Idioms Flashcards Preview

English Class > Idioms > Flashcards

Flashcards in Idioms Deck (40)
Loading flashcards...

Beat around the bush

to avoid talking about what is important Don't beat around the bush - get to the point!


Clean bill of health

an official statement that something has been found to be safe, legal, or in good financial condition Two of the bridges got tentative clean bills of health from inspectors on the scene Friday. give sth a clean bill of health A meeting of EU finance ministers gave the European economy a clean bill of health.


Cold shoulder

an unfriendly attitude shown to someone or something, especially by intentionally ignoring or showing no interest in them His wife was angry and giving him the cold shoulder. The young entrepreneur got a cold shoulder from the business establishment


A feather in your cap

an achievement to be proud of It's a real feather in our cap to be playing in the state championship.


Last straw

the latest problem in a series of problems, that makes a situation impossible to accept The last straw was when the company fired most of the managers.


On its last leg

Something that is on its last legs is in such bad condition that it will soon be unable to work as it should I've had this laptop for five years now, and it's really on its last legs.


Rule the roost

to be the person who makes all the decisions in a group In that family it is the grandma who rules the roost.


Touch and go

If a situation is touch-and-go, it is uncertain The doctor says that it's touch-and-go whether Mary will be okay.


If it bleeds, it leads

Used often in news rooms


Walk the talk

To back up one's boastful talk with meaningful actions. (A compressed version of the largely American, "If you're going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk," or, "You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" and other such iterations.) Primarily heard in UK. This consultant has sold us on some pretty radical ideas, but it remains to be seen whether he can walk the talk.


Situation at hand

A problem / situation at hand is a problem / situation that you are dealing with at the moment. I have got quite a few problems at hand.


don't hold your breath on that

Used to tell someone not to expect something to happen for a very long time:

She said she'd get back to us, but don't hold your breath!


to have all the reasons to be angry

to have significant reasosn to be angry


slip between the cracks

To go unnoticed or undealt with; to be unintentionally neglected or ignored, especially in a corporate, political, or social system.
With other issues like drug addiction and unemployment taking priority for the government, the welfare of children in the foster system very often slips between the cracks.
We were all so busy drawing up the contracts for this new deal that the appreciation dinner we'd promised to our interns simply slipped between the cracks.


 draw attention away from the...

 draw attention away from the principal concern 


shed (some) light on (something)

To reveal information or details about something; to clarify or help people understand something.

We've hired a private investigator to help shed light on the clandestine dealings of the organization.

These documents we've uncovered shed some light on how the late author's final book was meant to end.


shortchanged; shortchanging; shortchanges

to give less than the correct amount of change to

to deprive of or give less than something due


give (oneself or someone) a pat on the back

To give oneself or someone else praise or recognition for an achievement or a job well done.

Treating his daughter to ice cream was Joe's way of giving her a pat on the back after she won first place in the science fair.

During the meeting today, Pat gave herself a pat on the back for staying late last week.


laid (something) on the line

(idiom) risked losing something important, such as a job or reputation


caught the public imagination or caught the public's imagination

(idiom) made the public interested in or excited about something 


throw your hands up

(idiom) show frustration and despair when a situation becomes so bad that you give up or submit


add another string to my bow

learn a new skill


make ends meet

make enough money to live


on the flip side

Looking at a different or opposite aspect, possibility, or result (associated with something).

I'll have to work really long hours and be away from my family for long stretches of time, but, on the flip side, I'll get the opportunity to travel around the world.



time benders

people who are always late because they don’t allow enough time to be somewhere


lose or gain a second

lose or gain a second


to finish ahead of schedule / time

Earlier than a given deadline.

Since the contractor and his crew completed the renovations ahead of schedule, we were able to move into the house before winter arrived.

Repaying your loan ahead of schedule will save you money in the long term by reducing the amount of interest you'll have to pay.


keep someone company

spend time with someone so they don’t get lonely


social change

shift in how people behave and think