A Bit MuchMore than is reasonable; a bit too much
A Bite at The CherryA good opportunity that isn’t available to everyone
A Busy BeeA busy, active person who moves quickly from task to task.
A Cat Has Nine LivesCats seem to get away with dangerous things
A Cat in Gloves Catches No MiceYou can’t get what you need if you’re too careful.
A Cat NapA short sleep during the day
A Cold Day In July(Something that) will never happen
A Cold FishSomeone who is not often moved by emotions, who is regarded as being hard and unfeeling.
A Cut AboveSlightly better than
A Cut BelowInferior to; somewhat lower in quality than
A Day Late And A Dollar ShortToo delayed and insignificant to have much effect
A Dog in The MangerA person who selfishly prevent others from using, enjoying or profiting from something even though he/ she cannot use or enjoy it himself.
A Few Sandwiches Short Of A PicnicAbnormally stupid, not really sane
A Good DealTo a large extent, a lot
A Great DealTo a very large extent
A Guinea PigSomeone who is part of an experiment or trial
A Hair’s BreadthA very small distance or amount
A Home BirdSomebody who prefers to spend his social and free time at home.
A Hundred And Ten PercentMore than what seems to be the maximum
A Lame DuckA person or enterprise (often a business) that is not a success and that has to be helped.
A Leg UpAn advantage, a boost
A LemonA vehicle that does not work properly
A Life Of Its OwnAn indepdendent existence
A Little Bird Told MeI don’t wish to divulge where I got the information
A Little Bird Told MeI got this information from a source I cannot reveal.
A Little from Column A, a Little from Column BA course of action drawing on several different ideas or possibilities
A Lone WolfSomeone who is not very social with other people
A Lot on One’s PlateA lot to do
A Million and OneVery many
A Notch AboveSuperior to; higher in quality
A Penny for Your ThoughtsWhat are you thinking?
A Penny Saved is A Penny EarnedEvery small amount helps to build one’s savings
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand WordsA visual presentation can communicate something very effectively
A Plum JobAn easy and pleasant job that also pays well
A Rare BirdSomebody or something of a kind that one seldom sees.
A Scaredy-CatSomeone who is excessively scared or afraid.
A Second Bite At The CherryA Second chance to do something
A Sight for Sore EyesSomeone that you’re pleased to see
A Sitting DuckA person or object in a vulnerable position that is easy to attack or injure.
A Snowball’s Chance in HellLittle to no likelihood of occurrence or success
A Stitch in Time Saves NineFix something quickly, because if you don’t, it will just get more difficult to fix
A Stone’s ThrowA very short distance
A Storm in a TeacupUnnecessary anger or worry about an unimportant or trivial matter
A Tall OrderA difficult task
A Week Is A Long Time In _____In the field mentioned, the situation may change rapidly
About TimeFar past the desired time
About ToOn the point of, occurring imminently
Above And BeyondMore than is expected or required
Above BoardOpenly, without deceit. Honestly, reputably.
Above The LawExempt from the laws that apply to everyone else.
Above The SaltOf high standing or honor
Above WaterNot in extreme difficulty. Especially said of finances
Accident Of BirthLuck in something due to family good fortune
Accident Waiting To HappenA dangerous way of setting up or organizing something
According To HoyleProperly, in accordance with established procedures
Ace In The HoleA hidden advantage
Ace Up One’s SleeveA surprise advantage of which others are not aware.
Acid TestA crucial event that determines the worth of something
Acknowledge The CornAdmit to a mistake, especially a small one; point out one’s own shortcomings, or another’s
Acquired TasteSomething one learns to appreciate only after trying it repeatedly
Across The BoardIn relation to all categories, for everyone
Across The PondOn or to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Act High and MightyBe arrogant, presume that one is better than others
Act Of CongressHard to get, said of authorization
Act One’s AgeTo be mature, not childish
Actions Speak Louder Than WordsOne’s character and intentions are shown more accurately by one’s actions than by one’s words.
Achilles’ HeelThe weak point of an otherwise powerful person or organization
Add Fuel To The FireWorsen already existing tension
Add Insult To InjuryCompound a defeat with humiliation or mockery
Add Insult to InjuryHumiliate someone in addition to doing damage to him or her
After One’s Own HeartSimilar in a pleasing way
After The FactToo late; after something is completed or finalized
After The Lord Mayor’s Show (UK)Anticlimactic; occurring after something impressive
Against The ClockForced to hurry to meet a deadline
Against the ClockIn a very limited amount of time; with a shortage of time being the main problem
Against The GrainContrary to one’s natural inclinations
Against The Run Of PlayA typical of the way a game has been going
Age Before BeautySomething said by a younger woman to an older one, for instance allowing her to pass through a doorway
Agree To DisagreeAccept or set aside a disagreement
Agreement In PrincipleIn a negotiation, an agreement in which not all details have been worked out
Aha MomentSudden realization, the point at which one suddenly understands something
Ahead Of One’s TimeOffering ideas not yet in general circulation; highly creative
Ahead Of The CurveInnovative, devising new ideas in advance of others
Ahead Of The CurveOffering ideas not yet in general circulation; highly creative
Ahead Of The GameMaking faster progress than anticipated; ahead of schedule
Air RageAngry behavior inside an airplane
Airy Fairywhimsical, nonsensical, impractical
Albatross Around One’s NeckSomething from one’s past that acts as a hindrance
Alive and KickingIn good health despite health problems
All AlongFor the entire time something has been happening
All And SundryEveryone(separately) Each one.
All Bark And No BiteTending to make verbal threats but not deliver on them
All Bets Are OffWhat seemed certain is now unclear
All Dressed Up And Nowhere To GoPrepared (with clothing or otherwise) for an event that does not occur
All EarsListening willingly, waiting for an explanation
All Eyes And EarsAttentive
All Eyes Are OnWatching alertly or attentively. Having prominent eyes. Everyone is paying attention to
All Fur Coat And No KnickersSuperficially attractive, physically or otherwise
All Hands on DeckEveryone must help.
All Hat And No CattlePretentious, full of bluster
All Hell Breaks LooseThe situation becomes chaotic.
All In A Day’s Work (Excl.)That’s what I’m here for; although I have accomplished something, it is part of what I’m expected to do
All In Good TimeEventually; at a more favorable time in the future. This phrase encourages one to be patient.
All in One PieceSafely
All It’s Cracked Up To BeAs good as claims or reputation would suggest
All Mouth And No TrousersSuperficial, engaging in empty, boastful talk, but not of real substance
All Over But The ShoutingCertain to end in a specific way
All Over Hell’S Half AcreAll over the place; everywhere.
All Over The BoardEverywhere, in many different locations
All Over The MapEverywhere; in many different locations
All Over The PlaceEverywhere; in many different locations
All Rights ReservedSaid of a published work; all reproduction rights are asserted by the copyright holder
All Roads Lead to RomeThere is more than one effective way to do something; many different methods will produce the same result
All SetReady, prepared, finished
All Sizzle And No SteakFailing to live up to advance promotion or reputation
All Talk and No TrousersProne to empty boasts
All ToldWith everything taken into consideration
All That JazzSimilar things, similar qualities, et cetera
All The MarblesThe entire prize or reward
All The RageVery fashionable
All the RageVery much in fashion
All The SameAnyway; nevertheless; nonetheless.
All The Tea In ChinaGreat wealth, a large payment
All Things Being EqualIn the event that all aspects of a situation remain the same
All Things ConsideredTaking all factors into consideration
All ThumbsClumsy
All Very WellTrue to a certain extent
All WetCompletely mistaken
Along The Lines OfIn general accordance with, in the same general direction as
Amateur HourA display of incompetence
Amber GamblerSomeone who accelerates to try to cross an intersection before a traffic light turns red
Amber NectarBeer
American Dream (The)The belief among Americans that hard work leads to material success
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor AwayEating healthy foods will keep one from getting sick (and needing to see a doctor)
An AxeTo Grind A grievance, a disagreement with someone that justifies confrontation.
An Early BirdA person who gets up early in the morning, or who starts work earlier than others.
An Eye for an EyeJustice in which reparation or vengeance exactly matches the harm caused to the victim
An Offer One Can’t RefuseAn extremely attractive offer
Ancient HistorySomething, such as a disagreement, that happened long ago and ought to be forgotten
And All ThatEt cetera, and so on.
And CountingAnd the number just mentioned is increasing (or decreasing)
And ChangeAnd an additional amount of money that’s less than the next round number
And His MotherAn intensifier for an inclusive noun or phrase such as everyone, everybody
And So ForthIndicates that a list continues in a similar manner, etc.
And So OnIndicates that a list continues in a similar manner, etc.
And The LikeAnd other similar items, etc.
And Then SomeAnd even more than what has just been mentioned
Another Nail In One’s CoffinSomething that leads to someone’s death, literally or figuratively.
Answer BackRespond impertinently; to talk back.
Ants In Your PantsRestlessness
Any Port in a StormIf you’re in trouble, you’ll turn to anything that improves the situation.
Any Tom, Dick or HarryAny ordinary person
Angel’s AdvocateSomeone who takes a positive outlook on an idea or proposal
Angle ForAim toward something, try to obtain something, often indirectly or secretly
Apple of One’s EyeA favorite person or thing, a person especially valued by someone
Apple of Someone’s EyeThe person that someone loves most of all and is very proud of
Apples and OrangesOf two different classes, not comparable
Apples and OrangesOf two different classes, not comparable
Arm CandyAn attractive woman accompanying a powerful or famous man at a social event
Armed to the TeethCarrying many weapons
Around the ClockAt all times
As American as Apple PieVery or typically American
As Far as I Can Throw (someone)Only slightly
As Fit as A FiddleTo be healthy and physically fit
As Pale as A GhostExtremely pale
As Pale as DeathExtremely pale
As Poor as a Church MouseVery poor
As Red as A CherryVery red
Asleep at the Wheel (Switch)not paying attention to one’s work; not doing one’s job diligently.
At Death’s DoorVery near death
At Each Other’s ThroatsConstantly and strongly arguing
At LoggerheadsIn a state of persistent disagreement
At LoggerheadsIn a state of persistent disagreement.
At Sixes and SevensSomeone is in a state of confusion or not very well organized.
At the Drop of a HatSpontaneously, suddenly
At the Eleventh HourIt happens when it is almost too late.
At the End of One’s Rope (Tether)Running out of endurance or patience
At the End of the DayIn the final analysis; when all is said and done
At Wit’s EndFrustrated because all measures to deal with something have failed
Babe In ArmsA baby being carried
Babe In The WoodsAn innocent, naive person
Babe MagnetA man to whom women are attracted
Baby BluesBlue eyes.
Baby BoomerA person born in the years following World War II, when there was a temporary marked increase in the birth rate
Babysitter TestAn evaluation of the ease of use of household appliances, especially remote control devices
Back And ForthDialogue, negotiations
Back At YouSame to you (used to return a greeting or insult)
Back Burner (On The)Not urgent; set aside until later
Back FortyRemote, inaccessible land
Back in the DayFormerly, when I was younger, in earlier times
Back Of BeyondA remote location
Back OfficeSupport services for a business
Back on One’s FeetPhysically healthy again
Back to Square OneBack to the start
Back to Square OneForced to begin something again
Back to the Drawing BoardForced to begin something again
Back to the Salt Mine(s)We have to go back to work.
Back to the Salt MinesIt’s time for me (us) to go back to work
Back the Wrong HorseTo support the losing side
Backing and FillingDelaying a decision by making small changes or arguing about small details
Backseat DriverA passenger in a car who gives unwanted advice to the driver is called a backseat driver.
Backseat DriverSomeone who likes to give (often annoying) advice to the driver of a car, or the leader of some other enterprise
Bad AppleA discontented, trouble making, or dishonest person
Bad BloodEnmity or hatred that stems from something in the past
Bad EggSomeone who is not to be trusted
Bad Taste In One’s MouthUnease, a feeling that something unspecified is wrong in a situation
Bag of TricksA set of methods or resources
Bail OutTo rescue someone from a bad situation, to shield someone from the consequences of his or her actions
Ball and Chain1. One’s spouse (derogatory but often affectionate); 2. an ongoing burden
Ballpark FigureA rough estimate
Banner YearA year marked by strong successes
Bang for Your BuckValue for money
Bang for Your BuckValue for your money
Bang One’s Head Against the Wall (Against a Brick Wall)Try repeatedly to do something without making progress
Baptism by FireA difficult task given right after one has assumed new responsibilities
Bar Fly (or Barfly)Someone who spends much of his or her time in bars
Bare One’s Heart (Soul)To confess one’s deepest secrets
Bark Up the Wrong TreePursue a mistaken approach or belief; be wrong in a course of action
Basket CaseSo upset or stunned that one is unable to function; in a hopeless condition
Bat/Play for Both TeamsTo be bisexual.
Bat/Play for the Other TeamTo be homosexual.
Batten Down the HatchesPrepare for a storm
Batten Down the HatchesPrepare for a storm
Be A Barrel of LaughsTo be fun, funny, and pleasant.
Be A Cold Day In Hell(Something that) will never happen
Be An ItemTwo people are an item when they are having a romantic relationship
Be Footloose and Fancy-FreeTo be free of responsibilities, including romantic commitments
Be Head Over Heels (In love)Be in love with somebody very much
Be in Seventh HeavenExtremely happy
Be in Two Minds (about something)To not be certain about something, or to have difficulty in making a decision
Be Like Chalk and CheeseThings or people who are very different and have nothing in common
Be Lovey – DoveyExpressing your love in public by constantly kissing and hugging
Be on the MendBe improving after an illness
Be Snowed UnderBe extremely busy with work or things to do
Bean CountersAccountants, finance professionals in an organization
Bean CountersAccountants, finance professionals in an organization
Beat Around the BushTo speak in a roundabout way in order to avoid confronting an unpleasant topic
Beat Someone To The DrawTo accomplish or obtain something more quickly than someone else
Beat Someone to the PunchDo something before or faster than someone else
Beat the Drum for (Something)Speak in favor of something to try to generate support
Beauty Is Only Skin DeepExternal appearance is a superficial basis for judging someone
Bed of RosesA comfortable situation
Bedroom EyesAn expression of the eyes that seems to invite sex
Bee in One’s BonnetSomeone who has a bee in their bonnet has an idea which constantly occupies their thoughts.
Beggar Thy NeighborTo do something beneficial for oneself without worrying about how it affects others
Behind the Eight (or 8) BallAt a serious disadvantage
Behind the ScenesIn a way not apparent to the public
Behind the TimesOld-fashioned
Bell the CatTake on a difficult or impossible task
Bells And WhistlesAttractive but unnecessary features of a product
Belly LaughLoud, hearty laughter
Bend an ElbowDrink alcoholic beverages at a tavern
Best (Greatest) Thing Since Sliced BreadAn innovative development
Best of Both WorldsCombining two qualities that are usually separate
Bet One’s Bottom Dollar (On Something)Be certain that something will happen
Bet the FarmRisk everything; spend all one’s money on something in hopes of success
Better late Than NeverIt implies that a belated achievement is better than not reaching a goal at all.
Between a Rock and a Hard PlaceCaught between two undesirable options
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaIn a difficult position
Beyond the PaleToo morally or socially extreme to accept
Beyond the Shadow of a DoubtAbsolutely certain
Big AppleAn informal name for New York City
Big BrotherGovernment, viewed as an intrusive force in the lives of citizens; government spying
Big CheeseAn important person in a company or organization
Big DealAn important event or accomplishment
Big FishAn important person
Big PictureA wide perspective; a broad view of something
Big timeIf you do something big time, you do it to a great degree.
Birds of a FeatherPeople having similar characters, backgrounds, interests, or beliefs.
Bird’s-Eye ViewA view from above; a broad perspective on something
Bite Off More Than You Can ChewTry to do more than one is capable of doing
Bite the BulletTo do something even though it involves pain, discomfort, or difficulty
Bite the Hand That Feeds YouAct badly toward someone who has helped you
Bitter Pill to SwallowAn unpleasant fact that one must accept
Black and WhiteA clear distinction between good and bad, positive and negative
Black EyeA mark of shame
Black SheepA person who does not fit into a group, especially a family
Black-and-BlueBruised, showing signs of having been physically harmed
Blank CheckPermission to spend or do whatever one wishes; carte blanche
Blind DateWhen two people who have never seen each other before go on a date
Blinded by LoveWhen a person is so madly in love with somebody that they can’t see the person’s faults or negative characteristics
Blood and ThunderA dramatic, spectacular performance
Blow Away the CobwebsIf something blows away the cobwebs, it makes you feel more lively and refreshes your ideas.
Blow Hot and ColdShift one’s level of enthusiasm repeatedly
Blow Off SteamTo express anger and frustration in a way that does no damage
Blow One’s TopLose one’s temper
Blow One’s StackTo lose one’s temper and explode in anger
Blow the Cobwebs Away (or Out of Something)Make space for fresh ideas, encourage something new
Blow the WhistleReporting an illegal or unacceptable activity to the authorities
Blow UpExplode
Blow Your Own TrumpetBrag; emphasize one’s own contributions
Blue Blood (adj. blue-blooded)Person of aristocratic background
Blue Eyed BoyA person who is a favorite of those in authority; someone whose mistakes are forgiven
Blue Light Special1. a temporary sale at a discount store. 2. a traffic stop by the police.
Bob’s Your UncleThe rest is easy; you’re almost finished
Bolt From the BlueSomething completely unexpected
Bone DryCompletely dry, totally without moisture
Born on The Wrong Side of the BlanketBorn to parents who were not married
Borrow TroubleTake needless risks, invite problems
Bottom of the BarrelLow-quality choices
Boy ToyA young man who is the lover of an older, often wealthier woman (see toyboy)
Boys will be BoysA phrase of resignation used when boys get into trouble or are stereotypically reckless or rowdy
BrainstormTo generate many ideas quickly
Break a LegGood luck! This is used for a stage performer-or for anyone else who is about to give some kind of a performance, such as an important speech
Break Out in A Cold SweatTo perspire from fever or anxiety
Break the BankExhaust one’s financial resources
Break The IceTo get something started, particularly by means of a social introduction or conversation
Break up/ Split up (With Somebody)End the relationship
Bring Home the BaconEarn money for one’s family
Bringing a Knife to a GunfightUnderequipped or unprepared
Brush Under the CarpetAttempt to temporarily conceal a problem or error
Bucket ListThings you want to see or do before you die
Bull in a China ShopA clumsy or tactless person
Bump in the RoadA temporary problem, a small setback
Bundle UpPut on lots of warm clothing
Burn One’s BridgesLeave a job or a relationship on such bad terms that one does not stay in contact
Burn the Candle at Both EndsTo work too hard, with possible bad consequences for one’s health
Burn the Candle at Both EndsWork very long hours
Burn the Midnight OilTo work late into the night
Burn the Midnight OilWorking late into the night
Bury (Hide) One’s Head In the SandIgnoring something that’s obviously wrong, not facing reality
Bury the HatchetMake peace, agree to end a dispute
Business as UsualA normal situation (whether related to business or not), typically restored after some change
Busman’s Holiday (UK)A working vacation
Busman’s HolidayA vacation where you do the same thing you do at work, a working vacation
Busted FlushA failure, someone or something that seemed promising but did not develop well
Butter Wouldn’t Melt in (Someone’s)Mouth This person is cool in manner, prim and proper
Buy a Pig in a PokeTo buy something with no prior inspection
Buy TimeCause a delay in something with the aim of improving one’s position
By a WhiskerBy a very short distance
By All MeansOf course, certainly
By Hook or by CrookBy some possibly dishonest means
By the Skin of One’s TeethBarely escaping disaster
By Word of MouthVia personal communications rather than written media
Call a Spade a SpadeTo speak frankly and directly about a problem
Call It a DayDecide that one has worked enough on something for the day
Call It a NightEnd an evening’s activities and go home
Call the ShotsMake the important decisions in an organization
Call the TuneMaking important decisions and controlling a situation.
Can’t See the Forest for the TreesIs unable to maintain a wider perspective
Can’t Swing A Dead Cat In (Place)Without Hitting A (Thing) There are many examples of [thing] in this [place].
Carrot-and-Stick (Approach)A tactic in which rewards are offered, but there is also the threat of punishment
Carry a Torch (for)To continue to be in love with someone even after a relationship has ended
Carry Coals To NewcastleSupply something that is unneeded; engage in useless labor
Carry the CanTo take the blame for something one did not do
Cash In One’s Chips1. To take advantage of a quick profit 2. To die
Cash-StrappedIn need of money
Cast the First StoneTo be the first to criticize or attack someone
Castle in the AirAn impractical plan
Cat FightA fight between two women
Cat Got Your Tongue?Don’t you have anything to say?
Cat on a hot tin roofBe extremely nervous
Cat-and-Mouse (adj.)In a toying way; playful in an unpleasant way
Catch One’s Death of ColdTo become very ill (with a cold/flu etc.)
Catch Some RaysTo sit or lie outside in the sun
Catch Someone’s EyeAttract someone’s attention
Catch-22A difficult situation from which there is no escape because options for avoiding it involve contradictions
Cat’s PawA person being used by someone else, a tool
Caught Red-HandedApprehended while committing a crime
Circle the WagonsTo prepare as a group to defend against attack, adopt a defensive posture
Claim to FameUnusual feature or offering
Clean Up NicelyLook good when one is dressed up. Usually said of women
Clear the AirDefuse tension, be honest about conflict so as to reduce it
Clip Someone’s WingsReduce someone’s privileges or freedom
Close, But No CigarYou are very close but not quite correct.
Cock and Bull StoryA far-fetched story, probably untrue
Cock-A-HoopElated, excited
Cold Day in HellA condition for something that would be extremely unlikely to occur
Come By Something HonestlyAcquire something honestly, or inherit it
Come CleanTo confess; to admit to wrongdoing
Come Hell or High WaterNo matter what happens
Come Out in the WashTo be resolved with no lasting negative effect
Come Out of the ClosetReveal a secret about oneself, usually that one is gay (homosexual)
Come Out SwingingRespond to something very aggressively
Come Rain and ShineDo regularly, whatever the circumstances
Come to Grips WithTo acknowledge a problem as a prelude to dealing with it
Come to Terms With (Something)Feel acceptance toward something bad that has happened
Coming Down the PikeLikely to occur in the near future
Cook Someone’s GooseTo insure someone’s defeat, to frustrate someone’s plans
Cook Up a StormCook a great deal of food
Cooking Up a StormCooking a great deal of food
Cool as A CucumberCalm and composed even in difficult or frustrating situations; self-possessed
Cool CatSomeone who has the respect of their peers in a young, casual way.
Cool Your HeelsWait
Couch PotatoA lazy person who watches a great deal of television
Crash a PartyTo attend a party without being invited
CricketsSilence
Cross to BearA problem one must deal with over a long time, a heavy burden
Crunch TimeA period of high pressure when one has to work hard to finish something
Crunch the NumbersDo calculations before making a decision or prediction
Cry Over Spilt (USASpilled)
Cry Wolf (verb)To issue a false alarm, to ask for help when none is needed
Cry Your Eyes OutCry hard for a very long time
Cry Your Eyes OutCry hard for a very long time
Curiosity Killed The CatStop asking questions, don’t be too curious
Cut (Someone) To the QuickTo deeply hurt someone emotionally
Cut CornersEconomize by reducing quality; take shortcuts
Cut It FineTo do something at the last moment
Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your FaceTo act in a proud way that ultimately damages your own cause
Cut Someone Some SlackAvoid treating someone strictly or severely
Cut to the ChaseGet to the point; explain the most important part of something quickly; skip the preliminaries
Cut the Gordian KnotTo solve a complex problem in a simple way
Cut the MustardDo something adequately
Cut Your Teeth on SomethingTo learn basic skills in a field
Cutting-EdgeVery novel, innovative
Champagne taste on a beer budgetExpensive or extravagant tastes or preferences that are beyond one’s economic means.
Change Horses in MidstreamChange plans or leaders in the middle of a process
Change of HeartA change in one’s opinion or outlook
Change One’s TuneTo alter one’s opinion about something.
Changing of the GuardA change in leadership at an organization
Chase RainbowsTo pursue unrealistic goals
Cheap ShotAn unfair attack; a statement that unfairly attacks someone’s weakness
Cherry-PickTo present evidence selectively to one’s own advantage
Cherry-PickTo select the best or most desirable
Chew the FatChat for a considerable length of time
Chickens Come Home To RoostThe negative consequences of previous actions reveal themselves
Child’s PlayA very easy task
Chill OutDo something that helps them to calm down and relax for a while.
Chin MusicMeaningless talk
Chin Up/ Keep Your Chin UpCheer up; try to be cheerful and strong
Chip off the Old BlockSomeone who resembles a direct ancestor, usually the father
Chomp (Champ) at the BitBe eager to do something
Chomp at the BitTo be eager to do something
Chop ChopQuickly, without delay
Chop ShopA shop where stolen cars are disassembled for parts
Chuck a WobblyTo act in an emotional way
Da Man (Slang)An accomplished or skillful person. Generally used in the compliment “”You da man!””
Dance to Someone’s TuneConsistently follow someone’s directions or influence
Dance with the DevilKnowingly do something immoral
Dark HorseA surprise candidate or competitor, especially one who comes from behind to make a strong showing
Darken Someone’s Door (Step)Make an unwanted visit to someone’s home
Dead AheadDirectly ahead, either in a literal or a figurative sense
Dead as the DodoCompletely extinct; totally gone
Dead EyeA good shooter, a good marksman
Dead HeatAn exact tie in a race or competition
Dead of WinterThe coldest, darkest part of winter
Dead ringerVery similar in appearance
Dead RunRunning as fast as possible
Dead ShotA good shooter, a good marksman
Deep PocketsThe new owner has deep pockets, so fans are hoping the football team will improve next year with new players
Deliver the GoodsProvide what is expected
Devil’s AdvocateSomeone who argues a point not out of conviction, but in order to air various points of view
Dirty LookA facial manner that signifies disapproval
Do 12-Ounce CurlsDrink beer
Dodge a BulletTo narrowly escape disaster
Doesn’t Amount to a Hill of BeansIs unimportant, is negligible
Dog Days of the SummerThe hottest day of summer
Dog in the MangerA person who prevents others from using something, even though the person himself or herself does not want it
Dog-and-Pony ShowA flashy presentation, often in a marketing context
Dog-Eat-DogIntensely competitive
Don’t Judge a Book by Its CoverDon’t be deceived by looks; don’t rely on looks when judging someone or something
Don’t Cry Over Spilled MilkDon’t worry about minor things.
Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the MouthDo not question the value of a gift. The expression comes from the practice of determining the age and health of a horse by looking at its teeth.
Double-DipImproperly get income from two different sources
Double-Edged SwordSomething that can be helpful or harmful; something beneficial that also has a downside
Down in the DumpsDepressed, sad
Down the RoadIn the future (in your lifetime)
Drag One’s Feet (or Heels)To do something reluctantly and slowly
Drag Your FeetDo something very reluctantly; delay doing something
Drain the LizardUrinate
Draw a BlankBe unable to remember something
Draw a Line in the SandIssue an ultimatum; specify an absolute limit in a conflict
Draw a Line Under (Something)To conclude something and move on to something else
Draw a Long BowExaggerate, lie
Draw the LineTo set a limit to what one will accept
Dressed Up to the NinesSomeone is wearing very smart or glamorous clothes
Drink the Kool-AidAccept a set of ideas uncritically, often dangerous ones
Drive a Hard BargainTo arrange a transaction so that it benefits oneself.
Drive a Hard BargainTo negotiate effectively
Drive a Wedge BetweenTry to split factions of a united group by introducing an issue on which they disagree
Drive Someone Up the WallDeeply irritate someone
Drop a LineTo write a letter or send an email
Drop the BallFail to fulfill one’s responsibilities; make a mistake
Dry RunA practice execution of a procedure
Dutch CourageAlcohol drunk with the intention of working up the nerve to do something
Dutch UncleA highly critical person
Dyed-In-The-Wool (adj.)Consistent in an affiliation or opinion over a long period; inveterate
Eager beaverThe term eager beaver refers to a person who is hardworking and enthusiastic, sometimes considered overzealous.
Eagle-EyedHaving sharp vision
Early Bird [noun or adjective]Someone who does something prior to the usual time, or someone who gets up early.
Eat CrowTo admit one was wrong, and accept humiliation
Eat Humble PieTo admit defeat or error, to accept humiliation
Eat Someone’s LunchDefeat someone thoroughly
Eat Your Heart Out!(excl.) Go ahead, be jealous.
Eighty-Six (v.)1) Discard, eliminate. 2) Throw someone out of a bar or store.
Elephant in the RoomA major problem that no one is talking about
Elevator MusicPleasant but boring recorded music that is played in public places.
Elevator PitchA brief presentation of an idea, one short enough to be delivered in an elevator
Eleventh HourThe last minute
Even StevenOwing nothing; tied (in a game)
Every Dog Has His (Its)Day Everyone has a moment of fame, power, or influence
Every Man and His DogMany people
Every Man for HimselfPursue your own interests; don’t expect help from others.
Excused BootsAllowed to avoid mandatory tasks
Face the MusicDealing with consequences of one’s actions
Face the MusicTo accept judgment or punishment
Fall for SomethingHook, Line, and Sinker To be completely deceived
Fall in Love with SomebodyStart feeling love towards somebody
Fall Off the WagonTo begin using alcohol (or another problem substance) after quitting
Fall on One’s SwordTo accept blame; to sacrifice oneself
Fall Prey toBe victimized by; be harmed by; be vulnerable to
Fancy Someone (British English)To find someone very attractive
Farther (On) Down the RoadLater, at some unspecified time
Farther (On) Down the RoadLater, at some unspecified time
Fashion-ForwardTending to adopt new styles quickly
Fat CatA highly placed, well-paid executive
Father FigureA mentor, a person who offers guidance
Feast Your Eyes OnTo take great pleasure in looking at someone or something
Feather in One’s CapAn achievement for which one is recognized; a noteworthy achievement
Feather One’s (Own) NestUse one’s influence or power improperly for financial gain
Feather One’s NestTo take advantage of one’s position to benefit oneself
Fed Up WithRefusing to tolerate something any further; out of patience
Feel Like a Million DollarsTo feel great, to feel well and healthy.
Feel On Top of The WorldTo feel very healthy
Fell off a TruckProbably stolen or illicitly obtained; said of something offered for sale to avoid discussing its origins
Fell off the Back of a LorryProbably stolen or illicitly obtained; said of something offered for sale to avoid discussing its origins
Fifteen Minutes of FameTemporary renown
Fifth WheelA superfluous person
Fight Fire with FireUse the same measures that are being used against you, even if they’re stronger than you would usually use
Fight Like Cat and DogContinually arguing with each other
Find One’s VoiceBecome more confident in expressing oneself
Find Your FeetTo adjust to a new place or situation
Finger-PointingBlame; a situation within a group where each member attempts to blame others
Finger-PointingBlame; a situation within a group where each member attempts to blame others
Fire in the Bellystrong ambition
First In, Best DressedThe first people to do something will have an advantage
Fish for ComplimentsTry to manipulate people into praising you
Fish or Cut Bait (usually an exclamation)Make a decision or give someone else a chance
Fish Out of WaterA person who is in unfamiliar, confusing surroundings
Five-Finger DiscountShoplifting
Flash in the PanA one-time occurrence, not a permanent phenomenon
Flat BrokeHaving no money at all
Flat Out Like a LizardDrinking Very busy
Flesh and BloodBlood relatives, close relatives
Flew the CoopLeft, escaped
Flip-Flop (v. or n.)To vacillate between two choices, to be indecisive
Fly by the Seat of One’s PantsTo improvise, to make decisions without planning or preparation
Fly HighBe very successful, especially temporarily
Fly Off The HandleLose one’s temper suddenly and unexpectedly
Fly off the HandleTo become suddenly enraged
Follow In Someone’s Footsteps (Tracks)Follow the example laid down by someone else; supplant
Follow Your HeartRely on one’s deeper feelings and instincts when making a decision
Food for ThoughtSomething that makes you think carefully
For a SongAt very low cost
For a SongAt very low cost
For Crying Out Loud (excl.)An expression of extreme annoyance
For Xyz ReasonsFor multiple reasons, not worth specifying individually
Foul PlayCrime, typically murder
Fourth EstateThe media and newspapers
Fox in the Henhouse (Chickenhouse)Someone who causes trouble
Freak OutA wildly irrational reaction or spell of behavior
French LeaveAbsence without permission
Freudian SlipAccidental use of an incorrect word; a revealing slip of the tongue
From Pillar to PostFrom one place to another, in a forced, random way
From ScratchFrom individual ingredients, not using a prepared mix
From Soup to NutsEverything; from beginning to end
From the Bottom of One’s HeartSincerely and with deep feeling
FUBARHopelessly ruined, not working, messed up.
Fu** (Or Screw) The Dog (Pooch)To make an embarrassing error
Full Fathom FiveLost deep in the sea
Full of the Joys of SpringVery happy, enthusiastic and full of energy
Face the MusicDealing with consequences of one’s actions
Face the MusicTo accept judgment or punishment
Fall for SomethingHook, Line, and Sinker To be completely deceived
Fall in Love with SomebodyStart feeling love towards somebody
Fall Off the WagonTo begin using alcohol (or another problem substance) after quitting
Fall on One’s SwordTo accept blame; to sacrifice oneself
Fall Prey toBe victimized by; be harmed by; be vulnerable to
Fancy Someone (British English)To find someone very attractive
Farther (On) Down the RoadLater, at some unspecified time
Farther (On) Down the RoadLater, at some unspecified time
Fashion-ForwardTending to adopt new styles quickly
Fat CatA highly placed, well-paid executive
Father FigureA mentor, a person who offers guidance
Feast Your Eyes OnTo take great pleasure in looking at someone or something
Feather in One’s CapAn achievement for which one is recognized; a noteworthy achievement
Feather One’s (Own) NestUse one’s influence or power improperly for financial gain
Feather One’s NestTo take advantage of one’s position to benefit oneself
Fed Up WithRefusing to tolerate something any further; out of patience
Feel Like a Million DollarsTo feel great, to feel well and healthy.
Feel On Top of The WorldTo feel very healthy
Fell off a TruckProbably stolen or illicitly obtained; said of something offered for sale to avoid discussing its origins
Fell off the Back of a LorryProbably stolen or illicitly obtained; said of something offered for sale to avoid discussing its origins
Fifteen Minutes of FameTemporary renown
Fifth WheelA superfluous person
Fight Fire with FireUse the same measures that are being used against you, even if they’re stronger than you would usually use
Fight Like Cat and DogContinually arguing with each other
Find One’s VoiceBecome more confident in expressing oneself
Find Your FeetTo adjust to a new place or situation
Finger-PointingBlame; a situation within a group where each member attempts to blame others
Finger-PointingBlame; a situation within a group where each member attempts to blame others
Fire in the Bellystrong ambition
First In, Best DressedThe first people to do something will have an advantage
Fish for ComplimentsTry to manipulate people into praising you
Fish or Cut Bait (usually an exclamation)Make a decision or give someone else a chance
Fish Out of WaterA person who is in unfamiliar, confusing surroundings
Five-Finger DiscountShoplifting
Flash in the PanA one-time occurrence, not a permanent phenomenon
Flat BrokeHaving no money at all
Flat Out Like a LizardDrinking Very busy
Flesh and BloodBlood relatives, close relatives
Flew the CoopLeft, escaped
Flip-Flop (v. or n.)To vacillate between two choices, to be indecisive
Fly by the Seat of One’s PantsTo improvise, to make decisions without planning or preparation
Fly HighBe very successful, especially temporarily
Fly Off The HandleLose one’s temper suddenly and unexpectedly
Fly off the HandleTo become suddenly enraged
Follow In Someone’s Footsteps (Tracks)Follow the example laid down by someone else; supplant
Follow Your HeartRely on one’s deeper feelings and instincts when making a decision
Food for ThoughtSomething that makes you think carefully
For a SongAt very low cost
For a SongAt very low cost
For Crying Out Loud (excl.)An expression of extreme annoyance
For Xyz ReasonsFor multiple reasons, not worth specifying individually
Foul PlayCrime, typically murder
Fourth EstateThe media and newspapers
Fox in the Henhouse (Chickenhouse)Someone who causes trouble
Freak OutA wildly irrational reaction or spell of behavior
French LeaveAbsence without permission
Freudian SlipAccidental use of an incorrect word; a revealing slip of the tongue
From Pillar to PostFrom one place to another, in a forced, random way
From ScratchFrom individual ingredients, not using a prepared mix
From Soup to NutsEverything; from beginning to end
From the Bottom of One’s HeartSincerely and with deep feeling
FUBARHopelessly ruined, not working, messed up.
Fu** (Or Screw) The Dog (Pooch)To make an embarrassing error
Full Fathom FiveLost deep in the sea
Full of the Joys of SpringVery happy, enthusiastic and full of energy
Game of ChickenA conflict situation in which neither side will back down for fear of seeming cowardly (chicken)
Get A Charley HorseTo develop a cramp in the arm or the leg
Get A Word In EdgewiseBe able to say something while someone else is talking a lot
Get Along (with Someone)To have a satisfactory relationship
Get Bent Out of ShapeBecome angry, upset
Get Carried AwayBecome overly enthusiastic
Get In on the Ground FloorInvest in or join something while it is still small
Get in ShapeUndertake a program of physical conditioning; exercise regularly
Get Off Scot FreeBe accused of wrongdoing but pay no penalty at all
Get Off Scot FreeBe accused of wrongdoing but pay no penalty at all
Get One’s Ducks in a RowHave everything organized; get oneself organized
Get One’s Hands DirtyTo do the unpleasant parts of a job
Get Someone’s GoatTo irritate someone deeply
Get To Grips WithTo begin to understand and deal with something
Get the Ball RollingDo something to begin a process
Get the PictureUnderstand what’s happening
Get the RunaroundBe given an unclear or evasive answer to a question
Get the Sack, Be SackedTo be fired
Get the Third DegreeTo be questioned in great detail about something
Get Wind ofHear about
Get With the ProgramFigure out what everyone else already knows. Often used sarcastically, as a command
Go Along (With)Agree to something, often provisionally
Go ApeExpress wild excitement or anger
Go BallisticFly into a rage
Go BananasTo become irrational or crazy
Go BananasTo become irrational or crazy
Go Belly UpTo go bankrupt
Go BerserkTo go crazy
Go BonkersTo be or become wild, restless, irrational, or crazy; to act in such a way
Go Cold TurkeyStop using an addictive substance suddenly, without tapering off
Go Down in FlamesFail in a spectacular way
Go MentalTo suddenly become extremely angry
Go NuclearUse an extreme measure; because extremely angry
Go NutsTo become crazy
Go Off Half-CockedTo say or something prematurely, with a negative effect
Go Off the Deep EndTo unexpectedly become very angry, especially without a good reason
Go Off The RailsTo go wrong, to begin acting strangely or badly
Go Out on a LimbAssert something that may not be true; put oneself in a vulnerable position
Go Pear-ShapedTo fail; to go wrong
Go See a Man About a DogGo to the bathroom (said as a euphemism)
Go to the DogsTo become disordered, to decay
Go to the MattressesTo go to into battle
Go the Extra MilePut forth greater-than-expected effort
Go Under the KnifeUndergo surgery
Go ViralBegin To spread rapidly on the Internet
Go with the FlowTo accept the way things naturally seem to be going
Grab (Take) the Bull by the HornsTo begin forthrightly to deal with a problem
Grasp (Grab) at StrawsTo take desperate actions with little hope of success
Grease MonkeyA mechanic, especially an auto mechanic
Grease the WheelsDo something to make an operation run smoothly
Greasy SpoonAn inexpensive restaurant that fries foods on a grill
Green Around the GillsTo look sick
Green as GrassLacking training, naive; often said of young people in new jobs
Grind One’s TeethBe very annoyed or angry about something without being able to say anything about it.
Guilty PleasureEnjoying something which is not generally held in high regard, while at the same time feeling a bit guilty about it, is called a guilty pleasure.
Guinea PigA test subject, a person who is used as a test to see if something will work
Give and TakeNegotiations, the process of compromise
Give ’em Hell (often excl.)Express something passionately to a group
Give Lip Service toTalk about supporting something without taking any concrete action
Give Lip Serviceto Talk about supporting something without taking any concrete action
Give One’s Two Cents (That’s My Two Cents)Offer an opinion, suggest something
Give Someone a HollerContact someone
Give Someone a Piece of Your MindAngrily tell someone what you think
Give Someone a Run for Their MoneyCompete effectively with the leader in a particular field
Give Someone an Earfulangrily express an opinion to someone
Give Someone the Cold Shoulderact hostile toward someone; to ignore, snub
Give Someone The Old Heave-HoFire someone, remove someone from a group or team
Give Something a WhirlAttempt something without being totally familiar with it
Give the Green LightApprove something; allow something to proceed
Hail Mary (n. or adj.)A desperate, last-ditch attempt
Hair of the Dog (That Bit You)A small amount of the alcoholic beverage that caused your hangover
Hands are TiedYou are prevented from doing something. It is not within your power
Hands DownUndoubtedly
Hang It UpTo retire, to end an activity one has pursued for a long time
Hang ToughMaintain one’s resolve
Hanging by a ThreadIn great danger of elimination or failure
Happy-Go-LuckyIf you are a happy-go-lucky person, you are cheerful and carefree all the time.
Hard Nut to CrackA difficult problem or a difficult person
Has the Cat Got Your Tongue?Why are you not saying anything?
Hat TrickScoring three goals in hockey or soccer (football), or accomplishing three of anything.
Hatchet JobA strong attack on someone’s reputation; intentionally destructive criticism; calumny
Haul Over the CoalsTo scold someone severely
Have (one’s) head in the cloudsNot know what is happening around you or out of touch with reality
Have A BallTo have a very enjoyable time
Have a Bone to Pick (with Someone)To want to discuss something someone has done that has angered or annoyed you.
Have a Bone to Pick (with Someone)To want to discuss something someone has done that has angered or annoyed you.
Have a Chip on One’s ShoulderTo harbor resentment; to have an angry attitude
Have a Dog in the Hunt (Fight, Race)To support a certain person in a competition
Have a Lead FootA tendency to drive very fast
Have a Lot on One’s PlateBe busy, be in the middle of many ongoing tasks
Have a Lot Riding On (Something)Be depending on the successful outcome or development of something
Have a Nose for (Something)To have natural ability at something, a talent for finding something
Have a Screw LooseBe slightly unbalanced or crazy
Have a Tough Row to HoeBe faced with a task that is difficult because of unfavorable conditions
Have A Whale of A TimeTo enjoy yourself very much
Have an Ace Up One’s SleeveTo have a hidden advantage
Have Bigger Fish to FryHave more important things to do
Have Egg on Your FaceThey are made to look foolish or embarrassed
Have Foot-in-Mouth DiseaseTo embarrass oneself through a silly mistake
Have Hand of Aces/Hold All the AcesTo be in a very strong position in a competition
Have It Out with SomeoneTo have an argument with someone in order to settle a dispute
Have One Foot in The GraveTo be near death (usually because of old age or illness)
Have One Over the EightA person is slightly drunk.
Have One Too ManyDrink too much alcohol
Have One’s Cake and Eat It, TooTo want two incompatible things (usually used in the negative)
Have Skin in the GameBe risking something in an undertaking
Have Something in the BagBe certain to win
Have the Hots for (Somebody)To be (sexually) attracted to somebody
Have the Hots for SomebodyFinding somebody extremely attractive
Have The Time of Your LifeIf you have the time of our life, you enjoy yourself very much.
Have the Time of Your LifeTo have a very fun, exciting, or enjoyable time
Have Your Nose in the AirHave a snobbish or disdainful attitude
Have Your SayExpress your opinion on something
Have Your Thumb Up Your AssHave nothing to do
He Who Laughs Last Laughs BestBeing victorious is often a matter of simply surviving a conflict
He Would Put Legs Under A ChickenHe will talk your head off; he is very talkative
Head (Go) SouthDecline, get worse
Head and Shoulders AboveFar superior to
Head and ShouldersAbove Far superior to
Head StartAn advantage over everyone else
Heads Up (excl.)Get ready! Be prepared
Heads Up!Be careful!
Heads Will Roll (Are Going to Roll)People will be fired
Heads Will Roll (Are Going to Roll)People will be fired
Hear (Something) Through the GrapevineTo learn something via gossip
Heart and SoulWith all one’s energy or affection
Heavens OpenStart to rain heavily
Heavy HitterA powerful, influential person
Helicopter ParentingOverattentive child-raising
Hell for LeatherVery fast, as fast as possible
High as a KiteStrongly under the influence of drugs or intoxcants
High as a KiteStrongly under the influence of drugs or intoxcants
High as a KiteStrongly under the influence of drugs or intoxcants
Hightail It (Out of There)Flee
Highways and BywaysYou take large and small roads to visit every part of the country.
Hit a Wallsuddenly stop making forward progress
Hit It Out of the ParkSucceed brilliantly
Hit the BooksTo study (generally said of students
Hit the Ground RunningTo begin a job or project with no learning or training period needed
Hit the HayTo go to bed
Hit the JackpotDo something that brings great success
Hit the Nail on the HeadTo be absolutely correct (said of an utterance)
Hit the RoadTo leave
Hit the RoofExplode in rage; become extremely angry
Hit the RoofTo become very angry
Hit the SackTo go to bed
Hit the SpotBe very satisfying (said of something eaten)
Hive MindThe knowledge of humans as a group
Hobson’s ChoiceA choice among bad options
Hold One’s LiquorBe able to drink a large amount without being affected
Hold One’s PeaceBe silent
Hold the PhoneWait a moment (whether you’re on the phone or not)
Hold the PhoneWait a moment (whether you’re on the phone or not)
Hold Your Horses (generally excl.)Stop; restrain yourself; don’t be so excited
Home Away from HomeA habitual hangout; a place one frequents often and where one feels welcome
Home TruthsHonest, often painful criticism
Honor SystemA system of payments that relies on the honesty of those paying
Hot MessSomething or someone in a state of extreme disorder
Hot on the Heels (of)In close pursuit
Hot on the Heels (of)In close pursuit
Hot PotatoA controversial subject or difficult project that is best avoided
I Wouldn’t Put It Past (Someone)I think it’s quite possible that [this person] would do this.
If It Had Been a Snake, It Would Have Bitten MeIt was very obvious, but I missed it.
If the Shoe Fits, Wear ItIf this description of you is accurate, accept it.
I’m All EarsYou have my attention, so you should talk
In a FogConfused, not mentally alert
In a HeartbeatImmediately. This is especially used in hypothetical situations
In a JamIn need of help, in a difficult spot
In a New York MinuteVery quickly
In a NutshellExpressed in a few words
In a PickleIn need of help, in a difficult spot
In a RutConfined by routine, bored and seeking new experiences
In Broad DaylightWhen something occurs in broad daylight, it means the event is clearly visible
In CloverBenefiting from a positive financial situation
In For a Penny, In for a PoundCommitted to something even though the risks are increasing
In Full SwingWhen something, such as an event, gets into full swing, it is at its busiest or liveliest time.
In His CupsDrunk
In Hot WaterIn need of help; in trouble
In One Fell SwoopAll at once, in a single action
In One’s ElementIn a situation which is entirely suitable, familiar, or enjoyable.
In Someone’s WheelhouseIn someone’s strongest area of competence or enthusiasm
In TouchIn contact
In the Blink of an EyeQuickly, seemingly instantaneously
In the CardsLikely; likely to occur
In the Crosshairs (Cross Hairs)Targeted for blame or criticism
In the DarkNot informed
In the DarkUnaware of something
In the Driver’s SeatIn a dominant position, in control
In the Hot SeatUndergoing criticism or scrutiny; under pressure publicly
In the InterimIt denotes a period of time between something that ended and something that happened afterwards
In the Limelight, In the SpotlightReceiving large amounts of publicity or attention
In the Long RunOver an extended period of time
In the Nick of TimeJust in time; with no time to spare
In the opinion of the speaker, a person has just spent money unnecessarily and is, therefore, a fool.
In the PipelineBeing prepared for the marketplace, being worked on
In the RedLosing money; (of a market index) below a specified starting point
In the Same BoatIn a similar situation; similarly vulnerable
In the ToiletIn disastrous condition
In the WorksUnder development; coming soon
Iron Out (Problems, Difficulties)To resolve
Is the Pope Catholic?Isn’t the answer obvious?
It Never Rains but It PoursBad luck and bad things tend to happen at the same time
It Takes Two to TangoWhen something goes wrong involving two people, it’s likely that they share the blame; cooperation is necessary
It Takes Two to TangoYou say this when you think that a difficult situation or argument cannot be the fault of one person alone.
It Won’t FlyIt won’t work; it won’t be approved.
Itchy FeetA person who has itchy feet is someone who finds it difficult to stay in one place and likes to travel and discover new places.
It’s a WashA positive and a negative development cancel each other out, so the situation has neither improved nor gotten worse
It’s All Greek to MeIt is unintelligible, impossible to understand
It’s No Skin off My (Your) Nose (Back)The outcome will not affect me personally
It’s Not Over Till the Fat Lady SingsDo not give up too soon; things may improve.
It’s Not Rocket ScienceIt’s not difficult to understand.
I’ve Had It Up to HereMy patience is almost exhausted.
Jack of All TradesA person with a wide variety of skills
Jam SessionPlaying improvised music in an informal setting
Jim CrowThe system of racial segregation in the American South prior to the American civil rights movement.
Join the Club (excl.)I feel sympathy for you because I have experienced something similar.
Jump in with Both FeetBegin a new experience wholeheartedly
Jump on the BandwagonTo follow a trend or craze
Jump on the BandwagonTo follow a trend; follow the crowd
Jump the GunStart doing something too soon
Jump the SharkTo pass peak quality and begin to decline. Often used to describe television programs or movie series.
Jump the TrackTo shift suddenly from one activity or line of thought to another
Jump Through HoopsComplete a series of tasks in order to satisfy someone
Just Around the CornerOccurring soon
Just for the RecordI would like to make it clear that …
Just What the Doctor OrderedExactly the thing that is or was needed to help improve something or make one feel better
Kangaroo CourtA court of law where proper procedures are not followed at all; a sham judicial proceeding
Keep (Something) at BayMaintain a distance from something or someone
Keep a Stiff Upper LipControl one’s emotions; not give in to fear or grief
Keep an Eye OnTo keep an eye on something or someone is to watch it periodically, to keep it under surveillance.
Keep an Eye PeeledBe observant; watch out for something
Keep It Under Your HatDon’t tell anyone; don’t reveal this secret
Keep Someone at Arm’s LengthAvoid close interaction or cooperation
Keep Your Nose CleanAvoid trouble or situations that compromise one’e honesty
Keep Your Powder DryDo not attack until you are ready.
Keeping One’s Nose to the GrindstoneWorking hard on something repetitive or tedious
Kick Ass, Kick Butt1) Defeat badly; 2) be excellent or highly effective (only kick ass would be used for 2)
Kick the BucketTo die
Kick the Can Down the RoadPostpone an important decision
Kill a Fly With an Elephant GunApproach a problem with excessive measures
Kill Two Birds with One StoneAct in such a way as to produce two desirable effects
Kill Two Birds with One StoneSolve two problems with one move
Kill the Goose That Laid the Golden EggTo destroy a source of ongoing profits or benefits
Kink in One’s NeckA cramp in one’s neck that causes pain
King of the HillAt the top of one’s field; the most influential person in a given field or area
Kiss and Make UpMake peace after an argument
Kith and KinFamily (collectively)
Knock on Wood; Touch WoodLet’s hope I have good luck or continue to have good luck.
Knock Some Sense IntoTo beat someone in order to teach him/her a lesson. May be used figuratively.
Knock Someone’s Socks OffAmaze someone
Knock UpTo impregnate a woman. Often used in the form knocked up.
KnockoutAn extremely beautiful woman
Know (Something) Like the Back of One’s HandTo be very familiar with something, especially an area
Larger Than LifeConveying a sense of greatness, imposing
Last But Not LeastWhat I have just said does not reflect a ranking in importance.
Laughter is the Best MedicineLaughing a lot is a very effective means of recovering from physical or mental injury
Learn the RopesBecome more familiar with a job or field of endeavor; be trained
Leave Someone in the LurchAbandon someone in a difficult situation
Lend an EarListen
Let Bygones Be BygonesAgree to forget about a past conflict
Let Bygones Be BygonesAgree to forget about a past conflict
Let Off SteamTo express anger and frustration in a way that does no damage
Let One’s Hair DownTo relax and enjoy themselves.
Let Sleeping Dogs LieTo avoid stirring up a problem; to leave things alone
Let the Cat Out of the BagReveal a secret, usually a secret you or others are trying to keep
Let the Genie Out of the BottleReveal something hitherto suppressed
Letter of the LawThe explicit meaning of a law, as opposed to the spirit of the law, the law’s general intention
Lick One’s WoundsRest after a bad defeat
Life is A Bowl of CherriesLife is wonderful or very pleasant
Light a Fire Under SomeoneInspire someone to work very hard
Light at the End of the TunnelA sign of hope after a long period of difficulties
Like a Kid in a Candy StoreTo be so excited about one’s surroundings that one acts in a childlike or silly way
Like a Moth to a FlameDrawn to something or someone despite the dangers
Like Father, Like SonSons inherit their fathers’ traits and preferences, often even without realizing it.
Like ShootingFish in a Barrel Very easy
Like Taking Candy from a BabyVery easy
Like Two Peas in a PodBearing a strong resemblance
Like The Cat That Got The CreamLooking particularly self-satisfied, often to the annoyance of others
Lion’s DenAny dangerous or frightening place.
Lion’s ShareThe largest part of something
Live LargeHave a luxurious lifestyle
Living in Cloud CuckoolandHaving unrealistic or foolish beliefs or plans.
Living on Borrowed TimeFollowing an illness or near-death experience, may people believe they have cheated death
Living Under a RockIgnorant of important events. Usually used as a question
Loaded for BearPrepared for problems, well prepared for a challenge
Loan SharkA predatory lender; one who makes high-interest loans to desperate people
Lock HornsTo lock horns is to argue, to come into conflict.
Long ShotSomething with little chance of success
Look the Other WayTake no notice of violations of laws or rules, unofficially condone something
Look What the Cat Dragged InSomeone unwelcome has arrived.
Loose CannonSomeone out of control; someone who speaks or acts recklessly
Lose ItTo suddenly become unable to behave or think in a sensible way
Lose One’s TouchSuffer a decline in one’s skill at doing something
Lose TouchTo fall out of contact
Lose the ThreadBe unable to follow someone’s reasoning
Love at First SightFalling in love with somebody the first time you see them
Love RatSomebody who cheats on his/her partner
Love Someone With All of One’s Heart And SoulTo love someone completely
Lower the BoomImplement a punishment; reprimand severely
Low-Hanging FruitEasy parts of a task; solutions easy to obtain
Mad As A Box Of (Soapy) Frogsextremely mentally unstable; psychotic; detached from reality.
Mad as A HatterMentally ill, psychotic
Main SqueezeCommitted romantic partner
Make a Break for ItTry to escape, run off
Make a Mountain out of a MolehillTo take something too seriously; to make too much of something
Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s EarTurn something ordinary or inferior into something refined and beautiful
Make Ends MeetHave enough money to cover basic expenses
Make Hay (While the Sun Shines)To take advantage of an opportunity at the right time.
Make LoveTo have sexual intercourse
Make NiceAct cordial despite conflict
Make One’s MarkAttain influence or recognition
Make Someone’s DayDo something pleasing that puts someone in a good mood
Make WavesCause controversy, disturb a calm group dynamic
Man CaveA part of the house, often the basement, that is left to the man of the household, perhaps with a workshop, a television for watching sports, etc.
March to the Beat of Your Own DrumWhen someone does things the way they want to, without taking anybody else or anything else into consideration.
Match Made in HeavenA relationship in which the two people are great together, because they complement each other so well
May-December (adj.)Significantly different in age. Said of couples where one member is much older. The most common usage is May-December romance.
May-December MarriageA marriage between a younger and an older partner, typically a young woman and an old man.
Me TimeActivities undertaken for one’s own enjoyment, free from responsibilities to others.
Meeting of the MindsStrong instinctive agreement on something
Mend FencesImprove relations after a dispute
Mind One’s P’s and Q’sBe attentive to details; be on one’s best behavior
Miss the BoatBe too late for something; miss an opportunity
Monday Morning QuarterbackSomeone who offers criticisms or comments after already knowing the outcome of something
Month of SundaysA long time, many months
More Fun Than A Barrel of MonkeysA very good time; a pleasant occasion
Mother NatureThe natural world
Move Heaven and EarthTake all possible steps in trying to accomplish something
Move the NeedleHave a measurable effect on something
Move Up in the WorldBecome more successful
Movers and ShakersInfluential people, especially in a particular field
Much Of A MuchnessEssentially equal, not significantly different (said of a choice)
Mum’s the WordThis is secret; don’t talk about this. Often used as an answer to a request not to talk about something.
Music to My EarsGood to hear; welcome news
Mutton Dressed Up as LambA woman who dresses in a style appropriate to someone of a younger age
My Dogs Are BarkingMy feet hurt.
My Old Man, My Old LadyMy spouse
My Way or the HighwayIf you do not do things the way I want or require, then you can just leave or not participate.
Nail-BiterA suspenseful event
Nailing Jelly/Jello/Pudding To A Wall/TreeAn impossible task
Neck and NeckVery close in a competition, with neither of two entities clearly in the lead
Neck of the WoodsA region, especially one’s home region
Nest EggRetirement savings; wealth saved for a future purpose
Never in A Million YearsAbsolutely never
Never Look a Gift Horse in the MouthIt’s rude to examine a gift closely; accept gifts politely.
New WrinkleA novel aspect to a situation, a new development
Nice Chunk of ChangeA large amount of money
Nickel and DimeTo negotiate over very small sums; to try to get a better financial deal, in a negative way
Nine Times Out of TenAlmost always
Nine-to-Five JobA routine job in an office that involves standard office hours
Nip (Something) In The BudDeal with a problem before it becomes large
No Holds Barred (usually adj., often hyphenated)Unrestricted, without rules
No Love Lost BetweenThere is a mutual animosity between two people
No Names, No Pack DrillBy not accusing anyone specifically, I may avoid trouble.
No Names, No Pack DrillIf no one can be identified, no one will be punished.
No Rhyme or Reason (to)Without logic or pattern
No Room to Swing A CatVery small, not big enough
No Shit, SherlockThat’s very obvious!
No Tree Grows to the SkyGrowth cannot continue indefinitely.
Not Cut Out for (Something)Not naturally skillful enough to do something well
Not Enough Room to Swing a CatA very small space
Not Give A FigTo not care at all about something
Not Have A Cat In Hell’s ChanceHave no possibility of succeeding, coming to pass, or achieving something
Not Have a PrayerHave no chance of success
Not Know JackNot know anything
Not Lift a FingerDo nothing to help
Not Mince WordsModerate or weaken a statement
Not One’s Cup of TeaNot something one is interested in
Not Playing with A Full DeckStupid, mentally deficient or impaired
Not Ready for Prime TimeNot yet perfected; inexperienced
Not Sit Well with (Someone)Be difficult to accept; make someone uncomfortable
Nothing to Write Home AboutUnspectacular, ordinary
Nuts and BoltsEveryday details of something
Nutty as a FruitcakeCrazy; idiotic; wacky.
Pack HeatCarry a gun
Paddle One’s Own CanoeTo be able to act independently.
Page-TurnerA page-turner is an exciting book that’s easy to read, a book that’s difficult to put down.
Pain in the Ass; Pain in the Butt;
Pain in the NeckSomeone or something making your life difficult
Paint the Town RedGo out drinking and partying
Par for the CourseWhat would normally be expected. This has a negative connotation.
Pass the BuckTransfer a problem to someone else
Pass With Flying ColorsTo succeed brilliantly, as on an exam or other test
Passing FancyA temporary interest or attraction
Pay Through the Nose (For Something)Pay a large amount of money
Peaches and CreamA situation, process, etc., that has no trouble or problems
Pecking OrderHierarchy, rank of importance
Pencil Something InMake tentative arrangements
Penny-PinchingFrugal, avoiding expenses whenever possible
Pep TalkAn encouraging speech given to a person or group
Perfect StormA rare combination of disastrous occurrences
Pet PeeveA small thing that you find particularly annoying
Pick a FightIntentionally provoke a conflict or fight with someone
Pick Up the SlackDo something that someone else is not doing; assume someone else’s responsibilities
Pick Up the TabTo pay a bill presented to a group, especially in a restaurant or bar
Pie in the SkySomething that is unrealistic or that cannot be achieved
Piece of CakeVery easily done
Pin Someone DownDemand a decision or clear answer
Pinch PenniesTo be careful with money, to be thrify
Pink SlipA layoff notice; loss of a job, typically because of layoffs
Pipe DreamAn unrealistic hope, a fantasy
Piping HotVery hot (generally said of food)
Pipped to the PostDefeated by a narrow margin
Pissing ContestA meaningless argument or competition, typically between males
Play BallCooperate, agree to participate
Play Cat And MouseTrying to trick someone into making a mistake so you can defeat them.
Play HardballAdopt a tough negotiating position; act aggressively
Play it by EarTo play a piece of music without referencing sheet music or a recording
Play It by EarTo respond to circumstances instead of having a fixed plan
Play the PercentagesBet on or rely on what is most likely to happen
Play the PoniesBet on horse racing.
Play With FireDo something very risky
Play Your Cards RightExploit a situation to your best advantage
Point of No ReturnA place from which it is impossible to go back to the starting point
Point the Finger AtBlame (someone)
Point the FingerAt Blame (someone)
Poison Pill (n)A provision or feature added to a measure or an entity to make it less attractive, an undesirable add-on
Poison PillA provision or feature added to a measure or an entity to make it less attractive, an undesirable add-on
Pop One’s ClogsTo die
Pop One’s CorkTo release one’s anger; to blow one’s top
Pop the QuestionPropose marriage
Pot Calling the Kettle BlackAccusing someone of something of which you are also guilty; being hypocritical
Pour (Rub) Salt into (on) the Wound (an open wound)Worsen an insult or injury; make a bad situation worse for someone
Powder KegAn explosive situation, a situation in which people are angry and ready to be violent
Powder KegAn explosive situation, a situation in which people are angry and ready to be violent
Powder One’s NoseTo use the restroom (lavatory). This is used by women
Preach to the Choir, Preach to the ConvertedTo make an argument with which your listeners already agree
Preaching to the ChoirMaking arguments to those who already agree with you
Pretty PennyA lot of money; too much money (when referring to the cost of something)
Price Yourself Out of the MarketTry to sell goods or services at such a high price that nobody buys them.
Puddle JumperA small airplane, used on short trips
Pull Out All the StopsDo everything possible to accomplish something
Pull StringsUse influence that’s based on personal connections
Pull the Plug OnTerminate (something)
Pull Yourself TogetherControl your emotions; recover from a strong emptional upset
Puppies And RainbowsPerfect, ideal (usually used slightly sarcastically, in contrast with a less ideal situation)
Puppy Dog EyesA begging look
Puppy LoveAdolescent love or infatuation, especially one that is not expected to last
Pure as the Driven SnowTo be innocent and chaste (frequently used ironically)
Push the EnvelopeGo beyond common ways of doing something, be innovative
Pushing Up DaisiesDead
Pushing Up DaisiesDead and buried
Put a Thumb on the ScaleTry to influence a discussion in an unfair way, cheat
Put Down RootsEstablish oneself in a place; settle
Put in One’s Two CentsSay your opinion
Put Lipstick on a PigMake cosmetic changes to something bad
Put one’s Face OnApply cosmetics
Put Out FeelersMake discreet, informal suggestions, ask around
Put Someone on the SpotForce someone to answer a question or make a decision immediately
Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke ItAccept and consider what I’m saying, even if you don’t like it!
Put the Best Face On (Something)Emphasize the positive aspects of a bad situation
Put the Brakes OnSlow something down
Put the Cart Before The HorseTo do things in the wrong order
Put the Cart Before the HorseTo do things out of the proper order.
Put the Cat Among The PigeonsSay or do something that causes trouble or controversy
Put the Genie Back in the BottleTry to suppress something that has already been revealed or done
Put the Pedal to the MetalDrive as fast as possible
Put Up with (Something)Tolerate, accept
Put Words Into Someone’s MouthAttributing an opinion to someone who has never stated that opinion
Put Your Foot DownUse your authority to stop negative behavior
Put Your Foot In Your MouthSay something that you immediately regret
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth IsBack up your opinions with a financial commitment
Quake In One’s BootsTo be very frightened
Quarter PastFifteen minutes after the hour
Quarter To/OfFifteen minutes before the hour
Queer the PitchInterfere with someone’s plans; make something more difficult
Quick as a FlashVery fast
Quick-and-DirtyApproximate, hastily done
Quote UnquoteIronically speaking; suggesting that if a phrase were written out, it would be in quotation marks to convey sarcasm
Race Against TimeTo rush to meet a deadline, to be forced to do something very quickly
Rain Cats And DogsRain heavily
Rain Cats and DogsRain very heavily
Rain on Someone’s ParadeSpoil someone’s plans
Raise (Someone’s) HacklesMake someone angry and defensive
Raise One’s VoiceTalk loudly
Raise Red FlagsWarn of trouble ahead
Raise the BarIncrease standards in a certain competition or area of endeavor
Raise the RoofMake a great deal of noise (said of a crowd)
Rake (Someone) Over the CoalsTo scold someone severely
Rake Over the AshesRestart a settled argument; examine a failure
Rake Someone Over the CoalsScold severely
Rank and FileThe ordinary members of an organization
Read Between the LinesPerceive what is not explicitly stated
Read the Tea LeavesPredict the future from small signs
Rear Its Ugly Head (said of a problem or something unpleasant)Appear, be revealed
Rearrange the Deck Chairs on the TitanicTaking superficial actions while ignoring a much larger and perhaps fatal problem
Red FlagA warning; a sign of trouble ahead
Red HerringA misleading clue; something intended to mislead
Red MeatPolitical appeals designed to excite one’s core supporters; demagoguery
Red TapeBureaucracy; difficult bureaucratic or governmental requirements
Red-Light DistrictA neighborhood with many houses of prostitution
Reinvent the WheelDevise a solution to a problem for which a solution already exists
Riding HighEnjoying success
Right as RainAbsolutely correct
Right Under (One’s) NoseIn an obvious location, yet overlooked
Right-Hand ManChief assistant
Right-Hand ManChief assistant
Ring a BellSound familiar
Ring a BellWhen something seems familiar
Rob Peter to Pay PaulPay off a debt with another loan; solve a problem in such a way that it leads to a new problem
Rob the CradleTo be sexually or romantically involved with someone who is very young
Rob the CradleTo be sexually or romantically involved with someone who is very young
Rock BottomAn absolute low point
Rock the BoatCause a disruption in a group. Often used in the negative
Roll the Dice OnTake a risk
Roll With the PunchesDeal with problems by being flexible
Rome Wasn’t Built in a DayComplex projects take time
Rookie MistakeAn error made by an inexperienced person
Rotten to the CoreEntirely evil
Rub (Something) in Someone’s FaceHumiliate someone by repeating and criticizing his or her mistake
Rub It InSay something that makes someone feel even worse about a mistake
Rub Someone’s Nose in (Something)Humiliate someone by repeating and criticizing his or her mistake
Rubber-Stamp (v.)Approve something without consideration, as a formality
Rule of ThumbA general principle or guideline, not a specific formula
Run a Tight ShipManage an organization in a strict, well-regulated way
Run in the FamilyBe inherited (as a trait) by multiple members of a family
Run in the FamilyTo be a common family characteristic
Run into a BuzzSaw Encounter severe and unexpected problems
Run into a BuzzSaw Encounter severe and unexpected problems
Run off at the MouthTalk a lot about unimportant things, talk incoherently
Run on FumesTo be in a situation where one’s energy or resources is almost exhausted
Run Out of SteamLose momentum, become tired
Run the TableWin every game or contest
Sacred CowAn indvidual or organization that one cannot criticize
Saving GraceSomething that redeems a bad situation
Scare the Living Daylights Out of SomeoneFrighten someone severely
Scorched Earth (Tactics, Policy, etc.)Ruthless, extremely destructive
Screw The PoochTo make a serious error
School Of Hard KnocksDifficult real-life experiences from which one has learned
Second BananaA person in a subservient position
Second StringerA substitute player in a sport; a substitute for a job who is not the most talented person
Second WindRenewed energy
See Eye to EyeTo concur, agree
See Something Out of the Corner of Your EyeUse peripheral vision
Seize (Take) the Bull By the HornsAttack a problem directly
Seize the DayTake an opportunity
Sell (Someone) a Bill of GoodsTrick someone; be deceptive
Sell Like HotcakesBe sold very quickly
Selling PointAn attractive feature of something for sale
Set in StoneFixed; unchangeable
Set something to MusicTo write a piece of music to accompany a set of words
Set the Bar (Too) HighTo set a high standard for something
Set the Thames on FireDo something amazing. Usually used in the negative.
Set the World on FireDo something amazing; have a brilliant stretch in one’s career
Shake the Dust off Your Shoes (Feet)Make a clean break with a relationship or situation
Shape Up or Ship OutBehave properly or leave the organization
Sharp as A TackMentally agile
Shell GameA method of deception in which you conceal your actions by moving something frequently
Shift GearsChange the subject, or change what one is doing
Shipshape And Bristol FashionTidy, clean
Shit a BrickBe extremely fearful.
Shoot from the HipTalk or act without consideration
Shoot Off One’s MouthTalk without considering one’s words
Shoot Oneself In The FootDo something that damages oneself or one’s own cause
Short FuseA quick temper; a tendency to anger quickly
Shot Across the BowA warning of more serious actions to come
Shoulder A Weight Off Your ShouldersYou no longer worry about something or deal with something difficult
Show Me an X And I’ll Show You a YThere is a consequence to X that you may not have thought of.
Show One’s True ColorsReveal one’s true nature
Show Your CardsReveal your resources or plans
Sick and Tired ofExtremely annoyed by something that occurs repeatedly
Sick as a DogExtremely ill.
Sick as a ParrotVery disappointed
Sight for Sore EyesA sight that makes you happy
Silver BulletSomething simple that resolves a difficult problem
Simmer DownBecome less angry; regain one’s composure
Sink or SwimFail or succeed
Sing a Different TuneChange your opinion
Sit On (Something)Delay revealing or acting on something
Sit TightWait and do not go anywhere
Sitting DuckSomething or someone easily attacked or criticized
Sitting PrettyIn a favorable situation
Six Feet UnderDead and buried
Six Feet UnderDead and buried
Six of One, a Half Dozen of the OtherThe two choices have no significant differences.
Six Ways to (from) SundayIn every possible way
Slam DunkAn effort that is certain to succeed
Sleep Like a BabyTo experience a very deep and restful sleep; to sleep soundly
Sleep with the FishesDead, often by murder
Slip Someone a MickeyAdd a drug to an alcoholic drink in order to knock someone out
Slippery SlopeA series of undesirable effects that, one warns, could result from a certain action
Slower than MolassesExceptionally slow or sluggish; not fast at all.
Small BeerUnimportant, insignificant
Small FryPeople or organizations with little influence; children
Small PotatoesUnimportant, insignificant
Smell a RatSuspect deception
Smoking Gunindisputable evidence of a crime
SnafuA malfunction; a chaotic situation
Snake OilA useless medicine; a quack remedy; a product or measure promoted as a solution that really does nothing to help
Snake OilMedicine of unproven value; fraudulent medicine
Sneak PeekA sneak peek is an opportunity to view something in advance of its official opening or debut
Soak Up the SunTo enjoy the sun
Sold On (Something)Convinced of something
Some EggsAchieving a major goal requires the ability to tolerate some problems
Someone’s Fingerprints Are All Over (Something)Someone’s influence is evident
Something to CrowAbout Something to be proud of, an accomplishment about which one is justified in bragging
Son of a Gun1) A rogue. 2) An exclamation of surprise.
Sore PointA sensitive topic for a particular person
Sour GrapesDisparagement of something that has proven unattainable
Sour GrapesSpiteful disparagment of a goal one has failed to achieve
Spare The Rod And Spoil The ChildIt is necessary to physically punish children in order to raise them right.
Speak of the Devil (and He Shall Appear)The person we have just been talking about has entered.
Speak with A Plum in (one’s) MouthTo speak in a manner that is indicative of a high social class.
Spick and SpanClean and neat
Spill the BeansReveal a secret
Spin A YarnTell a story
Spin One’s WheelsEngaging in activity that yields no progress; getting nowhere
Spit into The WindWasting time on something futile
Spoiling for a FightCombative, wanting conflict, eager to argue or fight
Spoiling for a FightCombative, wanting conflict, eager to argue or fight
Square the CircleAttempt an impossible task
Stab Someone in the BackTo betray (somebody)
Stalking HorseSomeone who tests a concept in advance of its application; a candidate who enters a political race in order to test the strength of the incumbent
Stand (Someone) In Good SteadBe useful in the future
Stand On One’s Own Two FeetTo be independent and self-sufficient
Stand One’s GroundRefuse to back down; insist on one’s position
Start with a Clean SlateTo start (something) again with a fresh beginning; to work on a problem without thinking about what has been done before
Steal Someone’s ThunderUpstage someone
Stem the TideTo stop or control the growth of something, usually something unpleasant.
Step Up One’s GameWork to advance to a higher level of a competition
Step Up to the PlatePrepare to take action, be the person in a group who takes action
Stick It to the ManDo something that frustrates those in authority
Stick Your Nose into SomethingIntrude into something that is not your affair
Sticker ShockSurprise at the high price of something
Stick-in-the-MudA person who dislikes or adapts slowly to new ideas
Sticky WicketA difficult, tricky situation
Stiff-NeckedStubborn; excessively formal
Storm in a TeacupA commotion that dies down quickly, about something unimportant
Stormy RelationshipRelationship that has a lot arguments and disagreement
Stumbling BlockAn obstacle, physical or abstract
Straight ArrowAn honest, trustworthy person
Strain at a Gnat and Swallow a CamelTo make a fuss over something unimportant while ignoring larger issues
Strike A ChordUsed to describe something that is familiar to you, reminds you of something or is connected to you somehow.
Sugar DaddyA rich man who is generous with younger women in return for sexual favors
Sure-FireCertain to occur
Swan SongA final appearance
Swan SongThis expression is used to describe a final act before dying or ending something.
Sweep Under the CarpetAttempt to temporarily conceal a problem or error
Sweep Under the RugAttempt to temporarily conceal a problem or error
Sweet Dreams!Sleep well!
Sweeten the DealAdd something to an offer during a negotiation
Sweeten the PotIncrease the amount of winnings potentially available in a game of chance, especially poker
Swim Against the TideDo something contrary to a trend or usual opinion
Swim with SharksTo take a major risk
Swim with the FishesHave been killed, especially with involvement of organized crime
Swing for the FencesAttempt to achieve the largest accomplishment possible
Swing for the FencesAttempt to achieve the largest accomplishment possible
Sword of DamoclesSomething that causes a feeling of constant threat.
Take (Someone) to the Cleaners1) Swindle; 2) defeat badly
Take a Deep Dive (Into)Explore something extensively
Take a FlyerTo take a rise; especially to make a speculative investment
Take a GanderGo to take a look at something
Take a HikeGo away
Take A PowderTo leave, especially in order to avoid a difficult situation
Take a Rain CheckDecline an invitation but suggest that you’ll accept it at a later time.
Take Five (Ten)Take a short break of five (ten) minutes
Take FiveTo take one brief (about five minutes) rest period
Take It Easy1) Relax, rest; 2) (as a command) Calm down!
Take It EasyDon’t hurry; relax; don’t get angry
Take It EasyWhen you relax, or do things at a comfortable pace, you take it easy.
Take It on The ChinBe attacked; suffer an attack
Take It or Leave It (command)You must decide now whether you will accept this proposal
Take Someone to TaskReprimand someone strongly
Take Something with a Pinch (grain) of SaltIf you take what someone says with a pinch of salt, you do not completely believe it.
Take the CakeBe the most extreme instance
Take the Edge Off (of Something)To slightly improve something negative
Take the FifthRefuse to answer because answering might incriminate or cause problems for you
Take the Gloves OffNegotiate in a more aggressive way
Take the High RoadRefuse to descend to immoral activities or personal attacks
Take The Mickey (Piss) (Out Of Someone)Make fun of or ridicule someone
Take the Shine Off (Something)To do something that diminishes a positive event
Take the Starch out of (Someone)Make someone less confident or less arrogant
Take The Wind Out of Someone’s SailsTo reduce someone’s confidence, ofte by doing something unexpected
Take Your Life in Your HandsUndergo extreme risk
Take Your MedicineAccept something unpleasant, for example, punishment, without protesting or complaining
Take Your TimeDon’t hurry, work at a relaxed pace
Taste of Your Own MedicineThe same unpleasant experience or treatment that one has given to others
Teach an Old Dog New TricksTo change someone’s long-established habits. Usually used in the negative
Tear One’s Hair outBe extremely worried or frustrated
Tear-JerkerA film or book that makes you cry
Tee Many MartooniesToo many martinis, scrambled to suggest drunkenness
Tell It to the MarinesI don’t believe you; you must think I’m gullible.
Tempest in a TeapotA commotion about something unimportant
Ten a PennyOrdinary, inexpensive
Ten to OneSomething very likely
Test the WatersExperiment with something cautiously
Test the WatersTry something out in a preliminary way
Tie the KnotGet married
Tighten the ScrewsIncrease pressure on someone
Tight-Lippedsecretive, unwilling to explain something
Til the Cows Come HomeFor a very long time
Time is Moneytime is valuable, so don’t waste it.
Tip of the IcebergA small, visible part of a much larger problem
Tip One’s HandReveal one’s advantages; reveal useful information that one possesses
TLCTender Loving Care
To be A PeachSomeone or something that is extremely good, impressive, or attractive
To be Smitten With SomeoneTo be completely captivated by someone and feel immense joy
To be someone’s One and OnlyTo be unique to the other person
To be the Apple of Someone’s EyeTo be loved and treasured by someone
To Bear FruitTo develop in a profitable or positive way
To Bear FruitTo develop in a profitable or positive way
To CarpoolTo travel to the same place with a group of people in one car. e.g. work/school
To Each His OwnPeople have different tastes.
To Get Cold FeetTo experience reluctance or fear
To Have a Chip on One’s ShoulderTo be combative, to be consistently argumentative
To Have Butterflies In Your StomachTo be nervous
To Have One For the RoadTo have one last (alcoholic) drink before you go home
To Pay an Arm and a LegA very high cost
To Pop (one’s) CherryTo do something for the first time
To Pull Someone’s LegLie playfully
To Run Hot and ColdTo be unable to make up one’s mind
To the LetterExactly (said of instructions or procedures)
Toe the LineAccept authority, follow the rules
Tone-DeafNot good at perceiving the impact of one’s words, insensitive
Tongue-in-CheekSaid ironically; not meant to be taken seriously
Too Busy Fighting Alligators to Drain the SwampSo occupied with multiple challenges that one can’t keep the big picture in mind
Too Many Cooks Spoil the BrothA project works best if there is input from a limited number of people
Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough IndiansEveryone wants to be a leader, and no one wants to do the actual work
Too Many To Shake A Stick AtA large number
Toot Your Own HornBrag; emphasize one’s own contributions
Top BananaThe boss, the leader
Toss a Wrench (Spanner) IntoSabotage; cause a process to stop
Touch BaseMeet briefly with someone
Touch One’s HeartAffect someone emotionally, be touching
Touch WaterBe launched. Said of a boat.
Tough CookieA very determined person
Tough CookieSomeone who can endure hardship; especially
Tough SleddingDifficult progress
Turn a Blind Eye(to) Choose not to notice something
Turn on a DimeQuickly reverse direction or position
Turn Someone Inside OutTo cause strong emotional turmoil; to completely change someone
Turn Something on Its HeadReverse something, cause something to be done in a new way
Turn TurtleCapsize, turn over
Turn the CornerTo begin to improve after a problem
Turn the TablesReverse a situation
Turnabout Is Fair PlayIf you suffer from the same suffering you have inflicted on others, that’s only fair
Twenty-Four SevenAt any time
Twist the Knife (in Deeper)Make someone’s suffering worse
Twist the Knife (in Deeper)Make someone’s suffering worse
Two a PennyOrdinary, inexpensive
Two Peas in A PodTwo people who are very similar in appearance
Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF)Let’s be happy that the workweek is over!
That Ship Has SailedThat opportunity has passed.
That’s Music to My EarsI am very happy to hear this.
That’s a StretchWhat you are suggesting is very difficult to believe; I am very skeptical
That’s All She WroteThat was the end of the story.
The Apple Never Falls Far From the TreeFamily characteristics are usually inherited
The Birds and the BeesHuman sexuality and reproduction
The Cat Is Out of the BagThe secret has been revealed.
The Coast Is ClearWe are unobserved; it is safe to proceed.
The Cherry On the CakeThe final thing that makes something perfect
The Deck Is (The Cards Are)Stacked Against You Unfavorable conditions exist.
The Jig Is UpA secret illicit activity has been exposed; your trickery is finished
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The SameAlthough something may seem superficially new, it has not altered the basic situation.
The Only Game in TownThe sole option for a particular service.
The Powers That BePeople in charge, often used when the speaker does not want to identify them.
The Real McCoyA genuine item
The Story Has LegsPeople are continuing to pay attention to the story.
The Time is RipeIf you say that the time is ripe, you mean that it is a suitable point for a particular activity
The Walls Have Ears Wemay be overheard; be careful what you say
The Walls Have EarsWe may be overheard; be careful what you say
The Whole EnchiladaAll of something.
The Whole ShebangEverything, all the parts of something
The World Is Your OysterYou have many opportunities and choices.
There But For The Grace Of God Go II could easily have done what that person did.
There’s More Than One Way to Skin a CatThere’s more than one way of achieving a certain goal.
There’s No Such Thing as a Free LunchNothing is given to you without some expectation of something in return.
Thin On The GroundRare, seldom encountered
Think BigConsider ambitious plans; avoid becoming overly concerned with details
Think Outside the BoxTry to solve a problem in an original way; think creatively
Think TankA group of experts engaged in ongoing studies of a particular subject; a policy study group
Think TankA group of experts engaged in ongoing studies of a particular subject; a policy study group
Third RailA topic so sensitive that it is dangerous to raise. This is especially used in political contexts
Third Time’s a CharmEven if you fail at something twice, you may well succeed the third time.
Thirty-Thousand-Foot ViewA very broad or general perspective
This Has (Person X) Written All Over It[Person X] would really like or be well suited to this.
This Is Not Your Father’s ____This item has been much updated from its earlier versions.
Three Sheets to the WindVery drunk
Through the GrapevineVia gossip
Through Thick and ThinIn good times and bad
Throw a Wet Blanket on (Something)Discourage plans for something
Throw a Wrench IntoTo sabotage; to cause to fail
Throw Caution to the WindTo act in a daring way, without forethough
Throw Down the GauntletTo issue a challenge
Throw ElbowsBe combative; be aggressive (physically or figuratively)
Throw in the TowelTo give up, admit defeat
Throw Someone for a LoopDeeply surprise someone; catch someone off guard
Throw Someone Under the BusSacrifice someone else’s interests for your own personal gain
Throw the Baby Out with the Bath WaterEliminate something good while discarding the bad parts of something
Throw the Baby Out with the Bath WaterTo discard something valuable or important while disposing of something worthless
Throw The Book AtProsecute legally as strongly as possible
Throw the FightIntentionally lose a contest, usually in collusion with gamblers
Throw the GameIntentionally lose a contest, usually in collusion with gamblers
Throw the MatchIntentionally lose a contest, usually in collusion with gamblers
Thumbs-UpApproval
Train WreckAnything that develops in a disastrous way
Trash TalkInsults directed at one’s opponent in a sporting event or contest
Tread WaterMaintain a current situation without improvement or decline
Trial BalloonA test of someone’s or the public’s reaction
Trip the Light FantasticDance well; do ballroom dancing
U TurnA complete change of opinion, direction, etc.
Ugly DucklingAn awkward child or young person who grows into a beautiful person
Under (Below) the RadarNot generally perceived, below popular consciousness
Under Someone’s SpellFascinated, entranced by someone
Under the ImpressionBelieving something, perhaps mistakenly
Under the TableWithout being officially recorded
Under the WeatherFeeling ill
Under the WeatherNot feeling well
Under WrapsTemporarily hidden, secret
University of LifeDifficult real-life experience, as opposed to formal education
Until the Cows Come HomeFor a long time
Until You’re Blue in the FaceFor a long time with no results
Up a CreekIn a very bad situation
Up for GrabsAvailable
Up for GrabsAvailable for anyone
Up in ArmsAngry, protesting (usually said of a group)
Up in the AirNot yet decided
Up to One’s NeckNearly overwhelmed
Up to ScratchMeeting a basic standard of competence or quality
Up to SnuffMeeting a basic standard
Up the AnteRaise the stakes; increase the importance of something under discussion
Up the DuffPregnant
Upset the Apple CartTo disorganize or spoil something, especially an established arrangement or plan
Use One’s HeadTo think, to have common sense
Vale of TearsThe world in general, envisioned as a sad place; the tribulations of life
Vicious CircleA situation in which an attempt to solve a problem makes the original problem worse.
Victory LapVisible public appearances after a victory or accomplishment
Virgin TerritorySomething that has never been explored, physically or intellectually
Vote with One’s FeetTo physically depart from something as a way of showing disapproval
Waiting in the WingsReady to assume responsibilities but not yet active, ready to become a successor
Waka-JumpingChange political parties (said of politicians themselves)
Wake Up and Smell the CoffeeStop deluding yourself
Wake Up on the Wrong Side of the BedBe grumpy or ill-humored. Generally used in past tense
Walk on EggshellsTo have to act very sensitively in order to avoid offending someone
Walk the PlankBe forced to resign a position
Wandering EyeA tendency to look at and desire women or men other than one’s committed romantic partner
Wandering EyeA tendency to look at and desire women or men other than one’s committed romantic partner
Wash Your Hands of (Something)Decline to take further responsibility; refuse to be involved with something anymore
Water Under the BridgeSomething in the past that’s no longer worth worrying about
Watering HoleA place where alcoholic beverages are served, a bar
Weekend WarriorSomeone who has an office job but enjoys contact sports on weekends; a member of a military reserve force (whose exercises are typically on weekends)
We’ll Cross That BridgeWhen We Come to It We’ll deal with that problem if and when it comes up
Welsh (Welch) on a DealNot observe the terms of an agreement
Wet Behind the Earsinexperienced, immature, new to something
Wet Behind the EarsInexperienced, immature, new to something
Wet BlanketSomeone who dampens a festive occasion
Wet Your WhistleDrink something
What Do You Make of (Him)?What is your evaluation of this person?
What Goes Around Comes AroundThe kind of treatment you give to others will eventually return to you; things go in cycles
What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the GanderWhat’s OK for a man is OK for a woman, too
When Hell Freezes OverNever
When In Doubt, Leave It OutWhen unsure about something, omit it.
When in Rome, Do as the Romans DoWhen you visit a new place, follow the customs of the people there
When It Rains, It PoursProblems tend to come in groups.
When Pigs FlyNever
When the Chips Are DownWhen a situation becomes urgent or difficult
Where (When) the RubberMeets the Road In reality; where an idea meets a real-world test
Where There’s a Will, There’s a WayIf you have a strong desire to accomplish something, you will achieve it even in the face of considerable odds.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s FireIf there is typical evidence of something, the most likely explanation is that it is actually occurring.
Whisper Sweet Nothings (in Someone’s Ear)Speak meaningless romantic utterances
Whistle in the DarkTo be unrealistically confident or brave; to talk about something of which one has little knowledge
Whistle Past the GraveyardRemain optimistic despite dangers; be clueless
Whistling DixieBeing unrealistically optimistic
White ElephantAn unwanted item that is difficult to sell or dispose of
Who’s She, the Cat’s Mother?Why does she have such a high opinion of herself?
Wild Goose ChaseAn impossible or futile search or task
Window DressingA misleading disguise intended to present a favorable impression
Window ShopTo look at merchandise in a store without intending to buy it
Witch HuntAn organized attempt to persecute an unpopular group of people and blame them for a problem.
With Bells OnEagerly, willingly, and on time.
Work One’s Fingers to the BoneWork very hard over an extended period
Worn to a FrazzleExhausted, completely worn out
Wouldn’t Be Caught DeadWould absolutely not allow myself to do this
Writing (Handwriting) on the WallHints of coming disaster
Year In, Year OutAnnually without change
You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but You Can’t Make It DrinkIt’s very hard to force someone to do something against his or her will.
You Can Say That Again!I agree totally!
You Can Take It to the BankI absolutely guarantee this
You Can’t Judge a Book by Its CoverYou can’t know people (or things) well by their external appearances.
You Can’t Make an Omelet (Omelette)Without Breaking
You Can’t Make Fish of One and Fowl of the OtherPeople must be treated equally.
You Know the DrillYou are already familiar with the procedure.
You Snooze, You LoseIf you delay or are not alert, you will miss opportunities
Young at HeartHaving a youthful outlook, regardless of age
Your Guess Is as Good as MineI don’t know; I have no idea
Your Mileage May VaryYou may get different results. This does not necessarily refer to a car, although it may.
Your Number Is UpYou are going to die (or suffer some bad misfortune or setback)
You’re Driving Me NutsTo make someone giddy or crazy
Yours TrulyMe
Zero In OnFocus closely on something; take aim at something
Zig When One Should Be ZaggingTo make an error; to choose an incorrect course
Zip One’s LipBe quiet
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