List 16 - Phrases and Idioms

 

 

 

 

Phrases and Idioms

Meaning

201.

critical – the critical list

A list of hospital patients who are extremely ill or seriously injured and at risk of death

202.

cross - at cross purposes

Mutual misunderstanding due to each side referring to a different matter

203.

cross – cross a cheque

To draw or print two parallel lines across a cheque so that it can only be paid into a bank account.

204.

cross - cross one’s fingers

Cross one finger with another as a sign of hope that a good or the wished-for thing will happen.

205.

cross - cross one’s heart

Make a sign of the cross over one’s heart to emphasize what one is saying is true.

206.

cross – cross one’s mind

Occur in one’s thought.

207.

cross - cross swords with

To have an argument or dispute with someone.

208.

cross - cross the floor

Walk over to join the opposing side in Parliament.

209.

cruel - a cruel blow

A tragic event that is so unfair and occurs so suddenly.

210.

cry - in full cry

In hot pursuit

211.

cudgel – cudgel one’s brain

To think very hard about something.

212.

cudgel - take up cudgels

To start to fight for or defend something one strongly believes in.

213.

curry - curry favour with

To bring oneself into favour with someone by flattering or pleasing them.

214.

cut - a cut above

Noticeably better than others.

215.

cut - cut a dash

To appear attractive when one puts on particular clothes.

216.

cut - cut and dried

(agreement, decision, etc.) reached and cannot be changed.

217.

cut - cut and paste

In computing, remove text from one location to place it on another.

218.

cut - cut and run

Withdraw from a situation that becomes difficult rather than attempt to cope with it.

219.

cut - cut and thrust

Uncontrolled and rough environment.

220.

cut - cut both ways

Have both good and bad sides

221.

cut - cut in line

To jump queue.

222.

cut - cut it out

Used to tell someone to stop saying or doing something.

223.

cut - cut no ice

Will not be able to bring about change in someone.

224.

cut - cut somebody free/loose

To set someone free by cutting the rope that binds them.

225.

cut - cut somebody short

To stop someone from finishing what they are saying.

226.

cut - cut someone dead

To deliberately ignore someone.

227.

cut - cut the cord

To not continue depending on someone.

228.

cut - cut the crap

Used to tell someone to stop wasting time on minor details and concentrate on the important ones.

229.

cut - cut the mustard

To be good enough to reach certain standard.

230.

cute - get cute with

To be mischievous.

231.

dagger – at daggers drawn

With mutual hatred.

232.

damnedest - do one’s damnedest

To try extremely hard to succeed or obtain something.

233.

damsel – damsel in distress

A young woman who needs to be rescued.

234.

dark – in the  dark

In a state of ignorance.

235.

day – day of reckoning

The time when someone has to face up to the consequences of their actions.

236.

dead - be dead meat

To be in serious trouble.

237.

dead – dead and buried

Over and finished, no longer worth considering.

238.

dead – dead man’s shoes

Succeeding someone or inheriting his property is only possible on his death.

239.

dead – dead on time

At the stated or agreed time.

240.

deal - it’s a deal

Used to express one’s agreement to something.

241.

deal - strike a deal

Mutually agree to do something for each other.

242.

death – at death’s door

So ill that one may die soon.

243.

death - on death row

To be kept in the area of a prison where prisoners awaiting execution are confined.

244.

declare – declare an interest

To make known publicly that one holds an interest in something.

245.

decline – someone’s declining years

Last years of one’s life when one experiences diminishing physical strength and good health.

246.

delusion – delusions of grandeur

Possessing a very strong sense of self-importance.

247.

dice – dice with death

To place oneself in a rather risky position.

248.

dish – dish the dirt

To engage in casual conversation or idle gossip about other people.

249.

divide – divide and rule

To maintain control over people, and provoke dissent between them to ensure they do not rise in opposition.

250.

do – do or die

To persist in a course of action even if the outcome is death.

251.

do - dos and don’ts

The things that one must and must not do in a given situation.

252.

do – that does it!

Used to show that one can tolerate no more.

253.

dog - a dog’s age

A very long time.

254.

dog - dog eat dog

A situation in which people compete ruthlessly.

255.

dog – going to the dogs

Deteriorating with no possibility of improving.

256.

doing – take some doing

Involving hard work or much effort.

257.

domino - the domino effect

A situation in which one event triggers similar events around it to happen successively.

258.

done - a done deal

An agreed proposal or a completed business deal.

259.

done - the done thing

To be socially acceptable.

260.

dot – on the dot

Punctually.

261.

dot – to a dot

Exactly; precisely.

262.

dotage –  in one’s dotage

In one’s old age.

263.

double - at/on the double

Very quickly.

264.

drag – drag one’s feet

To be deliberately slow to do something.

265.

drain - down the drain

Entirely wasted.

266.

draw - draw a blank

To be unsuccessful, especially after searching for something such as evidence, etc.

267.

draw – draw someone’s eye

To make someone notice something.

268.

dress – dress a salad

Add a mixture of additional ingredients onto a salad.

269.

dress – dressed to kill

Quality clothes worn to make a striking impression.

270.

drop – drop a bombshell

To suddenly reveal a shocking piece of news.

271.

drop – drop a clanger/brick

To pass an embarrassing remark in a social environment.

272.

drop – drop a hint

To convey something in an indirect way by what one says or does.

273.

drop – drop one’s guard

To cease keeping careful watch for possible danger.

274.

drown – drown one’s sorrows

To forget one’s problems by drinking a lot of alcohol.

275.

drum – drum one’s fingers

To unconsciously display one’s anxiety.

276.

due – in due course

At the appropriate time in the future.

277.

due – pay one’s dues

Make regular payments to; fulfil one’s obligations.

278.

duff - up the duff

Pregnant.

279.

dust – dust and ashes

Something that causes great disappointment.

280.

early - an early grave

Dying too soon.

281.

early – it’s early days

Early in time for something to happen, etc.

282.

earn – earn one’s keep

To do enough work to justify what one receives in return.

283.

earth – go to earth

Go into hiding.

284.

eat – eat humble pie

Admit one’s mistake and offer an apology.

285.

eat - eat one’s words

Retract one’s statement, usually under pressure.

286.

economy – economies of scale

To economic benefit of production of an item in large quantities.

287.

effect - to that effect

Getting the desired outcome or meaning.

288.

empty – empty your bowels

To defecate.

289.

end – be the end

Be the limit of what one can tolerate.

290.

end - days on end

Lasting many days.

291.

end – end in itself (an)

Something that one really wants to do, and not for other reasons.

292.

end – end it all

To kill own self; commit suicide.

293.

end – end to end

Arrange things in a row with ends touching

294.

end – in the end

Eventually; ultimately.

295.

end – make ends meet

To live within one’s means.

296.

end - to that end

To aim at or achieve something.

297.

end – to this end

For this purpose.

298.

even - get even with

To inflict harm or insult on someone just as much as they have harmed or insulted you.

299.

event - in any event

Used to emphasize that an event will happen besides others that may happen.

300.

event - in the event

Used to emphasize what actually happened or might happen in a given situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phrases and Idioms

Meaning

301.

ever – ever and anon

Occasionally; from time to time.

302.

every – every now and again

Occasionally.

303.

every – every now and then

Sometimes but not often.

304.

every – every other

Each alternate item in a list of items.

305.

every – every so often

Occasionally; sometimes.

306.

every – every Tom, Dick, and Harry

Used to refer to ordinary people in general.

307.

every – every which way

In all directions.

308.

evil - the evil eye

A look from the evil eye according to old superstition is believed to cause considerable harm.

309.

eye - an eye for an eye

Retaliation in kind as appropriate to deal with a wrong.

310.

eye – be all eyes

Be watching eagerly and attentively

311.

eye - catch someone’s eye

To attract someone’s attention.

312.

eye – close one’s eyes

To deliberately not notice something unpleasant.

313.

eye – make eyes at

To look at someone with sexual interest.

314.

eye – open someone’s eyes

To make someone aware of something.

315.

eye - the naked eye

Seeing without using a telescope, microscope, etc

316.

eye – to my eye

In one’s opinion with regards to how someone or something looks.

317.

eyeball - eyeball to eyeball

Face to face with someone in a mutually angry or hostile way.

318.

face – face the music

Accept the consequences of something one has done.

319.

fact – facts of life

Information about sex.

320.

fair - fair and square

Accurately; honestly and openly.

321.

fair - fair’s fair

Request for fair play or treatment, or a statement that something has been fair.

322.

fair - fair-weather friend

A person whose friendship is not genuine, especially in times of crisis.

323.

fair - the fair sex

Women.

324.

faith – act of faith

An action demonstrating trust.

325.

faith – breach of faith

Betrayal of trust; insincerity.

326.

faith – in good faith

With intention to be honest; sincerity.

327.

fall – fall foul of

To break a rule or law.

328.

fall – fall from grace

To stop being liked by others, especially those in authority.

329.

fall – fall into line

To conform to what is required of someone.

330.

fall – fall into place

To begin to become clear or make sense.

331.

fall – fall short of

To be less than the amount or standard required.

332.

fancy – take someone’s fancy

Make something attractive or interesting to someone.

333.

favour – in favour of

In support of or agree to something.

334.

feather – feather in (one’s) cap

An achievement that one should be proud of.

335.

feel – feel the pinch

Experience difficulties, especially financial.

336.

fiddle – play second fiddle (to)

To take a less important role.

337.

fight – fight or flight

Instinctive response to a threatening situation.

338.

fight – fight shy of

To avoid doing or becoming involved with something.

339.

fill – fill someone’s shoes

Substitute someone’s role and perform it acceptably.

340.

fill – fill the bill

To have the qualities suitable for a particular purpose.

341.

find – find favour with

To be liked or approved of.

342.

fine – one’s finest hour

Time when someone experiences their greatest success.

343.

fire – fire and brimstone

Refers to hell.

344.

first – at first light

Dawn; daybreak.

345.

first – first among equals

The most outstanding one.

346.

first – first and foremost

The primary purpose of something.

347.

first – first of all

Before doing anything else.

348.

first –first things first

Dealing with things in or

349.

flat – go flat against

To completely disregard or reject outright.

350.

flesh – flesh and blood

Someone of one’s own family.

351.

flesh - put flesh on

To provide details so as to clarify.

352.

floor – take the floor

To dance or speak at a social event, etc.

353.

fly – fly a kite

To try out something new so as to test reaction.

354.

flying - with flying colours

Very successfully.

355.

follow – as follows

To present a list of something.

356.

follow – follow suit

To do the same thing as someone has just done.

357.

follow – follow the herd

To just blindly do what other people do.

358.

foot - feet of clay

Someone whose faults are not easily known.

359.

force – by force of

By means of.

360.

force – come into force

Start to operate.

361.

force – force of circumstance

External factors that influence one’s decisions

362.

force – force someone’s hand

Exert pressure on someone to do something.

363.

force – force the bidding

To deliberately and quickly drive up a price

364.

force – force the issue

To pressure someone to make a hasty decision.

365.

force – forces of darkness

Evil influences or the devil.

366.

force – forces of nature

Natural forces such as the earthquakes, volcanoes, wind, etc.

367.

fortune – a small fortune

A large amount of money.

368.

fortune – soldier of fortune

A soldier who will fight in return for money; a mercenary.

369.

French – take French leave

To absent oneself form work, etc. without permission.

370.

full – full steam ahead

To proceed or do something energetically and speedily.

371.

further - until further notice

Until one is notified again.

372.

garbage – garbage in, garbage out

Inferior quality input will produce low quality output.

373.

gauntlet - run the gauntlet

Take whatever criticisms or attacks that come one’s way.

374.

get – get a life.

Used to tell someone that they are boring.

375.

go – go for it

Put in all one’s effort to get something.

376.

go – go without saying

To be self-evident.

377.

go - have a go

Make an attempt at something.

378.

go – on the go

On the move all the time.

379.

go – who goes there?

A sentry’s challenge to someone to identify themselves.

380.

goalpost – move the goalposts

Alter the rules in an unfair manner.

381.

grade - make the grade

To accomplish what is required. Succeed.

382.

grass – the grass roots

The ordinary people as opposed to the leaders in an organization.

383.

grease - grease someone’s palm

To bribe someone.

384.

grease - like greased lightning

Extremely fast.

385.

green - green with envy

Very envious or jealous

386.

green - green-eyed monster

Jealousy.

387.

green - have green fingers

Clever at growing plants.

388.

grim – like/for  grim death

With great determination.

389.

grind - the daily grind

The monotonous work that one does every day.

390.

grit – grit one’s teeth

To persevere in one’s efforts to overcome something difficult.

391.

groan – moan and groan

Complain constantly.

392.

guard – guard of honour

A group of soldiers assembled to ceremonially welcome an important visitor, usually a foreign head of state.

393.

guard – lower your guard

Fail to give proper care or attention to.

394.

guess - be anybody’s guess

Something that no one knows but only guess at.

395.

guest - be my guest

Used to express permission to someone to do what they have asked to do.

396.

guest – guest of honour

The most important person invited to a special function.

397.

gun – jump the gun

To act sooner than one should without considering the proper time to do it.

398.

gutter – the gutter press

Newspapers engaging in sensationalism and considered as fit only for the gutter

399.

hair - a hair’s breath

A very small margin

400.

half - half a mind (to)

Used when one is unsure about doing something.