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300 Other English Expressions


Alive and kicking
Alive and in good health.

All dressed up and nowhere to go
Ready for action, but not required.

All in the day's work
Can be taken care of as part of the normal routine, even if unusual.

All in the same boat.
We face the situation together; we confront the same risks.

All tarred with the same brush.
Share the same responsibility or faults; from the same flock.

An accident waiting to happen.
A potential disaster; a calamity that is likely to occur or inevitable.

As cool as a cucumber.
Perfectly composed; exhibiting no agitation or emotion.

As dead as a dodo.
Dead and forgotten long ago.

As dead as a door nail.
Absolutely lifeless.

As easy as falling of a log
Simple; uncomplicated.

As easy as pie
Effortless, straightforward.

As fit as a fiddle.
In excellent health or form.

As good as gold.
Well behaved; very good.

As green as grass.
Inexperienced, naive.

As hard as nails.
Very tough, durable; stern, unsympathetic.

As high as a kite.
Drunk.

As honest as the day is long.
Always truthful; honest; reliable.

As innocent as a lamb.
Na´ve; gullible.

As large as life.
Life-size; in person.

As light as a feather.
Possessing little weight.

As neat as a pin.
Extremely neat, tidy.

As old as the hills.
Very old.

As plain as the nose on your face.
Obvious; apparent to anyone.

As poor as a church mouse.
Poor; destitute.

As pretty as a picture.
Very attractive; agreeable looking.

As quick as a flash.
Quickly; speedily.

As scarce as hen's teeth.
Rare; uncommon.

As sick as a dog.
Very sick.

As snug as a bug in a rug.
Comfortable; cozy.

As steady as a rock.
Very dependable; reliable; consistent.

As stiff as a poker.
Very stiff; rigid; straight.

As strong as a horse.
Very strong.

As sure as God made little apples.
Certain; with certainty.

As the crow flies.
By the shortest possible route; the most direct route possible.

As thick as thieves.
Very close, friendly; intimate.

As thin as a rake.
Very thin (person or animal).

As warm as toast.
Warm and comfortable, especially after being cold.

As white as a sheet.
Very pale; pallid.

At a loose end.
Having nothing to do; undecided as to what to do next.

At the crack of dawn.
At sunrise; very early in the morning.

At full tilt.
At full speed.

At one's wits' end
Without any idea as to what to say or do next.

At the drop of a hat.
Without delay; immediately upon receiving a signal.

At the eleventh hour.
At the last moment; just in time.

At the end of one's tether.
With no endurance or resources remaining.

At the end of the day.
When it is all over; in the final analysis.

At the back of one's mind.
Unconsciously; in one's subconscious.

Back to square one.
Back to the beginning; return to where one started.

Back to the drawing board.
Back to the original planning stage; Back to the beginning, particularly if the project or venture was unsuccessful.

Bend over backwards.
To make an exceptional effort to accommodate.

Better safe than story.
It is better to take precautions in order to avoid risk.

Big white chief.
The leader or one in charge of a group or organization; an important person.

Bite off more than one can chew.
To undertake more than can be accommodated, carried out, or completed..

Bite one's tongue.
To withhold comment, although provoked and wanting to reply.

Bite the bullet.
To endure the discomfort, difficulty, or adversity with fortitude.

Bite the dust.
To die; particularly to fall down dead.

Bite the hand that feeds one.
To repay generosity with the opposite; to repay kindness or generosity by an inconsiderate act or behavior.

Bitter pill to swallow.
Something disagreeable that one must tolerate or endure.

Blue-eyed boy.
A person accorded favorite treatment by someone else; one who is thought of highly by another and given preference.

Blue in the face.
Exhausted due to protracted effort.

Body language
The conscious or unconscious communication of feelings, attitudes, or meaning by body movements, expressions, and gestures.

Break a leg!
An expression employed traditionally in the theatre to wish someone good luck.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
Alert and energetic; ready for action.

Bundle of nerves
One who is extremely nervous or apprehensive.

By hook or by crook
By any means whatsoever; by whatever means are necessary.

Can of worms
A mess; a complicated matter that might cause problems, difficulties, or dishonor.

Chicken feed
Money that is relatively inconsequential in amount.

Chicken out
To withdraw from some intended action or activity; to back out from what had been intended previously, particularly due to fear or lack of nerve.

Come back or down to earth
Be realistic; replace fantasy with realism.

Cut out for
suited for; well-matched.

Dead duck
Of no further use or interest

Dead from the neck up
Stupid; unintelligent; dim-witted.

Dead set against
Firmly opposed to; determinedly against.

Dilly-dally
To dawdle; to waste time; to hesitate.

Dog in the manger
Someone who refuses to permit another person to use or enjoy something that the former possesses, but no longer wants.

Down in the mouth
Dispirited; discouraged; disheartened.

Dressed up to the nines
Dressed elaborately or even overdressed.

Drop in the ocean
Negligible or miniscule in relative quantity; something that is insignificant.

Dry run
A test, trial, or rehearsal.

Eager beaver
A willing or enthusiastic worker.

Easy on the eye
Attractive; pleasant in appearance

Fair-haired boy
A blue-eyed boy. A person accorded favorite treatment by someone else; one who is thought of highly by another and given preference.

Fair-weather friends
Persons who are friends if things are going well, but absent when they are not.

Fat is in the fire
Something has occurred that may have unfavorable consequences.

Flavor of the month
Any person, fad, or trend, that is temporarily in fashion or favor.

Fly-by-night
Someone who flees during the night after having cheated or deceived others.

Full of oneself
Vain, conceited, egocentric.

Give the devil his due
Give him or her the credit deserved, regardless of his or her bad character or actions.

Go-getter
A motivated and enterprising individual.

Hail-fellow-well-met
A friendly, familiar, and informal approach to strangers and acquaintances.

Hair of the dog that bit you
The belief that the best cure or method to gain relief lies in more of what caused the malady, such as a drink in the morning to alleviate a hangover.

Half-baked
Unwise, foolish, silly.

Hand-me-down
Something previously used, but no longer required, that is passed on to someone else for his or her use, such as clothes that are too small or out of favor.

Hanky-panky
Behavior of a suspicious nature; clandestine sexual activity.

Hen-pecked
Persistently nagged by a wife.

High and dry
Stranded; left out of the 'loop' or flow of events.

High and mighty
Imperious; haughty; self-important; overbearing; arrogant.

High-handed
Arrogant; imperious; inconsiderate..

Hole in the wall
A very small and unattractive place; a shabby or dingy place.

Horse trading
Shrewd, difficult negotiating.

House of cards
A situation that is unstable; something that is at risk of imminent collapse.

In hot water
In difficulty.

In one ear and out the other
Heard, but promptly forgotten.

In two shakes of a lamb's tail
Quickly; promptly.

It beats me.
I don't understand it.

Johnny-come-lately
A newcomer.

Just what the doctor ordered
Exactly what the situation requires.

Keep one's eye on the ball.
To stay alert; remain attentive, prepared.

Keep the ball rolling.
Maintain the progress or momentum; don't stop.

Kneejerk reaction
An instinctive or reflex action, rather than a considered or thought out response.

Lame duck
Ineffective; disabled. inadequate.

Laughing stock
An object of jokes or ridicule.

Lazy bones
A lazy or indolent person.

Leap in the dark
An action with results that can't be predicted.

Left holding the bag
Abandoned by one's comrades to bear the responsibility for what the group is responsible.

Let George do it
Let someone else do it.

Like a bat out of hell
Very rapidly.

Like a drowned rat
Miserable looking and soaking wet.

Like a duck to water
Readily

Like a house on fire
Quickly.

Like greased lightning
Very quickly.

Like a lamb to the slaughter
Submissively; meekly.

Like water off a duck's back
Having no effect or influence.

Long suit
One's strength. Something at which one excels.

Love is blind
A lover doesn't recognize the weaknesses or shortcomings of his or her lover.

Man of letters
An author; an scholar in literary matters.

Mouth-watering
Appetizing. Delicious; tempting.

My heart bleeds for you
I feel great sadness for you.

Nail in someone's coffin
A factor that increases one's risk of censure, punishment, or loss.

New lease on life
A new beginning, renewal, or rejuvenation, especially after a change in circumstances.

No great shakes
Not unusual or extraordinary; not particularly good.

No skin off my nose
Of no effect on me; of no importance to me.

Not born yesterday
Not inexperienced; not gullible or easily fooled.

Not one's day
a day during which nothing appears to go right.

Not on your life
Absolutely not

Off the hook
Free of responsibility for something; released from an obligation.

Off the top of one's head
Unplanned; ad lib; impromptu.

One-horse town
A very small community with few conveniences.

One's days are numbered
The end is approaching; the number of days remaining is declining.

One-track mind
Single-minded; concentration on a single subject.

On its last legs
Near exhaustion or collapse; obsolete; coming to an end; likely to stop functioning shortly.

Out of hand
Out of control.

Over the hill
Past one's prime or period of peak performance.

Put out to pasture
Retired; released from active service.

Run into the ground
To significantly overwork; to damage or destroy by overuse.

Ships that pass in the night
Passing encounters; Acquaintances who meet only once.

Square peg in a round hole
Someone who is unsuited to the job he or she is performing.

Straight from the horse's mouth
Direct from the source.

That's the way the cookie crumbles
That's life; that's the way it is.

The devil to pay
Future trouble.

The die is cast
It has been put in motion and there is no stopping or going back.

To batten down the hatches
To prepare for a difficult time; to get ready for a storm..

To bang one's head against a brick wall
To try without effect because of insurmountable difficulties.

To be at a loss for words.
To not know what to say.

To be at cross purposes.
To be engaged in something that effectively counteracts, or opposes, another.

To be at loggerheads
To be in a disagreement without apparent resolution.

To be at sixes and sevens
To be unable to agree.

To be born with a silver spoon in the mouth
To be born to wealth.

To bend someone's ear
To talk at length to someone in a one-sided conversation, as in relating one's troubles.

To bite the hand that feeds me
To repay kindness or generosity with ingratitude.

To blow hot and cold
To exhibit inconsistency, indecisiveness.

To break the ice
To initiate a conversation or another activity, dispelling any discomfort or feelings of awkwardness of persons present.

To bring down the house
To provoke loud and sustained applause.

To bring home the bacon
To return with the prize or whatever else was sought; to succeed.

To bury one's head in the sand
To signore reality.

To bury the hatchet
To reconcile following a dispute or hostilities.

To call a spade a spade
To call or describe something in straightforward fashion without tact or concern for feelings.

To catch one's death of cold
To catch a severe cold.

To change horses in midstream
To change direction significantly during the middle of an endeavor.

To clear the air
To remove misunderstandings or uncertainties.

To clear the decks
To remove everything that is not necessary, particularly in preparation of action.

To climb on the bandwagon
To join those who support a popular trend or movement, especially once the prospects for success appear to be favorable.

To cool one's heels
To be kept waiting for another, as for an appointment.

To count one's chickens before they are hatched
To include, as received, something that one hopes to receive, when it is not certain that it will be received.

To cry over spilt milk
To mourn or regret a previous error or loss, which cannot be corrected or regained.

To cut it short
To bring something to a sudden end.

To cut no ice
To be of no significance; to make no impression.

To cut loose
To break away; to free from restraint.

To cut off one's nose to spite one's face
To indulge in an act of temper in a way that harms oneself

To cut one's eye teeth
To gain experience, become worldly wise; to acquire sophistication.

To cut the ground from under
To disprove or forestall an adversary's arguments by disproving them before they are used.

To cut the mustard
To do something well.

To cut to the quick
To deeply hurt in a figurative sense.

To darken someone's door
To appear at his or her door.

To dig in one's heels
To become unyielding, immovable; to stand one's ground.

To dish the dirt
To spread gossip.

To dot the I's and cross the t's
To give meticulous attention to detail; to settle details of a contract.

To draw someone out
To entice someone to reveal himself or herself; to encourage someone to talk, especially someone who is shy.

To draw the line at
To establish a limit at; to refuse to go further than.

To draw the short straw
To be chosen by lot for a particular undertaking or to perform a particular task.

To drink like a fish
To drink excessively.

To drink someone under the table
To continue to drink until the other has succumbed to the effect of alcohol.

To drive someone up the wall
To exasperate terribly someone.

To drop a bombshell
To announce or release surprising news of great importance or interest.

To drop someone a line
To write to someone.

To eat humble pie
To be humiliated or mortified.

To eat one's heart out
To be envious or jealous; to worry.

To eat one's words
To retract what one previously said; to admit one's error.

To eat out of someone's hands
To be submissive or acquiescent to someone.

To eat someone out of house and home
To eat enough to create for the host or householder.

To end up in smoke
To come to nothing; to result in no practical result.

To feather one's nest
To look after for one's own interests, particularly financially.

To find one's feet
To become accustomed to a (new) situation.

To find one's tongue
To recover from an initial shyness or lack of response.

To flog a dead horse
To attempt to revive a worn-out issue or one previously settled.

To fly a kite
To propose something in order to test the degree of public support for it.

To gain the upper hand
To gain control or authority

To get down to brass tacks on it
To start or resume working on the task at hand. To cease talking about it or otherwise wasting time and concentrate on its basics and making progress.

To get hot under the collar
To become irritated, angry.

To get under someone's skin
To annoy or irritate someone.

To give the lie to
To refute or disprove something.

To go off the deep end
To become unnecessarily angry; to resort to extreme action

To go round the bend
To become crazy.

To go through the motions of
To do something in a half-hearted manner; to perform or undertake a task slowly without enthusiasm or a motivation to succeed.

To go with the flow
To do what others are doing; to conform to the accepted standards.

To hang out one's shingle
To open for business as a professional; to begin one's occupation as an independent professional.

To have a bone to pick
To have reason for an argument; (with another).

To have a card up one's sleeve
To have an additional option, tactic, or resource available that is unknown to one's opponent; to have another plan or tactic available for contingencies.

To have a lot on one's plate
To have a great deal do or to be concerned with.

To have clean hands
To be free of any wrongdoing or involvement; to be innocent in the matter.

To have one's hands tied
To be prevented from acting; powerless to act freely.

To have one's head screwed on the right way
To be right thinking; to be clear-thinking, rather than dull or muddle-headed.

To have one's heart in one's mouth
To be fearful or apprehensive.

To have the last laugh
To win in the end a dispute or disagreement that one might have appeared to have lost or been losing earlier.

To hit the deck
To intentionally fall to the floor or ground, usually to escape injury.

To hit the ground running
To begin with gusto; to start with great energy and enthusiasm

To hit the hay
To retire; to turn in; to go to bed.

To hit the nail on the head
To correctly answer or conclude; to reach the precisely correct solution.

To hit the sack
To hit the hay; to retire; to go to bed.

To hold court
To preside over a conversation like a king over his court.

To hold one's head high
To be proud; to be confident or assume an air of confidence.

To hold the purse strings
To controls the money and how it is spent.

To hold your horses
To wait momentarily; to stop; to pause.

To jump the gun
To start before the appropriate time, to begin in advance of the correct starting time.

To keep it under one's hat
To hold something in confidence; to keep it to oneself.

To keep one's head above water
To avoid being overwhelmed by events, one's tasks, or one's obligations; to avoid insolvency; to stay afloat.

To kick the bucket
To die.

To kill the fatted calf
To celebrate; to welcome by a great celebration.

To know the ropes
To possess the knowledge necessary; to know one's way around; to know completely what must be known, especially for a particular task.

To know the score
To understand a particular situation; to know the facts about something.

To know what's what
To understand the nature of a situation; to know the way things really are; to be perceptive.

To know which side one's bread is buttered on
To recognize the importance of keeping his employer satisfied; to know what in order to continue to benefit.

To laugh on the other side of the face
To feel later annoyance or disappointment after earlier amusement.

To laugh up one's sleeve
To laugh or deride inwardly.

To lay a finger on
To use physical force against; to harm.

To lay an egg
To relate a joke or give a performance that fails to stir the audience.

To lay down the law
To communicate with authority the rules, especially of behavior; to tell another authoritatively what to do or not to do.

To lay it on thick
To flatter excessively.

To learn by heart
To memorize; to learn by rote.

To leave no stone unturned
To do everything that can be done; to spare no effort or expense in attempting to achieve one's objective.

To leave one cold
To have no effect on another; to fail to interest or move someone.

To let off steam
To give vent to frustration; to work off excess energy by physical activity.

To let oneself go
To act in an uninhibited manner; to pay no concern to one's appearance.

To let one's hair down
To behave in an uninhibited manner.

To let the cat out of the bag
To reveal a secret.

To lie low
To remain concealed; to avoid attracting attention.

To look a gift horse in the mouth
To not inquire in great detail about the inherent value of a gift received.

To look as if butter would not melt in one's mouth
To look innocent and harmless, although one probably is not.

To look down one's nose
To act disdainfully, scornfully, or sneeringly; to regard with dissatisfaction.

To look for a needle in the haystack
To search for something small among a great number of objects or in a very large mass; to search for something with low probability of success..

To lose one's cool
To lose one's temper.

To lose one's head
To behave illogically due to excitement or confusion..

To lose one's heart
To fall in love.

To lose one's temper
To become angry.

To make a clean sweep
To change completely; to discard all that no longer is suitable, needed, or wanted.

To make head or tail of
To understand; to solve, work out, demystify.

To make light work of
To do or complete something quickly and easily.

To not know which way to turn
To be uncertain as to what do.

To not let the grass grow under one's feet
To not waste time; to proceed promptly.

To play it by ear
To deal with matters in impromptu or improvised fashion as they arise; to deal with matters on an ad hoc basis; to proceed without formal plan or response to situations that may arise.

To play one's cards close to the vest
To not divulge one's plan; to conceal what one may do.

To pull someone's legs
To tease someone.

To put one's foot in it
To make a mistake; to err; to goof; to bungle.

To put on the dog
To act ostentatiously, pretentiously.

To put the cart before the horse
To do things in reverse order.

To rain cats and dogs
To rain heavily.

To read between the lines
To reach conclusions based on both what is said and unsaid; to draw conclusions that are not readily apparent initially.

To sell like hot cakes
To sell extremely well.

To set one's heart on something
To strongly desire something.

To shake a leg
Hurry up! Get a move on! Also, to dance.

To stick one's neck out
To take a chance; to risk getting into trouble.

To stick to one's guns
To hold to one's position or opinion despite disagreement or opposition.

To take it lying down
To submit (e.g., to insult) without complaint or resistance.

To take something to heart
To take or consider something seriously.

To take the cake
To win the tribute; to outdo others in absurdity.

To take the law into one's own hands
To attempt to secure satisfaction by force or personal action without regard to the law.

To talk through one's hat
To talk ludicrously; to exaggerate.

To tear one's hair
To make plain one's aggravation, vexation, or grief.

To throw good money after bad
To continue to spend on something on which one has already spent money without benefit or success.

To throw one's hat into the ring
To enter a contest; to become a candidate.

To toe the line
To adhere to regulations; to conform to the standard of required behavior.

To wash one's hands of something
To have nothing further to do with something.

To wear one's heart on one's sleeve
To reveal one's feelings plainly for all to see.

When one's ship comes home
When one makes one's fortune.

When push comes to shove
When it is time for action; when something must be done or a decision must be made.

When the chips are down
In the final analysis; when a decision must be made; in an emergency or crisis.

When the dust settles
When things have quieted down.

When the fat lady sings
When it is finally over; at the end, closing.

Where there's a will, there's a way
One will succeed, if sufficiently determined; success will come if one perseveres.

Without a leg to stand on
Without any excuse.



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