Types of Idioms)))
1. verb + particle (also called "phrasal verbs" or "two word verbs")
2. verb + preposition (also called "prepositional verbs")
3. verb + particle + preposition (also called "three-word verbs")
4. complex combinations, e.g.:
verb + preposition + noun + preposition
verb + article + noun + preposition
1. bring up, catch on
2. stick to, become of
3. sign up for, drop out of
4. a. get in touch with
b. make an impression on
Absence makes the heart grow fonder:
Proverb that means that our feeling for those we love increases when we are apart from them.
Armed to the teeth:
Heavily armed. ex. "The rebels were armed to the teeth."
At each other's throats:
Fighting or arguing heavily. ex. "They were at each other's throats. The arguments never stopped."
At this stage:
At this point. ex. "At this stage, it's difficult to say who will win the election."
(To) act high and mighty:
To act proudly and arrogantly.
Actions speak louder than words:
Proverb meaning that's it's better to do something about a problem than to talk about it.
(To) act one's age:
To behave in a more mature way. Frequently said to a child or teen. ex. "Bill, stop throwing rocks! Act your age!."
(To) add fuel to the fire:
To make a bad problem even worse.
(To) add insult to injury:
To make a bad situation even worse.
Against the clock:
To attempt to do something "against the clock" is to attempt to do something as fast as possible usually before a deadline.
A little bird told me:
When someone says "a little bird told me" it means they don't want you to know who told them.
All in a day's work:
Typical. Normal. Expected. ex. "Talking to famous celebrities is all in a day's work for some Hollywood reporters."
(From) all walks of life:
(From) all social, economic, and ethnic groups.
Apple of someone's eye:
Someone's favorite person (and sometimes thing). ex. "Sarah was the apple of Tom's eye for quite a long time. He was so in love with her."
(To) bank on something:
To count or rely on something.
(To) bark up the wrong tree:
To ask the wrong person. To make the wrong choice. ex. "The gangster told the cops they were barking up the wrong tree in thinking he was responsible for the robbery."
(To) be a fan of someone/ something:
To like, idolize, admire someone/ or something. ex. "I'm not a big fan of heavy metal music."
(To) beat around the bush:
To avoid getting to the point. ex. "Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you really think."
Big fish in a little sea:
A person who's famous/ well-known but only in an unimportant area/ town.
Believe it or not:
Used at the beginning sentence to state that something is true whether one chooses to believe it or not. ex. "Believe it or not, I still care for her."
(The) birds and the bees:
Sex. Human reproduction. ex. "It's about time I talked to my son about the birds and the bees."
Black sheep (of the family):
The worst, least accepted member of a family.
(To) bite the hands that feeds you:
To do harm to someone who helps you.
(To) bite one's tongue:
To struggle not to say something that you want to say. ex. "I wanted to tell her everything, but I had to bite my tongue because I had promised Bill I would not (tell her)."
(To) blow someone's cover:
To reveal someone's secret, or true identity. ex. "The spy was very careful not to blow her cover."
(To) burst into tears:
To start crying suddenly.
(To) break new ground:
To do something that hasn't been done before. To innovate. ex. "Dr. Davis was breaking new ground in cancer research."
(To) break someone's heart:
To cause someone (strong) emotional pain. ex. "Fiona broke James' heart when she refused to marry him."
(To) break the news to someone/ to break "it" to someone:
To tell someone some important news, usually bad news. ex. "I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your wife has been cheating on you."
(To) call it a day:
To end work and go home. ex. "Let's call it a day. It's getting late."
(To) clear the table:
To remove all dishes, cutlery, etc. from a table after a meal.
(To) cash in on something:
To profit from something. "The actor wanted to cash in on his popularity by opening a restaurant."
(To) come to an end:
To finish. To stop. ex. "When the road came to an end, we turned left."
(To) catch someone's eye:
To get someone's attention through eye contact.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific coast in the United States. ex. "Our car made the coast-to-coast trip in 70 hours".
(To) come away empty handed:
To return without anything. To expect to receive something but to end up receiving nothing. ex. "The union workers came away empty handed from the negotiations."
(To) come out of the closet:
To reveal that one is gay.
Come to think of it:
I just remembered. ex. "Hey, come to think of it, I do have a sleeping bag you can borrow." Come what may Whatever happens. No matter what happens.
(To) cover a lot of ground:
To go through a lot of information. "We've covered a lot of ground in my English class in the past two months."
(To) cry one's eyes out:
To cry hard. ex. "When her grandfather died, she cried her eyes out for three days straight."
(To) cover for someone:
To make excuses for someone or to conceal someone's errors.
(To) cut class:
To not go to class. To skip going to class. "Jacob was a very bad student. He was always cutting class to go smoke with his buddies."
(To) cramp someone's style:
To limit someone in some way. To limit someone from expressing themselves fully.
(To) die of boredom:
To be very bored.
Don't hold your breath:
Don't wait for it to happen because it probably won't. "You think David will break up with Tina? Don't hold your breath!"
Don't let it get you down:
Don't let it upset you. Don't allow it to make you feel bad.
(To) do the dishes:
To wash the dishes.
Down the drain:
Wasted. Lost forever. "I tried for five years to run this business and now I'm bankrupt. Five years down the drain."
(To) drown one's sorrows:
To get/ become drunk.
(To) drop the ball:
To make a mistake. (WARNING: This idiom is overused in the business world). ex. "So it was John's fault? Yes, John really dropped the ball on this one."
(A) dream come true:
A great thing. A dream or wish that has become reality. ex. "Living in California is like a dream come true."
Down in the dumps:
(To) drive someone crazy:
To make someone very agitated, upset, or emotional (either in a good or bad way). "That teacher is so awful! He drives me crazy with his attitude."
Easy come, easy go:
Said to explain the loss of something that was very easily obtained in the first place.
Not so fast. Calm down! ex. "Easy! Don't eat so fast!"
(To) eat one's heart out:
To be envious or jealous. ex. "Eat your heart out Frank, I'm going to Paris!"
(To) eat out of someone's hands:
To do whatever someone else wants. ex. "James would do anything for Vicky. She had him eating out of her hands."
Enough is enough:
That is enough and there should be no more.
(To) enter one's mind:
To cross one's mind. To start thinking about something. "You want me to become a doctor? The thought never even entered my mind."
Everything but the kitchen sink:
Almost everything one can think of.
(As) easy as pie:
a strong verbal scolding. ex. "Katie's father really gave her an earful when she came home at 4 AM."
Tolerant. Laid-back. Relaxed.
(To) eat one's words:
To admit that what one said was wrong. ex. "You think I won't be able to find work in one week? I'm going to make you eat your words."
Enough space (room) to feel comfortable.
Every so often:
Once in while. Occasionally.
Every second. Alternate. ex. "In Los Angeles, every other person is an actor."
(To) face the music:
To accept the (unpleasant) consequences of what you have done.
(To) fall flat (on one's face):
To fail. To be unsuccessful. ex. "The play fell flat on its face." Fair-weather friend A person who is only your friend when things are going well for you.
(To) feel like a new person:
To feel refreshed, rejuvenated.
(To) fall into place:
To become organized. To fit together. ex. "Once I started meditating, everything in my life began to fall into place."
(To) fall short:
To lack something. ex. "We tried to raise fifty thousand dollars, but we fell short by about ten thousand."
(To) feel out of place:
To feel like you don't belong. ex. "We went to Mary's party last night. There were many strange people there and I felt a little out of place, so we left."
(To) fill someone's shoes:
To replace someone. To do something someone else used to do. ex. "Cathy has been working here for 20 years. It's going to be hard to find someone to fill her shoes."
First and foremost:
First and most importantly.
Before anything else. ex. "Call me first thing tomorrow morning."
(To) fish for a compliment:
To try very hard to get a compliment from someone.
Very poor. Having absolutely no money.
(To) follow one's heart:
To act according to your feelings/ emotions. ex. "I couldn't decide what to do so I just followed my heart."
Fun and games:
Playing around. Time spent doing worthless things. ex. "OK, Neil, the fun and games are over. It's time to get down to work."
Free and easy:
Casual. Not very serious. ex. "Sarah was looking for a free and easy relationship."
(To) get cold feet:
To become timid or frightened. ex. "I usually get cold feet when I have to speak in public."
(To) get down to business:
To start working seriously. ex. "Enough playing around - let's get down to business."
(To) get one's foot in the door
To get started in a process. To attain a favorable position which will help one work toward a goal. ex. "I'm trying to find a better job, but I can't get my foot in the door."
(To) feel like a new person:
To feel refreshed, rejuvenated.
(To) get one's fill of something:
To have enough of something. To have a lot of something. ex. "She's had her fill of trouble lately."
(To) get on someone's nerves:
To annoy someone. To bother or irritate someone.
(To) get something off one's chest:
To say something that has been on your mind. To say something that has been bothering you. "Did you tell her about Hawaii? Yes, and I felt much better once I got that off my chest." items to wear for the grade of 5th graduation purpose
(To) get the blues:
To become sad or depressed.
(To) give someone the benefit of the doubt:
To believe in someone despite information that makes them seem guilty of something. ex. "Hey, don't believe the rumors - give him the benefit of the doubt."
(To) get something straight:
To clarify something. To understand something clearly.
(To) give someone a call:
To call someone (on the telephone).
(To) give someone a piece of one's mind:
To bawl someone out. To let someone know how one really feels. "After that driver took my parking spot, I really gave him a piece of my mind."
(To) go up in flames:
To burn. To be consumed in flames.
(To) go to someone's head:
To make someone overly conceited or proud. ex. "That award that he won really went to his head."
(To) go Dutch:
When a group of people go out and everyone pays for him/herself.
Be prepared for fast and/or rough movement.
(To) hang on someone's every word:
To listen very carefully to someone. ex. "Grandpa was telling a story and the kids were hanging on his every word."
(To) hate someone's guts:
To hate someone very much.
(To) have a big mouth:
To be a gossiper. To be a person who can't keep a secret. ex. "Don't tell her anything! She has a big mouth."
(To) have a lot going for one:
To have a lot of good things in one's life. To have many things working to one's benefit. ex. "She has a log going for her - she's smart, attractive, has a good job, etc."
(To) have a sweet tooth:
To love to eat candy or other sweets.
(To) have mixed feelings (about something):
To be unsure or uncertain about something.
(To) have one's hands full:
To be busy, occupied with some kind of activity, work, etc. ex. "I have my hands full with my three children."
(To) have one's heart set on something:
To really want something to happen. To expect something to happen. ex. "Julie has her heart set on going to London this summer."