Idioms
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IdiomExampleMeaning
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[Knows how to] Push your buttonsto [know how to] irritate someone
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[Modern] Renaissance man/womansomeone who seems to be good at everything
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[Up the creek] without a paddlestuck; doomed
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A bird in a hand is worth 2 in a bush[Used by itself]better to stick with what you have than seek out something better
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A lick of...That doesn't make a lick of sense to me.a bit of
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A little birdie told me that...A little birdie told me that Susie and Jeff are dating now.I have heard that...
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A pipe dreamStop thinking about going to space. It's just a pipe dream.something that you wish would happen but probably never will
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A shot in the darktaking a risk on something that probably won't work
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A stitch in time saves ninea little fix now will prevent the whole thing from breaking in the future
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A watched pot never boils"be patient, it'll happen eventually"
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Against the grain
Why do you always have to be such a rebel and go against the grain?
doing things that are unusual, and sometimes irritating
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All in alleverything considered
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All our ducks in a row
As long as we have all our ducks in a row, everything will run smoothly.
everything in order
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All your eggs in one basketonly counting on one thing or way; not having a backup plan
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An arm and a legIt cost me an arm and a leg just to get you that table.worth a lot
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Apple of my eyeMy love, my sweet, the apple of my eye!love of my life
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Back to the drawing boardLooks like we have to go back to the drawing board.start anew (usually with a project/plan) after failing
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Back-seat driver
If you want to practice your driving, don't take Henry. He's a back-seat driver.
someone who comments on driving conditions or complains about the driving when they are not driving
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Bang for your buckYou get more bang for your buck if you buy in bulk.the worth of your efforts/money
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Bark is bigger than your bite Vera might seem scary, but her bark is bigger than her bite.they seem/sound tougher than they are
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BasketcaseDon't trust her. She's a basketcase!crazy
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Between a rock and a hard place
It was either get caught by the police or jump off the bridge, so he was really stuck between a rock and a hard place.
stuck between 2 equally bad choices
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Bigger fish to fryQuit worrying about the quiz. We've got bigger fish to fry.more important things to worry about
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Birds and the beesI'm going to talk to my son about the birds and the bees today.sex, usually when explaining it to a kid
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Bite the hand that feeds you
When Robert Pattinson complains about his role in Twilight, I feel like he's biting the hand that feeds him.
treat someone badly who has helped you in the past
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Bouncing off the wallsvery excited or energetic
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Break a leg![Used by itself]good luck (usually with live performances)
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Brownie pointsI think I get brownie points for raising my hand though.
extra, imaginary points for doing something good (there is a Girl Scouts rank called Brownie)
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Burning the midnight oil
I stayed up, burning the midnight oil, just to finish that project on time.
working late into the night
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By the skin of my teethbarely
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Call it a dayLet's call it a day and go home.to stop doing something, usually for the day, possibly indefinitely
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Call the shotsI call the shots around here!to be in charge
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Can't win for losing
I fell down and broke my tooth, and when I went to the dentist, I forgot my insurance card! I just can't win for losing!
Everything is going poorly
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Carry a tuneI may not be an opera singer, but I can at least carry a tune.being able to sing fairly well
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Cart before the horse
Naw, man. Pouring the milk in first is like putting the cart before the horse.
doing things backwards
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Chase rainbowsQuit chasing rainbows! You need to live in the real world!going after something that doesn't exist
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Chew the FatWe were just sitting around, chewing the fat.talking about nothing in particular; chatting
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Chock full of...This chocolate is chock full of peanuts!stuffed with; filled with
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Chomping at the bitimpatient to get started (a reference to horse racing)
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Cock Block
I was about to start hitting on this girl when Rachel came and cock blocked me by talking to her about getting their nails done!
when someone prevents a guy from getting with a girl (in a sexual sense)
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Cold TurkeyThis is my last cigarette. After this, I'm quitting cold turkey.to stop doing something completely, instead of being weened off gradually
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Cooking with Gas
We hit a couple of roadblocks recently, but I think we're cooking with gas now.
things are moving along
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Cup of teaI don't hate swimming. It's just that it's not exactly my cup of tea.something preferred
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Cut and dryobvious distinction between things
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Cut looseYou just need to cut loose and come with us to a bar or something.relax & have fun
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Cut of your jibThat's a brilliant idea. I like the cut of your jib!what you're saying
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Cut the cheesefart/flatulate
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Cut the mustardfulfill the standard
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Cut to the ChaseQuit blabbing and cut to the chase.skip to the end; get to the point of what someone is saying
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Dead in the waterThis project never really had a chance. It was dead in the water.failed as soon as it started
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Does the carpet match the drapes?[Used by itself]
asking if someone's head hair matches their pubic hair, implying that they don't dye their hair
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Don't count your chickens before they hatch
[Used by itself]don't act until you know the outcome
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Don't shit a brick[Used by itself]telling someone to calm down
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Down for the countno longer available or able
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Down the rabbit holedwelling on the irrelevant details
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Down the tubesAll my hard work went down the tubes.wasted
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Down to the wireWe're getting down to the wire.to the end
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Drink the Kool-Aid
I wouldn't believe a word his students said about him. They've all been drinking the Kool-Aid.
holding a belief without carefully examining it; convinced to believe something to be worth it (a reference to the mass suicide caused Jim Jones's cult)
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Enough to fill a toothvery little food
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Every Tom, Dick, and Harry
Stop shouting! We don't need every Tom, Dick, and Harry involved in this!
everyone, including people you don't know
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Excuse My FrenchExcuse my French, but that's bullshit.warning/apology for cursing (can be used before or after)
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Face the MusicShe's got to stand up and face the music.admit what's happening
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Fancy PantsLook at fancy pants over there...over-the-top/gaudy/pretentious, especially with what the person is wearing
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Fight like cats and dogsFighting viciously
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Fingers in many pies
I wouldn't underestimate Bob's ability to get things done. He has fingers in many pies.
involved in many things
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Fit the bill
I think the new mayor's ideas really fit the bill to what our city needs right now.
a good match for what you're looking for
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Five O'Clock ShadowHe's already got a 5 o'clock shaddowfacial stubble that usually starts appearing at 5PM after a man shaved that morning
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Flip their wig
Don't tell your mom that concert ends after midnight. She'd flip her wig.
freaking out
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Fly off the HandleMy boss flew off the handle today.had an angry fit; lose it
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Flying by the seat of my pantsjust barely able to do something
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Foot the billGeorge, can you foot the bill tonight? I forgot my wallet.pay the bill
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From the get-goI knew he was a jerk from the get-go.at the beginning
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Get AroundBoy, does she get around. She's such a slut!to have sex with a lot of different people
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Get wind ofDid you get wind of the new job possitions?to hear news about
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Go HaywireI tried to put it together, but everything went haywire.to go wrong
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Go to towndo/take all that you want in a gluttonous way
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Going through the motions
I've had the same schedule for so long that I'm just going through the motions now.
doing things without thinking about them
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Good head on your shoulderssmart; has good common sense
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Got a kick [out of]She got a kick out of those cat videos you sent.to think something is funny
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Grass is always greener [on the other side]
Other circumstances seem more desirable than one's own but in reality are often not.
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Guinea pigsI've never done this before, so you'll be my guinea pigs.testing subjects
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Happy as a clamJenny's as happy as a clam ever since she got that promotion.very happy
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Happy camper
Ever since she got that new job in France, Hannah's been one happy camper.
happy with the current situation
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Has a mind of its ownbehaves wildly; uncontrolable
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Have a ballhaving a great time
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Have butterflies [in your stomach]Every time I put on a piano recital I get butterflies in my stomach.getting nervous
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Heading outleaving
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Herding cats
Trying to get everyone to send me their movie ticket info is like herding cats.
People are going whichever direction they want to and refusing to be directed. Alternatively trying to control something that can't be controlled.
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Here's to...Here's to another great year![a beginning of a toast]
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Hissy fitShe's having a hissy fit over nothing!tantrum
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Hit a chord/Struck a chordyou can emotionally identify with it
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Hit a nerveto hurt emotionally
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Hit the bull's eye
Boy, that comedian realy hit the bull's eye with that graduate student joke.
to do something perfectly; hit the target
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Hit the roadleave and go somewhere else
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Hold your horsesHold your horses! I'm coming!calm down; take it easy
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How about them apples?what do you think of that?
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I'll bite"I'll humor you and go along with what your saying."
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Icing on the cake
I love working out at the gym. Seeing all the hot people there is just icing on the cake
an added bonus; making something good even better
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If worse comes to worseIf worse comes to worse, we'll just have to tell him it didn't work.In the worst case...
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