Idioms and Sayings

A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush:

Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.


A Blessing In Disguise:

Something good that isn’t recognized at first.


A Chip On Your Shoulder:

Being upset for something that happened in the past.


A Dime A Dozen:

Anything that is common and easy to get.


A Doubting Thomas:

A skeptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something.


A Drop in the Bucket:

A very small part of something big or whole.


A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted:

It’s easy for a foolish person to lose his/her money.


A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand:

Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.


A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots:

You cannot change who you are.


A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned:

By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little).


A Picture Paints a Thousand Words:

A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.


A Piece of Cake:

A task that can be accomplished very easily.


A Slap on the Wrist:

A very mild punishment.


A Taste Of Your Own Medicine:

When you are mistreated the same way you mistreat others.


A Toss-Up:

A result that is still unclear and can go either way.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words:

It’s better to actually do something than just talk about it.


Add Fuel To The Fire:

Whenever something is done to make a bad situation even worse than it is.


Against The Clock:

Rushed and short on time.


All Bark And No Bite:

When someone is threatening and/or aggressive but not willing to engage in a fight.


All Greek to me:

Meaningless and incomprehensible like someone who cannot read, speak, or understand any of the Greek language would be.


All In The Same Boat:

When everyone is facing the same challenges.


An Arm And A Leg:

Very expensive. A large amount of money.


An Axe To Grind:

To have a dispute with someone.


Apple of My Eye:

Someone who is cherished above all others.


As High As A Kite:

Anything that is high up in the sky.


At The Drop Of A Hat:

Willing to do something immediately.




Back Seat Driver:

People who criticize from the sidelines, much like someone giving unwanted advice from the back seat of a vehicle to the driver.


Back To Square One:

Having to start all over again.


Back To The Drawing Board:

When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over.


Baker’s Dozen:



Barking Up The Wrong Tree:

A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve.


Beat A Dead Horse:

To force an issue that has already ended.


Beating Around The Bush:

Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.


Bend Over Backwards:

Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything.


Between A Rock And A Hard Place:

Stuck between two very bad options.


Bite Off More Than You Can Chew:

To take on a task that is way to big.


Bite Your Tongue:

To avoid talking.


Blood Is Thicker Than Water:

The family bond is closer than anything else.


Blue Moon:

A rare event or occurrence.


Break A Leg:

A superstitious way to say ‘good luck’ without saying ‘good luck’, but rather the opposite.


Buy A Lemon:

To purchase a vehicle that constantly gives problems or stops running after you drive it away.




Can’t Cut The Mustard :

Someone who isn’t adequate enough to compete or participate.


Cast Iron Stomach:

Someone who has no problems, complications or ill effects with eating anything or drinking anything.


Charley Horse:

Stiffness in the leg / A leg cramp.


Chew someone out:

Verbally scold someone.


Chip on his Shoulder:

Angry today about something that occured in the past.


Chow Down:

To eat.


Close but no Cigar:

To be very near and almost accomplish a goal, but fall short.


Cock and Bull Story:

An unbelievable tale.


Come Hell Or High Water:

Any difficult situation or obstacle.


Crack Someone Up:

To make someone laugh.


Cross Your Fingers:

To hope that something happens the way you want it to.


Cry Over Spilt Milk:

When you complain about a loss from the past.


Cry Wolf:

Intentionally raise a false alarm.


Cup Of Joe:

A cup of coffee.


Curiosity Killed The Cat:

Being Inquisitive can lead you into a dangerous situation.


Cut to the Chase:

Leave out all the unnecessary details and just get to the point.




Dark Horse:

One who was previously unknown and is now prominent.


Dead Ringer:

100% identical. A duplicate.


Devil’s Advocate:

Someone who takes a position for the sake of argument without believing in that particular side of the argument. It can also mean one who presents a counter argument for a position they do believe in, to another debater.


Dog Days of Summer:

The hottest days of the summer season.


Don’t count your chickens before they hatch:

Don’t rely on it until your sure of it.


Don’t Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth:

When someone gives you a gift, don’t be ungrateful.


Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket:

Do not put all your resources in one possibility.



Something outstanding.


Down To The Wire:

Something that ends at the last minute or last few seconds.


Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures:

When you are extremely desperate you need to take extremely desperate actions.


Drink like a fish:

To drink very heavily.


Drive someone up the wall:

To irritate and/or annoy very much.


Dropping Like Flies:

A large number of people either falling ill or dying.


Dry Run:






Eighty Six:

A certain item is no longer available. Or this idiom can also mean, to throw away.


Elvis has left the building:

The show has come to an end. It’s all over.


Ethnic Cleansing:

Killing of a certain ethnic or religious group on a massive scale.


Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining:

Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.


Everything But The Kitchen Sink:

Almost everything and anything has been included.


Excuse my French:

Please forgive me for cussing.


Cock and Bull Story:

An unbelievable tale.


Cock and Bull Story:

An unbelievable tale.




Feeding Frenzy:

An aggressive attack on someone by a group.


Field Day:

An enjoyable day or circumstance.


Finding Your Feet:

To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing.


Finger lickin’ good:

A very tasty food or meal.


Fixed In Your Ways:

Not willing or wanting to change from your normal way of doing something.


Flash In The Pan:

Something that shows potential or looks promising in the beginning but fails to deliver anything in the end.


Flea Market:

A swap meet. A place where people gather to buy and sell inexpensive goods.


Flesh and Blood:

This idiom can mean living material of which people are made of, or it can refer to someone’s family.


Flip The Bird:

To raise your middle finger at someone.


Foam at the Mouth:

To be enraged and show it.


Fools’ Gold:

Iron pyrites, a worthless rock that resembles real gold.


French Kiss:

An open mouth kiss where tongues touch.


From Rags To Riches:

To go from being very poor to being very wealthy.



An old-fashioned and foolish type of person.


Full Monty:

This idiom can mean either, “the whole thing” or “completely nude”.


Funny Farm:

A mental institutional facility.




Get Down to Brass Tacks:

To become serious about something.


Get Over It:

To move beyond something that is bothering you.


Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed:

Someone who is having a horrible day.


Get Your Walking Papers:

Get fired from a job.


Give Him The Slip:

To get away from. To escape.


Go Down Like A Lead Balloon:

To be received badly by an audience.


Go For Broke:

To gamble everything you have.


Go Out On A Limb:

Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/something.


Go The Extra Mile:

Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand.


Good Samaritan:

Someone who helps others when they are in need, with no discussion for compensation, and no thought of a reward.


Graveyard Shift:

Working hours from about 12:00 am to 8:00 am. The time of the day when most other people are sleeping.


Great Minds Think Alike:

Intelligent people think like each other.


Green Room:

The waiting room, especially for those who are about to go on a tv or radio show.


Gut Feeling:

A personal intuition you get, especially when feel something may not be right.




Haste Makes Waste:

Quickly doing things results in a poor ending.


Hat Trick:

When one player scores three goals in the same hockey game. This idiom can also mean three scores in any other sport, such as 3 homeruns, 3 touchdowns, 3 soccer goals, etc.


Have an Axe to Grind:

To have a dispute with someone.


He Lost His Head:

Angry and overcome by emotions.


Head Over Heels:

Very excited and/or joyful, especially when in love.


Hell in a Handbasket:

Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster.


High Five:

Slapping palms above each others heads as celebration gesture.


High on the Hog:

Living in Luxury.


Hit The Books:

To study, especially for a test or exam.


Hit The Hay:

Go to bed or go to sleep.


Hit The Nail on the Head:

Do something exactly right or say something exactly right.


Hit The Sack:

Go to bed or go to sleep.


Hocus Pocus:

In general, a term used in magic or trickery.


Hold Your Horses:

Be patient.




Icing On The Cake:

When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have.


Idle Hands Are The Devil’s Tools:

You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do.


If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another:

When one thing goes wrong, then another, and another…


In Like Flynn:

To be easily successful, especially when sexual or romantic.


In The Bag:

To have something secured.


In The Buff:



In The Heat Of The Moment:

Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.


In Your Face:

An aggressive and bold confrontation.


It Takes Two To Tango:

A two person conflict where both people are at fault.


It’s A Small World:

You frequently see the same people in different places.


Its Anyone’s Call:

A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict.


Ivy League:

Since 1954 the Ivy League has been the following universities: Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Harvard.





Crossing the street (from the middle) without using the crosswalk.


Joshing Me:

Tricking me.




Keep An Eye On Him:

You should carefully watch him.


Keep body and soul together:

To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive .


Keep your chin up:

To remain joyful in a tough situation.


Kick The Bucket:




Diagonally across. Sometimes called Catty-Corner as well.


Knee Jerk Reaction:

A quick and automatic response.


Knock On Wood:

Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid some bad luck.


Know the Ropes:

To understand the details.




Last but not least:

An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is no less important than those introduced before him/her.


Lend Me Your Ear:

To politely ask for someone’s full attention.


Let Bygones Be Bygones:

To forget about a disagreement or argument.


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie:

To avoid restarting a conflict.


Let The Cat Out Of The Bag:

To share a secret that wasn’t suppose to be shared.


Level playing field:

A fair competition where no side has an advantage.


Like a chicken with its head cut off:

To act in a frenzied manner.


liquor someone up:

To get someone drunk.


Long in the Tooth:

Old people (or horses).


Loose Cannon:

Someone who is unpredictable and can cause damage if not kept in check.




Make No Bones About:

To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections.


Method To My Madness:

Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason.


Mumbo Jumbo:

Nonsense or meaningless speech.


Mum’s the word:

To keep quiet. To say nothing.




Nest Egg:

Savings set aside for future use.


Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You:

Don’t hurt anyone that helps you.


New kid on the block:

Someone new to the group or area.


New York Minute:

A minute that seems to go by quickly, especially in a fast paced environment.


No Dice:

To not agree. To not accept a proposition.


No Room to Swing a Cat:

An unusually small or confined space.


Not Playing With a Full Deck:

Someone who lacks intelligence.




Off On The Wrong Foot:

Getting a bad start on a relationship or task.


Off The Hook:

No longer have to deal with a tough situation.


Off the Record:

Something said in confidence that the one speaking doesn’t want attributed to him/her.


On Pins And Needles:

Anxious or nervous, especially in anticipation of something.


On The Fence:



On The Same Page:

When multiple people all agree on the same thing.


Out Of The Blue:

Something that suddenly and unexpectedly occurs.


Out On A Limb:

When someone puts themself in a risky situation.


Out On The Town:

To enjoy yourself by going out.


Over My Dead Body:

When you absolutely will not allow something to happen.


Over the Top:

Very excessive.




Pass The Buck:

Avoid responsibility by giving it to someone else.


Pedal to the metal:

To go full speed, especially while driving a vehicle.


Peeping Tom:

Someone who observes people in the nude or sexually active people, mainly for his own gratification.


Pick up your ears:

To listen very carefully.


Pig In A Poke:

A deal that is made without first examining it.


Pig Out :

To eat alot and eat it quickly.


Pipe Down:

To shut-up or be quiet.


Practice Makes Perfect:

By constantly practicing, you will become better.


Pull the plug:

To stop something. To bring something to an end.


Pulling Your Leg:

Tricking someone as a joke.


Put a sock in it:

To tell noisy person or a group to be quiet.





An offer or deal that is declined right now but willing to accept later.


Raining Cats and Dogs:

A very loud and noisy rain storm.


Ring Fencing:

Seperated usual judgement to guarantee protection, especially project funds.


Rise and Shine:

Time to get out of bed and get ready for work/school.


Rome Was Not Built In One Day:

If you want something to be completely properly, then its going to take time.


Rule Of Thumb:

A rough estimate.


Run out of steam:

To be completely out of energy.




Saved By The Bell:

Saved at the last possible moment.



Someone else who takes the blame.



To escape and not have to pay.


Sick As A Dog:

To be very sick (with the flu or a cold).


Sitting Shotgun:

Riding in the front passenger seat of a car.


Sixth Sense:

A paranormal sense that allows you to communicate with the dead.


Skid Row:

The rundown area of a city where the homeless and drug users live.


Smell A Rat:

To detect somone in the group is betraying the others.


Smell Something Fishy:

Detecting that something isn’t right and there might be a reason for it.


Son of a Gun:

A scamp.



Someone who is left-handed.


Spitting Image:

The exact likeness or kind.


Start From Scratch:

To do it all over again from the beginning.




The Ball Is In Your Court:

It is your decision this time.


The Best Of Both Worlds:

There are two choices and you have them both.


The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall:

While the bigger and stronger opponent might be alot more difficult to beat, when you do they suffer a much bigger loss.


The Last Straw:

When one small burden after another creates an unbearable situation, the last straw is the last small burden that one can take.


The Whole Nine Yards:

Everything. All of it.


Third times a charm:

After no success the first two times, the third try is a lucky one.


Tie the knot:

To get married.


Til the cows come home:

A long time.


To Make A Long Story Short:

Something someone would say during a long and boring story in order to keep his/her audience from losing attention. Usually the story isn’t shortened.


To Steal Someone’s Thunder:

To take the credit for something someone else did.


Tongue And Cheek:

humor, not to be taken serious.


Turn A Blind Eye:

Refuse to acknowledge something you know is real or legit.


Twenty three skidoo:

To be turned away.




Under the weather:

Feeling ill or sick.


Up a blind alley:

Going down a course of action that leads to a bad outcome.


Use Your Loaf:

Use your head. Think smart.




Van Gogh’s ear for music:

Tone deaf.


Variety Is The Spice Of Life:

The more experiences you try the more exciting life can be.






Wag the Dog:

A diversion away from something of greater importance.


Water Under The Bridge:

Anything from the past that isn’t significant or important anymore.


Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve:

To openly and freely express your emotions.


When It Rains, It Pours:

Since it rarely rains, when it does it will be a huge storm.


When Pigs Fly :

Something that will never ever happen.


Wild and Woolly:

Uncultured and without laws.


Wine and Dine:

When somebody is treated to an expensive meal.


Without A Doubt:

For certain.




X marks the spot:

A phrase that is said when someone finds something he/she has been looking for.




You Are What You Eat:

In order to stay healthy you must eat healthy foods.


You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover:

Decisions shouldn’t be made primarily on appearance.


You Can’t Take it With You:

Enjoy what you have and not what you don’t have, since when you die you cannot take things (such as money) with you.


Your Guess Is As Good As Mine:

I have no idea.




Zero Tolerance:

No crime or law breaking big or small will be overlooked.

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