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Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and Phrases in English

Idioms and Phrases

1 Beat a dead horse– To force an issue that has already ended
2Elvis has left the building– The show has come to an end. It’s all over
3 Hard and fast – Certain
4 Keep your chin up– To remain joyful in a tough situation
5 A house divided against itself cannot stand– Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.
6 A slap on the wrist – A very mild punishment
7Bend over backwards– Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything
8 Blow hot and cold– Having no stand, shows favour at one time and unfavour at another
9 Ever and anon– Now and then
10 Far and wide– Every where
11 Haste makes waste– Quickly doing things results in a poor ending
12 Head over heels– Very excited and/ or joyful, especially when in love
13 Kith and kin– Blood relatives
14 Lend me your ear– To politely ask for someone’s full attention
15A mare’s nest – A false invention
16 Actions speak louder than words– It’s better to actually do something than hust talk about it
17 All in all– Considering everything
18Bite off more than you can chew – To take on a task that is a way to big
19 By hook or by crook– By any means
20 Cats and dogs– Heavy rain
21 Excuse my French– Please forgive me for cussing
22 Fixed in your ways– Not willing or wanting to change from your normal way of doing something
23 For good– Permanently, forever
24Have got– To have, to possess
25 Hit the nail on the head – Do something exactly right or say something exactly right
26Hush money– A bribe
27Last but not least – An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is also very important
28Loaves and fish– Material interests
29More or less– Approximately, almost, somewhat, to a certain degree
30A gentleman at large– An unreliable person
31A penny saved is a penny earned – By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little)
32All Greek to me– Meaningless and incomprehensible like someone who cannot read, speak
33 Bite your tongue– To avoid talking
34 Cats and bull story– Untrue story
35 Fabian policy– Policy of delaying decisions
36 Foot the bill– Bear expenses
37 Have got to– Must (also: have to)
38 Hue and cry– Great noise
39 Last straw– The final event in a series of unacceptable actions
40 Milk and water – Weak
41 A blessing in disguise – Something good that isn’t recognized by first
42A wolf in sheep’s clothing– A dangerous person pretending harmless
43 Back seat driver– People who criticize from the side-lines, much like someone giving unwanted advice
44By & by– Gradually
45Don’t pull all your eggs in one basket– Do not pull all your resources in one possibility
46Finger licking good– To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing
47Go the extra mile– Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand
48High five– Slapping palms above each others heads as celebration gesture
49It’s a small world– You frequently see the same people in different places
50Life and soul – Main support
Idioms and Phrases
51All and Sundry– Without making any distinction
52Can’t cut the mustard– Someone who isn’t adequate enough to compete or participate
53Foam at the mouth– To be enraged and show it
54Hole and corner policy– A secret policy for an evil purpose
55Method to my madness– Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason
56Against the clock– Rushed and short on time
57All along– All the time, from the beginning (without change)
58All of a sudden– Suddenly, without warning (All at once)
59By oneself– Alone, without assistance
60Call a spade a spade– Straight talks
61Chew someone out– Verbally scold someone
62Flea market– A swap meet. A place where people gather to buy and sell inexpensive goods
63Flip the bird– To raise your middle finger at someone
64For sure – Without doubt (also: for certain)
65Hither and thither– Here and there
66Hold your horses– Be patient
67Idle hands are the devil’s tools – You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do
68Long in the tooth– Old people (or horses)
69Make no bones about– To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections
70Mum’s the word– To keep quiet, To say nothing
71 Back and call– At the service
72Don’t count your chickens before they hatch– Don’t rely on it until you sure of it
73It figures – It seems likely, reasonable, or typical
74A doubting Thomas – A sceptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something
75An arm and a leg – Very expensive, A large amount of money
76Bank on– Depend on, count on
77Clear- cut– Clearly stated, definite, apparent
78Dry run– Rehearsal
79French kiss– An open mouth kiss where tongues touch
80Gut feeling– A personal intuition you get, especially when feel something may not be right
81In a hurry– Hurried, rushed (also: in a rush)
82Joshing me– Tricking me
83At last– Finally, after a long time
84Dark horse– One who was previously unknown and is now prominent
85Give and take– Compromise, cooperation between people
86In vain– Useless, without the desired result
87A dime A dozen – Anything that is common and easy to get
88A stalking horse – Pretence
89Apple to my eye– Someone who is cherished above all others
90At odds– In dispute
91Baker ’s dozen– Thirteen
92Blue moon– A rare event or occurrence
93Come hell or high water – Any difficult situation or obstacle
94Dead Ringer– 100 % identical, a duplicate
95Drink like a fish– To drink very heavily, drinking anything
96Few and far between– Not frequent, unusual, rare
97Full Monty– This idiom can mean either, “The whole thing” or “Completely nude”
98Give in- Surrender
99Green room– The waiting room, especially for those who are about to go on a TV or radio show
100Heart and soul – With full devotion
Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and Phrases

101In no time– Very quickly, rapidly
102Ins and outs– Full detail
103Jaywalk– Crossing the street (from the middle) without using the crosswalk
104 Length and breadth– All over
105An axe to grind– To have a dispute with someone
106 At least– A minimum of, no fewer (or less) than
107Close but no cigar– To be near and almost accomplish a goal, but fall short
108Day in and day out – Continuously, constantly
109From now on– From this time into the future
110Give him the slip– To get away from, to escape
111In case- In order to be prepared if the meaning is in order to be prepared if something happens
112 In your face– An aggressive and bold confrontation
113As a matter of fact – Really, actually (also: as to)
114Crack someone up– To make someone laugh
115Funny farm– A mental institutional facility
116In the bag– To have something secured
117A green horn– Inexperienced
118All (day, week, month, year) long – The entire day, week, month, year
119Beating around the bash– Avoiding the main topic, not speaking directly about the issue
120 By the way– Incidentally
121Ethnic cleansing– Killing of a certain ethnic or religious group on a massive scale
122Flesh and blood– This idiom can mean living material of which people are made of, or it can refer to human nature
123Hard of hearing– Partially deaf, not able to hear well
124 Hocus Pocus– In general, a term used in magic or trickery
125 Kick the bucket- Die
126Loose cannon– Someone who is unpredictable and can cause damage if not kept in check
127An eye wash– A pretence
128Close call– A situation involving a narrow escape from danger
129From rags to riches– To go from very poor to being very wealthy
130 In hand– Under firm control, well managed
131 Above board– Fair and honest
132 By fits and starts– Irregularly
133 First and foremost– Extreme enthusiasm
134Hit the books– To study, especially for a test or exam
135Little by little– Gradually, slowly (also: step by step)
136A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush-Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might losing everything.
137A toss-up– A result hat is still unclear and can go either way
138 All bark and no bite – When someone is threatening and/ or aggressive but not willing to engage in a fight
139As usual – as is the general case, as is typical
140Back and forth– In a backward and forward motion
141Buy a lemon– To purchase a vehicle that constantly gives problems or stops running after you drive it
142Cast iron stomach– Someone who has no problems, complications or ill effects with eating anything
143 Curtain lecture– A reproof by wife to her husband
144 Don’t look a gift horse in the month – When someone gives you a gift, don’t be ungrateful
145Finding your feet– To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing
146Fools’ Gold – Iron pyrites, a worthless rock that resembles real gold
147 Get up on the wrong side of the bed – Someone who is having a horrible day
148Go out on a limb– Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/ something
149Herculean task– A tedious job
150Hornet’s nest – Raise controversy
Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and Phrases

151 In the worst way– Very much, greatly
152 It takes two to tango– A two person conflict where both people are at fault
153Level playing field– A fair competition where no side has an advantage
154Might and main– With all enthusiasm
155Above all – Mainly, especially
156According to– In the order of; on the authority of
157By far– By a great margin, clearly
158By heart– By memorizing
159 Fire and fury– Fearful penalties
160 Fishy: doubtful– Highest priority
161Hit below the belt – Contrary the principles of fairness
162Hit the hay– Go to bed or go to sleep
163Liquor someone up– To get someone drunk
164Live-wire– Energetic
165All in the same boat – When everyone is facing the same challenges
166Charley horse– stiffness in the leg/ A leg cramp
167 For once – This one time, for only one time
168Icing on the cake– When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have
169Mumbo Jumbo– Nonsense or meaningless speech
170Bull in china shop– One who causes damage
171A chip on your shoulder – Being upset for something that happened in the past
172A fool and his money are easily parted – It’s easy for a foolish person to lose his/ her money
173All right– Acceptable, fine; yes, okay
174As soon as– Just after, when
175At the drop of a hat – Willing to do something immediately
176Back to square one– Having to start all over again
177Back to the drawing board– When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over
178Bated breath– In anxiety, expectancy
179Chip on his shoulder– Angry today about something that occurred in the past
180 Cup of joe– A cup of coffee
181Dog days of summer– The hottest day of the summer season
182 Doozy– Something outstanding
183 Down to the wire– Something that ends at the last minute or last few seconds
184Eighty six– A certain item is no longer available. Or this idiom can also mean, to throw away
185 For the time being– Temporarily (also: for now)
186 Get over it – To move beyond something that is bothering you
187Go for broke– To gamble everything you have
188 Good Samaritan– Someone who helps others when they are in need, with no discussion for
189Graveyard shift– Working hours from about 12:00 am to 8.00
190 Hand a gloves– Very intimate friends
191If it’s not one thing, it’s another– When one thing goes wrong, then another, and another…
192In the long run– Eventually, after a long period of time
193 Intents and purposes– Practically
194 It anyone’s call- A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict
195Ivory tower– Imaginary world
196Keep body and soul together– To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive
197 Narrow-minded– Not willing to accept
198A taste of your own medicine – When you are mistreated the same way you mistreat others
199Break a leg– A superstitious way to say ‘Good Luck’ without saying ‘Good Luck’,
200 Fifty- fifty– Divided into two equal parts
Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and Phrases

201Helter Shelter-Here and there
202 Let the cat out of the bag– To share a secret that wasn’t suppose to be shared
203 A lost cause – A hopeless case, a person or situation having no hope of positive change.
204Alpha and omega– First and last letter of Greek alphabet, means beginning and end
205 An iron hand– By force
206 As for- Regarding, concerning (also: as to)
207As high as a kite – Anything that is high up in the sky
208At heart– Basically, fundamentally
209Between Scylla and Charybdis– Choice between two unpleasant alternatives
210 Chow down– To eat
211Cock and bull story– An unbelievable tale, untrue story
212Cross your fingers– To hope that something happens the way you want it to
213Cry wolf– Intentionally raise a false alarm
214Cut to the chase– Leave out all the unnecessary details and just get to the point
215Every other (one)– Every second (one), alternate (ones)
216 Free and easy– Natural and simple
217Fuddy- duddy– An old-fashioned and foolish type of person
218Gall and wormwood– Source of irritation
219Get down to brass tacks– To become serious about something
220Gird up the loin– To be ready
221Haughty and naughty– Arrogant and naughty
222 Ill at ease– Uncomfortable or worried in a situation
223In like Flynn– To be easily successful, especially when sexual or romantic
224 In the buff– Nude
225In the heat of the moment– Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment
226 In touch– Having contact
227Knock on Wood– Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid some bad luck
228A man of straw – A weak person
229A piece of cake – A task that can be accomplished very easily
230Add fuel to the fire– Whenever something is done to make a bad situation even worse than it is
231Between the cup and the lips – On the point of achievement
232Blood is thicker than water – The family bond is closer than anything else
233By leaps and bound – speedily
234Everything but the kitchen sink– Almost everything and anything has been included
235Fair and wide– Equal opportunity to all
236Flash in the pan– Something that shows potential or looks promising in the beginning but fails to deliver
237Have an axe to grind– To have a dispute with someone
238Head and shoulder– Superior
239Hit the sack– Go to bed or go to sleep
240Know the ropes– To understand the details
241 Leave no stone unturned– Make all possible efforts
242Lock and key– In safe place
243ABC: Very common knowledge about to – Ready to, just going to
244By all means– Certainly, definitely, naturally (also: of course); using any possible way or method
245Fire and brimstone – A very tasty food or meal
246High on the Hog– Living in luxury
247Like a chicken and its head cut off – To act in a frenzied manner
248A picture paints a thousand words – A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words
249Black and white– In writing
250Face-to-face– Direct, personal; directly, personally (written without hyphens)
Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and Phrases

251He lost his head– Angry and overcome by emotions
252 Latin and Greek– Unable to understand
253 A damp squib– Complete failure
254A drop in the bucket – A very small part of something big or whole
255A leopard can’t change his spots  – You cannot change who you are
256A steal – Very inexpensive, a bargain
257At all – To any degree (also: in the least)
258At sixes and seven – Persons who are having different opinions
259 Bag and baggage– with all goods
260Barking up the wrong tree– A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve
261Between a Rock and a Hard place– Stuck between two very bad options
262Body and soul – Entirely
263Cut and dried– Ready made form
264 Devil’s advocate– Someone who takes a position for the sake of argument without believing in that
265Drastic times call for drastic measures– When you are extremely desperate you need to take extremely desperate actions
266 Egg on– To urge somebody
267 Every cloud has a silver lining – Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days
268Field day– An enjoyable day or circumstance
269Get your walking papers– Get fired from the job
270 Go down like a lead balloon– To be received badly by an audience
271Great minds think alike– Intelligent people think like each other
272Had better– Should, ought to, be advisable to
273Hat Trick– When one player scores three goals in the same hockey game.
274Hell in a hand basket– Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster
275In time to– Before the time necessary to do something
276 Inside out – With the inside facing the outside
277 Ivy league– Since 1954 the Ivy league has been the following universities: Columbia, Brown, Cornell
278Keep an eye on him– You should carefully watch him. Keep an eye on
279Kitty-corner – Diagonally across. Sometimes called Catty- Corner as well
280 Let along– and certainly not (also: not to mention, to say nothing of)
281Dead Ringer– 100 % identical, a duplicate
282Drink like a fish– To drink very heavily, drinking anything
283Few and far between– Not frequent, unusual, rare
284Full Monty– This idiom can mean either, “The whole thing” or “Completely nude”
285Give in– Surrender
286Green room- The waiting room, especially for those who are about to go on a TV or radio show
287Heart and soul – With full devotion
288In case– In order to be prepared if the meaning is in order to be prepared if something happens
289 In your face– An aggressive and bold confrontation
290As a matter of fact – Really, actually (also: as to)
291Crack someone up– To make someone laugh
292Funny farm– A mental institutional facility
293In the bag– To have something secured
294A green horn– Inexperienced
295All (day, week, month, year) long – The entire day, week, month, year
296 Get up on the wrong side of the bed – Someone who is having a horrible day
297Go out on a limb– Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/ something
298Herculean task– A tedious job
299Hornet’s nest – Raise controversy
300A picture paints a thousand words – A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words
Idioms and Phrases