Idioms and Phrases

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Idioms

Definition – An idiom (also called idiomatic expression) is an expression, word, or phrase that has figurative meaning conventionally understood by native speakers.

In other words, idioms don’t mean exactly what the words say. They have, however, hidden meaning.

– Kick the bucket – to die

– Spill the beans – to tell people secret information

– Break a leg – do your best and good luck.

List of idioms

  • A big cheese                             – an important or powerful person in a group or family
  • A bone of contention                 – something that people argue for a long time
  • A cock and a bull story             – a story or an explanation which obviously not true
  • At the crack of the dawn           – very early in morning.
  • A cuckoo in the nest                 – someone in a group of people but not likely by them
  • At the drop of the hat               – you  do something easily and without any preparation
  • At the eleventh hour                 – be too late / last moment
  • A worm’s eye view                  – having very little knowledge about something
  • All systems go                          – everything is ready
  • An arm and a leg                      – a large amount of money
  • Ask for the moon                     – to ask for too much
  • At sixes and sevens                  – to be lost and bewildered
  • A house of cards                      – a poor plan
  • A boon in disguise                    – a benefit in loss
  • A bit under the weather            – falling ill
  • Bad blood                               – feeling of hate between two families.
  • Blue blood                              – belonging to high social class.
  • Bow and scrap                       – try too hard to please someone in a position of authority.
  • Be tailor made                        – to be completely suitable for someone
  • Be as clear as mud                 – to be impossible to understand
  • Be on cloud nine –                 – be very happy
  • Between the devil and deep blue sea – a type of situation where you must choose between two equally unpleasant situations.
  • Be in seventh heaven              – extremely happy
  • Be at each other’s throat        – two persons arguing angrily
  • Batten down the hatches        – to prepare for trouble
  • Ball of fire                             –  active and energetic
  • Beat one’s head against the wall  – to try to do something that is hopeless
  • Bark up the wrong tree          – to make a wrong assumption
  • Behind closed doors              – done in secret
  • Bite off more than one can chew  – to do more than one’s ability
  • Bite the bullet                        – to face a difficult situation braverly
  • Burn a hole in one’s pocket   – to spend money quickly
  • Cards are stacked against     – luck is against you
  • Crack a book                      – to open book to study
  • Cross a bridge before one comes to it – worry about the future in advance
  • Cap it all                             – top finish
  • Carry the can                      – take the blame something without doing
  • Cat and dog life                  – always arguing
  • Dances to the tune              – to always do what someone tells you to do
  • Dressed up to the nines       – wearing fancy clothes
  • Dragging its feet                  – delaying in decision
  • Donkey work                     – hard, boring work or task
  • 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.
  • End in smoke                     – to bear no result
  • From cradle to grave          – during the whole span of your life
  • Feel the pinch                     – to have problems with money
  • Fall on your own sword      – to be cheated by someone you trust
  • Feather in one’s cap           – something that you achieve and proud of
  • Firing on all cylinder           – work every possible way to succeed
  • French leave                      – absent without permission
  • Fall on our feet – If you fall on your feet, you succeed in doing something where there was a risk of failure.
  • Flash in the pan                  – very noticeable but doesn’t last long
  • Follow your nose               – go straight ahead
  • Fool’s paradise                  – a false sense of happiness or success
  • Get off the hook                – free from all obligations
  • Give – up the ghost           – to die
  • Got the slap on the wrist   – got light punishment
  • Give someone a bird        – make fun
  • Gift of the gab                  – talent of speaking
  • Give someone a piece of your mind– criticize strongly or angrily
  • Grave yard shift                  – have to work very late night
  • Have a big mouth               – one who gossip more or tells secret
  • Himalayan blunder             – a serious mistake
  • Have an egg on the face     – be embarrassed
  • Have eyes bigger than stomach   – desiring more food that one can eat
  • Heart missed a beat               – very excited
  • Heart in the right place           – good natured
  • Hit the nail on the head          – done the thing correctly
  • Hit the bull’s eye                   – achieve the best result possible
  • Hornets’ nest                       – one with a lot of dispute
  • In dribs and drabs                – in small amount at a time
  • In black and white                – to give in writing
  • In the blues                          – low spirited
  • Jack of all trades                  – someone that can do many different jobs.
  • Jet set                                  – very wealthy people
  • Johnny on the spot               – a person who is always available.
  • Joined at the hip                  – very closely connected
  • Jump the gun                      – doing something before the appropriate time
  • Justice is blind                    – impartial and adjective
  • Keep up a row                   – to start a fight
  • Keep ones eye on the ball   – be ready for something
  • Loves and fishes                 – done for material benefits
  • Like a shag on a rock         – completely alone
  • Like a sitting duck              – totally unware
  • Make castles in the air        – very little chance of happening
  • Meet ones waterloo           – meet ones final end
  • Monkey around                 – to waste time hear and there
  • My hands are full               – I am busy
  • Make dry face                   – show disappointment
  • Man of his word                – does what he says and keeps his promises
  • Nobody’s fool                   – one who can take care of himself
  • Not having a leg to stand for   – not haring proof
  • Never – never land –              – ideal best place
  • No love lost between              – dislike
  • Needly in a haystack              – very difficult
  • Once in a blue moon               – very rarely
  • Open Pandora’s box               – being too happy
  • On its last legs                        – in a bad condition and will not last long
  • Old flames did hard                – It’s very difficult to forget old things
  • Pass muster                           – to be approved
  • Pick someone to pieces         – to criticize sharply
  • Put the cart before the horse  – doing things in a wrong manner
  • Pay on the nail                       – promptly in cash
  • Quiet as a cat                       – a little noise as possible and try to be unnoticeable
  • Quiet as a mouse                  – absolutely no noise
  • Queer fish                            – a strange person
  • Round the twist                   – to crazy
  • Read between the lines         – read hidden meaning
  • Red letter day                      – something special happends to you
  • Run into the sand                 –  fails to achieve a result
  • Shake a leg                         – to go fast
  • Snake in the grass               – a hidden enemy
  • Song and a dance               – an excuse
  • Stood to his guns               – maintained to his opinion
  • Take the cloth                    – to became a priest
  • To crow over                    – to triumph over someone
  • To blow a fuse                  – to turn someone angry
  • To bell the cat                    – to take great risks
  • Taking to a brick wall         – taking with a no response
  • Turned a deaf ear               – disregarded
  • Upset the apple cart           – to create difficult
  • Weight one’s word             – be careful to what one says
  • Walking on broken glass    – punished for something
  • Wet behind the ears           – very young or inexperienced
  • Whale of a time                 – enjoy yourself
  • Work your fingers to the bone      – extremely hard work
  • Ya boo sucks                    – no sympathy with someone
  • Yes man                            – someone who always agree with people
  • Zero hour                          – when something important is to begin
  • Zip it –                              – be quiet
  • Zip your lip                       – shut up             

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