe is a name given to an unidentified male who may be party to legal proceedings, or to an unidentified person in hospital, or dead. Jane Doe is the female equivalent.
1493 John Q Public (USA) John Q Public is the typical, average person.
1494 Johnny on the spot A person who is always available; ready, willing, and able to do what needs to be done.('Johnny-on-the-spot' is also used.)
1495 Johnny-come-lately A Johnny-come-lately is someone who has recently joined something or arrived somewhere, especially when they want to make changes that are not welcome.
1496 Joined at the hip If people are joined at the hip, they are very closely connected and think the same way.
1497 Judge, jury and executioner If someone is said to be the judge, jury, and executioner, it means they are in charge of every decision made, and they have the power to be rid of whomever they choose.
1498 Juggle frogs If you are juggling frogs, you are trying to do something very difficult.
1499 Jump down someone's throat If you jump down someone's throat, you criticise or chastise them severely.
1500 Jump on the bandwagon If people jump on the bandwagon, they get involved in something that has recently become very popular.
1501 Jump the gun If you jump the gun, you start doing something before the appropriate time.
1502 Jump the shark Said of a salient point in a television show or other activity at which the popularity thereof begins to wane: The Flintstones jumped the shark when a man from outer space came to visit them. The expression derives from an episode of the television sitcom 'Happy Days' in which Fonzie, clad in leather jacket and on water skis, jumps over a shark. That episode was widely seen as the beginning of the end for the formerly popular series.
1503 Jump through hoops If you are prepared to jump through hoops for someone, you are prepared to make great efforts and sacrifices for them.
1504 Jump to a conclusion If someone jumps to a conclusion, they evaluate or judge something without a sufficient examination of the facts.
1505 Jumping Judas! An expression of surprise or shock.
1506 Jungle out there If someone says that it is a jungle out there, they mean that the situation is dangerous and there are no rules.
1507 Jury's out If the jury's out on an issue, then there is no general agreement or consensus on it.
1508 Just around the corner If something is just around the corner, then it is expected to happen very soon.
1509 Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined Things, especially education, that affect and influence us in our childhood shape the kind of adult we turn out to be. (There are various versions of this, like 'As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined' and 'As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines', 'As the twig is bent so is the tree inclined')
1510 Just coming up to If the time is just coming up to nine o'clock, it means that it will be nine o'clock in a very few seconds. You'll hear them say it on the radio in the morning.
1511 Just deserts If a bad or evil person gets their just deserts, they get the punishment or suffer the misfortune that it is felt they deserve.
1512 Just for the heck of it When someone does something just for the heck of it, they do it without a good reason.
1513 Just for the record If something is said to be just for the record, the person is saying it so that people know but does not necessarily agree with or support it.
1514 Just in the nick of time If you do something in the nick of time, you just manage to do it just in time, with seconds to spare.
1515 Just off the boat If someone is just off the boat, they are naive and inexperienced.
1516 Just what the doctor ordered If something's just what the doctor ordered, it is precisely what is needed.
1517 Kangaroo court When people take the law into their own hands and form courts that are not legal, these are known as kangaroo court.
1518 Keen as mustard (UK) If someone is very enthusiastic, they are as keen as mustard.
1519 Keep abreast If you keep abreast of things, you stay informed about developments.
1520 Keep at bay If you keep someone or something at bay, you maintain a safe distance from them.
1521 Keep body and soul together If you earn enough to cover your basic expenses, but nothing more than that, you earn enough to keep body and soul together.
1522 Keep in touch If you keep in touch with someone, you keep communicating with them even though you may live far apart.
1523 Keep it on the Q T If you keep something on the Q T, you keep it quiet or secret.('Q-T' is also used.)
1524 Keep it under your hat If you keep something under your hat, you keep it secret.
1525 Keep mum If you keep mum about something, you keep quiet and don't tell anyone.
1526 Keep posted If you keep posted about something, you keep up-to-date with information and developments.
1527 Keep someone at arm's length If you keep someone or something at arm's length, you keep a safe distance away from them.
1528 Keep someone on their toes If you keep someone on their toes, you make sure that they concentrate on what they are supposed to do.
1529 Keep the wolf at bay If you keep the wolf at bay, you make enough money to avoid going hungry or falling heavily into debt.
1530 Keep up with the Joneses People who try to keep up with the Joneses are competitive about material possessions and always try to have the latest and best things.
1531 Keep your chin up (UK) This expression is used to tell someone to have confidence.
1532 Keep your cool If you keep your cool, you don't get excessively excited or disturbed in a bad situation.
1533 Keep your ear to the ground If you keep your ear to the ground, you try to keep informed about something, especially if there are rumours or uncertainties.
1534 Keep your eye on the ball If you keep your eye on the ball, you stay alert and pay close attention to what is happening.
1535 Keep your eye on the prize This means that you should keep your focus on achieving a positive end result.
1536 Keep your eyes peeled If you keep your eyes peeled, you stay alert or watchful.
1537 Keep your fingers crossed If you are keeping your fingers crossed, you are hoping for a positive outcome.
1538 Keep your hair on Keep your hair on is advice telling someone to keep calm and not to over-react or get angry.
1539 Keep your head If you keep your head, you stay calm in times of difficulty.
1540 Keep your head above water If you are just managing to survive financially, you are keeping your head above water.
1541 Keep your nose clean If someone is trying to keep their Nose Clean, they are trying to stay out of trouble by not getting involved in any sort of wrong-doing.
1542 Keep your nose to the grindstone If you keep your nose to the grindstone, you work hard and seriously.
1543 Keep your options open If someone's keeping their options open, they aren't going to restrict themselves or rule out any possible course of action.
1544 Keep your pecker up If someone tells you to keep your pecker up, they are telling you not to let your problems get on top of you and to try to be optimistic.
1545 Keep your powder dry If you keep your powder dry, you act cautiously so as not to damage your chances.
1546 Keep your shirt on! This idiom is used to tell someone to calm down.
1547 Keep your wig on! (UK) This idiom is used to tell someone to calm down.
1548 Kettle of fish A pretty or fine kettle of fish is a difficult problem or situation.
1549 Kick a habit If you kick a habit, you stop doing it.
1550 Kick away the ladder If someone kicks away the ladder, they remove something that was supporting or helping someone.
1551 Kick in the teeth Bad news or a sudden disappointment are a kick in the teeth.
1552 Kick something into the long grass If an issue or problem is kicked into the long grass, it is pushed aside and hidden in the hope that it will be forgotten or ignored.
1553 Kick the ballistics It means you realise the intensity of a situation. For example, there is too much unemployment now, so the prime minister must kick the ballistics and change his policy.
1554 Kick the bucket When someone kicks the bucket, they die.
1555 Kick up your heels (USA) If you kick up your heels, you go to parties or celebrate something.
1556 Kick your heels (UK) If you have to kick your heels, you are forced to wait for the result or outcome of something.
1557 Kicked to touch Touch is a zone of the playing field in Rugby. Kicked to touch means the ball was put safely out of play. Idiomatic usage usually means a person has deftly avoided an issue in argument.
1558 Kid gloves If someone is handled with kid gloves, they are given special treatment and handled with great care.
1559 Kill the goose that lays the golden egg If you kill the goose that lays the golden egg, you ruin something that is very profitable.
1560 Kill two birds with one stone When you kill two birds with one stone, you resolve two difficulties or matters with a single action.
1561 Kindred spirit A kindred spirit is someone who feels and thinks the way you do.
1562 King of the castle The king of the castle is the person who is in charge of something or in a very comfortable position compared to their companions.
1563 King's ransom If something costs or is worth a king's ransom, it costs or is worth a lot of money.
1564 Kiss and tell If people kiss and tell, they disclose private or confidential information.
1565 Kiss of death The kiss of death is an action that means failure or ruin for someone, a scheme, a plan, etc.
1566 Kiss something goodbye If someone tells you that you can kiss something goodbye, you have no chance of getting or having it.
1567 Kissing cousin A kissing cousin is someone you are related to, but not closely.
1568 Kitchen-sink (UK) Kitchen-sink drama deals with ordinary people's lives.
1569 Kith and kin Your kith and kin are your family; your next of kin are close relations you nominate to deal with your affairs in the event of your death on a document, like a passport.
1570 Knee-jerk reaction A knee-jerk reaction is an instant, instinctive response to a situation.
1571 Knickers in a twist When your knickers are in a twist, you are angry and snappish over something trivial. 'Whenever he loses his car keys, he gets his knickers in a twist.'
1572 Knight in shining armour A knight in shining armour is someone who saves you when you are in great trouble or danger.
1573 Knit your brows If you knit your brows, you frown or look worried.
1574 Knock 'em dead 'Knock 'em dead' is used as a way of wishing someone luck before they give a performance or have to appear before people, as in an interview, etc. ('em = them)
1575 Knock on wood This idiom is used to wish for good luck. ('Touch wood' is also used.)
1576 Knock something on the head If you knock something on the head, you stop it or stop doing it.
1577 Knock the pins from under someone If someone knocks the pins from under you, they let you down.
1578 Knock your block off To punch someone in the face Eg : The next time you do something like that I'm going to "knock your block off".
1579 Knock your socks off If something knocks your socks off, it amazes and surprises you, usually in a positive way.
1580 Know a hawk from a handsaw If someone knows a hawk from a handsaw, they are able to distinguish things and assess them.
1581 Know full well When you know full well, you are absolutely sure that you know.
1582 Know the ropes Someone who is experienced and knows how the system works know the ropes.
1583 Know where all the bodies are buried Someone who by virtue of holding a position of trust with an organization for a long period of time has come to know many of the secrets that others in more powerful positions would rather be kept secret knows where the bodies are buried. An implication is that the person knowing these secrets will use that knowledge to secure something of value for him- or herself.
1584 Know which side one's bread is buttered on If you know which side one's bread is buttered on, you know where your interests lie and will act accordingly to protect or further them.
1585 Know which way the wind blows This means that you should know how things are developing and be prepared for the future.
1586 Know your onions If someone is very well-informed about something, they know their onions.
1587 Know your place A person who knows their place doesn't try to impose themselves on others
1588 Labor of love A labor of love is a project or task undertaking for the interest or pleasure in doing it rather than the reward, financial or otherwise.
1589 Labour of love A labour of love is a project or task undertaking for the interest or pleasure in doing it rather than the reward, financial or otherwise.
1590 Lame duck If something or someone is a lame duck, they are in trouble.
1591 Land of nod If someone has gone to the land of nod, they have fallen asleep or gone to bed.
1592 Landslide victory A landslide victory is a victory in an election by a very large margin.
1593 Lap dog A lap dog is a person who is eager to please another at the expense of his or her own needs in order to maintain a position of privilege or favor.
1594 Lap of the gods If something is in the lap of the gods, it is beyond our control and fate will decide the outcome.
1595 Larger than life If something is excessive or exaggerated, it is larger than life.
1596 Last hurrah If an elderly person does something special before they die, it is a last hurrah.
1597 Last laugh The person who has the last laugh ends up with the the advantage in a situation after some setbacks.
1598 Last straw The last straw is the final problem that makes someone lose their temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something. It comes from an Arabic story, where a camel was loaded with straw until a single straw placed on the rest of the load broke its back.
1599 Last-ditch A last-ditch attempt is a desperate attempt that will probably fail anyway.
1600 Laugh a minute Someone who is a laugh a minute is very funny.
1601 Laugh to see a pudding crawl (UK) Someone who would laugh to see a pudding crawl is easily amused and will laugh at anything.
1602 Laugh up your sleeve If you laugh up your sleeve, you laugh at someone secretly.
1603 Laughing stock If someone becomes a laughing stock they do something so stupid or wrong that no one can take them seriously and people scorn and laugh at them.
1604 Laughter is the best medicine Laughing is often helpful for healing, especially emotional healing.
1605 Law unto yourself If somebody's a law unto themselves, they do what they believe is right regardless of what is generally accepted as correct.
1606 Lay down the law If someone lays down the law, they tell people what to do and are authoritarian.
1607 Lead someone up the garden path If someone leads you up the garden path, they deceive you, or give you false information that causes you to waste your time. 'Lead someone down the garden path' is also used.
1608 Lead with the chin If someone leads with their chin, they speak or behave without fear of the consequences.
1609 Lean and mean An organisation that is lean and mean has no excess or unnecessary elements and is very competitive.
1610 Learn the ropes If you are learning the ropes, you are learning how to do something.
1611 Leave no stone unturned If you look everywhere to find something, or try everything to achieve something, you leave no stone unturned.
1612 Leave well alone If you leave something well alone, you keep a safe distance from it, either physically or metaphorically.
1613 Left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing If the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, then communication within a company, organisation, group, etc, is so bad that people don't know what the others are doing.
1614 Left in the dark If you are left in the dark about something, you aren't given the information that you should have.
1615 Left to your own devices If someone is left to their own devices, they are not controlled and can do what they want.
1616 Left-handed compliment A left-handed compliment is one that sounds like praise but has an insulting meaning. ('Backhanded compliment' is an alternative form.)
1617 Legend in your own lunchtime Somebody who becomes a legend in their own lifetime acquires fame, but often only to a select or specialist audience, while they are still alive.
1618 Lend an ear If you lend an ear, you listen to what someone has to say. ('Lend your ear' is an alternative form.)
1619 Leopard can't change its spots This idiom means that people cannot change basic aspects of their character, especially negative ones. ("A leopard doesn't change its spots" is also used.)
1620 Lesser of two evils Something that is the lesser of two evils, is an unpleasant option, but not as bad as the other.
1621 Let alone This is used to emphasise how extreme something could be: 'We hadn't got the money to phone home, let alone stay in a hotel.' This emphasises the utter impossibility of staying in a hotel.
1622 Let bygones be bygones If people decide to let bygones be bygones, they decide to forget old problems or grievances they have with each other.
1623 Let sleeping dogs lie If someone is told to let sleeping dogs lie, it means that they shouldn't disturb a situation as it would result in trouble or complications.
1624 Let the best be the enemy of the good If the desire for an unattainable perfection stops someone from choosing good possibilities, they let the best be the enemy of the good.
1625 Let the cat out of the bag If you accidentally reveal a secret, you let the cat out of the bag.
1626 Let the chips fall where they may This means that we shouldn't try to control events, because destiny controls them.
1627 Let the devil take the hindmost This idiom means that you should think of yourself and not be concerned about other people; look after yourself and let the devil take the hindmost.
1628 Let the genie out of the bottle If people let the genie out of the bottle, they let something bad happen that cannot be put right or controlled.
1629 Let the grass grow round your feet If you let the grass grow round your feet, you delay doing things instead of taking action.
1630 Let your guard down If you let your guard down, you relax and stop looking out for danger.
1631 Let your hair down If someone lets their hair down, they relax and stop feeling inhibited or shy.
1632 Let's call it a day This is used as a way of suggesting that it is time to stop working on something.
1633 Letter of the law If people interpret laws and regulations strictly, ignoring the ideas behind them, they follow the letter of the law.
1634 Level playing field If there's a level playing field everybody is treated equally.
1635 Lie like a rug If someone lies like a rug, they lie to the point where it becomes obvious that they're lying.
1636 Lie low If someone lies low, they try not to be found or caught.
1637 Lie through your teeth Someone who is always lying, regardless of what people know, lies through their teeth.
1638 Life and limb When people risk life and limb, they could be killed or suffer serious injuries.
1639 Life is just a bowl of cherries This idiom means that life is simple and pleasant.
1640 Light at the end of the tunnel If you can see light at the end of the tunnel, then you can see some signs of hope in the future, though things are difficult at the moment.
1641 Light bulb moment A light bulb moment is when you have a sudden realisation about something, like the light bulbs used to indicate an idea in cartoons.
1642 Light on your feet If someone is light on their feet, they can move quickly and are agile.
1643 Light years ahead If you are light years ahead of others, you are a long way in front of them in terms of development, success, etc.
1644 Lightning rod Someone or something that attracts a lot of negative comment, often diverting attention from other problems, is a lightning rod.
1645 Like a bat out of hell This expression means extremely quickly.
1646 Like a beached whale Once a whale is on a beach, it cannot get back into the easily, so if you are completely stuck somewhere and can't get away, you are stranded like a beached whale.
1647 Like a bear with a sore head (UK) If someone's like a bear with a sore head, they complain a lot and are unhappy about something.
1648 Like a bull at a gate If you tackle a job very quickly, without any real thought about what you are doing, you are going at it like a bull at a gate.
1649 Like a cat on hot bricks If someone is like a cat on hot bricks, they are very nervous or excited.
1650 Like a cat that got the cream If someone looks very pleased with themselves and happy, they look like a cat that got the cream.
1651 Like a duck to water If someone has a natural talent for something and enjoys it, they take to it like a duck to water.
1652 Like a fish needs a bicycle If someone needs something like a Fish Needs a Bicycle, they do not need it at all, originally a feminist slogan: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.
1653 Like a fish out of water If someone feels like a fish out of water, they are very uncomfortable in the situation they are in.
1654 Like a hawk If you watch something or someone like a hawk, you observe very closely and carefully.
1655 Like a headless chicken If someone rushes about like a headless chicken, they move very fast all over the place, usually without thinking.
1656 Like a kid in a candy store If someone is like a kid in a candy store, they are very excited about something.
1657 Like a moth to a flame Something that is like a moth to a flame is attracted to something that is deadly or dangerous.
1658 Like a rat deserting a sinking ship If people leave a company because they know that it's about to have serious problems, or turn their back on a person about to be in a similar situation, they are said to be like rats deserting a sinking ship.
1659 Like Chinese arithmetic If something is complicated and hard to understand, it's like Chinese arithmetic.
1660 Like clockwork If something happens like clockwork, it happens at very regular times or intervals.
1661 Like father, like son This idiom is used when different generations of a family behave in the same way or have the same talents of defects.
1662 Like giving a donkey strawberries (UK) If something is like giving a donkey strawberries, people fail to appreciate its value.
1663 Like it or lump it When people say this, they mean that the person will have to accept the situation because it isn't going to change.
1664 Like lambs to the slaughter If somebody does something unpleasant without any resistance, they go like lambs to the slaughter.
1665 Like no one's business If I say my children are growing like no one's business, it means they're growing very quickly. See also 'Like the clappers' and 'Like there's no tomorrow'.
1666 Like peas in a pod If people or things are like peas in a pod, they look identical.
1667 Like pulling teeth If something if like pulling teeth, it is very difficult, especially if trying to extract information or to get a straight answer from someone.
1668 Like taking candy from a baby (USA) If something is like taking candy from a baby, it is very easy to do.
1669 Like the back of your hand If you know something like the back of your hand, you know it very well indeed.
1670 Like the clappers If something is going like the clappers, it is going very fast.
1671 Like there's no tomorrow If you do something like there's no tomorrow, you do it fast or energetically.
1672 Like two peas in a pod Things that are like two peas in a pod are very similar or identical,
1673 Like watching sausage getting made If something is like watching sausages getting made, unpleasant truths about it emerge that make it much less appealing. The idea is that if people watched sausages getting made, they would probably be less fond of them.
1674 Like white on rice (USA) If you do something like white on rice, you do it very closely: When Bob found out I had front row tickets for the concert, he stuck to me like white on rice.
1675 Like wildfire If something happens or spreads like wildfire, it happens very quickly and intensely.
1676 Lily-livered Someone who is lily-livered is a coward.
1677 Lines of communication Lines of communication are the routes used to communicate by people or groups who are in conflict; a government might open lines of communication with terrorists if it wished to negotiate with them.
1678 Lion's share The lion's share of something is the biggest or best part.
1679 Lip service When people pay lip service to something, they express their respect, but they don't act on their words, so the respect is hollow and empty.
1680 Little pitchers have big ears (USA) This means that children hear more and understand the world around them better than many adults realize.
1681 Little strokes fell great oaks Meaning: even though something may seem impossible, if you break it up into small parts and take one step at a time, you will succeed.
1682 Live high off the hog If you are living high off the hog, you are living lavishly.
1683 Live wire A person who is very active, both mentally and physically, is a live wire.
1684 Lo and behold This phrase is used to express surprise.
1685 Loan shark A loan shark lends money at very high rates of interest.
1686 Lock and load This is a military term meaning "be ready and prepared".
1687 Lock horns When people lock horns, they argue or fight about something.
1688 Lock the stable door after the horse has bolted If someone takes action too late, they do this; there is no reason to lock an empty stable.
1689 Lock, stock and barrel This is an expressions that means 'everything'; if someone buys a company lock, stock and barrel, they buy absolutely everything to do with the company.
1690 Long face Someone with a long face is sad or depressed about something.
1691 Long in the tooth If someone is long in the tooth, they are a bit too old to do something.
1692 Long shot If something is a long shot, there is only a very small chance of success.
1693 Long time no hear The speaker could say this when they have not heard from a person, either through phone calls or emails for a long time.
1694 Long time no see 'Long time no see' means that the speaker has not seen that person for a long time.
1695 Look after number 1 You are number one, so this idiom means that you should think about yourself first, rather than worrying about other people.
1696 Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves (UK) If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves, meaning that if someone takes care not to waste small amounts of money, they will accumulate capital. ('Look after the pence and the pounds will look after themselves' is an alternative form of this idiom.)
1697 Look before you leap This idiom means that you should think carefully about the possible results or consequences before doing something.
1698 Look on the bright side If you look on the bright side, you try to see things in an optimistic way, especially when something has gone wrong.
1699 Look out for number one If you look out for number one, you take care of yourself and your interests, rather than those of other people.
1700 Look what the cat dragged in This idiom is used when someone arrives somewhere looking a mess or flustered and bothered.
1701 Loose cannon A person who is very difficult to control and unpredictable is a loose cannon.
1702 Loose lips sink ships To have loose lips means to have a big mouth, susceptible to talking about everything and everyone. Sinking ships refers to anything from small acquaintances to long and hearty relationships (with friends or a significant other). So when one says loose lips sink ships, one is basically saying if you can't shut up you are going to end hurting people, usually psychologically or emotionally.Loose lips sink ships comes from World War I and/or WWII, when sailors on leave from their ships might talk about what ship they sailed on or where it had come from, or where it was going. If they talked too much (had 'loose lips') they might accidentally provide the enemy with anecdotal information that might later cause their ship to be tracked, and bombed and sunk, hence 'Loose lips sink ships.' Later, it came to mean any excessive talk might sabotage a project.
1703 Lord love a duck An exclamation used when nothing else will fit. Often fitting when one is stunned or dismayed.
1704 Lord willing and the creek don't rise Pertains to the ability to accomplish a task or meet an obligation, barring unforseen complications. Example: "I will be at work tomorrow, Lord willing and the creek don't rise."
1705 Lose face To lose one's reputation or standing is to lose face
1706 Lose the plot If someone loses the plot, they have stopped being rational about something.
1707 Lose your bottle (UK) If someone loses their bottle, they lose the courage to do something.
1708 Lose your lunch (UK) If you lose your lunch, you vomit.
1709 Lose your marbles If someone has lost their marbles, they've gone mad.
1710 Lose your shirt If someone loses their shirt, they lose all their money through a bad investment, gambling, etc.
1711 Love is blind If you love someone, it doesn't matter what they look like. You will also overlook faults.
1712 Low-hanging fruit Low-hanging fruit are things that are easily achieved.
1713 Lower than a snake's belly Someone or something that is lower than a snake's belly is of a very low moral standing.
1714 Lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut (USA) If someone or something is lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut, they are of low moral standing because a snake's belly is low and if the snake is in a wagon rut, it is really low.
1715 Lower the bar If people change the standards required to make things easier, they lower the bar.
1716 Lower your sights If you lower your sights, you accept something that is less than you were hoping for.
1717 Luck of the draw To have the 'Luck of the draw' is to win something in a competition where the winner is chosen purely by chance.
1718 Mad as a badger If someone is as mad as a badger, they are crazy.
1719 Mad as a bag of hammers Someone who is as mad as a bag of hammers is crazy or stupid. ('Daft as a bag of hammers' is also used.)
1720 Mad as a cut snake (USA) One who is mad as a cut snake has lost all sense of reason, is crazy, out of control.
1721 Mad as a hornet (USA) If someone is as mad as a hornet, they are very angry indeed.
1722 Mad as a March hare Someone who is excitable and unpredictable is as mad as a March hare.
1723 Made in the shade One has an easy time in life or in a given situation. Finding things working to one's benefit.
1724 Made of money If you are made of money, you have a lot of money.
1725 Mailed fist Someone who rules or controls something with a mailed fist is in absolute control and tolerates no dissent. A mailed fist in a velvet glove is used to describe someone who appears soft on the outside, but underneath is very hard. 'Iron fist' is an alternative form.
1726 Major league Something major league is very important.
1727 Make a better fist If someone makes a better fist of doing something, they do a better job.
1728 Make a clean breast If someone makes a clean breast, they confess in full to something they have done.
1729 Make a killing If you make a killing, you do something that makes you a lot of money.
1730 Make a meal If someone makes a meal of something, they spend too long doing it or make it look more difficult than it really is.
1731 Make a mint If someone is making a mint, they are making a lot of money.
1732 Make a monkey of someone If you make a monkey of someone, you make them look foolish.
1733 Make a mountain out of a molehill If somebody makes a mountain out of a molehill, they exaggerate the importance or seriousness of a problem.
1734 Make a pig's ear If you make a pig's ear of something, you make a mess of it.
1735 Make a pitch If you make a pitch for something, you make a bid, offer or other attempt to get it.
1736 Make a request If you request something, or make a request, you are asking for something you want or need.
1737 Make a song and dance (UK) If someone makes a song and dance, they make an unecessary fuss about something unimportant.
1738 Make a virtue out of necessity If you make a virtue out of necessity, you make the best of a difficult or unsatisfactory situation.
1739 Make an enquiry If you make an enquiry, you ask for general information about something.
1740 Make bets in a burning house (USA) If people are making bets in a burning house, they are engaged in futile activity while serious problems around them are getting worse.
1741 Make ends meet If somebody finds it hard to make ends meet, they have problems living on the money they earn.
1742 Make hay If you make hay, or may hay while the sun shines, you take advantage of an opportunity as soon as it arises and do not waste time.
1743 Make headway If you make headway, you make progress.
1744 Make money hand over fist If you make money hand over fist, you make a lot of money without any difficulty.
1745 Make my day If something makes your day, it satisfies you or makes you happy.
1746 Make no bones about it If somebody make no bones about a scandal in their past, they are open and honest about it and show no shame or embarrassment.
1747 Make out like a bandit (USA) If someone is extremely successful in a venture, they make out like a bandit.
1748 Make waves If someone makes waves, they cause a lot of trouble.
1749 Make your blood boil If something makes your blood boil, it makes you very angry.
1750 Make your flesh crawl If something makes your flesh crawl, it really scares or revolts you. ('Make your flesh creep' is an alternative. 'Make your skin crawl' is also used.)
1751 Make your hair stand on end If something makes your hair stand on end, it terrifies you.
1752 Make your toes curl If something makes your toes curl, it makes you feel very uncomfortable, shocked or embarrassed.
1753 Make yourself scarce If someone makes themselves scarce, they go away from a place, especially to avoid trouble or so that they can't be found.
1754 Man Friday From 'Robinson Crusoe', a 'Man Friday' refers to an assistant or companion, usually a capable one. The common feminine equivalent is 'Girl Friday'. (Also, 'right-hand man'. )
1755 Man in the street The man in the street is an idiom to describe ordinary people, especially when talking about their opinions and ideas.
1756 Man of his word A man of his word is a person who does what he says and keeps his promises.
1757 Man of letters A man of letters is someone who is an expert in the arts and literature, and often a writer too.
1758 Man of means A man, or woman, of means is wealthy.
1759 Man of parts A man of parts is a person who is talented in a number of different areas or ways.
1760 Man of straw A weak person that can easily be beaten of changed is a man of straw.
1761 Man of the cloth A man of the cloth is a priest.
1762 Man on the Clapham omnibus (UK) The man on the Clapham omnibus is the ordinary person in the street.
1763 Man proposes, God disposes Your fate lies in the hands of God.
1764 Man upstairs When people refer to the man upstairs, they are referring to God.
1765 Man's best friend This is an idiomatic term for dogs.
1766 Man's man A man's man is a man who does things enjoyed by men and is respected by other men.
1767 Many a slip twixt cup and lip There's many a slip twixt cup and lip means that many things can go wrong before something is achieved.
1768 Many hands make light work This idiom means that when everyone gets involved in something, the work gets done quickly.
1769 Many happy returns This expression is used to wish someone a happy birthday.
1770 Many moons ago A very long time ago.
1771 March to the beat of your own drum If people march to the beat of their own drum, they do things the way they want without taking other people into consideration.
1772 Mark my words Mark my words is an expression used to lend an air of seriousness to what the speaker is about to say when talking about the future. You often hear drunks say it before they deliver some particularly spurious nonsense.
1773 Mark someone's card If you mark someone's card, you correct them in a forceful and prompt manner when they say something wrong.
1774 Marked man A marked man is a person who is being targeted by people who want to do them harm or cause them trouble.
1775 Matter of life and death If something is a matter of life and death, it is extremely important.
1776 Mealy-mouthed A mealy-mouthed person doesn't say what they mean clearly.
1777 Meat and drink If something is meat and drink to you, you enjoy it and are naturally good at it, though many find it difficult.
1778 Meat and potatoes The meat and potatoes is the most important part of something. A meat and potatoes person is someone who prefers plain things to fancy ones.
1779 Meet someone halfway If you meet someone halfway, you accept some of their ideas and make concessions.
1780 Meet your expectations If something doesn't meet your expectations, it means that it wasn't as good as you had thought it was going to be; a disappointment.
1781 Meet your Maker If someone has gone to meet their Maker, they have died.
1782 Meet your match If you meet your match, you meet a person who is at least as good if not better than you are at something.
1783 Megaphone diplomacy If negotiations between countries or parties are held through press releases and announcements, this is megaphone diplomacy, aiming to force the other party into adopting a desired position.
1784 Melt your heart If something melts your heart, it affects you emotionally and you cannot control the feeling.
1785 Melting pot A melting pot is a place where people from many ethnicities and nationalities live together.
1786 Memory like a sieve If somebody can't retain things for long in his or her memory and quickly forgets, he or she has a memory like a sieve. A sieve has lots of tiny holes in it to let liquids out while keeping the solids inside.
1787 Memory like an elephant 'An elephant never forgets' is a saying, so if a person has a memory like an elephant, he or she has a very good memory indeed.
1788 Mend fences When people mend fences, they try to improve or restore relations that have been damaged by disputes or arguments.
1789 Mess with a bull, you get the horns If you do something stupid or dangerous, you can get hurt.
1790 Method in his madness If there's method in someone's madness, they do things in a strange and unorthodox way, but manage to get results.
1791 Mexican standoff When there is a deadlock in strategy and neither side can do anything that will ensure victory, it's a Mexican standoff.
1792 Mickey Mouse If something is Mickey Mouse, it is intellectually trivial or not of a very high standard.
1793 Midas touch If someone has the Midas touch, they make a lot of money out of any scheme they try.
1794 Middle of nowhere If someone says that he/she is in the middle of nowhere, he/she means that he/she is not sure where he/she is.
1795 Might and main This means with all your effort and strength. As he failed in the previous exam,the student tried might and main to pass the next one.
1796 Mighty oaks from little acorns grow Big or great things start very small.
1797 Millstone round your neck A millstone around your neck is a problem that prevents you from doing what you want to do.
1798 Mince words If people mince words, or mince their words, they don't say what they really mean clearly.
1799 Mind over matter This idiom is used when someone uses their willpower to rise above adversity.
1800 Mind the gap Mind the gap is an instruction used on the Underground in the UK to warn passengers to be careful when leaving the tube or train as there is quite a distance between the train and the platform.
1801 Mind your own beeswax (USA) This idiom means that people should mind their own business and not interfere in other people's affairs.
1802 Mind Your P's and Q's If you are careful about the way you behave and are polite, you mind Your P's and Q's.
1803 Mind your P's and Q's This is used as a way of telling someone to be polite and behave well.
1804 Mint condition If something is in mint condition, it is in perfect condition.
1805 Misery guts A misery guts is a person who's always unhappy and tries to make others feel negative.
1806 Miss is as good as a mile A miss is as good as a mile means that if you fail, even by the smallest margin, it is still a failure.
1807 Miss the boat If you miss the boat, you are too late to take advantage of an opportunity.
1808 Mom and pop (USA) A mom and pop business is a small business, especially if it is run by members of a family. It can used in a wider sense to mean that something is small scale.
1809 Monday morning quarterback (USA) A Monday morning quarterback is someone who, with the benefit of hindsight, knows what should have been done in a situation.
1810 Money burns a hole in your pocket If someone has money burning a hole in their pocket, they are eager to spend it, normally in a wasteful manner.
1811 Money doesn`t grow on trees This means that you have to work to earn money; it doesn't come easily or without effort.
1812 Money for jam If something's money for jam, it's a very easy way of making money.
1813 Money for old rope (UK) If something's money for old rope, it's a very easy way of making money.
1814 Money laundering If people launder money, they get money made illegally into the mainstream so that it is believed to be legitimate and clean.
1815 Money makes many things This means that money is important.
1816 Money talks This means that people can convey many messages with money, and many things can be discovered about people by observing the way they use their money.
1817 Money to burn If someone is very rich, they have money to burn.
1818 Monkey business If children get up to monkey business, they are behaving naughtily or mischievously. This is the same as 'monkeying around'.
1819 Monkey see, monkey do This idiom means that children will learn their behaviour by copying what they see happening around them.
1820 Moot point If something's a moot point, there's some disagreement about it: a debatable point. In the U.S., this expression usually means that there is no point in debating something, because it just doesn't matter. An example: If you are arguing over whether to go the beach or to the park, but you find out the car won't start and you can't go anywhere, then the destination is said to be a moot point.
1821 Moral fibre Moral fibre is the inner strength to do what you believe to be right in difficult situations Example: He lacked the moral fibre to be leader (In American English the correct spelling is 'fiber'.)
1822 Moral high ground If people have/take/claim/seize, etc, the moral high ground, they claim that their arguments, beliefs, etc, are morally superior to those being put forward by other people.
1823 More front than Brighton (UK) If you have more front than Brighton, you are very self-confident, possibly excessively so.
1824 More haste, less speed The faster you try to do something, the more likely you are to make mistakes that make you take longer than it would had you planned it.
1825 More heat than light If a discussion generates more heat than light, it doesn't provide answers, but does make people angry.
1826 More holes than Swiss cheese If something has more holes than a Swiss cheese, it is incomplete,and lacks many parts.
1827 More than meets the eye If there is more than meets the eye to something, it is more complex or difficult than it appears.
1828 More than one string to their bow A person who has more than one string to their bow has different talents or skills to fall back on.
1829 More than one way to skin a cat When people say that there is more than one way to skin a cat, they mean that there are different ways of achieving the same thing.
1830 More than you can shake a stick at If you have more of something than you can shake a stick at, then you have a lot.
1831 Mountain to climb If you have a mountain to climb, you have to work hard or make a lot of progress to achieve something.
1832 Move heaven and earth This expression indicates a person's determined intention of getting a work done in spite of all odds he may face. He will use all and every means to accomplish the target. Example: He moved heaven and earth to get his literary work recognised by the committee of experts.
1833 Move mountains If you would move mountains to do something, you would make any effort to achieve your aim. When people say that faith can move mountains, they mean that it can achieve a lot.
1834 Move the goalposts When people move the goalposts, they change the standards required for something to their advantage.
1835 Mover and shaker A person who is a mover and shaker is a highly respected, key figure in their particular area with a lot of influence and importance.
1836 Much ado about nothing If there's a lot of fuss about something trivial, there's much ado about nothing.
1837 Muck or nettles 'Muck or nettles' means 'all or nothing'.
1838 Mud in the fire The things that cannot be changed in the past that we usually forget about are mud in the fire.
1839 Mud in your eye This is a way of saying 'cheers' when you are about to drink something, normally alcohol.
1840 Mud-slinging If someone is mud-slinging, they are insulting someone and trying to damage that person's reputation.
1841 Muddy the waters If somebody muddies the waters, he or she makes the situation more complex or less clear.
1842 Mum's the word When people use this idiom, they mean that you should keep quiet about something and not tell other people.
1843 Mummy's boy A man who is still very dependent on his mother is a mummy's boy.
1844 Murder will out This idiom means that bad deeds can't be kept secret forever.
1845 Murky waters Where people are behaving in morally and ethically questionable ways, they are in murky waters.
1846 Music to my ears If something someone says is music to your ears, it is exactly what you had wanted to hear.
1847 Mutton dressed as lamb Mutton dressed as lamb is term for middle-aged or elderly people trying to look younger.
1848 My dogs are barking (USA) When someone says this, they mean that their feet are hurting.
1849 My eye This idiom is added to an adjective to show that you disagree with it: 'He's shy.' 'Shy my eye- he's just planning something secret.'
1850 My foot! This idiom is used to show that you do not believe what someone has just said.
1851 My hands are full If your hands are full, you have so much to do that you cannot take on any more work, responsibilities and so on.
1852 My hands are tied If your hands are tied, you are unable to act for some reason.
1853 My heart bleeds If your heart bleeds for someone, you feel genuine sympathy and sadness for them.
1854 My heart goes out to someone If your heart goes out to someone, you feel genuine sympathy for them.
1855 My way or the highway This idiom is used to say that if people don't do what you say, they will have to leave or quit the project, etc.
1856 Nail in the coffin A nail in someone or something's coffin is a problem or event that is a clear step towards an inevitable failure.
1857 Nail-biter If a game, election, contest, etc, is a nail-biter, it is exciting because the competitors are so close that it is impossible to predict the result.
1858 Nature abhors a vacuum This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics.
1859 Nature of the beast The basic characteristics of something is the nature of the beast; often used when there's an aspect of something that cannot be changed or that is unpleasant or difficult.
1860 Neck and neck If two competitors or candidates, etc, are neck and neck, then they are very close and neither is clearly winning.
1861 Neck of the woods If someone talks about their neck of the woods, they mean the area where they live.
1862 Need no introduction Someone who is very famous and known to everyone needs no introduction.
1863 Needle in a haystack If trying to find something is like looking for a needle in a haystack, it means that it is very difficult, if not impossible to find among everything around it.
1864 Neither fish nor fowl Something or someone that is neither fish nor fowl doesn't really fit into any one group.
1865 Neither here nor there If something is neither here nor there, it is of very little importance.
1866 Neither use nor ornament Something that serves no purpose and is not aesthetically pleasing is neither use nor ornament.
1867 Nerves of steel If someone has nerves of steel, they don't get frightened when other people do.
1868 Nervous Nellie Someone excessively worried or apprehensive is a nervous Nellie (or Nelly).
1869 Nest egg If you have some money saved for the future, it is a nest egg.
1870 Never a rose without the prick This means that good things always have something bad as well; like the thorns on the stem of a rose.
1871 Never darken my door again This is a way of telling someone never to visit you again.
1872 New blood If something needs new blood, it has become stale and needs new ideas or people to invigorate it.
1873 New brush sweeps clean 'A new brush sweeps clean' means that someone with a new perspective can make great changes. However, the full version is 'a new brush sweeps clean, but an old brush knows the corners', which warns that experience is also a valuable thing. Sometimes 'broom' is used instead of 'brush'.
1874 New kid on the block A new kid on the block is a person who has recently joined a company, organisation, team, etc, and does not know how things work yet.
1875 New lease of life If someone finds new enthusiasm and energy for something, they have a new lease of life.
1876 New man (UK) A New man is a man who believes in complete equality of the sexes and shares domestic work equally.
1877 New sheriff in town This is used when a new authority figure takes charge.
1878 New York minute (USA) If something happens in a New York minute, it happens very fast.
1879 Newfangled People who don't like new methods, technologies, etc, describe them as newfangled, which means new but not as good or nice as the old ones.
1880 Nice as pie If a person is nice as pie, they are surprisingly very kind and friendly. "After our argument, she was nice as pie!"
1881 Nick of time If you do something in the nick of time, you do it at the very last minute or second.
1882 Nickel tour (USA) If someone gives you a nickel tour, they show you around a place. ('Fifty-cent tour' is also used.)
1883 Night owl A night owl is someone who goes to bed very late.
1884 Ninth circle of hell In Dante's Inferno, the ninth circle of hell is the centre where the worst punishments are found, so it is used idiomatically for something that couldn't get worse.
1885 Nip and tuck A close contest where neither opponent seems to be gaining the advantage.
1886 Nip at the bit If someone is nipping at the bit, they are anxious to get something done and don't want to wait.
1887 Nip it in the bud If you nip something in the bud, you deal with a problem when it is still small, before it can grow into something serious.
1888 Nitty gritty If people get down to the nitty gritty, they concentrate on the most important and serious issues.
1889 No bed of roses If something isn't a bed of roses, it is difficult.
1890 No can do No can do means that the speaker can't do whatever it is that has been asked of him or her.
1891 No go Something that will not work. 'A square peg in a round hole is a no go.'
1892 No good deed goes unpunished This means that life is unfair and people can do or try to do good things and still end up in a lot of trouble.
1893 No great shakes If someone is no great shakes at something, they are not very good at it.
1894 No harm, no foul There's no problem when no harm or damage is done, such as the time my sister-in-law stole the name we'd chosen for a boy and we both ended up having girls.
1895 No holds barred If there are no holds barred, there are no rules of conduct; you can do anything.
1896 No ifs or buts Ifs and Buts is a term used to describe the reasons people give for not wanting to do something. To show that you don't wish to accept any excuses, you can tell somebody that you wish to hear no ifs or buts Here IF & BUT have become nouns
1897 No laughing matter Something that is no laughing matter is very serious.
1898 No love lost If there is no love lost between two people they have a strong enmity towards or hate for the other and make no effort to conceal it.
1899 No pain, no gain Achievements require some sort of sacrifice.
1900 No quarter This means without mercy. We can say no quarter given or asked.
1901 No question This idiom means that something is certain or definite.
1902 No questions asked If something is to be done and no questions asked, then it doesn't matter what methods are used or what rules are broken to ensure that it gets done.
1903 No skin off my nose If something's no skin off your nose, it doesn't affect or bother you at all.
1904 No smoke without fire This idiom means that when people suspect something, there is normally a good reason for the suspicion, even if there is no concrete evidence. ('Where's there's smoke, there's fire' is also used.)
1905 No spine If someone has no spine, they lack courage or are cowardly.
1906 No spring chicken If someone is no spring chicken, they are not young.
1907 No strings attached If something has no strings attached, there are no obligations or requirements involved.
1908 No time for If you have no time for an activity, you have absolutely no desire to spend or waste any time doing it. You can have no time for people, too.
1909 No time like the present If people say that there's no time like the present , they believe that it is far better to do something now than to leave it for later, in which case it might never get done.
1910 No time to lose If there's no time to lose, then it's time to get started otherwise it won't be finished on time.
1911 No two ways about it If there are no two ways about something, there is no other possible interpretation.
1912 No use to man or beast If something or someone is no use to man or beast, they it or they are utterly useless.
1913 Nod's as good as a wink (UK) 'A nod's as good as a wink' is a way of saying you have understood something that someone has said, even though it was not said directly. The full phrase (sometimes used in the UK ) is 'a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse'.
1914 Noddy work (UK) Unimportant or very simple tasks are noddy work.
1915 None so blind as those who will not see This idiom is used when people refuse to accept facts presented to them. ('None so deaf as those who will not hear' is an alternative.)
1916 Nose in the air If someone has their nose in the air, they behave in a way that is meant to show that they are superior to others.
1917 Nosy parker (UK) A nosy parker is someone who is excessively interested in other people's lives. ('Nosey parker' is an alternative spelling.)
1918 Not a snowball's chance in hell There is absolutely no possibility of something hapening if there's not a snowball's chance in hell.
1919 Not all there If someone isn't all there, they are a little bit stupid or crazy.
1920 Not bat an eye If someone doesn't bat an eye, they do not react when other people normally would.
1921 Not born yesterday When someone says that they weren't born yesterday, they mean that they are not naive or easily fooled.
1922 Not cricket (UK) If something is not cricket, it is unfair.
1923 Not enough room to swing a cat If a room is very small, you can say that there isn't enough room to swing a cat in it.
1924 Not give a fig If you don't give a fig about something, you don't care about it at all, especially used to express how little one cares about another's opinions or actions.
1925 Not give a monkey's (UK) If you couldn't give a monkey's about something, you don't care at all about it.
1926 Not have the heart If you don't have the heart to do something, you don't have the strength or courage to do something. (Usually used in the negative)
1927 Not have two pennies to rub together If someone hasn't got two pennies to rub together, they are very poor indeed.
1928 Not hurt a fly Somebody who would not hurt a fly is not aggressive.
1929 Not know beans about (USA) If someone doesn't know beans about something, they know nothing about it.
1930 Not know you are born This indicates that the person described is unaware of his or her good fortune or is unaware of how difficult day to day life was before he/she was born. Typical usage: 'Kids today don't know they are born'.
1931 Not much cop Describing a film or something as not much cop is a way of saying that you didn't think much of it.
1932 Not my cup of tea If something is not your cup of tea, you don't like it very much.
1933 Not on my watch Someone distancing themselves from a situation could say that it is not on their watch.
1934 Not our bag If something is not your bag, it is not really suitable for your needs or you don't like it much.
1935 Not the only pebble on the beach If something is not the only pebble on the beach, there are other possibilities or alternatives.
1936 Not to be sneezed at If something is not to be sneezed at, it should be taken seriously.
1937 Not wash If a story or explanation will not wash, it is not credible.
1938 Not worth a red cent (USA) If something is not worth a red cent, it has no value.
1939 Not worth a tinker's dam This means that something is worthless and dates back to when someone would travel around the countryside repairing things such as a kitchen pot with a hole in it. He was called a 'tinker'. His dam was used to stop the flow of soldering material being used to close the hole. Of course his 'trade' is passé, thus his dam is worth nothing.
1940 Notch on your belt A success or achievement that might help you in the future is a notch on your belt.
1941 Nothing to crow about If something's nothing to crow about, it's not particularly good or special.
1942 Nothing to write home about Something that is not special or good is nothing to write home about.
1943 Nothing ventured, nothing gained You can't win if you don't join in the game; if you don't participate in something, you will not achieve anything.
1944 Now and then This idiom means 'occasionally'.
1945 Null and void If something's null and void, it is invalid or is no longer applicable.
1946 Number cruncher A number cruncher is an accountant or someone who is very good at dealing with numbers and calculations.
1947 Nuts and bolts The nuts and bolts are the most essential components of something.
1948 Nutty as a fruitcake Someone who's nutty as a fruitcake is irrational or crazy. (This can be shortened to 'a fruitcake'.)
1949 Object lesson An object lesson serves as a warning to others. (In some varieties of English 'abject lesson' is used.)
1950 Odds and ends Odds and ends are small, remnant articles and things- the same as 'bits and bobs'.
1951 Off colour If someone looks off colour/color, they look ill.
1952 Off the beaten track Somewhere that's off the beaten track is in a remote location.
1953 Off the chart If something goes off the chart, it far exceeds the normal standards, good or bad, for something.
1954 Off the cuff If you do something off the cuff, you do it without any preparation.
1955 Off the grid Someone who is off the grid lives outside society and chooses not to follow its rules and conventions.
1956 Off the hook If someone is off the hook, they have avoided punishment or criticism for something they have done.
1957 Off the mark If something is off the mark, it is inaccurate or incorrect.
1958 Off the rails If someone has gone off the rails, they have lost track of reality.
1959 Off the record Something off the record is said in confidence because the speaker doesn't want it attributed to them, especially when talking to the media.
1960 Off the scale If something goes off the scale, it far exceeds the normal standards, good or bad, for something.
1961 Off the shelf If a product is off the shelf, it can be used straightaway without any setting-up.
1962 Off the top of your head If you say something off the top of your head, you don't think about it beforehand.
1963 Off the track If something puts or throws you off your track, it distracts you or keeps you from achieving what you want.
1964 Off the wall Something that is off the wall is unconventional.
1965 Off your chump (UK) If someone is off their chump, they are crazy or irrational.
1966 Off your rocker (UK) Someone who is off their rocker is crazy.
1967 Off-hand Off-hand means without preparation. People say that they don't know the answer off-hand, meaning that they don't know it at that time.
1968 Oh, my goodness! An expression of surprise.
1969 Old chestnut An old chestnut is something that has been repeated so many times that it has lost its impact.
1970 Old flames die hard It's very difficult to forget old things, especially the first love.
1971 Old friends and old wine are best This idiom means that the things and people that we know well are better than the unfamiliar.
1972 Old hat If something's old hat, it seems rather old fashioned and dated.
1973 Old wive's tale A proverb or piece of advice that is commonly accepted as truth and is handed down the generations, but is normally false.
1974 Oldest trick in the book The oldest trick in the book is a well-known way of deceiving someone, though still effective.
1975 Olive branch If you hold out or offer an olive branch, you make a gesture to indicate that you want peace.
1976 On a fishing expedition If someone is on a fishing expedition, they are trying to get information, often using incorrect or improper ways to find things out.
1977 On a roll If you're on a roll, you're moving from success to success.
1978 On a silver platter If you hand or give something on a silver platter to someone, you let them have it too easily.
1979 On all fours If someone is on all fours, they crawl.
1980 On Carey Street (UK) If someone is on Carey Street, they are heavily in debt or have gone bankrupt.
1981 On good terms If people are on good terms, they have a good relationship.
1982 On hold If something is on hold, no action is being taken.
1983 On ice If plans are put on ice, they are delayed and no action will be taken for the foreseeable future.
1984 On pins and needles If you are on pins and needles, you are very worried about something.
1985 On tenterhooks This means that she is waiting impatiently and excitedly for something.
1986 On the ball If someone's on the ball, they are well-informed and know what's going on in their area of responsibility or interest.
1987 On the blink (UK) Is a machine is on the blink, it isn't working properly or is out of order.
1988 On the blower (UK) If someone is on the blower, they are on the phone.
1989 On the carpet When you are called to the bosses office (since supposedly, they are the only ones who have carpet) and its definitely not for a good reason, i.e., you are in trouble, something has not gone according to plan and either maybe you are responsible and/or have some explaining to do.
1990 On the case If someone is on the case, they are dealing with a problem.
1991 On the cheap If you do something on the cheap, you spend as little as possible to do it.
1992 On the dot If someone says that they're leaving at seven on the dot, don't be late; they mean at exactly seven o'clock.
1993 On the factory floor On the factory floor means the place where things are actually produced.
1994 On the fiddle (UK) Someone who is stealing money from work is on the fiddle, especially if they are doing it by fraud.
1995 On the flip side On the reverse or the other side
1996 On the fly If you do things on the fly, you do things without preparation, responding to events as they happen.
1997 On the game (UK) A person who is on the game works as a prostitute.
1998 On the ground Events on the ground are where things are actually happening, not at a distance.
1999 On the hoof If you decide something on the hoof, you do it without planning, responding to events as they happen.
2000 On the house If you get something for free that would normally have to be bought, especially in a bar or restaurant, it is on the house.
2001 On the lam If someone is on the lam, they are hiding from the police or authorities, especially to avoid arrest or prison.
2002 On the level If someone is honest and trustworthy, they are on the level.
2003 On the line If somebody's job is on the line, they stand a very good chance of losing it.
2004 On the make If someone is on the make, they are trying to make a lot of money, usually illegally.
2005 On the map If a place becomes widely known, it is put on the map. A place that remains unknown is off the map.
2006 On the never-never (UK) If you buy something on the never-never, you buy it on long-term credit.
2007 On the nod (UK) If something is accepted by parliament or a committee majority, it is on the nod.
2008 On the nod (UK) Someone who's on the nod is either asleep or falling asleep, especially when the shouldn't or are are in a position unusual for sleep, like sitting or standing.
2009 On the nod (UK) When a horse runs, its head moves backwards and forwards alternately - in horse racing, if 2 horses cross the line together the one whose head happens to be going forward often wins and is said to win 'on the nod'.
2010 On the nose This means right on time.
2011 On the rebound If someone is on the rebound, their relationship has recently ended and they are emotionally unstable.
2012 On the right foot If you start something or set off on the right foot, you get off to a good start.
2013 On the ropes When something or someone is on the ropes, it or they are doing badly and likely to fail.
2014 On the run If someone is on the run, they are avoiding arrest and hiding from the police.
2015 On the same page If people are on the same page, they have the same information and are thinking the same way.
2016 On the same wavelength If people are on the same wavelength, they have the same ideas and opinions about something.
2017 On the shelf If something like a project is on the shelf, nothing is being done about it at the moment.
2018 On the skids When things or people are on the skids, they are in serious decline and trouble.
2019 On the sly If someone does something on the sly, they do it furtively or secretly.
2020 On the stump When politicians are campaigning for support and votes, they are on the stump.
2021 On the take (UK) Someone who is stealing from work is on the take.
2022 On the tip of your tongue If a word is on the tip of your tongue, you know you know the word, but you just can't quite remember it at the moment.
2023 On the trot (UK) This idiom means 'consecutively'; I'd saw them three days on the trot, which means that I saw them on three consecutive days.
2024 On the up and up If you are on the up and up, you are making very good progress in life and doing well.
2025 On the wagon If someone is on the wagon, they have stopped drinking alcohol.
2026 On the wallaby track (AU) In Australian English, if you're on the wallaby track, you are unemployed.
2027 On top of the world If you are on top of the world, everything is going well for you.
2028 On your high horse When someone is on their high horse, they are being inflexible, arrogant and will not make any compromises.
2029 On your last legs If someone's on their last legs, they're close to dying.
2030 On your soapbox If someone is up on their soapbox about something, they are very overtly and verbally passionate about the topic.
2031 On your tod If you are on your tod, you are alone.
2032 On your toes Someone on his or her toes is alert and ready to go.
2033 Once bitten, twice shy If somebody is said to be once bitten twice shy, it means that someone who has been hurt or who has had something go wrong will be far more careful the next time.
2034 Once in a blue moon If something happens once in a blue moon, it happens very rarely indeed.
2035 One bad apple The full form of this proverb is 'one bad apple spoils the barrel', meaning that a bad person, policy, etc, can ruin everything around it.
2036 One fell swoop If something is done at one fell swoop, it is done in a single period of activity, usually swiftly and ruthlessly.
2037 One for the road A last drink before leaving a pub or bar is one for the road.
2038 One good turn deserves another This means that when people do something good, something good will happen to them.
2039 One hand washes the other This idiom means that we need other people to get on as cooperation benefits us all.
2040 One man's loss is another man's gain This means thato ne person's setback benefits someone else.
2041 One man's meat is another man's poison This idiom means that one person can like something very much, but another can hate it.
2042 One man's trash is another man's treasure What is useless to one person might be valuable to another.
2043 One over the eight (UK) Someone who is one over the eight is drunk.
2044 One swallow does not make a summer This means that one good or positive event does not mean that everything is all right.
2045 One-man band If one person does all the work or has all the responsibility somewhere, then they are a one-man band.
2046 One-off A one-off event only happens once and will not be repeated.
2047 One-trick pony A one-trick pony is someone who does one thing well, but has limited skills in other areas.
2048 Oops a daisy An expression used to indicate surprise.
2049 Open all hours If a shop or suchlike is open all hours, it only closes, if at all, terribly late.
2050 Open book If a person is an open book, it is easy to know what they think or how they feel about things.
2051 Open old sores When a sore is almost healed, and if a person rips or tears it open, it is way of preventing the healing process and further aggravating the pain. This phrase, metaphorically suggests, to revive or reopen a quarrel or enmity which was almost forgotten.
2052 Open old wounds If you open old wounds, you revive a quarrel or problem that caused a lot of trouble in the past.
2053 Opening a can of worms If you open a can of worms, you do something that will cause a lot of problems and is, on balance, probably going to cause more trouble than it's worth.
2054 Opportunity knocks but once This idiom means that you only get one chance to achieve what you really want to do.
2055 Other fish to fry If you have other fish to fry, it doesn't matter if one opportunity fails to materialise as you have plenty of others.
2056 Other side of the coin The other side of the coin is a different, usually opposing, view of a situation. ('Flip side of the coin' is an alternative.)
2057 Out and about If someone is out and about, they have left their home and are getting things done that they need to do.
2058 Out in the sticks (UK) If someone lives out in the sticks, they live out in the country, a long way from any metropolitan area.
2059 Out like a light If you are out like a light, you fall fast asleep.
2060 Out of hand If something gets out of hand, it gets out of control.
2061 Out of my league If someone or something is out of your league, you aren't good enough or rich enough, etc, for it or them.
2062 Out of pocket If you are out of pocket on a deal, you have lost money.
2063 Out of sight, out of mind Out of sight, out of mind is used to suggest that someone will not think or worry about something if it isn't directly visible or available to them.
2064 Out of sorts If you are feeling a bit upset and depressed, you are out of sorts.
2065 Out of the blue If something happens out of the blue, it happens suddenly and unexpectedly.
2066 Out of the box Thinking out of the box is thinking in a creative way. However, it can also be used for a ready-made product that requires no specialist knowledge to set it up.
2067 Out of the frying pan, into the fire If you get out of one problem, but find yourself in a worse situation, you are out of the frying pan, into the fire.
2068 Out of the gate running If someone comes out of the gate running, they start something at a fast pace, without any build-up.
2069 Out of the left field (USA) If something comes out of the left field, it is beside the point and has nothing to do with the matter being discussed.
2070 Out of the mouths of babes People say this when children unexpectedly say something very intelligent or wise.
2071 Out of the woods If you are out of the woods, you have emerged safely from a dangerous situation, though the idiom is often used in the negative.
2072 Out of this world If something is out of this world, it is fantastic.
2073 Out of your hair If you get someone out of your hair, you get them to stop bothering or annoying you. ('Stay/keep/get out of my hair!' can be used as imperatives)
2074 Out of your mind If someone is out of the mind, they are so emotional about something that they are no longer rational.
2075 Out of your own pocket If someone does something out of their own pocket, they pay all the expenses involved.
2076 Out on a limb If somebody's out on a limb, they are in a very exposed position and could get into difficulties.
2077 Out to lunch If someone's out to lunch, they are crazy or out of touch.
2078 Out-and-out This means complete or total; an out-and-out lie is completey false.
2079 Over a barrel If someone has you over a barrel, they have you in a position where you have no choice but to accept what they want.
2080 Over and over If something happens over and over, it happens repeatedly.
2081 Over my dead body If you say that something will happen over your dead body, you will not let it happen.
2082 Over the counter Medicines and drugs that can be sold without a doctor's prescription are sold over the counter.
2083 Over the hill If someone is over the hill they have reached an age at which they can longer perform as well as they used to.
2084 Over the moon If you are over the moon about something, you are overjoyed.
2085 Over the top If something is over the top, it is excessive or unnecessary. It refers to the moment a soldier leaves the trenches.
2086 Over your head If something is over your head, or goes over your head, it is too complex or difficult for you to understand.
2087 Over-egg the pudding (UK) If you over-egg the pudding, you spoil something by trying to improve it excessively. It is also used nowadays with the meaning of making something look bigger or more important than it really is. ('Over-egg' alone is often used in this sense.)
2088 Packed like sardines If a place is extremely crowded, people are packed like sardines, or packed in like sardines.
2089 Paddle your own canoe (USA) If you paddle your own canoe, you do things for yourself without outside help.
2090 Pain in the neck If someone is very annoying and always disturbing you, they are a pain in the neck. Pain in the butt, or pain in the ass (USA), and Pain in the arse (UK) are less polite alternative forms.
2091 Paint the town red If you go out for a night out with lots of fun and drinking, you paint the town red.
2092 Paint yourself into a corner (USA) If someone paints themselves into a corner, they get themselves into a mess.
2093 Painted Jezebel A painted Jezebel is a scheming woman.
2094 Pandora's box If you open a Pandora's box, something you do causes all sorts of trouble that you hadn't anticipated.
2095 Paper over the cracks If you paper over the cracks, you try to make something look or work better but only deal with superficial issues, not the real underlying problems.
2096 Paper tiger A paper tiger is a person, country, institution, etc, that looks powerful, but is actually weak.
2097 Par for the course If something is par for the course, it is what you expected it would be. If it is above par, it is better, and if it is below par, it is worse.
2098 Parrot fashion If you learn something parrot fashion, you learn it word for word. A parrot is a bird from South America that can talk.
2099 Part and parcel If something is part and parcel of your job, say, it is an essential and unavoidable part that has to be accepted.
2100 Pass muster If something passes muster, it meets the required standard.
2101 Pass the buck If you pass the buck, you avoid taking responsibility by saying that someone else is responsible.
2102 Pass the hat If you pass the hat, you ask a people in a group to give money.
2103 Pass the time of day If you pass the time of day with somebody, you stop and say hello, enquire how they are and other such acts of social politeness.
2104 Pastoral care This is used in education to describe the aspect of care offered to pupils that cover things besides learning.
2105 Patience of Job If something requires the patience of Job, it requires great patience.
2106 Pay on the nail If you pay on the nail, you pay promptly in cash.
2107 Pay the piper When you pay the piper, you have to accept the consequences of something that you have done wrong or badly.
2108 Pay through the nose If you pay through the nose for something, you pay a very high price for it.
2109 Pay your dues If you have paid your dues, you have had your own struggles and earned your place or position.
2110 Pecking order The pecking order is the order of importance or rank.
2111 Peeping Tom A peeping Tom is someone who tries to look through other people's windows without being seen in order to spy on people in their homes.
2112 Pen is mightier than the sword The idiom 'the pen is mightier than the sword' means that words and communication are more powerful than wars and fighting.
2113 Penny ante (USA) Something that is very unimportant is penny ante.
2114 Penny pincher A penny pincher is a mean person or who is very frugal.
2115 Penny wise, pound foolish Someone who is penny wise, pound foolish can be very careful or mean with small amounts of money, yet wasteful and extravagant with large sums.
2116 People who live in glass houses should not throw stones People should not criticize other people for faults that they have themselves.
2117 Pep talk When someone gives you a pep talk it is to build you up to help you accomplish something. In sports a coach might give a player a pep talk before the game to bolster his confidence. At work the boss might give you a pep talk to get you to do a better job.
2118 Perfidious Albion England is known to some as perfidious Albion, implying that it is not trustworthy in its dealings with foreigners.
2119 Perish the thought Perish the thought is an expression meaning that you really hope something will not happen.
2120 Pet peeve A pet peeve is something that irritates an individual greatly.
2121 Photo finish A photo finish is when two contestants (usually in a race) finish at almost exactly the same time, making it difficult to determine the winner. (The saying stems from the practice of taking a photograph when the winners cross the finish line to determine who was ahead at the time.)
2122 Pick up the tab A person who pays for everyone picks up the tab.
2123 Pick-up game (USA) A pick-up game is something unplanned where people respond to events as they happen.
2124 Picture perfect When something is exactly as it should be it is said to be picture perfect.
2125 Pie in the sky If an idea or scheme is pie in the sky, it is utterly impractical.
2126 Piece of cake If something is a piece of cake, it is really easy.
2127 Pieces of the same cake Pieces of the same cake are things that have the same characteristics or qualities.
2128 Pig in a poke If someone buys a pig in a poke, they buy something without checking the condition it was in, usually finding out later that it was defective.
2129 Pigs might fly If you think something will never happen or succeed, you can say that 'pigs might fly' (or 'pigs can fly' and 'pigs will fly'- the idiom is used in many forms)
2130 Pin down with a label If you pin someone down with a label, you characterise them, often meant negatively as the label is restrictive.
2131 Pin money (UK) If you work for pin money, you work not because you need to but because it gives you money for extra little luxuries and treats.
2132 Pinch of salt If what someone says should be taken with a pinch of salt, then they exaggerate and distort things, so what they say shouldn't be believed unquestioningly. ('with a grain of salt' is an alternative.)
2133 Pink pound (UK) In the UK, the pink pound is an idiom for the economic power of gay people.
2134 Pink slip If someone receives a pink slip, they receive a letter telling them they have lost their job.
2135 Pipe dream A pipe dream is an unrealistic, impractical idea or scheme.
2136 Piping hot If food is piping hot, it is very hot indeed.
2137 Place in the sun If you have your place in the sun, you find wealth, happiness or whatever you are looking for in life.
2138 Plain as a pikestaff (UK) If something is as plain as a pikestaff, it is very clear.
2139 Plain as the nose on your face If something is as plain as the nose on your face, it is very clear and obvious.
2140 Plain Jane A plain Jane is a woman who isn't particularly attractive.
2141 Plain sailing If something is relatively easy and there are no problems doing it, it is plain sailing.
2142 Plan B Plan is an alternate or fall-back position or method when the initial attempt or plan goes wrong.
2143 Plastic smile When someone is wearing a plastic smile, they are appear to be happier with a situation or events than they actually are. This is actually a description of the forced smile you might see in many photographs.
2144 Play fast and loose If people play fast and loose, they behave in an irresponsible way and don't respect rules, etc.
2145 Play for keeps If you are playing for keeps, you take things very seriously and the outcome is very important to you; it is not a mere game.
2146 Play for time If you play for time, you delay something because because you are not ready or need more time to thing about it. Eg. I knew I had to play for time until the police arrived.
2147 Play hard to get If someone plays hard to get, they pretend not to be interewsted or attracted by someone, usually to make the other person increase their efforts.
2148 Play hardball If someone plays hardball, they are very aggressive in trying to achieve their aim.
2149 Play havoc Playing havoc with something is creating disorder and confusion; computer viruses can play havoc with your programs.
2150 Play hooky If people play hooky, they don't attend school when they should and don't have a valid reason for their absence.
2151 Play into someone's hands If you play into someone's hands, you do what they were expecting you to do and take advantage of this.
2152 Play it by ear If you play it by ear, you don't have a plan of action, but decide what to do as events take shape.
2153 Play out of your skin If someone plays out of their skin, they give an outstanding performance.
2154 Play possum To pretend to be dead or sleeping. His younger sister jumped on him because she knew he was just playing possum.
2155 Play second fiddle If you play second fiddle, you take a subordinate role behind someone more important.
2156 Play the field Someone who plays the field has sexual relationships with many people.
2157 Play the fool If someone plays the fool, they behave in a silly way to make people laugh. ('Act the fool' is and alternative form.)
2158 Play with fire If people take foolish risks, they are playing with fire.
2159 Playing to the gallery If someone plays to the gallery, they say or do things that will make them popular, but which are not the right things to do.
2160 Pleased as punch When someone is pleased as punch, they are very satisfied about something
2161 Poacher turned gamekeeper Someone who gets a legitimate job which is the opposite of their previous one. E.G a computer hacker who then helps to catch other hackers or an ex-bank robber who then advises banks on security.
2162 Poetry in motion Something that is poetry in motion is beautiful to watch.
2163 Point the finger When you point the finger at someone, you are accusing and blaming them for something.
2164 Pointy-heads Pointy-heads are supposed intellectuals or experts, but who don't really know that much.
2165 Poison pill A poison pill is a strategy designed to prevent a company from being take over.
2166 Polish the apples (USA) Someone who polishes the apples with someone, tries to get into that person's favor.
2167 Polishing peanuts To work very hard at something for little or no return. In other words, wasting time on work which will not yield reasonable value.
2168 Politically correct Things or people that are politically correct use language that will not cause offence.
2169 Poor as a church mouse If soemone is as poor as a church mouse, they are very poor indeed.
2170 Pop the question When someone pops the question, they ask someone to marry them.
2171 Pop your clogs When someone pops their clogs, they die.
2172 Pork barrel Pork barrel politics involves investing money in an area to get political support rather than using the money for the common good.
2173 Pot calling the kettle black If someone hypocritically criticises a person for something that they themselves do, then it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
2174 Pot-luck If you take pot-luck, you take whatever happens to be available at the time.
2175 Pound of flesh If someone wants their pound of flesh, the force someone to pay or give back something owed, even though they don't need it and it will cause the other person a lot of difficulty.
2176 Pour oil on troubled waters If someone pours oil on troubled waters, they try to calm things down.
2177 Powder your nose If somebody goes to powder your nose, it is a euphemism for going to the lavatory (toilet).
2178 Powers that be The powers that be are the people who are in charge of something.
2179 Practical joke A practical joke is a trick played on someone that is meant to be funny for people watching, though normally embarrassing for the person being tricked.
2180 Practise what you preach If you practise what you preach, you do what you say other people should do.(In American English, the verb is 'practice')
2181 Preaching to the choir If someone preaches to the choir, they talking about a subject or issue with which their audience already agrees. ('Preaching to the converted' is an alternative form.)
2182 Presence of mind If someone behaves calmly and rationally in difficult circumstances, they show presence of mind.
2183 Press the flesh When people, especially politicians, press the flesh, they meet members of the public and shake their hands, usually when trying to get support.
2184 Pressed for time If you are pressed for time, you are in a hurry or working against a very tight schedule.
2185 Prick up your ears If you prick up your ears, you listen very carefully. ('Pick up your ears' is also used.)
2186 Prim and proper Someone who is prim and proper always behaves in the correct way and never breaks the rules of etiquette.
2187 Primrose path The primrose path is an easy and pleasurable lifestyle, but one that ends in unpleasantness and problems.
2188 Prince charming A prince charming is the perfect man in a woman's life.
2189 Problem is thirty If a problem is 30, the problem is the person who sits 30 cm from the computer screen. It is used to describe people that lack technical knowledge and can be used when you insult someone who's having computer problems.
2190 Proclaim it from the rooftops If something is proclaimed from the rooftops, it is made as widely known and as public as possible.
2191 Prodigal son A prodigal son is a young man who wastes a lot on money on a lavish lifestyle. If the prodigal son returns, they return to a better way of living.
2192 Proof of the pudding is in the eating This means that something can only be judged when it is tested or by its results. (It is often shortened to 'Proof of the pudding'.)
2193 Pros and cons Pros and cons are arguments for or against a particular issue. Pros are arguments which aim to promote the issue, while cons suggest points against it. The term has been in use since the 16th century and is a shortening of a Latin phrase, pro et contra, which means “for and against.” Considering the pros and cons of an issue is a very useful way to weigh the issue thoughtfully and reach an informed decision.
2194 Proud as a peacock Someone who is as proud as a peacock is excessively proud.
2195 Pull a rabbit out of your hat If you pull a rabbit out of a hat, you do something that no one was expecting.
2196 Pull in the reins When you pull in the reins, you slow down or stop something that has been a bit out of control.
2197 Pull no punches If you pull no punches, you hold nothing back.
2198 Pull out all the stops If you pull out all the stops, you do everything you possibly can to achieve the result you want.
2199 Pull out of the fire (USA) If you pull something out of the fire, you save or rescue it.
2200 Pull rank A person of higher position or in authority pulls rank, he or she exercises his/her authority, generally ending any discussion and ignoring other people's views.
2201 Pull someone's leg If you pull someone's leg, you tease them, but not maliciously.
2202 Pull strings If you pull strings, you use contacts you have got to help you get what you want.
2203 Pull the fat from the fire If you pull the fat from the fire, you help someone in a difficult situation.
2204 Pull the other one, it's got brass bells on This idiom is way of telling somebody that you don't believe them. The word 'brass' is optional.
2205 Pull the trigger The person who pulls the trigger is the one who does the action that closes or finishes something.
2206 Pull the wool over someone's eyes If you pull the wool over someone's eyes, you deceive or cheat them.
2207 Pull up your socks If you aren't satisfied with someone and want them to do better, you can tell them to pull up their socks.
2208 Pull your chain (USA) If someone pulls your chain, they take advantage of you in an unfair way or do something to annoy you.
2209 Pull your finger out! (UK) If someone tells you to do this, they want you to hurry up. ('Get your finger out' is also used.)
2210 Pull your punches If you pull your punches, you do not use all the power or authority at your disposal.
2211 Pull your weight If someone is not pulling their weight, they aren't making enough effort, especially in group work.
2212 Pull yourself up by your bootstraps If you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you make the effort to improve things for yourself.
2213 Punching bag A punching bag (or punch bag) is a person who gets a lot of unfair criticism.
2214 Pup's chance A pup's chance is no chance.
2215 Puppy love Puppy love is love between two very young people.
2216 Push comes to shove If or when push comes to shove, the situation has become some bad that you are forced to do something: If push comes to shove, we'll just have to use our savings.
2217 Push the envelope This means to go to the limits, to do something to the maximum possible.
2218 Pushing up the daisies If someone is said to be pushing up the daisies, they are dead.
2219 Put a bug in your ear If you put a bug in someone's ear, you give him or her a reminder or suggestion relating to a future event.
2220 Put a cork in it! This is a way of telling someone to be quiet.
2221 Put a sock in it If someone tells you to put a sock in it, they are telling you to shut up.
2222 Put all your eggs in one basket If you put all your eggs in one basket, you risk everything on a single opportunity which, like eggs breaking, could go wrong.
2223 Put it on the cuff If you put something on the cuff, you will take it now and pay for it later.
2224 Put lipstick on a pig If people put lipstick on a pig, they make superficial or cosmetic changes, hoping that it will make the product more attractive.
2225 Put more green into something (USA) To put more green into something is to spend more or to increase investment in it.
2226 Put on airs If someone puts on airs, they pretend to be grander and more important than they really are.
2227 Put or get someone's back up If you put or get someone's back up, you annoy them.
2228 Put some dirt on it This means that when you get hurt, you should rub it off or shake it off and you'll be ok.
2229 Put some mustard on it! (USA) I think its used to encourage someone to throw a ball like a baseball hard or fast.
2230 Put somebody's nose out of joint If you put someone's nose out of joint, you irritate them or make them angry with you.
2231 Put someone on a pedestal If you put someone on a pedestal, you admire them greatly, idolise them.
2232 Put someone out to pasture If someone is put out to pasture, they are forced to resign or give up some responsibilities.
2233 Put that in your pipe and smoke it This is used as an unsympathetic way of telling someone to accept what you have just said.
2234 Put the carriage before the horse If you put the carriage before the horse, you try to do things in the wrong order.
2235 Put the kybosh on To put an end to something.
2236 Put the pedal to the metal If you put the pedal to the metal, you go faster.
2237 Put to the sword If someone is put to the sword, he or she is killed or executed.
2238 Put two and two together If someone puts two and two together, they reach a correct conclusion from the evidence.
2239 Put up or shut up 'Put up or shut up' means you do something you are talking about or not to talk about it any more.
2240 Put you in mind If something suggests something to you, it puts you in mind of that thing.
2241 Put you in the picture If you put someone in the picture, you tell them the information they need to know about something.
2242 Put your best foot forward If you ut your best foot forward, you try your best to do something.
2243 Put your cards on the table If you put your cards on the table, you make your thoughts or ideas perfectly clear.
2244 Put your foot down When someone puts their foot down, they make a firm stand and establish their authority on an issue.
2245 Put your foot in it If you put your foot in it, you do or say something embarrassing and tactless or get yourself into trouble.
2246 Put your foot in your mouth If you put your foot in your mouth, you say something stupid or embarrassing.
2247 Put your hand on your heart If you can out your hand on your heart, then you can say something knowing it to be true.
2248 Put your heads together If people put their head together, they exchange ideas about something.
2249 Put your money where your mouth is If someone puts their money where their mouth is, they back up their words with action.
2250 Put your shoulder to the wheel When you put your shoulder to the wheel, you contribute to an effort.
2251 Put your thumb on the scales If you put your thumb on the scales, you try to influence the result of something in your favour.
2252 Put yourself in someone's shoes If you put yourself in someone's shoes, you imagine what it is like to be in their position.
2253 Putting the cart before the horse When you put the cart before the horse, you are doing something the wrong way round.
2254 Pyrrhic victory A Pyrrhic victory is one that causes the victor to suffer so much to achieve it that it isn't worth winning.
2255 Quarrel with bread and butter Bread and butter, here, indicate the means of one’s living. (That is why we say ‘he is the bread winner of the family’). If a sub-ordinate in an organisation is quarrelsome or if he is not patient enough to bear the reprimand he deserves, gets angry and retorts or provokes the higher-up, the top man dismisses him from the job. So, he loses the job that gave him bread and butter. Hence we say, he quarrelled with bread and butter (manager or the top man) and lost his job.
2256 Quart into a pint pot (UK) If you try to put or get a quart into a pint pot, you try to put too much in a small space. (1 quart = 2 pints)
2257 Queen bee The queen bee is a woman who holds the most important position in a place.
2258 Queen of Hearts A woman who is pre-eminent in her area is a Queen of Hearts.
2259 Queer fish (UK) A strange person is a queer fish.
2260 Queer Street If someone is in a lot of trouble, especially financial, they are in Queer Street.
2261 Queer your pitch If someone queers your pitch, they interfere in your affairs and spoil things.
2262 Question of time If something's a question of time, it's certain to happen, though we don't know exactly when.
2263 Queue jumping Someone who goes to the front of a queue instead of waiting is jumping the queue.
2264 Quick as a flash If something happens quick as a flash, it happens very fast indeed.
2265 Quick buck If you make some money easily, you make a quick buck.
2266 Quick fix A quick fix is an easy solution, especially one that will not last.
2267 Quick off the mark If someone is quick off the mark, they are very quick to use, start or do something new.
2268 Quick on the trigger Someone who is quick on the trigger acts or responds quickly.
2269 Quids in (UK) If somebody is quids in, they stand to make a lot of money from something.
2270 Quiet as a cat If somebody is as quiet as a cat they make as little noise as possible and try to be unnoticeable.
2271 Quiet as a mouse If someone's as quiet as a mouse, they make absolutely no noise.
2272 Quiet before the Storm When you know that something is about to go horribly wrong, but hasn't just yet, then you are in the quiet before the storm.
2273 Quitters never win; winners never quit If you quit you will never get what you want, but if you keep trying you will find a way to get what you want. ('Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots' is a variation accredited to Larry Kersten)
2274 Rack and ruin If something or someone goes to rack and ruin, they are utterly destroyed or wrecked.
2275 Rack your brain If you rack your brain, you think very hard when trying to remember something. ('Rack your brains' is an alternative.)
2276 Ragged blue line (USA) This term was used to signify the Union forces (who wore blue uniforms) in the American Civil war .
2277 Rags to riches Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich goes from rags to riches.
2278 Rain on your parade If someone rains on your parade, they ruin your pleasure or your plans.
2279 Raining cats and dogs When it is raining cats and dogs, it is raining very heavily.
2280 Rainy day If you save something, especially money, for a rainy day, you save it for some possible problem or trouble in the future.
2281 Raise Cain (USA) If someone raises Cain, they make a big fuss publicly, causing a disturbance.
2282 Raise eyebrows If something raises eyebrows, it shocks or surprises people.
2283 Rake over old coals (UK) If you go back to old problems and try to bring them back, making trouble for someone, you are raking over old coals.
2284 Rake someone over the coals (USA) If you rake someone over the coals, you criticize or scold them severely.
2285 Rank and file The rank and file are the ordinary members of a company, organisation, etc, excluding the managers and directors.
2286 Rat race The rat race is the ruthless, competitive struggle for success in work, etc.
2287 Rather you than me Rather you than me is an expression used when someone has something unpleasant or arduous to do. It is meant in a good natured way of expressing both sympathy and having a bit of a laugh at their expense.
2288 Raw deal If you get a raw deal, you are treated unfairly.
2289 Read between the lines If you read between the lines, you find the real message in what you're reading or hearing, a meaning that is not available from a literal interpretation of the words.
2290 Read from the same page When people are reading from the same page, they say the same things in public about an issue.
2291 Read someone the riot act If you read someone the riot act, you give them a clear warning that if they don't stop doing something, they will be in serious trouble.
2292 Real deal If something is the real deal, it is genuine and good.
2293 Real McCoy Something that's the real McCoy is the genuine article, not a fake.
2294 Real plum A real plum is a good opportunity.
2295 Real trooper A real trooper is someone who will fight for what they believe in and doesn't give up easily.
2296 Rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic (UK) If people are rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, they are making small changes that will have no effect as the project, company, etc, is in very serious trouble.
2297 Recharge your batteries If you recharge your batteries, you do something to regain your energy after working hard for a long time.
2298 Recipe for disaster A recipe for disaster is a mixture of people and events that could only possibly result in trouble.
2299 Red carpet If you give someone the red-carpet treatment, you give them a special welcome to show that you think they are important. You can roll out the red carpet, too.
2300 Red herring If something is a distraction from the real issues, it is a red herring.
2301 Red letter day A red letter day is a one of good luck, when something special happens to you.
2302 Red light district The red light district is the area of a town or city where there is prostitution, sex shops, etc.
2303 Red mist If someone sees red or the red mist, they lose their temper and self-control completely.
2304 Red rag to a bull If something is a red rag to a bull, it is something that will inevitably make somebody angry or cross.
2305 Red tape This is a negative term for the official paperwork and bureaucracy that we have to deal with.
2306 Reds under the bed An ironic allusion to the obsession some people have that there are reds (communists) everywhere plotting violent revolution.
2307 Reduce to ashes If something is reduced to ashes, it is destroyed or made useless. His infidelities reduced their relationship to ashes.
2308 Reinvent the wheel If someone reinvents the wheel, they waste their time doing something that has already been done by other people, when they could be doing something more worthwhile.
2309 Renaissance man A Renaissance man is a person who is talented in a number of different areas, especially when their talents include both the sciences and the arts.
2310 Rest is gravy (USA) If the rest is gravy, it is easy and straightforward once you have reached that stage.
2311 Rest on your laurels If someone rests on their laurels, they rely on their past achievements, rather than trying to achieve things now.
2312 Revenge is sweet When you are happy to be proved right, then you know that revenge is sweet.
2313 Rewrite history If you rewrite history, you change your version of past events so as to make yourself look better than you would if the truth was told.
2314 Rhyme or reason If something is without rhyme or reason, it is unreasonable. ('Beyond rhyme or reason' is an alternative.)
2315 Rice missionary A rice missionary gives food to hungry people as a way of converting them to Christianity.
2316 Rich as Croesus Someone who is as rich as Croesus is very wealthy indeed.
2317 Rich man's family A rich man's family consists of one son and one daughter.
2318 Ride for a fall If sxomeone is riding for a fall, they are taking great risks that are likely to end in a disaster.
2319 Ride high If someone is riding high, they are very successful at the moment.
2320 Ride roughshod If someone rides roughshod over other people, they impose their will without caring at all for other people's feelings.
2321 Ride shotgun If you ride shotgun, you protect or guard something when it is being transported.
2322 Ride with the tide If you ride with the tide, you accept the majority decision.
2323 Right as rain If things are right as rain, then everything is going well in your life.
2324 Right out of the blocks This means immediately; at the very beginning. It describes a sprinter blasting out of the starting blocks at the beginning of a short distance race (e.g., 100-yard dash, 50-yard dash).
2325 Right royal (UK) A right royal night out would be an extremely exciting, memorable and fun one.
2326 Right up my alley If something is right up your alley, it suits you perfectly.
2327 Right up your street If something is ideal for you, it is right up your street.
2328 Ring a bell If something rings a bell, it reminds you of something you have heard before, though you may not be able to remember it very well. A name may ring a bell, so you know you have heard the name before, but cannot place it properly.
2329 Ringside seat If you have a ringside seat, you can observe something from a very close and clear position.
2330 Rip van Winkle Rip van Winkle is a character in a story who slept for twenty years, so if someone is a Rip van Winkle, they are behind the times and out of touch with what's happening now.
2331 Rise and shine If you wake up full of energy, you rise and shine.
2332 Rise from the ashes If something rises from the ashes, it recovers after a serious failure.
2333 Road to Damascus If someone has a great and sudden change in their ideas or beliefs, then this is a road to Damascus change, after the conversion of Saint Paul to Christianity while heading to Damascus to persecute Christians.
2334 Rob Peter to pay Paul If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you try to solve one problem, but create another in doing so, often through short-term planning.
2335 Rock the boat If you rock the boat, you destabilise a situation by making trouble. It is often used as advice; 'Don't rock the boat'.
2336 Rocket science If something is not rocket science, it is not very complicated or difficult to understand. This idiom is normally used in the negative.
2337 Roll out the red carpet If you roll out the red carpet, you treat someone in a special way, especially when welcoming them.
2338 Roll with the punches If you roll with the punches, you are flexible and able to adapt to difficult circumstances.
2339 Roll your eyes If you roll your eyes, you show with your eyes that you don't believe someone or aren't interested in what they're saying.
2340 Rolling in money If someone has a lot of money, more than they could possibly need, they are rolling in money.
2341 Rolling in the aisles If the audience watching something are laughing loudly, the show has them rolling in the aisles.
2342 Rome was not built in a day This idiom means that many things cannot be done instantly, and require time and patience.
2343 Root hog or die poor (USA) It's a expression used in the Southern USA that means that you must look out for yourself as no one's going to do it for you. (It can be shortened to 'root hog'. A hog is a pig.)
2344 Rooted to the spot If someone is rooted to the spot, they canot move, either physically or they cannot think their way out of a problem.
2345 Rose-colored glasses If people see things through rose-colored (coloured) glasses, they see them in a more positive light than they really are.
2346 Rose-tinted glasses If people see things through rose-tinted glasses, they see them in a more positive light than they really are.
2347 Rough and ready If something is rough and ready, it has not been carefully prepared, but is fit for its purpose. If a person is rough and ready, they are not very refined or mannered.
2348 Rough around the edges If someone is rough around the edges, they haven't mastered something, though they show promise.
2349 Rough diamond A rough diamond is a person who might be a bit rude but who is good underneath it all.
2350 Rough edges If something has rough edges, it is still not a finished product and not all of a uniform standard.
2351 Rough end of the stick To get the rough end of the stick is to be treated unfairly or to come off worse than the other party in a transaction, situation or relationship.
2352 Rough-hewn If something, especially something made from wood or stone, is rough-hewn, it is unfinished or unpolished.
2353 Round the bend If someone has gone round the bend, they have stopped being rational about something. If something drives you round the bend, it irritates you or makes you angry.
2354 Round the houses If you go round the houses, you do something in an inefficient way when there is a quicker, more convenient way.
2355 Rub shoulders If you rub shoulders with people, you meet and spend time with them, especially when they are powerful or famous.
2356 Rub someone up the wrong way If you annoy or irritate someone when you didn't mean to, you rub them up the wrong way.
2357 Rudderless ship If an organisation, company, government, etc, is like a rudderless ship, it has no clear direction and drifts about without reaching its goals.
2358 Rue the day This means that the person will one day bitterly regret what they have done.
2359 Ruffle a few feathers If you ruffle a few feathers, you annoy some people when making changes or improvements.
2360 Rule of thumb Rule of thumb means approximately.
2361 Rule the roost If someone rules the roost they are the boss. Example:There's no doubt who rules the roost in this house.
2362 Run a mile If someone "Runs a mile", they do everything they can to avoid a situation. Example: "I was worried that he'd take one look at me and run a mile."
2363 Run amok When things or people are running amok, they are wild and out of control.('Run amuck' is also used.)
2364 Run around the bush (USA) If you run around the bush, it means that you're taking a long time to get to the point.
2365 Run before you can walk If someone tries to run before they can walk, they try to do something requiring a high level of knowledge before they have learned the basics.
2366 Run circles around someone If you can run circles around someone, you are smarter and intellectually quicker than they are.
2367 Run into the sand If something runs into the sand, it fails to achieve a result.
2368 Run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes This idiom is used to suggest trying out an idea to see if people accept it.
2369 Run off your feet If you are run off your feet, you are extremely busy and don't have enough time to do everything.
2370 Run out of gas If a campaign, project, etc, runs out of gas, it loses energy and momentum, and progress slows or halts.
2371 Run rings around someone If you run rings around someone, you are so much better than them that they have no chance of keeping up with you.
2372 Run something into the ground If people run something into the ground, they treat or manage it so badly that they ruin it.
2373 Run the gauntlet If somebody is being criticised harshly by a lot of people, they are said to run the gauntlet.
2374 Run the show If someone runs the show, they like to be in control and make all the decisions.
2375 Run to ground If you run someone or something to ground, you pursue until you capture or find them or it.
2376 Run your mouth off If someone runs their mouth off, they talk too much.
2377 Run-of-the-mill If something is run-of-the-mill, there is nothing exceptional about it- it is ordinary or average.
2378 Running on empty If you are exhausted but keep going, you are running on empty.
2379 Running on fumes If someone has used all their energy on something, but must continue, they are running on fumes. It is an expression used when driving a car when the needle is on empty but still running. We say it is 'running on fumes'.
2380 Runs in the family If a characteristic runs in the family, it can clearly be seen members of different generations. A hereditary illness that is passed from one generation to the next also runs in the family.
2381 Russian roulette If people take a dangerous and unnecessary risk, they are playing Russian roulette.
2382 Rusty needle When something is described as a rusty needle, it is badly damaged but still works, or if someone very is sick or tired but still manages to do things at a fairly good level. An alternative form is "a tarnished needle".
2383 Sacred cow Something that is a sacred cow is held in such respect that it cannot be criticised or attacked.
2384 Safe and sound If you arrive safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you on your way.
2385 Safe as houses Something that is as safe as houses is very secure or certain.
2386 Safe bet A proposition that is a safe bet doesn't have any risks attached.
2387 Safe pair of hands A person who can be trusted to do something without causing any trouble is a safe pair of hands.
2388 Safety in numbers If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.
2389 Saigon moment (USA) A Saigon moment is when people realise that something has gone wrong and that they will lose or fail.
2390 Sail close to the wind If you sail close to the wind, you take risks to do something, going close to the limit of what is allowed or acceptable.
2391 Sail under false colours Someone who sails under false colours (colors) is hypocritical or pretends to be something they aren't in order to deceive people.
2392 Salad days Your salad days are an especially happy period of your life.
2393 Salt in a wound If you rub salt in a wound, you make someone feel bad about something that is already a painful experience. 'Pour salt on a wound' is an alternative form of the idiom.
2394 Salt of the earth People who are salt of the earth are decent, dependable and unpretentious.
2395 Salty dog A salty dog is an experienced sailor.
2396 Same old, same old When nothing changes, it's the same old, same old.
2397 Save face If someone saves face, they manage to protect their reputation.
2398 Save someone's bacon If something saves your bacon, it saves your life or rescues you from a desperate situation. People can also save your bacon.
2399 Save your skin If someone saves their skin, they manage to avoid getting into serious trouble.
2400 Saved by the bell If you are saved by the bell, you are rescued from a danger or a tricky situation just in time.
2401 Saving grace If someone has some character defects, but has a characteristic that compensate for their failings and shortcomings, this is their saving grace.
2402 Say uncle (USA) If you say uncle, you admit defeat. ('Cry uncle' is an alternative form.)
2403 Say when People say this when pouring a drink as a way of telling you to tell them when there's enough in your glass.
2404 Say-so If you do something on someone else's say-so, you do it on the authority, advice or recommendation.
2405 Saying is one thing; doing is another It's harder to do something than it is to say that you will do it.
2406 Scales fall from your eyes When the scales fall from your eyes, you suddenly realise the truth about something.
2407 Scare the daylights out of someone If you scare the daylights out of someone, you terrify them. (This can be made even stronger by saying 'the living daylights'.)
2408 Scarlet woman This idiom is used as a pejorative term for a sexually promiscuous woman, especially an adulteress.
2409 Scattered to the four winds If something's scattered to the four winds, it goes out in all directions.
2410 Scent blood If you can scent blood, you feel that a rival is having difficulties and you are going to beat them.
2411 Schoolyard pick When people take it in turns to choose a member of a team, it is a schoolyard pick.
2412 Scot free If someone escapes scot free, they avoid payment or punishment. 'Scot' is an old word for a tax, so it originally referred to avoiding taxes, though now has a wider sense of not being punished for someone that you have done.
2413 Scotch Mist The phrase 'Scotch mist' is used humorously to refer to something that is hard to find or doesn't exist - something imagined.
2414 Scraping the barrel When all the best people, things or ideas and so on are used up and people try to make do with what they have left, they are scraping the barrel.
2415 Scream blue murder If someone shouts very loudly in anger, or fear, they scream blue murder.
2416 Screw loose If someone has a screw loose, they are crazy.
2417 Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't This means that no matter what you decide or do in a situation, there will be negative consequences.
2418 Sea legs If you are getting your sea legs, it takes you a while to get used to something new.
2419 Seamy side The seamy side of something is the unpleasant or sordid aspect it has.
2420 Searching question A searching question goes straight to the heart of the subject matter, possibly requiring an answer with a degree of honesty that the other person finds uncomfortable.
2421 Second thoughts If some has second thoughts, they start to think that an idea, etc, is not as good as it sounded at first and are starting to have doubts.
2422 Second wind If you overcome tiredness and find new energy and enthusiasm, you have second wind.
2423 See eye to eye If people see eye to eye, they agree about everything.
2424 See red If someone sees red, they become very angry about something.
2425 See the elephant If you see the elephant, you experience much more than you wish to; it is often used when a soldier goes into a warzone for the first time.
2426 See the light When someone sees the light, they realise the truth.
2427 See which way the cat jumps (AU) If you see which way the cat jumps, you postpone making a decision or acting until you have seen how things are developing.
2428 See you anon (UK) If somebody says this when leaving, they expect to see you again soon.
2429 See you later A casual way of saying to friends I'll see you again, sometime, (without a definite date or time having been set) - this is often abbreviated to 'Later' or 'Laters' as an alternative way of saying goodbye.
2430 See you on the big drum A good night phrase to children.
2431 Seed money Seed money is money that is used to start a small business.
2432 Seeing is believing This idiom means that people can only really believe what they experience personally.
2433 Seen better days If something's seen better days, it has aged badly and visibly compared to when it was new. The phrase can also be used to describe people.
2434 Sell down the river If you sell someone down the river, you betray their trust.
2435 Sell like hot cakes If a product is selling very well, it is selling like hot cakes.
2436 Sell like hotcakes If something is selling like hotcakes, it is very popular and selling very well.
2437 Sell your birthright for a mess of pottage If a person sells their birthright for a mess of pottage, they accept some trivial financial or other gain, but lose something much more important. 'Sell your soul for a mess of pottage' is an alternative form.
2438 Sell your soul If someone sells their soul, their betray the most precious beliefs.
2439 Send someone packing If you send someone packing, you send them away, normally when they want something from you.
2440 Send someone to Coventry (UK) If you send someone to Coventry, you refuse to talk to them or co-operate with them.
2441 Separate the sheep from the goats If you separate the sheep from the goats, you sort out the good from the bad.
2442 Separate the wheat from the chaff When you separate the wheat from the chaff, you select what is useful or valuable and reject what is useless or worthless.
2443 Serve time When someone is serving time, they are in prison.
2444 Serve your country When someone is serving their country, they have enrolled in the military.
2445 Set in stone If something is set in stone, it cannot be changed or altered.
2446 Set the Thames on fire If you do something remarkable, you set the Thames on fire, though this expression is used in the negative; someone who is dull or undistiguished will never set the Thames on fire.
2447 Set the wheels in motion When you set the wheels in motion, you get something started.
2448 Set your sights on If you set your sights on someone or something, it is your ambition to beat them or to achieve that goal.
2449 Seven sheets to the wind If someone is seven sheets to the wind, they are very drunk.
2450 Seventh heaven If you are in seventh heaven, you are extremely happy.
2451 Shades of meaning Shades of meaning is a phrase used to describe the small, subtle differences in meaning between similar words or phrases; 'kid' and 'youth' both refer to young people, but carry differing views and ideas about young people.
2452 Shaggy dog story A shaggy dog story is a joke which is a long story with a silly end.
2453 Shake a leg If you shake a leg, you are out of bed and active. It can be used to tell someone to hurry up.
2454 Shanks's pony (UK) If you go somewhere by Shanks's pony, you walk there.
2455 Shape up or ship out If someone has to shape up or ship out, they have to improve or leave their job, organisation, etc.
2456 Sharp as a tack (USA) If someone is as sharp as a tack, they are very clever indeed.
2457 Sharp cookie Someone who isn't easily deceived or fooled is a sharp cookie.
2458 Sharpen your pencil (USA) If someone says this when negotiating, they want the other person to make a better offer, a lower price.
2459 She'll be apples (AU) A very popular old Australian saying meaning everything will be all right, often used when there is some doubt.
2460 Shed light If you shed light on something, you make it clearer and easier to understand.
2461 Shifting sands If the sands are shifting, circumstances are changing.
2462 Shilly-shally If people shilly-shally, they can't make up their minds about something and put off the decision.
2463 Ship came in If your ship has come in, something very good has happened to you.
2464 Shipshape and Bristol fashion If things are shipshape and Bristol fashion, they are in perfect working order.
2465 Shoe is on the other foot If the shoe is on the other foot, someone is experiencing what they used to make others experience, normally negative things.
2466 Shoestring If you do something on a shoestring, you try to spend the absolute minimum amount of money possible on it.
2467 Shoot down in flames If someone demolishes your argument, it (and you) have been shot down in flames.
2468 Shoot from the hip Someone who shoots from the hip talks very directly or insensitively without thinking beforehand.
2469 Shoot the breeze When you shoot the breeze, you chat in a relaxed way.
2470 Shoot your wad When you have shot your wad, you have expended everything and have no more to say or do about a matter.
2471 Shoot yourself in the foot If you shoot yourself in the foot, you do something that damages your ambition, career, etc.
2472 Shooting fish in a barrel If something is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is so easy that success is guaranteed.
2473 Shop floor 'Shop floor' refers to the part of an organisation where the work is actually performed rather than just managed.
2474 Short end of the stick If someone gets the short end of the stick, they are unfairly treated or don't get what they deserve.
2475 Short horse soon curried A convenient and superficial explanation that is normally unconvincing is a short horse soon curried.
2476 Short shrift If somebody gives you short shrift, they treat you rudely and brusquely, showing no interest or sympathy.
2477 Short-change If you are short-changed, someone cheats you of money or doesn't give you full value for something.
2478 Shot across the bow A shot across the bow is a warning to tell someone to stop doing something or face very serious consequences.
2479 Shot in the dark If you have a shot in the dark at something, you try something where you have little hope of success.
2480 Shotgun marriage A shotgun marriage, or shotgun wedding, is one that is forced because of pregnancy. It is also used idiomatically for a compromise, agreement or arrangement that is forced upon groups or people by necessity.
2481 Show me the money When people say this, they either want to know how much they will be paid for something or want to see evidence that something is valuable or worth paying for.
2482 Show someone a clean pair of heels If you show someone a clean pair of heels, you run faster than them when they are chasing you.
2483 Show someone the ropes If you show someone the ropes, you explain to someone new how things work and how to do a job.
2484 Show your true colors To show your true colors is to reveal yourself as you really are.
2485 Shrinking violet A shrinking violet is a shy person who doesn't express their views and opinions.
2486 Sick and tired If you are sick and tired of something, it has been going on for a long time and you can no longer tolerate it.
2487 Sick as a dog If somebody's as sick as a dog, they throw up (=vomit) violently.
2488 Sick as a parrot If someone's sick as a parrot about something, they are unhappy, disappointed or depressed about it.
2489 Sick to death If you are sick to death of something, you have been exposed to so much of it that you cannot take any more.
2490 Sight for sore eyes Someone or something that is a sight for sore eyes is a pleasure to see.
2491 Sight to behold If something is a sight to behold, it means that seeing it is in some way special, either spectacularly beautiful or, equally, incredibly ugly or revolting, etc.
2492 Signed, sealed and delivered If something's signed, sealed and delivered, it has been done correctly, following all the necessary procedures.
2493 Silence is golden It is often better to say nothing than to talk, so silence is golden.
2494 Silly season The silly season is midsummer when Parliament is closed and nothing much is happening that is newsworthy, which reduces the press to reporting trivial and stupid stories.
2495 Silver bullet A silver bullet is a complete solution to a large problem, a solution that seems magical.
2496 Silver screen The silver screen is the cinema.
2497 Silver surfer A silver surfer is an elderly person who uses the internet.
2498 Since time immemorial If something has happened since time immemorial, it's been going on for such a long time that nobody can remember a time without it.
2499 Sing for your supper If you have to sing for your supper, you have to work to get the pay or reward you need or want.
2500 Sing from the same hymn sheet If people are singing from the same hymn sheet, they are expressing the same opinions in public.
2501 Sing like a canary If someone sings like a canary, they tell everything they know about a crime or wrongdoing to the police or authorities.
2502 Sink or swim Of you are left to sink or swim, no one gives you any help and it's up to you whether you fail or succeed.
2503 Sit on the fence If someone sits on the fence, they try not to support either side in a dispute.
2504 Sit pretty Someone who's sitting pretty is in a very advantageous situation.
2505 Sit well with If something doesn't sit well with you, it doesn't please you or is not acceptable to you.
2506 Sitting duck A sitting duck is something or someone that is easy to criticise or target.
2507 Six feet under If someone is six feet under, they are dead.
2508 Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other This is an idiom used when there is little or no difference between two options.
2509 Sixes and sevens If something is all at sixes and sevens, then there is a lot of disagreement and confusion about what should be done.
2510 Sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question The sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question is the most important question that can be asked about something.
2511 Skate on thin ice If someone is skating on thin ice, they are taking a big risk.
2512 Skeleton in the closet If someone has a skeleton in the closet, they have a dark, shameful secret in their past that they want to remain secret.
2513 Skin and bones If someone is skin and bones, they are very underweight and look bad.
2514 Skin in the game A person who has skin in the game has invested in the company they are running.
2515 Skin someone alive If someone skins you alive, they admonish and punish you hard.
2516 Skunkworks An unauthorised, or hidden program or activity, often research-oriented, and out of the bureaucratic chain of command is known as a 'skunkworks'.
2517 Sky is the limit When people say that the sky is the limit, they think that there are no limits to the possibilities something could have.
2518 Slap leather (USA) This is used as an instruction to tell people when to draw their guns.
2519 Slap on the wrist If someone gets a slap on the wrist, they get a very minor punishment when they could have been punished more severely.
2520 Sleep like a baby If you sleep very well, you sleep like a baby.
2521 Sleep like a log If you sleep like a log, you sleep very soundly.
2522 Sleep well- don't let the bedbugs bite This is a way of wishing someone a good night's sleep.
2523 Sleight of hand Sleight of hand is the ability to use your hands in a clever way, like a magician performing tricks you can't see.
2524 Slim chance A slim chance is a very small chance.
2525 Sling your hook This is used as a way of telling someone to leave or go away.
2526 Slip of the tongue If you say something accidentally, it is a slip of the tongue.
2527 Slip through one's fingers If something slips through one’s fingers it escapes or is lost through carelessness.
2528 Slippery customer A person from whom it is difficult to get anything definite or fixed is a slippery customer.
2529 Slippery slope A slippery slope is where a measure would lead to further worse measures.
2530 Slough of despond If someone is very depressed or in despair, they're in a slough of despond.
2531 Slow and steady wins the race This expression means that consistency, although progress may be slow, will eventually be more beneficial than being hasty or careless just to get something done.
2532 Slow boat to China This idiom is used to describe something that is very slow and takes a long time.
2533 Slow but sure If something or someone is slow but sure, they may take their time to do something, but they are reliable.
2534 Slower than molasses going uphill in January (USA) To move extremely slowly. Molasses drips slowly anyway but add January cold and gravity, dripping uphill would be an impossibility, thereby making the molasses move very slowly indeed!
2535 Slowly, slowly catchy monkey This means that eventually you will achieve your goal.
2536 Sly as a fox Someone who is as sly as a fox is cunning and experienced and can get what they want, often in an underhand way.
2537 Smack in the face If something is a smack in the face, it is a shock, usually one that impedes progress.
2538 Small beer If something is small beer, it's unimportant.
2539 Small dog, tall weeds This idiom is used to describe someone the speaker does not believe has the ability or resources to handle a task or job.
2540 Small fry If someone is small fry, they are unimportant. The term is often used when the police arrest the less important criminals, but are unable to catch the leaders and masterminds.
2541 Small-time If a person or a thing is called 'small-time' it means they're inconsequential, not worth much, don't play in the 'big leagues', as in 'a small-time operator'.
2542 Smart Alec A smart Alec is a conceited person who likes to show off how clever and knowledgeable they are.
2543 Smart as a whip A person who is smart as a whip is very clever.
2544 Smarty pants A smarty pants is someone who displays the intelligence in an annoying way.
2545 Smell a rat If you smell a rat, you know instinctively that something is wrong or that someone is lying to you.
2546 Smoke and mirrors An attempt to conceal something is smoke and mirrors.
2547 Smoke like a chimney Someone who smokes very heavily smokes like a chimney.
2548 Smoke the peace pipe If people smoke the peace pipe, they stop arguing and fighting.
2549 Smokestack industry Heavy industries like iron and steel production, especially if they produce a lot of pollution, are smokestack industries.
2550 Smoking gun A smoking gun is definitive proof of someone's guilt.
2551 Smooth as a baby's bottom If something is smooth as a baby's bottom, it has a regular, flat surface.
2552 Smooth sailing If something is smooth sailing, then you can progress without difficulty. ('Plain sailing' is an also used.)
2553 Snake in the grass Someone who is a snake in the grass betrays you even though you have trusted them.
2554 Snake oil Advice or medicine which is of no use.
2555 Snake oil salesperson A person who promotes something that doesn't work, is selling snake oil.
2556 Snug as a bug in a rug If you're as snug as a bug in a rug, you are feeling very comfortable indeed.
2557 So it goes This idiom is used to be fatalistic and accepting when something goes wrong.
2558 So on and so forth And so on and so forth mean the same as etcetera (etc.).
2559 Sod's law Sod's law states that if something can go wrong then it will.
2560 Soft soap someone If you soft soap someone, you flatter them.
2561 Some other time If somebody says they'll do something some other time, they mean at some indefinite time in the future, possibly never, but they certainly don't want to feel obliged to fix a specific time or date.
2562 Something nasty in the woodshed Something nasty in the woodshed means that someone as a dark secret or an unpleasant experience in their past.
2563 Sound as a bell If something or someone is as sound as a bell, they are very healthy or in very good condition.
2564 Sound as a pound (UK) if something is as sound as a pound, it is very good or reliable.
2565 Sour grapes When someone says something critical or negative because they are jealous, it is a case of sour grapes.
2566 Sow the seeds When people sow the seeds, they start something that will have a much greater impact in the future.
2567 Sow your wild oats If a young man sows his wild oats, he has a period of his life when he does a lot of exciting things and has a lot of sexual relationships. for e.g. He'd spent his twenties sowing his wild oats but felt that it was time to settle down.
2568 Spanish practices Unauthorized working methods that benefit those who follow them are Spanish practices.
2569 Spanner in the works (UK) If someone puts or throws a spanner in the works, they ruin a plan. In American English, 'wrench' is used instead of 'spanner'.
2570 Spare the rod and spoil the child This means that if you don't discipline children, they will become spoilt.
2571 Speak of the devil! If you are talking about someone and they happen to walk in, you can use this idiom as a way of letting them know you were talking about them.
2572 Speak to the organ grinder not the monkey Talk to the boss not the subordinate
2573 Speak volumes If something speaks volumes, it tells us a lot about the real nature of something or someone,even though it may only be a small detail.
2574 Speak with a forked tongue To say one thing and mean another, to lie, to be two-faced
2575 Spend a penny (UK) This is a euphemistic idiom meaning to go to the toilet.
2576 Spend like a sailor Someone who spends their money wildly spends like a sailor.
2577 Spice of life The spice of life is something that makes it feel worth living.
2578 Spick and span If a room is spick and span, it is very clean and tidy.
2579 Spill the beans If you spill the beans, you reveal a secret or confess to something.
2580 Spin a yarn If someone spins a yarn, they tell a story, usually a long or fanciful one.
2581 Spinning a line When someone spins you a line, they are trying to deceive you by lying.
2582 Spinning a yarn When someone spins you a yarn, they are trying to deceive you by lying.
2583 Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak If the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, someone lacks the willpower to change things they do because they derive too much pleasure from them.
2584 Spirit of the law The spirit of the law is the idea or ideas that the people who made the law wanted to have effect.
2585 Spit blood If someone is spitting blood, they are absolutely furious.
2586 Spit it out People say this when someone has something to say but is too embarrassed, shy, etc, to say it.
2587 Spit the dummy Reference to an infant spitting out their dummy (or pacifier) in order to cry. 'To spit the dummy' is to give up.
2588 Spitting image If a person is the spitting image of somebody, they look exactly alike.('Spit and image' is also used and some suggest it is a hasty pronunciation of "spirit & image", to suggest that someone completely resembles someone else. Example: He's the spirit & image of his grandfather.)
2589 Split hairs If people split hairs, they concentrate on tiny and unimportant details to find fault with something.
2590 Split the blanket If people split the blanket, it means they get a divorce or end their relationship.
2591 Spoil the ship for a ha'pworth of tar (UK) If someone spoils the ship for a ha'pworth (halfpenny's worth) of tar, they spoil something completely by trying to make a small economy.
2592 Spot on If something is spot on, it is exactly right.
2593 Sprat to catch a mackerel If you use a sprat to catch a mackerel, you make a small expenditure or take a small risk in the hope of a much greater gain.
2594 Spring to mind If something springs to mind, it appears suddenly and unexpectedly in your thoughts.
2595 Spur of the moment If you do something on the spur of the moment, you do it because you felt like it at that time, without any planning or preparation.
2596 Sputnik moment A Sputnik moment is a point where people realise that they are threatened of challenged and have to redouble their efforts to catch up. It comes from the time when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, the Sputnik 1, and beat the USA into space.
2597 Square meal A square meal is a substantial or filling meal.
2598 Square Mile (UK) The Square Mile is the City, the financial area of London.
2599 Square peg in a round hole If somebody's in a situation, organisation, etc, where they don't fit in and feel out of place, they are a square peg in a round hole.
2600 Square the circle When someone is squaring the circle, they are trying to do something impossible.
2601 Squared away Being prepared or ready for business or tasks at hand. Having the proper knowledge, skill and equipment to handle your assignment or station. 'He is a great addition to the squad; he is squared away.'
2602 Squeaky clean If something is squeaky clean, it is very clean indeed- spotless. If a person is squeaky clean, they have no criminal record and are not suspected of illegal or immoral activities.
2603 Squeaky wheel gets the grease (USA) When people say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they mean that the person who complains or protests the loudest attracts attention and service.
2604 Squeeze blood out of a turnip (USA) When people say that you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, it means that you cannot get something from a person, especially money, that they don't have.
2605 Stalking horse A stalking horse is a strategy or something used to conceal your intentions. It is often used where someone put themselves forwards as a candidate to divide opponents or to hide the real candidate.
2606 Stand in good stead If something will stand you in good stead, it will probably be advantageous in the future.
2607 Stars and stripes The stars and stripes is the American flag.
2608 Stars in your eyes Someone who dreams of being famous has stars in their eyes.
2609 Start from scratch When you start something from scratch, you start at the very beginning.
2610 State of the art If something is state of the art, it is the most up-to-date model incorporating the latest and best technology.
2611 Status quo Someone who wants to preserve the status quo wants a particular situation to remain unchanged.
2612 Steal a march This expression indicates the stealthiness of a person over another to gain advantage of the situation. For instance, if two persons are offered some jobs which are vacant, they resolve to go together next day at an agreed time, but one of them, without telling the other, goes earlier than the other and secures the better of the two jobs, he is said to steal a march on the other person.
2613 Steal someone's thunder If someone steals your thunder, they take the credit and praise for something you did.
2614 Steer clear of If you steer clear of something, you avoid it.
2615 Stem the tide If people try to stem the tide, they are trying to stop something unpleasant from getting worse, usually when they don't succeed.
2616 Step on it This idiom is a way of telling someone to hurry up or to go faster.
2617 Step on someone's toes If you step on someone's toes, you upset them, especially if you do something that they should be in charge of.
2618 Step up to the plate If someone steps up to the plate, they take on or accept a challenge or a responsibility.
2619 Stew in your own juices If you leave someone to stew in their own juices, you leave them to worry about the consequences of what they have done wrong or badly.
2620 Stick in your craw If someone or something really annoys you, it is said to stick in your craw.
2621 Stick out like a sore thumb If something sticks or stands out like a sore thumb, it is clearly and obviously different from the things that are around it.
2622 Stick to your guns If you stick to your guns, you keep your position even though people attack or criticise you.
2623 Stick your neck out If you stick you neck out, you take a risk because you believe in something.
2624 Stick-in-the-mud A stick-in-the-mud is someone who doesn't like change and wants things to stay the same.
2625 Sticking point A sticking point is a controversial issue that blocks progress in negotiations, etc, where compromise is unlikely or impossible.
2626 Sticky end (UK) If someone comes to a sticky end, they die in an unpleasant way. ('Meet a sticky end' is also used.)
2627 Sticky fingers The tendency to keep (or steal) an object you touch. Also, to steal something quickly without anyone noticing. (ex: 'You stole that guy's wallet? You have some sticky fingers, my friend.')
2628 Sticky wicket (UK) If you are on a sticky wicket, you are in a difficult situation.
2629 Stiff as a poker Something or someone that is stiff as a poker is inflexible. ('Stiff as a board' is also used.)
2630 Stiff upper lip (UK) If you keep your emotions to yourself and don't let others know how you feel when something bad happens, you keep a stiff upper lip.
2631 Stiff-necked A stiff-necked person is rather formal and finds it hard to relax in company.
2632 Still in the game If someone is still in the game, they may be having troubles competing, but they are not yet finished and may come back.
2633 Still waters run deep People use this idiom to imply that people who are quiet and don't try to attract attention are often more interesting than people who do try to get attention.
2634 Stir the blood If something stirs your blood, it arouses feelings or passions,.
2635 Stitch in time saves nine A stitch in time saves nine means that if a job needs doing it is better to do it now, because it will only get worse, like a hole in clothes that requires stitching.
2636 Stone dead This idiom is a way of emphasizing that there were absolutely no signs of life or movement.
2637 Stone deaf Someone who is stone deaf is completely deaf.
2638 Stone's throw If a place is a stone's throw from where you are, it is a very short distance away.
2639 Stool pigeon (USA) A stool pigeon is a police informer.
2640 Stop cold To stop suddenly out of surprise.
2641 Storm in a teacup If someone exaggerates a problem or makes a small problem seem far greater than it really is, then they are making a storm in a teacup.
2642 Straight face If someone keeps a straight face, they remain serious and do not show emotion or amusement.
2643 Straight from the shoulder If someone talks straight from the shoulder, they talk honestly and plainly.
2644 Strain every nerve If you strain every nerve, you make a great effort to achieve something.
2645 Strange at the best of times To describe someone or something as really weird or unpleasant in a mild way.
2646 Straw man A straw man is a weak argument that is easily defeated. It can also be a person who is used as to give an illegal or inappropriate activity an appearance of respectability.
2647 Straw poll A straw poll is a small unofficial survey or ballot to find out what people think about an issue.
2648 Straw that broke the camel's back The straw that broke the camel's back is the problem that made you lose your temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something.
2649 Streets ahead If people are streets ahead of their rivals, they are a long way in front.
2650 Strike a chord If strikes a chord, it is familiar to you, reminds you of something or is connected to you somehow.
2651 Strike while the iron is hot If you strike while the iron is hot you do something when things are going well for you and you have a good chance to succeed.
2652 Stroll down memory lane If you take a stroll down memory lane, you talk about the past or revisit places that were important to you in the past. (You can also 'take a trip down memory lane'.)
2653 Strong as an ox Someone who's exceedingly strong physically is said to be as strong as an ox.
2654 Stubborn as a mule Someone who will not listen to other people's advice and won't change their way of doing things is as stubborn as a mule.
2655 Stuffed to the gills If someone is stuffed to the gills, they have eaten a lot and are very full.
2656 Succeed in the clutch If you succeed in the clutch, you perform at a crucial time; it is particularly used in sports for the decisive moments of the game. The opposite is 'fail in the clutch.'
2657 Sunday driver A Sunday driver drives very slowly and makes unexpected manoeuvres.
2658 Sure as eggs is eggs These means absolutely certain, and we do say 'is' even though it is grammatically wrong.
2659 Sure-fire If something is sure-fire, it is certain to succeed. ('Surefire' is also used.)
2660 Swansong A person's swansong is their final achievement or public appearance.
2661 Swear like a sailor Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a sailor.
2662 Swear like a trooper Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a trooper.
2663 Sweat blood If you sweat blood, you make an extraordinary effort to achieve something.
2664 Sweat like a pig If someone is sweating like a pig, they are perspiring (sweating) a lot.
2665 Sweep off your feet If you are swept off your feet, you lose control emotionally when you fall in love or are really impressed.
2666 Sweep things under the carpet If people try to ignore unpleasant things and forget about them, they sweep them under the carpet.
2667 Sweet as a gumdrop This means that something or someone is very nice or pretty.
2668 Sweet tooth If you have a sweet tooth, you like eating food with sugar in it.
2669 Swim against the tide If you swim against the tide, you try to do something that is very difficult because there is a lot of opposition to you. ('Go against the tide' is an alternative form.)
2670 Swim with the fishes If someone is swimming with the fishes, they are dead, especially if they have been murdered. 'Sleep with the fishes' is an alternative form.
2671 Swim with the tide If you swim with the tide, you do the same as people around you and accept the general consensus. ('Go with the tide' is an alternative form.)
2672 Swimmingly If things are going swimmingly, they are going very well.
2673 Swing the lead If you swing the lead, you pretend to be ill or do not do your share of the work.
2674 Swinging door This idiom refers to something or someone that can go in two conflicting or opposite directions.
2675 Swings and roundabouts If something's swings and roundabouts, it has about as many disadvantages as it has advantages.
2676 Tables are turned When the tables are turned, the situation has changed giving the advantage to the party who had previously been at a disadvantage.
2677 Tackle an issue If you tackle an issue or problem, you resolve or deal with it.
2678 Take a hike This is a way of telling someone to get out.
2679 Take a leaf out of someone's book If you take a leaf out of someone's book, you copy something they do because it will help you.
2680 Take a nosedive When things take a nosedive, they decline very quickly and head towards disaster.
2681 Take a punch If somebody takes a blow, something bad happens to them.
2682 Take a raincheck If you take a rain check, you decline an offer now, suggesting you will accept it later. ('Raincheck' is also used.)
2683 Take a straw poll If you take a straw poll, you sound a number of people out to see their opinions on an issue or topic.
2684 Take by the scruff of the neck If you take something by the scruff on the neck, you take complete control of it.
2685 Take for a test drive If you take something for a test driver, you try something to see if you like it.
2686 Take for granted If you take something for granted, you don't worry or think about it because you assume you will always have it. If you take someone for granted, you don't show your appreciation to them.
2687 Take forty winks If you take 40 winks, you have a short sleep.
2688 Take guts If something takes guts, it requires courage in the face of danger or great risk. It takes guts for firemen to enter a burning building to save someone.
2689 Take it in your stride If you take something in your stride, you deal with it even though it is difficult or unpleasant without letting it bother or upset you.
2690 Take it on the chin If you take something on the chin, something bad happens to you and you take it directly without fuss.
2691 Take no prisoners If people take no prisoners, they do things in a very aggressive way, without considering any harm they might do to achieve their objectives.
2692 Take sand to the beach Doing something that is completely pointless or unnecessary is like taking sand to the beach.
2693 Take someone down a peg If someone is taken down a peg (or taken down a peg or two), they lose status in the eyes of others because of something they have done wrong or badly.
2694 Take someone for a ride If you are taken for a ride, you are deceived by someone.
2695 Take someone to task If you take someone to task, you scold them for something they have done wrong.
2696 Take someone to the woodshed If someone is taken to the woodshed, they are punished for something they have done.
2697 Take someone under your wing If you take someone under your wing, you look after them while they are learning something.
2698 Take the biscuit (UK) If something takes the biscuit, it is the absolute limit.
2699 Take the bull by its horns Taking a bull by its horns would be the most direct but also the most dangerous way to try to compete with such an animal. When we use the phrase in everyday talk, we mean that the person we are talking about tackles their problems directly and is not worried about any risks involved.
2700 Take the chair If you take the chair, your become the chairman or chairwoman of a committee, etc.
2701 Take the fall If you tall the fall, you accept the blame and possibly the punishment for another's wrongdoing, with the implication that the true culprit, for political or other reasons, cannot be exposed as guilty (accompanied by a public suspicion that a reward of some sort may follow).
2702 Take the fifth (USA) If you do not want to answer a question you can take the fifth, meaning you are choosing not to answer. ('Plead the fifth' is also used.)
2703 Take the flak If you take the flak, you are strongly criticised for something.('Take flak' is also used.)
2704 Take the floor Start talking or giving a speech to a group
2705 Take the heat If you take the heat, you take the criticism or blame for something you didn't do, normally to protect the guilty person.
2706 Take the Mickey (UK) If you take the Mickey, you tease someone. ('Take the Mick' is also used.)
2707 Take the plunge If you take the plunge, you decide to do something or commit yourself even though you know there is an element of risk involved.
2708 Take the rough with the smooth People say that you have to take the rough with the smooth, meaning that you have to be prepared to accept the disadvantages as well of the advantages of something.
2709 Take to your heels If you take to your heels, you run away.
2710 Take up the torch If you take up the torch, you take on a challenge or responsibility, usually when someone else retires, or leaves an organisation, etc.
2711 Take your breath away If something takes your breath away, it astonishes or surprises you.
2712 Take your eye off the ball If someone takes their eye off the ball, they don't concentrate on something important that they should be looking at.
2713 Take your hat off If you say that you take your hat off to someone, you are showing your respect or admiration.
2714 Take your hat off to somebody If you take your hat off to someone, you acknowledge that they have done something exceptional or otherwise deserve your respect.
2715 Taken as read If something can be taken as read, it is so definite that it's not necessary to talk about it.
2716 Tale of the tape This idiom is used when comparing things, especially in sports; it comes from boxing where the fighters would be measured with a tape measure before a fight.
2717 Talk a blue streak (USA) If someone talks a blue streak, they speak quickly and at length. ('Talk up a blue streak' is also used.)
2718 Talk a glass eye to sleep Someone who could talk a glass eye to sleep is very boring and repetitive.
2719 Talk is cheap It's easy to talk about something but harder to actually do it.
2720 Talk nineteen to the dozen If someone talks very quickly, they talk nineteen to the dozen.
2721 Talk of the town When everybody is talking about particular people and events, they are he talk of the town.
2722 Talk out of the back of your head If someone is talking out of the back of their head, they are talking rubbish.
2723 Talk out of your hat If someone is talking out of their hat, they're talking utter rubbish, especially if compounded with total ignorance of the subject on which they are pontificating. ('Talk through your hat' is also used.)
2724 Talk shop If you talk shop, you talk about work matters, especially if you do this outside work.
2725 Talk the hind legs off a donkey A person who is excessively or extremely talkative can talk the hind legs off a donkey.
2726 Talk turkey When people talk turkey, they discuss something frankly.
2727 Talking to a brick wall If you talk to someone and they do not listen to you, it is like talking to a brick wall.
2728 Tall drink of water Someone who is very tall and slender is a tall drink of water. ('A tall glass of water' is also used.)
2729 Tall order Something that is likely to be hard to achieve or fulfil is a tall order.
2730 Tall story A tall story is one that is untrue and unbelievable.
2731 Tally ho! (UK) This is an exclamation used for encouragement before doing something difficult or dangerous.
2732 Tar baby A tar baby is a problem that gets worse when people try to sort it out.
2733 Tar with the same brush If people are tarred with the same brush, they are said to have the same set of attributes or faults as someone they are associated with.
2734 Taste blood If someone has tasted blood, they have achieved something and are encouraged to think that victory is within their grasp.
2735 Taste of your own medicine If you give someone a taste of their own medicine, you do something bad to someone that they have done to you to teach them a lesson.
2736 Teach your grandmother to suck eggs When people say 'don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs', they mean that people shouldn't try to teach someone who has experience or is an expert in that area.
2737 Teacher's pet The teacher's favorite pupil is the teacher's pet, especially if disliked by the other pupils.
2738 Tear your hair out If someone is tearing their hair out, they are extremely worried or agitated about something.
2739 Tears before bedtime (UK) This idiom is used when something seems certain to go wrong or cause trouble.
2740 Teeny-weeny If something is teensy-weensy, it is very small indeed.('Teeny-weeny' and 'teensie-weensie' are also used.)
2741 Teething problems (UK) The problems that a project has when it is starting are the teething problems.
2742 Tell them where the dog died (USA) If you tell them where the dog died, you strongly and sharply correct someone.
2743 Tempest in a teapot If people exaggerate the seriousness of a situation or problem, they are making a tempest in a teapot.
2744 Tempt providence If you tempt providence, you take a risk that may well have unpleasant consequences. ('Tempt fate' is also used.)
2745 Ten a penny (UK) If something is ten a penny, it is very common. ("Two a penny" is also used.)
2746 Test the waters If you test the waters, or test the water, you experiment to see how successful or acceptable something is before implementing it.
2747 That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee (USA) This is used to describe something that is deemed worthless. "He's got a Ph.D. in Philosophy." "So? That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee."
2748 That dog won't hunt (USA) Very common Southern US expression meaning: What you say makes no sense.
2749 That is the way the cookie crumbles "That's the way the cookie crumbles" means that things don't always turn out the way we want.
2750 That makes two of us A speaker says "that makes two of us" to indicate agreement with what another speaker just said. For example, I can say, "I wish I would win the lottery." A listener who says "That makes two of us" is indicating the he or she wants to win the lottery, too.
2751 That ship has sailed A particular opportunity has passed you by when that ship has sailed.
2752 That's all she wrote (USA) This idiom is used to show that something has ended and there is nothing more to say about something.
2753 The apple does not fall far from the tree Offspring grow up to be like their parents.
2754 The ball's in your court If somebody says this to you, they mean that it's up to you to decide or take the next step.
2755 The be all and end all The phrase 'The be all and end all' means that a something is the final, or ultimate outcome or result of a situation or event.
2756 The bigger they are, the harder they fall This idiom means that the more powerful have more to lose, so when they suffer something bad, it is worse for them.
2757 The common weal If something is done for the common weal, it is done in the interests and for the benefit of the majority or the general public.
2758 The grass is always greener This idiom means that what other people have or do looks preferable to our life. The complete phrase is 'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence'.
2759 The line forms on the right Something's meaning is becoming clear when the line forms on the right.
2760 The more the merrier The more the merrier means that the greater the quantity or the bigger the number of something, the happier the speaker will be.
2761 The Mountie always gets his man (Canada) The Mounties are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and they have a reputation for catching criminals they are after.
2762 The penny dropped When the penny drops, someone belatedly understands something that everyone else has long since understood.
2763 The plot thickens When the plot thickens, a situation become more complicated and difficult.
2764 The rough and tumble The rough and tumble refers to areas of life like business, sports, politics, etc, where competition is hard and people will take any advantage that they can.
2765 The sands of time The sands of time is an idiom meaning that time runs out either through something reaching an end or through a person's death. It comes from the sand used in hourglasses, an ancient way of measuring time.
2766 The short straw If you take the short straw, you lose a selection process, which means that you have to do something unpleasant.
2767 The sun might rise in the west When people say this, they mean that they don't expect something to happen.
2768 The whole shooting match Everything, the entire object, or all the related parts.
2769 The world and his wife If the world and his wife were somewhere, then huge numbers of people were present.
2770 Their bark is worse than their bite If someone's bark is worse than their bite, they get angry and shout and make threats, but don't actually do anything.
2771 There are many ways to skin a cat This is an expression meaning there are many different ways of doing the same thing.
2772 There's never a road without a turning No situation in life stays the same forever.
2773 There's no such thing as a free lunch This idiom means that you don't get things for free, so if something appears to be free, there's a catch and you'll have to pay in some way.
2774 There's the rub The meaning of this idiom is 'that's the problem'.
2775 Thick and fast If things are happening thick and fast, they are happening so fast they seemed to be joined together.
2776 Thick as mince (UK) If someone is as thick as mince, they are very stupid indeed.
2777 Thick as thieves If people are thick as thieves, they are very close friends who have no secrets from each other.
2778 Thick-skinned If a person is thick-skinned, they are not affected by criticism.
2779 Thin as a rake A rake is a garden tool with a long, thin, wooden handle, so someone very thin is thin as a rake.
2780 Thin blue line (UK) The thin blue line is a term for the police, suggesting that they stand between an ordered society and potential chaos. (Police uniforms are blue.)
2781 Thin end of the wedge The thin end of the wedge is something small and seemingly unimportant that will lead to something much bigger and more serious.
2782 Thin line If there's a thin line between things, it's hard to distinguish them- there's a thin line between love and hate.
2783 Thin-skinned If somebody is thin-skinned, they are very sensitive to any sort of criticism.
2784 Think outside the box If you think outside the box, you think in an imaginative and creative way.
2785 Think the world of To hold something or someone in very high esteem. To love or admire immensely.
2786 Third degree If someone is given the third degree, they are put under a great deal of pressure and intimidation to force them to tell the truth about something.
2787 Third rail The third rail of something is dangerous to alter or change. Originally, the third rail is the one carrying the electricity for a train.
2788 Third time's the charm This is used when the third time one tries something, one achieves a successful outcome.
2789 Thorn in your side A thorn in your side is someone or something that causes trouble or makes life difficult for you.
2790 Those who live by the sword die by the sword This means that violent people will be treated violently themselves.
2791 Three sheets in the wind (UK) Someone who is three sheets in the wind is very drunk. ('Three sheets to the wind' is also used. 'Seven sheets' is an alternative number used.)
2792 Three sheets to the wind If someone is three sheets to the wind, they are drunk.
2793 Thrilled to bits If you are thrilled to bits, you are extremely pleased or excited about something.
2794 Through gritted teeth If you do something through gritted teeth, you accept or agree with it against your will and it is obvious to others how you really feel.
2795 Through the ceiling If prices go through the ceiling, they rise very quickly.
2796 Through the floor If prices go, or fall, through the floor, they fall very quickly.
2797 Through thick and thin If someone supports you through thick and thin, they support you during good times and bad.
2798 Throw a curve (USA) If you throw someone a curve, you surprise them with something they find difficult to deal with. ('Throw' a curveball' is also used.)
2799 Throw a monkey wrench into the works (USA) If you throw a monkey wrench into the works, you ensure that something fails.
2800 Throw a sickie If you pretend to be ill to take a day off work or school, you throw a sickie.
2801 Throw caution to the wind When people throw caution to the wind, they take a great risk.
2802 Throw down the gauntlet Throw down the gauntlet is to issue a challenge to somebody.
2803 Throw in the towel If you throw in the towel, you admit that you are defeated or cannot do something.
2804 Throw pearls to the pigs Someone that throws pearls to pigs is giving someone else something they don't deserve or appreciate. ('Throw pearls before pigs' and 'Cast pearls before swine' are also used.)
2805 Throw someone a bone If you throw someone a bone, you give them a small reward or some kind words to make them feel good even if they've not really contributed much.
2806 Throw someone a line If someone throws you a line, they give you help when you are in serious difficulties.
2807 Throw someone in at the deep end If you are thrown in at the deep end, you have to deal with serious issues the moment you start something like a job, instead of having time to acquire experience.
2808 Throw someone to the wolves If someone is thrown to the wolves, they are abandoned and have to face trouble without any support.
2809 Throw someone under the bus To throw someone under the bus is to get the person in trouble either by placing blame on that person or not standing up for him.
2810 Throw the baby out with the bath water If you get rid of useful things when discarding inessential things, you throw the baby out with the bath water.
2811 Throw the book at someone If you throw the book at someone, you punish them as severely as possible.
2812 Throw your hat in the ring If someone throws their hat in the ring, they announce that they want to take part in a competition or contest. 'Toss your hat in the ring' is an alternative.
2813 Throw your toys out of the pram To make an angry protest against a relatively minor problem, in the process embarrassing the protester. The analogy is with a baby who throws toys out of the pram in order to get their parent to pay attention to them. The implication in the idiom is that the protester is acting like a baby.
2814 Throw your weight around If someone throws their weight around, they use their authority or force of personality to get what they want in the face of opposition.
2815 Thumb your nose at If you thumb your nose at something, you reject it or scorn it.
2816 Thumbs down & thumbs up If something gets the thumbs up, it gets approval, while the thumbs down means disapproval.
2817 Tickle your fancy If something tickles your fancy, it appeals to you and you want to try it or have it.
2818 Tickled pink If you are very pleased about something, you are tickled pink.
2819 Tidy desk, tidy mind A cluttered or disorganised environment will affect your clarity of thought. Organised surroundings and affairs will allow for clearer thought organisation.
2820 Tie the knot When people tie the knot, they get married.
2821 Tied to your mother's apron strings Describes a child (often a boy) who is so used to his mother's care that he (or she) cannot do anything on his (or her) own.
2822 Tight rein If things or people are kept on a tight rein, they are given very little freedom or controlled carefully.
2823 Tight ship If you run a tight ship, you control something strictly and don't allow people much freedom of action.
2824 Tighten your belt If you have to tighten your belt, you have to economise.
2825 Till the cows come home This idioms means 'for a very long time'. ('Until the cows come home' is also used.)
2826 Till the pips squeak If someone will do something till the pips squeak, they will do it to the limit, even though it will make other people suffer.
2827 Till you're blue in the face If you do something till you're blue in the face, you do it repeatedly without achieving the desired result until you're incredibly frustrated.
2828 Tilt at windmills A person who tilts at windmills, tries to do things that will never work in practice.
2829 Time and again If something happens time and again, it happens repeatedly. ('Time and time again' is also used.)
2830 Time and tide wait for no man This is used as a way of suggestion that people should act without delay.
2831 Time does sail This idioms means that time passes by unnoticed.
2832 Time flies This idiom means that time moves quickly and often unnoticed.
2833 Time is on my side If time is on your side, you have the luxury of not having to worry about how long something will take.
2834 Time of your life If you're having the time of your life, you are enjoying yourself very much indeed.
2835 Time-honoured practice A time-honoured practice is a traditional way of doing something that has become almost universally accepted as the most appropriate or suitable way.
2836 Tip of the iceberg The tip of the iceberg is the part of a problem that can be seen, with far more serious problems lying underneath.
2837 Tipping point Small changes may have little effect until they build up to critical mass, then the next small change may suddenly change everything. this is the tipping point.
2838 Tired and emotional (UK) This idiom is a euphemism used to mean 'drunk', especially when talking about politicians.
2839 Tit for tat If someone responds to an insult by being rude back, it's tit for tat- repaying something negative the same way.
2840 To a fault If something does something to a fault, they do it excessively. So someone who is generous to a fault is too generous.
2841 To a man If a group of people does, believes, thinks, etc, something to a man, then they all do it.
2842 To a T If something is done to a T, it is done perfectly.
2843 To all intents and purposes This means in all the most important ways.
2844 To be as thick as two bricks Someone who is as thick as two bricks is really stupid.
2845 To be dog cheap If something's dog cheap, it is very cheap indeed.
2846 To err is human, to forgive divine This idiom is used when someone has done something wrong, suggesting that they should be forgiven.
2847 To have the courage of your convictions If you have the courage of your convictions, you are brave enough to do what you feel is right, despite any pressure for you to do something different.
2848 To little avail If something is to little avail, it means that, despite great efforts, something ended in failure, but taking comfort from the knowledge that nothing else could have been done to avert or avoid the result.
2849 To the end of time To the end of time is an extravagant way of saying 'forever'.
2850 Toe the line If someone toes the line, they follow and respect the rules and regulations.
2851 Tomorrow's another day This means that things might turn out better or that there might be another opportunity in the future.
2852 Tongue in cheek If something is tongue in cheek, it isn't serious or meant to be taken seriously.
2853 Too big for your boots If someone is too big for their boots, they are conceited and have an exaggerated sense of their own importance.
2854 Too big for your britches If someone is too big for their britches, they are conceited and have an exaggerated sense of their own importance.
2855 Too many chiefs and not enough Indians When there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians, there are two many managers and not enough workers to work efficiently.
2856 Too many cooks spoil the broth This means that where there are too many people trying to do something, they make a mess of it.
2857 Too many irons in the fire This means juggling too many projects at once and something's bound to fail; when a smith had too many irons in his fire, he couldn't effectively keep track of all of them.
2858 Toot you own horn If someone toot their own horn, they like to boast about their achievements.
2859 Top dog The most important or influential person is the top dog.
2860 Top notch If something is top notch, it's excellent, of the highest quality or standard.
2861 Touch and go If something is touch and go, the result is uncertain and could be good or bad.
2862 Touch base If you touch base with someone, you contact them.
2863 Touch wood This idiom is used to wish for good luck. ('Knock on wood' is also used.)
2864 Touch-and-go If something is touch-and-go, it is very uncertain; if someone is ill and may well die, then it is touch-and-go.
2865 Tough as old boots Something or someone that is as tough as old boots is strong and resilient.
2866 Tough cookie A tough cookie is a person who will do everything necessary to achieve what they want.
2867 Tough luck Tough luck is bad luck.
2868 Tough nut to crack If something is a tough nut to crack, it is difficult to find the answer or solution. When used about a person, it means that it is difficult to get them to do or allow what you want. 'Hard nut to crack' is an alternative.
2869 Tough row to hoe (USA) A tough row to hoe is a situation that is difficult to handle. ('A hard row to hoe' is an alternative form.)
2870 Trade barbs If people trade barbs, they insult or attack each other.
2871 Traffucked If you are traffucked, you are stuck in heavy traffic and get where you need to be.
2872 Trail your coat If you trail your coat, you act in a provocative way.
2873 Train of thought A train of thought is a sequence of thoughts, especially when you are talking to someone and you forget what you were going to say.
2874 Tread on someone's toes If you tread on someone's toes, you upset them, especially if you do something that they should be in charge of.
2875 Tread the boards When someone treads the boards, they perform on stage in a theatre.
2876 Tread water If someone is treading water, they are making no progress.
2877 Tried and tested If a method has been tried and tested, it is known to work or be effective because it has been successfully used long enough to be trusted.
2878 True blue A person who is true blue is loyal and dependable, someone who can be relied on in all circumstances.
2879 True colours If someone shows their true colours, they show themselves as they really are. ('True colors' is the American spelling.)
2880 Trump card A trump card is a resource or strategy that is held back for use at a crucial time when it will beat rivals or opponents.
2881 Truth will out Truth will out means that, given time, the facts of a case will emerge no matter how people might try to conceal them.
2882 Tug at the heartstrings f something tugs at the heartstrings, it makes you feel sad or sympathetic towards it.
2883 Turf war If people or organisations are fighting for control of something, it is a turf war.
2884 Turn a blind eye When people turn a blind eye, they deliberately ignore something, especially if people are doing something wrong.
2885 Turn a deaf ear If someone turns a deaf ear to you, they don't listen to you.
2886 Turn a new leaf If someone turns a new leaf, they change their behaviour and stop doing wrong or bad things.
2887 Turn something on its head If you turn something on its head, you turn it upside down or reverse it.
2888 Turn the corner To get over a bad run. When a loss making venture ceases to make losses, it has "turned the corner".
2889 Turn the crack (Scot) If you turn the crack, you change the subject of a conversation.
2890 Turn the other cheek If you turn the other cheek, you are humble and do not retaliate or get outwardly angry when someone offends or hurts you, in fact, you give them the opportunity to re-offend instead and compound their unpleasantness.
2891 Turn the tables If circumstances change completely, giving an advantage to those who seemed to be losing, the tables are turned.
2892 Turn turtle If something turns turtle, it turns upside down.
2893 Turn up like a bad penny If someone turns up like a bad penny, they go somewhere where they are not wanted.
2894 Turn up one's toes to the daisies If someone has turned up their toes to the daisies, it means that the person died.
2895 Turn water into wine If someone turns water into wine, they transform something bad into something excellent.
2896 Turn your nose up If someone turns their nose up at something, they reject it or look odwn on it because they don't think it is good enough for them.
2897 Turn-up for the books A turn-up for the books is an unexpected or surprising event.
2898 Twenty-four seven Twenty-four seven or 24/7 means all the time, coming from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2899 Twinkling of an eye If something happens in the twinkling of an eye, it happens very quickly.
2900 Twist someone's arm If you twist someone's arm, you put pressure on them to try to make them do what you want them to do.
2901 Twisting in the wind If you are twisting in the wind, you are without help or support - you are on your own.
2902 Two cents If you add or throw in your two cents, you give your opinion on an issue.
2903 Two heads are better than one When two people work together more things get accomplished.
2904 Two left feet A person with two left feet can't dance.
2905 Two peas in a pod If things or people are like two peas in a pod, they look very similar or are always together.
2906 Two sides of the same coin If two things are two sides of the same coin, there is much difference between them.
2907 Two-edged sword If someone uses an argument that could both help them and harm them, then they are using a two-edged sword sword; it cuts both ways.
2908 Two-faced Someone who is two-faced will say one thing to your face and another when you're not there.
2909 U-turn If a government changes its position radically on an issue, especially when they have promised not to do so, this is a U-turn.
2910 Ugly as a stick (USA) If someone is as ugly as a stick, they are very ugly indeed.
2911 Ugly duckling An ugly duckling is a child who shows little promise, but who develops later into a real talent or beauty.
2912 Uncalled for If someone does something bad and unnecessary without consideration for anothers feelings, what they do is uncalled for.
2913 Uncharted waters If you're in uncharted waters, you are in a situation that is unfamiliar to you, that you have no experience of and don't know what might happen. ('Unchartered waters' is an incorrect form that is a common mistake.)
2914 Uncle Sam (USA) Uncle Sam is the government of the USA.
2915 Under a cloud If someone is suspected of having done something wrong, they are under a cloud.
2916 Under a flag of convenience If a ship sails under a flag of convenience, it is registered in a country where taxes, etc, are lower than in the country it comes from, so if someone does something under a flag of convenience, they attempt to avoid regulations and taxes by a similar means.
2917 Under false colours If someone does something under false colours/colors, they pretend to be something they are not in order to deceive people so that they can succeed.
2918 Under fire If someone is being attacked and cricitised heavily, they are under fire.
2919 Under lock and key If something is under lock and key, it is stored very securely.
2920 Under someone's heel If you are under someone's heel, they have complete control over you.
2921 Under the radar If something slips under the radar, it isn't detected or noticed.
2922 Under the table Bribes or illegal payments are often described as money under the table.
2923 Under the weather If you are feeling a bit ill, sad or lack energy, you are under the weather.
2924 Under the wire (USA) If a person does something under the wire, they do it at the last possible moment.
2925 Under your belt If you have something under your belt, you have already achieved or experienced it and it will probably be of benefit to you in the future.
2926 Under your breath If you say something under your breath, you whisper or say it very quietly.
2927 Under your nose If something happens right in front of you, especially if it is surprising or audacious, it happens under your nose.
2928 Under your skin If someone gets under your skin, they really annoy you.
2929 Under your thumb Someone who is manipulated or controlled by another person is under his or her thumb.
2930 Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown This means that people with serious responsibilities have a heavy burden.
2931 Unwavering loyalty Unwavering loyalty does not question or doubt the person or issue and supports them completely.
2932 Up a gum tree (AU) If you're up a gum tree, you're in trouble or a big mess.
2933 Up a river without a paddle If you up a river without a paddle, you are in an unfortunate situation, unprepared and with none of the resources to remedy the matter.
2934 Up for grabs If something is up for grabs, it is available and whoever is first or is successful will get it.
2935 Up in the air If a matter is up in the air, no decision has been made and there is uncertainty about it.
2936 Up sticks (UK) If you up sticks, you leave somewhere, usually permanently and without warning- he upped sticks and went to work abroad.
2937 Up the ante If you up the ante, you increase the importance or value of something, especially where there's an element of risk as the term comes from gambling, where it means to increase the stake (the amount of money bet).
2938 Up the creek If someone or something is up the creek, they are in real trouble. 'Up the creek without a paddle' is an alternative, and 'up shit creek (without a paddle)' is a ruder form.
2939 Up the duff (UK) If a woman is up the duff, she's pregnant.
2940 Up the spout (UK) If something has gone up the spout, it has gone wrong or been ruined.
2941 Up the stick (UK) If a woman is up the stick, she's pregnant.
2942 Up the wall If someone goes up the wall, they get very angry.
2943 Up the wooden hill When you go up the wooden hill, you go up the stairs to bed.
2944 Up to scratch If something doesn't come up to scratch, it doesn't meet the standard required or expected.
2945 Up to snuff If something isn't up to snuff, it doesn't meet the standard expected.
2946 Up to speed If you bring someone up to speed, you update them on something.
2947 Up to the eyes You you are up to your eyes in something, you are deeply involved or to have too much of something like work. ('Up the neck', 'up to the eyeballs' and 'up to the ears' are also used.)
2948 Up to the neck If someone's in something up to the neck, they are very involved in it, especially when it's something wrong.
2949 Up to your eyes When you've got too much work to do, you're up to your eyes in it.
2950 Up to your neck If someone is very involved in something, they are up to their neck in it, especially if it is something bad or immoral.
2951 Up with the lark If you get up very early, you're up with the lark.
2952 Upper crust The upper crust are the upper classes and the establishment.
2953 Upper hand If you have the upper hand, you have the advantage.
2954 Upset the apple cart If you upset the apple cart, you cause trouble and upset people.
2955 Vale of tears This vale of tears is the world and the suffering that life brings.
2956 Velvet glove This idiom is used to describe a person who appears gentle, but is determined and inflexible underneath. ('Iron fist in a velvet glove' is the full form.)
2957 Vent your spleen If someone vents their spleen, they release all their anger about something.
2958 Vicar of Bray (UK) A person who changes their beliefs and principles to stay popular with people above them is a Vicar of Bray
2959 Vicious circle A vicious circle is a sequence of events that make each other worse- someone drinks because they are unhappy at work, then loses their job... 'Vicious cycle' is also used.
2960 Virgin territory If something is virgin territory, it hasn't been explored before.
2961 Volte-face If you do a volte-face on something, you make a sudden and complete change in your stance or position over an issue.
2962 Wag the dog To 'wag the dog' means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue.The expression comes from the saying that 'a dog is smarter than its tail', but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would 'wag the dog'. The expression 'wag the dog' was elaborately used as theme of the movie. 'Wag the Dog', a 1997 film starring Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman, produced and directed by Barry Levinson.
2963 Wait for a raindrop in the drought When someone is waiting for a raindrop in the drought, they are waiting or hoping for something that is extremely unlikely to happen.
2964 Waiting in the wings If someone is waiting in the wings, or in the wings, they are in the background, but nearby, ready to act on short notice.
2965 Wake up and smell the coffee When someone doesn't realise what is really happening or is not paying enough attention to events around them, you can tell them to wake up and smell the coffee.
2966 Wake-up call A wake-up call is a warning of a threat or a challenge, especially when it means that people will have to change their behaviour to meet it.
2967 Walk a fine line If you have to walk a fine line, you have to be very careful not to annoy or anger people or groups that are competing. ('Walk a thin line' is an alternative.)
2968 Walk a mile in my shoes This idiom means that you should try to understand someone before criticising them.
2969 Walk a tightrope If you walk a tightrope, you have to be very careful not to annoy or anger people who could become enemies.
2970 Walk in the park An undertaking that is easy is a walk in the park. The opposite is also true - "no walk in the park".
2971 Walk on eggshells If you have to walk on eggshells when with someone, you have to be very careful because they get angry or offended very easily.('Walk on eggs' is also used.)
2972 Walk the green mile Someone or something that is walking the green mile is heading towards the inevitable.
2973 Walk the plank If someone walks the plank, they are going toward their own destruction or downfall
2974 Walking encyclopedia A very knowledgeable person is a walking encyclopedia.
2975 Walking on air If you are walking on air, you are so happy that you feel as if you could float.
2976 Walking on broken glass When a person is punished for something. e.g. 'She had me walking on broken glass.'
2977 Walking time-bomb A person whose behaviour is erratic and totally unpredictable is a walking time-bomb.
2978 Wallflower A woman politician given an unimportant government position so that the government can pretend it takes women seriously is a wallflower.
2979 War chest A war chest is a fund that can be used to finance a campaign like and election or for use in emergencies or unexpected times of difficulty.
2980 War of words A war of words is a bitter argument between people or organisations, etc.
2981 Warm and fuzzy Meaning the feeling evoked as though you were enclosed in a warm and fuzzy blanket.
2982 Warm the cockles of your heart If something warms the cockles of your heart, it makes you feel happy.
2983 Warpath If someone is on the warpath, they are very angry about something and will do anything to get things sorted the way they want.
2984 Warts and all If you like someone warts and all, you like them with all their faults.
2985 Wash your hands of something If you wash your hands of something, you disassociate yourself and accept no responsibility for what will happen.
2986 Waste not, want not If you don't waste things, you are less likely to end up lacking.
2987 Waste of skin If a person is referred to as a 'waste of skin', it means he is not worth very much.
2988 Watch grass grow If something is like watching grass grow, it is really boring.
2989 Watch your six (USA) This idiom means that you should look behind you for dangers coming that you can't see.
2990 Watching paint dry If something is like watching paint dry, it is really boring.
2991 Water off a duck's back If criticism or something similar is like water off a duck's back to somebody, they aren't affected by it in the slightest.
2992 Water over the dam (USA) If something has happened and cannot be changed, it is water over the dam.
2993 Water under the bridge If something belongs to the past and isn't important or troubling any more, it is water under the bridge.
2994 Watering hole (UK) A watering hole is a pub.
2995 Watery grave If someone has gone to a watery grave, they have drowned.
2996 Weak at the knees If people go weak at the knees, they have a powerful emotional reaction to something and feel that they might fall over.
2997 Wear sackcloth and ashes If someone displays their grief or contrition publicly, they wear sackcloth and ashes.
2998 Wear your heart on your sleeve Someone who wears their heart on their sleeve shows their emotions and feelings publicly.
2999 Weather a storm If you weather a storm, you get through a crisis or hard times.
3000 Wedge politics (USA) In wedge politics, one party uses an issue that they hope will divide members of a different party to create conflict and weaken it.
3001 Weight off your shoulders If something is a weight off your shoulders, you have relieved yourself of a burden, normally a something that has been troubling you or worrying you.
3002 Well-heeled Someone who is well-heeled is rich.
3003 Well-oiled If someone is well-oiled, they have drunk a lot.
3004 Well-oiled machine Something that functions very well is a well-oiled machine.
3005 Were you born in a barn? If someone asks you this, it means that you forgot to close the door when you came in.
3006 Wet behind the ears Someone who is wet behind the ears is either very young or inexperienced.
3007 Wet blanket A wet blanket is someone who tries to spoil other people's fun.
3008 Wet your whistle If you are thirsty and have an alcoholic drink, you wet your whistle. "Whet your whistle" is also used.
3009 Whale of a time If you have a whale of a time, you really enjoy yourself.
3010 What can sorry do? This means that it is not enough to apologise.
3011 What can you expect from a hog but a grunt? (USA) This means that you can't expect people to behave in a way that is not in their character- a 'hog' is a 'pig', so an unrefined person can't be expected to behave in a refined way.
3012 What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? This idiom is often used when someone says something irrelevant to the topic being discussed.
3013 What goes around comes around This saying means that of people do bad things to other people, bad things will happen to them.
3014 What goes around, comes around The good or bad you do to others is requited.
3015 What will be will be The expression what will be will be is used to describe the notion that fate will decide the outcome of a course of events, even if action is taken to try to alter it.
3016 What's cooking? When you ask what's cooking it means you want to know what's happening.
3017 What's good for the goose is good for the gander This idiom means that the sexes should be treated the same way and not be subjected to different standards.
3018 What's up? This can be used to ask 'What's wrong?' or 'How are you?'.
3019 What's your poison? This is a way of asking someone what they would like to drink, especially alcohol.
3020 What's your take on that? This idiom is way of asking someone for their opinion and ideas.
3021 Whatever floats your boat When people say this, they mean that you should do whatever makes you happy.
3022 Wheels fall off When the wheels fall off something, it goes wrong or fails. ('Wheels come off' is an alternative.)
3023 When hell freezes over An impossible or very unlikely situation or event
3024 When in Rome, do as the Romans do This idiom means that when you are visiting a different place or culture, you should try to follow their customs and practices.
3025 When it rains, it pours This idiom means that when things go wrong, a lot of things go wrong at the same time.
3026 When pigs fly Meaning you will not get something when you want it or someone doesn't want something for you. say you are selling an item and some one doesn't want it. they might say 'I'll buy it when pigs fly'. it just means you will never get someone to say yes to you when you ask for something.
3027 When the chickens come home to roost When a person pays dearly for something bad he or she did in the past, the chickens come home to roost.
3028 Where the rubber meets the road (USA) Where the rubber meets the road is the most important point for something, the moment of truth. An athlete can train all day, but the race is where the rubber meets the road and they'll know how good they really are.
3029 Where there's a will, there's a way This idiom means that if people really want to do something, they will manage to find a way of doing it.
3030 Where there's smoke, there's fire When there is an indication or sign of something bad, usually the indication is correct.
3031 Whet your appetite If something whets your appetite, it interests you and makes you want more of it.
3032 Which came first the chicken or the egg? This idiomatic expression is used when it is not clear who or what caused something.
3033 While the cat's away, the mouse will play People whose behaviour is strictly controlled go over the top when the authority is not around, which is why most teenagers have parties when their parents have gone on holiday. The parents are the scary authority figures, but the cat's away and the kids are the mice partying and enjoying their freedom.
3034 Whistle for it If someone says that you can whistle for something, they are determined to ensure that you don't get it.
3035 Whistle-stop tour A whistle-stop tour is when someone visits a number of places quickly, not stopping for long.
3036 Whistling Dixie (USA) If someone is whistling Dixie, they talk about things in a more positive way than the reality.
3037 Whistling in the dark If someone is whistling in the dark, they believe in a positive result, even though everybody else is sure it will not happen.
3038 Whistling past the graveyard (USA) If someone is whistling past the graveyard, they are trying to remain cheerful in difficult circumstances. ('Whistling past the cemetery' is also used.)
3039 White as a sheet A bad shock can make somebody go as white as a sheet.
3040 White as snow If something or someone is as white as snow, they are perfect or completely uncorrupted and honest.
3041 White elephant A white elephant is an expensive burden; something that costs far too much money to run, like the Millennium Dome in the UK.
3042 White feather If someone shows a white feather, they are cowards.
3043 White lie If you tell a white lie, you lie in order not to hurt someone's feelings.
3044 White-bread If something is white-bread, it is very ordinary, safe and boring.
3045 Who wears the pants? (USA) The person who wears the pants in a relationship is the dominant person who controls things.
3046 Who wears the trousers? (UK) The person who wears the trousers in a relationship is the dominant person who controls things.
3047 Who will ring the bell? 'Who will ring the bell?' asks who will assume the responsibility to help us out of a difficult situation.
3048 Whole ball of wax (USA) The whole ball of wax is everything.
3049 Whole kit and caboodle The whole kit and caboodle means 'everything' required or involved in something. ('Kaboodle' is an alternative spelling.)
3050 Whole new ball game If something's a whole new ball game, it is completely new or different.
3051 Whole nine yards The whole nine yards means means everything that is necessary or required for something.
3052 Whole shebang The whole shebang includes every aspect of something.
3053 Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free This idiom is usually used to refer to men who don't want to get married, when they can get all the benefits of marriage without getting married.
3054 Why keep a dog and bark yourself? There's no need to do something yourself when you have somebody to do it for you, usually trivial matters.
3055 Wide berth If you give someone a wide berth, you keep yourself well away from them because they are dangerous.
3056 Wide of the mark If something is wide of the mark, it is inaccurate or incorrect.
3057 Wild goose chase A wild goose chase is a waste of time- time spent trying to do something unsuccessfully.
3058 Will never fly If an idea or project, etc, will never fly, it has no chance of succeeding.
3059 Will-o'-the-wisp Something that deceives by its appearance is a will-o’-the-wisp; it looks good, but turns out to be a disappointment.
3060 Win by a nose If somebody wins by a nose, they only just beat the others.
3061 Window dressing If something is done to pretend to be dealing with an issue or problem, rather than actually dealing with it, it is window dressing.
3062 Window to the soul Eyes are sometimes referred to as the window to the soul.
3063 Wing and a prayer If you do something on a wing and a prayer, you try to do something and hope you'll succeed even though you have very little chance of success.
3064 Winner takes all If everything goes to the winner, as in an election, the winner takes all.
3065 Wipe the floor with (UK) If you wipe the floor with someone, you destroy the arguments or defeat them easily.
3066 Wipe the smile of someone's face If you wipe the smile of someone's face, you do something to make someone feel less pleased with themselves.
3067 With a heavy hand If someone does something with a heavy hand, they do it in a strict way, exerting a lot of control.
3068 With child (UK) If a woman's with child, she's pregnant.
3069 With flying colours (colors) If you pass something with flying colours (colors), you pass easily, with a very high mark or grade.
3070 With friends like that, who needs enemies? This expression is used when people behave badly or treat someone badly that they are supposed to be friends with.
3071 Wither on the vine If something withers on the vine, it fails to get the intended result, doesn't come to fruition.
3072 Within a whisker If you come within a whisker of doing something, you very nearly manage to do it but don't succeed.
3073 Without a hitch If something happens without a hitch, nothing at all goes wrong.
3074 Woe betide you This is used to wish that bad things will happen to someone, usually because of their bad behaviour.
3075 Woe is me This means that you are sad or in a difficult situation. It's archaic, but still used.
3076 Wolf in sheep's clothing A wolf in sheep's clothing is something dangerous that looks quite safe and innocent.
3077 Wood for the trees (UK) If someone can't see the wood for the trees, they get so caught up in small details that they fail to understand the bigger picture.
3078 Word of mouth If something becomes known by word of mouth, it is because people are talking about it, not through publicity, etc.
3079 Word of the law The word of the law means that the law is interpreted in an absolutely literal way which goes against the ideas that the lawmakers had wished to implement.
3080 Words fail me If words fail you, you can't find the words to express what you are trying to say.
3081 Work like a charm If something works like a charm, it works perfectly.
3082 Work like a dog If you work like a dog, you work very hard.
3083 Work the system If people work the system, they exploit the state or simialr setup to their advantage.
3084 Work your fingers to the bone If you work your fingers to the bone, you work extremely hard on something.
3085 Work your socks off If you work your socks off, you work very hard.
3086 Work your tail off If you work your tail off, you work extremely hard.
3087 World at your feet If everything is going well and the future looks full of opportunity, you have the world at your feet.
3088 World is your oyster When the world is your oyster, you are getting everything you want from life.
3089 Worm information If you worm information out of somebody, you persuade them to tell you something they wanted to keep from you.
3090 Worm's eye view A worm's eye view of something is the view from below, either physically or socially.
3091 Worse for wear If something's worse for wear, it has been used for a long time and, consequently, isn't in very good condition. A person who's worse for wear is drunk or high on drugs and looking rough.
3092 Worse things happen at sea This idiomatic expression is used as a way of telling someone not to worry so much about their problems.
3093 Worth a shot If something is worth a shot, it is worth trying as there is some chance of success.
3094 Worth your salt Someone who is worth their salt deserves respect.
3095 Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole (UK) If you wouldn't touch something with a bargepole, you would not consider being involved under any circumstances. (In American English, people say they wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole)
3096 Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole (USA) If you wouldn't touch something with a ten-foot pole, you would not consider being involved under any circumstances. (In British English, people say they wouldn't touch it with a bargepole)
3097 Wrap yourself in the flag If someone wraps themselves in the flag, they pretend to be doing something for patriotic reasons or out of loyalty, but their real motives are selfish. ('Drape yourself in the flag' is an alternative form of this idiom)
3098 Wrench in the works (USA) If someone puts or throws a wrench, or monkey wrench, in the works, they ruin a plan. In British English, 'spanner' is used instead of 'wrench'.
3099 Writ large If something is writ large, it is emphasised or highlighted.
3100 Writing on the wall If the writing's on the wall for something, it is doomed to fail.
3101 Written all over your face If someone has done something wrong or secret, but cannot hide it in their expression, it is written all over their face.
3102 Written in stone If something is written in stone, it is permanent and cannot be changed.
3103 Wrong end of the stick If someone has got the wrong end of the stick, they have misunderstood what someone has said to them.
3104 Wrong foot If you start something on the wrong foot, you start badly.
3105 X factor The dangers for people in the military that civilians do not face, for which they receive payment, are known as the X factor.
3106 X marks the spot This is used to say where something is located or hidden.
3107 X-rated If something is x-rated, it is not suitable for children.
3108 Yah boo sucks Yah boo & yah boo sucks can be used to show that you have no sympathy with someone.
3109 Yank my chain If some one says this to another person (i.e. stop yanking my chain) it means for the other person to leave the person who said it alone and to stop bothering them.
3110 Yellow press The yellow press is a term for the popular and sensationalist newspapers.
3111 Yellow streak If someone has a yellow streak, they are cowardly about something.
3112 Yellow-bellied A yellow-bellied person is a coward.
3113 Yen If you have a yen to do something, you have a desire to do it.
3114 Yes-man Someone who always agrees with people in authority is a yes-man.
3115 Yesterday's man or Yesterday's woman Someone, especially a politician or celebrity, whose career is over or on the decline is yesterday's man or woman.
3116 You are what you eat This is used to emphasise the importance of a good diet as a key to good health.
3117 You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar This means that it is easier to persuade people if you use polite arguments and flattery than if you are confrontational.
3118 You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family Some things you can choose, but others you cannot, so you have to try to make the best of what you have where you have no choice.
3119 You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink This idiom means you can offer something to someone, like good advice, but you cannot make them take it.
3120 You can say that again If you want to agree strongly with what someone has said, you can say 'You can say that again' as a way of doing so.
3121 You can't fight City Hall This phrase is used when one is so cynical that one doesn't think one can change their Representatives. The phrase must have started with frustration towards a local body of government.
3122 You can't have cake and the topping, too (USA) This idiom means that you can't have everything the way you want it, especially if your desires are contradictory.
3123 You can't have your cake and eat it This idiom means that you can't have things both ways. For example, you can't have very low taxes and a high standard of state care.
3124 You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear If something isn't very good to start with, you can't do much to improve it.
3125 You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs This idiom means that in order to achieve something or make progress, there are often losers in the process.
3126 You can't take it with you Enjoy life, enjoy what you have and don't worry about not having a lot, especially money...because once you're dead, 'you can't take it with you.' For some, it means to use up all you have before you die because it's no use to you afterwards.
3127 You can't unring a bell This means that once something has been done, you have to live with the consequences as it can't be undone.
3128 You could have knocked me down with a feather This idiom is used to mean that the person was very shocked or surprised.
3129 You do not get a dog and bark yourself (UK) If there is someone in a lower position who can or should do a task, then you shouldn't do it.
3130 You get what you pay for Something that is very low in price is not usually of very good quality.
3131 You reap what you sow This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things. It is normally used when someone has done something bad.
3132 You said it! Used to say you agree completely with something just said.
3133 You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours This idiom means that if you do something for me, I'll return the favour.
3134 You what? This is a very colloquial way of expressing surprise or disbelief at something you have heard. It can also be used to ask someone to say something again.
3135 You're toast If someone tells you that you are toast, you are in a lot of trouble.
3136 You've got rocks in your head (USA) Someone who has acted with a lack of intelligence has rocks in their head.
3137 You've made your bed- you'll have to lie in it This means that someone will have to live with the consequences of their own actions.
3138 Young blood Young people with new ideas and fresh approaches are young blood.
3139 Young Turk A Young Turk is a young person who is rebellious and difficult to control in a company, team or organisation.
3140 Your belly button is bigger than your stomach If your belly button is bigger than your stomach, you take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
3141 Your call If something is your call, it is up to you to make a decision on the matter.
3142 Your name is mud If someone's name is mud, then they have a bad reputation.
3143 Your sins will find you out This idiom means that things you do wrong will become known.
3144 Zero hour The time when something important is to begin is zero hour.
3145 Zero tolerance If the police have a zero tolerance policy, they will not overlook any crime, no matter how small or trivial.
3146 Zigged before you zagged If you did things in the wrong order, you zigged before you zagged.
3147 Zip it This is used to tell someone to be quiet.
3148 Zip your lip If someone tells you to zip your lip, they want to to shut up or keep quiet about something. ('Zip it' is also used.)
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