Idioms

A

Actions speak louder than words – what you do is more important than what you say, or what you promise to do.
Ex: You said that you’d do your share of the housework. Remember, actions speak louder than words.

Add insult to injury – 1) to hurt someone’s feelings after doing him harm.

Ex: He added insult to injury when he called the man a rat after he had already beaten him.

2) to make bad trouble worse.

Ex: We started on a picnic, and  first  it rained, then to add  insult to injury,  the car broke down.

A far cry from – totally different from

Ex: Sydney was a far cry from the small town she grew up in.

Apple of discord – something that causes unhappiness due to envy or contention.

Ex: They are attracted to the same person and that is the apple of discord between them.

B

Be a good hand at (doing) something – to be talented, gifted or skilled in some activity.

Ex: Florian is a good hand at gardening.

Be a poor hand at (doing) something – to be untalented or clumsy in some activity.

Ex: He is a poor hand at table tennis so the children don’t like to play with him.

Be all fingers and thumbs – to be clumsy with your hands.

Ex: Mary could never be a nurse. She’s all fingers and thumbs.

Be in the black – to make a profit.
Ex: We are making a great year so our accounts are in the black.

Be in the red – to not being profitable or operating at a loss.
Ex: We owe so much money that our accounts are in the red.

Below the belt – if something is below the belt, then we are talking about unacceptable behavior.
Ex: He told her that she was stupid which she felt as a hit below the belt.

Big girl’s blouse – used to insult a person who other people believe is behaving in a weak manner.
Ex: ‘I can’t help you carrying these books’ ‘Oh, please stop being such a big girl’s blouse.’

C

Call it a day! – to say that the work is over for the day.

Ex: I think we worked enough today. Let’s call it a day!

Copycat – aA person who imitates someone, usually refers to children’s behavior.

Ex: Look, our little daughter is imitating Lady Gaga! She’s such a copycat!

Cross your fingers! (Keep your fingers crossed!) – hoping the things will happen the way we want them to.
Ex: I’m having a driving test in the morning so cross your fingers.

Cry Wolf – to complain about something when nothing is really wrong.

Ex: You shouldn’t cry wolf, as no one will come when needed.

D

E

F

G

Gloves are off – a situation which includes a serious dispute or even fight in order to achieve something.
Ex: I have been a friendly person so far, but now the gloves are off!

Go Dutch – share expenses (meal, drink) equally.

Ex: You don’t have to pay for me. Let’s go Dutch!

Golden opportunity – an excellent opportunity that is unlikely to be repeated.
Ex: This is a golden opportunity we must appreciate.

H

Hit close to home be too personal.

Ex: I felt insulted as her remarks were too close to home.

Hit the nail on the head – to do the right thing, be right about something.

Ex: He never talks much, but whenever he does, he hits the nail on the head.

Hit the roof – to suddenly become very angry.

Ex: When my dad saw the broken window, he hit the roof.

Hit the town – go out and have fun.

Ex: It’s Saturday, we’re going to hit the town tonight

I

J

Jump at the chance – to quickly and unexpectedly get a lucky opportunity.
Ex: When the band singer became ill, Bob jumped at the chance and became famous.

K

Keep it under your hat – to keep something a secret.
Ex: I’ve heard that Paul is having an affair, but keep it under your hat.

L

Lucky guess – happening by chance.
Ex: I didn’t know the answer. It was just a lucky guess.

M

N

O

P

Put a sock in it! – Impolite way of telling someone to be quiet.
Can’t you stop talking! Put a sock in it!

Q

R

Raining cats and dogs – expressive idiom giving the impression of heavy rain.

Ex: It was raining cats and dogs last night.

(A) Rough diamond – a person with great potential but lack of refinement.
Ex: Paul is intelligent and hard-working man, but he lacks sophistication, he’s a rough diamond.

S

Sleep on it – to wait and think about things before making decision.

Ex: I have to sleep on it and I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

(A) stroke of good luck – something good that happens when you least expect it.
Ex: I opened the book on exactly the same page by a stroke of good luck.

T

Take each day as it comes – dealing with things as they happen, and not have any    plans or worry about the future; live from day to day.

Ex: I’ve been through much lately, but I learned to take each day as it comes.

(Be) tied to your mother’s/wife’s apron strings – refers to people who are not capable of making decision independently or without their mother or wife.
Ex: He is 45 years old but he’s still tied to his mother’s apron strings.

Twist of fate – a change in a sequence of events.
Ex: By a twist of fate, they met again in New York.

U

V

W

X

Y

Z