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Idioms and Expression


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Idioms and Expressions by David Holmes A method for learning and remembering idioms and expressions I wrote this model as a teaching device during the time I was working in Bangkok, Thailand, as a legal editor and language consultant, with one of the Big Four Legal and Tax companies, KPMG (during my afternoon job) after teaching at the university. When I had no legal documents to edit and no individual advising to do (which was quite frequently) I would sit at my desk, (like some old character out of a Charles Dickens’ novel) and prepare language materials to be used for helping professionals who had learned English as a second language—for even up to fifteen years in school—but who were still unable to follow a movie in English, understand the World News on TV, or converse in a colloquial style, because they’d never had a chance to hear and learn common, everyday expressions such as, “It’s a done deal!” or “Drop whatever you’re doing.” Because misunderstandings of such idioms and expressions frequently caused miscommunication between our management teams and foreign clients, I was asked to try to assist. I am happy to be able to share the materials that follow, such as they are, in the hope that they may be of some use and benefit to others. The simple teaching device I used was three-fold: 1. Make a note of an idiom/expression 2. Define and explain it in understandable words (including synonyms.) 3. Give at least three sample sentences to illustrate how the expression is used in context. For instance, Idiom: “It’s a done deal.” Definition: “We agree. Everything has been decided. We’re ready to sign the contract.” Examples: 1. “The bank has confirmed the loan agreement, so It’s a done deal.” 2. “The court has approved the restructuring plan, so it’s a done deal.” 3. “The Senior Partner has signed my promotion papers, so it’s a done deal.” If a student came to me with an idiom he wanted explained, like “a rotten egg ” or “a little stinker,” we would follow the above formula, and we would work it through together, discussing and explaining the words and situations as we went along, to the point where we could finally get the student using the expression in sample sentences referring to life situations of his own. If a student was anxious to learn idiomatic expressions, on a broader range, in general, I would often encourage him just to open the book at any page and put his finger on the first expression which caught to his eye, and we would talk about that, often getting into a lively conversation on the topic, sharing related incidents, anecdotes and stories, and dis-


cussing the main issue or moral point of the day’s lesson—just letting itself roll out, like a ball of wool down a gentle incline. A word to the wise, however, is that students should learn only one idiom/expression at a time, because (as research indicates) if they learn seven in a row in fifteen minutes, they won’t remember anything at all later on. It is better to do one thing well and hammer it home until the learner has it clearly in his head and will be able to use it when he needs it. It is best for the student to use this book together with a native-speaking teacher because working together is ten times easier than working alone. Some advanced students, however, may find that they can work with the text to their benefit on their own. The list of idioms and expressions below is by no means complete, and, indeed, as the reader will see, if he works far enough into the text, many idioms are merely noted and only partially defined and explained,* as our website is still under construction. This need be no problem, however, because the method we are practicing is a process intended as a device for learning rather than a long list of idioms and definitions and examples to be memorized in the old-fashioned way. This technique is a working tool rather than a finished product. Indeed, in discussing words which describe human situations, the best examples will be those that arise out of student-teacher interaction, picking up on and developing the ideas that interest them. As with many things, once you are practicing the technique, you no longer need the book. Incidentally, the opinions and attitudes herein cited represent no unified point of view, but are, rather, quoted quite at random, the way different kinds of people talk in the world different ways—sometimes sensibly and sometimes arbitrarily—sometimes ignorantly and sometimes wisely. So please feel free to agree or disagree with anything anyone says or does in any situation depicted in this book. Please, don’t blame the present writer for the way people talk or the things they say. Language is just a crude cultural convention. Who is to blame me for the ignorant and abusive things common people customarily say? Note also that every boxed-idiom can be used and expanded into a lesson in itself containing a main idea, with related vocabulary, and issues to define explain and discuss. The slower you go and the more you converse together on any single matter of interest at a one time, the better it is. Teachers should note that just even reading the sentences, phrases or words aloud can be good pronunciation and rhythm practice. Learning a language also means speaking so the less the teacher talks and the more he listens and prompts the better the results should be. At the very least, the text will provide a wide range of ideas to choose from for teaching vocabulary and related, real-life, conversation-discussion topics. If you see an idiom you don’t want to teach, or is not appropriate for your audience, don’t bother with it. Do one you prefer instead. (*Editorial Note: an asterisk indicates that an idiom/expression has been noted and defined with at least three examples. No asterisk means the entry still needs work.)



Idioms and expressions A backslider Definitions followed by examples A lazy, irresponsible person who does not support a combines effort; someone who causes development to slide backwards rather than forwards; someone who can’t be trusted to get a job done. “I see you have assigned Captain Morgan to my project. He’s a no-good backslider who will hinder rather than further the success of the mission.” “Mallory is nothing but a backslider. He’s never done anything useful in his life that would bring credit to his name or family.” “If I ever get my hands on that backslider, Mullins, I will kick him in the backside for letting down his wife and children by wasting his life on gambling and drink.” * Just as a person may sneak up behind you to stick a knife in your back, so we can call a person a back-stabber who unexpectedly betrays your trust. “Be careful who you trust, because even your best friend could turn out to be a backstabber.” “My first wife was a backbiting, backstabbing-bitch.” “I wouldn’t trust Charlie as far as I could throw him. He’s a liar, a thief and a back-stabber.” * A bad sign which indicates that, when a bad thing happens, something even worse is going to happen. A sign that something bad or evil is going to come. “It’s a bad omen that our son was born on Friday the thirteenth.” “They say it is a bad omen when a black cat crosses your path.” “It’s a bad omen when a voodoo witch smears, the blood of a chicken on your front door.” * It used to be an old English marketplace tradition to pay for twelve bread rolls, and get one extra one, thrown in for good measure, to make a total of thirteen. “In the London market, a baker’s dozen doesn’t mean twelve. It means thirteen.” “Before Britain joined the European common market, people sold things by the dozen in units of twelve, or perhaps thirteen, if they gave the customer a baker’s dozen.” “We had thirteen children in our family, and father was fond of saying he had produced a baker’s dozen.”* A guess as to how many people are in a baseball or football stadium; an approximate estimate of how-many or how-much. “I can’t tell you exactly how many spectators came to see the game, but if you want a ballpark figure, my estimate would be about sixty thousand.” “How 3

A back-stabber

A bad omen

A baker’s dozen

A ballpark figure

much is this wedding reception going to cost? Can you give me a ballpark figure?” “I hate it when people say they will give me a ballpark figure. What I want is an exact number and not an approximate guess.” * A barefaced-lie A bold and brazen untruthful statement; a shameless, obvious lie. “Don’t try to tell me you gave the money to some poor old woman. That’s a brazen and barefacedlie!” “When you claim you don’t desire other women, I can see that you are telling a barefaced-lie.” “Don’t try to deny you stole the cookies; I know it is a bare-faced lie.” * A bee in her bonnet Just as woman with a bee in her hat (or bonnet) might run around, wildly, waving her hands in a panic, so we may say that a woman with an angry idea in her head reacts in frantic and frightful manner. “My Mom has got a bee in her bonnet about Father’s forgetting Valentine’s Day.” “Don’t run around like a woman with a bee in her bonnet just because someone said you are too tight and stingy.” “Aunt Caroline had a bee in her bonnet because the Ambassador had left her off the invitation list for Ladies’ Night.” * A bird in the hand is Be satisfied with what you’ve got; don’t dream of what worth two in the bush. you have not. “If you let go of the bird that you have in your hand in hopes of catching two in the bushes, you will more than likely end-up empty-handed.” “It’s better to be thankful for what little you have; than being disappointed by unfulfilled desire for twice as much, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” “Be content with the one thing that you have rather than be discontented by two things you desire but are unlikely to get because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” * A bit beyond my ken Above my level of understanding; beyond my ability to grasp; more than I can comprehend; beyond my knowledge. “I could never understand the physics behind pressure points causing geological rifts on the sea-bed at the point where continental plates meet. It’s a bit beyond my ken.” “The justification for Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a bit beyond my ken.” “It is beyond my ken why and how a whole galaxy can be sucked together and disappear into a black hole.” * A bit dicey A little risky; chancy; a gamble, as in a throw of the dice; uncertain; not totally honest. “I wouldn’t invest any money in such a chancy venture. It seems a bit dicey to me.” “Don’t take any risks in business. Bet on a sure thing and avoid anything that looks dicey.” “I wouldn’t want to trust Charlie as a business consultant: his longshot ideas always seem a bit dicey to me.” * A bit dodgy Dishonest; tricky; dicey; dubious; chancy risky. “A busi-


A bit much

A bit obtuse

A bit on the side

A bit out of it

A bloodsucker

ness that dodges the law is a dodgy business.’ “I wouldn’t invest money any of those pyramid schemes. They all seem a bit dodgy to me.” “It’s a bit risky to deposit money offshore in the hands of total strangers. It sounds a bit dodgy to me.” * Over-exaggerated; over-stated; too flashy; over the top. “I found the accusations in your speech towards the Prime Minister a bit much, a bit over the top, I would say.” “Appearing in court with pink hair and a ring in your nose before the judge was a bit much. Don’t you think?” “I think that your leaving your wife at home alone, while attending a public reception with another woman, was a bit much!” * A little dull and stupid; incapable of understanding; a bit thick; slow-witted; a little too-dumb to understand. “I didn’t understand you. I must be a bit obtuse. Can you explain it to me again?” “Being obtuse is no excuse. If you are too dull-witted to do this job, we’ll get someone to replace you.” “You must be a bit obtuse if you can’t even understand how to follow simple orders and directions.” * When one has casual sexual relations outside the primary sexual partnership, we say that person is getting a bit on the side. “Tom and Tina seem to be the perfect married couple, but if Tina knew Tom was getting a bit on the side, she wouldn’t be so happy.” “My big sister, Kitty, says she wants to marry a rich, old man but keep a young boyfriend, at the same time, so she can get a bit on the side.” “Men are always dreaming about getting a bit on the side, but they would never dream that wives might be dreaming about the same thing.” * Mentally out of contact with the world; not quite all there; not with it; out of the picture. “Excuse me, if I don’t seem to be listening. Today I’m a bit out of it because of the drugs the doctor gave me.” “My girlfriend has just broken-off with me. I can’t concentrate on my work; I’m a bit out of it.” “Pay no attention to my idiot brother. He’s a bit out of it; he’s not all there you know.” * Just as a leech sticks to you and sucks your blood, so another person may be said to stick to you, like a parasite, in order to obtain personal gain and benefit. “My first wife drained my bank account, just in the way a leech sucks blood from the body. She was a real bloodsucker.” “Harvey’s wife, Lolita, is the kind of person who just wants to marry for money. She’s nothing but a bloodsucker.” “Don’t be such a bloodsucker, and stop leeching off your friends all the time.” *


A brainwave

A breath of fresh air

A brush with death

A bum-steer

A bundle of energy

An unexpected clever idea or insight; a stroke of genius; a sudden inspiration. “I had the brainwave of installing a Bluetooth System in my car radio, connected to the GPS, which would allow the car to run more-or-less on autopilot. Tests begin tomorrow.” “Who was it who had the brainwave to inflate big air balloons by burning nitrogen?” “Einstein was the genius who had the brainwave that the speed of a moving particle in a relative relationship to another moving particle could be measured.” * Just as we feel better after going outside a stifling, suffocating, boring environment to get a breath of fresh air, so it can be refreshing when someone or something new enters into a stuffy atmosphere. “When Tony Blair, was elected, Prime Minister, he brought a breath of fresh air into an otherwise conservative and boring, British political world.” “When young Jane joined the staff, she was like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise, stuffy and stagnant atmosphere.” “It was a real breath of fresh air when the Judge called in Cheery Cherry, Mr. Wong’s, exgirlfriend, to the witness stand in to tell all she knew.” * A near accidental encounter with death; an incident in which one comes very close to dying. “While crossing the street in Bangkok, yesterday, I had a close brush with death, when a speeding motorcyclist swerved barely in time to avoid hitting me head-on.” “The captain and crew of the submarine had a close brush with death, when a German torpedo, passed within half a meter of the port side of the hull.” “When I was mountain-climbing, I once had a brush with death, when I lost my footing and fell about forty-five meters straight down through the air and was only saved by my safety harness.” * Purposely give someone the wrong directions on how to get somewhere or how to do something; give incorrect or wrong information to lead someone on a false trail; to mislead someone by giving bad advice. “Because country folks, in Tennessee, don’t like city-slickers, they often give them a bum-steer if they stop their cars to ask for directions.” “We were afraid the other rally team would reach the destination before us, so we purposely misled then with a bum-steer to throw them off-track for a while.” “My stock broker foolishly gave me a bum-steer on some risky stocks that declined dramatically in market value.” * A person who is packed-full of power and energy. “President Kennedy was seen by many as a youthful bundle of energy who was very enthusiastic and dedicated to the cause of equal rights and employed all his spiritual and physical strength to fight for the cause of


A bundle of nerves

A case in point

A case of the dropsy

A cipher

A clean break

A clean slate

democracy.” “My little sister is a bundle of energy who does everything she can to make sure the get the job gets done. “My Campaign manager, Mary Hines, has been a real bundle of energy, the moving force behind our political success.” * A person who is very stressed and jumpy. “I have been under so much pressure in the office and at home recently that I am little more than a bundle of nerves.” “Continued stress can turn you into a bundle of nerves.” “Before I have to give a presentation or speech, I am always a bundle of nerves.” * An actual example to illustrate; a factual act which illustrates the point; an instance used to prove or explain a point. “There have been many female figures in the political world that have helped unite divergent factions. A case in point would be Sonya Gandhi.” “Multi-national mergers can be beneficial to both sides. A case in point was the merger of KPMG with Arthur Andersen which brought benefits to both sides.” “Sometimes a son can follow in his father’s footsteps right up into the highest level of political office. A case in point would be George Bush Jr. holding the same post as George Bush Sr.” * When a person keeps dropping things, letting things slip and fall from his fingers, we say he has a case of the dropsy. “I keep dropping dishes on the kitchen floor. I’ve got a case of the dropsy.” “Oops! I dropped my key again. I’ve got a case of the dropsy.” “Because Grandfather has poor blood circulation and limited feeling in the ends of his fingers, he keeps dropping things; it’s a classic example of the dropsy.” * An insignificant person; someone not even worthy of notice; a nothing and a no body. “You are a person of no account. No one cares in the least about you, because you are just a cipher!” “Sometimes, within the structure of our company, I feel like nothing more than an insignificant statistic on a broad spread-sheet. I feel like such a cipher.” “Her first husband was a real cipher; he was about as significant as a fly speck on the wall.” * A clear and final breaking-off of relations; finally finishing and leaving for good. “I want to leave the company and make a clean break with the audit profession because I find it too stressful for me.” “My wife and I have decided to make a clean break, and go our own separate ways.” “When I retired as a military man, I decided to make a clean break with the past and to devote myself to peace and charity.” * Starting off with a clean record. i.e. after having confessed your wrong-doings and served your punishment.


A clip over the ear

A close call

A close shave

A crushing blow

A crying-shame

A cushy job

“My teacher says that once I have served my punishment for cheating, I will have erased my bad record and I can start off with a clean slate.” “Now that I have served my prison sentence, I can start off with a clean slate and start a new and better life.” “Once a murder has done his time and paid his debt to society, he is released from prison with a clean slate and allowed to rejoin society.” * A slap on the side of the head; a smack on the ear; a box on the ear. “My son, if you don’t stop that noise I’ll give you a clip over the ear.” “Father says that if he ever catches me lying, he’ll give me a clip over the ear.” “I’ll give you a good clip over the ear if I ever hear you saying anything nasty like that again.” * A narrow escape; a close shave; a brush with danger, nearly missing death. “The pilot landed his plane on the runway, just as it was running out of fuel. It was quite a close call.” “The bomb squad disarmed the explosive device just a few seconds before it was about to go off. It was a very close call.” “The farmer was rescue-lifted by helicopter from the rooftop of his barn just as the nearby dam was about to burst. It was a close call.” * A close call; brush with danger; a near accident. “My cousin, Clem, threw a hunting knife at me that whizzed so close by me under my ear that it nearly cut the whiskers from my cheek. That was a close shave.” “The enemy shot a missile at the plane which whistled by within inches of the fuselage, as the pilot was starting to loop to avoid impact. That was certainly a close shave, if there ever was one.” “Last night, in the warehouse, I had a close shave with death, when the crane operator dropped a container that hit the ground in just in front of me.” * A hurtful action; a disappointing defeat; a strong setback. “When my wife packed-up and left me, it was a crushing blow.” “It was a crushing blow when I lost my job during the financial crisis.” “It was a crushing blow for the Conservative Party when the Liberals won the election.” * A pity; a disgrace; something unfair that makes us feel sorry for the victimized. “It’s a crying-shame so many children are dying of malnutrition throughout the world, while the rest of us become fat and overweight.” “It’s a crying shame the way a small minority is getting rich on corruption, while the majority of the poor don’t have a the chance to earn a decent living.” “It’s a crying-shame the way Malone spends all his time and money drinking in the pub while making no effort to take care of his wife and children.” * An easy job that is not demanding or difficult; a comfortable, enjoyable job that does not take too much effort.


A cut above the average

A drop in the bucket

A drop in the ocean

A dud

“The managing director has given his mistress a nice, cushy job in his office, and the rest of the staff members are feeling resentful” “My best friend has got a nice, cushy job in an air-conditioned office, while I have to work really hard, out in the heat of the day as a gardener.” “I wish I could get a nice cushy job where I wouldn’t have too much to do and not very much responsibility” * Better than most; higher than normal; quite good compared to normal standards. “The new, young, foreign graduates that we have been hiring are a cut above average because they have been trained in a more up-to-date educational system.” “Our work for the client must be a cut above average if we want to stay competitive in the market.” “Your son, Stan, is certainly a cut above average when compared to the rest of the students in class.” * A small part of the whole; very little compared to the total amount; a small fraction of the total sum “The amount the government is investing in environmental research is a drop in the bucket compared to what it spends on national defense.” “Government aid of a million dollars for Tsunami refugees is just a drop in the bucket in contrast to the huge amount that foreign non-government agencies are presently spending.” “The money I lost on gambling in Los Vegas is just a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amount of income taxes I have to pay every year.” * Just a small amount compared to the size of the whole; only a little bit of the total quantity. “A million dollars is a drop in the ocean compared to the total amount needed to combat starvation and hunger in the Sudan.” “The little bit he gives to charity is just a drop in the ocean compared to money he wastes on drink and women.” “What the company spends on staff development is just a drop in the ocean compared to what it spends on developing the company image.” * Just as a bomb that has been dropped may fail to explode due to a faulty triggering-device, so a plan, or performance may lack the necessary spark to fire the imagination of the public. “The fireworks extravaganza was a disastrous disappointment, because the ignition devices didn’t go off in sequence, so the whole show was a dud.” “The high school opening performance of a Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, failed to awaken the imagination of the student body. It was a real and total dud” “Even the most expensive film ever made by Hollywood would be a gigantic dud, if it didn’t feature big-name stars and a have a huge promotion budget.” *


A fair crack at

A chance to try your luck; an opportunity to fix or solve a problem; an opening or possibility to show how well you can do. “I know I could be a good movie actress if I were given a fair crack at it.” “If I were given a fair crack at solving the traffic problem, I’d have it fixed within three months.” “If I am given the chance of becoming the company managing director, I’m sure I’d be a success. All I need is a fair crack at it.” * A fat lot of good that will That won’t help much; won’t make matters better; won’t do. do any good; won’t improve the situation. “You can invest another million in your business, but a fat lot of good that will do, if your cost of investment continues to exceed profits from sales.” “You can fill the tank of the car with gas, but a fat lot of good that will do if you don’t get the fuel pump fixed as well.” “You may have a good business plan, but a fat lot of good that will do if you can’t find the cash for the start-up costs.” * A fat lot you care! Indicates you know that the other person has no sympathy or understanding for you. “I’m falling apart emotionally because I’m disappointed about our love, but a fat lot you care!” “Your hate and greed have driven me to destruction, but a fat lot you care!” “I’ve never been through such terrible suffering in my life, but I can see you have absolutely no pity for me. A fat lot you care!” * A fate worse than death Suffering that is so bad that dying would be easier or maybe better. “Being in a state of insufferable pain for months and months is a fate worse than death itself.” “Loving someone who is burning with hatred towards you can be compared with a fate worse than death” “It’s possible to argue that there is no fate worse than death, but being married to my wife would surely put you to the test.” * A feather in your cap Just as in the old days when hunters wore a fine-looking feather, stuck into the band of their caps, as a sign of their hunting skill, so, nowadays, we can say someone deserves a feather in his cap when he has done something well or worthy of recognition. “You deserve a feather in your cap for all the time you have devoted to community service.” “Collins deserves a feather in his cap for solving the math problem in half the time it took the others.” “Winning a Nobel Prize is the highest modern-dayequivalent of wearing a feather in your cap.” * A feeding-frenzy Just as man-eating piranha fish will swarm to a chunk of flesh, which is thrown into the water, and have a feeding frenzy, so “mass media reporters, for example, can swarm to the scene a and have a ‘feeding frenzy’ wherever a big star is involved in a public scandal.” “The press had a feeding frenzy when the big Tsunami hit


A fine kettle of fish

A fine state of affairs!

A fly in the ointment

A freak of nature

A free bit of advice

South East Asia, killing in excess of forty thousand victims.” “It is despicable the way that the press can create a feeding frenzy when disaster strikes, because the viewing audience is hungry for information.” * Just as a pot of fish will begin to stink if it stands for too long, so a problem that is neglected too long will be hard to fix; a mistake hard to remedy; a situation that is hard to get out of. “This is a fine kettle of fish. Our daughter is pregnant, her boyfriend is in jail, and nobody quite knows what to do.” “Now you have got yourself into a fine kettle of fish. You’ve been caught cheating just before graduation and there’s no excuse.” “It’s a fine kettle of fish. You need one million for bail and all your accounts have been frozen, so it’s a dilemma that cannot be resolved.” * A big problem; a situation that is hard to resolve; a set of conditions that have been allowed to arise but cannot so easily be made to cease. “This is a fine state of affairs! What are we going to say to your father when he finds out that you are in love with a married-man?” “This is a fine state of affairs! How could you allow your finances to get into such a terrible mess?” “This is a fine state of affairs. Your father did not leave a last will and testament and the family will be fighting over his assets for years to come.” * Just as there can be a fly in the ointment or balm used as a medicine, so there can be a problem in what is seen as the solution. “When there is a fly in the ointment, we may still have to use it to treat the disease, but we don’t feel perfectly happy with the cure.” “Well, we’ve found a solution regarding the transfer of funds, but there’s a fly in the ointment because there will be a tax increase of five percent.” “I got them to comply with the late payment agreement but there is a fly in the ointment because the agreement must be renegotiated before the next payment period.” * Something that happens that does not follow the usual pattern of nature. “A man born with one eye in the middle of his forehead is a freak of nature.” “It is hard to determine if someone born with mixed male and female body parts is a freak of nature.” “Even if a Tsunami tidal wave arises only once in a thousand years, it is not a freak occurrence. It is not a freak of nature because it happens in accordance with the laws of nature.” * A suggestion given that isn’t requested; an unsolicitedopinion. “Let me give you a free bit of advice. ‘Next time you want to open your mouth, remember that the teeth are at home when the mouth is closed.’” “Because I am


A frog in your throat

A funny feeling

A good egg

A good omen

A greenhorn

older, let me give you a bit of free advice: ‘No older person ever gave any younger person any piece of useful advice’.” “I’ll give you a bit of free advice, ‘If you want to stay out of trouble, don’t go around giving people bits free advice.” * Laryngitis; a physical condition that makes your voice sound deeper, as though you had a frog in your throat; or when you have a bad cold that makes your voice sounds like a low, hoarse croak. “Sorry, if you can’t hear me in the back. I’ve got a frog in my throat and I cannot speak any more loudly.” “Mr. Peters cannot speak to you now. He’s got a frog in his throat, and has to rest his voice for the speech he has got to give this evening.” “I’ve got tonsillitis and it makes me sound like I’ve got a frog in my throat.” * A strange sense that something is wrong; a suspicion that something bad is going to happen. “When he asked me to come to his room to look at some pictures, I had a funny feeling that something was wrong.” “When my boss called me and asked me to come to his office, I had the funny feeling that I had done something wrong.” “When the four gangsters asked me to get into their car to go and talk to their boss, I had a funny feeling I might never come back alive.” * Just as we can speak of a person who is a rotten egg, who can spoil a whole basket, so we may say someone else is a good egg, meaning that he does no harm and fits in well for the sake of the general good. “You’ll like my Uncle Bob. He’s a good egg and is well-loved by everyone in the family.” “My boss is really a good egg and everyone likes working with him.” “Our Uncle Charlie is really a good egg and is always doing things to help other people.” * A good sign that something good or something better is going to happen. “When the rainy season begins with heavy showers, this is a good omen that the rice harvest will be good that year.” “I always think it’s a good omen when there are two full moons in one monthly cycle; that is a sign of good luck.” “I think it is a good omen that there have been fewer and fewer terrorist attacks in the South in the last few months.” * Someone with little or no experience; a novice; a beginner; a person who comes in with no idea of what to do and has to learn to cope quickly. “When I first joined the circus, I was a total greenhorn and not much good for anything but, bit-by-bit; I learned a few tricks and was then able to take part in the performances.” “A new recruit in the navy comes as a greenhorn and has to learn


the ropes, but, after twenty years before the mast, he is considered an old hand.” “When I first came to the Wild West from the city of Boston, at the age of sixteen, people teased me and called me a greenhorn, but I eventually got the hang of things, and, later became an experienced cowboy.” * A gut feeling A natural instinct or intuition that tells you when something is going to go wrong. “I have a gut feeling that you are lying to me.” “People sometimes have a gut feeling that tells them not to trust somebody.” “A gut feeling is something like a sixth sense of awareness that is located in your stomach rather than your head.” * A hard nut to crack A difficult, inflexible person who is hard to convince or win over to your way of thinking or seeing things. “Roger is so stubborn that it will be almost impossible to get him to agree. He’s a real hard nut to crack.” “It’s hard to get grandfather to open up his mind and see things other people’s way. He’s so obstinate; he’s a tough nut to crack.” “When our administrative supervisor has got a fixed idea in her head, it’s hard to get her to change her mind. She’s a real tough nut to crack.” * A harrowing- experience A frightening-occurrence; terrifying-event; chillingincident; scary, disturbing hair-raising; traumatic; stressful; distressing; upsetting experience. “Seeing a ghost in the haunted castle of my ancestors was the most harrowing experience I’ve ever had in my life.” “Surviving the horrific shipwreck in the howling gale was an harrowingexperience for the Captain and the crew” “Seeing my beloved mother, lying dead in her coffin, all laid-out in white linen, was a harrowing experience I shall not soon forget.” * A hell of a time A difficult time trying to get something accomplished; trying hard and meeting so many obstacles so that it is like going through hell. “In school, I had a hell of a time trying to understand algebra.” “Our auditor had a hell of a time getting through all the necessary paperwork to get the data compiled on time.” “I had a hell of a time convincing the logistics manager that the equipment must be put in place previous to the contractual deadline date.” * A hollow leg When a person eats so much that you wonder how he’s got room for any more, we often say that it goes into his hollow leg. “That boy eats so much that he must have a hollow leg.” “He won the world’s record for eating fifty hamburgers within one hour, and when they asked how he did it, he joked that he had a hollow leg.” “I always feel so hungry that I could eat a horse. My mother says I must have hoards of maggots in my hollow leg.” * A horse of a different One thing that cannot be compared to another because it



is so dissimilar; easy to distinguish, as being different;; another thing altogether. “You cannot compare ambition to greed. Greed is a horse of a different color.” “Nixon as compared to Johnson was a horse of a different color.” “Lust is not love; it’s another thing altogether. It’s a horse of a different color.” * A hothead Someone who quickly gets angry and furious for almost no reason and reacts immediately without thinking. “Our brother, William, is such a hothead that he’s going to get himself into big trouble one day.” “I know you’re a hothead, but don’t jump the gun and fly-off-the-handle until you have heard the full story.” “Don’t be such a hothead! Cool down for a minute and listen to me and I’ll explain what I actually said about your sister and why I said it.” * A jarring-experience An unexpected, loud, unpleasant, harsh sound or an upsetting, surprising experience, contrary to expectation; that jars one into a rude awakening or jars on the nerves. “Our group’s meditation session was suddenly disturbed by the loud, screeching, grating sound of metal on metal. What a jarring experience that was!” “Some older people say that modern experimental music grates upon the nerves and is a jarring, rather than harmonious experience.” “It was a jarring experience for investors to hear that the stock market had suddenly bottomed-out and they all had lost their fortunes.” * A joy to behold Seeing someone or something and being filled with love and joy at that moment. “Our new, little baby is so lovely! It is a joy to behold.” “It was a joy to behold our son coming back alive and well after the war.” “Seeing all the family here in harmony together is a joy to behold.” * A kick in the pants A boot in the rear; a kick in the arse. “Every time I used to lie, my father would give me a kick in the pants to try to teach me a lesson.” “If I ever catch you stealing candy from a baby again, I’ll give you a kick in the pants you’ll never forget.” “You deserve a kick in the pants for the way you have disappointed your little sister.” * A leech Just as a leech sucks blood from the human body, so some people may be said to be leeching from others for their own benefit. “Don’t be such a leech! Go out and get a job and stop living off of others.” “That guy is nothing but a leech. He never worked a day in his life and is always leeching and sponging off others.” “Stop hanging around the bar like a parasitic leech without ever ordering a round of drinks for the others.” * A leopard can’t change Some people are so fixed in their ways that they cannot its spots. change. “When we think someone is so stubborn and fixed in his ways that he will never change, we compare


A little bird told me

A little green

A little leery

A load off my mind

A lot of balls

him to an old leopard cannot change its spots.” “When we know that it is impossible to get someone to change his nature, we say that a leopard cannot change its spots.” “Don’t even try to Grandfather to change his behavior; a leopard can never change its spots.” When someone asks you who told you something, and you don’t want to tell them who informed you, you can say, “A little bird told me.” “A little bird told me that you are planning to leave the company and try to take some of your clients with you. Is that True?” “When I asked my girlfriend, Molly how she found out that I was a married-man, she said that a little bird had told her.” “That evening, when I got home, I discovered that my wife was the little bird who had telephoned Molly and told her to keep her grubby hands off me.” * Young and inexperienced; wet behind the ears; unsophisticated; unproven; unseasoned; raw. “When I first started working as a journalist, I was a little green and inexperienced, but after a year or so, once I got used to the job, it became rather routine.” “We’ll let young Jacobs have a try at the job. He’s still a little young and green, but he’s a fast-learner and will soon get the knack of it.” “When Christopher first came to New York from Buffalo he was still green, unsophisticated and wet behind the ears, but he soon got used to the way New Yorkers behave, and now he’s just like them.” * A bit dubious, doubtful, skeptical of something or somebody. “I’m a little leery about trusting my husband to pay directly in cash, so I’m paying the invoice by bank order instead.” “We are a little leery about trusting our investment partner to hold up his end of the bargain, because we know he may purposely breach the contract for his own ends.” “I’m a little leery about investing in my son’s business plan because I know he does not know how to handle money.” * To feel mental relief; to become free of a mental worry or burden; to feel a sense of release in having solved a problem or conflict; to come to and understanding. “Now that I’ve paid off my bank loan that’s a real load off my mind.” “Finally getting my contract renewed was a real load off my mind.” “I’m glad that I’ve given up that old grudge against my sister. It’s a load off my mind.” * A bold, straightforward manner; a lot of nerve; courage and impudence mixed together. “You have got a lot of balls telling me how to live a moral life when you have made such a nasty mess of your own.” “It takes a lot of balls to invest all you have on a business venture and beat the competition to the punch.” “You have to have a


A lot of baloney

A lot of bunk

A lot of fun

A lot of malarkey

A lot of moola

A lot of nonsense

A lot of pluck

lot of balls to go into a meeting of the board of directors and tell them they are doing things all wrong.” * A lot of lies; hogwash, bullshit, bunkum; nonsense; garbage. “I don’t believe a word you say. You are talking a lot of baloney.” “Don’t give me that baloney. Stop talking garbage and tell me the truth.” “Don’t be fooled by anything he says, it’s a lot of baloney.” * A load of lies and false statements; a lot of baloney; a lot of nonsense; misinformation. “Don’t give me that bunk. I have read the police report and I know the full facts already.” “Never talk a lot of bunk and doubletalk to get a client to sign an agreement. Just find out what he wants and, then, give it to him.” “He talks a lot of blarney to get you to invest in his business schemes, but don’t believe a word he says. It’s just a lot of bunk; he is full of baloney.” * Enjoyable; pleasurable; amusing. “We had a lot of fun at the party. Everyone was laughing and enjoying them selves all night.” “At the Oktoberfest, people were having a lot of fun going on rides, shooting at targets, playing games of chance, and dancing and drinking beer.” “I loved your bachelor party on Friday night. I haven’t had such a lot of fun since before I was married.” * A load of double-talk; a load of bunkum; nonsense; hot air; hogwash; untruth. “Taffy is always talking a lot of malarkey; he comes from a long line of liars and braggarts.” “Don’t give me all that malarkey! I don’t believe a word you are saying.” “My husband didn’t come home until almost dawn, and, this morning, he tried to give me a lot of malarkey about his car breaking down on a deserted country road.” * A lot of money. ‘When I grow up, I want to be a big wheel and have a lot of moola.” “If you want to get in good with the girls, you’ve got to have a lot of moola.” “We paid five- hundred million for this piece of land, and that’s a lot of moola!” * A lot of gibberish, rubbish, garbage, baloney; incoherent talk. “Don’t talk a lot of nonsense! Use your head to think straight for a change.” “When I was young, I had a lot of childish dreams and nonsense in my head.” “The theory that the economy collapsed because of the greed of foreign currency brokers is a lot of nonsense. It was a bubble economy that was bound to burst when it balanced out at its true value.” * A lot of nerve, guts, courage. “It takes a lot of pluck to go up to the boss and tell him he is about to make a big mistake.” “It sometimes takes a lot of pluck to tell a woman that you admire and adore her.” “It took a lot of


pluck for the company accountant to inform the revenue department that the firm was not following generally accepted accounting standards.” * A lot of riffraff A lot of low, trashy people; common rabble. “The upper classes consider the lower classes as just a lot of riffraff.” “My mother says my friends from the street are just a lot of riffraff.” “Some schools set their fees exceptionally high because they don’t want to accept a lot of riffraff.” * A lot of water under the Just as we can say that a lot of water has passed under the bridge bridge over time, so we can say that we have had a lot of experiences since a certain point in time in the past. “A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the day I was presented my graduation diploma.” “A lot of water has passed under the bridge since I experienced my fist disappointment in love.” “A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the old days when you used to get a free lunch by just appearing in the pub.” * A low blow Just as in the rules of boxing, it is unfair to punch or hit below the belt, so we can say that a person’s unfair moral action is by comparison a low blow. “What you did to me was a hit below the belt; an unfair punch, a low blow” “Saying something bad to damage another’s reputation may be said to be a low blow, below the belt.” “Bringing up the subject my secret sexual misdeeds of the past in front of my all my family and friends was certainly a low blow.” * A man after my own Someone who thinks and feels and acts the same way heart you do. “I like you. You are a man after my own heart who always says everything he knows and tells the truth.” “Jim Soutar is a man after my own heart who believes we can gain wisdom from probing into the lost secrets of antiquity.” “You are a man after my own heart who believes in doing the good for the greater benefit of mankind.” * A man of means A wealthy man with lots of money and assets. “Andrew Carnegie was a man of means who donated a lot of his money for the benefit of society.” “My grandfather was a man of means who built this big house at the beginning of the last century. “ “Cynthia wants to marry a rich man of means who promises her everything and always says what he means.” * A matter of fact A true item of data or information. “We all know that a stone drops following the law of gravity. It’s a matter of fact that cannot be denied.” “You have to believe the number on the bottom line of the auditor’s report as the true the sum of the actual costs. It is a matter of fact.” “I totally disagree with your silly assumption that mother died of a broken heart. As a matter of actual fact it says


on her death certificate that she died of a physical condition called congestive heart failure.” * A matter of form The correct manner and pattern of behavior to which one must comply. “When you visit the temple to pay respect to a monk, you must bow before him three times. It is a matter of form” “In the olden days, up-country, a woman had to walk three paces behind her man. It was a matter of form” “When you pass the security guard as you are entering the building you must show you identity card, even if he know your face and sees you every day. It is a matter of form.” * A miserly sort A stingy person; a penny-pincher; someone who hates to part with a penny. “Old Roderick is a miserly sort. He would rather lunch on tea and biscuits than pay for a normal meal.” “Old Uncle Scrooge was such a miserly sort that he didn’t want to part with a penny, even in the spirit of giving on Christmas Day.” “Geoffrey’s wife is a spendthrift, and he is a miserly sort.” * A new broom sweeps Just as a new broom sweeps clean because its bristles are clean. strong and rigid, so a new boss or administrator may make a strong impression by demanding that, as of now, everything be done in his way. “The candidate promised he would stop corruption, in the way that a new broom sweeps clean.” “After Alicia became Dean, a lot of inefficient faculty and staff were fired; a new broom sweeps clean.” “After Hicks became CEO, everyone who was against him was never seen again. A new broom sweeps clean.” * A new lease on life A chance to start life afresh and do it better next time. “I have taken a six-week course in positive thinking that has given me a new lease on life.” “After becoming a Christian Scientist, I developed a new lease on life.” “What I learned about religion when I was in prison gave me a new lease on life.” * A new slant A different way of looking at something; a different angle, viewpoint, perspective. “This new evidence gives us a new slant on the question in debate.” “Thanks for listening to my problems and giving me advice. You have given me a totally new slant on life.” “We are looking for someone who can give us a new slant in approaching wider market appeal to teenagers.” * A nobody A person of no importance. “He wants to be somebody important in this world, but he will always remain a nobody.” “A man who starts from the bottom in the world and has become “somebody important” should never forger what it feels like to be a nobody.” “She’s married to a man who is beneath her station. He is a real nobody.” *


A person with an intuition that tells him where to find something. “Someone with a sixth sense who knows where to seek and find a thing he is looking for is said to have a nose for it.” “I like playing the stock market. I have a nose for it.” “Dealing in venture capital is a risky business but my friend Guido has a nose for it.” * A one way street Just as traffic may go only one way along a street, so we may say in life that once you have made a certain choice there’s no way of turning back. “A person thinks only about himself and never about others is on a one way street to loneliness.” “This addictive behavior of yours is a one way street to a bad end.” “Choosing to have a vasectomy is a one way street.” * A one-tracked mind Thinking only about one thing, such as sex. “You men are all the same. You all think about only one thing. You’ve got a one-tracked mind.” “People who are driven by greed can be said to have a one tracked mind.” “A person who is obsessed with achieving success in the fast track may be said to have a one tracked mind.” * A pack of lies Just as dogs come in packs, so one lie leads to another until they become like a whole pack of lies; a string of falsehoods and mistruths. “What Gabby said about her coming from a noble background and a rich family was just a pack of lies.” Don’t believe anything a man promises you. It’s all just a pack of lies to trick you into giving him what he wants.” “The president had a whole string of excuses for his lack of discretion but they were all a pack of lies.” * A piece of cake Something easy to do; not difficult to accomplish; a simple task; a snap; a breeze; child’s play. “Don’t worrying about installing the software. Any fool could do it. It’s a piece of cake.” “The safe-cracker had no problem opening the bank vault. For an old pro like him, it was a piece of cake.” “You can be confident that I will be able to get the governmental permissions. For someone with my connections, it is a piece of cake.” * A piece of my mind What you say when you become angry with someone and tell him the reason why. “Wait until I see your father. I’m going to give him a piece of my mind and tell him what I think of his indiscreet behavior!” “I’m waiting until I see Uncle Bob, and I’m really going to give him a piece of my mind about the way he sold the house the moment Aunt Sally died.” “My boss has given me a piece of his mind about the way I have been making false promises to prospective clients.” * A poor little petunia in an A, sensitive person (usually a woman) placed within a onion patch group of rough, insensitive people where she feels out of place. “Just as a sensitive flower, like a petunia, doesn’t

A nose for it


A pox upon you!

A pretty nasty wallop

A real dilly

A real dynamo

A real howler

belong in a garden-patch full of onions, so a young, innocent girl does not belong in an environment full of sexstarved, dirty old men.” “I don’t like working in an office full of nasty, offensive, aggressive litigation lawyers. I feel like a poor little petunia in an onion patch.” “Being the only female engineer on such a heavy-industrial construction site, full of foul-mouthed roughnecks, I feel like a poor little petunia in an onion patch.” * A way of wishing something bad upon someone. “I wish that you may be cursed with something like smallpox or even rather worse.” “When we say ‘A pox upon you,’ we mean we hope the person may be punished for his misdeeds by getting a case of syphilis.” “That was a low and dirty trick you played on me to satisfy your personal greed. A pox upon you! May you meet the punishment you deserve.” * A vicious thump; punch; whack; clout; belt. “My Mom is normally really kind and patient, but once in a while, when I go too far, she loses her temper and gives me a pretty nasty wallop.” “The boy that I wrongly accused of stealing my wallet was not amused, and he gave me a pretty nasty wallop.” “My Teacher, Sister Theresa, although she seldom hits the children, packs a pretty nasty wallop, so I wouldn’t mess with her if you know what’s good for you.” * Someone who is remarkably stupid, foolish, and absurd so people observe the strangeness in his behavior. “His eccentric mother is such a real dilly that he’s ashamed to take her out in public.” “They have assigned me a new personal assistant, who is a real dilly! I’m sure he’ll be more trouble than he is worth.” “My Aunt Claudia is a real dilly. You never know what absurd thing she will say or do next.” * Just a an electric power dynamo generates energy, so a person within a group may be the driving source of power behind the success of a task or project, so we can say the person is a real dynamo. “Maldonado used to be the real dynamo and driving force behind his team’s success, before drugs and scandal reduced him to ruin.” “My personal assistant, Sondra, is a real dynamo. She can supervise seven projects at one time and bring them to completion within the designated due dates. “That man, Anderson, is a real dynamo. He has single-handedly generated millions in local investments in stock-shares, and he is bringing in an equal amount in foreign capital. He’s a real dynamo” * Just as dogs howl at the moon, so we may say that people often sound as though they were howling with laughter at


A rotten egg

A rousing sendoff

A run-in

A shambles

A shame

hearing a really good joke. “I love to tell jokes to the guys in the bar, and I love the way they buy me drinks when I tell a real howler.” “Every comedian is looking for a real howler that will have them laughing in the aisles at the end of his act.” “Mother always hates it when Dad tells a real, dirty, low-down, nasty howler to the other gentlemen over a glass of brandy after dinner.” * Just as a rotten egg can cause all the good eggs in a basket to begin to spoil and go bad, so we often say that a person who leads others into bad actions or behavior is a rotten egg. “All of the kids in the class are well-behaved, but I regret to say your son is a rotten egg who leads the others into mischief.” “At the center of every neighborhood gang, there is always one rotten egg who leads the others into committing cruel and evil deeds.” “Even a jailhouse gang will always have its one most-rotten egg.” * Bidding someone farewell with good wishes and a loud round of applause. “Everyone, let’s please stand up and give Mr. Perkins a hand of applause as a rousing sendoff before he returns to the United Kingdom.” “There were thousands of people along the road to the airport to give a rousing sendoff to Manchester United as they were leaving to play in the World Cup Match.” “When I retired, they gave me a gold watch and a rousing sendoff.” * A conflict; disagreement; confrontation; quarrel. “I had a run-in with my boss and I’m afraid it will affect his written-evaluation of me in the annual review.” “Jane had a run-in with one of the other secretaries, and, now, they are not on speaking terms.” “Our father has had a run-in with my Uncle Bill about selling the old farmhouse on the hill.” * A state of disorder; deterioration; run-down; messy. “When I first moved in here, the place was a total shambles, but after a lot of hard work and expense, I have managed to make it look quite neat and tidy.” “There used to be a pub in Manchester that was so old and rundown and dilapidated and looked like it was going to fall down any minute, that people called it the Shambles.” “When I went back to grandfather’s house twenty years after his death I found the place was in a shambles.” * A pity. “It’s a shame that there are so many are starving children around the world when the rest of us are overeating and getting fat.” “It’s a shame that the government isn’t doing more to protect the environment.” “It’s a crying shame that terrorists will kill innocent women and children just as a way of expressing their hatred.” *


A sharp tongue

A tongue that makes hurtful, sarcastic, cutting remarks. “My mother had a sharp tongue, and my father hardly ever said anything for fear she would cut him to bits.” “A woman with a sharp tongue will have trouble keeping a long-term relationship with a loved-one.” “A person with a sharp tongue who says hurtful things to others sets a series of events in action which will end in the cycle of hurt eventually returning back to him again in the end.” * A shiver went down my I could feel a tremble of cold fear running down the cartispine! lage in my backbone. “I was so scared of seeing a ghost in the old castle that a shiver went down my spine.” “When I entered the haunted house and the door creaked, a shiver went down my spine.” “I was so afraid in the dark that a shiver went down my spine.” * A shot in the arm Just as we get an injection from the doctor to help fight or prevent disease, so we can get a shot in the arm from a friend or business partner that helps us to deal with our present problem. “When I feel sad, I always call my Dad for encouragement, and he always gives me a shot in the arm.” “We need a cash injection to give our political campaign a much-needed shot in the arm.” “Our business needs a shot in the arm in the form of cash investment.” * A slap in the face An unexpected, undeserved act of disloyalty or rejection or rebuff; a direct, deliberate insult; an act of thank-lessness. “After all the help I had given to Julia over the years, it was a real slap in the face to see that she not there to help me the one time I most needed her.” “It was a real slap in the face when the company took the person I had been training and placed him in my position.” “After all the effort I had put into the growing success of the company, it was a real slap in the face when they hired a younger newcomer at a lower salary to take my place.” * A slap on the wrist A gentle reprimand for an oversight, mistake or misdeed; a warning not to do the same thing again. “My boss gave me a slap on the wrist for not proof reading my report properly and said if it happened again I would be called up on the carpet and severely scolded.” “The Dean has given me a slap on the wrist for wearing tight, sexy jeans to class. He says it is not appropriate” “A small fine for submitting withholding tax late is just a slap on the wrist, but repeat offenders find the penalties increase in proportion to the frequency of the offence.” * A slow burn Becoming increasingly more-and-more angry, allowing resentment to grow gradually to the point where it will finally burst out into a fire of revenge or retaliation. “My younger brother has been doing a slow burn for years because of his resentment that the family was able to send me to college before the financial crisis drove our


A sly dog

A sobering thought

A stooge

A storm in a teacup

A straw man

father into bankruptcy.” “Sally has been doing a slow burn for more than a year because her best girlfriend stole her boyfriend.” “I am still doing a slow burn because I cannot accept the unfair way the company has treated me.” * A cunning, clever, crafty, devious, underhanded person. “You sly dog, you! Few people would have suspected that I was cooking the books. How did you know?” “You sly dog, you! How did you know that I would give anything to own an original Picasso painting, even if I knew it was stolen?” “You sly dog, you! How did you know I would sleep with you even though you knew perfectly well that I was a married woman?” * A serious thought that makes you feel less-optimistic and positive, rather than more optimistic and cheerful; a worrisome idea that brings you down-to-earth and makes you fearful of the future. “It’s a sobering thought to realize that man is slowly but surly destroying the environment that supports human life.” “It’s a sobering thought to realize that with fewer people being born who will pay into old age pension funds, eventually, there will be too little money for pensioners to receive any retirement benefits.” “Imagining that our whole galaxy could be sucked into a big, black hole is a sobering thought, indeed.” * A dummy, laughing stock; someone who’s been made a fool of; someone who had been taken advantage of; made to look stupid by pulling the wool over their eyes. “I hate it when all the other children try to make me look stupid and laugh at me. I feel like such a stooge.” “In comedy routines, often one guy appears to be the smart one and the other one is made out to be a stooge and always has to take the brunt of the joke.” “Someone had to be set up to be the fall guy, and it was just my bad luck that they chose me to be the stooge.” * When people make a big fuss about nothing, we say it is like a tempest in a teapot or a tea cup. “Don’t make such a big fuss over a small lie. You’re creating a storm in a teacup.” “When people who are small-minded and make a really big deal out of a small problem, we say they are making a storm in a teacup.” “Why the big fuss about nothing? It’s a storm in a teacup.” * A person who only exists legally on paper or in the imagination to fulfill some need or purpose.” “I’m a straw man in the contract, because they need someone local to hold only a hundred shares to tip the balance of local and foreign shareholders, so the company will appear fifty-one percent Thai-owned and forty-nine percent foreign-owned.” “I had been hearing about Gaye’s boy-


A subtle hint

A sycophant

A tangled-web

A toss-up

A turn for the worse

friend for years before I ever saw him, and I was beginning to think that he was only a straw man.” “I tell my family that I am going out of town to visit my old roommate Eldridge, but he is really only a straw man. He doesn’t really in fact exist.” * An understated or intimated-suggestion or implication. “When we give someone a subtle hint, we do not tell him directly and aggressively; we just drop a slight suggestion (hint) that will make him think about what we said.” “When you want someone change his behavior, sometimes it is better to give him a subtle hint and let him figure it out himself, rather than state directly what is wrong with him.” “When a girl does not want to receive a man’s attention, it is often enough for her to give him a subtle hint to make him go away.” * Someone who flatters and bows down to another to win favor. “All those men in dark suits that you see going into the boardroom are just a lot of sycophants who flatter the Chairman just to keep on his good side.” “You are all just a bunch of sycophants and arse-kissers who will do anything to keep from being fired.” “I have no respect for sycophants because they have no respect for themselves.” * Just as a spider spins a web in which to entangle his prey, so a person may spin a tangled-web of lies in order to get what he wants. “I never lie, because one lie leads to another and another and before you know it you are tied-up in a tangled-web of deceit.” “Don’t trust that woman! Everything she says is just a tangled-web of lies.” “When we get tied-up in the tangled- web of self-delusion, it often takes careful surgical analysis to cut ourselves free.” * Even chance; fifty/fifty; could go one way or another; as in the flip of a coin. “No one knows which team will win the World’s Cup. Right now, it’s a toss-up.” “Love is a risky business: it’s a toss-up between risking everything and risking nothing.” “We don’t know whether to file for bankruptcy or attempt to restructure our finances. It’s a toss-up.” “Sometimes we are faced with a toss-up of just plain having to guess at which is the better of two evils.” * Things have developed into a worse condition than before. “My health has suddenly taken a turn for the worse and I am not expected to live longer than sixteen weeks.” “Economic trends have taken a turn for the worse, and investors are getting worried.” “Outbreaks of violence have suddenly taken a turn for the worse and the planned peace talks have been called off.” *


never When you are waiting for a pot of water to come to a boil, it seems to take forever. “When I used to get impatient while waiting for the water to boil so I could make the tea, Grandmother would always say, ‘A watched-pot never boils’” “When whatever you are waiting for makes you feel stressed and impatient, remember the old adage that a watched-pot never boils.” “Have you ever noticed that when you are waiting for a pot of water to come to a boil, so you can make spaghetti, it seems to take forever? That’s why they say, ‘A watched-pot never boils’” * A weight off my mind Release or freedom from a mental burden. “It’s a good thing I got that check in the mail today. Now. I can pay my bills. What a weight off my mind!” “I’m glad that I have finally passed all the CPA exams. That’s a weight off my mind. Now, my future is secured.” “At last, the company is finally registered, and we have received a VAT number. That’s a relief! What a weight off my mind.” * A whale of a time A whole lot of fun; a very big, exiting and pleasurable experience. “We had a whale of a time at my bachelor party; it was the most fun any of us had had in years.” “The staff had a whale of a time at the office party and drank one hundred bottles of champagne, but the next morning most of them were not feeling so good.” “The boys and I are planning to go out on the town Friday night and have a whale of a time.” * A wisecracker Someone who is always trying to make smart, clever, witty or humorous remarks “Don’t try to be such a smart Alec and wisecracker. No one thinks it’s clever or funny to keep making smart-assed remarks.” “Trevor is always making cynical wisecracks to show his resentment and my get attention.” “When I was young, I was a real wisecracker, but when I realized that my smart remarks were hurtful to others, I stopped being a wise guy and smartened up.” * A word to the wise A bit of advice for those willing to gain from listening. “Let me tell you a word for the wise: ‘Never stick your nose into other’ people’s business.” “Someone who is in a position to give a word to the wise will find few people who will be ready to listen.” “Here is a word for the wise: ‘Just because sixty-million other people do it doesn’t make it right.’” * A world of difference No comparison!; much different and better than before; almost the total opposite. “Since I started meditating, I have noticed a world of difference in my attitude.” “After the new road was completed, it made a world of difference in the flow of traffic.” “Thanks for volunteering to help the homeless and aged; for them a little bit of kind

A watched-pot boils.


Abandon all hope

Abandon ship

Aberrant behavior

Abide by the rules

Abject despair



support makes a world of difference.” * Give up your last hope of getting what you want. “After failing to pass the CPA exams for five years in a row, I finally abandoned all hope of ever becoming a Certified Public Accountant.” “After the cancer spread into mother’s lymph system, the family abandoned all hope of recovery.” “After twelve wasted-years, dreaming of becoming a movie star, Mandy abandoned all hope of a successful Hollywood acting career.” * Just as sailors abandon and leave a sinking ship, so we may say that a person is about to abandon a business or a cause when there is no hope of success. “When the firm had posted annual losses of twenty million per year for four years in a row, I decided to abandon ship.” “When I realize we were headed for failure I decided to give up the cause and to abandon ship.” “Come on you guys, don’t abandon ship on me now, just because we are meeting a few difficulties.” * Abnormal, deviant, unusual behavior. “Aberrant behavior in Kindergarten pupils may be a sign of problems in the home-environment.” “Aberrant behavior in situations that demand conventional respect and adherence to certain social norms and manners may be a sign of mental illness.” “Aberrant behavior in sexual matters is a sign of uncontrolled-lusts and passions.” * Follow the regulations. “Abide by the rules and keep you’re your nose clean, and you will keep out of trouble.” “The Dean cannot make a special exception in your case because he must abide by the rules.” “In the dormitory, everyone must abide by the rules to avoid infringing on the rights of others.” * Total and utter hopelessness that could not be worse. “When I was second-year philosophy student, I lived in a state of abject despair because I of the fear that I didn’t really exist.” “Fear of nothingness used to put existential philosophers into a state of abject despair.” “When I was poor and penniless with no hope of success in the future, I lived in a state of abject despair.” * Healthy, capable and prepared for action. “New York City has a team of able-and-ready rescue workers who are prepared to jump into action in case of a natural disaster.” “We need some able-and-ready volunteers to setup the chairs in the meeting hall.” “Just let me know whenever you need my assistance, and I’ll be able-andready.” * Strong, vigorous and healthy in body; able to do heavy work “We need ten able-bodied men to load these bags of cement on the truck. Do we have any volunteers?” “I


Abominable behavior

Abortive action

About last night …


Above all else


am young, strong and able-bodied, and I am willing to do any kind of hard work that will help finance my education.” “The Marine Corps is always looking to recruit men, who are willing and able-bodied, to fight and die in the service of their country.” * Highly offensive, despicable, repulsive, immoral actions or deeds. “You should be ashamed of yourself. Pissing out your bedroom window is abominable behavior.” “I do say, Old Boy, the way you behaved in British Club Bar last night was the worst example of abominable behavior that we have seen there in years.” “I would like to excuse myself for my abominable behavior at the party last week. I’m afraid I lost my temper and did and said some things that even I myself find unforgivable.” * An act performed in order to stop something bad from happening. “The police have taken abortive action to stop the terrorists from taking over the airport.” “The American Marines were able to take abortive action to prevent enemy forces from gaining entry into the Embassy compound.” “The Royal Guards are taking abortive action to prevent a military coup.” * When you sleep with someone without having intended to, and you want to explain it in the morning, you may say, “About last night, let me explain that I would never have had sex with you, if I had been sober.” “Just to make clear there that are no misunderstandings, about last night, had I known that you were a married man, I wouldn’t have agreed to a one night stand.” “About last night, I am sorry that you think I took advantage of you. I don’t know what got into me.” * Changing one’s opinion and doing the exact opposite; change direction by one-hundred and eighty degrees. “The government has done an about-face on raising VAT to ten percent.” “The company has done an about-face on mandatory attendance at all meetings because some of the staff are being assigned to do work outside the office.” “The Commanding General made a total about face on the policy of allowing women officers to wear face make-up during duty hours.” * The thing of most importance; the prime motivation. “We should be striving, above all else, to make this world a better place.” “What I expect, above all else, is that people tell the truth.” “Above all else, management should remember that the company is in business to make a profit.” * Clear and honest; with no deception; legitimate; in accordance with the law; transparent; free of corruption; not done secretly under the table. “All of his business


transactions have been above-board, and his integrity is beyond question.” “We had better do this deal in an above-board manner and not try to deceive the Revenue Department.” “Government spending should be totally above-board and transparent, if the principles of democracy are to be preserved and protected.” * Above my head Too difficult for me to understand because of my lack intelligence to follow the complex line of thought; on a level above and beyond one’s comprehension. “Come down to earth and say it in simple words: it’s above my head.” I took a course in astrophysics once, but I must admit that it was a little bit above my head.” “I did not understand the theory of relativity that he was explaining in his lecture. It was a little bit beyond me. In fact, it was totally above my head.” * Abrasive tone A rasping sound in someone’s voice-box that gets on one’s nerves. “I cannot stand the sound of that woman’s voice. It has such a rasping and abrasive tone.” “Don’t use that abrasive tone when you are speaking to me, or I will see that you are smiling on the other side of your face.” “Do not speak to clients with an abrasive tone but rather in a soft and gentle manner.” * Abreast-of-the-situation Being aware of the latest information; knowing what is going on, right now; keeping-up with things; staying upto-date. “Please keep our firm abreast-of-the-situation by providing us with news of the latest announcements regarding tax regulations.” “Stock brokers must keepabreast-of- the-situation regarding fluctuations in oil prices which affect stock prices.” “Stay in close touch with me during your negotiations to keep me up-to-date and abreast-of-the-situation.” * Absence makes the heart When you don’t see someone you love for a long while, grow fonder you begin to care for him/her even more. “I missed you all the while you were gone. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” “When Sally went off to college, I thought I’d probably forget about her, but I found absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I thought of her a lot.” “When you miss someone, you think it’s because absence makes the heart grow fonder, but the real truth is that you actually miss the good things they do for you.” * Absent-minded Forgetful; can’t remember. i.e. where you put something; can’t recall a thing you wanted to do; distracted, unfocused and confused in your thoughts, especially in old age when the brain is not as sharp as it used to be. “Grandfather is getting so absent-minded that he always forgets where he has left his reading glasses.” “I’m sorry I forgot to return your telephone call. I’ve been getting a little absent-minded lately.” “Since I’ve been concentrat-


Absolute astonishment

Absolutely amazing!

Absolutely fantastic!

Absolutely impossible!

Absolutely not!

Absolved from guilt

Absorbed in thought

ing so hard on writing my doctoral thesis, I’ve become quite absent-minded about the little things in life, like remembering to check if the gate is closed or if the door is locked.” * Total amazement at the unexpected. “The family gazed in absolute astonishment as they watched their mother’s ghost descending down the staircase.” “The teacher gazed in absolute astonishment as he saw his students throwing their exam papers out the windows.” “The prince stared in absolute astonishment as he watched the beautiful princess turn into a frog right before his very eyes!” * Totally unbelievable! “I still think it’s absolutely amazing the way they put a man on the moon.” “It’s absolutely amazing the way they can use DNA to solve a murder that was committed twenty years ago.” “England has finally won a cricket final against the Australians. They haven’t beaten the Aussies in years! Absolutely amazing!” * Totally beyond one’s hopes and dreams. “Congratulations on winning the Gold Medal! That’s absolutely fantastic!” “It’s absolutely incredible! I have just won a scholarship to Harvard university.” “It’s absolutely fantastic the way Tim Taylor has totally recovered from being paralyzed and can walk normally again.” * Cannot be possible. “It’s absolutely impossible to get your father to change his mind. He’s too stubborn.” “There is no way you can get me to tell a lie to earn a dishonest dollar. Absolutely impossible!” “It’s absolutely impossible for a person to have two independent and separate thoughts in exactly the same instant.” * Definite refusal. “If you are asking me to lie for you, the answer is, ‘Absolutely not!’” “According to Thai Culture it is not correct for a woman to be alone in a room with a strange man. It is absolutely not acceptable.” “There is no way you can convince me to commit such a morally improper act. No way! Absolutely not!” * Pronounced innocent of all charges. “At the end of the court hearing, the defendant was absolved from guilt by the judge and jury.” “After a government inquiry, the Prime Minister was absolved from any guilt in bribing of public officials.” “Prof. Perkins was absolved from any guilt of sexual harassment when the student in question finally admitted she had lied to get revenge for the fact that he had found her poetry mediocre.” * Concentrated and thinking very deeply; thinking about only one thing to the exclusion of all others; totally focused on one point. “I could not get Professor Einstein’s


Abstain from

Abuse of privileges

Accede to pressure

Acceptable behavior


attention because he was so deeply absorbed in thought that didn’t even hear me speaking to him.” “As Picasso concentrated on his work, he was absolutely unaware of the world around him; he was absolutely absorbed in thought.” “The Zen master is absolutely absorbed in the thought of one-pointed-ness when he meditates.” * Avoid acting in a certain way; refrain from doing a certain action; resist temptation to do something. “Abstain from harsh speech to avoid the possibility of your words doing harm to others.” “Abstain from sexual intercourse with people who are married to others.” “Abstain from drinking alcohol and avoid doing anything stupid that you will be sorry for later.” * Incorrect use of rights or benefits that go with a job or position; abuse of authority: misuse of power or privileges for one’s own or other’s benefit. “People in high positions are often granted high privileges as a sign of honor, but abuse of such privilege and authority brings shame and dishonor upon them.” “Military personnel have privileges to buy tax-free tobacco and alcoholic items, but sometimes they abuse these privileges by selling such goods on the black market.” “Well-behaved prisoners are awarded certain privileges which they will automatically lose if they are ever caught abusing such privileges.” * Comply with the wishes of others; consent to do as others want you to; act as you are forced to do as other people want you to. “Never accede to peer-pressure to do something you know is wrong.” “We often accede to social pressure and behave the way that others conventionally do.” “Never accede to pressure from business associates who try force you do commit a criminal action.” * Acting according to the standards of society or group. “In Thai culture, it is not acceptable behavior for an unmarried woman to meet an unmarried man anywhere where they are alone together.” “In English culture, it is not acceptable behavior to spit on the pavement.” “There is nowhere in the world where it is considered acceptable behavior to perform a private sexual act in an open public place.” * Habitually having accidents; one who is always accidentprone is likely to have a lot of accidents. “My sister, Elma, is very accident-prone; she’s always breaking an arm or a leg or a few ribs.” “I’ve stopped driving altogether in the city because I’m an accident-prone driver.” “I never go hiking in the mountains because I’m so accident prone. I’d be sure to fall off as cliff break a leg fall off as cliff fall off as cliff and have to be lifted- out by


helicopter.” * Accident waiting to hap- A dangerous situation, that is a safety hazard, so that pen sooner or later, an accident is certain to happen. “The excessive pressure straining on those overhead suspension-lines is an accident waiting to happen.” “A Skyscraper that does not meet the governmental specifications regarding structural engineering regulations is an accident waiting to happen.” “Sometimes we say that a person who is over-sensitive and over-stressed is an accident waiting to happen.” * Accidentally-on-purpose Something done on purpose, deliberately, but made to look like an accident. “My husband lost the divorce papers, accidentally on purpose, so he wouldn’t have to sign them” “James Bond dropped the glass of poisonedStrawberry Champagne, accidentally on purpose, so he wouldn’t have to drink it.” “The society hostess bumped into me accidentally on purpose and spilled her drink all over my brand, new ten thousand Dollar designer dress.” * Accommodate some- Do someone’s bidding; perform as asked; submit to a one’s wishes person’s request. “Sometimes, you are forced to accommodate another person’s wishes whether you like it or not.” “If you do not give in and accommodate my wishes, I will see that you run into a lot of trouble.” “In business, sometimes you have to learn to accommodate someone’s wishes in order to get him to comply with your own desires.” * According to all accounts All those who tell the story say the same thing; all those who are in-the-know agree. “According to all accounts, president Kennedy had a lot of extra-marital affairs on the side.” “According to all accounts, certain people in the government are taking illegal pay-offs.” “According to all accounts, the United States Government is concealing information about UFO’s.” * Accurate account True relation of the facts of a story. “The movie you are about to see is an accurate account, based upon the actual facts of a true story.” “The witness swore before the judge in court that his written statement was an accurate account of the events leading up to the attack.” The recorded statement that I am about to make is an accurate account of the actual facts of the fatal accident as I saw it.” * Ace an exam To do exceedingly well on an examination in a way that is easy for you. “I aced the Math exam! It was really easy for me. I’m sure I got an A+.” “I’ve studied day and night all week, and I’m confident that I am going to ace the exam!” “Geoffrey didn’t even study, and he still aced the exam! I wish I had his brains!” *


Ace up your sleeve

Achieve the impossible

Achilles’ heel


Act of violence

Act on your own

Just as a gambler might cheat at cards by slipping a concealed-high card, like an ace, out of his shirt sleeve, so a person in a difficult situation may be said to use a deceptive trick to get himself out of trouble. “We may all eventually end up in jail, but I’ve still got an ace up my sleeve that may help us out of the jam.” “The CEO plans to blame the cause of corporate corruption on me, but I still have an ace up my sleeve because I have evidence of the CFO’s secretly transferring funds to hidden accounts.” “The Republicans will probably lose the next election, but they still have an ace up their sleeve to play in order to sexually slander their Democratic opponent.” * Do what does not seem possible; achieve what appears to be unachievable; accomplish what everyone thinks is not possible. “I wish I could achieve the impossible and be better than perfect.” “Don’t try to achieve the impossible, or you’ll end-up disappointed.” “The Russians achieved what seemed to be impossible by shooting the first space capsule into orbit around the earth.” * Just as the old, Greek hero, Achilles, had a vulnerable point if injured by an arrow in the heel of his foot, so we all may be said to have a vulnerable point if someone hits us in that weak spot. “If someone mentions my unhappy childhood, I become sensitive and vulnerable. It’s my Achilles’ heel.” “Don’t mention the General’s son being killed in action; it’s his Achilles’ heel.” “Everyone has an Achilles heel; you just have to watch until you observe his weak spot and then focus your attack on the point.” * To know someone. “I am acquainted-with several people who are close to the Queen, but I am not personally acquainted with the Queen herself.” “I am acquainted-with the former Bangkok Governor, but I do not know him very well.” “I am acquainted-with the rules and regulations of the dormitory, but I do not always follow them.” * Hurtful, harmful hostile action. “Beating your wife is an act of violence.” “People who have been severely abused as children often commit acts of violence later on in life.” “A monk who is well-centered in tranquility meditation would never think of committing an act of violence.” * To do something all alone, without any help, based on your own belief or conviction; not follow the crowd but act individually; decide for yourself regardless of the opinions of others.” “Acting all on her own, Mother Theresa started an individual effort to help the poor and the sick.” “No one had the guts to complain about unpaid overtime, so Gilbert acted on his own and went directly to the management” “Since Dave could get no financial


support from his family, he acted on his own and worked his way through school doing part time jobs.” * Acting-alone To do a deed totally on your own without any outside help or assistance. “If you go against company policy, you will be acting on your own and be in breach of your contract.” “Timothy told police that he was acting on his own when he blew up city hall, when, in truth, he could not have done it without accomplices.” “The general, who walked into Spanish parliament carrying a machine gun and threatening to take over the government, was acting alone on his own, as an individual, without any army behind him.” * Acting-up Behaving badly; being naughty; hard to control; actingout frustrations. “When I was a boy in school, I had a bad reputation amongst the teachers, because I was known for always acting-up in class.” “Now that I look back on my boyhood, I realize that I was only acting-up as a negative way of getting attention.” “Acting-up as a child in school is perhaps excusable, but when you reach the age of maturity and are still acting-up, you need some psychological counseling.” * Actions speak louder Doing a good deed is better than making a promise as yet than words unfulfilled. “Watch what people do rather than listen to what they say. Seeing is believing. Actions speak louder than words.” “Don’t just stand there talking about the problem, do something about it! Actions speak louder than words!” “In a true lover’s love, actions speak louder than words.” * Adamant opinion Inflexible, obstinate attitude or view. “My Grandfather was of the adamant opinion that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.” “General Lee was of the adamant opinion that slaves should not be given their freedom.” “I am still of the adamant opinion that I did nothing wrong in blowing the whistle on government corruption.” * Add fuel to the flames Just as one makes a fire burn more strongly by piling extra wood on the flames, so one can make a bad situation worse by adding an extra provocations or complications which make matters worse. “My girlfriend already knows I cheated on her with her best friend, but if she finds out that I did it with her sister too, it will just add fuel to the flames.” “Telling my husband that in addition to maxing out my credit card, I also overdrew our jointsavings account just added fuel to the flames” “Don’t tell mother that I still disagree with her about breaking-up with my husband. That will just add fuel to the flames.” * Add insult to injury After hurting someone’s feelings once, then doing something even worse than you did before. “Telling Jude that he was rude and that I only wanted to help him improve




Admit defeat

Admonish someone

Adorable child

Adrenalin rush

his manners only added insult to injury.” “Saying that I wanted to help Sissy hide her weaknesses only added insult to injury.” “Telling the Prime Minister that he should follow the party whip’s orders for his own good only added insult to injury.” * Stupid; confused; muddle-headed. “My brother Bill has always been a little addle-brained, but we love him anyway.” “Old Aunt Gertrude became a bit addle-brained after she turned ninety, but, otherwise, her health was quite good.” “Our receptionist is a bit addle-brained, but she is stylish and attractive and adds a touch of class to the company image.” * Impromptu speaking, without ant prior preparation, offthe-cuff. “When you don’t know what to say, just fake it. Ad lib and say just whatever comes into your mind.” “When I have not prepared my class, I just go in and do it ad lib.” “Part of the interview consists in the candidate being asked to speak ad lib on a topic chosen at random.” * Concede victory to the opposing side; admit that you have been beaten. “Even before all the votes were fullycounted, the runner-up candidate was forced to admit defeat because he was trailing by fifteen percent.” “Our team was behind by seventy points when it began to rain, so we had to call it off and admit defeat.” “Sometimes, you must concede that you have failed and admit defeat and start over again.” * Give a warning or a reprimand to somebody. “My mother always used to admonish Catherine for the open and friendly way she associated with boys.” “Our auditor has admonished me for the careless way I have been keeping our financial records.” “Harry was severely admonished by the headmaster for framing his picture in a toilet seat and hanging it in the main auditorium.” * Sweet; lovely; delightful child. “My niece is a sweet, adorable, loveable child.” “You will just love my daughter! She’s such an adorable child.” “When you were young, you were an adorable child, but, now, you’ve turned-out to be a nasty, horrible beast!” * A moment of high energy and power caused by a sudden surge of adrenalin circulating through the body. “Skydivers get an adrenalin rush the moment they jump out of the plane into the open air.” “I love the adrenalin rush I get during the moments of free fall during Bungeejumping.” “When I am faced with extreme danger, I always get an adrenalin rush that provides me with the almost super-human power I need to deal with the situation.” *


Sex outside of marriage. “If anybody ever finds out about my adulterous behavior, I will be a ruined-man.” “Your father says you should be admonished for your adulterous behavior.” “The President’s adulterous behavior has caused the party to lose face.” * Advance notice Provide information about a happening before it occurs. “When there is to be a fire-drill in our office, the administration always gives us advance notice.” “Labor law requires that an employee be given advance notice before termination of employment.” “If I want to terminate my rental contract, I must give my landlord three months advance notice.” * Advanced in years Getting-old; becoming quite old. “When Winston Churchill was advanced in years, he finally found time to write his memoirs.” “I hope that when I become advanced in years that my mind will still be sharp and clear.” “When the Pope was very advanced in years, he no longer had the necessary physical energy to make frequent public appearances.” * Advised that Means that someone has given advice or counsel to somebody about something “Our in-house lawyer has advised us that we at risk of being sued by the client for damages.” “Our tax consultant has advised us that the Revenue Department will impose a penalty for late payment of withholding-tax.” “My doctor has advised me that I had better quit drinking alcohol to avoid the risk of doing further damage to my liver.” * Affable personality Pleasant, friendly, sociable, easy-going, likeable character. “The new ambassador, Sir Rodney, has a very affable personality and is well-liked by the Embassy staff.” “Our Aunt Bessie has an affable personality which makes it easy for her to move about in high society.” “Arnold Schwarzenegger had an affable personality despite his Hollywood image of being a muscular exterminator.” * Affirmative action Doing something in order to right a wrong; making a demonstration to call for action to correct something seen as incorrect or unfair. “Some anti-abortion-activists blow-up abortion clinics as a demonstration of affirmative action.” “When we were students, as a demonstration of affirmative action against sexist university regulations, we had a sit-in in the Dean of Men’s office for four days and nights.” “My former girlfriend, Ingrid, was such a strong believer in affirmative action demanding woman’s rights, that she appeared topless with ten other women in a packed-opera house in Frankfurt as a form of protest.” * Afraid or your own Timid; scared of everything and everybody; frightened to shadow do or try anything; shy; hesitant; apprehensive; afraid of

Adulterous behavior


the slightest thing. “Tiny Tim was actually so shy and timid that he was literally afraid of his own shadow. “As a small child, Sarah was very apprehensive and withdrawn and people used to stay she was afraid of her own shadow.” “There’s no way we can get Donald to go in and confront the boss. Donald is so cowardly that he’s even afraid of his own shadow.” * After hours After normal pubs and restaurants close down at night, usually after midnight. “There is a cool jazz club downtown that stays open after hours where the musicians play until dawn.” “The IRA used to operate illegal pubs in Northern Ireland where you could drink after hours.” “If the Police find a beer-bar that is open after hours, in Pattaya the owner will have to pay a severe fine.” * After the party is over Just as after a party has ended and everyone has gone home, and there is a lonely feeling, so we can say that when period of pleasure is over, there is emotional emptiness. “After the party is over and all the guests are gone, I often wake up in the morning on the front lawn.” “You might think it is fun to go out drinking every night, but, after a few years, after the party is finally over, you’ll ask yourself what you have accomplished.” “One day, after the party’s over, you’ll look back with an emotional hangover and wonder how long it will take you to get over it and grow up.” * After-the-event After an action has finished; seeing a mistake too late to do anything about it. “Something you understand afterthe-event that helps you learn not to do it again is also called ‘hindsight.’” “If you had enough foresight, you would never need to feel regret after-the-event.” “It’s usually too late to correct what you said wrong after-theevent.” * Afterthoughts Regrets felt after the fact, too late to do anything about it; or doubts making you want to change your mind. “I’m having afterthoughts about why I got an abortion, but it’s too late to change it now.” “Father says he is having afterthoughts about leaving me the house in his will, because he disapproves of my moral attitudes.” “I’m having afterthoughts about my decision to study in the States because of the high costs involved.” * Against all odds Little chance; little likelihood; little probability. “It is against all odds that I can live to be a hundred, but I’m hoping for an exception.” “It is against all odds that a meteor could fall from the sky and crush you in the middle of the street, but it could happen.” “Trying to fight corruption is like struggling against all odds with no chance of success.” * Against my better- Means one should know better but that one it is going to



Against my principles

Against the current

Against the grain

Against the law

Against the stream

Age of consent

Aggressive attitude

do it anyway. “It’s against my better judgment to lend my brother money, but I’m going to do it anyway.” “I’ll help invest in your company, although it is against my better judgment.” “Even though it is against my better judgment, I have decided to go back to my husband.” * In conflict with my moral values. “It is against my principles to make any action that is not based on good motives.” “It is against my principles to help anyone who is not totally honest.” “It is against my principles to take anything that is not freely given.” * Just as one might have to struggle hard to swim against a strong stream of water, so one might have trouble in trying to go against common opinion. “When the tide of affairs is flowing in the wrong direction, sometimes we have no choice but to swim against the current” “Some people go with the flow; some swim against the current.” “In our firm, we have firm and strict policies, and it does little good to try to swim against the current.” * Just as the hand runs over the grain in the surface of wood, moving smoothly going one way but moving roughly back the other, so we can say it is difficult for a man to go against the grain when we mean his opposing public opinion or power or authority. “Don’t try and go against the grain of cultural opinion or you’ll just have rough time.” “It does no good to go against the grain when it comes to power politics.” “In dealing with tax authorities, do whatever they ask and don’t go against the grain or they will cause you financial pain.” * Contrary to the law of the land. “It is against the law to steal the property of others.” “Driving through a red light is against the law.” “Just because something is against the law doesn’t mean people are not going to do it.” * Opposite to the natural flow. “The Buddha goes against the stream.” “Swimming against the current and struggling against the stream is difficult in the extreme.” “In society those who want to go against the stream will find it more difficult than it may at first seem.” * Normally, at the age of sixteen, eighteen or twenty-one a person has reached the age to make his own legal decisions as a consenting adult. “Once you have reached the age of consent, you are free to make your own decisions.” “The downside of reaching the age of consent is that you also become eligible for military duty.” “In some states the age of consent for consensual sex is sixteen.” * Active; assertive; forceful; forward. “In sales and marketing, you have to have an aggressive attitude, or you won’t meet budget.” “The new sales manager has a very


Agreeable nature

Ahead of time

Ahead of his times



Air of pretension

Air your opinion

aggressive attitude which may help him increase sales but it will also make him unpopular with the staff.” “Many northern Europeans appear to have an aggressive attitude, as though they’re always looking for a fight, and we think they should learn to be a bit less-pushy.” * Easy to get along with. “My sister, Maude, has an agreeable nature. She can get along with anybody.” “Some people are born with an agreeable nature, and some are born with an aggressive nature.” “I want to marry a woman with an agreeable nature with whom I can love a long and harmonious life.” * Before the set time, date or deadline. “With any luck, I will have the report completed ahead of time and be able to submit it before the due date.” “We have managed to complete the project two days ahead of time.” “Whenever I have a business appointment, I always try to arrive a little ahead of time.” * Too advanced in his thinking for the people of his own period or era to understand and accept. “Christopher Columbus was ahead of his times when he said the earth was round instead of flat.” “Galileo was far ahead of his times when he said the earth revolved around the sun.” “The Pre-Socratic philosophers were away ahead of their times when they suggested everything consisted of atoms.” * Conspire with; collude; connive; help and encourage someone to do something wrong. “My big brother used to aid-and-abet me to steal candy from the convenience store.” “The police have accused me of aiding-and- abetting my cousin in committing a crime.” “The penalty for aiding-and-abetting a traitor to upset and overtake the government is life imprisonment.” * With the goal or purpose of assisting, planning or achieving a scheme. “This new advertising campaign is aimedat developing the teenage market base.” “The new government education plan is aimed at providing free education for all citizens.” “The hospital’s new policy is aimed at providing quick medical treatment for all patients.” * Pretending to be or trying to appear to be better than you really are. “I hate the way the Ambassador’s wife always puts on an air of pretension at public functions. Who does she think she is anyway?” “Anyone who puts on an air of pretension is pretending to himself and others that he is better than he is.” “You’d better drop that air of pretension before someone gets annoyed and kicks your butt.” * Say openly what you think. “On radio talk shows, people like to call up and air their opinions.” “I would like eve-


Alarmist tactics

Alert the public

Alive and kicking

All able-bodied men

All boils down to

ryone here to air his opinion about the grievance before we begin to mediate a solution.” “Never air your opinion in front of the chairman of the board unless it agrees exactly with his own.” * To use the strategy of making people afraid in order to provoke them into performing certain actions. “When the President wanted to start a war to drive up oil prices, he used alarmist tactics to make people fear terrorist attacks.” “When a company uses alarmist tactics to pressure staff members into increasing performance for fear of losing their jobs, the long-term effect is harmful to everyone concerned.” “Christian missionaries should not use alarmist tactics to frighten people into changing their religion by making them afraid of burning in the fires of hell .” * Give the general population advance notice of approaching danger. “The government weather bureau now has a system in place to alert the public in advance of coastal hurricanes.” “The Present has alerted the public that a giant meteor is heading on a direct collision course with earth.” “The police have alerted the general public to be on the lookout for and escaped convict wearing a black and white-striped prison uniform.” * Just as we can see that a newly-born baby is alive and kicking, so we can say that an old man or woman is still alive and kicking if he/she is not dead yet. .” “I’ll still be alive and kicking when you are six feet under the ground.” “Everyone thought Elvis was long since dead, when, suddenly, he turned up in Memphis, still alive and kicking.” “I had lost contact with my mother for many years and assumed she had long since died, when, one day, she appeared before my door, still alive and kicking.” * All men who are strong and able to do heavy work. “The community has asked all able-bodied men to volunteer to help fight the fire.” “The problem with owning an ocean racing yacht is that you need at least five able-bodied men to man the sails in heavy weather.” “The dockyard superintendent is looking for able-bodied men to help unload cargo from the ships.” * In the final analysis; to put it simply; in a few words. “A lot has been said about corruption, but what it all boils down to is the simple fact that man ungoverned by law is selfish by nature.” “There has been a lot of discussion about whether a husband can be trusted, but what it all boils down to in the end is whether he can resist temptation or not.” “We hear a lot of loose talk about how a moving and healthy economy is good for the nation, but


All brawn and no brain

All by myself

All dolled-up

All ears

All fingers and thumbs

All Greek to me

All in a day’s work

what it all boils down to is finding a fast way for everybody to make an easy buck.” * Big and strong and muscular but not very intelligent. “College girls like to date football players, but the problem is that athletes are sometimes all brawn and no brain.” “Arnold looks like he is all brawn and no brain, but, actually, he is pretty smart.” “It is a form of sexual discrimination to say that big, strong men are all brawn and no brain.” * Alone; independent; on your own. “Don’t give me any advice. I want to solve this problem all by myself.” “I built this sailing yacht all by myself, without any help from anybody.” “Nobody helped me get an education I had to pay my way through school, all by myself.” * A girl who is ‘all dolled-up’ has done her best to make herself look as pretty as a doll; wearing her best dress, gown and jewelry and made-up to look beautiful,. “Mom used to get all dolled-up to go out to social evenings in the local pub on Saturday nights.” “My sister doesn’t look very attractive in everyday clothing, without her make-up, but when she gets all dolled-up to go out with her boyfriend, she looks really smashing.” “We got grandmother all dolled-up and took her out to dinner on her eightieth birthday.” * Ready to listen; eager to hear what you have to say; to listen to your excuse; anxious to know how you are going to answer. “Can you explain how my wristwatch got into your pocket? I’m all ears.” “Tell me your excuse for all the mischief you have caused. I’m all ears.” “Can you explain how a good boy like you was caught peeping into the girl’s locker room? I’m all ears.” * Clumsy; always dropping things. “Things are always slipping out of my hands and falling to the ground. I’m all fingers and thumbs.” “The nurse has to give me my medicine. I usually drop the tablets if I try to handle them by myself. I’m all fingers and thumbs, you know.” “I have poor manual dexterity. I’m all fingers and thumbs.” * Just as a person who has not been trained in ancient, classical Greek will not be able to read and understand it, so, when we hear any academic explanation that is above our head or level of education or intelligence, we can say, ‘It’s all Greek to me.’ “I tried taking a course in geophysics, but it was all Greek to me.” ‘The theory of relativity is beyond me. It’s all Greek to me.” “I could never understand the ideas of being and nothingness in phenomenology. It’s all Greek to me.” * What is expected of you in the performance of your daily


All in one piece

All in your mind

All on your own

All out-of-steam

All set to go

All steamed-up

routine in your job. “Today I killed three men, blew up two buildings and shot down one helicopter. For a special forces military agent, like me, it’s all in a days’ work.” “Yesterday, I filed six reports, went to seven meetings and closed eight accounts, all in a day’s work.” “A local police officer is expected to face and fight violence and aggression wherever it arises all in a day’s work.” * Uninjured; unharmed; undamaged. “Luckily, Dad was not blown to bits in the war and returned home all in one piece.” “The press and media will tear your reputation apart if your character is not absolutely spotless, but if they are unable to find any scandal, they will leave you all in one piece.” “Any other man would have been torn apart by so many political pressures pulling from so many sides, but the Prime Minister proved resistant to any and all attacks and managed to remain in tact, unharmed and all in one piece.” * All in your head; illusory; imaginary. “If you think that everybody is out to get you, it’s probably all in your mind.” “You may think our relationship goes beyond friendship, but if you imagine I love you, it’s all in your mind.” “I am convinced that every man wants to rape me, but my psychiatrist says it is all in my mind.” * Alone; with no one to care for you; solitary and isolated. “It’s hard to sail solo around the world, all on your own, with no one to help you.” “When the other four astronauts leave you alone in the space station and return to earth, you will have to man it all on your own.” “How does it feel to be all alone, all on your own now that the rest of your family has gone and deserted you?” * Just as the old train locomotive engines used to run on steam power, so, when we are all tired-out and lacking energy, we can say we are all out-of-steam. “Please, let me sit down and take a break for a minute. I’m all outof-steam from lifting those big steel beams.” “By the time grandfather has climbed up the stairs to his bedroom, he is all out-of-steam.” “After playing hard throughout the game and, then, for another thirty minutes of overtime, the team was all out of steam.” * Prepared and ready to begin. “I’ve bought my ticket and packed my bags and I’m all set to go on my holidays.” “We’ve made all the necessary preparations for the voyage and we’re all set to go.” “The company has been properly registered. The capital investment has been put in place, and the business is all set to go.” * Just as a steam engine is fed with fuel to worked-up to the necessary level to produce full steam power, so one


may become emotionally-exited and worked-up; quite angry and ready for a fight or quarrel. “I sometimes get all steamed-up when people hurt my feelings, because I cannot control my emotions.” “Don’t get all steamed-up and lose control at the meeting, or you’ll be sorry for your actions later.” “My wife is all steamed-up and bent out of shape because I bought myself a new car without asking her.” * All talk and no action People who talk a lot but do nothing are said to be ‘all talk and no action.’ “Never marry a man who is all talk and no action.” “I wouldn’t vote for a politician who is all talk and no action.” “A man who is all talk and no action is a total waste of time.” * All the difference in the No comparison; totally different. “Being able to drive my world own car as opposed to taking the bus has made all the difference in the world.” “Putting air conditioning in the office has made all the difference in the world by improving the working environment.” “Replacing desk calculators with computers made all the difference in the world to the accounting profession.” * All the rage The latest fad or craze; a thing everyone is doing; a fashion thing that is in vogue. “Ten years ago, wearing miniskirts was all the rage.” “I can remember when it was all the rage to dye your hair pink or purple or green.” “At the time of the Hippies, wearing long hair and beads was all the rage.” * All the time in the world Taking time to do something as if there were no need to hurry. “He just takes his time and lets us wait as though we have all the time in the world.” “You’d better start thinking about what you are going to do about your future. You haven’t got all the time in the world, you know.” “Take your time. There’s no rush. I’ve got all the time in the world.” * All washed-up Ruined with no hope of recovery; having lost everything; financially finished; reaching the end of his career; with no chance to start again; no hope of return to fame or fortune; no longer known or important. “After Vince had lost his last million gambling in Las Vegas, he was all washed-up. That’s the price he paid for being a compulsive gambler.” “Randolph Hurst was one of the most wealthy and highly respected men in California, but after a series of setbacks, he lost his financial empire and was all washed-up.” Sally Sawyer was the Hollywood sweetheart of the thirties, but after she got addicted to pills and alcohol, within five years, she was all washed-up.” * All wrapped-up Been decided upon; come to a conclusion; signed, sealed and delivered; a done deal; client is ready to sign an agreement; task is finished; work has been completed.


“Negotiations have come to a conclusion, a memorandum of agreement has been signed, and the deal is all wrapped-up.” “I’m so pleased and happy that the client has agreed to our terms, and it’s a done deal. It’s all wrapped up.” “All the phases of the plan have been wrapped-up, and the project has reached completion.” * All-out-effort Try your maximum-best; do your utmost; struggle as hard as you can; make your best attempt. “If you want to be the very best in your field, you have to have natural talent and make an all-out-effort to attain your goal.” “Our party wants to win the election, and we are going to make an-all-out effort to win the popular vote.” “The government has decided to make an all-out-effort to stem the spread of AIDS.” * Allow nature to take its Let the natural flow of nature continue to the finish. course “When you know you are going to die, it is better to let nature take its course.” “Dad has terminal cancer and all treatments have failed so we have no choice but to let nature take its course.” “However much we may try to manipulate the environment for our own purposes, the effects will only be temporary, and, in the end, nature to take its own course.” * Almost there Near to reaching the goal; near the end; near completion. “Don’t give up yet. If you can keep climbing for another five minutes, we will have reached the top of the mountain. We’re almost there.” “I haven’t got my weight down to sixty-five kilos yet, but at sixty-five point six, I am almost there.” “I haven’t made a million yet, but I’m almost there. By the end of the next quarter, I’ll be a millionaire.” * Along the beaten track Following along the same path in life that everybody else takes. “I don’t want to follow along the beaten track. I want to do something different.” “Sometimes, it is better to follow along the beaten track, and do the same things everybody else does, rather than stray off and find yourself lost and alone.” “If you play it safe and follow along the beaten track, you’re unlikely to be faced with risk or attack.” * Along the way In the course of events of life. “I used to be quite selfish, but somewhere along the way, I learned it was better to give than receive.” “I learned a lot, along the way as, I was growing-up the hard way, learning to deal with the difficulties and perplexities of life.” “Somewhere along the way in life, you will realize where you have been going wrong and start doing things right for a change.” * Always have a good Always speak well of other people, in an encouraging word for everybody. way. “I try to say kind things and always have a good word for everybody.” “I have tried to train myself to


Always interested!

Always on the go

Ambivalent attitude

Amble along

Amiable attitude

Amounts to nothing

never speak harshly and always to have a kind word for everybody.” “A good teacher knows how to maintain a balance between giving constructive criticism on the one hand and having a kind word for everybody on the other.” * Ready to jump at the chance when the opportunity arises. “If you want to ask me for a date, I am always interested!” “I’m always interested in hearing about any new investment plans that are sure to make me money.” “If you hear about any cheap land for sale in the city center, I am always interested!” * Never stopping; active all the time; full of energy; always busy; never in one place for very long; going from one event to another; socially very active. “My Aunt Lily is always on the go, flitting from one social event or occasion to another.” “The secret to my success is that I’m always on the go, never losing sight of my goal and working every waking-minute, all day, every day.” “Darlene is always on the go, starting with jogging in the morning, studying hard at school all day, attending drama rehearsals after class, and taking extra math lessons, as well as ballet and piano classes in the evening.” * Unsure; uncertain; not sure; undecided one way or the other; not quite sure which is better; which way to go. “I have always had an ambivalent attitude towards the luxurious life because I can take it or leave it.” “I do not like or dislike the President. I couldn’t care less one way or the other. I have an ambivalent attitude.” “I cannot say if it’s better to study abroad or in Thailand. There are pro’s and con’s to each side. I’m not sure one way or the other, so I have an ambivalent attitude regarding that question.” * Stroll and wander along your way. “Well, it’s getting late, so I guess I’ll just amble along on my way home.” “The party’s over and everybody’s gone, so I guess I’ll just amble along as well.” “Old Spike Jones is often seen ambling aimlessly around town with no particular destination in mind.” * Likeable; easy to get along with; agreeable. “My Aunt Amy is good-natured and friendly. She has an amiable attitude.” “My brother-in-law, Stan, has an amiable attitude. He is the sort of fellow who is easy to get along with.” “Ken Harman is a likeable chap, with an amiable attitude, who always has a kind word for everyone.” * Not important. “Why make a big deal out of a bigsounding job title when really it amounts to nothing?” “Sometimes, we let a small thing become a big thing,


when really it amounts to nothing.” “Sometimes we worry and make a big fuss about an imagined injury when it actually amounts to nothing” * An abysmal failure A terrible failure that could hardly be worse. “The government’s attempt to negotiate with the rebel faction was an abysmal failure.” “The United Nations has spent billions and billions of dollars trying to help African nations learn to help themselves, but to date all UN efforts have been an abysmal failure.” “We have been trying to stop local corruption for decades, but so far our efforts have been an abysmal failure.” * An airhead Someone who seems empty-headed; with no brain; nothing in the head; too dumb and foolish to be taken seriously. “Silly Sally is an airhead. There seems to be nothing in her skull but empty air.” “I’m such an airhead! I never know exactly what is going on or what I am going to do next.” “You airhead! Look at what you have gone and done now! You have ruined everything by simply not thinking.” * An auspicious occasion An important; favorable; lucky; promising happening. “Being born on a full-moon day is an auspicious occasion.” “The celebration of the King’s sixtieth birthday was an auspicious occasion.” “The re-opening of the Royal Art Museum, a hundred years after the death of Queen Catherine, was an auspicious occasion.” * An easy mark Someone who stands out as being a person to be easily deceived and cheated. “Rich, old, tourist women are easy marks for unscrupulous gem dealers who want to sell fake jewels for high prices.” “When people see a foreigner in the street, they think he is an easy mark who can be fooled into giving them money.” “An old man, with a bankroll of money, who likes to drink, looks like an easy mark for a woman of the night who is out to get his money.” * An eye for an eye and a You hurt me, I hurt you, to the same degree, in the same tooth for a tooth way, no more no less; take revenge by exacting the same degree of damage from another as you have suffered from him; for example, if you kill my brother, I will kill your brother for revenge. “In the old days, people revenged themselves by inflicting exactly the same damage on the other as had been done to them: an aye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” “Nowadays, the rule of law would not allow us to take revenge by exacting an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.” “Today, it may seem vengeful to pay someone back by demanding an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but in ancient times, revenge was often much harsher; for example, you kill my brother, I kill everyone in your family.” *


An inopportune moment

An invasion of privacy

An old battle-axe

An old codger

An old windbag

An open book

An inconvenient, ill-timed, awkward moment. “Press photographers caught him on film in an inopportune moment with his trousers down.” “Excuse me, Sir, I hope I’m not disturbing you at an inopportune moment, but your wife is on the phone, and she wants to know if you are coming home to dinner.” “Sir. I hope I have not disturbed you at an inopportune moment, but I must ask you immediately if you plan to cancel today’s Board Meeting.” * Looking into people’s personal and private actions and affairs when it is none of your business. “Being a peeping Tom is an invasion of privacy,” “Prying into a person’s private matters to find out things that ought to be kept secret is an invasion of privacy.” “Intruding into someone’s personal and private sphere to discover secret relationships and intimate dealings is an invasion of privacy.” * An aggressive, old woman who fights to win. “In high school, I had an old battle-axe of a French teacher, who was called Miss Jenny Foxworthy who used to hit us with a cane. I didn’t learn much French, but I learned to endure pain.” “My wife is such an old battle-axe that when I go out and get drunk, I am afraid to go home again.” “The Chairman’s secretary is a real, old battleaxe who has been with him for fifteen years, and if you want something from him, you’ll have to get past her first.” * An old geezer; a difficult, bad-tempered old man who lives on his own and who is usually hard to please. “Old Roger is a mean old codger who lives in a world of his own.” “There was an old codger who lived with his dog in a house on top of the hill, and when he died, he left everything to his dog in his will.” “I am afraid that one day I will be a lonely old codger, with no one to take care of or look after me.” * Someone who talks too much and doesn’t want to stop. “Your grandfather is nothing but and old windbag who never stops talking. Can’t someone to shut him up?” “Shut up you old windbag. You’re full of hot air. You talk just to hear the sound of your own voice.” “There’s nothing worse than an old windbag who takes the floor and goes on and on talking about nothing.” * Someone with an open heart, so we know everything he is feeling and thinking. “People can read my feelings as if I were an open book.” “Barbie is an open book. You can tell what she is feeling just by looking into her face.” “I’m an open book. People can tell exactly what I am feeling even when I don’t say a word.” *


An outrage

Anonymous tip

Answer for something

Ants in your pants

Any day now

Any port in a storm

Anybody’s guess

A crying shame; a monstrous injustice. “It’s an outrage the way so many innocent bystanders are dying in random terrorist attacks” “It’s an outrage that the government turns a blind eye to officials taking bribes.” “It’s an outrage the way the United Nations just stood by and allowed the genocide of hundreds of thousands of people in Africa.” * Information given by an unknown source about something that is as yet unknown or has not yet happened. “The press was given an anonymous tip by informed sources that the President would not be running for a second term.” “My stock broker says that he has been given an anonymous tip that stock prices are about to rise dramatically.” “Father has just won a lot of money from a bet he made based on an anonymous tip he heard being discussed by some bookie in a bar somewhere.” * Take responsibility for. “What ever you do, you must be able to answer for your actions.” “If anything goes wrong on board a ship, the Captain is the one who must ultimately answer for it.” “If anything goes wrong with the structural engineering, you, as project manager, are the one who will have to answer for it.” * Restless; antsy; cannot keep still one moment. “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you sit still even for a moment? Have you got ants in your pants?” “My sister Sally has got ants in her pants. She can’t sit still for five minutes.” “I can never stay in any one place for any length of time. I must have ants in my pants.” * Coming soon; expected to arrive or happen within the next few days. “I ordered three packages to be sent by sea mail, and they should be arriving any day now.” “Mother is going to give birth to her third child any day now.” “We are expecting news, any day now, that I have passed the entrance exam.” * Just as a ship must seek the safety of any port in a storm, so a person may have to turn to anyone available when he is in trouble and needs help. “To find refuge from the northwesterly winds, we had to moor our yacht in Monte Carlo harbor which is open to the sea and not totally safe, but, we were happy to find any port in a storm.” “It’s not good to ask a corrupt politician to help you avoid bankruptcy, but, as the saying goes, ‘any port in a storm.’” “I had no one to turn to and no place to go, so I went back to my deceitful, lying, thieving ex-husband. It was a case of any port in a storm.” * Nobody knows; it is uncertain; your guess is as good as mine. “Nobody knows how soon the world will end. It’s anybody’s guess.” “Nobody knows when stock prices


will bottom-out. It’s anybody’s guess.” “We are not sure how long the world’s oil resources will last, it’s anybody’s guess.” * Anyone in his right mind Any normal, sane, sensible person. “Our need to protect the environment is based on just plain common sense that anyone in his right mind can see.” “Anyone in his right mind would agree that we need to develop solar power energy resources as an alternative to consuming coal and oil.” “Anyone in his right mind would agree that drinking a bottle of whiskey a day it is going to damage your health, sooner or later.” * Anyone who is anybody Everybody who is important and well-known in society. “The New Years’ Eve Ball will be the grandest social occasion of the year, and anyone who is anybody will be there.” “The President will be sworn in on Sunday morning, and anybody who is anybody has been invited.” “The statement, ‘Anyone who is anybody needs to have a Rolex watch.’ is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” * Anything’s possible There’s no certainty; anything can happen. “There’s no certainty that my unborn daughter will become Miss Universe, but anything is possible.” “I’m not sure if I will ever become a millionaire, but anything is possible.” “No one knows for sure if we will discover life in outer space, but anything is possible.” * Ape someone’s behavior Just as we might imitate an ape by making ape-like movements and gestures, so we may imitate someone by making actions similar to his. “We often ape people’s behavior with the intention of making an impression to illustrate what he is doing wrong.” “Often, when we ape someone’s behavior, we want to ridicule or make fun of him by acting exactly like him.” “If you ape you boss’s behavior in the office, and he sees you doing it, that might not be so good for you.” * Appearances can be de- Things are not always what they appear to be. “Someceiving thing that looks good on the outside may not be so good on the inside. Appearances can be deceiving.” “Never trust a person just because he smiles and talks nicely. Appearances can be deceiving.” “His business appears to be prospering, but I think I’ll read his annual audit report just to be sure I can trust him. Appearances can be deceiving.” * Apple pie order In perfect condition; very neat and tidy; exactly as it should be. “I want to have a wife who doesn’t work and stays at home and keeps things in apple pie order.” “When I arrive with the guests on Saturday night, I want to see everything neat and clean and in apple pie order!” “Everything in the barracks is in apple pie order, ready for the General’s Inspection.” *


Arbitrary decision

Ardent admirer

Arduous task

Argue the point

Arm and a leg

Armed and dangerous

Random, illogical choice or ruling. “When you may just as well choose one way or another, for no apparent reason, this is called making an arbitrary decision.” “Management has made what appears to be the arbitrary decision to hire a few foreign trainees.” “For no apparent reason, the judge made the arbitrary decision to reschedule the court hearing for the following Monday morning.” * Strong, dedicated, devoted admirer; someone who looks up to and respects another person very much. “My father is an ardent admirer of the King, and tries to follow his advice as often as he can.” “Jack is an ardent admirer of the Prime Minister and is following him as his role model.” “Jane is an ardent admirer of her Accounting Professor. She admires her Professor very much.” * A job that is difficult in the extreme; a laborious and demanding. “It was an arduous task to clear away the debris at ground zero after the World Trade Center Terrorist attack.” “The Prime Minister realizes it will be an arduous task for the government to rebuild the superstructure destroyed in the Tsunami disaster.” “The United Nations has the arduous task of trying to feed millions of undernourished and starving people all around the world.” * Debate the issue; disagree with a point of view; question a point in an argument; claim the opposite to be true. “Excuse me! If I may argue the point, I disagree that there is no problem in teenage girls sitting around in nightclubs and sipping cocktails.” “You may claim that there is no risk involved in the investment, but, if I may argue the point, ‘How do we know we can trust our joint venture partner to comply with all the terms of the contract.’” “Everyone says it is better to study for your Master’s abroad, but, if I may argue the point, I would like to suggest it could also a benefit to remain in Bangkok within the close protection of the family circle.” * An extremely high price to pay. “Just as we value our own lives and limbs very highly, so, when we have to pay a high price, we compare it to being forced to give an arm and a leg.” “My trip to London was very expensive; it cost me an arm and a leg.” “I’m not going to pay those five star hotel prices any more. They charge you an arm and a leg.” * Carrying a weapon and likely to use it to harm and kill others. “The TV showed the live report of a man who was armed and dangerous and holding twenty school children hostage in the local school.” “Be careful to avoid contact with members of motorcycle gangs. They are often armed and dangerous.” “There has just been a radio report saying that there is an armed and dangerous


Armed to the teeth


Around the back

Around the bend

Around the clock


escaped convict loose in town who is being sought by police.” * Heavily armed, as if carrying weapons all over the body, with even a knife between the teeth. “Ten terrorists entered the aircraft, armed to the teeth, and took the pilot and the passengers hostage.” “There are said to be dangerous guerilla forces, armed to the teeth, just waiting in readiness to make cross-border attacks.” “An ex-convict entered the bank, armed to the teeth, and said he would kill everybody on the spot if the manager didn’t give him one million dollars within three minutes.” * Just as a big kid might twist a small kid’s arm, up behind his back, to force him into doing something the little kid didn’t want to do, so, often, we may say we will do some ‘arm-twisting’ when we apply pressure on someone to get him to do something the way we want. “It won’t be easy to convince the committee to re-hire you, but with a bit of arm-twisting, I think it can be done.” “It will take some arm-twisting to get everyone in the working group to give in to your demands.” “I won’t be easy to implement my plan, and I’m going to have to do some armtwisting to get people to cooperate with me.” * At the back, on the back side of the house or building where no one will see you. “Meet me around the back of the school at eight tonight, and I’ll sell you a bag of hashish.” “Lenny and Max met around the back of the gym and had a bloody, knock-down fist-fight there.” “Meet me around the back of the bar in about ten minutes, and I’ll give you a woman for the night.” * Gone mad; turned-crazy; become mentally abnormal. “My dear Holmes, I do believe you are totally around the bend and incapable of understanding good sense.” “I’m afraid old Perkins is around the bend, so we will have to replace him with someone of sound mind.” “Jonathan has gone a bit dotty in his old age and unfortunately appears to have gone around the bend.” * Twenty-four hours a day continuously. “Our shop is open twenty-four hours a day, around the clock.” “Rescue teams have been working around the clock to try to free earthquake victims buried beneath the rubble.” “When medical students intern in a hospital, they are often on call around the clock.” * Having to do with arts and handicrafts. “Many Americans like to do artsy-crafty activities in their spare time, like drawing or painting or pottery making or basketweaving” “Some women are very artsy-crafty and like to do flower-arranging or candle-making or weaving or carpet making.” “Sometimes, we look down on fake artsy-


crafty people, if we suspect they only want to appear artistic when, in fact, they have no real creative talent.” * As a last resort A last attempt after everything else has failed. “I have tried to borrow money from everyone and been turned down everywhere, so I’m turning to my ex-wife as a last resort.” “I had no one else to turn to for help, so I went back to my drug-crazed, criminal ex-husband as a last resort.” “I tried everything to get my oldest son off drugs without success, so I finally had to commit him to a rehabilitation clinic as a last resort.” * As a rule Normally, generally, commonly; most of the time. “As a rule, I never drink alcohol until after five-thirty in the evening.” “As a rule, I never eat in the morning, except when I am staying in a five star hotel, where breakfast is included in the price.” “As a rule, I am normally able to control my temper, but now and again it breaks out unexpectedly.” * As clear as black and Clearly obvious contrasting opposites. “Everyone can see white the difference between a good action and a bad one. It is as clear as black and white.” “The defendant claimed to be innocent, but the prosecution said he was guilty and to the jury his guilt was as clear as black and white.” “Anyone can see the difference between a fake Rolex and a genuine one. It is as clear as black and white.” * As easy as pie Nothing could be more-easy; it is as easy as eating apple pie. “I can solve that problem for you; it is as easy as pie.” “Installing an internet connection in your laptop is as easy as pie. Anyone can do it.” “We thought the geometry exam was going to be extremely hard, but it was as easy as pie.” * As far as I’m concerned In my opinion; what I think personally; my point of view. “As far as I am concerned, you can go to hell, and I couldn’t care less.” “As far as I am concerned, corrupt politicians should be caught and punished and made to rot away in jail.” “As far as I am concerned, people can do what they want, as long as it does no harm.” * As far as the eye can see With a clear open view to the distant horizon. “Back in the old days, my family owned all of this land around here, as far as the eye can see.” “Where I was born, there are wheat fields waving in the wind, as far as the eye can see.” “From my weekend home near the sea, you can view the open horizon as far as the eye can see.” * As good as dead Might as well be dead already. “When the Mafia finds out what I told the police, I am as good as dead.” “People think that when you are old and can’t get around anymore, you are as good as dead.” “According to what my doctor has reported to me, I am as good as dead already.” *


As good as gold

Perfectly behaved. “My son is very badly-behaved, but your son is just as good as gold.” “Oh. Mom. Please let me go with you to the party. I promise to be as good as gold.” “After I gave my son a good talking to, he was as good as gold for the rest of the evening.” * As high as a kite Intoxicated on alcohol or drugs. “Once, I smoked marijuana and got as high as a kite.” “When I arrived at the party, our hostess was as high as a kite and was going around kissing everybody in sight.” “Back in the sixties, my grandfather got as high as a kite every night. Now, he thinks drink and drugs should be avoided.” * As if that were not To commit another bad action, as though one’s former enough bad deeds were not enough to have satisfied one’s need to be harmful. “Annie broke my heart by leaving me, and, as if that were not enough, she married my best friend.” “The company fired me and destroyed my career, and, as if that were not enough, they cancelled my health care plan, as well.” “He seduced my wife to get control of her money, and as if that were not enough, he, then, seduced my daughter, as well.” * As if the sun shone out of Thinking that you are the center of the universe, as if the your navel sun shone out of your navel. “He’s so stuck on himself that, he thinks the sun shines out of her navel.” “After she won the beauty contest, she went around thinking the sun shone out of her navel.” “Anyone who thinks the sun shines out of his navel deserves a good, swift kick up the arse.” * As if there were no to- Living-it-up and acting as though today were your last morrow day or your last chance to enjoy your self. “Before Dad died, he went around spending money as if there were no tomorrow.” “I live every moment to the full, as if there were no tomorrow.” “I try to live every moment in moral purity as though it were my last and there were no tomorrow.” * As light as a feather Just as a feather is very light in weight, so we can say that a physical burden or the weight of a person is as light as a feather. “When Sharon was only sixteen, she was small and skinny and as light as a feather.” “My girlfriend weighs only thirty-seven kilos. She is as light as a feather.” “Now that I have got that big worry off my mind, I feel as light as a feather.” * As old as the hills Used to describe a person as being very old. “My Uncle Ike is as old as the hills. He must be almost ninety already.” “I don’t want to live to be as old as the hills and survive as frail, weak and sickly.” “We could never actually, literally, live to be as old as the hills because then we might even become millions of years old.” * As sure as shootin’ Just as a gun shoots straight, and hits its mark, so one can


As the crow flies

As thick as thieves

As tough as nails

Ask around

Asking for trouble

Assure someone of

say a thing will happen for sure and with certainty. “Don’t trust Ebenezer. He will try to cheat you, sure as shootin’.” “Whatever you do wrong will come back to you, sure as shootin’.” “If you do anything to hurt an enemy, he will try to revenge himself, sure as shootin.” * In a straight line; directly from one point to another point. “As the crow flies is another way if saying the shortest distance between two geographical points.” “The shortest distance around the world is only twenty-seven thousand miles, as the crow flies.” “Willow Lake is only five miles from town as the crow flies, but if you drive up there, you have to follow an eighteen-mile-long snaking, winding mountain track.” * Just as thieves may conceive a plan together in which they must trust and depend on each other, so we may say that people acting together with hidden motives and intentions are as thick as thieves. “I don’t know what the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition are plotting together, but everyone can see they are as thick as thieves.” “The CFO and the CEO are as thick as thieves; no one knows what secret strategy they might have worked-out to manipulate the financial resources of the company.” “Uncle Freddy and Johnny Mack are as thick as thieves. Nobody knows what they are up to, and no one can come between them.” * Tough; hard as steel; impervious to pain. “That guy looks as tough as nails. I sure wouldn’t want to have to fight him” “My big brother is as tough as nails, and, when, he is forced to fight, he always wins and never fails.” “The US Marines are trained to be rough and tough and as hard as nails.” * Keep asking people, inquire amongst your friends, and see what you can find out. “Can you ask around and find out if anybody has seen an orange and white-striped Siamese cat?” “Can you ask around and find somebody who would be willing to edit the English in my doctoral thesis?” “Can you ask around if anybody would like to buy a 1980 Classic Mercedes Benz 450 SLC? I have to sell it because I don’t drive anymore.” * Doing something that will likely get you onto trouble. “Doreen is just asking for trouble, the way she flirts with her sister’s husband.” “Clive is just asking for trouble, the way he contradicts his supervisor all the time.” “If you start selling drugs to your friends at school, you are asking for trouble.” * Make someone feel certain; give someone a sense of assurance. “I can assure you that the applicant is a person of good character.” “I’m sorry I was rude and impolite. I


can assure you that it won’t happen again.” “I can assure you that our company will provide you with the very best service.” * At a moment’s notice Immediately, the moment someone informs you. “You can call me anytime, and I’ll come running at a moment’s notice.” “Just phone us when you have a problem with your computer system, and we’ll have an IT specialist come and fix it at a moment’s notice.” “The UN Relief Team has a mobile medical unit that is ready to respond to any medical emergency, immediately, at a moment’s notice.” * At an impasse At a point where further progress or mutual understanding is impossible. “Pakistan and India came to an impasse in their discussions about Kashmir and have broken off relations.” “The two negotiating parties have come to an impasse and mediations have broken down.” “The Turks and the Greeks have come to an impasse on how Cyprus should be divided, and it looks like they will never be able to come to an agreement.” * At an inopportune mo- At an awkward, inconvenient or embarrassing moment. ment “You have come at an inopportune moment because I have three meetings scheduled this afternoon, back-toback.” “Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were shaving. I am afraid that I have walked in on you at an inopportune moment.” “I walked in to my boss’s office at an inopportune moment when he was smooching with his secretary.” * At cross-purposes Striving for opposite goals; working against one another; opposed to one another. “I am afraid that we are talking at cross-purposes, because what you suggest would destroy the effect that I want to achieve.” “Committee members who are trying to achieve conflicting goals will always be talking at cross-purposes.” “When one staff member wants to do one thing and another colleague wants to do the opposite, they will be working at cross purposes.” At death’s door About to die; approaching death; on the threshold of death; just waiting to die. “When you are at death’s door, you can no longer turn back the clock and make up for your sins.” “He was almost at death’s door, when he finally realized that he had wasted his whole life in the pursuit of wine, women and worldly pleasures.” “When a man is at death’s door, it is time for him to make his final peace with the world.” * At each other’s throats Trying to choke and strangle one another; attacking each other; disagreeing aggressively. “Just as two people may be trying to strangle each other with their hands at one another’s throats, so we may say that two people in a vio-


At face value

At last

At loggerheads

At loose ends

At odds with

lent, verbal disagreement are at one another’s throats.” “The Regional Manager and the Senior Partner are at each other’s throats about who will become Chairman of the Board.” “Mother and Father are at each other’s throats concerning which way the family votes in the Federal election.” “Before and after and during the divorce proceedings, Ted and Alice were literally at each other’s throats.” * What seems to be the apparent value based only upon what one can be visually seen. “A face value, this George Washington penny is only worth one cent, but its value as a collector’s item is ten times that much.” “At face value, Blue Chip Stocks seem to have be the best bet, but investing in venture capital may pay-off better in the long run.” “Judging on what we can see at face value, the company is not worth too much, but, for the man with the right business skills, it could turn into a billion dollar winner.” * Finally, after a long period of waiting! “At last! I’m glad you have finally arrived. I‘ve been standing out here in the rain for thirty minutes.” “At last! I’ve been waiting for two years for you to ask me to marry you, and now you have finally popped the question.” “I waited for the books to arrive by sea mail for more than three months, but when I was starting to give up hope, they finally arrived at last.” * Cannot compromise and come to an agreement; at odds with one another; cannot see eye to eye. “The student’s council and the university administration are at loggerheads about allowing male and female students to become roommates in the dormitories.” “Management and trade unions are at loggerheads concerning the question of instituting a thirty-six hour work week with no decrease in pay.” “The government and the NGO’s are at loggerheads concerning how much money should be allotted to provide aid to the earthquake victims.” * With time on your hands and nothing to do. “I don’t have a job right now, and I’m just hanging around at home, at loose ends, going half crazy with nothing to do.” “I live alone, and over the Christmas holidays, I find myself with a lot of free time on my hands, at loose ends, wondering what to do with myself.” “If you ever find yourself at loose ends and you feel lonely, call me up and I’ll take you to a movie.” * Having a difference of opinion with. “Middy is at odds with Jonathan, and they are having an argument over there in the corner.” “Dunsmore is at odds with everyone, and he is refusing to talk any more.” “Middy and Hunter


At one’s wits end

At opposite poles

At peace with the world

At point blank range

At someone’s beck call

At the breaking point

are not at odds any more, and, you can see them coming arm-in-arm through the door.” * Trying to figure what to do about a problem and running out of ideas about what to do about it. “I’ve been trying apologize to Jonathan, but he won’t speak to me and I’m at my wit’s end about how we can become friends again.” “I used to be able to tolerate with my wife’s constant sarcastic remarks, but, now, I find I’ve had quite enough. Frankly, I’m about to go around the bend and at my wit’s end.” * Just as the north and south poles are diametrically opposite to one another, so the opinions of people can be at opposite poles. “People who are at opposite ends of an argument are diametrically opposed, at opposite poles “The Liberal Prime Minister and the Conservative Leader of the Opposition are always at opposite poles of any argument.” “Whatever my wife and I talk about, we find that we are always at opposite poles, and I am about ready to shoot her bed sheet full of holes.” * Calm and tranquil. “A man who is at peace with the world has nothing against anybody anymore and has accepted the world as the way it is. “I have forgiven everyone who ever hurt me and feel at peace with the world.” “If you want to make injustice your enemy, then, you’ll never be at peace with the world.” * Up, close enough, to hold a gun against someone’s ribs or head and shoot. “In former times, a gunman was able to walk right up to the President and shoot him in the heart at point blank range.” “Nowadays, because security is tighter, it is hard for hired-killers to just walk up to politicians and shoot them at point blank range.” “If you shoot someone at point blank range, you’re sure to get caught, but if you shoot from a nearby roof top you might not get caught.” * Always available and ready, when beckoned or called, to do someone’s bidding, to give him what he asks for without hesitating or complaining at all. “A household servant is always at the master’s beck and call, day and night.” “Darling, whenever you need me I will always be at your beck and call.” “I would never ever want to have a job where I was always at someone’s beck and call.” * Just as a beam or girder may be stressed under pressure to the point where it finally at the point of breaking, so a person may be said to be at the breaking point when he is about to break out in stress and anger or to have a nervous breakdown. “There’s so much pressure at the office that I am almost at the breaking point.” “My patience has been tested so far that it is reaching the breaking point.”


“I have been listening to your unfair criticism for so long that I am almost at the breaking point.” * At the drop of a hat Immediately if so requested; in just the time it takes for your hat to drop to the ground; in no time at all. “You’re request is my desire. Just give me the word, and I’ll respond, at the drop of a hat.” “Just propose marriage to me, and I will accept at the drop of a hat.” “One minute, he’s cool, calm and collected. The next minute, as if at the drop of a hat, he’s boiling with rage.” * At the end of the day Finally, in the end; looking back after all is done and said. “You can try to fulfill all your hopes and dreams, but, at the end of the day, you’ll have to be realistic and be satisfied with whatever you are able to achieve.” “You can make the world your adversary, but, at the end of the day, you will realize that no matter how hard you fight, you can never win.” “At the end of the day, when all is said and done, you will finally realize that the things your father tried to teach you were all for your own good.” * At the end of your finger- Within arm’s reach; where you can reach out and touch tips it; close at hand; right there in front of you; within grasp; close enough to lay a hand on. “I would rather have a TV remote control at the end of my fingertips than have to stand up and walk across the room every time I want to change a channel.” “Holding a computer mouse in your hand means you have all the resources of the Internet at your fingertips.” “Always keep a long hairpin or a pair of scissors within reach, at the end of your fingertips, just in case you have to defend your self from brutal, sexual attack.” * At the end of your tether Just as a dog, tied to a post, can only run as far as to the end of his of his rope (or tether) before choking on his collar, so we can say that when a person has finally lost patience he is at the end of his tether. “I have been putting up with constant stupidity, for long enough, but, now, I am at the end of my tether and cannot take anymore.” ‘That’s it! I’ve had enough! I’m at the end of my tether, and I am not going to tolerate any more of your insolent back-talk.” “I tried my father’s patience until he finally reached the end of his tether, and, so, when he had finally had enough of my naughtiness, he told me to get out of the house.” * At the helm Just as a steersman standing at the helm of a ship, turns the steering wheel, to control the rudder, to keep the ship on course, so we may say that when a manager has been put in charge of a big company, he takes charge and takes over control to try to steer the organization on a steady course. “With George Bush at the helm of the Republican corporate conglomerate, the USA had been


At the summit of success

At the top of your voice

At your own risk

Attend to business


Avoid confrontation

steering an unsteady course.” “The British were lucky that they had Tony Blair at the helm to steer them through troubled waters and troubled times.” “Bill Gates may no longer be at the helm of Microsoft, but the company is sure to steer a steady course as long as they follow his guidance.” * Just as a mountain-climber finally reaches the peak of the summit at the top of the mountain, so a person may be said to have reached the summit of his career when he has finally reached the highest possible point or peak. “Jack Kennedy was suddenly assassinated at the summit of his success.” “Marilyn Monroe had reached the summit of her success when she, unexpectedly died of a supposed overdose of sleeping pills.” “When old poets have passed the summit of their success, they pass away in future generation’s memories.” * As loudly as you can speak, scream or shout. “When you go into a disco, you can shout at the top of your voice, and your friends won’t be able to hear you.” “I kept calling out for help at the top of my voice but there was nobody within miles to listen.” “If you shout like that, at the top of your voice, I’ll plug my ears and refuse to listen.” * If you do something unsafe, you take the responsibility for putting your self in danger. “If you walk across the road in heavy traffic, without using the overhead footbridge, you do so at your own risk.” “Visitors at the zoo are warned that if they touch the animals, they do so at their own risk.” “If you ski off-the-slopes, in the deeppowder snow between the trees, you do so at your own risk.” * Apply yourself to the work at hand. “Stop daydreaming and attend to business!” “It’s time to stop hesitating and attend to business before it’s too late.” “I think that we’ve wasted enough time discussing uncertainties, so, now, it’s time to get down and attend to business.” * A trick or device to get people’s attention. “Girls who wear low-cut blouses, as an attention-getters, certainly become the center-points of attention.” “Advertisers like to use an attention-getter, like an image of a super star or a sexy woman, to draw attention to their product.” “When you write an essay, you should always use an attention-getter in the first sentence to make people want to continue reading.” * Prevent argument or disagreement by avoiding direct conflict. “In dealing with clients, try, at all costs, to avoid any direct confrontation or disagreement.” “In Asian culture it is common to avoid direct confrontation by evad-


Axe to grind

ing the question.” “If you want to get along harmoniously with people in this world, it is better to avoid confrontation and altercation.” * A grudge to settle; a feeling of anger to resolve; a motive for revenge; a bone to pick; an old resentment to express; an issue to argue about. “I’ve got an axe to grind with you about the miserable way you mistreated my father when he was married to you.” “Socialists always have the same old axe to grind, that it is unfair for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.” “My foreman says he has an axe to grind with me about the way I have neglected my responsibility to keep an eye out for signs of quality and damage control.” *

Idioms and expressions Babbling idiot Definitions followed by examples A mentally-challenged person who talks incoherent nonsense without stopping; a fool who never makes sense and never knows when to shut up. “Stop talking like a babbling idiot and take a moment to think about what you are saying.” “They couldn’t crown Prince Cuthbert as King because he was just a babbling idiot, so they poisoned him according to custom and crowned his cousin.” “I try to avoid conversation with my uncle John because he always runs on like a babbling idiot.” * A newly-born innocent baby, still in its mother’s arms. “My father died when I was just a babe in arms.” “I was just a babe in arms when my oldest brother came home from the Gulf War.” “When the World Trade Center was bombed, I was just a babe in arms.” * Young people so innocent that they have no idea of the dangers in life in the outside world. “While we are just innocent babes in the woods, people can take advantage of us easily.” “When my wife and I first married, we were still babes in the woods, with no idea of what was going on in the world.” “My sister and I were just babes in the woods when we came to New York from Oklahoma at the age of sixteen and seventeen. respectively” * In England, there is a custom for a man about-to-bemarried to have party with his male friends on the last night of his bachelorhood at which they drink a lot and sometimes engage in sexual escapades with girls hired for the purpose.” “For Tom’s bachelor party, we arranged to have a strip-teaser in a Playboy Bunny costume


Babes in the woods

Bachelor party


Back away from

Back down

Back in business

Back on your feet

jump out of a giant vanilla cake.” “I got really drunk and totally passed-out at my bachelor party, and I was so hung-over, on my wedding day, that I could barely remain standing throughout the ceremony.” “The Ladies’ League for Manners and Morals is against the idea of bachelor parties in general, and, in particular, when they include sexual escapades.” * Feel afraid or reluctant to face a task or problem or responsibility. “When Timmy was small, he used to retreat and back away from any sort of direct confrontation, but, now, he’s bigger, he’s learning to stand up for himself.” “Don’t back away from the responsibility of raising a family. Do your duty and behave like a man.” “I have been backing away from the responsibility of solving my parents’ financial situation, but, now, I have decided the time has come to try to face the problem head-on, before it gets even worse.” * Reverse your opinion and admit you were wrong; admit or concede defeat. “I was sure I was right, but, now, that I see I was wrong, I’ll have to back down and admit defeat.” “A man who is strong-headed and stubborn will find it hard to back down and yield defeat.” “I’m sorry I took such a strong opinion based on such weak evidence, and, now, I’m ready to back down and admit my mistake.” * Just as a business may be shut down and then start up again, so we can say a person is back in business once he has overcome a period of difficulties and is back in action again. “John Travolta had a slump in his movie career as he started getting older and fatter, but, then, he started playing character parts, and he was soon back in business.” “I did a lot of drugs and alcohol in my twenties and went totally to the dogs, but, then, I underwent a period of rehabilitation and self-development, and, now, I’m back in business.” “I had a bout with prostrate cancer, which laid me out for a while, but, now, I’m back on my feet and back in business.” * Just as fighter can be knocked-down and, then, get up and fight again, so a person may be said to be back on his feet after a period of illness of financial difficulties. “He lost all his money in the Dot.Com craze, but started over from scratch and made a come-back in currency speculation, and now he is back on his feet. “I am happy to see that you up and about and back on your feet now that the cancer has been eliminated.” “I had a tough time after losing my wife and the house and the business, but, now, I’ve got a government job, and I’m starting to get back on my feet.” *


Fail to fulfill an obligation; desert the cause; make a promise and then withdraw. “You made me a promise to marry me, so, please don’t back out on me now.” “At first they were going to invest three million in the project, but they backed-out at the last moment.” “Simms had made a verbal agreement to represent the company, but, when it came to contract signing time, he unexpectedly backed out of his promise.” * Back seat driver Someone who sits in the back seat of a car and tells the driver what to do. “There’s nothing I hate worse than a backseat driver. It always makes me nervous when someone criticizes my driving skills.” “My mother-inlaw was a back seat driver until we bought her a car of her own.” “The best thing to do with a back seat driver is tell him to get out and walk.” * Back to earth Return to reality from a world of fantasy and illusion. “It’s time you stopped dreaming and finally come back to earth.” “I was high in the sky with elation when I first fell in love, but I came back to earth with a bang when the honeymoon period was over.” “People who start off with high hopes are often disappointed when they have to come back down to earth with a bang and accept the bare facts of reality.” * Back to square one Just as one might start over again by going back to the first square in a crossword puzzle, so one might have to go back to the beginning of a project or task and start over again from the beginning. “The scientific trials showed that we were taking the wrong approach, so we will have to go back to square one and seek a new strategy.” “The government has put the project on hold, which means that the construction company will have to go back to square one at a later date and recalculate the risks and costs once again.” “Negotiations were deadlocked at the end of the conference, so they decided to go back to square one and try a new approach to mediating their problems.” * Back to the drawing Scrap or cancel a project and go back and start to draw board up new plans again, from the beginning. “Every design we have tried has failed under strain and testing, so it’s time to go back to the drawing board again.” “The committee has not accepted our plan, so we have to go back to the drawing board again and think up another scheme.” “The City Engineering Office keeps rejecting our systems and sending us back to the drawing board to try to find new methods again.” * Back to the wall In an indefensible position so it’s hard to fight your way out. “When your back is against the wall and you cannot retreat, the best thing to do is to concede defeat.” “When

Back out of



Back-breaking work

Backdoor someone




you are caught with your back to the wall, sometimes, you have no other choice but to forget your fear and fight your way towards the door.” “I have been forced into a position where my back is against the wall, so I have no other choice but to admit I am beat and concede defeat.” * A quarrelsome woman, compared to a dog which bites from behind, who makes spiteful and vicious and hurtful remarks. “Ted’s wife is a vicious, backbiting-bitch, and I don’t know how he puts up with her.” “Stop being such a backbiting-bitch! Try to look friendly and say something good for a change.” “I hate my big sister Sally because she is such a mean-minded backbiting-bitch.” * Hard labor; physical work that is strenuous, arduous and grueling. “Carrying one hundred kilo sacks of rice from a barge over onto a dock-side pier is back-breaking work.” “Lifting heavy pots of plants and loading them into a truck is back-breaking work.” “When I was in jail in Georgia, I was assigned to chain-gang that had to do the back-breaking work of splitting up big rocks with heavy sledge-hammers.” * Refers to a male lover who comes in the back door when the woman’s husband goes out the front door. “If you backdoor you best friend by courting his wife, you risk the chance of ruining her life.” “Jake’s being backdoored by his cousin Clem and everybody in town knows it but him.” “Mike told me that if he ever caught anybody backdooring him with his wife, he’d cut off the other guy’s balls with a knife.” * Just as a gun may not shoot properly and so backfire, so a plan can miscarry, go wrong, or blow up in your face. “The economic reform plan of the government backfired and caused a deep recession instead.” “The President’s proposed tax cuts, to benefit the rich, are likely to backfire, in his face, and cause him to lose the next election.” “My plan, to get my co-worker, Ken, blamed, blackballed and fired, ultimately backfired, and I was the one that got fired instead.” * A bribe given to someone in a way which others cannot see. “When a policeman stops my car, I place a one hundred Baht note inside the palm of my hand and twist my wrist around so he can see and take it as a backhander.” “In some countries, the only thing you can get from the government without a backhander is a postage stamp.” “If you expect a favor from an official you will also have to expect that he will want a backhander.” * Just as a boxer would back-off in the ring to avoid being punched, so we can tell someone to back-off to avoid the


consequences, by saying, for example, “I warn you; Back-off! Don’t push me; don’t confront me; don’t threaten me; don’t be aggressive towards me; don’t drive me to the point where I’ll have no choice but to fight and hurt you.” “Sandra kept pushing me to confess that I had abused her, but I told her if she didn’t back-off she would regret it.” “Mr. Congreve wanted to fight against my proposal at the meeting, but I told him to back-off, or I’d tell everyone he was having sex with his secretary during office hours, and that shut him up quickly.” * Back-scratching When you do somebody a favor so he will do you a favor, we call this back-scratching.” “You scratch my back I’ll scratch your back’ can be taken literally or figuratively.” “It seems that there has been a lot of backscratching going on in government circles.” “Sometimes, it takes a bit of mutual back-scratching to get a bill passed through the parliament.” * Backslapper In American culture, when they want to congratulate you, for a good deed or good job to give you the impression they like you, they give you a good slap on the back. “The custom of backslapping goes against the gentle customs of Asian culture.” “My American Uncle is always slapping me on the back to show his approval, but this an American characteristic of which I strongly disapprove.” “A backslapper can also be an insincere person who is trying to win your favor under false pretenses.” * Back-talk To answer someone back in a cheeky and insolent way. “Don’t answer back when I am scolding you, if I get any more back-talk from you, I’ll sew a zip in your lip.” “Don’t try to give the boss any back-talk or it will backfire on you.” Don’t give me any more of your lip. One more smart bit of back-talk from you, and, I‘ll smack you one.” * Back-to-back Just as two people can stand back-to-back, so two activities can take place back-to-back or one after another. “In ancient times, warriors would often fight back-to-back for the protection it provided.” “In the conference, we have several activities scheduled continuously back-toback to cover a wide scope of interests.” “Today my schedule is booked with a series of appointments backto-back from morning until evening.” * Back-to-front With the back side of the garment worn on the front side of the body. “I often put on my T-shirt back-to-front without noticing it.” “I notice that when I put on my shorts back-to-front, they are too tight in the back side and too loose in the front.” “People will always comment when you are wearing a garment back-to-front.” * Backward about coming Too hesitant to express an opinion or volunteer; too shy



Backwards and forwards

Bad actor

Bad apple

Bad blood between

Bad bunch/bad lot

to come forward and speak one’s mind; too afraid to stand up and ask for something; too embarrassed to speak before others; too timid to make demands. “Our little Timmy is so timid that he’ll never come out and say what he wants. He’s a bit backward about coming forward.” “Come on, Son, out with it! What is it that you want to say? Don’t be backward about coming forward.” “We asked our staff members to volunteer to make suggestions about how to improve the management process, but they were backward about coming forward.” * Means that you know something from beginning to end and back again; inside-out. “I know the customs regulations backwards and forwards and inside out.” “When you have been working with a set of laws and regulations for years and years, you get to know them backwards and forwards.” “There not very many linguistic scholars living today who know the complete Pali Canon backwards and forwards.” * A person who is known for his bad behavior and actions. “When I was a kid in school, I was known by all the teachers as a bad actor.” “Stay away from that fellow Oscar I hear he is a bad actor.” “Oscar Wilde became an outcast in polite society because he was reputed to be a bad actor.” * Just as a bad apple can ruin all the rest of the apples in a basket by starting to rot, so a person can act as a bad apple, if he influences a group of people to change for the worse. “Every class of schoolboys seems to have one or two bad apples who cause a lot of trouble for the teacher.” “One who commits or incites crimes mat be called a “bad apple.” “There is usually one person in every group who is a bad apple who influences the others to lose respect for and ignore the directions of the leadership.” * Enmity; ill-feeling; hate; antagonism; hostility. “There is bad blood between my mother and her sisters because they all want to inherit their father’s house when he dies.” “My ex-wife and I have made up our differences, and, now, there is no more bad blood between us.” “There has long been bad blood between the two motorcycle gangs in town, and the other night an eighteen year old boy was stabbed to death.” * A group of bad people who can lead you into doing wrong. “Mugsy and his buddies are a bad lot who are always up to no good.” “I would stay away from that nightclub crowd if I were you. They are a bad lot who are sure to have a bad influence on you.” “After graduation, he stayed in London and fell in with a bad lot who started


Bad egg

Bad experience

Bad judgment

Bad memories

Bad shape

Bad taste in your mouth

him on drinking and drugs which led to his eventual destruction and demise.” * Just as a bad egg can cause a whole basket to turn rotten, so a person within a group may be called a bad egg if he will be a bad influence on them. “Just as it only takes one bad egg to ruin a whole basket, so it only takes one bad member to ruin the harmony of a whole happy family.” “It only takes one bad egg on the Board of Governors to cause disharmony between the other members of the board.” “A person we call a bad egg or a bad apple is one who is likely to spoil the wholesomeness and the harmony of an otherwise, good group.” * An experience in the past that you will never forget and which has left a lasing psychological effect. “I had a bad experience in my childhood that affected my trust in men.” “Mildred had a bad experience with a sex pervert, when she was young, and it has left a lasting effect.” “My psychiatrist says that I must have had a bad experience in math class in school when I was young that blocked my ability to do higher mathematics later in life.” * A decision that led to an action that caused a problem or undesired effect. “Young people often make decisions based on bad judgment, just because they don’t know any better.” “Deciding to join the army at the early age of eighteen was a bad judgment on my part that I regretted later on in life.” “Starting an affair with my boss’s wife was definitely the most stupid act of bad judgment that I ever committed in my life.” * Remembrances of bad experiences in the past. “I hate to think of my childhood because I have so many bad memories.” “When I have to get together with my family on holiday occasions, it always stirs up bad memories from my youth.” “When I think back to the time I spent in San Francisco, I have a lot of bad memories.” * In poor physical or mental condition. “After Charles broke my heart and left me for another woman. I was in bad shape for about two or three years.” “When I was still psychologically disturbed by the bad experiences and memories of my early youth, I was really unstable and in bad shape.” “After neglecting his health for years, due to alcohol addiction and drug dependency, he was really in bad shape.” * Just as eating a bitter almond, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, so a bitter experience in life may be said to have left a bad taste in the mouth. “When you have a bitter disappointment in the place of a promised success, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.” “When you are unex-


Bad terms



Bag of bones

Bag of tricks

pectedly betrayed by the one and only friend you thought you had in life, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.” “Michael said that being homosexually molested when he was only thirteen left a bad taste in his mouth.” * Unfriendly relations with; feeling ill-will, enmity or antagonism towards. “There has always been bad blood between my step-brother and me about who will inherit our father’s land, and we are still on bad terms.” “Mom and Dad have been on bad terms since Pop took his secretary on a business trip to Chicago.” “Charlie and Chad have been on bad terms since Charlie was named Vicepresident and took-over Chad’s job.” * To say bad things about; to say nasty things about; talk bad about a thing because it doesn’t suit your needs or wishes; to gossip to belittle or demean in a destructive way. “Don’t bad-mouth the mayor of the city just because he is against your development plan.” He’s been bad-mouthing my younger sister since she turned him down the first time he ever asked her for a date.” “In a democracy, because of freedom of speech, you can badmouth members of the government and get away with it by calling it freedom of speech.” * Easily angered; irritable. “Someone who is easily angered and bad-tempered can easily lose emotional control of himself.” “My maternal grandfather is a mean, nasty, bad-tempered old man who lives alone and complains a lot to his neighbors.” “My Aunt Caroline was a badtempered old witch of a woman whom no one would go near because she was always so cranky.” * So thin that your empty skin is like a bag of bones. “My older sister is so skinny that she looks like nothing more than a big long, tall, bag of bones.” “By losing forty kilos, I went from looking like an over-inflated balloon to being like an empty-looking bag of skin and bones.” “After years of deprivation, he was reduced to being physically, reduced to little more than a mere bag of bones.” * Just as a magician has his bag of tricks and may upon occasion pull a rabbit out of a hat, so a person or businessman may be said to have a bag of tricks to produce a solution to a situation on a moment’s notice. “I’ll have to pull something special out of my bag of tricks, so that we will be able to balance the accounts for this month.” “I admire that guy. Even when it looks like he is down-andout and defeated, he is always able to pull something out of his bag of tricks to save the day.” “Financial forecasts look bad. If we want to keep our heads above water, we’ll have to produce some sort of temporary floatation device from out of our bag of tricks.” *


Bags under your eyes

Balancing act

Balk at the idea

Ball and chain

Ball someone out

Ball your eyes out

Pockets or pouches under your eyes due to tiredness or illness or old age. “When the audit deadline is approaching everyone on the staff has bags under his eyes from working too late and getting too little sleep.” “Why have you got bags under your eyes? Is it because you have been working too much or because you have been drinking too much?” “When Mom turned fifty, she started to turn weak and sickly and developed bags under her eyes.” * Just as a tightrope walker has to step carefully to keep from losing his balance, so a person may have to maintain his mental balance when he has to deal with conflicting pressures without losing control. “A working wife must somehow do a balancing act between performing her duties at home and in the office.” “In mediating this deal, I must do a balancing act to be sure I represent the interests of both parties equally.” “The contract engineer on a big project always has to do a balancing act to keep both the contractor and the project owner happy.” * Just as a donkey refuses or balks at the command to go forward, so a person may be said to balk at the suggestion that he do something. “I balk at the idea of anyone being able to order me how to complete my creative design process.” “My students always balk at the idea of giving a presentation of their ideas in front of the class.” “Teachers often balk at the idea of anyone else, especially the administration, being able to control the content of their lesson plans.” * Just as prisoners used to have an iron ball and chain around their legs so they could not run very far away, so a man may jokingly refer to his wife as his ball and chain. “One day, I feel that my wife is a ball and chain. The next day, I love her again.” “Let me introduce you to my ball and chain. This is my wife Maude.” “Sometimes a wife must literally hold a man back to keep him from getting himself into trouble, as though she were literally a ball and chain.” * Shout loudly and blame someone for what he has done wrong. “When I see my son, I am going to ball him out for breaking our neighbor’s window.” “I am afraid that my boss is really going to ball me out and tell me off for delivering the report to the client two days past deadline.” “When a person does something wrong, it is not enough to just give him a good balling out to censure him. It is also necessary to explain the problem, in a way that is clear, so it will not happen again.” * Cry emotionally as though your tears will never stop. “When my puppy died, I balled my eyes out for nearly a


week.” “When you lose your first love, it’s a normal reaction to want to ball your eyes out.” “You can ball your eyes out and cry and complain you want, but it is not going to make me change my decision to cut off your weekly allowance.” * Ballyhoo Loud, noisy uproar; racket; commotion; hullabaloo. “What are all those people shouting about? What’s the big ballyhoo?” “Last night, there was a big ballyhoo, outside Government House, where the farmers were demonstrating for better support and subsidies.” “OK kids; let’s put an end to all this ballyhoo. It’s time to settle-down and be quiet and pay attention.” * Bamboozle someone Talk fast to confuse, deceive, trick, con, swindle; deceive, or take someone in. “The door-to-door salesman bamboozled me into buying a vacuum cleaner for two thousand dollars.” “Don’t try to bamboozle me. I am familiar with all of your devices and lies and tricks.” “My cousin, Carlos, made an illegal living by tricking and bamboozling people into buying phony government bonds.” * Band-aid solution Fixing a problem in a temporary way that won’t last long. “Short term tax cuts are just a band-aid solution that will not sufficiently influence spending on the national level.” “Raising interest rates is just a temporary, band-aid solution that won’t influence the rising inflation rate much in the long run.” “Increasing the registered capital in the company is just a band-aid solution which won’t help much to increase profits or stock dividends.” * Bane of my life A curse, irritation, annoyance that is ruining your life and keeps following you along and won’t go away. “I swear my ex-husband is the bane of my life. Wherever I go he and his problems keep following me.” “My ex-wife is the bane of my life. Whenever I try to start over and get a new foothold, she comes around and knocks me down again.” “That child is the bane of my life. Since the day he was born, he has behaved as if he were a child of the devil.” * Banging your head Just as banging your head against the wall achieves no against the wall purpose, so we may say that trying to convince an unwilling person to understand or do something is as useless as banging your head against the wall. “Trying to get students to stop cheating is like banging your head against the wall.” “Trying to get you to listen to common sense is like banging my head against the wall.” “I have talked until I am blue in the face to try to convince my daughter to stop seeing that man, but I am banging my head against the wall, because she just won’t listen.” *


Banking on someone

Bankroll the job

Barbarian cruelty


Bare bones

Just as we can trust and depend on a bank, so we should be able to depend and count on a person to keep his word and act with responsibility to support us in the way he has promised. “We are banking on UNICEF to provide expert advice on how to solve the situation.” “The Prime Minister is banking on your party’s support to help him win the next election.” “Son, I am banking on you to graduate and then come home and help run the family business.” * Usually, a big robbery necessitates a lot of pre-planning and time and training and money before the criminals can eventually pull-off the job. “The one who provides the money and bankrolls the job will get the largest percent of the take,” “Although Lefty bankrolled the job, the police were unable to pin anything on him, so he got-off Scott-free.” “It would be possible to steal all the gold in the treasury, but it would take a lot of money to bankroll the job and pay off an army of men to help pull-off the job.” * Uncivilized, brutal, beastly behavior towards a conquered and defeated people. “The Romans, despite their vast and mighty empire, eventually became the victims of barbarian cruelty after Rome was sacked, when hoards of barbarian fighters from the north swept down and raped and pillaged their way through what was left of the Empire of Rome.” “Nowadays, after the Geneva Convention, war is supposed to follow more civilized rules of behavior and avoid the barbarian cruelty that was practiced in the past.” “My husband is an animal, and I am suing him for divorce, after the endless, barbarian cruelty he has put me through over the years.” * Just as barbed-wire has many sharp points that can hurt, so a person may be said to have a sharp and hurtful tongue. “He who speaks with a barbed tongue sends out words and waves of pain that, one day, will come back to hurt him again.” “We call Barbara, “Barb,” for short because she has a barbed tongue and is always making sharp, hurtful comments” “He who speaks with a barbedtongue is subconsciously getting revenge on the world for the cruelty and unfairness he feels has been inflicted on him.” * Indicates something stripped-own to bare reality; to the bare essence. “Strip illusion down to the bare bones, free from any sense of ideality.” “A physicist must strip a mental event of all of its embellishments until there is nothing left but bare bones of reality.” “A meditator must strip reality down to the bare bones of the event and then examine the content of consciousness” *


Bare your breast

Open your heart and tell what hurts you; tell all that you know... “To bare your breast means to sit down and tell another person everything that is going on inside your heart without holding anything back.” “Psychologists believe it is good therapy to be able to bare your breast, once in a while, as a way of releasing hidden, pent-up emotions.” “Americans believe that, it does you good to be able to talk with someone and bare you breast just to get a load off your chest.” Barefaced-lie An unashamed statement of mistruth. “Don’t deny you were with that woman, in that nightclub last night. It is a barefaced lie.” “I saw you take the money. Don’t try to deny it! It is a bare-faced lie.” “When everyone knows you are lying, but you lie anyway, without feeling shame, it is a bare-faced lie.” * Barely made it on time Arrived just in time to avoid missing an appointment or deadline.” “She spent so long doing her hair that she left home late and barely made it to her date on time.” “We were afraid that we would be late for our flight and just barely made it on time.” “Traffic was jammed, so I jumped out of the van and took a motorcycle-taxi and just barely made it to the meeting on time.” * Bargaining chip Just as in a casino, gamblers play with plastic gambling chips, so, in business, we may say, something extra we have to offer is a bargaining chip. “In management school, they teach you that if you have something that the other guy wants that will cause you no loss, you can use it as a bargaining chip.” “I think it is unfair that the company is using annual bonuses in staff negotiations as a bargaining chip.” “The USA should not use foreign aid as a bargaining chip to make poor countries comply with American policies.” * Barge-in on somebody Break-into abruptly and interrupt the conversation; cutinto a dialogue in an impolite manner; turn up somewhere when you are not expected or wanted; storm-in and suddenly open someone’s door expectedly. “Sorry to barge-in on the conference, like this, Sir, but, the Prime Minister is waiting on the telephone and would like to speak to you.” “Please excuse me for barging-into your office during lunch break like this, Sir, but something has come up that deserves your immediate attention.” “Old Aunt Alice thinks she can barge-in on me in my home anytime she wants. She would never consider that I might need some private time for myself.” * Bark is worse than his Just as a dog may bark a lot but not bite at all, so we may bite say that a person’s threatening talk is worse than his actions will be. “Max looks mean and talks aggressively, but his bark is worse than his bite. Actually, deep at


heart, he is a soft-hearted good guy.” “Our supervisor shouts and swears and speaks very harshly, but his bark is worse than his bite.” “Pay no attention to Mom. She may sound threatening, but her bark is worse than her bite. Mom is actually quite harmless and kind.” * Barking-up the wrong Just as a dog may be barking, at the bottom of one tree, tree when the squirrel he is chasing has already jumped to another tree, so we may say, comparatively, that one person may be wrongly accusing another person about a wrong thing which yet a third person did. “Don’t blame me for starting that nasty rumor about you. You’re barking up the wrong tree.” “If you think I’m responsible for getting you fired, you’re barking up the wrong tree.” “Don’t accuse me of being the one who let out your secret. If you think it was me, you’re barking up the wrong tree” * Barrage of criticism Just as the known-presence of an enemy can attract a bombardment or barrage of artillery fire; a volley of mortar fire, or a hail of bullets, so a public action or statement can attract a barrage of censure and disapproval from the press or the public. “The Prime Minister’s angry comments caused a barrage of criticism in the press.” “The radically, modern architectural design of the new cultural center was met with a barrage of criticism from the critics.” “When scientists first started talking about cloning human beings, the idea evoked a barrage of criticism from religious and academic circles all around the world.” Barrel of laughs A person or event full of fun and jokes. “We always like to get Big Bob to MC the office party because he full of humor and is a barrel of laughs.” “My brother Bill is a barrel of laughs. He is so funny; he has us rolling on the floor with laughter all the time.” “Come to the company party on Friday. We’ll all have a barrel of laughs.” * Base instinct Low natural motive. “Base instinct makes men behave like beasts.” “The will to kill is said to be a base instinct. Rape is also an action based on base instinct.” “When a man acts from base instinct, without following law or reason, he is driven to do evil, anti-social things.” * Base motives Low and primitive desires and wants; harmful natural instincts; bad intentions. “Trying to hurt someone you are jealous of arises from base motives.” “It is said that some people enter politics for personal benefit due to base motives.” “Try and be a good citizen by controlling your base motives and obeying the law in a way that is good for all.” * Bash someone’s brains in Beat someone over the head until you actually smash in his brains. “No citizen with basic decency would con-


Basic decency

Battle it out

Battle of the bulge

Battle of the sexes

Battle of the wits

Be a buffer between

sider bringing harm upon another human being.” “Father threatened to bash my brains in, if he ever caught me lying again.” “If you lay one finger on my little sister, I’ll bash your brains in.” “If I ever see you look at another woman, I’ll bash your brains in.” * Common politeness; the minimum courtesy required in polite society, respect, courtesy and civility. “Please show the basic decency of paying respect to your elders.” “At least you should have the basic decency to apologize for all the harm you have done.” “You should at least have the basic decency to admit when you have done wrong.” * Fight against someone or something in order to win or achieve your goal. “During their divorce case, Mom and Dad had to battle it out who would take custody of me.” “We’ll just have to sit down together and brainstorm and battle it out who gets to do what and with which to whom.” “The Democrats and the Conservatives are going to have to battle it out to decide whether the new, reform legislation will be passed or not.” * Fighting a fat stomach by keeping to a diet. “The best way to win the battle of the bulge is to burn more energy than you consume.” “When middle-aged men start becoming pot-bellied, they begin fighting what we call the ‘battle of the bulge.’” “When I started the battle of the bulge at age forty-four, I started jogging ten kilometers every day to keep my weight under control” * The natural struggle between men and women to get their own way. “I’m tired of the battle of the sexes. I think I will give up women for a while.” “Some psychologists say that the battle of the sexes is based on deep, primitive, natural instincts.” “Once you accept that the battle of the sexes reflects a normal state of nature, you come to accept and live with it.” * War of words to prove who is more-clever. “Intellectuals are still having a battle of the wits about the relationship between reality and ideality.” “A college debate is a battle of the wits to see which side can make the best use of words to make the most points in favor of its side of the argument.” “The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament are having a battle of the wits in the determining the definition of human rights.” * Serve as a cushion or shock-absorber between two pressures or forces; negotiate and mediate between opposing parties. “A legal mediator is often named as a neutral and impartial party to serve as a buffer between aggressivelyopposed parties.” “In Parliament, the Liberal Democrats serve as a buffer between the conservative right wing and


the socialist left wing.” “In big building projects, it is good to have a contract engineer to serve as a buffer between the conflicting interests of the owner of the project and the working construction team.” * Be an asset to the com- Be a person who brings benefit to the company. “If you pany look at my qualifications and experience, you will see that I will be an asset and benefit to the company.” “We have not fired old David Holmes, yet, because we still consider him to be an asset to the company.” “Someone who seeks personal gain by using confidential information connected to his job is no longer considered as an asset to the company.” * Be fed-up Just as you may feel so full from eating that you are fedup or full-up to your ears, so you can say you have finally reached the final limit of your patience so you can’t stand it anymore. “I’m fed-up with my job. I can’t stand doing the same routine things day after day.” “I’m bored. I’ve had enough. I’m fed-up to the ears with all your lies and broken promises.” “I am fed-up with your bad behavior and indifferent attitude and I’m not going to stand for it any more.” * Be in the right place at To have the good luck to be in the right place at the right the right moment time, when an occasion or opportunity arises. “I got the job because I happened to be in the right place at the right moment.” “Sometimes, when you are in the right place at the right moment, you will have a stroke of good luck and good things will happen to you.” “It’s a lucky thing that I happened to arrive in the right place at the right moment so I was able to drag the unconscious girl out of her burning car.” * Be on good terms Have good relations with. “I am on very good terms with Ajarn Piyanart, and that relationship is what keeps me working within her department.” “The owner of our company is on good terms with the Prime Minister which makes him privy to inside information.” “My ex-wife and are still on good terms despite the fact that we have been divorced for forty years.” * Be on tenterhooks Feel anxious, nervous; excited; fearful; apprehensive; on edge; hanging in suspense. “I was nervous, excited and on tenterhooks before the interview, but once I entered the room, sat down and began talking, I forgot all my fears.” “All the family is at the hospital, waiting on tenterhooks, for father to come out of a coma.” “The entire world is waiting on tenterhooks, to see if the giant meteor from outer space will collide directly with the earth or just rush closely past in a nearby orbit.” * Be on your best behavior Be careful not to do anything wrong and try to show good manners so people will see you on your good side.


Be on your toes

Be short-listed

Beaming with pride



“When you come to meet my parents for Sunday dinner, you had better be on your best behavior.” “The principal has told me that I had better be on my best behavior and not make any more mistakes or he is going to kick me out of school.” “If I take you with me to the Church Social Evening, you had better be on your best behavior and not be rude or crude or lewd.” * Be careful; be prepared; be ready; watch yourself; be sure to follow the rules; don’t let anyone find any fault; don’t slip up; don’t get caught in the act of doing anything wrong;. “I’d better be on my toes and not get caught breaking any more rules, or I am sure to be suspended from school.” “The City Council will have to be on its toes to make sure that it has access to an alternative water supply in case the reservoir runs dry during the hot season.” “Be on your toes so that your supervisor doesn’t catch you doing your private e-mail on company time on the company computer.” * To be one of a select few, narrowed down and chosen from a larger group, to be considered as a candidate for a position or job or scholarship. “Penelope Percy has been short-listed, together with four other candidates, to be considered for appointment as the newest member of the Supreme Court.” “I have been short-listed to be evaluated as the possible recipient of a government-sponsored scholarship to study in the States.” “From all of the candidates for Miss World, five girls have been short-listed, and each and every one is hoping to become the lucky one to wear the crown.” * Smiling broadly, feeling pleased and proud because of an accomplishment or achievement. “After the wedding ceremony, both the groom and the bride were beaming with pride.” “When my sister was presented the award for the highest grade-average in the whole school, both she and my parents were beaming with pride.” “When my brother received his military commission certificate, after officer training school, he was absolutely beaming with pride.” * Someone, like an accountant or auditor or tax official, who has to go into every little financial detail. “Being a bean-counter is like counting grains of rice and only enjoyable if you are the kind of person who enjoys working with numbers.” “If you want to make an accountant mad, tell him he is nothing but a bloody bean counter.” “The company managing partner is really a bean counter at heart; he counts every single penny spent, right from the start.” * A boy who is very tall and thin, comparable to a long,


Bear a grudge

Bear false witness

Bear in mind

Bear the burden

Bear with it

thin bean stalk. “When I was in grade school, I was very tall and skinny compared to the other boys, so they gave me the nickname of ‘Bean-pole.’” “Often, a boy who is a bean pole excels in the game of basketball, because his height gives him and advantage over the other players. “In fact, being born as a bean-pole can sometimes be the first step to becoming a basketball super-star in the NBA.” * Continue to feel a bitter sense of resentment against someone because of some harm he did to you in the past. “I still bear a grudge against my brother for giving me a bad physical beating, out in the street, right in front of our family house more than twenty years ago.” “Many Scotsmen still bear a grudge against the English for the way the British Army surrounded and mercilessly slaughtered and killed the Scottish Highlanders.” “Many Indonesians still bear a grudge against Holland for the harsh treatment they received during the Dutch Colonial Period in the past.” * Swear and give testimony that a falsehood is a truth. “Bearing false witness in court is called ‘perjury’ and is punishable under the law.” “To lie to protect someone from being punished by saying he could not have been at the scene at the time of the crime is to bear false witness.” “The Bible claims that it is a sin to bear false witness by swearing to the truth of something you know not to be true.” * Remember; be mindful of; don’t forget. “Always bear in mind that anything you say may be held against you.” “Bear in mind that if you do not pay the personal withholding tax on time, you will be liable to a penalty and surcharge.” “We must always bear in mind that putting personal gain before personal purity will result in personal pain.” * Carry the load; do most of the work; take responsibility; be laden with accountability. “Since I am the oldest son, I have to bear the burden of seeing that my parents will be financially secured for their future.” “Whatever may happen on a ship, it is always the captain who must carry the burden of responsibility.” “I am always chosen to be the leader of a teamwork activity because everybody knows I will bear most of the burden of doing the work.” * Don’t give-up; persevere and endure; try to put-up with something unpleasant or wearisome until it finally comes to an end. “Learning perfect English is not easy, but if you just bear with it and keep on practicing, eventually, you’ll talk like a native speaker.” “Having to adjust to


Bear with me a moment

Bear witness to

Beard the lion in his den

Beast of burden

Beat a hasty retreat

Beat about the bush

married-life is awkward, at first, but, if you just bear with it, you will learn to like it after a while.” “I know it is hard to work long hours doing difficult calculations, but, if you just bear with it, you will get used to it.” * Be patient and continue listening to me a while until I have said what I want to explain “Please bear with me a moment, and let me explain the source of the misunderstanding.” “If you will bear with me for a moment, I can explain everything.” “Bear with me a moment and just listen. Hear me out, and let me tell you the basic facts.” * Be able to report something one has seen with one’s own eyes. “The children can bear witness to the fact that their father never hit them in their lives.” “My secretary can bear witness to the fact that I arrive at my office at 8am every day.” “I can bear witness and give testimony to the fact that it was Jack who stabbed Spike in the back.” * Just as it takes courage to go into the cave of a lion and pull on his beard, so it takes courage to go into the lair or den or office of a person we fear to approach and ask him for a favor. “Working up courage to go into your father’s study because you need to ask his permission to withdraw from school, may be compared to bearding a lion in his den.” “If you want to approach the Prime Minister, you will have to beard him in his den, where he is writing and rewriting his resignation speech over and over again.” “The Ambassador is in a foul mood this morning. I wouldn’t want to barge in and beard the lion in his den, so I think I’ll wait until morning and, then, come back again.” * Just as an elephant can carry a heavy load working as a beast of burden, so sometimes people complain that in their lives and jobs that they are being treated like beasts of burden. “I’m not a beast of burden, and I don’t see why the firm is putting such a heavy load on my shoulders for me to carry.” “When I go shopping with my mother, she loads me down with bags and packages, like I was nothing more than a beast of burden.” “I am no buffalo. I’m not a just a beast of burden, so don’t try to load me down with all the work and responsibility or I’ll balk or go berserk.” * Run away quickly; run-for-safety. “Special forces troops had to beat a hasty retreat before rebel forces encircling the camp closed in on them.” “We’d better get out of the bank vault quickly and beat a hasty retreat before someone catches us.” “I’d better beat a hasty retreat before someone realizes I’m in a restricted area.” * Speak indirectly and hesitate for a long time before finally coming to the point. “Stop beating indirectly


around the bush and come out and tell me directly what it is that you want to say.” “I wish you would come out and tell me exactly what is bothering you and stop beating around the bush.” “He wanted to ask me to marry him, but he beat around the bush for a long time before developing the courage to actually pop the question.” * Beat someone to the Be the first to get started, before the others have a punch chance; be the first to think of and do an action and beat ‘em to it. “I always wanted to ask Sally to marry me, but my brother beat me to the punch and married her himself.” “If you want to make it big in the marketplace, you have to devise a strategy to beat the competition to the punch.” “If you want to get in ahead of the others and always get a head start, you’ll have to beat them to the punch.” * Beat the daylight out of Give someone a good beating until you make him unconsomeone scious. “If I ever catch you lying to me again, I’ll beat the living daylight out of you.” “My first husband was physically abusive, he and used to come home drunk and beat the living daylights out of me.” “If my husband finds out we are having an affair behind his back, he will beat the living daylight out of both of us.” * Beat the drum Just as one might, literally, beat the drum in a marching band to support a cause, so one may be said to be beating a drum, figuratively, when one actively “drums up” support for an idea, issue or ideology. “The high school band is playing in a parade that is marching through town, to drum up support for the annual charity drive.” “Just before thee election, the Conservative candidate for Prime Minister did a whirl-wind tour through seven constituencies to try to drum up enough support to help him tip the scale of political balance.” “Despite the fact that activists, intellectuals and scientists have been trying to drum up support to force industrial nations to protect and save the environment, not enough is being done to counteract the root of burning need and greed that leads to the burning fossil fuels.” * Beat the heat Just as we may try to find a way to escape the hot weather by going somewhere where we can cool off; so we may say that we try to beat the heat when politicians or police or others and breathing down our necks and putting on the pressure. “After planning the bank robbery, Jennings left town for a while to beat the heat of police investigation and enquiry.” “I suggest you lay low for a while to beat the heat of this controversy and wait until things cool-ff and die down.” “The press and the public were putting a lot of pressure on the Justice Minister for being too strict and, eventually, when he started


Beat the rap

Beat to a pulp

Beat your breast

Beating around the bush


Beats me

becoming the victim of personal threats from underworld sources, he went abroad to New Zealand to beat the heat.” * Get away with something; avoid punishment for what you have been accused of; get off Scott free; avoid sentencing by the court. “They tried to prove that O. J. had murdered his ex-wife and her boyfriend, but he got a team of good lawyers and beat the rap.” “Slick paid someone to bear false witness in court about his whereabouts at the time of the crime so he could beat the rap.” “My wife could not testify against me in court, and so, I was able to beat the rap.” * Just as wood pulp is beaten into small fibers in order to manufacture paper, so we may say that someone who has been severely, physically beaten is beaten to a pulp. “During the interrogation, the three police officers beat the suspect to a pulp.” “Once I was mugged in Central Park and got beaten to a pulp.” “When we were young, my big brother often beat me to a pulp, but, now we are older, he will beat the pulp out of anybody who threatens me.” * Just as a gorilla beats its breast to show its power, so a person may be said to beat his breast when he is showing off and pretending to be bigger than he is. “Sometimes, beating your breast will scare off the competition and help secure your territorial rights” “It is not often that one has an occasion for beating one’s breast, so when the occasion arises, why not enjoy it while the opportunity lasts?” “Stop being so proud and beating your breast and show a little humility.” * Talking around the subject; speaking indirectly before finally coming to the point; taking too long working up to the subject; instead of stating what you want, without hesitation. “Stop beating around the bush. Don’t make me sit here and wait to hear what you are leading up to.” “I know you’ve got something in the back of your mind, so stop beating around the bush and come out and say it directly.” “He wanted to ask her to marry him, but he spent half the evening beating around the bush before he was finally able to pop the question.” * Get out of here! “Go on! Beat it! Scram! Get lost! We don’t want to see you around here any more.” “You’d better beat it and get out of here before my Dad comes home and finds you here alone with me.” “We’d better beat it and get out of here before the police come and see this fire we started.” * I don’t know; it’s difficult for me to understand; cannot figure it out; cannot comprehend it. “It beats me how the


government can collect billions in taxes and yet still be unable to support the superstructure of the country properly.” “It beats me how anybody in Bangkok can live on an income of only five thousand a month.” “It beats me to understand how a man with millions in the bank can be too cheap to buy himself a new pair of shoes once and a while.” * Beat-up on Just as a gang of bullies may physically beat up on a single person, so a whole group may verbally criticize, blame and attack a single member of that group. “The members of the press have been really beating up on the Prime Minister for his weak stand on human rights.” “My colleagues really beat up on me for going on a leave of absence during the peak period.” “My colleagues in the linguistic community have been beating up on me for my position on the insubstantiality of words and images assumed to be fixed entities within permanent and fixed linguistic structures.” * Beck and call When someone can beckon you and order you what to do, you are at his beck and call. “It is within the Prime Minister’s rights to summon the finance minister at his beck and call to order him to carry out a command in a service that benefits the people.” In case of a medical emergency a doctor is always ready to respond to the beck and call of the hospital, twenty-four hours a day.” “Get your own bloody beer from the fridge. I am not at your beck and call. Remember that I am your wife and not your servant.” * Become attached to Develop a liking and affection for a person. “As the someone months go by, I am becoming more and more attached to the girl who helps me with my math homework.” “When I first met Mazy, she was just another person to me, but the more I see of her, the more I become attached to her.” “In the beginning, I was starting to become attached to Pan, but when I saw how shallow and deceitful she was, I soon let go of and lost my sense of attachment.” * Become reconciled with Accept; get used to; go along with the way things, accepting them the way they are. “You’d better get reconciled to the fact that not everything in life is going to go your way.” “When I first learned that I was going to die, I didn’t want to accept the fact, but later on I became reconciled to it.” “It took Ted’s father forty years to become reconciled with the fact that Ted was irreversibly gay.” * Become suspicious Begin to suspect that something is wrong. “I didn’t become suspicious that my son was taking drugs until I actually found some speed pills in one of his trouser pockets.” “When my husband started coming home late three


Become unglued

Become unhinged

Becoming accustomed to

Becoming acclimated

nights a week, I became suspicious that he might be having an affair.” “I became suspicious that Mug was stealing money from my purse when I noticed that my loose change kept disappearing.” * Fall apart emotionally, as though the pieces of your life have figuratively become unglued. “A person can become psychologically unglued if he is placed under too much psychological stress.” “Just a paper house may become unglued and fall apart, if it gets wet, so the mind may become unglued and fall apart when the one we love unexpectedly breaks our heart.” “After his wife left him and his only son died of leukemia, Ferdinand became unhinged and unglued, and his mind was never the same again.” * Just as door hinges may become so loose, the door doesn’t open right anymore, so a person’s mind may become unhinged and cease to function properly, once he becomes mentally unbalanced, disturbed or crazy. “After his wife and children were burned-to-death in a fire that Schwarz himself had accidentally started, he became unhinged and has not been right in the head ever since.” “When her bridegroom failed to turn up for the wedding, Catherine became totally unhinged, and has not returned to normality for thirty-three years.” “When my wife found out that I had sold her mother’s jewelry and lost the money gambling, she became totally unhinged and raged madly around the house, breaking a lot of glass and furniture within the swath of her path.” * Getting used-to; familiar with; comfortable with. “I am settling-in and becoming accustomed to my new job and environment.” “Some foreigners need a transition period in Thailand before they finally become accustomed to the hot weather and the spicy food.” “Now that I have been with you a while and have gradually warmed-up to you, I am becoming accustomed to your touch.” * Getting used to a new place; starting to feel at home; learning new ways and customs; adjusting to a different country and culture. “When my son, Hank, first went to Military Academy, he had a little trouble adapting to the disciplined environment, but after the first term, he started becoming acclimated to it.” “If you are going to go to Asia to do graduate work, I suggest you go there and spend at least six months becoming acclimated and learning the language, before beginning your first term of studies.” “When an American goes to live in Germany, it takes him a few months to get acclimated, because the culture and customs are more harsh, strict and disciplined and quite different from those he is used to.” *


Bed of nails

Bed of roses

Beef about something


Been around the block

Been there, done that.

Just as an Indian fakir can lie on a bed of nails, so we may say that a task or situation that is as difficult or painful is a bed of nails. .” “Psychological torment can be like a bed of nails in which the more up-tight you get, the more the pain prevails.” “Living with you is like lying on a bed of nails. I am going to leave you before my tolerance fails.” “Becoming accustomed to marriage is like getting used to lying on a bed of nails. At first, you don’t think you can’t do it, but through patience and perseverance, it becomes a form of mental discipline that endures and prevails.” * State of happiness. “I want my life to be a bed of roses not a bed of nails.” “Expecting life to be a bed of roses is an illusion based on what one hopes and supposes.” “Compared to what it was before, my life is now a bed of roses.” “Cynthia dreams that married life will be a bed of roses, but marriage is not as idyllic as she supposes.” * Complain. “He’s always beefing about one complaint or other.” “If you don’t stop beefing about your problems, I’m going to stop listening to you.” “I don’t know why you are always beefing about the working regulations. You should be happy that you are employed at all and actually have a job.” * Strengthen; build-up: make stronger. “We’ll have to beef-up our argument if we want to win the debate.” “If we want to prevail over the enemy, we will have to beefup and reinforce our defenses.” “The military security zone is insufficiently guarded, so our commander has ordered us to beef-up our perimeter.” * Having had a lot of experience of life already and knowing how to deal with it. “Just as child is no longer afraid of the outside world once he has been around the block, so an adult who has seen the ways of the world will know how his way around in the ways of the world.” “She may look sweet and innocent and a little helpless, but she has already been around the block and knows all the tricks.” “You don’t have to explain the psychological dangers of life to me. I have already been around the block and know how to protect myself, believe me.” * Have traveled to all the famous places and done all the related and expected activities. “Anxiety, doubt, existential despair and acute neurosis, —I have been there, done that.” “I’ve climbed the Pyramids in Cairo; faced the Western Wall, in Jerusalem; visited the Parthenon, in Athens; stood in the Coliseum in Rome; been up the Eiffel Tower, in Paris; been there; done that, done it all! So what?” “Big salary, big car, big yacht, big expectations, big disappointments—I’ve been there and done that.” *


Before one’s time

Before your very eyes

Beg on bended-nee

Beg the question

Beginner’s luck

Beginning of the end

Beginning to gel

Prematurely; unexpectedly. “It’s always sad when one has to die before one’s time.” “Hopkins died before his time at the age of forty-six.” “The best thing about trusting wholly in fate is that you never have to fear that you will die before your time.” * Bearing immediate witness to something that has happened right in front of you. “It’s always scary when you see someone killed before your very eyes.” “The accused pulled out a pistol and shot Marilyn Sykes in the middle of her chest, three times, right before my very eyes!” “It is amazing the things that some people will shamelessly do right before your very eyes just in order to make a dishonest dollar.” * Traditionally one had to go down on one knee and beg for a nobleman’s favor, but, nowadays, we beg for a woman’s favor. “One used to have to get down and beg on bended-knee to plead for a pardon in a court of royalty.” “I beseech you, I beg on bended knee to show me mercy and pity me!” “In order to get your mother to marry me, I had to get down and beg on bended-knee.” * Not answer directly; put-off addressing the question; avoid the issue; try to squeeze-out of facing a problem. “Don’t try to beg the question. Just give me a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.” “The government, instead of facing the issue and saying directly how they plan to resolve the issue, continues to beg the question and talk political mumbo-jumbo.” “Candice keeps bringing up the question of when Charley will marry her, but, so far, Charley has been able to successfully beg the question.” * Win or succeed the very first time you try. “Ted won the lottery the first time he ever bought a ticket; it was a pure example of beginner’s luck.” “The first time I played golf, I shot a hole-in-one! That was real beginner’s luck.” “I cannot claim any credit for hitting the bull’s eye on my very first try. It was just dumb beginner’s luck.” * What is now happening is the start of a process that will lead to a bad end. “When Ivan started speculating on currency fluctuations, he hoped he would get rich quick, but, actually, it was the beginning of the end.” “When you take your first injection of heroin, it is already the beginning of the end.” “When you first get the idea of cheating on your wife, that is already the beginning of the end of happily married life.” * Just as jelly is liquid at first, before it begins to gel, so the forming of an idea may take time before it settles in the mind and becomes firm and clear; so we finally visualize an idea; beginning to dawn on the mind; starting to get the picture. “When you first started explaining, I couldn’t


Behind closed doors

Behind the scenes

Behind the times

Behind your back

Beholden to someone

follow your gist, but, now, it’s slowly beginning to gel.” “When I first listened to your logical reasoning, I couldn’t get the picture, but, now, it is finally beginning to gel.” “I couldn’t understand the Professor’s Potworthy’s theorem at first, but, by now, it’s finally beginning to gel.” * In a secret meeting, only for insiders, in a room secured from outside intrusion. “The members of the Supreme Council had a confidential discussion behind closed doors and voted by secret ballot, and nobody outside the room ever learned what happened there.” “Sometimes, the Cabinet Ministers have top-secret meeting, behind closed doors, to discuss matters of national security.” “The judge called the lawyers for the prosecution and defense into his chambers and, behind closed doors, instructed them on the finer points of the law.” * Just as in a theatre there is a lot of action going on backstage behind the painted-screens and wings in preparation for the next scene, so we may say that in politics or business or private life, the is a lot of unseen and maybe even secret activities going on behind the scenes. “I am always afraid that people are plotting to harm me behind the scenes.” “In Mr. Taksin’s government, there was always a lot of political manipulation going on behind the scenes.” “In big business, the giants of industry are always pulling strings behind the scenes.” * Old-fashioned; not up-to-date. “My father is somewhat behind the times because he is unable to accept the attitudes of today’s youth-culture.” “Old Holmes is somewhat behind the times because he is not able to keep abreast of all the new technical developments.” “Professor Higgenbottom is somewhat behind the times because he has not been keeping up-to-date in his reading and research.” * Not to your face, in front of you, but done or spoken behind your back, secretly, surreptitiously. “Don’t talk about me behind my back. If you have something to say, tell me straight to my face.” “To my surprise, I discovered that, behind my back, my wife had withdrawn all money from our joint bank account and booked a oneway flight to Bermuda.” “I soon after learned that my assistant manager was also working behind my back, without my knowledge, to juggle the accounting data in order to make me look like a crook so he could take the money himself and run off with my wife. What a life this is! Can you believe it?” * Grateful; feeling a debt of gratitude to someone; owing them a favor. “My family and I are beholden to you for


Being grouchy

Being stonewalled

Belabor the point


Belittle someone

Belligerent attitude

all the help you have given us.” “I feel beholden to Professor Newell for recommending me to do graduate work in Germany.” “Nowadays, I like to be independent, and I never want to feel beholden to anyone.” * Being bad-tempered; complaining; ill-tempered; grumpy; crabby; cranky; irritable. “Stop being so grouchy. I’m fed-up with your sitting around in a bad mood complaining all the time.” “My supervisor is so ill-tempered and grouchy that it is very hard for me to work with her. I wish I knew what her problem was.” “Although some old people are grumpy and grouchy, just as many senior citizens are friendly and placid and peaceful.” * Being blocked from going forward, as if someone were building a stone wall right up in front of you. “I am being stonewalled in my efforts to get the Freemasonic Fraternity to accept female candidates.” “I’m trying to convince the boss to implement a staff-incentive plan, but he keeps stonewalling me.” “We’ve been meeting resistance from the government committee, and they have stonewalled our petition for a new building permit.” * Keep talking for too long on a single topic in an extended discussion; overstress your view; go on and on about the point you are trying to make. “If you insist on belaboring the point, it will just be one more reason for committee to turn against you.” “Don’t belabor the point. I see what you’re getting at and I have heard quite enough.” “Politicians occasionally waste valuable time belaboring the point they wish to make, even when they know the final vote will go against them.” * A delayed apology; a late excuse; an expression of regret or an admission-of-guilt that comes a bit too late to be acceptable. “Please accept my belated apologies for not attending your wedding.” “Brother Cantwell sends his belated apologies for not being able to attend the convocation.” “A belated apology is no excuse for admitting you just plain forgot about attending the funeral!” * Speak about someone with humiliating intentions to make him look small; speak about a person in a harmful way to reveal that you think he is inferior to you; to show you look down on someone by making disparaging remarks. “A good teacher would never belittle a student in front of the class.” “Some ungracious girls belittle others in their social group to make themselves feel more important.” “Just because you have been born wealthy, that does not give you the right to belittle someone who has not had the same privileges and opportunities as you.” * Defiant; confrontational; disrespectful; aggressive; quarrelsome; argumentative; loud-mouthed mental state. “I



Below the belt

Bend in the wind

Bend someone’s ear

Bend the rules

won’t stand for your belligerent, defiant attitude, and, if you continue to be disrespectful towards me, I’ll knock your block off.” “This boy has a belligerent attitude and a tendency towards outwardly aggressive behavior, so I think he needs some psychological counseling.” “With such a belligerent and angry attitude, you will not win any respect or support, so tone it down a bit, and try to be a little more respectful towards others.” * Just as an overturned ship’s hull may be said to be floating ‘belly-up,’ so we may say that a venture or business investment has gone belly-up when it fails to achieve success. “I invested three-hundred thousand in a fish and chip shop, but it went belly-up, and I lost everything.” “After my first attempt at business went belly-up, I went back to school and did a MBA.” “We invested a lot of money in trying to save the company from bankruptcy, but it still went belly-up eventually.” * Just as in boxing, it is against the rules and unfair to hit someone below the belt, so, in society, it is considered to be unfair to mention thing about someone that shows his character in a bad light. “I dare say old chap, making reference to my sexual preference is hitting below the belt, wouldn’t you say?” “Belittling a fellow because of his Irish working-class origins is really hitting below the belt.” “Slandering me for my mistakes in my first marriage thirty years ago is really hitting me below the belt.” * Just as a bamboo branch bends in the wind, so we may say that a person bends in the wind if he gives way to pressure. “The problem with the Prime Minister is that he bends in the wind. He seems to agree with whatever is the popular opinion at the moment.” “A manager who bends in the wind, depending on who he is talking, to will not win much respect in the end.” “Sometimes, it is wise to be able to bend in the wind when the only other alternative is to break under pressure.” * Make someone listen to you who is not particularly interested; talk a lot to someone who doesn’t wish to pay attention; complain to someone who doesn’t particularly care. “Let me bend your ear for a while and beg you for a favor.” “Francine is always bending my ear about how she is unhappy in her marriage, and I’m tired of hearing about it.” “I’m going to approach the Managing Partner and bend his ear about how he could be improving our working environment.” * Not to follow the rules exactly; not to be too strict in following the rules; be loose in interpreting the rules. “Sometimes it does no harm to bend the rules a bit when


Bending over backwards

Benefit of the doubt

Benign condition

Bent cop

you have to adapt to a new situation or occasion.” It doesn’t do any harm to bend the rules a bit if you see someone has realized his mistake and already learned a lesson.” “The problem with bending the rules is that people will always follow the exception rather than the rule.” * Doing everything possible to accomplish the goal of pleasing the other person. “Be sure to bend over backwards and do everything within your power to please and satisfy the client, because we cannot afford to lose his business to the competition.” I’ve been bending over backwards trying to please my father, but no matter how hard I try, he always seems to be demanding more.” “I’ve been bending over backwards doing every thing to please my husband, but he seems to be taking it all for granted and shows not even the slightest appreciation.” * When a debatable question or accusation cannot be clarified, one side has to give the other the benefit of the doubt; in other words, leave the question open until the result has been decided and declared. “Under the law, when we cannot prove a person is guilty, we have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is innocent until proven guilty.” “My wife cannot prove I am lying, so she is forced to give me the benefit of the doubt, even though she doesn’t completely trust me.” “We do not know if your claims about your skills are true, but we will give you the benefit of the doubt and watch you work and keep an eye on you until we see evidence of what you are able to do.” * A benign condition is not malignant and, therefore, unlikely to cause death; a benign disease is one carried in the body but unlikely to become a matter of serious concern; although there are some side-effects, the disease is unlikely to be fatal. “My third wife developed a growth in her uterus, but fortunately for her, after testing, it turned out to be a benign condition.” “My second wife had a tumor in her breast, but fortunately, when they cut it out for testing, it proved to be a benign condition.” “My first wife had a benign condition of spinal meningitis, when we were first married, which paralyzed the functions in the right side of her body, but after she divorced me and went back home to England to live in the happy home of her parents, the symptoms went away.” * Just as metal may be bent by a workman by applying pressure in a certain place, so a policeman may be corrupted by taking bribes from criminals. “My father accepted bribes from the Mafia and became a bent cop.”


“Some people plan to join the police force just so they can enjoy the benefits of being a bent cop.” “Fortunately, in Thailand, there are no bent cops.” * Bent double With head-bent-down, below the waistline, caused either by laughter or pain. “The people in the audience were bent double with laughter after hearing the comedy routine.” “My brother tells such big whopping lies that the rest of just stand paralyzed, bent double with laughter.” “We could see blindly stumbling British soldiers bent double with pain during the German gas attack.” * Bent-out-of-shape Momentarily psychologically disturbed or in an altered state of mind due to anger or disapproval or psychedelic drugs. “When you so strongly disapprove of something that your mind is not in a normal state people often say you are bent-out-of-shape.” “When my Mom found that I was addicted to heroin, she got her head all bent out of shape.” “Back in the 1960s the Hippies used to take psychedelic drugs and get bent out of shape as a way of protesting against the social values of the establishedgeneration.” * Beside the point Not significant; of no consequence; not relevant; off topic; having nothing to do with the matter under discussion. “When the issue is that all people born should have equal human rights, the fact that I am a woman is beside the point.” “When it comes to distinguishing between right and wrong, economic motives are beside the point.” “Don’t get off topic and forget that when it comes protecting the environment, protecting jobs in industry is beside the point.” * Best bet The best option or possibility for leading to success. “The best bet for investment is always in blue chip stocks.” “When it comes to high quality automotive engineering, Porsche is your best bet.” “Investing in government bonds is always the best bet for guaranteeing long term earnings.” * Best of both possible The best qualities of two cultures or ways of life. “I wish worlds I could be both a playboy and a gentleman and thereby take advantage of the best of both possible words.” “I am Canadian, but I grew up under the influence of English culture, and I tried to retain the best characteristics of both possible worlds.” “German-Americans often find themselves combining the best of both possible worlds in their daily habits and customs and wouldn’t want to be forced to choose between one side and the other.” * Best of the bunch The best person in the group. “From all of my students in all of my classes Pet is the best of the bunch.” “From all the football players in the league, Baker is the best of the bunch.” “Of all the politicians in the Senate, Conrad At-


Better late than never

Better luck next time

Better move fast!

Better safe than sorry

Better yourself

Better-off dead

kins is the best in the bunch.” * It is better to arrive late than not to come at all. “If you can’t get away from your desk to attend the meeting exactly on time, come a little late. It’s better late than never.” “Paula got married when she was thirty two, and her comment was, ‘Better late than never.’” “She had a baby at thirty-three, which is a little late but better late than never.” * When you fail in attempt at something, do not be discouraged, but, rather, hope for better luck in your next attempt. “I’m sorry that you didn’t win the gold in the Olympics, but I wish you better luck next time.” “My first marriage was a total failure, but I am hoping for better luck next time.” “I didn’t get promoted to partner this year, but I am hoping for better luck next time.” * Get out of a place quickly before someone comes and something bad happens to you. “We had better move fast and get out of here before someone starts shooting at us!” “You had better move fast and get the job done before the superintendent comes around and gives you a kick in the ass!” “We’d better move fast and get out of its path before the avalanche sweeps us away.” * It is better to avoid taking a chance than it is to take a risk that you will later regret; take precaution and be careful not to do anything you will regret afterwards. “Use a condom when you have casual sex. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” “When riding a motorcycle, wear a helmet. It’s better to be safe than sorry.” “When working on a construction site, you must follow regulations and wear a hard hat. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.” * To improve your social or financial condition. “The good thing about free public education is that it gives people a chance to better themselves.” “No matter how old you are, you should never stop learning and never stop trying to better yourself.” “No matter how low you start off on the social ladder, if you are honest and work hard, with a little luck, you will have a good chance at bettering yourself.” * Sometimes life seems so miserable that we feel we would be better-off if we were dead; better to be dead and free of pain than have to be born and suffer again. “I curse the day of my birth. I feel I’d be better-off dead.” “When I said I’d be better-off dead, some people actually agreed with me.” “Teenagers often go through a stage where they feel they would be better off dead, but, with time, the feeling passes, and, eventually, they start to feel they’re glad they are still alive.” *


What may seem bad now will prove to be of help and benefit over the course of time. “If you rid yourself of that woman now, it may seem painful at first, but you will be better-off in the long run.” “If you stay in school until you are in your twenties, you do not earn money during this period, but once you graduate, you can demand a higher salary and be better-off in the long run.” “We were anxious about selling off our affiliate companies, at first, due to fears about decreased revenue, but our financial advisors proved to be right, and the firm was better-off in the long run.” * Better-than-nothing Even a little something is better than nothing at all. “After five months of selling fried fish in the market, I only had five hundred Baht overall profit, but even something is better than nothing.” “Sell those fifty kilos of the bananas at any price, now, for any price, before they go rotten; even a little something is better than nothing.” “My father only left me fifty-thousand Baht in his last will and testimony, but even a little something is better than nothing.” * Between the devil and With no acceptable alternative to choose from; in a parathe deep blue sea doxical situation; right in the middle of a moral dilemma with no acceptable options. “If I don’t move to Korat with the company, I’ll lose my job; if I don’t stay in Bangkok, I’ll lose my girlfriend: I’m between the devil and the deep blue sea.” “If my girlfriend finds out about my wife, she’ll be disappointed in me; if my wife finds out about my girlfriend, she’ll leave me. I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.” “If I get caught using company assets on the side to pay off my debts, I’ll be fired; if I stop using the company’s assets, I’ll go even deeper into debt, so I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.” * Between the lines Something that is understood from reading what is written, even though it is not directly stated in the words in the lines. “From your letter, I can read between the lines that you no longer love me any more. “In Malvolio’s speech, we can read between the lines that he is a man of evil intent.” “Although you did not actually come out and state it directly in the document, I can read between the lines that you want the contract to be one-sided, giving you more rights and benefits than me.” * Between the sheets In bed wit a sexual partner. “Nobody knows what is going on between the sheets.” “I’d like to get you between the sheets.” “It is nobody’s business what goes on between the sheets between mutually consenting adults.” * Between you and me Let’s keep this a secret just between you and me. “Let’s keep the details of this discussion between you and me

Better-off in the long run


and not tell anyone else.” “If I just tell you candidly what I think, between you and me, I sense that you are lying.” “Confidentially, between you and me, I think the client is purposely hiding something, but that is only my opinion.” * Beyond a shadow of a Proven with absolute certainty. “It has been proven bedoubt yond the shadow of a doubt that there is evidence to indicate the presence of water having existed on the planet Mars somewhere in the past.” “McIver’s fingerprints on the detonator prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he must have triggered the device.” “We know now, with the help of DNA testing beyond the shadow of a doubt that the whole of the human race has evolved from only an original eight birth-mothers.” * Beyond contempt So low as not even to be worthy of disapproval and distain. “Touching your own daughter sexually is an immoral act of human indecency that is even beyond contempt.” “Anyone who would stoop to murder his own father for financial gain is absolutely beyond contempt.” “Your selfish motives in contesting your father’s Last Will and Testament will are beyond contempt.” * Beyond expectation Better than expected. “Earnings in the first quarter were far and beyond expectation.” “The total sum of the campaign donations was above and beyond anyone’s expectation.” “I was happy when I first learned I was pregnant, but the joy I now feel at becoming a mother was beyond expectation.” * Beyond help Impossible to restore a person or situation back to normal not possible to remedy a fault or habit; beyond redemption. “Our little sister has become so addicted to drugs that she seems to be almost beyond help.” “My original father was such an alcoholic that my mother finally realized that he was beyond help and divorced him.” “Our company is trying to restructure its finances, but the bank says that the situation has developed to a point where it is beyond help.” * Beyond imagination Totally beyond the capacity of what the mind can imagination! “This is the most exciting experience of my life. It’s beyond imagination, beyond my wildest dreams!” “The mathematical proportion of the number of people who could contact AIDS is beyond the imagination.” “The horrors of hell are totally beyond imagination.” * Beyond me Too hard to understand; it is beyond my level of comprehension; don’t ask me; I don’t know. “I cannot understand Einstein’s theory of relativity. It is beyond me.” “I was never able to understand the physics of what happens between the pressure points of two undersea tectonic plates.” “It is beyond me how a man can find


money for his second wife but not give anything for the upkeep of his children.” * Beyond reasonable doubt Almost established as fact, excluding the possibility of logical doubt. “I know now, beyond a reasonable doubt that you are not my real birth father.” “We know now that beyond a reasonable doubt that there are traces of life having existed on he planet Mars.” “It has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that the power of prayer helps improve mental and physical health.” * Beyond reproach Totally free of any sort of blame so no one can criticize you. “My husband is the only man I have ever seen who is totally beyond reproach.” “You may only find one politician in a million who is beyond reproach.” “No one who is attached to the senses is totally beyond shame and blame and reproach.” * Beyond the horizon Further away than you can see, both literally and figuratively. “No matter how intently you look at the sea, you cannot see beyond the horizon.” “Just as you cannot see what is beyond the horizon, so you cannot look ahead and see what your life may be in the future.” “We are trying to speculate what our final financial costs might be but, due to unknown factors, we cannot see beyond the horizon, so we can only estimate what the costs will eventually be.” * Beyond the shadow of With no uncertainty; with absolute certainty; beyond doubt question; with no reason for doubt—for sure. “We know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there are traces of life on the planet Mars.” “Recent tests have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that our father has bone cancer.” “The recount of the ballots in the presidential election has shown beyond the shadow of doubt that the incumbent has won by a narrow margin of 2.8 percent.” * Beyond your depth Just as a swimmer can walk out into deep water beyond his depth, literally, so a person can be beyond his depth, intellectually, psychologically or financially. “I am afraid that when I signed-p for this metaphysics class, I got in a bit beyond my depth.” “Be careful about your relationship with this woman; I’m afraid you are getting in psychologically beyond your depth.” “When the foreign currency rates rose so dramatically, I suddenly found myself beyond my depth financially.” * Beyond your means More expensive than you can afford. “I found that keeping both a country house and a flat in the city was beyond my means, so I decided I would have to give up one or the other.” “I used to keep a yacht in Monte Carlo, but, with time, I found it was beyond my means financially, so I had to give it up.” “I found that trying to keep up with the rich on the ladder of high society was beyond


my means, so I had to set a limit to the number of social events I could attend.” * Beyond your wildest Beyond imagination and then some. “Come on baby, I’m dreams going to show you a night that is beyond your wildest dreams.” “Bill Gates has suffered a success that was beyond his wildest dreams.” “I have reached a level of bliss and happiness in my life that was beyond my wildest dreams!” * Bide your time Wait a while; don’t be impatient; be patient; don’t be in such a hurry; wait for the right opportunity; wait and see. “Don’t be impatient about finding true love. You just have to bide your time and wait for the right husband or wife to appear in your life.” “Sometimes, you can’t hurry success. You just have to keep trying and bide your time and wait for fortune to come your way.” “I was just biding my time, at home, doing nothing much at all, when all of a sudden the phone rang and I got the best job offer of a lifetime.” * Big and burly Tall and heavily-built, broad-shouldered; brawny, muscular, husky; hefty. “If you want to be a rugby player, it’s better if you’re big and burly.” “My older brother, Butch, is such a big, brawny, burly, heavy, muscular chap, that no one would ever want to pick a fight with him.” “Billybob is a big, burly, brawny bruiser who would beat your brains out with the balls of his fists just for the fun of it.” * Big boob A big stupid, clumsy, dumb man. “You big, clumsy, stupid boob! Why don’t you watch were you are going?” “What a big clumsy stupid boob! Look at the mess you have made now!” “He’s just a big, harmless boob, without any brains, so when he does something stupid, try not to get annoyed with him.” * Big Brother is watching The government or controlling agency or power that is aware of your every movement; “Be careful what you say about the government. Big Brother is watching you.” “Be careful what you write in your e-mails and what web sites you visit on your computer. Remember, Big Brother is watching you.” “Big Brother is watching you in everything you do, so don’t do anything to draw any suspicion down upon yourself in anything you do.” * Big bully Just as a bull is big and strong and has enough power to push itself in anywhere it wants, sometimes, we describe a person as behaving like a big bully. “There is always one big, fat kid in class who uses his size to bully and push other kids around.” “Big schoolyard bullies are usually cowards at heart, so the first thing to do when you see one is just give him a quick kick in the balls so he will leave you alone from the start.” “Figuratively speak-


Big time

Big wheel


Bill of goods


Birds and the bees

ing, the big bully on the block can be a kid or sometimes a cop or sometimes even a gang boss or Mafia member.” * Being in the big time means being in the big leagues in sports or entertainment or corporate business. “Many little league baseball players have the secret dream of one day playing “big time” in the big leagues.” “When she was young, no one ever expected that Julia would one day make it, big time, in the entertainment industry.” “When Steve Jobs first started writing software programs no one would have ever expected that one day he would be one of the big time operators in the computer industry.” * Very important, financially powerful person with a lot of force and influence to make things happen his way. “One day I want to be a big wheel in some big multinational corporate company.” “When a tiny little cog acts like a big wheel, don’t take him too seriously; he’s no big deal!” “Last week we had some big wheel come through here on a world-wide inspection tour, and everybody was on the tips of their toes.” * Large-breasts. “Hey boys! Look at the big boobs on that girl.” “Fashion models never have big boobs.” “Air hostesses cannot have really big boobs because big boobs would get in the way, while serving drinks.” * A big financial lie; a fraudulent promise of goods intended to cheat the payee; promise under false-pretenses. “I’m no fool. I can recognize false promises when I hear them. Don’t try to sell me a bill of goods.” “I’m not going to pay the invoice until I receive delivery of the goods. You cannot sell me a bill of goods without my signing for them first.” “Cora’s first husband sold her a bill of goods and got her to invest a million dollars in a house that didn’t even exist.” * Someone stupid with a brain as small as a bird. “What a bird-brain! Where did you ever get a stupid idea like that?” “Sarah looks very pretty, but she’s just a birdbrain.” “I may look stupid, but I’m no bird-brain. Don’t ask me to pay the invoice until I have seen the goods.” * A polite way of referring to what people do when they get together sexually and perform the action that produces babies. “When I was fourteen, my father took me aside and explained to me all about the birds and the bees.” “Manley’s parents were too ashamed to tell him about the birds and the bees so he had to find out from his friends at school.” “Nobody ever explained to Karen about the birds and the bees, so that by the age of sixteen, she found herself pregnant.” *


Birds of a feather flock Just as birds of one species will gather into a flock and together. fly together, so we say that people of similar inclinations get together with people who like to do the same things that they do. “Thinkers like to sit and talk to thinkers, and drinkers like to sit and talk to drinkers, which illustrates the old adage that birds of a feather flock together.” “My Mom is always warning me to stay away from drug dealers and their friends; she’s always repeating that birds of a feather flock together: like attracts like.” “Dishonest politicians regardless of party or other loyalties are always willing to get together to do some dirty deal if it will bring them personal profit. As the saying goes, ‘Birds of a feather flock together.” * Birds-eye-view The way things look from high above, the way a bird would see them. “If you can afford to take a Helicopter tour over New York City, you will get a bird’s-eye-view of the skyscrapers, the river, and the Brooklyn bridge.” “I used to work on the twenty-first floor, and I thought that was high, but, when we moved to the forty-ninth floor, we had a bird’s-eye-view.” “If you buy a ticket and take the lift up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, you will get a panoramic, bird’s-eye-view of the citysurroundings.” * Birthday suit Completely naked; as naked as the day you were born; stark naked; without anything on; any clothing. “Here you can see a photo of me in my birthday suit by the pool in the back garden when I was only three.” “Rumford was arrested for indecent exposure for running through the town square in his birthday suit.” “When Charles came home, he found his wife and his brother swimming in the pool in only their birthday suits.” * Bit by bit Little by little; a little bit at a time. “It is only possible to eat an elephant if you freeze dry it and eat it bit by bit day by day.” “I’m having a hard time finding time to finish my translation, but I keep working on it bit by bit.” “Often, the best way to clear away a big job is to do it one small task at a time and keep proceeding bit by bit.” * Bite back Just as one dog bites another and the other bites back, so one person can snap at another using harsh words and the other can bite back with an even nastier verbal attack. “If you say harsh things to me don’t be surprised if I say hurtful words just to bite back.” “If people know that you will snap and bite back, they will be careful not to make you the victim of a verbal attack.” “Be careful what you say to Ellie. If you say anything to offend her feelings when she is feeling moody and sensitive, she is sure to bite and snap back.” *


Be gunned-down in the street ; hit the dirt, falling flat on your face; shot-down, both literally and figuratively. “In old western movies, we see many cowboy gun-slingers get shot down and bite the dust.” “When the sheriff wins the shootout in the movies, another bad guy bites the dust” “I got shot down by the board of governors and my big plan hit the dust.” * Bite the hand that feeds Just as a dog might bite the hand of somebody who is you reaching out and feeding it food, so a person may figuratively be said to sink his teeth into someone who offers him a helping hand; harm your own benefactor; hurt the person you depend upon; betray the trust of one who is supporting you. “As long as you live under his roof, be careful not to hurt your father’s feelings with defiant and angry words. Be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you.” “Going against the wishes of your benefactor is like biting the hand that feeds you.” “Demonstrating defiantly against an employer who pays your salary is like biting the hand that feeds you.” * Bite your tongue Sometimes, when you want to say something bad or cheeky or hurtful, it is better to bite your tongue rather than say what you’re thinking. “Whenever you want to come out and say something nasty and hurtful, bite your tongue instead.” “I was just about to call my father a sonof-a-bitch, when I thought better of it and bit my tongue.” “When your manager says something you don’t agree with, if you want to keep your job, it is better to bite your tongue rather than say what you are thinking.” * Bite-off more than you Just as children sometimes take a giant-sized bite of can chew sticky toffee candy which fills their mouths so full that the bite is bigger than they can possibly chew, so, by comparison, we may say that we overestimate our ability to do a task or job and later find it is too big for us and totally beyond our capacity or ability.” “When I accepted this position, I didn’t know I was biting-off more than I could chew.” “When I married you, I didn’t know I was biting-off more than I could chew.” “When Colin Powell accepted his posting in the government, he did not know he was biting-off more than he could chew.” * Bitter end Just as an anchor is attached to a boat by a metal shackle at the bitter end of a long chain which restrains and resists the full, powerful force of the sea, so a person may be said to hang on to the bitter end in a struggle despite the overpowering forces against him. “The bank is trying to seize our company, but we are going to fight them until the bitter end.” “Dad had a long fight against prostrate cancer but he hung on with dignity and courage to the

Bite the dust


Bitter pill to swallow

Bizarre behavior


Black and white

Black mark against you

bitter end.” “Japanese forces had been given orders to resist the American attack and defend their position right to the bitter end, until the very last man was dead.” * Just as some pills are bitter to swallow but good for you in the end, so are some truths. “Admitting you are wrong and being forced to apologize may be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is character-building in the end.” “Accepting salary wage cuts is a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s better than losing our jobs altogether in the end.” “Recognizing and admitting the shortcomings in my performance was a bitter pill to swallow, at the time, but later it helped me to improve the way I functioned as a team player.” * Acting in a strange, weird, out-of-the ordinary, whacky way. “Salvador Dali had a long handle-brush moustache which he twisted upwards for effect, and he became known for his strange surrealistic paintings and bizarre behavior.” “If you don’t stop dying your hair pink and piercing your nose and lips. and acting in a bizarre manner, you will have to leave home and find another place to live.” “Caroline seemed to be a totally normal person, but sometimes, when she was under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, she would do bizarre things like stand on the edge of the roof, believing she could fly.” * A person who is always chattering and gossiping about the secrets of other people; a big-mouth; a gossip and busybody who tells everybody everything that he should be keeping to himself. “You’re such a big blabbermouth. Why did you tell everybody I was afraid I was pregnant? Now the whole town knows about it.” “I know what a big blabber-mouth you are, but if you reveal my secret to anyone, I guarantee, I’ll cut out your tongue.” “I was hoping our teacher wouldn’t find out it was me whoput the porno-poster in his desk-drawer, but Kurt is such a blabber-mouth, he couldn’t resist squealing on me.” * Exact opposites; bad or good; one side or the other; opposite extremes. “Nothing in this world is either black or white, so we should never look at things in opposite extremes.” “Nothing is ever as clear as black and white because there are always two sides to every story.” “As they say, ‘Things are never black or white. Everything is grey.” An offence on your record which affects your reputation. “Some people believe that getting a divorce is a black mark against you.” “The fact that you were caught cheating on an exam will be a black mark against you for as long as remain a student at this school.” “The fact that you were arrested for smoking hash when you were a


teenager is a black mark against you that has followed you all through your life.” * Black picture Pessimistic outlook; dismal prospect. “I don’t want to paint a black picture, but I’m afraid you are setting your hopes a little high.” “The finance minister has painted a black picture of the way the economy will go if we do not decrease tax rates to encourage increased spending.” “My lawyer has painted a black picture of the judgment that will be handed down by the court, and I shall just have to wait and see just how bad it will be.” * Black sheep of the family To be the only person in a respectable and successful family, who hasn’t achieved success, but who, instead, has proven to be a disappointment; has not had a distinguished career; who has turned out to be a drug addict, dealer or criminal, poet, musician or artist. “Everyone in my family is a lawyer or a banker, except me. I wanted to become an opera singer, but I didn’t have enough discipline to make it to the top, so I’m the black sheep of the family.” I come from a long line of Puritan clergymen, but I turned against the teachings of the Church and have become non-believer, so, now, I’m the black sheep of the family.” * Blank check Just as one may give a person a blank, signed check and allow him to fill in any amount he wishes, so one may be said to give someone full freedom and authority to decide whatever he wants. “My husband has literally given me a signed, blank check to finance the re-design and refurnishing of our Upper Manhattan apartment.” “The administrative council has given the architect a blank check to design the museum structure any creative way he visualizes it.” “The President has given the Secretary for Civil Defense a blank check to anything and everything necessary to restore civil obedience.” * Blank look on your face Looking surprised and stupid, as though you do not know what to do or say. “When I told my wife I wanted to divorce her and marry her sister, she just looked at me with a blank look on her face not knowing quite what to say.” “When we pulled off his towel in the locker room shower, he just stood there stark naked in front of the boys with a blank look on his face not knowing what to do.” “Don’t just stand there with a blank look on your face looking stupid! Do something before the roof falls in.” * Blast away Means that questioners may ask anything they want on any sensitive subject that they wish. “The Chairman said he was ready to answer any and all questions and told the Members of the Board to start blasting away.” “Darling, I have nothing to hide from you. Go ahead and blast away.


Blast to smithereens

Blatant criticism

Blatant lie

Blaze a trail

Blazing inferno

Ask me anything you want, and I will give you an honest answer.” “The President told journalists that he would answer any question they wanted to ask about National Security matters and all they had to do was blast away.” * Just as a bomb can explode a metal object apart into nothing but small flying particles and pieces, so we can say that we are going to blast a person (or enemy) to bits as punishment for what he has said or done. “If you tell anyone what I have told you, I’ll blast you to smithereens.” “When I find the thief who stole my class ring, I’ll blast the little bastard to smithereens.” “As a US Army tank, filled with soldiers, was rolling into the town square, it was suddenly blasted to smithereens by a terrorist anti-tank rocket.” * Unashamed, barefaced, deliberate and obviously aggressive censure and disapproval. “The blatant criticism of the Prime Minister’s economic strategy was spearheaded by the leader of the opposition.” “I find your blatant criticism to be offensive and consider it to be nothing more than a personal attack.” “I’ve had quite enough of your blatant criticism, and I would like to quietly ask you politely to shut your stupid mouth.” * An, unashamed, bare-faced, deliberate, obvious lie. “The president claims that he has never purposely intended to hurt anyone in his life, but, if we look at his political record, we see that this is obviously a blatant and transparent lie.” “When the defendant swears that he is innocent of child abuse, he is telling a blatant, obvious and outrageous lie.” “When I tell my wife I have never even looked at another woman, she knows it is a bare-faced, blatant lie.” * Just as in the forest or jungle one can be the first one to cut a swath; clear a path; mark the way leaving signs for others to follow, so a scientist or thinker can show a way or blaze a trail for others to follow. “Through the example of my life’ I hope to be able to blaze a trail for others to follow in developing themselves into morally perfect men.” “The dream of every young medical researcher is to be able to blaze a trail for others to follow in the development of clinical research.” “After the basic insights of Sigmund Freud, it was Karl Jung who blazed the trail leading into the more expansive development of modern psychotherapy.” * A big fire that is comparable to the intensely hot, burning heat of hell. “Some people imagine Hell as a blazing inferno into which wicked sinners are thrown by God as a punishment for their evil deeds.” “Once the curtains and


the scenery-backdrops had caught fire, the theatre became a blazing inferno in which the audience was enclosed and in danger of being burned alive.” “Once the back-draft had sucked the fire through the main lobby, the whole hotel became a blazing inferno in which hundreds of people were trapped and fried alive.” * Bleary-eyed State that arises when your eyes appear to have become unclear from too much drinking or reading; or you have been looking at the computer for too long; your eyes have become strained, blurry, unfocused, and hazy so you appear in need of rest. “Charles stayed-up all night preparing his power-point presentation and appeared bleary-eyed at the breakfast table in the morning looking, half-asleep.” “Father always looks a little bleary-eyed in the morning when he has been out drinking the night before,” “Whenever Shelly studies for more than four hours in-a-row, she starts looking bleary-eyed and groggy.” * Bleed someone dry Just as one may continue extracting all the blood to the very last drop from a person’s body until he is dead, so one may be said to continue blood-sucking someone’s money until one eventually bleeds him dry. “Percy has married a woman who is nothing but a leech and a bloodsucker whose only intention is going to be to bleed him dry, until he hasn’t even a penny to his name.” * Bleeding-heart story A sad story (sob story) told in order to gain pity and sympathy or money from an unsuspecting listener. “Some psychologically-disturbed people tell sad, bleeding-heart stories just to fulfill the need to gain people’s attention and sympathy.” “I’m tired of listening to your bleedingheart stories about your first marriage. Why don’t you shut up and do something positive to try to make our marriage work?” “I used to know a prostitute who earned most of her money telling bleeding-heart stories, about how she was sexually abused in her childhood, to sympathetic old men so they would give her money.” * Blend in with the sur- To mix into a crowded environment so that no one will roundings notice you. “People who are very shy don’t like to stand out in a group but would rather to blend in with the surroundings.” “A good spy should be inconspicuous and e able to blend in with the surroundings.” “When you graduate and join a professional firm, you will no longer be able to wear T-shirts and jeans but will have to wear the appropriate clothing to blend in with the surroundings.” * Blessing in disguise What at first seems a bad thing or disappointment can sometimes be a stroke of good luck. “That I missed my flight turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it crashed and everyone on board was killed.” “It was a


Blind alley

Blind as a bat

Blind side

Blink of an eye


blessing in disguise that I did not apply to join the Air Force because, if they had accepted me, I would never have studied aeronautical engineering.” “A quick relatively un-painful death can sometimes be a blessing in disguise when you compare it to a long excruciating and painful and intolerable death.” * Just as a short, narrow lane between rows of houses may lead nowhere but just to a dead end, so we may say that a person is entering a blind alley in pursuing a path that leads to an unsatisfying end. “The drug dealer led me up a blind alley where his friends were waiting to rob and beat the shit out of me.” “Any kind of addiction or dependency is a psychological, blind alley leading towards a dead end, which will leave you without a single friend.” “Pursuing this line of thought leads into an inescapable blind alley. We’ll have to discover a more creative path to help us get ourselves out of this impasse in the end.” * Just as bats are blind and fly in the dark, so we say a person is blind as bat when he can’t see even a few feet ahead of him. “Granddad is as blind as a bat without his spectacles.” “Sally is as blind as a bat but refuses to wear eye-glasses because she thinks she will not appear beautiful.” “You must be as blind as a bat! The document you are looking for is right there on the desk in front of you!” * Just as a horse that is blind in one eye will be blind on that side, so we may say a person with a one-sided view or opinion has a blind side. “Our mother has a blind side when it comes too father’s weaknesses.” “Professor Sonkoon has a blind side when it comes to admitting his country’s weaknesses.” “A person who does not see or appears to ignore perfectly obvious shortcomings when it comes to someone or something close to him is said to have a blind side.” In the time than it takes to blink one’s eye. “You can be alive one minute and then, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, dead the next.” “Everything appeared normal, when, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, she went absolutely crazy.” “I was driving with care along the street when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, a big fat cat jumped out in front of me.” * Someone stupid and stubborn who cannot think or adjust. “You blockhead! Look what you have gone and done now! How could you be so stupid?” “I was such a blockhead in school that I couldn’t remember the multiplication tables.” “Uncle Sidney is a stubborn blockhead when it comes to understanding others’ views or changing his


Blood-shot eyes


Bloom of youth

Blow a fuse

Blow a gasket

Blow up

fixed opinions.” * When the red blood vessels stand out and show in the whites of your eyes. “When I study long, hard hours, I get blood-shot eyes.” When father drinks too much, he gets blood-shot eyes.” “When mother has had too little sleep she gets really blood shot eyes.” * Just as a vampire may be thought to be thirsty to drink human blood, so we may say a person is blood-thirsty who enjoys slashing and cutting people and making them bleed; or someone who likes gory stories about bloodthirsty deeds. “Cheap, bloodthirsty novels used to sell like hotcakes before TV. Now, we get to see bloodthirsty stories on the news for free.” “Many hundreds of years ago, the Caribbean Islands were full of bloodthirsty pirates.” “Almost since history began, there have always been bloodthirsty battles in which conquering forces have captured and killed thousands and thousands of victims.” * Just as a flower may be destroyed when it is coming into first bloom, so can a person’s life be cut off or destroyed early. “My sister, Amelia, died in the bloom of youth at only seventeen.” “It was a tragedy that my mother died in childbirth, at twenty-four, right in the bloom of her youth.” “It seems sad that some people should die in the bloom of youth, but, sometimes, it is a blessing in disguise which saves them from the terrible suffering they would otherwise have had to endure and survive over a long and painful life.” * Just as the fuse in an electrical circuit blows when it is overheated, so we may say that when a person’s temper is overheated, he blows a fuse and bursts out in anger. “Don’t blow a fuse every time you experience something unfair; if you keep doing that you will just burn yourself out in the uncontrolled-anger of youth.” “When I found out that my husband had lost the money which we had saved to pay our taxes on gambling, I really blew a fuse.” “Don’t blow a fuse just because someone else does something stupid, because when you blow a fuse, you show you are just as stupid as he is.” * Just as an engine can burst its seal and blow up due to release of internal pressure, so a person may be said to blow under mental pressure. “Don’t blow a gasket every time someone criticizes you for making a mistake.” “Dad is going to blow a gasket when he finds out that I crashed the family car.” “The boss is going to blow a gasket when he finds out that we got the data wrong.” An argument caused by a tense situation turning into an explosion of emotion. “One day, in our firm, there is go-


ing to be a big blow up about management policy, and a few people will have to leave.” “We had a big blow-up at the office last month, because one of the secretaries started an argument about who had the right to ask who to do what and for whom.” “I had a big blow up with my wife last week because she keeps demanding more and more money.” * Blow your chances Miss opportunities by making mistakes or committing wrong actions. “If I don’t start studying harder, I’ll blow my chance to pass the entrance exam.” “I was thinking of marrying you, but you blew your chances when you started dating my sister.” “Don’t turn up improperlydressed for the interview, or you will blow your chances of being hired for the job.” * Blow your own horn Brag about how good you are; boast about your accomplishments; like blowing your horn to show off your new car. “We all know how good you are, so you don’t have to keep blowing your own horn.” “If you don’t strop blowing your own horn, people will think that you are conceited, self-centered and over-confident.” “Even when people do not notice, recognize and praise your good qualities, it is considered in poor taste to blow your own horn.” * Blow your stack Just as a steam engine that is over-heated may be about to explode and blow-off its smoke-stack, so we may say a person is about to blow his stack and have a temper fit. “The Colonel is going to blow his stack when he finds out I am absent without leave and not coming back.” “Good old Jack will blow his stack when he learns I too his money and I’m not coming back.” “I almost blew my stack when you told me that you had my little brother tied-up in a potato sack.” * Blown-away Really impressed; totally overcome with enthusiasm; by an unexpected mental event; overwhelmed by experiencing something so cool that takes you out of normal reality. “When hippies took drugs in the 60’s, they used to say that they got totally ‘blown away.’” “When I read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment when I was just eighteen, it totally blew me away.” “The first time I heard a live operatic performance of Tosca, I was totally blown away.” * Blown-out-of- proportion Magnifying or making a little thing into a big thing. “Don’t get upset by nothing; don’t blow things out of proportion.” “It’s no big deal. Don’t let things get blown out of proportion. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” “Just as in photography, one might enlarge a little detail to appear so big that it is totally blown out of proportion, so, in life, we can get psychologically obsessed



Blow-up-in your face



Blue-collar worker

by a little detail and blow it emotionally out of proportion.” * Just as dark, rain clouds can blow over a location on land without a drop of rain falling, so a scandal a scare or a threatened crisis can blow over and pass away over time. “Keep your self out of sight and keep a low profile until the accusation of sexual scandal against you has blown over and it’s no longer a topic of news.” “The police are trying to throw a scare into drug dealers by cracking down on them, but the dealers know that the scare will soon blow over and things will go back to the way they were before.” “The rising price of oil is making economists uneasy and they are anticipating a financial crisis, but the oil cartels will lower the prices just as disaster is about to strike and the whole thing will blow over.” * Just as a home-made bomb can blow-up-in your face, so an evil, tricky or deceitful plan can backfire and cause you a lot of damage or pain. “Directing false blame on your brother for what you did to your sister will blow-upin your face if he can prove he’s innocent.” “Don’t try any deceptive, tricky, monkey-business that can blow up in your face when the truth comes out.” “The Vice president had a secret plan to take over the government through a military coup, but it blew up in his face.” * Someone with royal, noble blood is said to have blue blood; blue-blooded has connotations of high aristocracy. “If you cut off a blue-blooded head, the blood still runs red.” “Marina’s family line has been blue-blooded aristocracy since the late eighth century.” “During the French revolution, they tried to execute everyone with blue blood, but a few members of the nobility managed to slip through their fingers and get away.” * Sure financial winners. “Shares in companies like Kodak, Microsoft and IMB are considered blue-chip shares that will be sure to pay-off in the end.” “My stock broker is careful about risk management so he always advises me to put my money into blue-chip stocks.” “The blue-chip stock shares of the future will likely be in large technology conglomerates that have a near monopoly on the market.” * As office workers are called white-collar workers, so those in a factory are often called blue-collar workers. “There is more prestige in being a white collar-worker than a blue-collar worker but not necessarily more money.” “Financial analysts never forget that blue collar workers bring in a high percent of national income that is, then, spent to keep the economy going.” “Blue-collar workers are often short-sighted at the bargaining table


Bluff your way through

Body and soul

Body count

Body language

Bogged down with

Boggle the mind

and would rather see the company go bust than compromise so they don’t all go broke.” * When you have no idea what to say or do, just fake your way through. “If someone puts you on the spot and you don’t know what to say or do, just bluff your way through.” “Alicia almost caught me lying and asked me a lot of awkward questions, but I just bluffed my way through and she didn’t manage to catch me.” “They asked one question during my doctoral orals that I didn’t know the answer to, but I just kept bluffing my way through until they asked me the next question.” * Metaphorically comparing soul and self all heart and spirit. “Sondra says she loves her family with body and soul.” “In the face of these difficult times, I don’t know how I will keep body and soul together.” “I love you with all my body and soul.” * Just as we count the dead bodies on a battlefield, so we metaphorically say we take a body count of the number of people in attendance at a meeting or function. “The Chairman took a body count to determine if the there were enough members present to constitute a quorum.” “Before we begin class, let me take a body count, just to be sure everyone is here. When I call out your name, please say ‘here’ in a clear and loud voice and raise your hand.” “Just as we count dead bodies after a battle, so we may say we are making a body count in planning a party, to determine how many people will be eating.” * Telling people (in Western culture) what you mean by using body gestures rather than by speaking. “In body language, when you communicate by sitting and crossing your legs, that means you are mistrustful and don’t want to let anyone in.” “When you sit with your legs open, that means you are open and trustful.” “When you cannot look someone in the eye that means you’re ashamed of your self.” * Just as a buffalo-cart can get bogged down and stuck in mud or marshy ground, so we say that we are bogged down in work or some other responsibility. “I can’t meet you this week because I am too bogged down in my work.” “Sometime later, when I am not so bogged down with duties and responsibilities, Darling, I promise to take you on a holiday to Bermuda.” “During the audit peak season our staff is so bogged down with annual audit reviews that they barely get four hours sleep a day and many sleep under their desks.” * If boggle means to give someone a good mental shaking up, so boggle the mind means the mind does a quick mental retake to rethink what it first thought it under-


Bogus check

Boiling mad

Boiling point

Boils down to

Bombard with questions

stood or misunderstood. “The mathematical proportions of the possibility for HIV spreading through physical contact are mind-boggling.” “It is absolutely mindboggling to me to see the American government spending billions of dollars on warfare when it could be using the money for welfare.” “It boggles the mind to imagine how many white cells have appeared and disappeared and died since the beginning of humankind.” * Phony, bad, fake, false check drawn on a bank account which lacks sufficient funds to cover it. “In order to get my first wife off my back and get her to go away, I wrote her a bogus check.” “In America, people, often, purposely pay their bills with a bogus check and, afterwards, say that they are sorry they made a mistake.” In Germany, according to the law, if you pay with a bogus check you can be prosecuted and maybe even have to serve time in jail.” * Water coming to a boil may be compared to the mind finally reaching a point of anger at which it explosively bursts fourth into rage. “When you cancelled your date with me, I was absolutely boiling mad and ready to kill you.” “Mom will be boiling mad when she sees the big ink stain I put on the Turkish rug.” “My big boss will be boiling mad when he finds out that I accidentally lost the passports of sixteen important Japanese clients.” * Just as water boils at one hundred degrees centigrade, so we can lose our temper when the pressure reaches a certain point. “When my anger reaches the boiling point, I no longer have any control over what I may do.” “Be careful, if you try my patience to the boiling point, I may just kill you right here on the spot!” “Only once in my life did I ever see my mother’s constant nagging bring my father’s patience to the boiling and point.” * What is left in the final analysis; the essence in the end. “You can find a lot of reasons for fighting this war, but what it all boils down to is keeping-up a price of oil.” “Consumerism is a big-sounding name for what, in the end, all boils down to just plain need and greed.” “The government can analyze the cause of environmental encroachment all it wants, but what it all boils down to is that people put their own selfish short-term needs before the long term goals of the common good.” * Just as warplanes may blanket and bombard an area with bombs, so we can say that a person may be bombarded by loads of questions from sides. “After the National Security leak, the President was bombarded with questions about the source.” “In Parliament, the Prime Minister was bombarded with questions by the members of the


Bone dry


Bone-up on a subject


Boom or bust

opposition about the government’s proposed annual budget increase.” At the press Conference, journalists bombarded the Finance Minister with questions about how the budget funds would be allotted.” * Just as a bone that has been totally bleached and dried in the hot desert sun may be said to be bone dry, so we can say that something that has been kept in a dry, safe place is bone dry. “Our new waterproof coating system protects the chemical elements inside the capsule from moisture and keeps them absolutely bone dry.” “If the electrical contacts in the auto pilot are not kept bone dry, there is s danger of overheating that will blow a fuse and leave you to steer your ship manually.” “Above board, in the storm, the deck is awash with waves, but down here, at the chart table, I am absolutely as snug as bug. I am absolutely bone dry.” * Someone who is so stupid he has is thought to have nothing but bone where his brain should be. “Sometimes, my little brother is such a bonehead that he even forgets his family name.” “When I was in school, I was such a bonehead that I couldn’t even do simple mathematical calculations in my head.” “What a bonehead you are! Didn’t you ever stop to think what the consequences of your telling my secret would be?” * Review and bring your self to the required-level of knowledge. “I’ll have to bone-up on my English grammar before I take the language placement test.” “It’s been a while since I have had to use calculus, but give me a couple of days to bone-up on it and bring myself back up-to-standard.” “I need some time to bone upon my geography so that in my press conference, I don’t mix-up countries and geographical place names.” * Someone who always has his nose in a book. “When I was a kid, between the ages of twelve and sixteen, I was a real bookworm: I had read every book in my Grandfather’s bookcase.” “At seventeen, after I discovered girls, I ceased being a bookworm and never opened a book again.” “My sister Prudence spends all her time up in her room hitting the books. She’s such a bookworm that we are beginning to worry about her.” * Either a rapid, economic explosion of economic success or a slow financial low in which a few businesses will boom but most will go broke or bust. “Nowadays, there is no economic trend you can totally trust, and new business ventures either go boom or bust.” “Statistics have shown that, of all the businesses registered, few ever boom and most of them go bust.” “In the New Millennium, the country has been undergoing a period of eco-


Boon to society



Bored- to-tears


Born and bred

nomic uncertainty. It’s either feast or famine—either boom or bust.” * A person or action causing something good and advantageous to happen which benefits society. “His Majesty The King’s benevolent actions have been a boon to Thai society throughout his reign.” “Sir Winston Churchill’s strong leadership skill was a boon to the British nation during the 2WW.” “The stability of the Anand government, after the chaos of the May disaster, was a boon to our society.” * Far away from town; out in the backwoods with the backward people. “I grew up out in the boondocks, five miles from the nearest village, far away from the nearest town.” “Uncle Shem grew up out in the boondocks and had to walk five miles to school every day.” “You would never expect that someone born in the boondocks would one day become the State Governor.” * Fired from the job; discharged from the firm; terminated from employment; kicked-out; given the boot; dumped. “Percy got booted-out of his last job for stealing from the petty cash box.” “I’m afraid I may get the boot if I don’t meet my budget. The guy before me got booted-out for the same reason.” “Our chief accountant got booted-out of his job when the revenue department discovered he was keeping two sets of books.” “I’m going to sue in labor court because the company just booted-me-out for no justifiable reason.” * So bored that you feel sorry for yourself and are about to break-down and cry; bored to death; bored-stiff; uninterested; fed up. “Professor Gleason may be the world’s greatest expert on Shakespeare, but every time I go to his class, I get bored to tears.” “When my students read the tragic story of Hamlet, I expect them to be moved-totears, but the realistic truth is that they are more likely to be bored-to-tears.” “Whenever Don turns up and starts talking, I listen for a while to be polite, but he always bores me to tears, especially because he keeps complaining about the same old things, again and again.” * Tired of and uninterested in something to the point of being put to sleep, as though becoming as dead-and-rigid as a corpse. “I get bored-stiff just sitting around at home with nothing to do.” “Professor Holmes’ expository writing lectures make me bored-stiff. “An accountant gets bored-stiff, following the same steps and procedures, year in and year out.” * Born and raised and taught to exhibit certain manners and attitudes that reflect the respectability of a family or region. “Those who are born and bred to the British aris-


Born in a barn

Born yesterday

Borrowed time

Bosom friend


tocracy have their own special accent and vocabulary and a manner of speaking that is peculiarly their own.” “I was born and bred in an French middle class family and I am not ashamed to say so.” “People who were born and bred the American South think differently from those born and bred in New England.” * When you say someone was born in a barn, it means that he is too ignorant to know enough to close the barn door. “Close the door! Damn it! What is wrong with you? Were you born in a barn?” “Willy never closes the door behind him. He behaves like some up-country bumpkin who was born in a barn.” “When you say a person must have been born in a barn that means that he must have slept in a stable where the door was always kept open so the horses could come in and go into their stalls.” * Appearing to be as innocent as a new born child; wideeyed and innocent; easily fooled, tricked; not wise to the ways of the world; easily deceived or taken-in. “Sophie looks so innocent and trustful, it appears that she was born yesterday.” “Some sweet girls who look like they were born yesterday easily become victims of sexual predators.” “I don’t believe in that get-rich-quick scheme that the Amway lady keeps promising. I wasn’t born yesterday.” * Not long to live, perhaps having lived beyond your life expectancy already. “”According to medical statistics, I should be dead already, and, every moment I continue to live, I am living on borrowed time.” “The cancer has spread into the spine and father is living on borrowed time.” “Once you double-cross the Mafia, you are living on borrowed time.” * Just as two persons may hold one another bosom to bosom, so you may say that a person who is one of your warmest and dearest friends is, indeed, a bosom friend. “Alice and Patricia have been bosom friends since the time they were cheerleaders in high-school together.” “The Prime Minister and the Defense minister have been bosom friends since they were schoolboys together at Eaton.” “There is nothing more-sad than two lonely, old drunks who think they are the best of bosom friends, but who will both die lonely and deserted in the end.” * Made a mistake; made a mess of; spoiled; ruined; did a clumsy job; failed; messed-up. “I’m afraid I botched-up the print job by starting and stopping the printer too often.” “Kenny really botched-up his Power Point Presentation by making the size of the fonts so small that no one in the audience could read them.” “I apologize for the way I botched-up the wedding speech Darling. I hope


you will forgive me. I was so nervous out there in front of all those people.” “What a botch job! I have never seen such clumsy work in my life. I’m afraid I’m going to have to sack you for carelessness and lack of proficiency.” * Bottom drawer The least-good of the lot; lowest quality; lowest grade. “In the safe at the jewelry store, they keep smallest diamonds of the lowest quality in the bottom drawer the largest of the best quality in the top drawer” “I keep by best drawings in the top drawer and the worst in the bottom drawer.” “My art teacher said, ‘Your drawings and sketches are really bottom drawer. If you don’t improve your quality, you’ll be kicked-out the studio door.’” * Bottom line What is unconditionally demanded in-the-end. “We can negotiate and mediate for days, but I can tell you, now, that the bottom line is that we must have a twenty percent profit margin or there is no deal.” “We can discuss this if you want, but I am going to tell you bluntly, from the beginning, the bottom line is either you do exactly what I want or our relationship is over.” “I want to help you, Darling, but the bottom line is if you do not stop drinking, I am filing for divorce.” Bottom rung of the lad- Just as one must start at the bottom rung of the ladder to der climb up to the top, so, in a company, one may start in the lowest position and work one’s way up to the top. “Granddad started at the bottom ring of the ladder in the company fifty years ago and slowly worked his way up to becoming Chairman of the Board.” “There is nothing wrong with starting out at the bottom of the ladder as long as you don’t stay there very long.” “One advantage of starting out on the bottom rung of the ladder and working your way you to success at the top is that you get to understand every job in the company.” * Bottom-out Just as a curve must reach its lowest level before it begins to curve up again, so we may say that an economic curve bottoms out before it starts to rise upwards again. “The price of gold bottomed-out in 1992, but, since that time, it has been constantly on the rise again.” “Sales figures bottomed-out in the first part of the fourth quarter, but began an upward turn just before the Christmas rush.” “Stock prices bottomed-out at the time of the economic crisis but as confidence started to grow again in the economy, they began to gradually rise again.” * Bounce-back Just as a rubber ball bounces back, after being thrown against a wall, so a man or a team or a firm can bounceback, after a loss, to become a success or a winner again. “After four straight losses in a row, the New York Giants bounced-back to win the next eight consecutive games,


which put them in the running to qualify for the World Series.” “After the price of oil had dropped to twentyeight dollars a barrel, it, unexpectedly, bounced-back to thirty-five dollars.” “My Dad is a fighter. When he lost his grocery shop, he was pretty depressed at first, but, then, he bounced-back and started supplying wholesale goods to big supermarket chains.” * Bound and determined Dedicated to making a strong effort in order to succeed or achieve a goal. “I am bound and determined to make a success of my life, and I am willing to do anything necessary to achieve my goals.” “My father is bound and determined to see me well-married to a successful professional man with a happy family of my own.” “I am bound and determined never to marry, and never to be at the beck and call of any man, and never to have children making demands on me for all the rest of my life.” * Boundless energy A seemingly inexhaustible source of energy. “We would like to thank Cathy for her boundless energy in leading the activities of the committee.” “Had it not been for the boundless energy that my Granddad put into the company, it would not be the booming success that it is today.” “Due to Bill Gates’ determination and boundless energy, Microsoft has become one of the leading corporations in the world.” * Bow down before some- Go down on your knees and bow before someone, either one out of true respect or because you are forced to do so. “I refuse to bow down before any man because I believe that all men are created equal” “The first British envoy ever admitted into China refused to bow down and kowtow to the Chinese Emperor.” “Buddhist devotees bow down before their master three times as a humble show of respect.” * Bow out of the running Concede defeat in a contest. “Colin Evans had to bow out of the Olympic running for the gold medal in the hundred yard dash when he tested positive for use of steroids.” “The third-ranking candidate bowed out of the running in the political race when it became clear he could pull only twenty percent of the votes.” “The Republican National Committee withdrew their support for the candidate and asked him to bow out of the running in order to avoid throwing more good money after bad.” * Bowl of cherries An easy, enjoyable life. “Compared to what it used to be, my new life is a bowl of cherries.” “Life is actually a bowl of cherries; you just have to learn to lay back and enjoy what is given to you.” “If you have a positive attitude and a bit of luck, and apply yourself, your life will become a bowl of cherries.” * Bowled-over Just as bowling pins are knocked-over by a big bowling


Box on the ear

Boxed into a corner

Boys will be boys



ball, so a person may be said to be bowled over by an unexpected surprise, a sudden blow of fate or by extremely bad news. “I was really bowled-over when I got the news of that my girlfriend was pregnant.” “Father was bowled-over when he was suddenly given notice that he would be forced into early retirement.” “The whole family was bowled over when Grandmother got cancer and very quickly died.” * A blow with the hand over the side of the ear, as a punishment. “If I catch you stealing from the cookie jar again, I’ll give you a box on the ear.” “I remember, once, my Dad gave me a box on the ear because I refused to do my chores.” “When Grandmother catches Grandfather sneaking a drink of whiskey from the dining room cabinet, she gives him a box on the ear.” * Just as a boxer may be beaten back into his corner, so we may figuratively say that a person in a difficult situation is boxed into a corner. “In the debate, I boxed my self into a corner by contradicting myself too often and had to finally concede defeat.” “Through continuous lying and bad business deals, I have boxed my self onto a corner, and I can’t see any way of getting out.” “My business competitors have backed me into a corner that I cannot box my way out of.” * Because boys cannot stop themselves from doing things that are natural to boys, there is the saying that “boys will be boys.” “You can not stop boys from fighting and scrapping in the schoolyard because boys will be boys.” “Don’t get mad at boys when they start cussing and smoking. It’s just a phase. Boys will be boys.” “Boys can’t stop themselves from viewing girl’s bodies just as physical objects because boys will be boys.” * A new idea that was thought-up (or born) in-the-head of someone quite clever. “Microsoft Windows was the brainchild of Bill Gates.” “Einstein was the brainchild of the theory of relativity.” “I don’t know who the brainchild was who thought up the computer, but, whoever he was, he certainly changed the world.” * Just as a person may still be alive in the hospital but his brain is not functioning, so we may say a person is braindead when he seems so stupid that his brain doesn’t appear to be working. “Whoever thought up such a stupid social welfare system must have been brain-dead.” “You big stupid boob! You must be brain-dead! What ever made you think up a stupid obvious lie like that?” “Sometimes, when I am giving a lecture, and I am looking out at my students, they all appear to me to be braindead.” *


Brainstorming session


Brand new

Brass balls

Brass tacks

When a group of people get together to discuss creative ideas and inspirations that come into their minds, this is called a brainstorming session. “When the government cannot solve a pressing-problem, it often brings together a think-tank of experts who have a brainstorming together until someone comes up with a bright idea to serve as a solution.” “Sales and marketing managers often get together and have a brainstorming session on how to get the product out to the public better.” “Good teachers often divide their class into groups of four or five and give them a problem-solving task and let them have a brainstorming session together, until they have developed a plan to follow.” * Just as a tree branches-out new limbs, so a business or organization may branch-out and establish offices or outlets in different locations. “KFC started out as a single specialty fried-chicken restaurant, but, then, branchedout, over the years, to have outlets in every corner of the world.” “The government wants to establish free AIDS clinics, first, in Bangkok, and then to branch-out all over the country.” “C. U. Books started distributing books only in Bangkok but eventually branched-out to become the main supplier for bookshops all over the country.” * Just as a brand-made product comes off the assemblyline, ready for purchase and use, so we can say that something we have just bought is brand new. “This hair dryer is brand new. The package has not even been opened yet.” “Our family has just bought a brand new home entertainment center.” “He must be doing well. He has just bought a brand new BMW straight off the assembly line.” * Invulnerable to pain. “When they say a man has brass balls, they mean he is so tough that nothing anyone says or does can hurt him.” “My boss must have brass balls because he is invulnerable to any aggressive words or hostile attacks directed his way.” “They say that First Lady declared that wearing miniskirts was forbidden in the Whitehouse because she didn’t want anybody to see she had brass balls.” * Go directly to the point and get into the specific details, points or complaints “Lets get down to brass tacks. There are several complaints I have about your work and I want to go over them in detail with you.” “I have something unpleasant to tell you, so lets get down to brass tacks and go straight to the point: we keep finding small sums of money missing from the petty cashbox and we think it is because of you.” “I am not going to beat about the bush but get directly down to brass tacks. There are several


Breach of decorum

Breach of etiquette

Bread and butter

Break even

Break someone in

Break the ice

required documents missing from the application you have provided, and the officer-in-charge at the Ministry will not begin the process until you have provided them.” * Decorum means maintaining the appropriate tone and attitude for an occasion, so a breach of decorum means breaking proper the mood of the occasion. “On a solemn and serious occasion, it would be an improper breach of decorum to crack a silly joke.” “It would be a breach of decorum to chatter away to your friend within the auditorium while the Queen was giving a speech.” “In extremely polite society, it is considered a breach of decorum to sit at the dinner table and scratch your head.” * If etiquette means following the rules of proper, polite, conventional manners, breaching etiquette means breaking such rules and doing something against the accepted code of behavior. “It is a breach of etiquette to break into a conversation when you are not invited.” “It is a breach of etiquette to stretch your arm across the table for food that is out of your reach.” “In very polite English society, it is considered a breach of etiquette if you don’t stand up when a guest is leaving the room to go home.” * The income needed to provide food for the family. “You have to learn a profession the will put bread and butter on the table.” “I edit books to earn my bread and butter, but I write poetry just for my pleasure.” “My husband may not be perfect, but we can always count on him to bring home the bread and butter.” * Show neither a profit nor a loss; get back an investment without losing on the deal. “In my first business venture, after about two years, I found I was still only breaking even, so I gave it up.” “When I start to win at the gambling table I keep playing until I either break the bank or break even.” “John invested two million dollars in tuna fishing boats that were destroyed in a hurricane, but after the insurance had paid off the damages, he just about broke even.” * Just as cowboy breaks and tames and trains a new pony, so we say, figuratively, that we break a new person into a new job when he joins the company in order to get him started in his work-routine. “The firm has a three day training program to break in and orient new staff members.” “When I first started working here, the person who broke me in and showed me the ropes was the man who had held my job before me.” “We have a new entered apprentice, and the master mason is going to start breaking him into how to use the tools of the craft today.” * Warm up the atmosphere between people; think of some-


thing to say to start up a friendly conversation; do an activity so people will get to know one another and feel more relaxed. “When I meet a new client, I always start with some small talk just to break the ice.” “When I want to start talking to a new girl, I think of something cute and clever to say, just to break the ice.” “Whenever I start teaching a new class, I always start with a warm-up activity just to break the ice.” * Breaking new ground Just as the ground must be broken and prepared for the construction of a new building, so we can say that, in making preparations for progress, we are breaking new ground. “Science is breaking new ground in the of the endless field of physics.” “The government is trying to break new ground to get religious factions to work and live together in harmony.” “Microsoft is always trying to break new ground in technological advancements to keep ahead of the competition.” * Breath a sigh of relief After a period of mounting anxiety and tension, we can breathe a sigh of relief if something bad we are expecting does not actually happen. “After I got my exam results, I breathed a sigh of relief.” “We all breathed a sigh of relief, when the tornado changed its path and turned away towards the east.” “I was afraid the company were going to terminate my employment at the end of the fiscal year, but, when they did not, I breathed a sigh of relief.” * Breathe down someone’s Standing over someone, behind his back, examining his neck work and, literally, breathing down his neck. “One day I will retire, and, then, there will be nobody standing over my shoulder, breathing down my neck.” “If I can start my own successful business, I will never again have the feeling of someone standing over me and breathing down my neck.” “The Revenue Department is breathing down our internal auditor’s neck demanding missing documents and invoices.” * Breathe your last Take your last breath before you die. “Daddy is about to breath his last and has called you to his bedside because there is something he wants to tell you.” “Before I breathe my last, there are a number of things I still want to do.” “When a man is about to breath his last, he should think of something positive, like loving-kindness or sympathetic joy.” * Breathing fire Just as mythological dragons were supposed to have breathed fire, so someone who is powerful and angry may be said to be breathing fire when he is mad at someone about something and is ready to attack to pay him back. “My boss is breathing fire because I went twentypercent over-budget due to careless miscalculations; he is about ready to blow his stack!” “My wife was breathing


Breathing spell

Breathtaking view

Breeding grounds

Bridge the gap

Brief encounter

fire because she found out that I had been gossiping about her behind her back. When I came home, I was greeted by a frontal attack.” “I have been absolutely breathing fire since I heard the Managing Director is making secret moves to make me retire.” * Take a break; rest for just long enough to catch your breath. “When I go trekking, because of my weak heart, I often have to stop for a breathing spell.” “When you do very intensive exercise, it is wise to stop, now and again, for a breathing spell to alleviate the accumulating strain on the muscles, body and heart.” “Sometimes, if you are near the top and you give in to the temptation to take a breathing spell, you may never get to the top at all.” * A view so panoramic and inspiring that it takes your breath away. “From outer space, the view of the blue planet is absolutely unforgettable and breathtaking.” “When you stand at the edge of the grand Canyon, the view is so huge and vast it is breathtaking.” “The aweinspiring view from atop Mount Everest is so spectacular it is literally breathtaking.” * Just as there can be perfect, natural habitats with the required conditions required for certain animals or species to arise and mate and reproduce in number, so there can be said to be breeding grounds for certain types of human actions or behavior. “Live music, night-club entertainment areas are the perfect breeding grounds for teenage sex and drugs.” “Dockside areas in large city ports are natural breeding grounds for illegal activities like smuggling and trade in stolen goods.” “Large industrial estates full of factories and workers are the perfect breeding grounds for labor party activists to arise and flourish.” * Just as you start constructing a bridge by sinking a sound foundation on either bank of a river, preparatory to building and extending the superstructure out from each side, over the water, to bridge the gap in-between, so we sometimes make a comparison, saying we need to find a way to bridge a gap in understanding or between two situations or different points of view. “A good teacher will be able to use suitable comparisons to help students to bridge the gap between confusion and clarity of point of view.” “The UN is taking world-wide measures to bridge the gap in education between the highly-educated and totally illiterate peoples of the world.” “It is not so easy to bridge the gap in understanding between conflicting religious factions with different points of view.” * Short interlude or love affair. “I had a brief encounter with my boss’s wife several years ago, but we thought it was too dangerous, so, in the end, we decided to drop it


and let it go.” “I had a hot, brief encounter with an Israeli woman in my younger years, during the Six Day War, but when the fighting was over, we each went our own ways.” “Edith had a brief encounter with an Italian Count in Rome in her later years, but when she found out he was penniless she dropped him like a hot potato.” * Bright boy/guy An ironic expression that means the opposite. i.e. stupid rather than clever. “Listen here, bright boy, if I hear you making any more dumb comments like that, I’ll box your ears.” “Let me ask you a question, bright boy, if you think you are so smart, why aren’t you rich?” “All right, bright guy, one more remark like that, and I’ll knock your solar plexus up into where your brains should be!” * Bright idea A sudden inspiration; a good, new idea, an answer or solution or way to fix a problem. “What a bright idea! That’s a clever suggestion. Why didn’t I think of that myself?” “As I was driving over here, I suddenly got the bright idea that if I cut down my fixed costs, I could loosen-up my cash flow problem.” “As I was daydreaming my time away, I suddenly got the idea that if my rich, maiden aunt married my widowed, wealthy uncle and they adopted me in, I’d no longer be a poor, deserted and lonely orphan.” * Bright side The good, happy, hopeful, optimistic side. “Always try to look on the bright side, because things could always be worse.” “If you wake up every morning and look on the bright side, you’ll always have a positive attitude.” “Someone who always looks on the dark side is a pessimist, and someone who always looks on the bright side is an optimist.” * Bright-eyed and bushy- A folksy expression meaning that a person is looking fit tailed as a country fox, fully-energetic and ready to go. “Well, hello cousin Sue. You are looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today!” “I like to see these pretty-looking country girls coming into town looking all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.” “Well! I’m feeling all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to go out today and take-on the world.” * Brim-full Just as a jar can be filled, right up to the brim (or lip) at the top, so we can say a person is brim-full of feeling to the point of overflowing. “I am feeling brim-full of energy today and ready to take on the world.” “When the Princess presented me my diploma, on the day I graduated, my family and I were brim-full of pride and joy and emotion” “Shelia was so full-to-the-brim with joyous elation when her baby girl was born that her eyes were overflowing with floods of tears.” * Bring home the bacon Work to make a living to feed the family. “One good


thing I can say about my Dad was that he was a good provider—he was good at bringing home the bacon.” “In English working-class culture, ‘bringing home the bacon’ means the same thing as ‘putting bread and butter on the table.’” “Your parents will always advise you that you have to choose a career path that will bring home the bacon and not pursue some creative, dreamy path that will leave you jobless, hungry, poor and homeless in the end.” * Bring someone out of his Just as a snail withdraws into its shell for protection, so a shell person may be said to withdraw into his shell, and, often, it is difficult to get such a person to overcome his shyness and come out of his shell and behave normally. “A good teacher will know how to slowly bring a shy and timid student out of his shell.” “Shelly was very withdrawn and anxious when I first met her, and it took me almost a year to get her to come out of her shell.” “Until Martha was eighteen, she was very shy and withdrawn, but when she went to university, she found a group of girlfriends who helped to bring her out of her shell.” * Bring someone to his Make someone see reason; face reality; face-the-facts; senses see common-sense; “I am trying to get my wife to come to her senses and think like a normal individual and stop her compulsive shopping-sprees.” “I wish I could bring my daughter to her senses and get her to realize she needs a higher education to succeed in this world.” “We are going to have to try to bring your father to his senses and get him to stop playing all these get rich quick schemes.” * Bring someone to task Scold someone for something he has done wrong. “The Major called the Captain in and brought him to task about the poor performance he had seen on the parade ground that morning.” “If a family member does something wrong, and nobody brings him to task for his misdeed, he may keep on doing it wrong.” “Grandfather has brought my father to task about his excessive drinking, and is threatening to cut him out of his will if he doesn’t stop immediately.” * Bring to justice Accuse and charge someone with a crime and try in a court of law to mete out the appropriate penalty or punishment. “I hope the thief who stole my handbag is caught and brought to justice.” “The company Chairman behind the corporate swindle has finally been brought to justice and has landed in jail where he belongs.” “Mafia members with connections inside the judicial system can sometimes avoid being brought to justice by paying bribes and trading favors.” * Bring up the subject Raise the question; mention, broach or touch upon a


Brings to mind

Brink of disaster

Broaden your horizon


Broken dreams

topic. “I hesitate to bring up the subject, but can you pay me back the money you borrowed from me last year?” “I hate to bring up the subject, but I am afraid that I am going to have to nag you, again, about having forgotten to do your daily chores.” “I am a little shy about bringing up the subject, but I must inform you from the beginning that I intend to live and die as a virgin.” * Makes one think of something; makes one remember something; brings up a memory from the past. “When you mention almond cookies that brings to mind memories of my Grandmother’s kitchen.” “Speaking of unfinished business, that brings to mind that we must do a final review of the annual income figures before the audit becomes due.” “When you speak of ocean sailing that brings to mind a Force 12 storm I experienced at sea that roared and raged for twelve full days, non-stop.” * Heading towards the point or peak or height at which disaster may strike. “Clive is so psychologically imbalanced, that he is tottering on the brink of disaster.” “The strengthening of the US Dollar on foreign currency markets has pushed the export trade to the brink of disaster.” Our firm is having serious problems controlling cash turnover and is heading towards the brink of disaster.” * Become more open-minded and tolerant through expanding your view to attain more knowledge and wisdom. “You are a little narrow-minded. You should get into the habit of reading more in order to broaden your horizon.” “Some persons from poor, upcountry backgrounds have the chance, through scholarships and study abroad to expand their horizons.” If you study comparative religion and have the experience of experiencing different religious cultures, it helps to broaden your horizon.” * Open-minded and tolerant; ready to accept and compromise. “A tightly closed-mind will always be mentallyblinded, but one that is kept open can become broadminded.” “My father is very broad-minded and tolerant, and he never tells me what to do. He just lets me learn from my own mistakes compared with his own example.” “People in the region where I was brought-up are very narrow-minded. I don’t blame them for that, however, because, if they had the chance to know the widerworld better, they would certainly become more broadminded.” * Hopes and illusions that have become disappointments and disillusions. “All I have of my original hopes and desires is a heap of broken dreams.” “After five years of marriage, all I had left was an empty bank account, a broken heart, and a lot of broken dreams.” “Sometimes, I


feel like a broken-winged bird that is helpless to fly to pursue broken dreams.” * Broken-down Out-of-order; non-functional; in need of repair. “Now, my washing machine is broken down and out of order, so I’ll have to call the repairman to come and fix it.” “My first car was an old, banged-up broken-down Ford with rust-holes in the floor.” “Negotiations between the Palestinian Muslims and the Israeli Jews have broken down again.” * Broken-hearted Just as someone who is disappointed in love may be said to be broken-hearted, so we can say a person is brokenhearted when he does not realize a goal or dream.” “After my first love left me for a younger, prettier girl, I was absolutely broken-hearted.” “When I got the news that I would not be accepted to become an airhostess, I was broken-hearted.” “After Dad lost the business, the house, everything he owned, and, then, my Mom as well, he died broken-heated.”* Brooding over something Just as a chicken sits on her eggs and broods over her nest and her moods keep changing, depending on whether she feels threatened or not, so a person who continually regrets or resents something that happened in the past is someone subject to moods who broods over things. “I wish you would stop brooding over your unhappy childhood and learn to forgive and love your mother.” “Heathcliff continued brooding over being treated worse than a lowly stray dog and servant even long after he had taken his revenge.” “Mom is still brooding over something that father did years ago, but she won’t discuss it with anyone.” * Brought to a head Just as the accumulation of pus increases internal pressure inside a pimple, until it is brought to a head and almost ready to burst, so a human, civil or political situation can come to a head and end in crisis and climax. “The conflict between my two sons came to a head when they began to disagree who should inherit the house.” “The conflict in City Hall came to a head when the greed of developers began to exceed the limits set by environmental protectionists.” “Tension in the Gulf Region came to a head when oil reserves began to be threatened.”* Brought to the boiling- Just as water may be brought to the boiling-point by heat, point so a person’s patience may reach a pressure point where he loses his temper. “My blood was finally brought to a boiling point when she suggested that I couldn’t be sure who my father was.” “Heated debate came to the boiling point during discussions about the proposed loan interest rate.” “Political unrest came to a boiling point when it became perfectly clear that the government intended to


Bruised and battered

Brush-up on

Bubbling over with joy

Buck the system

Bucket of worms

do nothing to help the bolster the economy.”* Just as after a physical fight, one’s body may be black and blue from being beaten, so we may say figuratively that, in the struggle of life, one comes out bruised and battered due to suffering struggle and hardship. “The boys returned from the battle, bruised and battered, but still alive all in one piece.” “Shelia came out of her marriage bruised and battered, both mentally and physically.” “I had a traumatic childhood and came out of it mentally bruised and battered, needing psychiatric counseling.”* To go back and review and study the fundamentals of something that you learned earlier but haven’t used in a long while. “I’ll have to brush-up on my Algebra before I take the entrance exam.” “To prepare myself to perform my job in the lab, I had to go back and brush-up on my organic chemistry.” “I’ll have to brush up on my German before I meet with the Austrian delegation.”* Just as a brook or underground spring bubbles up out of the ground, so we can compare the experience of joy bubbling up from within the mind in an individual. “It’s so much fun to be young and in love and bubbling over with joy.” “I am so happy in this quiet place of peace and retreat, far away from the unrelenting pressures of the outside world, I feel I am almost bubbling over with joy.” “Christian monks and Nuns speak of how the power of prayer can make believers feel a sense of elation, as though they were bubbling over with elated love and joy.”* Go against the overall system which controls you. “The first thing you learn in the army is that you cannot buck the system.” “There’s no way you can escape Revenue Department Tax Regulations. You can never succeed in bucking the system.” “Just in the way that a wild pony may be able to buck off a single rider who is trying to break it in and tame and control it, there’s no way a private, individual citizen can buck the overall system of government, because no one is above the law.” * Just as sorting out a bucket of worms can be considered unpleasant, impossible job, so taking over an unpleasant situation to resolve, that nobody else even wants to try, may be called a ‘bucket of worms,’ meaning that the situation is so unpleasant and impossible that no one would ever be able to get it sorted out right. “The marriage of Bob and Carol is a bucket of worms that not even the most-experienced marriage counselor would ever be able to sort out.” “The situation in Northern Ireland is a bucket of worms that no one will ever be able to


Buckle under



Budding genius


sort out properly.” “The conflict of interests between the Revenue Department and the ministry of Health in relation to the Tobacco Monopoly is a bucket of worms that is never going to get sorted out.” * Just as thick metal will bend under pressure, so a person may be forced to bend his will in accordance with what controls the pressure placed upon him. “The Finance Minister is very determined to hold his position, but most of his party is trying to get him to buckle under pressure.” “There are enormous pressures coming at me from every side, but I refuse to buckle under and conform to the will of others.” “If we exert enough force on poor old Pinkerton, he will have no choice but to buckle under pressure and vote for the constitutional amendment.” * Start to apply yourself and work hard on something; set yourself to accomplish a task; concentrate and focus upon your work. “OK boys, let’s stop fooling around and buckle down to work.” “Its time I got serious and started to buckle down and study hard for my CPA exams.” “If you don’t force yourself to buckle down and concentrate on your work, you will soon find yourself out of a job.” * In addition to meaning fasten your seat-belt in a vehicle, “buckle-up” can mean literally to adjust your trousers and belt-buckle or figuratively to adjust yourself appropriately so that you will make a better impression and have better control of your movements and actions. “When you travel by car, don’t forget to buckle-up your safety belt. It is better to be safe than sorry.” “You had better buckle-up and improve your behavior, or the principal will suspend you from school.” “I have been given written-notice by the company that if I do not buckle-up my performance and improve my ways, I will be asked to resign from the firm.” * Just as a rose is budding before it blooms, so we may say a person is a budding genius. “From Einstein’s performance in school, nobody could have guessed that he was a budding genius.” “From the time he was a boy in school, Huxley showed signs of being a budding genius.” “You probably have to be a near-budding genius to be accepted to do post-doctoral work in physics at Harvard Graduate School.” * Belief with no basis; imaginary cause of fear; a lot of nonsense. “Don’t believe anything you hear about superstitions. It’s all a lot of bugaboo!” “Those stories about aliens from another planet landing on earth are nothing but a lot of bugaboo.” “All that stuff they tell you about Hell is just a lot of bugaboo. Hell is really right here on this earth.”*



An impolite slang way of saying, “Get away from here! Disappear and get lost.” “If you don’t bugger-off and get out of here right now I’m going to give you a box on the ear.” “You’d better bugger-off before your father finds you here or he will kick your ass!” “I’d better bugger-off and get a move on before the dorm supervisor catches me out-of-bounds!” * Building castles in the air Dreaming impossible dreams. “Building castles in the air that are not really there will not get you anywhere.” “Castles in the air are like castles in the sand which, after they are built, are bound to dissolve and disband.” “Young couples often start off their marriage dreaming and building castles in the air, with hopes of a happy home and children and loads of money coming in from everywhere.” * Bull in a china shop Somebody clumsy and careless, like a bull in a china shop, which barges in charges around and breaks things into pieces. “Although Gifford means well deep down in his heart, he behaves with the conduct of a bull in a china shop.” “You can’t just barge back into my life, like a bull in a china shop, and start breaking things up again.” “Don’t barge in here like a big, wild bull in a china shop and start breaking up people’s illusions and destroying the hopes that will motivate them to get there.” * Bull’s-eye! Correct! Right on! That’s the right answer! You got it! You hit it head on! “Good thinking! Bull’s eye! You hit the target right on center.” “Bull’s eye! That’s it.” You hit he answer I was looking for! You hit it right on the head!” “ How did you know what I was thinking? ‘Bull’s eye!’ You guessed the right answer to the sixty-four thousand dollar question!”* Bulldoze your way Just as a big bulldozer can force its way through scrub through jungle and forest to level a path to where it wants to go, so a person may be said to push his way through to where he can get what he wants.” “Here comes Big Bob bulldozing his way through the crowd up towards the bar.” “Don’t think you can just bulldoze your way in here and tell everybody what to do.” “We can get the vote to go our way if we get enough support to level any opposition and try to bulldoze our way through.” * Bullshit! A load of crap; a pile of lies. “When men sit around and drink they talk a lot of bullshit and lies.” “Don’t try to tell me you just plain forgot. That’s a lie. That’s bullshit!” “I have never heard such an outrageous lie in my life. What a load of bullshit!” * Bully for you! Congratulations! Well-done; good for you; I’m proud of you; that’s the way to behave; that’s the way to go; you should be proud of yourself. “I hear you punched that big


Bumble along


Bump into one another

Bundle of nerves

Bungle things up

bruiser, Butch, right in the nose. That’s the way to go! Bully for you!” “I like the way you stand up to the boss and tell him exactly what you think. Bully for you!” “You managed to get the promotion despite your lack of seniority. Bully for you!” * Stumbling your way slowly and clumsily along your path but somehow managing to reach your goal. “Now that I am older, I am forgetting things and losing my manual dexterity, but I still manage to bumble along and make my way in life despite the infirmities of my age.” “Grandmother is not quite all there anymore but, somehow, she manages to bumble along through life without doing herself any harm.” “Ichabod was an awkward, gawky and clumsy fellow who bumbled along in his own peculiar way, but, somehow, stuck to the proper path and didn’t go astray.” * Feeling down-and-out, depressed and disillusioned as though you had a hangover from life’s bad experiences. “Ted is feeling kind of bummed-out today because his girlfriend wants to break up with him.” “Teenagers usually go through as stage or phase in which they feel bummed-out and think that all he world is stupid.” “The boys in the band are feeling bummed-out because they didn’t get the recording contract they were hoping for.”* Just as two cars might accidentally bump into one another, so two acquaintances might meet somewhere, by coincidence, as if absolutely by chance. “It is quite a coincidence our bumping into one another like this, after not seeing one another for more than twenty years.” “Sometimes, old school friends, who have lost contact, bump into one another, again, later in their professional lives.” “Fancy us bumping into one another like this unexpectedly both pregnant and both in the same hospital at the same time!” * A body aggregate that seems to consist of nothing but anxieties and sensitive nerve-endings. “I have become a real bundle of nerves due to the uncertainties of my jobsituation and my unstable marriage.” “During the apprenticeship period in my job, at first, I was a real bundle of nerves, but after I had learned the routine, I settled into it, and, now, I am much more relaxed.” “Before the entrance examination, I was a real bundle of nerves, but, after I sat down and read the question papers over a couple of times, I settled down and was able to concentrate my mind.” * To botch-up and make a mess of a task or a job; to do every thing wrong. “I’m sorry I botched the job; I’m always getting things bungled up.” “I made so many mis-


takes in my job at first, it seemed that I was botching and bungling everything up to the point where I couldn’t get anything right.” “I am afraid I have made a mess of the job and bungled everything up, but, I apologize, and I promise to try to do a better job next time.”* Burbling with joy Just as a stream or brook makes a burbling sound as though water were happily bubbling up, so we may say that a person is burbling with the joy in the happiness of the moment. “Jane has given birth to a six-pound healthy, happy burbling baby boy, and both mother and child are well and healthy.” “We could hear the children playing out in the sunlit yard, burbling with joy.” “I always look forward to watching my children burbling with joy and delight as they open their presents under the Christmas tree.” * Burn your fingers Just as one burns one’s fingers by touching something hot, so one may be said to get one’s fingers burnt in a bad experience in life or love or business. “When you touch a hot stove and get your fingers burnt, it teaches you to be more careful next time.” “I got my fingers burnt in my first romance, and I am afraid to try again.” “I got my fingers burnt in offshore investments, so I went back to blue chip shares again.” * Burning the midnight oil Just as scholars in the old days studied at night to the light of an oil lamp, so students today who study late, until after midnight, may be said to be burning the midnight oil; working through the night, reading or writing; staying up late to catch up on homework or cram for an exam. “When I was a student, I used to play all day and burn the midnight oil at night.” “When I left writing an essay to the last minute, I used to have to burn the midnight oil and sometimes even pull an all-nighter.” “The experts will be burning the midnight oil tonight trying to figure out to what extent the expected volcanic eruption in Hawaii could cause a Tsunami that would devastate the whole of the Japanese East Coast.”* Burning your bridges be- Just as a General in retreat may gain time and advantage, hind you by burning his bridges behind him so the enemy cannot catch-up behind him easily, so some individuals cut-off contact to people they have used or used to know in the past, once they begin to succeed on a higher social scale or level. “Don’t use people and then leave them in the lurch. It makes no sense to burn your bridges behind you.” “When I was young, I used a lot of women for my own satisfaction and always burned my bridges behind me.” “It’s never a good idea to drop old friends when you get newer, richer and better ones. It’s like burning your bridges behind you.” *




Burst a blood vessel

Burst in on someone

Burst out into a rage

Burst the bubble

Wanting something so much that you are almost on fire with craving and desire; an overpowering, compulsive need for someone, something; the fulfillment of a wish or ambition; a strong wish; an overpowering need. Tina has the burning desire to complete her examinations and become a CPA.” “Ted has a burning desire for Tina.” “If you have a burning desire for success and you have talent and you work very hard, you may very well succeed.”* Means working so long and so hard that one has a breakdown and becomes incapable of continuing to work at one’s job. “A lot of audit staff start to suffer from burnout after about ten years on the job.” “He was a highlypaid stock broker on Wall Street for twenty years until he finally suffered from burnout, and now he is just a downand-out, sit-at-home-drunk.” “I want to live hard and die young; I don’t want to work hard all my life for a heartless corporation until I finally burn out and wait until they throw me out.” * A state of anger which is so strong that you might literally burst a blood vessel. “When I found out the immigration lawyers had lost my documents, I almost burst a blood vessel.” “Mom almost burst a blood vessel when she learned that her one and only daughter was pregnant at only sixteen.” “The Managing Partner will burst a blood vessel when he finds out the Revenue Department is planning to do a tax review of our firm due to an unjustified claim I put in.” * To interrupt someone when he is in the middle of something else. “Sorry to burst in on you like this, but I need to speak to you urgently.” “Don’t burst in on someone’s conversation unless you are invited to.” “The private detective burst in on the adulterous lovers in their hotel room and took a photograph of them lying stark naked together in bed.”* Suddenly lose control and break out into anger. “I used to often burst out into a rage of anger, but, now, through meditation, I am gaining better mind control.” “Father burst out into a rage of temper when he found out that Mother had poured his bottle of whiskey down the sink.” “Try to train yourself not to burst out into a rage every time something doesn’t go your way.” * Shatter the illusion; break the fantasy. “Young love seems like a perfect dream until some prick comes along and bursts your bubble.” “We had high hopes that our stock price would gain dramatically in value, but, then, the stability problems caused by the Gulf War came along and burst the bubble.” “During the eighties, it


Bury the hatchet

Bust a gut trying

Bust your butt

Bustling with activity


seemed that the economy would continue to grow and rise and soar forever, but, then, the Baht devaluation came and burst the economic bubble.” * When Red American Indians used to make peace, they would ceremoniously bury the war hatchet to show that they would no longer continue fighting, “Mom and Dad have decided to bury the war hatchet and try to get along for a change.” “It’s time for the Muslims and Jews to finally bury the hatchet and begin replacing latent hate with universal love.” “I have told my children that if they do not bury the war hatchet and stop fighting amongst themselves, I’ll cut them all out of my will without a penny.” * Just as it is possible that we may burst an internal organ by pushing or lifting too hard, so we can figuratively say that we ‘bust a gut’ trying to finish our work or reach our goal. “I’m going to meet my sales target or bust a gut trying.” “Here I am, out working hard in the world, busting a gut trying to earn a living, when all you can do is sit around at home alone and moan and complain.” “I am either going to bring home the Olympic Gold in weightlifting or bust a gut trying.” * Work really hard to get a difficult job done; do your utmost; make the maximum effort in order to fulfill requirements. “The Sales manager told us that if we didn’t get out and bust our butts, he would not only lower our commissions, but also cut the Christmas Bonuses.” “I don’t know why I have to be out busting my butt to earn a decent living, when you guys are sitting around drinking beer and accomplishing nothing.” “Now you have graduated, the easy part is over. Next, comes the hard part in which you have to go out into the real world and bust your butt for the next forty years.” * Busy, full of life, active, alive with people on-the-go, hustling and bustling, going about their business. “The Shopping Mall was bustling with activity on Saturday afternoon because there was a spring sale with all items marked down by fifty-percent.” “The thing I like about a carnival ground is that there are people milling about everywhere, busy enjoying themselves and the grounds are bustling with activity.” “Between nine and twelve the lobby of our building is almost empty, but as soon as lunch hour begins, it is bustling with activity, with hundreds of executives and office managers and smartlydressed, professional women on their way to lunch.” * Nosey-gossip; curious blabber-mouth; someone who mixes in other’s affairs. “She’s such a busy-body, always sticking her nose in everybody’s business and then going


around town gossiping about them.” “You will have to stop being such a gossip and busy-body and learn to mind your own business.” “Be careful what you tell my Aunt Molly because she is such a busy-body the news will be all over town before you know it.” * Butter someone up Get on the right side of someone by using sweet talk, false praise or compliments. “I’m trying to butter up my boss at the moment, because I’m planning to ask him for a raise next month.” “Don’t try to butter me up to win me over. I’ve made my final decision and no means no.” “If you try to butter me up to get on my good side, just to get what you want, I shall consider this a unethical tactic that can only work against you.” * Butterfingers This is a name we call someone who cannot catch a ball when it is thrown to him, or someone who is always dropping things; as though he had butter on his fingers and everything kept slipping from his grip or grasp. “The other kids call my son ‘butterfingers’ because he keeps dropping the baseball when they throw it to him.” “The baseball right-fielder, Drew Dropper, seems to have a case of butterfingers today, because this is the fourth time he has dropped the ball on what looked like an easy catch.” “Everything our cook, Jean, picks up seems to slip through her fingers and drop onto the kitchen floor. So we’ve started calling her ‘butterfingers.’” * Butterflies in your stom- Feeling uneasiness or queasiness in your stomach due to ach nervousness, apprehension and anxiety before event, a public appearance. “When I was in the school play, I had butterflies in my stomach, while I was waiting in the wings, behind the scenes, but the moment I got on stage, I said my lines and forgot my fear.” “Before my oral exam, I had butterflies in my stomach, but the moment they asked the first question, my mind clicked into gear and my brain started working.” “Before I asked your mother to marry me, I had butterflies in my stomach, but, the moment I saw the smile on her face my apprehensions disappeared.” * Butt-in Interrupt the conversation; break in when other people are talking; force your way and mix into a discussion when it is not your business. “My mother told me it is impolite to butt in when other people are talking.” “Sorry to butt in on you like this, Sir, But the Prime Minister is on the phone and wants to speak to you.” “The problem with Freddy is that he’s always butting in on other people’s conversations and interrupting them where he is not wanted.” * Buttonhole someone Force someone to listen, just as though you had taken hold of the buttonhole of his suit-jacket and won’t let go




Buy time

Buzzing with activity

until he has heard what you wish to say. “Don’t try to buttonhole me and tell me your troubles. If you don’t let go of my jacket right away, I will punch you right in the face.” “Aunt Clara is always trying to buttonhole others and ask them for donations for charity, but people are getting sick of it, and they run the other way when they see her coming.” “Sheila is going to try and buttonhole the Ambassador at the reception tomorrow evening and ask if the Ladies’ Club can hold a Garden Party on the Embassy Grounds on the last Sunday afternoon of the month.” * Close your lip; don’t say a word to anybody; keep this a secret; keep your mouth shut. “This secret is just between you and me, so button up, and don’t tell anybody.” “Better button-up your lip and not tell anybody what you have just said to me to avoid difficulty.” “I’ll kill you if you tell anybody it was me that set the barn on fire, so you had better button-up your lip and swear to secrecy or you’ll be sorry.”* Move your ass on out of here; beat it; get lost; bugger off. “Butt-out can’t you see where you are not wanted?” “Butt out of here, Buster, this is a private party and we don’t want any strangers around here.” “I wanted to tag along to the pub for a drink with Dad and his pal, Mickey, but they told be to butt-out and go straight home like a good boy.” * Find a way to stall to gain more time as a deadline is approaching. “Your father tried to buy time by asking me to postpone our wedding until after he graduated, but I told him it was either ‘now or never’ so, then, he gave in and let me win.” “The government is trying to buy time by postponing the debate on the tax rebate, but they will have to pass the bill sooner or later no matter what they try to do.” “I am trying to buy time with the bank by asking them to let me restructure my finances, but both they and I know they will turn me down, so I will have to declare bankruptcy eventually.” * Busy, with people moving about; like bees in a beehive; buzzing in a swarm, at close quarters, within a specific area, alive with activity. “The new shopping center is buzzing with activity, because they are offering a twenty percent discount on every item purchased.” “Before the convention began, the hotel lobby was buzzing with people and activity, but after everyone entered the main meeting hall, the lobby was almost empty.” “The fair ground was buzzing with activity, alive with hundreds of people bustling about, enjoying themselves taking part in games and rides and shooting galleries and freak shows



By a hair’s breadth

By fits and starts

By hook or by crook

By leaps and bounds

By the seat of your pants

and a variety of carnival activities.” * Just as an annoying fly will buzz-off and fly away if we try to swat it, so we may tell an irritating person to buzzoff and go away; piss-off; bugger-off. “Buzz-off and stop annoying me before I smack you one.” “You’d better buzz-off and stop making a nuisance of yourself, or I’ll give you the licking of your life.” “We’d better buzz-off before anyone sees us in this restricted zone, or we might get into trouble.” * Implying an increment of measurement in width comparable to the breadth of a hair. “The winner of the horserace beat the runner-up by only a hair’s breadth, by a whisker, so to speak.” “The coalition beat the opposition in the election, by a very narrow margin, by only a hair’s breadth.” “The final results of the data of the two independent research studies were so similar that there was only a hair’s breadth between them.” * Beginning only slowly and irregularly and continuing with many irregular stops and starts along the way. “I am having trouble with my motorcycle, due to an electrical problem, and it only runs in fits and starts.” “I am making slow progress with my book, working a little bit at a time, here and there, when I can, by fits and starts.” “The company is growing by fits and starts, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly, depending on how the orders are coming in.” * Just as shepherds used to use an iron hook or a wooden crook on the end of a stick to catch a sheep by the neck to separate, or perhaps steal it, out of the flock, so, nowadays, we say we will do what ever we have to, one way or another, to achieve what we desire, using whatever device or trick it takes to make it work. “Some people desire success so much that they will do whatever they have to, by hook or by crook, to get them where they want to go.” “Once you get into the habit of achieving your ends by hook or by crook, you will have compromised your moral outlook.” “It won’t be easy to get the Customs Department official to go along with such a shady deal, but we will do whatever we have to do, by hook or by crook, to achieve the ends desired.” * Just as a frog jumps forward quickly, by leaps and bounds, so we may say that person or project is making quick progress by leaps and bounds. “My business is growing is rapidly, by leaps and bounds.” “The economy is gaining rapidly, by leaps and bounds.” “The government is fighting the spread of malaria and making headway by leaps and bounds.” * Guessing as you go along, based on your own initiative,


By the skin of your teeth

By the thousands

By word-of-mouth



without any map, chart or guideline to follow. “Sometimes, when visibility is limited and a pilot does not have a navigational chart to follow, he has to fly by the seat of his pants to locate and land on the runway.” “The local fishermen do not rely on a compass or autopilot. They just navigate by the seat of their pants.” “Sometimes, when a small business man has not plotted-out a definite business plan, he has to navigate by the seat of his pants.” * Just barely; by a small margin. “I only passed the exam by the skin of my teeth.” “The pilot performed a risky, delicate, emergency landing, and we just missed death by the skin of our teeth.” “Daredevils excite their audiences, by coming within an inch-of-their-lives and just missing danger by the skin of their teeth.” * An expression indicating crowds in countless numbers. “Fans by the thousands lined the streets to see the procession of Manchester United returning home from the airport after the winning the championship match.” “People by the thousands are being converted to a new religion called ‘Amway.’” “Illegal immigrants are gaining entry into the country in truckloads, by the thousands, in countless numbers.” * From time immemorial, news has been passed down orally from generation to generation, from person-toperson, using the spoken word. “Nowadays, news and information are disseminated through mass media networks, but gossip and slander are still passed on by word-of-mouth.” “Our business does not advertise. We are so exclusive that we rely only on word-of-mouth communications and recommendations.” “Paulo’s Pizza Parlor has gained a good reputation and developed a lot of customers depending solely on word-of-mouth communication from person to person.”* Just as a ship can lose a part of its cargo of goods overboard, so one’s hopes or assets can go by the board and be lost irretrievably. “All the cargo that was not tied down on the deck of the boat was washed overboard in the storm. Everything that was not lashed-down went bythe-board.” “When the Air Force discovered I had bad eyesight problems, my planned flying career went bythe-board.” “When the economic crisis ate up all my business assets, all my hopes for success went by the board.” * According to regulations and standard procedures; following guidelines laid down by officials or authorities; sticking to the generally-accepted practices and principles. “We have to follow tax procedures by-the-book, or


there is a danger that a deviation could result a tax examination.” “When police arrest a suspect and write a report, they do it by-the-book, following standard procedures to keep the records straight.” “There can be no exceptions to the rule, so we have to process your case bythe-book to avoid any accusations of bias or favoritism.” *

Idioms and expressions Definitions followed by examples Caged-in like a wild ani- Just as a wild animal will not be happy to be kept in a mal cage, so a person who doesn’t have the freedom of movement he desires may say he feels caged-in like a wild animal. “I don’t want to go to prison and be cage-in like a wild animal.” “I hate being restricted to a hospital room and being caged-in like a wild animal.” “I don’t want to be caged-in an office and chained to a desk like a wild animal all my life. I would rather be out on the road visiting clients in their offices.”* Calculated-risk Sometimes, we take a risk, because we hope it will be worth it, even though we may not have a one hundredpercent chance of success. “Getting married, even though it may be based on high hopes, is always a calculated risk.” “It’s a calculated-risk investing in gold-mining in New Guinea, but if it pays off it will be worth it.” “In investing funds, we often put most of our money into blue chip shares, but, at the same time, put a certain percentage that we can afford to lose into calculated-risk investments.” * Call a spade a spade. Saying directly that a bad thing is exactly what it is. “Sometimes, you have to call a spade a spade and name an evil thing as being exactly what it is.” “I hate to call a spade a spade, but I happen to know that Monica’s new boyfriend is a sadistic and dangerous man.” “I am sorry to have to tell you that your joint-venture partner is a known-criminal and ex-convict, but I have to call a spade a spade when I see one.” * Call in favor of Just as the umpire in sports makes a call or judgment in favor of one side or the other, so, a judge may, for example, make a decision on favor of the plaintiff or the defense. “The High Court has made the call in favor of City Hall.” “The interview-committee has made the call in favor of the candidate with the most experience.” “It was a difficult case to call, but the judge finally decided in favor of doing nothing at all.”*


Call into question

Call it a day

Call it off

Call it quits

Call of nature

Call-off the dogs

To doubt and question the reliability or the truth of something. “There is some new, forensic evidence that calls into question the presumed-innocence of the accused.” “New linguistic research calls into question the assumption that words stand for conceptual ideal things.” “Medical researchers are collecting evidence to call into question the common belief that the cause of cancer is always physiological.” * Decide to stop work for the day; say it is time to stop work for now, and, then, continue tomorrow; quit working when everyone is tired at the end of the day. “OK, boys, that’s it. We’ve finished the job, and it’s time to pack up and call it a day.” “It was beginning to rain about five o’clock in the afternoon, so the foreman said to pack up our tools and call it a day.” “When you are too physically tired to continue to work any more, your body tells you it is time to call it a day.” * Postpone or cancel a plan or event. “We had a meeting planned for tonight, but we had to call it off and postpone it until next week.” “There was supposed to be a baseball game this afternoon, but we have had to call it off on account of rain.” “Jane’s family was planning her wedding for sometime in June, but the groom backed-out, and they had to call it off.”* Give up; stop making an effort; stop trying; throw in the towel; stop what you are trying to do. “You can’t fight city hall on urban development, so why even bother trying? Let’s call it quits and throw in the towel.” “Even though we have good intentions, our relationship is not working, so let’s just call it quits and get on with our lives.” “I tried working and doing graduate work at the same time, but I almost had a nervous breakdown, so I decided to call it quits and give up my studies.” * A polite way of saying that you have to pee-pee or urinate (relieve yourself by voiding urine). “Excuse me, please, but I have to follow the call of nature and go to the toilet for a pee.” “Sometimes, the call of nature takes me away from my computer, and I have to run to the wash room.” “I was suddenly overcome by the call of nature out in the middle of Central Park, so I had a peepee behind a tree.” * Just as a pack of hounds may corner a fox and keep it at bay until they are called-off by their master, so we may sometimes find ourselves threatened by criticism and attack from all sides and figuratively beg the person incharge to call off the dogs. “OK. I am ready to give into pressure and do what the President wants, so get him to call-off the dogs.” “The Foreign Minister made a plea to


Call-off the meeting

Call the shots

Call the tune

Call your bluff

Callous remark

Calm before the storm

the heads of all conflicting nations to call-off the dogs of war and strive to seek universal peace.” “There was a time when small shopkeepers had to pay protection money to local mafia to call-off the dogs and thugs, who would, otherwise, come in and wreak and break-up their shops.” * Cancel or postpone. “Because the general manager fell ill, we had to call-off the meeting.” “Because there was a mudslide in the mountain pass the Masonic Lodge had to call-off its scheduled meeting.” “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regret to inform you that we will have to call-off and postpone the meeting indefinitely.”* Give the orders; be in command; be the one in control who decides; tells others what to do. “I want to found my own company and be the one who calls the shots.” “I am the one in command. I call the shots here, and when I give an order, you must obey without question.” “When he is at work, Dad calls the shots, but when he is at home, Mom calls the shots.”* Just as the one who pays a tip to the band can choose the next tune or song he wants to hear them play, so the person in control of the money is usually the one who calls and controls the tune in money-matters or business. “As long as I control the family finances, I am the one who calls the tune.” “At home my wife calls the tune, but when I am out alone on my own, I whistle as I will.” “If you think that you are so big and that you are the one who gets to call the tune, think again. Nobody here is going to follow you.” * Just as in the game of poker when someone is pretending to hold high cards and we can ‘call the bet’ and ask for a show of cards to see if he is actually bluffing, so we say we call a person’s bluff when we know he is lying, deceiving or cheating for his own advantage. “I told him to put his money where his mouth was in order to call his bluff.” “Shelia suspected he was lying about wanting to marry her, so she asked him to set a wedding date to call his bluff.” “I knew he was lying about having enough money to invest, so I asked to see his bank statement to call his bluff.”* Hurtful, heartless, insensitive, cold, cruel, comment showing lack of feeling for others. “Calling me a coldhearted bitch was a callous remark.” “Marge is always making cruel, callous remarks which hurt me and make me feel resentful.” “I don’t want to hear anymore of your callous remarks. If you don’t have something warm and kind and understanding to say, don’t say anything.” * Just as the weather can be calm before a violent storm


Calm down

Can barely hear myself think

Can see a mile off

Can’t bear to think about it.

Can’t cut the mustard anymore.

Can’t get a word in edgewise

breaks loose, so we may say, “A person is in a state of calm before he loses control of his anger and temper and all hell breaks loose. “Keith was brooding and silent for weeks before he killed all his family, but this was the calm before the storm.” “The general manager was silent in the calm before the storm all week long before he finally burst into a violent rage and told the staff they had better follow orders or he would get rid of all of them.”* Don’t be so excited. “Calm down and don’t be so excited. There is nothing to worry about.” “Often, when people make me angry, I count slowly from one to ten, to calm myself down.” “Calm down for a minute and listen to what I have to say before you jump to wrong conclusions and get mad for no good reason.” * It is so loud that the noise confuses you and you can’t think clearly, can’t follow your own line of logic because the noise is so distracting. “It’s so loud in my office I can barely hear myself think.” “Turn down that music! I can barely hear myself think.” “When I go into a big, crowded disco, it’s so loud I can barely hear myself think.” * Evident to everyone; anyone who looks will be able to see. “Anyone can see from a mile off that she is just a cheap, painted tart.” “Anyone can see from a mile off that the Republicans are motivated by material selfinterest.” “Anyone can see from a mile off that you and the rest of your family are lying.” * The thought is unendurable. “I know my father is slowly dying, but I can’t bear to think about it.” “I can’t bear to think of what may happen if the bottom falls out of the stock market,” “I can’t bear to think of what will happen when man has finally destroyed the environment that supports him.” * Just as an old farmer may not have the strength to go out to cut and harvest a field of mustard the way he used to do, so we say that a person becomes too old and weak to go out and do things that an able-bodied man can do. “Uncle Jake used to be able to cut a whole field of mustard grass by himself alone in one day, but, now, he’s too old to cut the mustard anymore.” “Don’t count on Dad to be able to help out with any physical work. He’s too old to cut the mustard anymore.” “I used to have a lot of women, but, now, I’m too old to cut the mustard anymore.” * You cannot find an opportunity to get in even one word into the conversation, because people are talking so much and so fast, without pause, that you cannot break in. “When my parents are arguing, and I want to break in


and stop it, I find that they talk so fast and furiously that I can’t get a word in edgewise.”’ “When my boss tells me off for what I did wrong, he doesn’t even pause for half a second, and I can’t get a word in edgewise.” “When your superior officer gives you a dressing-down, just stand at attention and listen, and don’t so much as try to get a word in edgewise.” * Can’t get along without I cannot live without you; I need you in order to be able you to cope with life and survive; my life has no meaning without you; I can’t stand being alone when you are not here with me. “I love you so much, that I just can’t get along without you.” “Darling, please come back home from your trip as soon as possible. I can’t get along without you.” “Whenever you go away to visit your mother for a few days, I feel so lonely. I just can’t get along without you any more.” * Can’t get over it! I am so surprised and shocked that I can’t believe it. “I can’t get over the fact that my sister turned out to be a lesbian.” “I can’t get over the fact that my mother set me out for adoption when I was only three month’s old.” “I cannot get over the fact that my company made a three hundred percent increase in sales last year!” * Can’t make heads or tails Just as a coin has two sides, and it is clear which side has of it. the head on it, sometimes, when we cannot figure something out, or make any sense of it, we say figuratively that we cannot make heads or tails of it. “I cannot figureout why my husband is acting so funny. I cannot make heads or tails of it.” “Your scheme is too complicated. It’s so confusing I can’t make heads or tails of it.” “The basis of your reasoning makes no sense to me whatsoever. I can’t make heads or tails of it.” * Can’t quite nail it down. Cannot quite figure-out or remember. Cannot pinpoint. “Your name sounds familiar, and I know it should mean something to me, but I cannot quite nail it down.” “I remember something from philosophy class that explains the concept of ‘ideal reality,’ but it slips my memory, and I can’t quite nail it down.” “I remember the face of former Soviet Premier, but I’ve forgotten his name. It’s there, somewhere, vaguely, in my memory, but I can’t quite nail it down.” * Can’t see past the end of Cannot see what is right in front of you; cannot see the your nose. obvious; cannot see beyond your own short-sighted opinion. “The pepper pot is right there on the table in front of you. What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see beyond the end of your nose?” “Anybody except you with any sense can see that your plan will not work. Your problem is that you cannot see past the end of your nose.” “You cannot think in the long view over a longer period of


time. You’re problem is that you can not see beyond the end of your nose.” * Can’t see the forest for Unable to see the broad picture; only looking at what is the trees. right in front of you; too-focused on the fine details to see the larger view. “Sometimes, when you get too tiedout focusing on the small details you lose the broad overview and cannot see the forest for the trees.” “Clarence is such a stickler regarding small, individual stipulations that he can’t see the forest for the trees.” “Sometimes, scientists are so focused on the fixed-data of their research that they can’t see the forest for the trees.” * Can’t stand it It’s too much for me! “I cannot tolerate all this noise. It’s too loud. I can’t stand it.” “My boss keeps nattering and complaining all the time without letup. So much so that I can’t stand to hear the sound of his voice anymore.” “That woman who sits next to me in the office is getting on my nerves with her incessant chattering on the phone all day. I can’t stand it any more!” * Can’t think straight So many things are happening all at one time that one becomes confused and cannot think clearly any more. “Love has got me so emotionally confused that I cannot think straight any more.” “I’ve got so many personal and psychological problems that I can’t think straight anymore.” “There are so many pressures bearing down on me in the office that I cannot think straight anymore.” * Candid opinion Frank, open honest expression of opinion. “If you want my candid opinion, I think there is no such thing as a good politician.” “Let me give you my candid opinion and tell you that your fantasy of owning and running your own business is only a pipe-dream.” “There is a new talk show on the radio on which people can call in and express their candid opinion on the topic of the day.” * Capitalize upon an op- Take advantage of a chance. “Wait for the main chance portunity and then jump in and grab it. In simple language, what it means is to capitalize on an opportunity.” “Enlisted-men in the US Army often capitalize on the opportunity to get a free government-supported education in their off-duty hours.” “When the price of pork-belly is low, jump in and buy all the shares you can so that you will be able to capitalize on the opportunity when the price goes up.”* Captive audience A group of people who must listen to someone speaking whether they wish to or not. “In school, children are trained into listening as a captive audience, and this, unfortunately, restricts their development of independence and creativity.” “In Church, the priest is talking to a captive audience because one cannot just get up and walk out the moment one begins to feel bored by a ceremony


or the sermon.” “I never have the ego-need to become the center of attention because I have been speaking to a captive audience in university classrooms for over forty years.” * Carried-away Just as a helium-balloon may be carried-away in the wind, so a person may become so enthusiastic that he loses touch with reality and is totally overcome by excitement. “In my younger years, I was so carried-away with dreams of yachts and the sea that I almost lost touch with everyday reality.” “Mom becomes so involved in her baking that she gets totally carried-away and forgets everything else she is doing.” “When I listen to Indian Transcendental Psychedelic Music, I get totally carried away.” * Carrot on a stick Just as a carrot held out on a long stick can be an incentive for a donkey to make its next step forward, so an extra incentive may be used to get someone to do something in business or personal life. “Donald is promising me a diamond if I will become his fiancée, but I don’t trust him. I think he is just dangling a carrot on a stick to get what he wants.” “The company is using extra-welfare benefits as a carrot on a stick to get the staff to accept the new pay package.” “The government is using tax cuts as a carrot on a stick to win over the people and get the popular vote.” * Carry a torch for some- Be in love with; feel secret love over a long time; have a one crush on. “Butch has been carrying a torch for the redheaded girl in the back row of class all semester long, but he is afraid to come out in the open and admit it.” “I have been carrying a torch for my old high-school sweetheart all during the forty years I have been married to Albert.” “I have been carting a torch for my best friend’s wife for four years but I don’t dare tell anybody about it.” * Carrying the world on Feeling personally responsible for the troubles and burmy shoulders dens of life and the world. “I am the only wage-earner in the family, and, often, I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.” “When I was young, I had a strong sense of social responsibility, and I often felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.” “Don’t get all down and depressed just because life appears to be so bad that you feel you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.” * Carve out a name for Just as you can carve your initials in a tree-trunk to beyourself remembered-by, so you can make a name for yourself due to your accomplishments in life and become famous in this world. “After you graduate, you will have to go out into the world and carve out a name for yourself.” “Mark Twain first carved out a name for himself as a


writer of tall tales from the American West.” “When Godfrey was young and in his prime, he wanted to carve out a name for himself and became rich and famous and well-known all throughout the world.” * Case of mistaken identity Mistakenly thinking that someone you see someone else you know. “Oh, excuse me, I took you for someone else. Please forgive me. It was a case of mistaken identity.” “Sometimes, I go up to a person who looks like someone I know and start talking, but then, I am ashamed when it turns out to be a case of mistaken identity.” “I got an income tax bill for twenty million Dollars, but fortunately, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, intended for someone else with the same name as me.” * Case of the jitters Shaking with fear before an event; feeling jumpy and anxious prior to performing; afraid and feeling nervous before speaking to an audience. “I had a case of the jitters before the job interview, but once I sat down and started talking, all my fears left me.” “Even famous actors sometimes get a case of the jitters before appearing on stage.” “I sometimes get a case of the jitters when I have to address a large audience that is unfamiliar to me.” * Case the joint Check out a site or location to note and become familiar with its characteristics. “Drug store stick-up artists usually act on impulse without casing the joint beforehand.” “Spike cased the joint he was planning to rob so he would be familiar with the surroundings.” “Before bank robbers actually carry out the robbery, they spend considerable time staking-out the building and casing the joint in order to be familiar with the bank’s daily pattern and routine.” * Cash in on an opportu- Take advantage of an arising situation; capitalize on an nity opportunity. “Cash in on the opportunity to become the first person to join the Amway team in the new year and win a holiday for two in Hawaii.” “Cash in on the opportunity of getting a free university education by joining the Army Officer’s Training Program.” “Cash in on the opportunity to be self-employed and earn money from doing consumer interviews from your own phone at home.” * Cash-in-your-chips Just as a gambler cashes-in-his-chips when he stops gambling in the Casino, so we say that we cash-in-our-chips when we are about to die. “Old Uncle Ike left me the farm in his will, before he cashed-in-his-chips.” “Before I cash in my chips, I want to take a cruise around the world and spend some of the hard-earned money I saved over the years.” “Before I cash-in-my-chips, there are a few old scores I would like to settle and a few people I


Cast a glace at

Cast a shadow over

Cast around for

Cast aside

Cast aspersions upon

Casual comment

Casual dress

would like kill.” * Take a look at; look over. “Just cast a glance over this and see if you see any grammar mistakes, will you?” “I have asked my room mate to cast a glance over my power-point presentation to see if he has any suggestions for improvement.” “She cast a glance over me, out of the corner of her eye, as if to show her disapproval at the shabby way I was dressed.” * Something sad affecting an otherwise happy or joyous occasion. “Father’s sudden death cast a shadow over the wedding celebration of my older sister Emily.” “The terrorist bombing incident has cast a shadow over the opening ceremony of Parliament.” “The death of one of the guests who accidentally drowned in the pool has cast a shadow over the opening ceremony of the new Hilton Hotel complex.”* Just as a fisherman casts his line around at different places in a pond trying to catch a fish, so we can say we cast around for something we’re looking for. “Shane is casting around for a new girlfriend, but he hasn’t caught one yet.” “Our firm is casting around for an independent accounting firm so we can outsource our financial operations.” “I have been casting about for an idea of how to solve my financial problem, but I haven’t found a solution yet.” * Throw away as useless no longer undesired. “Have you ever noticed that the things we once passionately desired are often later cast indifferently aside?” “When a woman is cast aside as a useless, unwanted object it hurts her feelings and injures her pride.” “There are few things more dangerous than an expectant bride that has been unexpectedly and abruptly cast aside.”* Making unkind remarks; suggesting unfavorable qualities; implying that you look down on someone’s capability or suitability. “Do not cast aspersions on others unless your own motives are beyond reproach.” “My oldest sister is always casting aspersions about me, implying I am not as smart as her.” “People who think they are better than others are always casting aspersions about those they consider to be their inferiors.” * Offhand remark made without thinking. “Be mindful of your casual comments and don’t say anything you will be sorry for later.” “Don’t be upset because I said you were a silly sod. It was just a casual comment with no evil intention attached.” “Often, what starts off as a harmless casual comment can grow into a harmful and exaggerated rumor as it is passed from mouth-to-mouth.” * Informal dress such as sports shirt and trousers rather


Cat and mouse game

Catch a snooze

Catch hell

Catch hold of

Catch on quickly

Catch up on your sleep

than black suit and tie. “Guests should wear casual dress to the barbeque and formal dress to the dinner.” “I wish I could wear casual dress in the office rather than a white shirt and tie.” “Since women have been allowed to wear casual dress in the office, they no longer look so ladylike.” * Just as a cat and mouse might play hide and seek, so two people may be said to be playing cat and mouse when one is trying to catch the other for one reason or another. “Whenever I talk to Carina, I always have the feeling she is playing cat and mouse with me.” “The Deputy Dean and the Department Head are always playing cat and mouse games.” “Don’t play cat and mouse games with me. Just come out and ask what you want to know and say what you want to say.” * Take a nap; have a short sleep. “Now that I am older, I try to catch a snooze in the middle of the afternoon so I won’t be so tired at night.” “Many business executives try to catch a little snooze in their offices during lunch break so they will be fresh in the afternoon.” “When I see one of my students catching a snooze in one of my classes, I walk up behind him and call out his name in a very loud voice.” * Be in big trouble; get a telling-off; be reprimanded; scolded; chastised. “You will really catch hell, if your father finds out that you have started smoking secretly in your bedroom” “I’m going to catch hell when the client learns that I have lost his tax slip.” “Elvin would really catch hell if father ever heard that he was supplying his younger sister with drugs.” * Get your hands on; get a grip on. “Wait until I catch hold of you. I’ll give you the licking of your life.” “If I ever catch hold of you, I’ll beat the living hell out of you.” “If I ever catch hold of the person who stole my mobile phone, I’ll make him feel he’d be better-off dead.” * Learn fast; get the hang of things. “The laboratory technician is new at the job but I notice that he is catching on quickly.” “Please give me a chance to try my hand at the job. You will see that I’ll try very hard and catch on quickly.” “Don’t try lie to the new supervisor because he’s the sort of person who catches on quickly.”* Make up for sleep lost in the past. “This weekend, I’m not going anywhere. I’m planning on staying home and catching up on my sleep.” “During the peak audit period, I did not get enough sleep, so I’m taking a week off work just to catch up on my sleep.” “When you drink and party all night for a week, you’ll find it necessary to stop and catch up on your sleep.” *


Catch up on your work

Catch up with the others

Catch your breath

Catch your death of cold

Catching on

Catching on quickly

When you fall behind in your work schedule or load, you need to make an extra effort to catch up on your work. “I’ve had so many meetings this week that I’ve had too little time at my desk to catch up on my work.” “My duties are getting ahead of me, so I’ll have to stay late a few nights this week to catch up on my work.” “Over the long holidays, a lot of files have accumulated on my desk, so I’ll have to make an extra effort now to catch up on my work.” * Just as one might be going on a walk or hike and fall behind the others and have to walk quickly to catch up with them, so we say that in our work or obligations or duties, we have fallen behind and have to catch up with the others so they don’t remain ahead of us.” “Jack has fallen behind in his work on the class project, and he will have to catch up with the others so we can give the presentation on time.” “Kurt has fallen behind in his monthly contributions to the children’s charity fund, so he shall have to dig in his pocket to make up the missing funds to catch up with the rest of us.” “I have been falling behind in my homework assignments, so I’ll have to start burning the midnight oil until I have done enough work to catch up with the other students.” * Pause for a minute to rest your lungs when you are short of breath. “Let me stop and take a breath before we go up the next flight of stairs. I’m not getting any younger any more.” “The drill-sergeant let the men stop to catch their breath before scaling up the cliff-side of the mountain.” “Sometimes, when I talk too fast and furiously, I have to stop a moment to catch my breath.” * An exaggerated way of saying you get a very bad cold, as though it might be enough to kill you. “Don’t forget to take a warm jacket with you when you go up into the mountains, or you will catch your death of cold.” “It’s so freezing in my office that I am afraid I’ll catch my death of cold.” “I caught my death of cold while skiing in Cortina and had to have complete bed-rest in the hospital for ten days.” * Becoming better-known; fast becoming more popular. “Photographic mobile phones are fast catching on in youth culture.” “It is amazing to see how wearing spaghetti strap blouses is catching on amongst young teenage girls.” “The idea of people using car pools to get to work in the city is catching on in urban America, to alleviate traffic problems and protect the environment.”* Learning fast and getting the idea quickly. “My new secretary is catching on quickly. She will soon be familiar with her job and be able to work independently on her


own” “Some new recruits catch on quickly and some never learn much at all.” “I am very canny, and I catch on quickly when someone is trying to lie to me or trick me.” * Cater to someone’s Be prepared and willing to follow someone’s wants, rewishes quirements and demands. “I do not want to have a job where I have to cater to someone’s wishes. I’d rather own my own company.” “Neither do I want to get married and have to cater to the wishes of a man who takes me for granted.” “Get your own bloody beer from the fridge! I’m not here to cater to your wishes.” * Catty remarks Envious and sarcastic “Just because you are jealous or envious of a friend, that doesn’t justify you making catty remarks that criticize her character.” “The women in my department are always making catty remarks about one another.” “Stop making nasty, sarcastic remarks about Sally just because she is pretty. Don’t be so catty.” * Caught by surprise Caught off guard; unexpectedly taken aback; shocked or amazed by something totally unexpected. “During the picnic, we were caught by surprise by sudden rain showers and had to run for cover.” “I was caught by surprise when the currency rate unexpectedly collapsed.” “The new government was caught by surprise when the Americans suddenly withdrew their foreign aid support.” * Caught in the act Just as the police can apprehended a criminal in the action of committing a crime, so we may say we catch a person in the act when we witness him committing a crime or doing something he should not. “Mother caught me in the act of stealing cookies from the cookie jar and gave me a whack over the ear.” “If I ever catch you in the act of using the company computer to visit sex sites again, I’ll give you the axe.” “The CEO walked in through my office door and caught me in the act of having sex with my secretary.”* Caught in the crossfire Just as one may be located in the middle, in between, in a place where gunfire is coming from opposing sides, so we may say that one is caught in the crossfire between two opposing arguments. “A TV cameraman was caught in the crossfire between rebel and government forces and unfortunately shot and killed.” “The liberals are caught in the crossfire between the conservatives and the socialists in the debate about unemployment benefits.” “The President is caught in the crossfire of criticism due to a disagreement between the radical and the right wing factions within his own party.” * Caught in the crunch Just as we crunch a nut with the force of a nutcracker between two hard surfaces, so we may say, figuratively,


Caught off balance

Caught off guard

Caught red-handed

Caught short

that we are caught in the crunch of social or economic pressures. “The nation is caught in the economic crunch caused by rising oil prices.” “Decreasing taxes and improving educational benefits have left the Ministry of Education caught in a budget crunch.” “Advanced technology is cutting industrial costs, but the work force is caught in a crunch between improved technological efficiency and unemployment.” * Just as a tight-rope walker may fall if he loses his balance, so we say that, sometimes, in life, we lose our mental balance or composure, especially when something unexpected happens that we are not prepared for. “Sorry I lost my composure at the party last night. Your turning up with my ex-wife on your arm caught me off balance.” “Candy’s caustic remark about my secret affair with Cindy caught me off balance and made be feel upset and ashamed in front of the others.” “The economic downswing has caught the government off balance, and they are implementing cautionary measures to stabilize the currency rate.” * Just as a soldier on guard duty may fall asleep and fail to guard his post against attack, so we may say we are surprised when something unwanted and unexpected happens while we are not paying attention or being properly careful. “I’m afraid I was and caught off guard, not watching for a drop in share prices, so I had to sell my shares at a loss. “I was caught napping and totally off my guard by the attempt at a hostile takeover from the shareholders on the other side.” “Pay attention to the possibility of cash flow problems in your company or you may find yourself caught off guard in a position where you do not have sufficient funds pay for the delivery of goods.” * Caught stealing or cheating with your hand still in the process of taking what is not given. “My mother caught me red-handed stealing out of the cookie jar.” “They caught the cashier red-handed while she was stealing money out of the till.” “Police caught the thieves redhanded unloading cases of whiskey from the warehouse they had broken onto.” * Find yourself short of cash; discover that you have too little money in your pocket to pay the bill; have too little money to meet the required sum; caught short of cash. “Always carry a little extra cash on you to avoid the embarrassment of being caught short without enough to pay the bill.” “I’m afraid I cannot lend you any money at the moment. I’m caught short myself just now.” “I don’t have quite enough money with me to pay for this last


round of drinks. I’m afraid I’ve been caught short.” * Caught with your pants Caught in the act, with your trousers still down, during or down shortly after the sexual act or in a very embarrassing situation. “Newspaper photographers broke through the motel room door and took a picture of the Senator caught with his pants down.” “Lock the door my Dear. I wouldn’t want anyone to come in and catch me with my pants down.” “The Prime Minister is being very careful about his present negotiations because he does not want to be caught with his political pants down.” * Cause for alarm Cause for concern; a reason to be fearful and careful. “The sharp decline in currency values is cause for alarm that the nation may be heading for another economic recession.” “The lack of rainfall is a cause of alarm to farmers in the Northeast who have limited water reserves.” “The fact that Miss Davis has disappeared and not been seen for three days is cause for alarm and police are putting out a tracer on her.” * Cause of frustration Something that holds us back from doing or getting what we need, want or desire which makes us feel stressed and dissatisfied. “My wife’s sexual frigidity is a cause of frustration in our marriage.” “Having to wait to get a new bill passed through parliament is always a cause of frustration for the people concerned.” “The cause of my frustration in the workplace is that I am unable to receive proper recognition for my creative input and energy.” * Caustic remark A sarcastic, cutting, sharp, comment intended to inflict harm and injury. “Keep your caustic remarks to yourself, and don’t go around saying cutting-comments that are only meant to be hurtful to others.” “Gloria is always making caustic remarks about the other ladies in her social group just because she is jealous and resentful of them.” “If I hear you make another caustic remark about me like that, I’ll personally cut out your tongue and stuff it down your throat.” * Cautionary measures Actions made in preparation to avoid or deal with an unfortunate event that can have damaging or catastrophic consequences. “The government is taking cautionary measures to provide medical care in case of a mass casualty and national emergency.” “I am taking cautionary measures to see that my family will be financially provided for in case of my sudden death.” “New developments in the weather forecasting techniques of oncoming tornadoes will give people a little more time to get out of the area or protect their homes.” * Cautious optimism Be optimistic but take care not to be too hopeful and expect too much. “A good mixture of hopefulness and cautious optimism helps to maintain a balanced attitude.”


Cave in under pressure

Cease and desist

Chafe at the bit

Chalk up to experience

“Cautious optimism will help you not to be too disappointed when things don’t work out your way.” “The State Legislature is expressing cautious optimism that the unemployment problem may be alleviated by the commencement of planned-public work projects.” * Just as a hollow below the ground may collapse under pressure, so a person may be said to give in to political, social or peer pressure and go against his original intentions. “My boss wanted to give me a substantial raise in pay, but he had to cave in to pressure from the administration to economize and meet budget.” “The new Dean was in favor of coeducational, mixed dorms, but he caved in to pressure when the University Senate objected on moral grounds.” “We wanted to have a simple private wedding, but we had to cave in to family pressure from our parents and relatives to have a big, fancy, family wedding.” * Stop what you are doing and don’t do it again. “The court handed-down a cease and desist order to my exhusband to stop following me around wherever I went.” “The military command has issued a cease and desist order to rebel commanders to stop surprise guerrilla attacks.” “The legislature has issued a cease and desist order to stop striking workers from blocking public access to the factory gates.” * Just as a horse that wants to run free, without any control, resists being reigned-in by the rider and bites against pressure of the iron-bit in its mouth, so we may say that we chafe at the bit when we want to behave in a way that we wish when someone else has control over us. “He was chafing at the bit to run after that pretty little girl in the yellow bikini, but his wife held him in tight reign.” “Labor Unions are chafing at the bit to get the proposedwelfare benefits approved, but the government is dragging its foot to try to slow down the process.” “I am chafing at the bit to get started in my new job and begin down-sizing and restructuring the company to get rid of a lot of dead weight and a lot of bad debt.” * Learning from your mistakes, as though you were writing them down in chalk on a blackboard so you don’t forget. “I made a lot of mistakes in my first marriage, but I’ll just have to chalk them up to experience and try not to make the same mistakes again.” “It was a wrong decision to invest in Dot.Com shares, but I’ll just have to chalk it up to experience and learn not follow the popular wave of opinion in the future.” “Captain Morgan regrets that he lost a lot of men in the pre-dawn raid, but he says he’s just going to have to chalk it up to experience and not


Challenge the status quo

Chance encounter

Chance of a lifetime


Change for the better

Change hands

Change of course

make the same mistake again.” * Act in a way that goes against the accepted social system; defy or buck the establishment. “Ingrid appeared topless in Prof. Adorno’s classroom with nine other girls, just for the sake of challenging the status quo” “When he was younger, Tony let his hair grow long as a challenge to the status quo, but, today, he is the Prime Minister.” “Some young socialists are blowing-up bombs in dustbins around London just to let the government know they want to challenge the status quo.”* Chance meeting. “I had a chance encounter with a Russian Israeli woman during the six day war that I will always remember and never forget.” “I had a chance encounter with an old school pal of mine the other day in a crowded subway car.” “Fancy bumping into you accidentally like this right in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s really an unexpected chance encounter!” * The best opportunity you will ever get as long as you live. “Buy a brand-new house from now, for only 20,000 Baht down-payment and 20,000 a month for the next twenty years. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime.” “Joining the Amway team right now is your chance of a lifetime to get rich quick.” “I missed the chance of a lifetime to study on a free scholarship in the USA by being late for the interview.” * A bit risky; dicey; taking a chance. “I did not invest in Charlie’s business proposal because I thought it was a bit chancy.” “I wanted to transfer my savings to an off-shore bank account but, at the last minute, I changed my mind because I was afraid it might be a bit chancy.” “Putting all my eggs in one basket seemed a bit chancy to me so I spread my money over a wide range of investments.” * An improvement over the previous situation. “The economic situation doesn’t look good at the moment, but the Finance Minister is predicting a change for the better.” “The weather was very cold in January, but, in the first week of February it changed for the better.” “My grades were not so good in my Freshman year, but, after I changed my major, they took a turn for the better.” * Change owners; go from hand-to-hand. “I don’t like the look or the smell of money. You never know where it has been or where goes when it changes hands.” “My Benz Coupe is thirty years old and has only changed hands three times during that period.” “This Burmese diamond has been in my family for three generations, and we hope it will never have to change hands.” * Just as a ship changes its compass direction, so a person


Change of heart

Change of pace

Change your tune

Change your ways

Character assassination

or a group may be said to have decided to change course. “The design planning committee has decided to change its course and cancel its financial support fore building budget of the new city hall.” “The provincial government has taken a change in course and is cutting educational expenditures.” “I’ll have to try a change of course in my tactics to get my wife to stop spending so much money.” * Change of opinion; change of mind, feeling or attitude. “Joy was dead set against me at first, but, later, when she got to know me better, she had a change of heart.” “Father did not approve of the girl I married, but after our first baby arrived, he had a change of heart.” “My boss had decided to fire me and then he had a change of heart.” * Slow down or speed up, as the case may be, depending on the circumstances. “The staff has been working fast and furiously to get the quarterly review report out by Christmas, and, then, for a change of pace, everyone is going to stay home for a week to enjoy the holiday season.” “Once the peak audit season is over, for a change of pace, I am going to fly to Bermuda to relax for two weeks on the beach.” “The Monks have been working hard finishing construction of the new crematorium, but, soon, it will be time for a change of pace, and, then, they can spend more time on study and meditation.” * Reversal of attitude, usually from a negative or uncooperative attitude. “You’ll soon change your tune when the Sergeant Major comes along and chews you out for not following orders.” When you realize all the harm your actions have caused, you’ll soon change your tune and be sorry for your rebellious attitude.” “When father comes home and gives you a chewing out for being disobedient, you’ll soon change your tune.” * Reform your habits and way of behaving. “If you want to inherit the family fortune and take over the business, you had better stop being a playboy and change your ways.” “The doctor told me that I had better change my ways and give up smoking and drinking if I wanted to continue to live.” “Oh, Darling please take me back. If you give me a second chance, I promise to change my ways.”* To spread bad rumors about someone that will make him lose his good reputation. “Jean got her father did a character assassination job on me by falsely complaining to the Dean that I had sexually molested her youngest daughter.” “The story about the Bishop’s private affairs is intended to throw doubt on his integrity, using the tactic of character assassination.” “When the Republicans


Charge your batteries


Charley horse


Chase away

encounter a strong, clean-cut Democratic Presidential candidate, who could easily beat them in the next election, they start a character assassination campaign to smear his name.” * To restore your energy, similar to charging your battery; to take a rest and have some recreation to refresh your self and regain power; to take some time off to regenerate your strength; to relax and do something pleasurable to restore your forces. “A day on the golf course helps Donald recharge his batteries.” “A night of love is the best way I know of recharging my batteries.” “I am absolutely exhausted; I think I’ll have to take a couple of days off to charge my batteries.” * Just as a battery may be charged-up to full-power, so we may say that we are charged-up when we have gained strength or enthusiasm. “The coach gave the players a pep talk in the locker room to get them all charged-up for the game.” “I cannot believe the way Amway gets people all charged-up by making them think they will be rich one day.” “I’ll have to go into isolation and do some meditation to get my battery charged-up after this walking pilgrimage.” * A big bruise in the thigh of the leg, usually caused by a knee-impact in sports. “Someone kicked me in the right thigh in the rugby game, and, now, I have got a big, black and purple Charlie horse the size of a dinner plate.” “Look at this big bruise on my leg! I got a Charlie horse from being kicked by my one of my pals in a soccer match.” “My wife got mad and kicked me, I have a Charlie horse on my leg to prove it.” * Just as we say that a cat has nine lives, so we can say that a person has a charmed-life when he has often come near to but avoided risk and death. “Hemingway survived two wars, two gunshot wounds, three plane crashes and five car accidents; he must have had a charmed-life.” “They tried to assassinate the President seven times, but he must have a charmed-life for each time he has come away without even so much as a scratch.” “I must have a charmed-life because every time I come close to danger and risk of death, I just miss it by a hair’s breadth.”* Just as we may chase a stray animal or unwanted person away, so we say we chase away unhappy thoughts that make us feel down and depressed. “Reading a happy poem every day is a very good way of chasing the blues away.” “Black people used to sing blues music to help them chase their pain away.” “Give me another beer and another chaser to help me chase the pain away of being rejected in love once again.” *


Chatter away

Cheap Charlie

Cheat on someone



Chew someone out

Chew the fat

Just as birds chatter away in the trees, so people may be said to chatter away as they please “Some students like to cut classes and prefer to sit in the cafeteria and chatter away all day.” “After dinner, when the men go into the library to drink brandy and smoke cigars, the ladies retire into the lounge and sit and chatter happily away.” “Aunt Maude and my mother are never happier than when they find the time to sit for a while and chatter away about how things were back in the old days.” * Someone who is very stingy and will always look for the most inexpensive place that sells for the cheapest price. “That English man you brought into the bar is really a Cheap Charlie. He is so stingy he didn’t even leave a tip.” “What a Cheap Charlie he is! He won’t even reach into his pocket when it is his turn to buy the boys a round of drinks.” “We always have breakfast in Pattaya at a place called ‘Cheap Charlie’s’ where you can get a plate of bacon and eggs for thirty Baht.” * Two-time your lover behind his back; commit adultery with someone other than your usual sexual partner. “I used to cheat on my wife before we got our divorce.” “Sarah cheats on her husband every chance that she gets.” “If you marry me, I promise to be faithful and true and never cheat on you.” * Don’t look so sad and unhappy. “Don’t be so glum; don’t be down in the dumps. Cheer-up! Things could be a lot worse.” “Why do you always look so sad and blue? I wish you could cheer up for a change and put a happy smile on your face.” “I know things look pretty bad at the moment, but cheer-up because they could be a lot worse.” * Peeved; displeased; annoyed; irked; pissed-off. “I’m really cheesed-off that Manny got the promotion instead of me. I’m older and have more seniority.” “I get really cheesed-off when I arrive for an appointment on time, and the other person comes late.” “When have to stand in line at the post office, I get really cheesed-off when someone tries to butt in front of me.” * Tell him off; give him a good scolding. “The Colonel gave his men a good chewing out for the careless way they had behaved on their mission.” “The foremen gave the men in his crew a good chewing out for the sloppy way they were building the molds for the concrete frames.” “When I see my brother, I’m going to give him a good chewing out for always forgetting to flush the toilet.” * Have a conversation; talk for a while, in a colloquial manner, the way up-country people chat. “Why don’t




Chilled to the bone

Chilling scare


Chin up

you drop over to my place some time, so we can sit on the veranda and chew the fat for a while?” “Gramps and Uncle John used to sit on that log out there and chew the fat all day long.” “My daddy was a hillbilly who used to burp and fart and chew the fat a lot.”* A minimal amount of money; poor pay; less money than you are worth. “A company that pays its workers chickenfeed should not be surprised if the quality of the labor force is inadequate.” “Migrant workers are paid chickenfeed for doing low-level manual labor that local residents will not stoop to do.” “A man of my ability will not work for chicken feed; if you want to pay chickenfeed, hire a chicken to do my job.” * Just as a chicken will run if you lunge towards it, so a person may be said to lose courage to meet a challenge head-on. “When I was a child I said that, when I was a man, I would go over Niagara falls in barrel, but, later, when I had the chance, I chickened-out at the last moment.” “My brother an I planned to stick-up the candy store, but when we got there, he was afraid to dare and chickened-out.” “Sometimes motorcycle- boys accept the dare to drive towards one another at a high speed on a head-on crash collision course, and everybody bets on who will be the first to chicken-out.” * So cold you feel it in your bones. “Here in the office, they have the air-conditioner turned-down so low that I often feel chilled to the bone.” “When I used to ski in the Alps at twenty degrees minus, I used to freeze the skin off the end of my nose and get chilled to the bone.” “The horror movie was so scary that my little sister, Evelyn, was chilled to the bone through terror and fear.” * A frightening experience that sends a chill through your bones; gives you goose pimples; and makes your hair stand on end. “Riding down the steepest curve on a roller coaster always gives me a chilling scare.” “In the House of Horrors, I got a chilling scare that sent a cold shudder right down my spine.” “Witnessing the helpless, old female victim being murdered, in cold blood, like that, by having her throat slit from ear-to-ear gave me a chilling scare that I will not soon forget.”* Be cool, and don’t let things anger you; cool down; relax; don’t take things so seriously. “My little brother told me to chill-out when I began getting irritated with my little sister’s taste in rap music.” “Be cool, Man. Chill out. Don’t let those fools get you so worked-up. It’s no hassle.” “Chill-out. Keep cool. Never take anything adults say seriously. They’re not hip to what’s happening.” * Keep looking happy and confident by holding your head


Chip off the old block



Choked with emotion

Chomping at the bit

up high. “Don’t hang your head like that and look so down and depressed. Chin up old boy!” “Sir William believes that one should always keep one’s chin up and try to show a happy face.” “Never let people see when you are weak and lose courage. Keep your chin up and don’t look discouraged.” * Like father, like son. “Just as a chip off a big wooden block will be of the same wood and grain as the block itself, so we say that a son may be like a chip off the old block when he resembles his father.” ‘The young Master is a chip off the old block and will remain as conservative as his father.” “Tim is a real chip off the old block. He behaves exactly like his father.” * Everybody pays a small amount so, all-together, they have enough money to pay the sum. “All the girls in the office chipped-in in and purchased Molly an expensive wedding present.” “Everybody in the class chipped-in and bought the teacher a gold pen as a going away present.” “Nobody had enough to pay the whole bill from his own pocket, so we had to all chip in and share the costs.” * Small-talk; silly chatter. “Let’s meet for coffee and have some chit-chat in Starbuck’s Café after work before we go home.” “I don’t like it when students sit around and chit-chat during my lectures.” “Young, novice monks should learn not to make chit-chat in the temple but talk only about the Dhamma.” * Literally, to choke someone means to put your hands around his throat and squeeze so hard that he cannot breathe, but people often say they are choked with fear or emotion. “I wanted to ask Sally for a date, but I was so choked-up with emotion, I didn’t know what to say.” “Just as a drainpipe gets choked with debris, so people often get so choked with emotion that they cannot even speak.” “As I was about to give my graduation speech, I stood there, choked with emotion, with tears in my eyes, forgetting all the words I had prepared myself to say.” * Just as a horse might be biting against the metal bit in its mouth which allows the rider to restrain and control it, so a person may be said to be chomping at the bit when he wants to go ahead as fast and freely as he wishes without any external control. “I am chomping at the bit to get started on my new job with KPMG Legal and Tax right after graduation.” “The men in the regiment are chomping at the bit to get to the front lines and fight against the enemy.” “My husband is chomping at the bit to get his hands on his new secretary, but I’ll soon put a stop to that.” *


Chosen at random

Chuck overboard


Claim to fame

Clam up

Clamor for more

Clamp down on

Picked arbitrarily out of a large sample group. “We have chosen a group at random, of ten undergraduates, out of a larger group of one hundred, to answer a questionnaire to get a random sampling of opinions.” “The serial killer has murdered twelve people apparently chosen at random.” “Take ten men from your squadron chosen at random and have them report to the clinic for HIV tests.” * Just as on a ship, unwanted cargo is often thrown overboard, so we can say a person, project or idea has been chucked overboard and discarded when no longer needed. “The plans for the Sky-train extension line have been cancelled and chucked overboard.” “I worked for years to pay my husband’s way through college, but after he finally graduated, he chucked me overboard.” “You have become useless dead weight in the firm, and I regret that we have decided to chuck you overboard.” * Thrown-out. Heaved out bodily. “Clem was drunk and disorderly and got chucked-out of the bar.” “I got chucked-out of my job for missing too many days work.’ “Edward got chucked-out of home for not obeying his parents’ demands to behave in an orderly fashion.” * An achievement or event for which one has become wellknown in the past. “Danny’s only claim to fame is that he once ate one-hundred hamburgers at one sitting and got into The Guinness Book of Records.” “My only claim to fame is that I was the first child born after midnight in Thailand on first of January in the year 2000.” “Gloria’s only claim to fame is that she once had a quickie with Bill Clinton.” * Just as a sea clam will close its shell at the slightest sign of danger, so a person may close his mouth and stop talking when he feels afraid or intimidated. “I am so afraid of my husband that when he gets angry and starts shouting, I just clam up and don’t say another word.” “If I touch on the subject of Emily’s unhappy childhood, she just clams up and refuses to talk about it.” “Whenever I am up on the carpet in front of a person of authority, I just clam up and cannot think of a word to say.” * Shout, scream yell and cry for more of the same. “When the rock concert was over the fans kept shouting and clamoring for more.” “After the symphony concert was over, the audience rose to their feet and kept on clapping and clamoring for more.” “The kids are so enthusiastic about the fun and games that they keep on clamoring for more.” * Just as a clamp may be used as a tool to tighten the pressure to glue a joint at a certain point, so the government might clamp down on some issue like the nighttime en-


tertainment industry. “There has been a government clamp down on drug dealers and a number of them have been shot and killed.” “The police are beginning to clamp down on bar-keepers who keep their places open after closing time.” “The Internal Minister ordered a clamp down on corruption, but he met with so much pressure and opposition from members of his own party that he was forced to clam up and say no more.” * Clandestine affair Secret, concealed illicit love affair that you don’t want anybody to know about. “Bill Clinton was having a clandestine affair with one of his aides which became big news when the story leaked out to the press.” “The Prince and Mrs. What’s-her-name had been having a clandestine affair for years before he ever married Diana.” “When it was discovered that the Minister of Commerce was having a clandestine affair with a married-woman, he was forced to resign his post.” * Class conscious Awareness of differences in social station; thinking that one is better or not as good as a person on another social level. “The upper class are said to be very class conscious and look down on the upper middle class.” “The upper middle class are even more class conscious and look down on the lower middle class.” “The working class is the most class conscious because they resent the way the middle and upper classes look down on them.” * Clawing your way for- Progressing forwards with difficulty, just as a crab must wards use its claws to move and pull its self slowly forwards. “The sailing yacht was clawing its way slowly forwards into the wind at a speed of only three knots.” “The business has not started making a profit, but we are clawing our way forwards and hope to be showing a gain by the beginning of next year.” “I was only a few hundred meters from the entrance to a safe harbor and tried all morning to motor my in against heavy seas and seventy knot gale winds but I was only able to claw my way forwards at a speed of one knot.” * Clean bill of health A doctor’s report stating that someone is in good health or an official statement that nothing can be found wrong after a careful enquiry or examination. “I have had my medical examination, and the doctor has given me a clean bill of health.” “Jim has finally overcome his kidney infection so the doctor has given him a clean bill of health and says he can now return to work.” “After the inquiry, the Senate Investigation Committee has given the Supreme Court nominee a clean bill of health.” * Clean slate Starting-off with a clean chalk-board after erasing the past record. “Just as on a ship, the slate-board is wipedclean of previous orders and directives when the crew on


the watch change, so we can say that a person who is making a new beginning starts off with a clean slate.” “After a criminal has served his time in jail and paid his debt to society, he is released and allowed to start off with a clean slate.” “I have sworn to give up my wayward ways of the past and start off with a clean slate.” * Clean up the mess Tidy-up a disordered room or location or sticky situation. “If you don’t clean up that mess in your room right now, I’m going to lock you in and let you stay there until you do.” “Can you come back to my place tomorrow morning and help me clean up the mess left by the party?” “After the legal conflict became irresolvable and tempers were almost at the breaking-point, the Mayor called-in a neutral mediator to try and help them clean up the mess.” * Clean-cut With clear and visible features. “We are looking for a young man to work in the front office who is very wellmannered and clean cut in appearance.” “Wendy wants to find a man to marry who is tall, dark and hansom and very clean-cut.” “I wish young people would go around looking neat and trim and clean cut, instead of wearing jeans and looking all disheveled and messy.” * Clear as a bell Hearing or understanding something clearly and distinctly. “Listen! You can hear the sound of our voices echoing as clear as a bell from across the valley.” “Yes Sir! I hear you clear as a bell, and I am going to carry out your orders.” “I understand what you are saying, clear as a bell, without any misunderstanding, and I shall try to behave better towards you in the future and not hurt you feelings.” * Clear conscience Free of any sense of guilt in the mind. “I can honestly say that I have a clear conscience because I know I have done nothing wrong or blameworthy.” Even though my first marriage failed, I can say that I have a clear conscience for I know I tried to do everything I could to save it.” “How can you stand there looking as if you have a clear conscience, when every body knows you are telling a barefaced lie?”* Clear out of here Go away from here and don’t come back again; get out of here and stay away. “Clear off! Get away! Get off my land. Before I give you a boot up your ass.” “Haven’t I told you never to show your face here again? If you don’t clear out of here immediately, I am going to call the police.” “I’ve heard enough of your verbal abuse. If you don’t shut up and clear out of here, I’ll get Daddy’s shotgun and shoot you full of buckshot.” * Clear up a misunder- Settle a dispute or disagreement; clarify misinterpreted standing motives; discuss tensions to relax the situation and clear the air. “Let’s have candid meeting and clear up the mis-





Climbing prices

Climbing the walls

understanding between us about the conditions and terms of the contract.” “My tax consultant is having a meeting with the Revenue Department to clear up the misunderstanding about the amount of unpaid tax due.” “I had an honest talk with my girlfriend first thing this morning and cleared up the misunderstanding about why I suddenly disappeared without a word from the party last night.” * Straightforward; precise; obvious; unambiguous; definite; specific. “Your definition is clear cut, understandable and to the point. I congratulate you on your clarity of mind.” “We must have a clear cut decision from you by this afternoon on whether you will withdraw your funds from the plan or not.” “I demand that you give me a clear cut answer, one way or the other, will you marry me or will you not?” * Get out of here; clear out of here; go away; get-off my property; buzz-off. “If you don’t clear off my land immediately or I’ll call the police and charge you with trespassing.” “We had better clear off the premises immediately before someone finds us in a restricted area.” “I told those kids to clear off and go away, and, if I ever caught them stealing in my shop again, I would cut off their little fingers.” * An essay or story that suddenly stops without coming to a conclusion. “My students are always writing essays that just stop, up in the air, going nowhere with no conclusion or indication of where they are going. I call these papers ‘cliff-hangers.’” “I tell my students to wind-up and give a proper conclusion to tie up the end of their oral presentations, so that they do not just suddenly abruptly stop and leave the audience dangling up in the air like a bunch of dangling cliffhangers.” “Her letter to me rambled illogically and incoherently around and the just suddenly stopped in the middle of a thought. It was such a cliffhanger, I wondered if she has become mentally deranged in her mind.” * Just as vines can climb up a wall or tree, so prices may creep and climb upwards. “Climbing prices have curbed spending and started a slowdown in economic growth.” “Climbing real estate prices in the metropolitan area have driven developers to begin building projects on the outskirts of the city.” “Climbing prices of building materials and higher lending rates for bank loans have slowed down construction activity in the city center.” * Going crazy as if locked in a cell and climbing the walls. “Sitting home alone like this waiting for a phone call that never comes is driving me crazy. I’m ready to start


Clinch the deal

Clip someone’s wings

Cloak and dagger

Close call

Close in on

climbing the walls.” “I hate just being a housewife, sitting around at home with little to do and no one to talk to. Soon, I’ll start climbing the walls.” “After you’ve been locked-up in a prison cell for a while, you start becoming stir crazy and ready to start climbing the walls.” * Clearly finalize a business agreement; agreeing on final terms as the deciding factor; as though by a shake of the hand. “After extended negotiations, we agreed to give them an extra three percent to clinch the deal, and they signed the contract then and there.” “The merger between the two companies was signed today in a final document that cinched the deal.” “If you want to get a construction contract in this country, you have to pass some money under the table to cinch the deal.” * Just as we clip the wings of a chicken so it cannot fly very far, so we may say that we clip someone’s wings when we want to restrain him and hold him back from going too far. “My son is taking too many freedoms with me. I think it is time I clipped his wings, just to teach him a lesson.” “Ferguson is spending too much on entertainment expenses, I think we’ll have to clip his wings by cutting his budget allowance.” “The Major is getting a bit too big for his breeches and I think it’s time the Colonel took him aside and clipped his wings.” * Just as in the past, a murderer might conceal a dagger under his cloak in the dark of the night, so, nowadays, we say that someone who spies as a secret agent, under cover is doing cloak and dagger work. “I just love to watch foreign espionage movies. I cannot get enough of cloak and dagger stories.” “When I was under the employ the CIA, my wife used to suspect I was engaged in cloak and dagger work, when, actually, all I was doing was interrogating displaced-refugees.” “The Democrats have traditionally been against internal secret service security surveillance and clandestine cloak and dagger activities.” * Nearly missing; coming close to having an accident; having a brush with disaster; a close shave with death. “The bullet whizzed past, just above my ear, only about a centimeter from my skull. That’s what I call a close call with death.” “Just winning the election by three thousand votes was a close call, so we will have to campaign a lot harder next time.” “Having the freight container crash down three feet in front of me was quite a close call. If I had been under it, I would have been squashed as flat as a pancake.” * Surround from all sides. “Simon evaded the police in a


Close shave

Close to your chest

Cloud the issue

Clown around

thirty minute car chase, but, finally, when he came to the intersection of King and James Streets, police cruisers closed in on him from all sides.” “When the Highlander troops were enclosed within the valley, English forces closed in on them from all sides and butchered them alive.” “Special Forces troops are at this moment surrounding and closing in on the rebel agents’ position and demanding their surrender.” * Near miss; near accident; close encounter with death. “My brother once threw a Bowie knife at me, which passed so close to my right cheek I could feel the motion of the air as it whizzed by. It was literally a close shave.” “A motorcycle zoomed past me within inches of by breast at a hundred kilometers an hour, and I was lucky I was not killed. It was a close shave with death.” “I had a close shave with death one time when I skidded with my car on the snow in a tricky mountain curve and almost went over the edge, a thousand meters straight down to my death.” * Just as a poker player keeps his cards close to his chest so no one will know what cards he is holding, so we can say a person is ‘holding his cards close to his chest’ when he does not want people to know what he is thinking or feeling or doing. “The new department head plays with her cards close to her chest, and nobody knows what is going on in her head.” “I always hold my cards close to my chest in university politics so nobody will know exactly what I am anticipating doing next. It always pays to keep the confused.” “It’s always best to keep your cards close to your chest when you are surrounded by people who want to take advantage of you.” * Make a topic or subject unclear by introducing confusing input. “Don’t try to change the subject. Stick to the point, and explain yourself clearly. Don’t cloud the issue.” “The lawyer for the defense tried to introduce evidence before the court that had nothing directly to do with the case just to cloud the issue and make the jurors confused.” “The judge, however, made a ruling that the evidence did not pertain to the case and ruled such evidence to be not admissible. Moreover he warned the lawyer for the defense not to waste the court’s time by trying to introduce irrelevant facts and attempting to cloud the issue.” * Joke about in a silly way like a clown in the circus to make people laugh. “If you kids don’t settle-down and stop clowning around and get down to work, I’ll keep you in class thirty minutes after school.” “It doesn’t pay to clown around when you are working on the factory


Clued-in on

Coarse words

Coast is clear

Coasting along

floor where accidents could easily happen.” “Jake was clowning around with the other boys in the service garage when slipped on a slick of oil and feel headfirst into the grease pit.” * Knowing previously or being privy to inside information on the matter. “Because I had been clued-in on the situation beforehand, it came as no surprise when Deputy Director resigned.” “If anything is going to happen that could change the terms of our agreement, I want to be clued-in on it beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises.” “Because the senator had not been clued-in on the alliance between his political opponents, he was surprised when the bill he had introduced was not voted onto legislation.” * Rude, foul-mouthed, crude language, used in a rough and ready-to-fight manner. “Because there are ladies present, if you gentlemen do not control your coarse words and ungentlemanly behavior, I am afraid I shall have to ask you to vacate the bar.” “Smoking, spitting and the use of coarse words age not allowed in the Churchill Bar in the British Club.” “Max and Slug had an exchange of coarse words over a disagreement concerning whose turn it was to pick up the tab at the bar.” * Just an invading force attacking a coastal area must first check and scout carefully to see that the coast is clear of enemy surveillance, so we say the coast is clear when we have checked to see there is no danger of our being caught or opposed by somebody watching. “I’ll go into his office to steal the computer disk and you keep a watch out here in the corridor to be sure the coast is clear.” “When you are robbing a liquor store with your gang it is always good to leave someone out in the street to serve as a lookout to see the coast is clear.” “When the British landing forces were approaching for a beachhead landing, navy planes flew over to survey the area to check that the coast was clear.” * Just as a sail boat may cruise with the wind along the coast without any effort, so a person may be said to be coasting along just doing the minimum, without any extra effort. “I feel a little guilty because I am just coasting along in my job doing the bare minimum when I know I could be doing a lot more.” “Your son is by far the cleverest boy in the class, but he is not doing his best because he is satisfied to be coasting along at the level of the others.” “You have been coasting along without making your best effort for long enough. If I don’t see you start applying yourself and making your best effort in your job, you’ll soon be looking for a new job.” *


Cock and bull story


Cock-sure of yourself

Code of silence

Coerce someone into

A tale that is so far-fetched that it becomes unbelievable. “There used to be a pub called ‘The Cock and Bull’ where the men around the bar told such outrageous lies that ‘cock and bull story’ became a common idiom.” “Don’t give me that old cock and bull story that the car broke down out on a country road, and you had to walk all the way home. If you are going to lie, try to be a little more original.” “If I tell my father the truth that I was late because I stopped to help an old lady carry home her groceries, he’ll never believe me, so I’m going to have to think up some cock and bull story to try to lie-my-way out of the situation.” * Someone who hopes that everything will end well; believes-in the almost impossible; believes in the impossible dream; believes a silly scheme will work out-well in the end. “My grandfather was a cockeyed-optimist who lost all of his money believing in and investing in impossible schemes.” “Better to be a cockeyed-optimist and believe in the impossible dream than to be a total pessimist and insist that the world is as bad as it seems.” “Only a cockeyed-optimist would ever believe that the world will one day be totally free of evil.” * Arrogantly overconfident; overly sure of one’s self; as cocky as a rooster; self-confident through hard-headed ignorance of one’s own weaknesses or shortcomings. “Don’t be so cock-sure of yourself; you overestimate the value your own opinion.” “He’s so cock-sure of himself that I would like to bring him down a peg or two.” “People who are the least educated are often the most -sure of their opinions.” * An understanding, within a group of Mafia, policemen, or military personnel or politicians or gang members, never to reveal anything that they know about their fellow members. “If a member of the Mafia breaks the code of silence and tells the police everything he knows about the others, they will kill him.” “They say that certain groups of police officers have an unwrittenunderstanding to always adhere to a code of silence and never inform on another officer under any circumstances.” “When we were in school, the kids observed a code of silence and would never to squeal or rat on one another.”* Make someone do something against his will through force, authority or intimidation. “It is blameworthy to coerce a person into doing something against his moral principles.” “When I was with the CIA, I often had to use dirty tactics to coerce an operative into doing something that went against his conscience.” “The Dean is using


Cog in the machine

Cohabit with

Coincide with

Cold as ice

Cold feet

Cold fish

administrative pressure to coerce the faculty members into following the Administrative Guidelines whether they agree with them or not.” * A small wheel in a big machine. “In my company, I feel like nothing more than a small cog in a big machine.” “If you are going to work for the government, you had better start getting used to the feeling of being only a small cog in a big machine.” “Just as a small flywheel can be only a small part in a very big machine, so a small person in a huge military complex may express the feeling that he plays an insignificant role and is wholly dispensable in a big organization without a heart.” * Live together with someone. “My son and his girlfriend are cohabiting with one another, living in the same flat without having bothered to get married.” “Nowadays, young couples just move in and cohabit together, like rabbits, without ever considering that they may be living in sin.” “My father is very conservative and oldfashioned, and he says it is a sin for a man to cohabit with a woman before they are married, and to do so is a mortal sin.” * Happen at the same time; occur simultaneously with. “It just so happens that my birthday coincides with that of the Her Majesty the Queen.” ‘I’m afraid I cannot go to your wedding ceremony because it coincides with my graduation ceremony.” “Next year my parents’ anniversary will coincide with a lunar eclipse of the moon.” * Showing absolutely no warmth, feeling or emotion. “My first husband was cold as ice, but my second husband was warm and nice.” “My boss is cool and distant, and his manner is absolutely as cold as ice.” “I think Maude is sexually frigid and that her heart is as cold as ice.”* Become hesitant and back out on a dare or intimidating situation at the last minute; afraid to carry out a plan due to fear of punishment or embarrassment. “My brother and I were going to rob the candy store, but he got cold feet at the last minute and backed out of the plan.” “Another time, we were going to frame the principal’s picture in an old toilet seat, but, this time, it was me who got cold feet.” “Harry wanted to ask Norma to marry him, but when the time came to pop the question, he got cold feet.” * Someone with no warmth and no emotions. “Herbert’s wife is really a cold fish. She shows no warmth or feeling whatsoever.” “I cannot imagine that Fred and Mary have much of a sex life. She’s such a cold fish.” “I wouldn’t want to be married to you. You are such a cold fish, it’s as though a dagger of ice had penetrated your heart.”


Cold shoulder


Cold turkey

Collaborate with

Collar someone

To snub someone you think is below you as though you were turning a shoulder towards him so you don’t have to look at him. “My girlfriend’s mother always gives me the cold shoulder because she thinks I am not good enough for her daughter.” “When I meet her father at an Embassy party, he gives me the cold shoulder too.” “The rich, snobby, Sorority girls give the cold shoulder to all the other female students they think are below them in social station.” * Merciless; with no moral feeling or regret. “A person that kills with no feeling of shame or blame or remorse, acting out of base instincts, is said to be a cold-blooded killer.” “Some stockbrokers are so cold-blooded they don’t care who gets hurt as long as they are making lots of money.” “The pirates and buccaneers of old were said to be so cold-blooded that they thought nothing of killing the captain and all of his crew once they had boarded their ship.” * Stop taking alcohol or drugs and wait-out the withdrawal period. “When I was a junky, I used to have to go into rehab and then go cold turkey until I had passed through the withdrawal period.” “When I was an alcoholic, sometimes, I would have to go into the clinic and I’d go cold turkey and suffer the delirium tremens until the shaking and quaking and other withdrawal symptoms were eventually over.” “It is said that a drug addict’s going cold turkey causes his body to adjust to the rapidly diminishing amount of drugs in the blood resulting in both physical and psychophysical pain.” * Work together and cooperate to achieve a certain end. “The crime of a military officer collaborating with the enemy is death by firing squad.” “Certain high-ranking officers in the military have been collaborating with powerful politicians in the government in an attempt to overthrow the government.” “A team of expert architects has been collaborating with a group of top structural engineers in a government-funded plan to design the new suspension bridge.” * Just as we may ‘catch a dog by the collar,’ so we may also catch a person by the collar who would otherwise wish to avoid talking to us about a certain topic. “Auntie Audrey is always collaring whoever she can wherever she can and going on and on, talking about her health problems.” “The other day, she collared, the Ambassador at an Embassy lunch and was giving him an earful, but he politely excused himself by saying he had to attend to other duties.” “One day, I’m going to collar the big boss and give him a piece of my mind and tell him all the


Collect your wits

Collide with

Collision course

Comb the streets

Combine forces

Chance encounter

things I resent and that are bothering me around here.” * Gather your mental faculties; take a minute to consider what to say or do. “Patrick couldn’t answer the question at first, but after he had taken a moment to collect his wits, he quickly figured out something to say.” “That is a serious accusation, Sir. Give me a minute to collect my wits, and I’ll try to explain to you why your presumptions are wrong.” “I’m sorry if I blamed you mistakenly. Take a moment to collect your wits, and let me listen to your explanation of what you have to say.” * Smash or crash head-on. “One day the earth may collide with a giant meteorite and end this world as we know it.” “Two people who have strong, opposite opinions may be said to have colliding views.” “I wouldn’t want to disagree with her on the topic of female activism. This is a collision course better avoided.” * Headed for a head-on crash or impact. “It is possible that one day both the earth and a giant meteor will be on a collision course.” “The two motorcycles were headed directly towards one another, on a collision course, but one of them swerved and just missed the other, coming within an inch of his life.” “The Conservatives and the Socialists are on a direct collision course in the parliamentary debate about welfare benefits for the poor.” * Search the streets very closely, looking for somebody. “Police are combing the streets for an escaped convict wearing a black and white-striped prison uniform, and they are expected to locate him any minute now.” “A homeless woman dressed in a purple raincoat has kidnapped a baby in a orange pram and police are combing the streets trying to find them.” “The Mayor says he has ordered all the forces under his command to carefully comb the streets in search of the missing child.” * Unite strengths. “The Conservatives and the Liberals have combined forces to try to stop legislation proposed by the Socialists to provide free medical treatment to the poor.” “NATO and the UN have combined forces to take preventive action against the threat of terrorist activities taking place in Continental Europe.” “My brothers and sisters and my cousins have combined forces to try to prevent me from selling the house and land that father left me in his will.”* Encounter by chance. “During the Six Day War, I had a chance encounter with a Russian-Israeli woman that I will never forget.” In Robinson’s Department Store, I had a chance encounter with an old school friend of mine with whom I had been out of contact for many years.” “Fancy meeting you, again, after all there years, in the


Come along

Come apart at the seams

Come clean

Come close to blows

Come down in the world

Come in handy

middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s what I call a chance encounter!” * Arise or appear or happen by chance, as if by fate. “If you wait long enough, the right job opportunity will come along.” “Sometimes, you cannot hurry the process of love. You just have to wait until the right partner to come along.” “Often in life, a moment of great happiness comes along when you are least-expecting it.” * Just as a cloth doll may come apart at the seams so we may say a person goes to pieces or who has a nervous breakdown is coming apart at the seams. “Due to the pressures threatening me in my job at the office and my pending divorce, I am about to come apart at the seams.” “When Gary told his mother he was gay and that he wanted to marry a boy, she almost came apart at the seams.” “Listen, Doll, don’t come apart at the seams just because you found out that I also have a wife and children. We can carry on our affair in exactly the way we always have done in the past.” * Confess and tell all you know; tell the truth. “My lawyer says I had better come clean and admit my crime and ask the judge for leniency.” “You’d better come clean and tell me the truth, because, the longer you keep on lying, the harder it will be on you.” “After hours of intense police questioning, Timothy finally came clean and admitted it was he who had stolen the diamonds from mother’s safe.”* Almost at the point of fighting. “In Taiwan, politicians often get so worked-up in governmental discussions and meetings that it often comes close to blows.” “The two gentlemen of opposite views and argued so bitterly that it almost came close to blows.” “Sometimes, in my family at Sunday dinner the discussion gets so heated that it often comes close to blows.” * Become less well-off; move down a rung or two on the social ladder. “I used to have a thriving business before the currency devaluation, but, now, I have come down in the world and have to live on a modest income.” “Calvin used to be a highly-respected member of society, but, unfortunately, he came down in the world, due to addiction to drugs an alcohol, causing him to lose not only his reputation but also his occupation.” “Eva was a famous movie star thirty years ago, but after she got older and became less attractive and Hollywood finally dropped her, she abruptly came down in the world and had to learn to live like other people.”* Keep something close at hand that might be useful someday. “I think I’ll save those big black plastic bags. You


Come into money

Come of age

Come off it!

Come on strong

Come on!

Come out of one’s shell.

Come round

never know. They may come in handy one day.” “I always keep a pair of pliers in the top kitchen drawer. You never know when they might come in handy.” “Clem keeps a loaded shotgun in his pickup, in case it may come in handy one day.” * Suddenly inherit a lot of money and become rich. “It’s a sin to wait for your father to die just so you can suddenly come into money.” “I had a long lost uncle who died and left me everything, and I suddenly came into money.” “She sold her string of her Japanese tea shops to a competitive franchise and suddenly came into money.”* Reach legal age according to the law or to custom. “When a young man comes of age, he can vote and drink but he also becomes eligible to be drafted into military service.” “When I come of age, I’m going to move out of my parents’ home and get an apartment where I can do and behave as I want.” “When a woman comes of age, it is socially expected that she will marry and have a family.” * Don’t lie; don’t exaggerate! “Stop lying! Come off it! Don’t try to fool me! I don’t believe that!” “You’ll have to come up with a better lie if you expect anybody to believe you. Come off it!” “Come off it! No one will ever believe that you are a direct descendent from the line of King Henry the Eighth.” * Being very aggressive; threatening; overbearing. “I hate it when people get aggressive and come on strong to me.” “Back off! Don’t try to come on strong like that with me or I’ll come down on you like a pile of bricks.” “With some staff members, if you do not come on strong and sound a bit threatening, they won’t pay any attention, and they will ignore your orders.” * Don’t lie; I don’t believe it; don’t exaggerate. “Come on! You don’t expect me to believe that do you?” Come on! I’ve heard that lie a million times. Can’t you think of anything better than that?” “Come on! Stop exaggerating! Come down to earth and tell the truth.” * Emerge from being shy and withdrawn. “When Patty was still in school, she was very withdrawn, but after she got her first boyfriend, she came out of her shell and began acting more naturally.” “I am trying to get Sylvia to come out of her shell and stop being so shy. I know there is a lovely girl inside, and I am trying to draw her out.” “It is sometimes difficult for a teacher to get a withdrawn and introverted student to come out of his/her shell.” * Change you opinion and agree to the opposite view. “Be patient and talk reasonably to your husband and maybe he’ll avoid come around to your opinion.” “We are nego-


Come through

Come to a head

Come to grips with

Come to nothing

Come to one’s senses

Come to terms with

tiating hard to get the other side to see the benefits of our suggestion and finally to come round to agree to our requests.” “It’s going to be hard to get Dad to pay for an expensive wedding. It will take a little convincing, but he will come around in the end.” Eventually provide promised support; keep one’s word to do something. “Father finally came through on his promise and gave me the money to pay my school tuition fees.” “The President has come through on his promise and lowered income tax by three percent.” “Maxine has finally come through on her word and paid me the money she borrowed from me.” * Just a s a pimple comes to a head, approaching the peak of pressure and nearing the breaking point. “Pressure on the Finance Minister is coming to a head, and it is rumored that he will be forced to resign any day now.” “Tension between labor and management is coming to a head, and the unions are threatening to go out on strike.” The conflict between communist party factions is coming to a head and threatening to break the unity of the left wing of the coalition government apart.” * Get a hold of and begin controlling the problem. “You’d better come to grips with your self and begin resolving your psychological conflicts.” “I just cannot accept and come to grips with the fact that the company no longer needs my services.” “It is difficult coming to grips with the fact that mother has passed away and is no longer there to help me, but, somehow, I’ll have to learn to get along on my own without her.” * Fail to come into realization; fail to materialize; prove to be a vain effort. “All my work and dreams have come to nothing. How could I have been so stupid as to hope and strive to achieve the impossible?” “We had better give up fighting for the cause. Everything we do to achieve success is done in vain and comes to nothing.” “We have done everything we could to struggle for freedom, but, now, we must accept that we have failed and that all our efforts came to nothing.” * Suddenly return to being reasonable and having common sense. “Carina was crazy about that boy when she first met him, but, now, that she has had time to observe his personal behavior more closely, she has finally come to her senses.” “It is time you grew up and cast aside your silly romantic views and finally came to your senses.” “I was a bit over-zealous in setting my goals so high, but, now, I have finally come to my senses and learned to think more realistically”* Agree and accept a situation that can not be changed or


Come to the point

Come true

Come up against

Come up in the world

Come across

altered. “At first, I could not accept the fact that I was not accepted at the university of my choice, but, I have finally come to terms with it and have decided to register at a private university.” “Maurice has finally come to terms with the fact that he has no chance of recovering the money he lost in Costa Rica.” “It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that the courts would not accept my plaint that I had been defrauded of my home and property.” * Don’t hesitate and ramble around; come to the main idea. “Stop beating about the bush and come to the point.” “An essay introduction should come to the point in the first paragraph.” “Stop rambling around and come to the point! Tell me exactly what is troubling you.”* Become fulfilled or realized as hoped-for or predicted. “I always wanted to marry a millionaire, and now my dream has come true!” “I never thought my dream of winning the lottery would ever come true, but they picked my number, and I won three-hundred thousand Baht.” “If wishes could come true, I would wish to finally get rid of you.” * Meet an obstacle or hindrance. “I have come up against some resistance from my wife about buying you car, but if I give her some time, she may come around to see my point of view.” “We have come up against some legal difficulties regarding Alien Business Law, but we will look into the matter and get back to you.” “The Prime Minister has met some resistance in Parliament to his new national security plan, but he has enough political clout to push the bill through.” * Improve your financial and social status. “Last time I saw you, you were riding a buffalo, but, now. I see you driving a new BMW. You must have suddenly come up in the world.” “Klaus was born to poor immigrant parents in the Bronx, but, now, he and his family have come up in the world, and now they live in a Manhattan penthouse apartment with a panoramic view.” “At one time, Dale was just an underprivileged kid in an orphanage, but with a little luck and a lot of hard determination he managed to come up in the world. Today, he is so rich and successful he doesn’t know what to do with his money.” * Give in to the will of another; change loyalty and move over to join with the opposite side. “At first she was unwilling to give in to my will, but, eventually she finally came-across and gave me what I wanted.” “If we want to get our bill passed through Parliament, we will have to give some corrupt member of the opposition an incentive


to come-across and vote for it too.” “At first, we were meeting a lot of resistance and opposition from the Senate Review Board, but after some deliberation, they finally came-across and agreed with our point of view.”* Comes naturally Happens in accordance with the given nature of things. “For some people, being kind and good just comes naturally.” “You can’t blame boys from being boys and doing just what comes naturally.” “I don’t like to try and impress people; I would rather just be myself and do what comes naturally.” * Coming down in buckets Raining, pouring and falling down so hard that the water seems to be coming down by the bucketful. “It is raining so hard that it seems to be coming down by the bucketful.” “We had to cut short our picnic on account of rain which suddenly started coming down by the bucketful and we all got soaking wet.” “When we say it is raining cats and dogs, this expression means about the same thing as it is coming down by the bucketful.” * Coming out of the wood- Just as termites in a burning house may be coming out of work the floor boards, posts and the woodwork, so we may figuratively say that a lot of previously unknown victims or witnesses are suddenly appearing who had previously remained hidden and silent. “Once the Mafia bosses started confess before the courts and tell all they knew, a lot of other Mafia members suddenly started coming out of the woodwork and singing like canaries.” “After the Church admitted that there had been cases of young men being homosexually harassed by their clergymen, a lot of other men started coming out of the woodwork and telling how they had also been harassed by their clergyman when they were only boys.” “Now that we’ve blown the top off government corruption a lot of witnesses are coming out of the woodwork and telling how the same sort of things have happened to them.” * Coming to a head Leading up to a breaking point or climax. “Storm pressure over the Atlantic is coming to a head and gale warnings have been announced in Newfoundland.” “Political pressures had been coming to ahead for some time before the President was impeached by the Parliament.” “The stress between Marion and I had been coming to a head for months before we finally had a violent fight and broke up for good.” * Coming to the boiling- Coming to a head; ready to break out into conflict. “You point had better be careful what you say next, because my temper is coming to a boiling point, and I am liable to knock your block off.” “Tempers are coming to a boiling point in cross-border negotiations, and violence about to flare out again if we can’t get the delegates to simmer


Common decency

Common error

Common ground

Common knowledge

Common sense

Complete and utter chaos

Complete imbecile

down and work out a compromise.” “The conflict between the Irish Republicans and the English forces is coming to a boiling point and both sides are preparing for further outbreaks of violence.” * Behaving in accordance with the accepted moral standards of society. “Please show at least the minimum of common decency and courtesy when you are talking to your elders.” “Common decency demands that a gentleman watch his language when he is in the company of gracious ladies.” “The minimum of common decency demands that you clothe your body with appropriate modestly when you appear in public.” * A mistake that a lot of people make. “It is a common error to believe that there is nothing that the human mind is incapable of knowing.” “It is a common error to assume that all other people would act and react the same way as you do.” “Mixing up the meaning of the ‘martial law’ and ‘marital law’ is a common word error.” * Land owned and assessable to the public at large. “The village common is a piece of open land that is owned and used by all of the villagers in common.” “In our housing area the clubhouse and the pool are build on common ground belonging to the community at large.” “Streets and parks belonging to the public are common ground and are there for everybody’s use.” * What everybody knows. “It is common knowledge that the earth revolves around the sun.” “It is common knowledge that what goes up must come down.” “It is common knowledge that there are black holes in the universe.” “it is common knowledge that Knowles cheats on his wife.” * Normal reasoning. “Common sense tells you that, if you take care of the body, the body will take care of you.” “Anyone with even a little common sense will know that one cannot fight the whole world and win.” “It makes common sense to realize that if you are aggressive towards others, they will be aggressive towards you.” * Total disorder and confusion. “After the explosion in the middle of the crowded Train Station, there was complete and utter chaos, with people running around in panic in every direction.” “When the government fell leaving a power vacuum, complete and utter chaos reigned in the streets.” “The good thing about being a child is that you can run around madly and uncontrollably in complete and utter chaos during school recess and everybody thinks it is normal.” * An absolutely stupid individual without the ability to think. “Pay no attention to Uncle Freddy. He’s a com-


plete imbecile.” “Her baby was born a complete imbecile, because she was doing drugs when she was pregnant.” “How could you be so stupid? You must be a complete imbecile to believe that pigs can fly.”* Comply with regulations Follow the rules; obey the rules. “If you do not comply with tax regulations, you will be subject to a penalty.” “I am afraid we can make no exceptions to the rule. Everyone has to comply with regulations.” “In the Army, if one does not comply with regulations, one will be severely reprimanded.” * Compromise with Make concessions to the opposing-view to avoid trouble or to encourage progress. “In a marriage each partner has to be ready to give and take a little and to compromise with the needs of the other.” “A good negotiator knows when he has to make compromises with the opposing side in order to make progress towards a final solution.” “South East Asian people are more likely to seek a compromise in a disagreement with a neighbor than North Western Europeans would likely be.” * Compromise your princi- Give in and comply and perform an action against you ples better moral judgment to do something that goes against your beliefs. “If you gave in to pressure and did what the committee wanted from you, you would be compromising your principles.” “Be careful not to do anything unethical or immoral and compromise your principles just to seek financial advantage.” “One thing a young person should keep in mind is the moment he begins to compromise his principles in order to get what he wants he is taking his first step on the prickly path to Hell.” * Con artist Someone who gains our trust and confidence just in order to get our money.” “A confidence man cheats people out of money by deceiving them into having confidence in him to help them get what they want.” “Danny used to be a con artist and earned his money that way, but after he married Audrey, he decided to go straight and earn an honest living.” “My younger brother became a con artist and is always deceiving people by thinking up believable get rich schemes.” * Concede defeat Give in and admit that your opponent has beaten you. “When the candidate realized that he was only getting twenty-two percent of the vote, he realized he could not win the election and conceded defeat, even before all the ballots had bee counted.” “In a sports event, one of the competitors sometimes concedes defeat when he is trailing so far behind his opponent that he cannot possibly win.” Sometimes, in a business venture, when it becomes clear you cannot gain a profitable market share, it is better to give up the effort and concede defeat before you


lose any more money.”* A big city made of steel rods and beams and concrete. “Sometimes, they say the city is a big concrete jungle because of the way primitive street gangs roam about, uncontrolled, threatening and doing harm to other people.” “I do not want to live in a concrete jungle full of primitive people doing what ever it takes to survive and stay alive; I want to live out in nature where everything is open and free of stress where I can live in peace and harmony.” “City planners try to create common parks and green areas, connected by walking and cycle paths so that inhabitants can escape the feeling of being hemmedin and tightly enclosed within a concrete jungle.” * Concur with someone on Agree with someone; be of the same opinion. “I concur something with your opinion that their investment plan is unacceptable because the location is too far away from prospective markets.” “I concur with the Chairman that we should work out a compromise on this disagreement so both sides feel satisfied and there is no resentment in the end.” “My cardiologist concurs with the opinion of his colleagues that nothing to be done to help me except to wait and make me feel comfortable as I am approaching the inevitable end.” * Confide in someone Share a secret with someone you trust. “There are some secrets that Connie shares only with my mother, and she would not confide in anyone else.” “If I confide in you and tell you a secret, do you promise not to tell anyone else?” ”When a client confides in his lawyer and tells the truth, the lawyer is bound by law not to breach client confidence.” * Confidence-building Something done to help build-up more confidence in the measure face of an unstable situation. “The government has guaranteed to fix prices and prop-up the currency rate, as a confidence-building measure, to assure a stable economy and encourage new investments.” “As a confidence building measure, the North Koreans have agreed to allow UN nuclear inspections to insure the rest of the world that their programs do not pose a threat to peace.” “In the face of threatened economic security, as a confidence building measure, The Bank of Thailand has declared an increase in savings interest rates to loosen up some cash in order to encourage spending.”* Confront the problem Face the problem; be ready to stand up to a challenge and do something about it. “If you do not confront the problem of your excessive drinking, it will eventually destroy your health and your career.” “If the City Administration does no confront the problem of the accumulating garbage, the whole city will soon begin to stink.” “If nothing Concrete jungle


Confusing the issue

Conjure-up an idea


Conscientious objector

Conscript into the army

is done to confront the problem of corruption, here in our country, our potential economic trading partners will be unable to trust that we have a fully transparent financial system.” * Introducing something irrelevant into the discussion that leads off topic. “Don’t bring the neighbor’s dog into the discussion. That has nothing to do with the point. Just tell me why the petty cash box is short by twenty dollars.” “Don’t confuse the issue by complaining you have a headache. Stick to the topic and explain the reason why you are three hours late.” “Speaking about our possible future cooperation is just confusing the issue. We will have no future relationship at all unless you can explain what your structural engineers are doing to solve the problem.”* Use one’s imaginative powers to think up or put an image or idea or picture in people’s minds; come up with and produce a solution as if by magic. “The magician conjured up the image of a beautiful woman that went rapidly through the stages of aging until it was nothing but a shriveled-up old hag.” “Where did you conjure up an absurd explanation like that? That is false conjecture if I ever saw one!” “Someone in the company had better conjure up an idea fast about how the firm can somehow solve its cash flow problems.” * Knocked or made unconscious. “After Rocky hit the Kansas Kid with an uppercut to the jaw, the Kid fell to his knees, looked about in a daze for a second and then conked-out flat on his back on the mat.” “Dad drank a bottle of Red Label all by himself, and, now, he’s conked-out the living-room sofa.” “Big Olov sat and drank straight shots of vodka all through the night until it was dawn outside, until he, finally, conked-out like a light.” * One who refuses to fight and kill based on moral grounds. “My Dad would not fight in the Viet Nam war because he was a conscious objector, so he had to serve as a volunteer hospital-attendant instead.” “According to the law, conscious objectors may be excused from military service if they agree to perform some other form of social service instead.” “During the Viet Nam war, many American conscientious objectors fled to Canada to avoid the draft.” * Draft or compel someone into military service. “In some countries, when you come of age, you are automatically eligible for conscription into the army.” “In most civilized countries automatic conscription into the army is no longer required and the military forces


depend on volunteers.” “In America, there is no forced conscription into the army any more. The USA depends on a core of career soldiers backed-up by the national guard.” * Considered opinion To form an opinion after thinking about all factors from all sides. “It is my considered opinion that socialism is a good idea, but it doesn’t work in the long run because people are by nature basically selfish.” “The doctor told me it was his considered opinion that I could yet live many years if only I learned to balance the needs of my body and the mind.” “If you want my considered opinion, based on a lifetime of observation, there is no such thing as a good politician.” * Consort with Associate with; to be a companion to or hang around with people who may exert a negative influence. “Be careful not to consort with wicked people or other people will begin to believe that you are wicked too.” “After graduating from Cambridge, he and spent a year in London consorting with his old school cronies and living a loose and immoral life.” “Be careful of the people you consort with because their bad habits will rub off and begin to affect your own behavior.” * Conspicuous consump- Buying and using expensive symbols of success so others tion can see and become envious or jealous of one’s image. “A lot of people with big money and small egos turn to conspicuous consumption as a way of impressing others.” “Spending a lot of money just to show-off may be considered as one form of conspicuous consumption.” “Buying expensive BMW and Mercedes cars and Rolex watches may be seen as conspicuous consumption, especially when the people who purchase them feel a need to impress others.” * Conspire against Scheme, plot, connive or work against someone, with the help of another or others. “The Prime Minister’s enemies have been conspiring together how to get him out of power.” “Many of Hitler’s own officers conspired against him and tried to have him assassinated before he could do any more damage.” “When two or more persons put their heads together and plot secretly to harm another, they may be said to be conspiring against their intended victim.” * Consumed by desire Burning up due to personal craving; consumed with passion. “I was so consumed by desire for that woman that I totally lost control of common decency and common sense.” “Oh, Baby! When I see you, I’m so consumed with desire! You set my heart on fire.” “Most people are so consumed by desire that they do things that bring harm, just because they can not control themselves.” *


Despicable, appalling, shameful, dreadful way of acting. “Stealing candy from a baby is contemptible behavior.” “When you are drunk, you are capable of committing the most contemptible behavior.” “Everybody looks down on you because your adulterous conduct towards your wife is shameful and contemptible behavior.” * Contradiction in terms An expression containing words that seem to mean the opposite of one another. “Some like to joke that military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.” “Some think that conventional wisdom is a contradiction in terms.” “Is it a contradiction in terms to ask for merciful justice.” * Contrary to expectations The opposite of what is expected. “Contrary to my expectations, I got an ‘A’ on my essay.” “Contrary to expectations, the conservatives won the election by a margin of three percent. Who would have anticipated that?” “Contrary to all expectations, Dad has continued to survive despite deteriorating symptoms of left heart failure.” * Contrary to popular opin- In spite of what most people believe. “Contrary to popuion lar opinion, cucumbers have almost no nutritional value.” “Contrary to popular opinion, indulgence in pleasurable desires does not lead to happiness.” “Contrary to popular opinion, a solitary, secluded hermit’s life leads to greater happiness than an active social life.” * Control freak Someone who is obsessed with having absolute control of everything. “My ex-boyfriend was a control freak. He wanted to totally control my life and everything in it.” “I used to be an excessive, compulsive control freak, but, now, I have learned to let everything go.” “My motherin-law is a control freak, and I hate going to her house because she tries to exercise command in everything my wife and I think and do.” * Converge in upon Come in from all sides to surround an opponent. “After a thirty minute car chase, police cruisers converged in upon the driver of the stolen vehicle, from every side, at the intersection of King and James Streets.” “The cowboys placed their wagons in a tight circle and waited for the Indians to converge in on them and attack.” “The Premier is surrounded by political opponents who are converging in on him from all sides.” * Convey condolences Express pity, understanding, sympathy or commiseration. “Please allow me to convey my condolences upon the death of your mother.” “I am sending you this card to convey my sincere condolences upon the death of your beloved child.” “Heads of State from all around the world sent condolences to Buckingham Palace to convey their condolences following the sad and unexpected death of Princess Diana.”*

Contemptible behavior


Cook up an excuse

Cooking the books

Cool as a cucumber

Cool down

Cool off

Cool reception

Fabricate a false, imaginary, made-up reason why one failed to do something. “We’ll have to cook up an excuse to tell the boss about why we missed Monday morning’s meeting.” “Don’t try to cook up an excuse for your absence from school. I know you were just playing hooky.” “This client is very good at cooking up excuses for why he cannot pay our invoices on time.” * Keeping a false set of accounting records to deceive investors and tax regulators while draining off hidden profits. “Enron accountants were cooking the books and making false financial statements about supposed-profits to fool and deceive investors.” “My friend’s wife has a travel office and she has become an expert at hiding profits and cooking the books to avoid paying taxes.” “An auditor’s job is to check the financial statement of a company to be sure that no one is cooking the books and that all transactions are properly recorded and transparent in accordance with generally accepted audit standards.” * Calm, cool and collected, showing no signs of fear or anxiety. “When Dave was a yachting skipper, he used to remain as cool as a cucumber when he found himself in the face of risk and danger.” “Despite the fact that the general manager was obviously in the wrong and being chastised for the financial disaster, he remained as cool as a cucumber throughout the proceedings of the Annual Meeting.” “After robbing the bank, the suspect walked calmly out the door and, as cool as a cucumber, took off his mask, stuffed it in his jacket pocket and got into a number four bus.” * Don’t be so angry. “Calm yourself; get control of your self. Cool down.” “Don’t let a little thing like that get you all angry and worked-up. Cool down!” “I can understand why you are angry, but I would advise you to cool down before you say something you’ll be sorry for.” * Don’t be so angry and hot-tempered. “Control your emotions. Calm down. Cool off!” “Don’t get so worked-up! Don’t let things bother you. Cool off for a while” “Don’t let things get to you so easily. Take a minute to cool off and don’t react impulsively.”* The opposite to a warm welcome when the host is not pleased to see you. “I got a cool reception from my girlfriend’s family because I was not born into the same noble class the way they were” “When the Japanese delegates arrived in China, they got a cool reception because the Chinese people had not forgotten the Japanese atrocities of the second world war.” “After the insensitive way I had treated her after father’s death, I got a cold reception when I visited to my mother’s home.” *


Cooling-off period


Coping with the situation



Cordon off

Time to calm down and cool off after being excited or angry. “When you are angry and really upset, it’s better to allow yourself a cooling-off period before taking any action.” “The President will have to wait through a cooling-off period before he tries to reintroduce the highly sensitive federal health care plan again.” “Before I try to talk to my wife again, I’d better give her a cooling off period.” * Just as chickens are cooped-up in a cage, so a person may say he feels ‘cooped-up’ when he is restricted to a limited space. “I hate being cooped-up in an office all day and would rather be out on the road visiting clients.” “My children do not like being cooped-up in the house when they could be running free in the fields.” “Grandmother says she sometimes gets bored with being cooped-up alone at home all day, and, sometimes, she even threatens to pack her bags and run away.”* Doing one’s best to control the situation. “Both my business and my marriage are falling apart and I am having a hard time coping with the situation.” “We have not got the refugee food problem under control yet, but we are coping with the situation.” “The government realizes that an economic recession is impending and trying to do all it can to cope with the situation.” * Back out of a promise; let your friends down; be afraid to take the risk. “Don’t cop-out now in the moment when we need you the most!” “My brother is a real cop-out. He has never finished anything he has started in his life.” “I’m sorry I copped-out at the last minute and was not there to fulfill my promise to be your best man at the wedding.” * Just as one who tries to copy from a fellow-student’s exam paper is called a ‘copy-cat,’ so we may also say someone copy-cats the actions of another. “A singer who copies the actions, characteristics and manners of another is said to be a copy-cat.” “Stop aping my actions! If there is anything I hate, it is a copy-cat!” “The new sequence of serial killings was committed by a copy-cat of the Boston Strangler.” * To surround, protect, separate-off or blockade a threatened area through police or military intervention. “US forces have cordoned off the area around the American Embassy to protect it from terrorist attack.” “Before the princess arrives in the area, for safety’s sake, the courtyard will be cordoned off by security forces.” “The main Square of the city was cordoned off by the National Guard as a security measure to protect the visiting world leaders.”*


Core of the matter

Corner the market

Corridors of power

Cost an arm and a leg

Cost effective

Cost the earth!

The root cause of the problem; what lies at the center of the issue. “Its hard to explain why the financial crisis hit so suddenly, but the core of the matter was that the Baht was overvalued on world currency markets.” “It’s difficult to understand the root of racial prejudice, but some psychiatrists say that the core of the matter is that people who feel inferior need someone to hate even more than they hate themselves.” “Many factors contributed to the collapse of the economy, but the core of the matter was that everyone was speculating and borrowing based on the expectation of a continuing eight percent annual growth curve.” * Gain control of the sales market so everyone has to buy from you. “When you have bought up all your big competitors and crushed all the small ones, then, you may be said to have cornered the market.” “The way to corner the market in Thailand is to amalgamate with your competitors and thereby gain a monopoly.” “Another way to corner the market is to come up with new copyrightedtechnology that eliminates the possibility of competition.” * The long halls in government buildings where the offices of highly-placed officials and their advisors are situated. “As long as there are right-wing, hawkish republicans sitting in the corridors of power, there will always be foreign wars.” “As long as there are such corrupt politicians sitting in the corridors of power foreign nations will suspect the integrity of our nation’s governmental bodies.” “Senator Edward Kennedy and his Democratic campaign supporters have long been accustomed to holding influence in the corridors of power.” * A very expensive price to have to pay to get what you want. “A suite at the Beverly Hilton will cost you an arm and a leg.” “Three days in Monte Carlo can cost you an arm and a leg, even if you don’t go near the Casino.” “Don’t go to a fancy lawyer to ask for legal advice because it will cost you an arm and a leg.” * Economizing to keep costs under control. “Introducing new technology into the assembly line is cost effective but it also costs a lot of people their jobs.” “The company is implementing cost effectiveness measures and trimming costs wherever it can.” “Management is offering a big cash prize to the person who can make the best suggestion for cost effectiveness.” * Very expensive! Cost an arm and a leg! “I bought my fiancée the diamond engagement ring she wanted, but it cost me the earth!” “A house with a sea view on the California coastline will cost you the earth!” “The doctors


Cost you dearly

Couch potato

Couldn’t be bothered

Couldn’t care less

Count against you

Count me out

cured poor old Dad of his prostrate cancer, but it cost the earth!” * Having to pay a high price for what you have done wrong or to get what you want. “I learned from the mistakes I made in my first business venture, but it cost me dearly.” “I fooled around on my wife but it cost me dearly when she divorced me.” “I have always stayed loyal to the Prime Minister despite his mistakes but it has cost me over the years even within my own party.” * A child that sits on the couch watching TV and nibbling snacks and never gets any exercise. “My little brother is a couch potato. He sits and watches TV and munches on snacks all day.” “These days, we picture American kids as couch potatoes, but that is a stereotype, because there are lots of kids that are active and not fat and not addicted to TV.” “Until I was twelve, I was a couch potato, then, I got involved in sports at school and used to practice in the afternoons after school and, from that time on, I watched less TV than most people.” * Not thoughtful enough to help out or couldn’t care less. “I didn’t care what she thought about me. I couldn’t be bothered.” “My Dad never cares about what others say about him. He couldn’t be bothered.” “I asked my friends to help me clean up the mess after the party, but they couldn’t be bothered.” “Everyone knows we must take care to protect the environment, but most people couldn’t be bothered.” * Don’t give a damn; indifferent; not interested; not bothered, worried, not concerned. “I couldn’t care less if you told the whole world your low opinion of me.” “Call me all the nasty names that you want. I’m not bothered. I couldn’t care less.” “Go ahead and kill yourself if that is what you really want to do. I couldn’t care less.”* Something you do that goes on record as a bad mark which will follow you all throughout your life. “If you are ever arrested on a drug offense, it will count against you for the rest of your life.” “Any criminal felony you commit after the age of eighteen remains on your record and counts against you.” “Anything that you do to offend my resentful wife will count against you for the rest of your life.” * Don’t depend on me. “I am not going to participate; I refuse to do what you ask. You can count me out.” “I will never help you and your pals to betray one of our very best friends. You can count me out.” “I will not indulge in any illegal activities no matter how hard you try to convince me. When it comes to dishonest actions, you can count me out.”*


Count on someone

Rely and depend upon a person. “There is no one other than you that I can trust: you’re the only one I can count on.” “My Mom is counting on me to finish university and get a good job to help support the family.” “We are counting on you to attend the board meeting so we will have enough members to constitute a quorum to open the meeting.” * Count your blessings Think of all the good things and talents that have been given to you. “Stop feeling so sorry for yourself and count your blessings instead.” “In place of yearning for things we can not get, we should be learning to count our blessings instead.” “Sometimes, when I am down and feeling blue, I count my blessings to brighten my point of view.” * Count your chickens be- Imagine a profitable or happy outcome before you have fore they are hatched invested time and effort and waited for the result. “Don’t count on getting accepted to medical school so you can study to become a doctor before going on to become a specialist. Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” “I wouldn’t go buying a house and car before your business starts to generate the hoped-for profits. You shouldn’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” “You may have been selected to be shortlisted, but that doesn’t mean you will get the job. Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” * Courage of my own con- Confidence that makes one act based on the faith that victions what one is doing is right. “It was the courage of my own convictions that motivated me to study philosophy rather than law or medicine as my family might have wished.” “In blowing the whistle to inform about the company doing creative auditing and cooking the books, I was acting with the courage of my own convictions.” “I cannot do what you request because it goes against my morals. I regret to inform you that I must follow the courage of my own convictions and do what I believe in.” * Course of nature In the process of things happening in nature. “It is to be expected that in the course of nature, things will be born, get old and die.” “In the course of nature, over many millennia, innumerable species have arisen and died away due to changes in climatic and environmental conditions.” “It is a known fact that in the course of nature all carbon-based elements are slowly deteriorating.” * Courting disaster Asking for trouble; making yourself vulnerable; taking a chance that can lead to a bad end; putting yourself in a dangerous situation; seeking something that could destroy you. “You’re courting disaster when you start experimenting with mind-altering drugs.” “Proposing marriage to a self-seeking, mad woman like Olga is courting


disaster.” “Nowadays, in the age of AIDS, having sex without using a condom is courting disaster.” * Cover for someone Just a one soldier covers for another, protecting him while running across the firing line, so we may ask a friend to watch out for us or take our place or do our job temporarily while we do something else. “I have to go to the rest room for a few minutes. Can you cover for me?” “I am covering the phone for my boss while he is out of the office.” “Can you cover for me at my desk while I am gone?” “I have to duck out of the office for about thirty minutes. Could you cover for me when I am gone?” * Cover your ass with pa- Protect and cover yourself by having the proper docuper mentation. “One thing you learn from doing government work is to always have to cover you ass with paper.” “Be sure you get all the correct documents together so you can cover your ass with paper in case of any questioning.” “In the military, you should try always to get a written copy of authorization for any official order you carry out just to cover your ass with paper.” * Cover your tracks Destroy the evidence that shows what you have done. “When it is snowing very heavily, you cannot follow an Eskimo to see where he went because newly fallen snow will have covered his tracks.” “There is a new kind of software now that allows people who visit sex websites on their office computers to cover their tracks.” “When the Revenue Department is coming to check your books, you’d better be careful to get rid of the evidence of any illegal transactions you may have made to be sure you have covered your tracks.” * Cover-to-cover From the front to the back of a book. “Abdul has read and studied the Koran from cover-to-cover.” “I know the contents of my Geography textbook, inside out and backwards from cover-to-cover.” “The Reverend Mahoney knows the contents if the Bible from cover-tocover.”* Cover-up Removal of evidence and denial of guilt. “It is believed by some that the official investigation report on the Kennedy assassination was a cover-up to hide the fact that the FBI had bungled the investigation.” “The President’s denial of any knowledge about the tapes was just a cover-up intended to conceal the real facts.” “When corrupt politicians are exposed, they either bribe or kill all the witnesses to cover up the facts.” * Crack down on Bring the pressure of government authority down on wrong-doers. “Police in Pattaya are cracking down on bar owners who stay open past official closing times.” “The Narcotics Bureau is cracking down on known drug dealers and trying to put them all in jail” “The govern-


Crack of dawn

Crack of doom

Crackpot idea


Crafty devil

Cram into

ment has started to crack down on people who try to avoid paying their taxes.” * The earliest part of the morning when the first light begins to show over the horizon. “I get up every morning at the crack of dawn and jog for three kilometers around the village before it is fully light.” “Mother is always up and working before the crack of dawn and continues doing her household duties until after the sun goes down.” “When I was in the army, I had to get up at the crack of dawn, but now I am a civilian I like to lay in bed all morning and sleep long.” * At the moment when the world ends. “One day after we have neglected our environment to the point of no return, the crack of doom will inevitably come.” “God is angry with the sinners of the world and wants to punish them by bringing on the crack of doom so the world will come to a fiery end.” “You can keep on talking until the crack of doom, but you will never convince me.” * Crazy notion. “I don’t know where I got the crackpot idea, but I used to think that one could eat as much rice as one wanted without gaining weight.” “By brother fancies himself as an inventor, and he keeps coming up with crackpot ideas like sun hats that can be blown-up into umbrellas.” “Where did you ever get the crackpot idea that if you keep your old Mercedes-Benz for long enough, until it will become a classic car and increase in value?” * Mental breakdown. When I was about thirty-three, I had a mental crack-up and had to go into two years of intensive psychotherapy.” “My Aunt Audrey had a mental crack-up after her husband-to-be didn’t show up for the wedding.” “Often, when men are about forty-three they go through a mid-life crisis and have a mental crack-up.” “When I was young and living hard and fast and drinking very heavily, I had a psychological crackup at the age of thirty-three.” * A clever and devious person who tries to get the better of you. “Be careful of that fellow Faustus; he is a crafty devil who try trick you in every way he can.” “Oh, I can see the sly trick you are trying to pull on me. You are a crafty devil, but such a trick won’t work on me.” “I know you are a crafty devil and very deceitful so I am not going to believe a single word that you say.” * Just as, on the one hand, we can cram in contents to totally fill a jar or can, so, on the other, we can also say we cram a lot of information into our heads for an examination. “The people were crammed into the subway car like sardines in a can.” “The night before an exam, I study




Crawl into your shell

Creature comforts

Creature of habit

hard and long and try to cram a lot of information onto my head at the last minute.” “Trying to cram for an exam is a very nerve wracking experience that could be avoided with proper planning and time management.”* Packed as full as possible with no room for anything more. “The auditorium was cram packed with teenagers waiting to see their favorite boy band.” “The subway car was so cram-packed that you couldn’t have jammed in another person in, not even sidewise.” “When we reached the concert hall it was already cram-packed full, and it was a good thing we had reserved seats or we wouldn’t even have found standing room.”* Just as a plane may have engine trouble and have to crash land, so we may say that a venture or business scheme must crash- land before it is too late to save it from disaster. “Don’t get over-excited about your business plan because if it doesn’t take off in the way that you want, you will be forced to crash-land.” “Our most recent product launching went over like a lead balloon, so we had to crash land and pull the product from the market.” “I started off my life living high on the hog and flying too high, but when all my money ran out, I was forced to crash-land.” * Withdraw within yourself and become introverted and incommunicative. “Whenever a man gets close to my sister she crawls into her shell and remains withdrawn until he goes away.” “Why is it that every time I start talking about our personal relationship, you crawl into your shell?” “My analyst says that whenever he starts getting too close to the truth, I crawl into my shell and close up.” * The essential things needed for one to have a comfortable life. “Creature comforts means more than just having the bare essentials of life; it means needing things like television sets, sofas, pillows, refrigerators, microwaves and the like to make life easy.” ”Candice is not the kind of girl who would ever marry a man who could not offer her all of the creature comforts.” “I am afraid I am a creature of habit that could never get along without essential creature comforts.” * A person who needs to follow the same routine all of the time. “I am such a creature of habit that you can set your watch according to the things I do throughout the day.” “Clive is a creature of habit. He always reacts to the same sets of circumstances in the same ways, and he will continue to stay that way until the end of his life.” “I’m sorry that I am not able to adapt to fit into your style of living, but I have been a creature of habit for so long that


it is hard for me to change my ways.” * Believable, convincing, plausible reason or explanation. “I am afraid that if you cannot come up with a credible excuse for your continued absence from school, you will be automatically expelled.” “The only credible excuse for missing an examination is an extreme family emergency or illness and hospitalization.” “You had better have a creditable excuse for not turning up for the meeting with the client; otherwise, you will be sacked.” * Creeping at a snail’s pace Just as a snail moves very slowly, so we can say something is progressing at a snail’s pace. “Progress on the construction of the new airport was creeping along at a snail’s pace amidst accusations of corruption.” “Work on the new bridge has been creeping along at a snail’s pace because the international funding has not been coming through as promised.” “UN development of human rights is creeping along at a snail’s pace, especially in thirdworld nations where there are great gaps between the rich and the poor.” * Creepy Eerie; scary; hair-raising; as though a spider or some insect were creeping across your skin. “I think that fellow’s appearance is creepy. He reminds me of Dracula.” When I go down alone into the deep hollow of an underground cave and the air begins to feel dank, I get a creepy feeling.” “When I see a spider, I’m afraid and get a case of the creepy crawlies, so my hair is standing on end.”* Cringe at the thought of Shrink figuratively into a crouching position due to fear of something happening. “I cannot stand the sight of that man. I cringe at the thought of him ever touching me.” “I hate to think what will happen if there were an earthquake in Bangkok causing a lot of high rise buildings to fall down and collapse. I cringe at the thought.” “I cringe at the thought of the hospital doing an autopsy on my helpless, dead body once I die.” * Crop up Suddenly arise. “A problem has cropped up in my personal life, and I shall have to be away from the office for a few days.” “I’m sorry I can’t stay to the end of the meeting. Something important has cropped up, and I have to attend to it immediately.” “A problem has cropped up in the programming process, and we have to work out the technological glitch before we can continue.” * Cross my heart and hope A Christian expression swearing that if you tell a lie to die. while making the sign of the cross over your heart you hope to suffer the penalty of death. “I swear did not steal your laptop, cross my heart and hope to die.” “It was not me who took your diamond ear rings, cross my heart and hope to die.” “I am willing to take an oath and promise to Credible excuse


never love any other woman but you, cross my heart and hope to die.” * Cross my path Get in someone’s way; hinder, obstruct or go against somebody’s will or intent. “If you ever cross my path and try to obstruct my will again, I shall box your ears.” “If you ever cross my path again, I’ll catch you and cut you to into ribbons.” “I’ll overlook the offence this time, but if you ever cross my path again, I’ll get back at you in a way you will never forget.” * Cross that bridge when Put off doing something we do not have to worry about we come to it yet; postpone the decision until the last minute and act appropriately when the time comes; do not worry about something until it becomes a problem. “Don’t worry about where we will get the money to finance your education. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” “I haven’t decided what to do if they don’t renew my contract, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” “Jane feels there’s no sense worrying about what she will do if she cannot pass the CPA exams. That’s a bridge she will have to cross when she comes to it.” * Cross the floor In politics, changing parties and going across the floor of the parliament to join the opposite side. “In England, it very seldom happens that a Conservative politician will cross the floor and join forces with the Labour Party.” “Once in the German Parliament, the government didn’t have enough votes to pass a bill, so the Prime Minister coerced a member of the opposition to cross the floor and vote with them.” “Some people think it is a traitorous act to cross the floor and join the opposition, but others would say it would be justified if it were based on a matter of political conscience.” * Cross the line Go too far; exceed the limits of what is considered proper behavior. “You crossed the line and exceeded the limits of friendship when you touched my little sister.” “Don’t go too far in testing the limits of my patience. If you cross the line, I’ll be very cross with you.” “I know you like to be obnoxious, but when you publicly insulted the Prince of Whales, you crossed the line of what is considered to be polite common-decency.” * Cross with someone Angry and annoyed with some person for something he has done. “My mother is very cross with me for spilling a bottle of black ink and making a big stain on the dining room rug.” “Oh, Darling, I’m sorry I forgot your birthday. Please don’t be cross with me.” “My teacher is always cross with me when she sees that I haven’t been doing my homework.” * Cross your fingers Crossing your fingers is a hand gesture which shows you are hoping for luck. “I just bought a lottery ticket. Keep


Crossed my mind

Crowning achievement

Crow’s feet

Cruel to be kind

Cry wolf

Cry your eyes out

your fingers crossed for me and maybe I can win.” “I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hope that I passed the examination.” “My mother said she would keep her fingers crossed for me and hope that I got accepted to graduate school.” * Something suddenly coming into my mind or occurring to me that I had neglected to think about;. “It has just crossed my mind that I have forgotten to check the expiry date in my passport.” “It just crossed my mind that my electricity will be cut off if I don’t pay the bill before the deadline.” “It has just suddenly crossed my mind that my family would not be properly provided for If I suddenly died.” * The highest peak of attainment. “The crowning achievement of an actor’s life is being asked to give a command performance before the Queen.” “The crowning achievement of a footballer’s life is to kick the winning goal in a World Cup match.” “Many think that the crowning achievement in a writer’s life would be to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.” * Little lines or wrinkles at the corners of your eyes. “When the crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes turn up instead of down, this is a sign that you smile more than you frown.” “Alice is only twenty-five, but she must have a lot of worries, because she’s already getting crow’s feet at the corners of her eyes.” “My mother had an absolutely clear complexion up until she died at sixtyeight and she didn’t have a wrinkle in her face, not even the slightest sign of crow’s feet in the corners of her eyes.” * Telling someone a blunt truth in order to help him/her improve his/her behavior. “When Hamlet tells his mother she should not be drinking and sleeping with his uncle, he says he is being ‘cruel to be kind.” “Sometimes, when you admonish a friend to help him improve himself, you can say you are being cruel to be kind.” “A teacher, who gives an ‘F’ to a late term paper, may rationalize that he is being cruel to be kind.” * Call out for help when there is no danger, just to get attention. “If one cries, ‘Wolf!’ too often, people will not pay any attention when a true situation of danger arises.” “Darling, I am afraid you have cried, ‘Wolf’ once too often and this time no one will come to your aid.” “Just like the little girl who cried, “Wolf!” once too often, so a person who cries for help too often just to get attention will not receive any help when a truly serious or dangerous situation arises.”* Cry as if you will never stop. “When brother John went


off to the war, mother cried her eyes out all afternoon and kept sobbing as if she would never stop.” “When I could not go to my big sister’s birthday party, I sat home and cried my eyes out.” I cried my eyes out for a whole year, when my first husband left me for another younger woman.” * Crying shame A pity; deplorable; lamentable; appalling; unacceptable; a shameful thing. “It’s a crying shame the way some parents abuse and neglect their children.” “It’s a crying shame the way some people eat themselves into obesity, while many people in the third world are still starving and dying of hunger.” “It’s a crying shame that the rich lawmakers can send the children of the poor into a war in order to protect their own inherited wealth and resources.” * Crystal clear Just as crystal glass is clear, so an idea can be clear. “A good teacher should be able to explain concepts in a way that is crystal clear.” “It is now crystal clear to me that you married me only for my money.” “When I look back over my mistakes, it is now crystal clear where and why and how I went wrong.” * Cuckoo A bit crazy; not right in the head. “What’s wrong with you? Are you cuckoo?” “You’re behaving like a person who’s not right in the head? You must be cuckoo.” “I think that Mr. Chan must be a little bit cuckoo. He lives in a world of his own and can do nothing whatsoever to help himself.”* Cuddle up to someone Let someone feel you want to move in close and hug that person. “Come over here, Dear. Sit on my lap and cuddle up to me. I’m feeling a bit lost and lonely tonight.” “Tom misses having a little girlfriend to cuddle up to him at night to make him feel warm and comforted.” “There’s nothing more cosy and comfortable on a winter night, in the Rocky Mountains than to cuddle up to the one you love on a bear skin rug in front of a big logwood fire.” * Cudgel someone’s brains Beat someone’s brains with a club or blunt object so they out are running out of his skull. “I could cudgel your brains out for the nasty comment you made about my intelligence.” “If you don’t come up with the five dollars you owe me as promised, I’ll cudgel your brains out.” “I am so angry with my husband for forgetting our wedding anniversary that I could cudgel his brains out.”* Cuff someone over the Hit or box someone over the ear. “My Dad said that if I ear didn’t start my chores right away, he would give me a cuff over the ear.” “If you continue to show lack of respect and say one more defiant word, I’ll cuff you over the ear.” “When I was in high school. I had a science teacher, called Mr. McDermott, who would sneak up be-


Cull the herd

Cultural conflict

Cultural desert

Culture shock

Culture vulture

hind students who were talking in the lab and cuff them over the ear.” * Pick out and set aside or kill inferior animals. “When we got mad cow disease in Britain, government officials came to our farm and did some testing to cull the herd of all animals suspected of being infected.” “Forest rangers sometimes come into the National Park and cull the herd of older and weaker animals to help maintain a natural balance between the resources of nature and the number of animals.” “Breeders of American Prairie Buffalo sometimes cull the herd to eliminate the possibility of inferior animals mating and thereby weakening the bloodline.” * Differing ideas based of different cultural ideas and values. “When an Englishman comes to Thailand, he often finds himself facing a cultural conflict in which he must choose between Asian values and ways of doing things or following those of his own culture.” “When Asians go to America, they are confronted with cultural conflict when they are expected to stand up and aggressively defend themselves.” “American men always let ladies go first, but Thai ladies insist the gentlemen go first, so confusing cultural conflicts sometimes arise about who stands up and who moves first.” * An undeveloped out-of-the-way place with literally no art, music, theatre, libraries, etc. “When I was a boy, growing up in Canada, in the 1940s, the place was still just a cultural desert.” “It was not as well-developed as it is today. Compared to London, Paris or Rome, Winnipeg was a cultural desert.” “In the 1950s McMaster University was almost a cultural desert, but nowadays it is an important center of cultural activity.” * An abrupt change in cultural location and traditions, with no time for acclimatization, has a distressing mental effect on some people. “When I fist went from Canada to live in Germany, I found the people so cold and stiff and aggressive that I suffered from culture shock.” “If you take a normal American college kid and set him down in the middle of a Calcutta slum, he will suffer from culture shock.” “Many Thai students when they first go to study in America at first suffer from culture shock because Americans are loud, assertive and showy as opposed to being quiet, mild-mannered and modest.” * Someone who is not quite cultured but has a ravenous appetite to know and speak about anything cultural, such as in art, music, archeology, etc. “I hate going to gallery openings full of culture vultures hanging around the walls looking artistic and talking as if they were experts


on something they know nothing about.” “When I was first in Europe, I was an unsophisticated culture vulture, but, after spending thirty years there, I became acclimated and sophisticated.” “When some western culture vultures first come to Greece to learn about Classical Civilization, they seem as though they could never get enough of it, and spend weeks going around from ruin to ruin fulfilling a hunger to get back to their roots.” * Curdle your blood Just as milk curdles into lumps after it goes sour, so a terrifying experience may be compared one’s blood to curdling at a horrifying shock or sight. “There is a terrible scene in the movie, ‘Psycho’ of a butcher knife murder in the shower that will be sure to curdle your blood.” “Nowadays, if you go to a House of Horrors in a carnival show, you will see what seem to be real life spectacles that are sure to curdle your blood.” “Some of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories are so horrifying and grotesque that they will curdle your blood.” * Curse the day you were Be sorry that you were ever born into this world. “I don’t born know why I have such a miserable life. Sometimes I curse the day I was born.” “In the Bible, after a series of sufferings and torments, Job curses the day he was ever born.” “Some people think it is a sin to curse the day you where ever born.” * Cushion the blow Just as we might put a cushion under an object to absorb the shock of a heavy blow, so we may also say that we prepare a person before an emotional blow. “The Managing Partner asked Malcolm to take a seat on the sofa and gave him a kind smile and a glass of whiskey to cushion the blow that Malcolm would not be promoted to full partner this year.” “We shall have to let Higgins go but we will give him a golden handshake to cushion the blow.” “To cushion the blow that the factory in Bangkok would be closed down, the company informed the workers that those who would be willing to relocated to the Rayong factory site would be compensated for the move, and that those who did not want to go would be given financial compensation in accordance with the stipulations of the labor law.” * Cushy job Easy, comfortable, undemanding position of employment. “Everyone is jealous of Evelyn because she has landed a cushy job as receptionist in her boyfriend’s front office.” “I wish I could land a cushy job where I could take it easy and didn’t have to do much or carry much responsibility.” “After he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, Robert landed a cushy desk job with the government as a safety inspector.”* Cut a path Just as an elephant cuts a path through dense forest and


Cut above the average

Cut across

Cut and run

Cut back

Cut corners

jungle, so we say an explorer or researcher cuts a path through as yet unknown territory. “The Big, brawny Irishman cut a path through the crowd in the pub and went straight up to the Bar and ordered a pint of Guinness.” “The runaway steam roller broke through the hedge and cut a path through Granny’s flower garden, crushing the sitting-porch and only stopping when it hit the wall just before the front door.” * On a level that is superior and better than normal. “I must say that your son’s performance in school is a cut above average.” “It is the Colonel’s considered opinion that only one of the new cadets is a cut above average.” “Nowadays, if you want to land a job in big business, you have to be more than just a cut above average.” * Take a shortcut by going diagonally across rather than around the long way. “Rather than walk along the pavement to school, we took the short way and cut across the football field.” “Instead of walking along the road to school, we cut across the railway tracks and took a shortcut through the lumber yard and the local garbage dump.” “Don’t you just hate those drivers who zigzag from lane to lane and cut across in front of you?” “When skiing down the slope, be careful not to cut across diagonally in front another skier in a way that might make him lose his balance and fall and hurt himself.” * On one hand, this idiom means to cut the rope that holds you and run for your life to freedom and safety. On the other, it can mean to cut your losses and run from debts or claims against you and prosecution by the law. “In a love relationship you cut and run to avoid facing pain or confrontation.” “I’d better cut and run before she finds out I’m already married.” “We’d better cut and run before the Securities Commission finds out we’ve been trading illegally.” * Economize by reducing costs. “The firm is trying to cut back costs by introducing economy measures without making reductions in the number of staff.” “The government is trying to cut back in defense spending in line with the terms of the Nuclear Cutback Treaty.” “I have been trying to cut back my personal spending by limiting the amount of cash I carry in my pocket.”* Save money by cutting out unnecessary costs. “My income has decreased in such a way that I am forced to cut corners in every way I can to save money.” “My Dad has said we will have to cut corners in family spending so we can lay some money aside to accumulate funds for college.” “Cutting corners to keep costs down should always be balanced with the need to maximize quality and in-


Cut costs

Cut down to size

Cut out of the deal

Cut in front of

Cut it out!

Cut loose

crease profit.” * Reduce expenditures. “In an effort to cut costs, the firm has called in an efficiency expert to do a study on how we can save money.” “If we do not do something to cut costs, by this time next year the company will be showing a loss.” “I have cancelled all my club memberships and insurance policies in an effort to cut costs, to live within my income.”* Put someone in his place; show him that he’s not as big as he thinks he is. “He thinks he is pretty big, but after I have finished talking to him, he will be cut down to size.” “Major Collins has a high opinion of himself, but after Colonel Staley is finished dressing him down, he’ll be cut down to size.” “Dad thinks he is a pretty powerful family figure, but whenever we go to Granny’s house for a visit, she always cuts him down to size.” * Exclude someone from sharing in the profits. “My business partners made a secret contractual agreement between themselves to cut me out of the deal so they would not have to share any profits with me” “Japanese manufacturers used to have a reputation for building up markets in European countries through a local distributor, whom they would then cut out of the deal as soon as the market was big enough for the home company to manage for themselves.” “If you try to cut a street-gang drug dealer out of the deal he will have to kill you to save face.” * Swerve or move over in front of someone to cut off his path. “I hate it when motorcycles cut in front of me in traffic.” “The other day I was queuing up at the bank when a big, fat, impatient lady tried to cut in front of me.” “I was taught that it is polite never to cut in front of anyone.”* Stop it! Don’t do that! “Quit doing that right now! Cut it out!” “I want you to stop making noise right now! If you don’t cut it out, I’ll throw you out!” “I don’t like the way you are teasing me. You had better cut it out right now before I get really mad.” * Lose control and start acting like a mad or crazy person. “When Beatrice has drunk too much she suddenly cuts loose and starts to shower everyone around with angry, words of vulgar abuse.” “After being insulted so publicly, I cut loose with a string of ugly insults and swearwords that that would have provoked even a holy saint.” “The attendants tried to subdue the mental patient and hold him down, but the patient was so worked-up on adrenalin that he suddenly cut loose and began to rush angrily around like a bull in a china shop.” *


Cut me in on the deal.

Count me out!

Cut me some slack

Cut off all contact

Cut out for the job

Cut short

Cut someone off

Give me a share; let me share in the profits. “I hear you have got a foolproof plan to crack the Casino. Let me in on the deal.” “Let me in on the action. If you don’t cut me in on the deal I will reveal your illegal actions.” “I know that you are planning to inflate the construction costs by twenty percent and pocket the difference yourselves, and if you don’t cut me in on the deal, I’ll blow the whistle.” * Don’t count on me; I disagree; I won’t help you. “I won’t participate in your deceitful plan. You can cut me out!” “I would never take part in a plot to betray a friend. Cut me out!” “I’m not going to help or participate in your underhanded scheme to steal money from our own mother. You can count me out on that one!” * Don’t punish me too severely; be understanding and go easy on me. “Oh, come on! Don’t judge me too harshly. Cut me some slack. Loosen up and go easy on me.” “I am hoping that the discipline board will cut me some slack on account of my honesty and willingness to learn from my mistake.” “If students get used to the idea that university officials should cut them some slack just because they are young, it will encourage bad behavior.”* Cut relations. “After I asked Maggie to move out of my house, she cut off all contact with me, and I never heard from her again.” “My first husband took our only child, suddenly disappeared and cut off all contact with me.” “The British have cut off all official contacts with aggressive elements of the IRA.” * Having the ideal qualities required. “Because I have a natural talent for words and language and writing, I am cut out for the job of being an editor.” “My friend, Susan, loves to work with numbers and she is cut out for the job of being a tax consultant.” “I was not cut out to be a tax consultant. What I really always wanted to be was dress designer.” * To end before the time originally scheduled. “The President has cut short his holiday in Alaska, because of the hurricane alert in Florida.” “My family and I had to cut short our weekend at the seaside and return to the city because Grandmother was ill.” “Due to a family emergency, I regret to inform you that I must cut short my visit to your country and cancel our appointment for next Tuesday.” * Just as you can cut someone off from moving and proceeding further, so you can cut someone off in speaking or acting further. “In the old cowboy movies, the sheriff and boys used to cut off the gang of bad guys at the mouth of a mountain pass.” “Don’t cut me off in mid-


sentence! I am the chairman of this meeting.” “Prof. Davies talked for so long that the director of ceremonies finally had to cut him off.” * Cut the ice Find a way to get acquainted or get a conversation started; use a warm-up or get-acquainted device. “When I want to start a conversation with a girl, I ask her at which university she studied, just to cut the ice.” “When you are giving a presentation, first take a deep breath and look around the room and smile, just to cut the ice.” “Professor Higgenbottom often starts off his lectures with joke just to cut the ice.” * Cut to ribbons Just as a factory machine can cut a length of satin into pieces of ribbon, so we can say that a person or group of people is cut to ribbons by an opponent or an investigating authority. “The leader of Socialist Coalition was cut to ribbons by conservative MPs during the parliamentary debate on the founding of a socialist welfare state.” “I am afraid that if I debate the case in point with the prosecuting attorney, he will cut me to ribbons.” “You’d better tell the full truth to the Revenue Department, because if they catch you lying or trying to pass-off falsified documents, their officials will cut you to ribbons.” * Cut to the chase Don’t explain the development of the whole story just cut to the end; leave out the introductory information, and come straight to the point; don’t bother leading up to the point; come to the climax directly leaving out the details and tell the final result. “I don’t have the patience to listen to a lot of preliminary detail. Cut to the chase and tell me if I’m going to live or die.” “Time is money. Cut to the chase, and tell me what this is going to cost me.” “Don’t confuse me with the facts. Cut to the chase and tell me how long I am going to have to spend in jail.”* Cut to the pith of the Talk directly to the point; refer directly to the inner core matter (the heart) of the matter; come quickly to the main idea without unnecessary delay; go straight to the center of the issue. “Don’t talk around the issue in circles. Cut to the pith of the matter.” “Stop beating around the bush and cut straight to the pith of the matter.” “Skip the preamble; we haven’t got any time to waste. Cut to the pith of the matter.” * Cut to the quick Deeply hurt in the center of your being; cut right into the heart; wounded in your weakest point. “I was cut to the quick, when she said my poems were uncreative.” “When father said I was the least favorite of his sons, he cut me to the quick.” “When she said she could never love me under any circumstances, her words cut me to the quick.” * Cut your losses Absorb your financial losses and do not invest any more



Cut-off from the world

Cut-off point

Cutthroat prices

Cutting edge

so you won’t lose any more. “The investment didn’t work out, so Ken has decided to stop and cut his losses and is trying to make up the money in some other way.” “A good businessman instinctively knows when it’s time to cut his losses and run before he loses even more. “The firm has decided to erase all bad and cut its losses and try to do a better job of risk management to avoid losing any more money.” * Definitely-determined; exactly-decided; clear and certain: the way it is; can’t be changed after-the-fact. “The judge’s decision is clear and definite, cut and dried, and there’s no new evidence to justify re-opening the case.” “These are the indisputable facts, cut and dried, clear and exact, and they cannot be denied or questioned.” “Tax regulations are clear, cut and dried regarding the establishment of a foreign-entity opening a permanent representative office in Thailand, and there is no possibility of an exception to the rules.” * Isolated, in a far and distant place with little or no human contact. “I want to go and live as a forest recluse alone in a cave fully cut-off from the world.” “When you live in a research station in Antarctica, you are literally cut off from the world.” “I am so disenchanted with human behavior that I want to go and live on a far-off and remote island where I will be totally cut-off from the world.” * The absolute bare minimum; the bare requirement; the lowest point acceptable. “A score of 650 on the English language test is the minimum cut-off point for acceptance for study abroad.” “The cut-off-point for being acceptable for short term loans is a minimum income of sixty thousand Baht per month.” "We have so many good applicants for the graduate program that we are going to have to short-list all those with a cut-off point for the GPA of 3.8 or more and, then, interview them one-byone to decide which will be accepted and which will be eliminated.” * Over-priced; ruthless exploitation; highway robbery. “I never buy things in airport tourist shops because they charge cutthroat prices.” “Many of the merchants in the Bazaar in Istanbul charge foreigners cutthroat prices.” “I never take a taxi from the airport into the city because I refuse to pay the cutthroat prices they charge.” * The absolute forward-edge of technological development. “Bluetooth communications must stay at the absolute cutting edge of development if they want to beat the competition.” “I wouldn’t want to be an IT specialist because I would always have to keep myself at the cutting edge of new technology.” “The problem with starting up


Cutting remark

Cutting ties with


a new information technology company is that you always have to stay on the cutting edge or fall behind in the race to keep ahead of developments in new technology.”* A sarcastic or critical remark that is made with hurtful intentions. “I was deeply hurt by Kurt’s cutting remark that he suspected my motives to be insincere.” “A person who is always making cutting remarks about others is just feeding his own inferiority complex.” “I cannot take my husband anywhere in polite society. He is always being sarcastic and making cutting remarks about the people he sees and meets.” * Discontinuing relations with. “Turkey cut off all relations with Greece, and the Cypriot Greeks are cutting off ties with their Turk neighbors.” “The Israeli delegates are cutting off all diplomatic ties with Palestinian activist representatives.” “I am in the process of preparing documents allowing me the legal right of cutting off all ties with my family.” * Misbehaving; being naughty; acting up. “Stop that cutting-up and causing trouble just to get attention!” “I can’t take my kids anywhere. They are always cutting-up and being naughty.” “If you don’t stop your cutting-up and playing the fool, I’m going to send you to bed immediately.” *

Idioms and expressions Dab Definitions followed by examples A little. “Give me just a little dab of butter on my cracker.” “I think I would like just a little dab of caviar on my cracker.” “Put a tiny, little dab of whitening cream on the end of your index finger and then spread it thinly over the tip of your nose.” * Play around at and enjoy doing something a in an unprofessional way. “You might say that I dabble in art, but no one would ever say that I was an accomplished painter.” “The reason I have accumulated such a large private collection is because I like to dabble in antiques.” “At one time Thomas dabbled a bit in real estate and even made a little money, but then after a few bad investments, he gave it up as a bad job and an expensive pastime.” * Just as goods can be damaged in transit, so we may say that a person has become damaged goods in the process of life. “I would stay away from that girl, Evelyn, if I

Dabble in

Damaged goods


Damn with faint praise

Dampen your hopes

Dark days ahead

Dark horse

were you. She was abused and mistreated in her first marriage, and she is damaged goods” “When Dale was a child he was so psychologically brutalized that the effects stayed with him into manhood and caused him to become an unstable, inadequate marriage partner.” “I would not advise you to get involved with that newly appointed union leader. He’d damaged goods. He’s not quite right in the head.” * Blame by giving only weak praise “If you say that a thing is ‘not bad’ that is a way of condemning it with faint praise, because if you say something is ‘not bad’ it implies that it is ‘not good’ either.” “Another way of damning with faint praise is to say that a woman looks ‘quite attractive’ which means that she is good-looking but not really beautiful.” “Critics sometimes damn a play or work of art by saying it ‘shows talent’ when what they really mean id that it shows a talent that has yet to be cultivated to do its best.” * Just as gunpowder will not burn if it is damp or wet, so a certain condition may also be said to discourage your spirit and make you lose hope. “When I saw that I only had a 3.2 grade average, that dampened my hopes of ever getting into one of the very best graduate schools.” “When Colleen first saw the other contestants in the beauty Queen contest it dampened her initial hopes of winning.” “When the presidential candidate realized he would have trouble raising campaign funds, it dampened his hopes of entering the race.” * A dim and dismal future. “The political future looks grim. With everyone who has influence struggling for power to seek his own gain, there appear to be dark days ahead.” “As we watch man rapidly depleting the world’s natural resources, we realize that there will be dark days ahead.” “With the rise of independent nuclear weapons in the hands of potentially hostile nations, there seem to be dark days ahead.” * Just as a race horse that is never expected to win might come up from behind into first place in the race, so we might say that a candidate with little hopes of winning an election surprises everybody and wins. “The boys in the bar have told us a tip, direct from the horse’s mouth, that a dark horse called Skinny-Minnie will pull ahead to win the fourth race.” “Who would have ever thought that an independent, woman from the South who was running for Presidential Election as a dark horse could ever catch up and take the lead ahead of her Republican and Democratic rivals?” In the recent election, Senator Carey who at first appeared to be the front runner ended up as a


Dart around

Dart out a minute

Dash against the rocks

Dash off home

Day and night

Day in and day out

dark horse who could not pull into the lead.” * Just as swallows glide and dart around as they fly in the air, so a person may be said to move about quickly. “When I go into the hyper-convenience store, once I get a shopping basket, I dart around, from aisle to aisle, grabbing the things want, and I’m finished and checkedthrough cash and back in my car in less than three minutes.” “Motorcyclists that dart in and out, zipping and out cutting and forth between lanes are a hazard to road safety.” “My girlfriend doesn’t like it when I dart around, in and out of traffic.”* Just as a bird darts and dives in the sky, so we say will dash or dart off for a minute to do something and then come right back. “Stay here while I dart out a minute to get some ice from the ice-machine. Just sit tight were you are, and don’t move.” “Can you watch my shop while I dart out a minute to the ATM machine?” “You guys just sit here and wait while I dart out and buy a bottle of whiskey. I’ll be right back.” * Just as a ship may be dashed against the rocks and broken into bits and pieces, so one’s hopes may be said to be dashed against the rocks. “When the letter came from the Air Force Academy saying that they could not accept me to be trained as a pilot, my hopes were dashed against the rocks.” “All my lifelong-dreams were shattered and dashed against the rocks in just a minute when Eleanor said she no longer loved me.” “My hopes were dashed against the rocks when the bank refused to accept my business plan.” * Hurry or rush home. “If you will excuse me now. I’m going to dash of home to my darling wife, while you guys stay here and have another round of drinks on me.” “Tell the boss that I have to dash off home and pick up the audit report that I forgot.” “Please cancel all of my appointments for today. I’ve got to dash off home because of a family emergency.”* All around the clock continuously without stopping. “I worry day and night what will happen to my investment and if my business partners are intending to betray me.” I used to have a job where I worked day and night as a driver during the day and a watchman during the night.” “My wife is always yattering away at me day and night because of my careless habits.” * In the course of one’s constant day-by-day routine. “I hate doing the same old thing day in and day out in my job routine. I wish something new would happen once in a while just to break the monotony of my routine.” “This old day-to-day routine is so tedious and boring I some-


Day of doom

Day of reckoning

Daylight robbery

Dead and buried

Dead beat

Dead duck

times think it will drive me mad and make me do something crazy one day.” I just sit at my computer writing educational materials, day in and day out.” * The end of the world on the day when the world is destroyed as a punishment for its evil. “There is so much evil building up in the world right now they the day of doom is quickly approaching.” The preacher said that the day of doom was approaching and that we had better beg God for forgiveness of our sins before it was too late.” “My husband is so ignorant and stubborn he would never give in, not even if I waited to the day of doom.” * The day you go to heaven and God looks over your record to decide on your doom. “Fundamentalist Christians believe that when they die, is the day of their reckoning when they go before God who judges them for the way they have behaved during their lives and the sends them to heaven nor hell or some place in-between.” “I hope that on the day of reckoning, God will be merciful with me for my sins.” “If we keep abusing the environment the way we are the day of reckoning is bound to come whether there is a God or a Church or not.” * Charging unusually high prices even out in public places where everyone can see. “Paying twenty-fifty five dollars to have your picture taken on a camel in front of the Pyramids with your own digital camera is daylight robbery. Those thievish camel drivers ought to be whipped.” “Paying sixty dollars for airport transfer into the town center is daylight robbery.” “Being forced to pay airport tax is a clear case of greed and daylight robbery.” * An old story that is long since forgotten. “Don’t dig up your old resentment against our uncle. It is a story that is long since dead and buried. Just let it go and forget about it.” The old hatreds between the Germans and the Americans are long since dead and buried.” “Stop bringing up your grudge about father’s will. What’s done is done and both the issue and father have long since been dead and buried.” * Really tired. “I’m going to go to bed early. I am dead beat from working so hard in the heat all day.” “The firemen have been fighting flash forest for three days now, with little or no sleep, and they are dead beat.” “People who sit around in night clubs all night until dawn every day feel dead beat when it’s time to go to work in the morning.” * A plan or idea that has failed and is too late to be altered or brought back to life. “When the Democrats realized their proposed health care plan was a dead duck they quickly let it plop back into the water.” “The Premier’s


Dead end

Dead giveaway

Dead heat

Dead in the water

Dead of night

Dead on target

plan to create jobs and provide better welfare care for the poor proved to be a dead duck on the floor of parliament because it met with too much conservative opposition.” “I often tell my students that when something they are writing is a dead duck which can not be fixed by rewriting.”* A street that goes in and just stops at the end; goes nowhere; cul-de-sac. “Becoming a heroine addict is a dead end.” “Hillary realized her health plan was a dead end so she had to give it up.” “Asking philosophical questions that cannot be answered is a dead end.” * Something that shows clear evidence of deceitful, secret or hidden intentions. “The look of shame in his eyes is a dead giveaway that Clarence is lying to his mother.” “The plumpness of Carole’s tummy is a dead giveaway that she is already at least three months pregnant. I wonder who the father is?” “The disappearance of Clarence on the night of Carole’s murder is a dead giveaway that he had something to do with it.” * Photo finish; nose-on nose; even-draw. “When two horses run neck-and-neck in a race, we sat they are running a dead heat.” “In an any race when two competitors record the same time for a certain distance, this is declared to have been a dead heat.” “So far in the election it seems to be a dead heat between the two leading candidates who seem to be neck-and-neck, in dead heat with each pulling about thirty-three percent of the popular vote.” * Just as a ship without an engine is dead in the water, so we can say a plan or venture is dead in the water when it is adrift and not making headway. “After the primary investor backed out of the deal and took his money with him, the whole project was dead in the water.” “Our website’s grand plan to post the entire Tipitaka translated into English on the internet appears to be dead in the water.” “The government’s plan to increase VAT to ten percent appears to be dead in the water at the moment.” * The darkest hour of the night. “The ghost scene in the play occurs in the dead of night atop the walls of the palace when even the guards are asleep.” “In the dead of night someone who doesn’t like me crept into my garden and hung a human skeleton from my mango tree.” “My first wife left me taking all our money in the dead of the night while I was asleep after taking my sleeping tablet.” * Hitting exactly what you aimed for. “Tommy threw a stone at a frog on a log in the middle of the pond and hit it dead on target.” “In the old days, longbow archers


Dead on your feet

Dead on!

Dead ringer

Dead set against

Dead to the world

Dead wood

could shoot their arrows a hundred yards and hit an approaching enemy dead on target.” “Nowadays, they have smart bombs that can direct them selves exactly to their destinations and hit them dead on target.” “Our marketing team met their budget dead on target and the company is giving them a bonus.” * So tired you can hardly stand up. “I’m dead on my feet from standing at the bar all night, so I’m going to knock it off now and go to bed and get some rest.” “At the end of the day, mom is dead on her feet from all the many household chores she has to do.” “After marching thirty kilometers during the heat of the day in the burning desert, the platoon of soldiers was almost dead on its feet.” “Someone who stands all day working as a hotel doorman must feel dead on his feet at the end of his shift.” * Just as ships use a compass and arrive at their destinations dead on course, so “You can say that someone is dead on when he have somehow arrived at the right conclusion. “Dead on! That’s exactly right.” “Sherlock Holmes was dead on when he suspected the butler had poisoned designated for him in the master’s will.” “Your guess id dead on! Dead right! How could you have known there were eighty-four thousand angels on the head of the pin?” * Someone who looks exactly like someone else. “They have got a guy singing in a bar down town who is a real dead ringer for Elvis Presley.” “There is some fellow who is a dead ringer for Gandhi who is going around giving meditation lessons.” “Sadam Hussein had several men who looked just like him, who were such dead ringers you could hardly tell them apart, and he used to send them out to perform his duties at functions he did not want to attend himself.” * Absolutely opposed. “My father is dead set against me marrying anyone outside of my own religion, but I do not agree with his traditional view.” “The CEO is dead set against any increases in salary until the company has met its obligation to establish a financial reserve.” “I was dead set against the Americans going into the Iraq war just to selfishly protect their own oil interests. * Asleep and totally unconscious of one’s surroundings. “After I take my sleeping pill, I am dead to the world for at least six hours.” Something useless that needs to be cut out, like dead wood in a forest reserve. Often in government we say we need to cut out deadwood, like unnecessary bureaucratic procedures so more useful procedures can take their place. “I used to tell my


Deadpan face




Death and taxes

Death toll

Death trap

students that unnecessary wording in their essays was dead wood that needed to be cut out.”* Showing no emotion; expressionless; poker-faced; blank; unreadable; straight-faced. “Stupid jokes are even-morefunny, when the comedian can tell them with an absolutely deadpan face.” “Card players keep a deadpan, poker face, when gambling, so no one can see how they feel about the cards they are holding.” “Dirty politicians can tell even the most outrageous lies with an absolutely deadpan face.” * Absolutely opposed to; unable to comply; unwilling to agree; wholly resistant. “I am dead set against my daughter going abroad to study in the USA because I feel Americans are much too liberal in matters of sexual morality.” “I am dead set against the idea of my son becoming an actor, but he is going to go ahead and give it a try anyway.” “The President and the cabinet are dead set against the idea of declaring out-and-out war.”* So tired that you almost feel dead; so tired that you hardly have the energy to even move. “I’m going to bed early because I didn’t get much sleep last night and I dead-tired.” “I’m dead tired from eighteen hours of traveling, and I’m looking forward to getting some sleep.” “I’m so dead tired from physical labor that I can hardly move a muscle.” * Fast asleep; in a very deep sleep; a slumber so sound that you are oblivious to the outside world; you would be hard to awaken, especially if sleeping off the effects of drugs or drink. “I fell into such a deep sleep that I was dead to the world and slept for fourteen hours solid.” “I must have been dead to the world because I didn’t even hear the alarm clock go off this morning.” “Don’t even try to wake up grandfather; he’s still dead to the world, after drinking a whole bottle-of-whiskey last night.” * Everything is as inevitable as death and taxes. “Death and taxes cannot be avoided but greed and corruption can.” “The inevitably of uncertainty is as sure as death and taxes.” “Death and taxes are the only two things you can be sure of, and the government have just legislated a new law about levying the latter on the former.” * The number of dead counted. “The death toll of the hurricane that devastated the West Florida coastline was three-hundred and eighteen at last count.” “There has been a human stampede in a football stadium in Brazil in which the death toll has reached eighty-three.” “The death toll of the bomb explosion in the Sunday Market was one hundred and twenty three persons.” * A place in which many victims would be burned-to-


Death wish

Death’s doorstep

Debatable point

Debt of gratitude

Deciding factor

Deciding moment

death if there were ever a fire when it was fully crowded with people. “Many discos that teenagers like to visit are death traps with too few exits through which to escape in the case of fire.” “Many hotels in Pattaya are potential death traps because they keep the fire exits locked to prevent guests leaving without paying their bills.” “Big shopping malls are potential deathtraps because no would know how to get out in case of a burning holocaust.” * Inherent wish to die. “Psychologists have taken tests and done research which suggests that all human beings have some form of inherent death wish.” “Some psychos and weirdoes have such a pronounced death wish that they dramatically destroy themselves.” “Others acting out a hidden death wish slowly drink themselves to death and finally fulfill their wish.” * The moment before death or almost at the point of death. “Even though I know that I am at death’s doorstep, I do not feel worried or fearful about coming to the end of my life.” “Father was so ill with bronchial pneumonia he was nearing death’s doorstep, but after six days in the hospital he began to recover and, now, is out of danger.” “With only twenty percent pulmonary output I am nearing death’s doorstep, but I do not fear death.” * An uncertain; questionable; doubtful; dubious; undecided; arguable fact or point-of-view. “Whether human cloning is unethical is a debatable point.” “Whether the world is progressing or regressing is a debatable point.” “It is a debatable point, whether captured terrorists should be held as combatants rather than as prisoners of war.” * To owe or be indebted to someone due to thankfulness for something they have done for you. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to Governor for the way he helped handle the clean-up operations after the tornado.” “The platoon owes a great debt of gratitude to Sgt. Wilkins for the excellent way he trained us in wilderness survival skills.” “I owe a great debt of gratitude to my grandfather for teaching me the difference between what is right and wrong.” * The main contributing factor that determined the outcome. “The deciding factor in the invasion of Iraq was not merely to depose Sadaam Hussein but to get control of oil reserves.” “The deciding factor that caused the Finance Minister to lower bank loan interest rates was to loosen up cash and increase spending.” “The deciding factor for me in moving to Thailand was that I wanted to live in a Buddhist country.” * The moment circumstances came together to result in the


final effect. “I think the deciding moment in my career was when I followed my favorite Professor’s advice and went abroad to study in Europe.” “The deciding moment in the election was the day the candidate promised support to the activist gay and women’s right’s movements. That got him the three percent of the votes that he needed.” “The deciding moment was when the soldier was forced to decide whether to kill or be killed.” * Decked-out-in your Sun- All dressed-up in your best clothes to make a good imday best pression. “Big Momma likes to get all-decked-out-in her Sunday best to go to Church each week.” “When you put on your best suit of clothes and groom yourself to look your very best, no matter what day of the week it is, we say you are decked out in your Sunday best.” “When Dad dies he wants to be laid in his coffin, all decked out in his Sunday best.” * Decline an invitation Not accept, turn down or refuse to accept an invitation. “My first husband invited me to his second wedding, but I declined the invitation.” “I’m getting so old and tired, now, that I can no longer go running all around everywhere and often have to decline an invitation. “The Princess is invited to preside at so many social occasions, that she often has no other choice but to decline an invitation.” * Decline comment Refuse to say anything. “I have nothing to say, and that is what I am saying. I decline comment.” “When they asked the Prime minister what he thought of the scandalous affair, he declined comment.” “Often, when you are asked to express an opinion but have nothing good to say, it is better to decline comment.”* Deep down inside Hidden in the unconscious mind. “I keep trying to convince myself to forget my first husband, but deep down inside, I am as much in love with him now as I ever was.” “He behaves like a real tough guy, but deep down inside, he’s as soft as a marsh-mellow.” “I try to make everyone think I am a good guy, but deep down inside I am unsure sometimes myself whether my motives are entirely unselfish.” * Deep water Something that is over your head, so you are in deep trouble. “Just as you can be in deep water when swimming, so we say we are in deep water when we are into trouble over our heads.” “At first, we had cash flow problems, but that was not so bad; the thing that put us in really deep water financially was the rising cost of building materials.” “The Dean said that Howard had often been in trouble for breaking minor dormitory rules, but now they had caught him taking drugs with a woman in his room, he was really in deep water.” *


Deep, dark secret

A well-kept secret that no one has ever known. “They say that everybody has a deep, dark secret that they wouldn’t want anyone else to know.” “Governor Collins has a deep, dark secret that would blow the lid off his career if anybody were ever to know.” “What happened to the Saudi jewels was thought to be a deep, dark secret, but, actually, many high-ranking officials knew where they had disappeared to.” * Deep-rooted Unconscious, deep-seated, deeply-embedded. “When we bottle up deep-seated emotions, we become like a pressure cooker. “For as long as I can remember, there has always been a deep-rooted hatred between the IRA and the Pro-English Irish.” “The causes of anti-social behavior and resentment against authority are often deeprooted.” * Defensive attitude Aggressive behavior of someone easily offended by criticism. “Whenever Gloria asks her husband to try to improve his manners, he always takes on a defensive attitude.” “Charles tends to fend off personal attacks by assuming a defensive attitude.” “Often, in press conferences, when asked aggressive questions, the president adopts a defensive attitude.”* Defer to someone’s opin- Give in and follow the other person’s view or attitude. ion “Although it is against my better judgment, I defer to the judge’s opinion that our child should remain in my exwife’s custody.” “Although the members of the cabinet were divided on the issue of what to do, they decided to defer to the president’s opinion.” “In this case although I do not entirely agree with her, I shall defer to my wife’s opinion.” * Defuse the situation Resolve and smooth out an otherwise inflamatory or explosive situation. “The delegates were at one another’s throats, and a negotiator had to be brought in to defuse the situation.” “Selfish demands by tribal chieftains are escalating conflicts that are about to break out into civil war, so the United Nations is sending in a special envoy to help diffuse the situation” “Tensions were tight during bargaining sessions between management and labor and finally to avoid a breakdown in talks, an independent mediator had to be drought in to defuse the situation” * Degenerate behavior Immoral behavior below generally accepted standards. “The neighbor’s children behave like beasts. I have never in my life seen such degenerate behavior.” “Your husband behaved like an absolute beast at the party. I have never seen such degenerate behavior in my life.” “One of the problems with having low-grade British soldiers posted on Iraqi soil is that their drinking and degenerate behavior can be offensive to the local people and relig-


Degrading remark

Delegate authority

Delusions of grandeur

Delve into the depths

Demolition order

Denounce as a traitor

ion.” “Father has told me that if I do not give up my drinking and gambling and womanizing and degenerate behavior in general, he is going to cut me out of his will.” * Demeaning, denigrating, belittling comment. “To call Dunsure a loathsome beast is a degrading comment.” “Don’t you make any of your usual degrading remarks when you meet my family or they will think you lookdown-on others.” “One of the objects of right speech is to catch yourself before you maker degrading remarks about others to avoid doing yourself and others harm.” * Designate and entrust someone to do a job. “A good manager knows how to delegate authority to qualified staff members in order to get the job done.” “A Major General cannot run an Army all by himself, so that’s why he has qualified officers to whom he can delegate authority.” “One of the qualities of being an effective president is in knowing how to delegate authority to spread the workload and to keep yourself free enough to maintain a broad overview.” * False, inflated ideas of your own importance. “A person who thinks he is better and higher and more superior to everybody else has delusions of grandeur.” “You can find people in mental homes that have delusions of grandeur and think they are Napoleon or the King of France.” “Some people who get a lot of money and political power develop delusions of grandeur, when, in fact, they are nothing but a lot of dirty little crooks.” * Go deeply into an investigation of a question. “It is a mystery to everyone how tens of millions of dollars could just disappear into thin air, but tax investigators are being brought in to delve into the depths of the matter.” “Doctors do not know why B virus is so prevalent in South East Asia, but they are beginning research to study the causes and delve into the depths of the matter.” “The question of whether the world is infinite and eternal is something so profound, that you cannot understand it without delving deeply into the depths of the matter.” * The court order to tear down or blow up and destroy a building. “It is against the law to explode and demolish buildings and structures without first getting a demolition order from the proper authorities.” “The superior court has given a demolition order to blow up the National Stadium in order to make place for a new one.” “The strategic bridge was blown up after a demolition order was received from British Command Headquarters.” * Name as someone who has turned against and betrayed the cause; become a double agent. “The American IT


Depart from this world

Depend on

Depict as a villain

Depths of depression

Dereliction of duty

specialist who sold military secrets to the Chinese was denounced as a traitor and sentenced life imprisonment.” “When the defense minister turned-against the President on the issue of National Security, the president denounced him as a traitor.” “When the interior minister refused to order gas attacks against women and children amidst his own people, the Premier denounced him as a traitor to government policies and had him executed immediately.”* Pass away and die. “Sometimes, I wish I could depart from this world to be freed from earthly suffering and pain, but then, I think of something I still want to try and change my mind again.” “It is satisfying to know that, when I depart from this world, my loved ones will be provided for in accordance with my last will and testament.” “They say that when you depart from this world, if your mind is focused on some pure, wholesome thought, you will go to a heavenly abode.” * Rely on somebody to aid and assist you. “Everybody let me down, so I had no one left to depend on.” “So I cut off my ties with everyone and tried to depend on myself alone.” “When you know you can’t even depend on yourself, you can’t blame others for being undependable.” * Attempt to make some one look like the bad guy or person of evil intent. “The opposition is trying to depict the Prime Minister as a villain, while members of his own party are setting him up as a national hero.” “Liberals always depict the defense minister as a villain when the are enemy casualties in foreign wars.” “After our divorce, my wife went around talking to everyone and depicting me as the villain.” * The worst, lowest levels of sadness, misery and despair. “When I was a Sophomore, I went trough a period in which I was sunk in the depths of depression but it was only a stage in growing up, and I soon got over it.” “When I was in my thirties, I almost drank myself to death in the face of the depths of depression of existential despair.” “Nowadays, people who are chronically in the depths of depression can be helped by being prescribed pharmaceutical products which can bring them back to states of near normalcy.”* Neglect and disregard for one’s delegated responsibilities. “A military officer who falls asleep on guard-duty during his watch is guilty of a dereliction of duty.” “The Officer of the Watch who caused the merchant oil tanker to run aground, due to his drunken-ness, was accused of dereliction of duty.” “They are now accusing the Justice


Derive from

Derogatory comments

Deserve better

Deserving cause

Designated driver

Desperate measures

Despicable behavior

Minister of dereliction of duty for not accusing the President of war crimes and taking him to justice.” * Get, gain or originate from. “These extra profits derive from upward fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.” “All income derived from direct sales is subject to value added tax.” “The Revenue Department, together with the Committee Against Corruption is in the process of seizing all illegal income without transparent sources and using the money for the national good.” * Belittling, derisive, critical remarks. “People who make derogatory remarks about others are feeding their own egos and inferiority complexes.” “Let’s have no derogatory comments about the opposing members of debate team just because they happen to hold another point-ofview.” “People who make derogatory comments about others are low-minded and mean-spirited.” * Be worthy of better treatment or circumstances. “I don’t see why my family treats me so badly I think I deserve better treatment.” “Why don’t you get rid of that no-good husband of yours? You certainly deserve better.” “We think it is a shame that you put mother in an old people’s home; we think that she deserves better than that.” * Worthy; justifiable. “A lot of people donate to the Red Cross because they know it is a worthy cause.” “We donated a lot of time and money to the Tsunami victims because we thought it was for a deserving cause.” “When David saw the poor abandoned people living in the old folk’s home, he considered it a deserving cause and made a generous donation,” * A person who drives a group of people who will be drinking alcohol but who will no drink alcohol himself. “Since I will not drink alcohol at the party, all my friends are coming with me in my car and I am the designated driver.” “My friends and I all drink like fish, but when we go to the beer festival, one of us has to stay sober and serves as the designated driver.” “When my Daddy used go to a wedding and drink whiskey, I was assigned as the designated driver.” * Undertake strong, forceful actions to prevent unwanted events from happening. “Desperate situations require desperate measures.” “The President has stated that he is ready to take desperate measures to fend off the immanent threat of terrorist attacks.” “The firm faces the risk of bankruptcy in the third quarter, and if we do not take desperate measures to cut down on labor and energy costs, we are going to go bust for sure.” * An appalling, dreadful, shameful way of behaving. “Despite his rank and wealth, the people came to despise him


Despicable deed

Detached from the world

Detained for questioning


Detrimental effect

Devastating situation

for his disgraceful behavior.” “You will never be able to gain the respect of others if you don’t stop your drunken debauchery and despicable behavior.” “Dad says that promising to marry a girl just so you can get sex is despicable behavior.” * A wicked and shameful act; an action that is appalling, dreadful, loathsome and vile; a deed to be despised. “An act of incest is a despicable deed, indeed.” “To murder your own child is a despicable deed.” “To betray your best-friend, so his enemies can stab him in the back is a despicable deed.” * Standing back from the world and watching with equanimity. “The way to avoid stress is to stand back and observe and remain detached from the world and not get involved in its struggles.” “An even better way to stay calm and balanced and detached from the world is to practice a regular routine of meditation.” “Surely the best way is to become a monk and stay in the temple and meditate upon attachment to sensation until you become wholly detached from the world.” * Held by police for interrogation. “Three suspects have been detained for questioning in the case of Bangkok Bank robbery.” “All known drug dealers have been rounded up and detained for questioning in a campaign to stop the flow of drugs from getting onto the streets.” “Six Muslim separatists have been detained for questioning regarding the bomb blast in Central Railway Station.” * Strong-minded, resolute, unrelenting effort. “If you don‘t make a determined effort in getting an education, you are very likely to fail in your attempt to succeed in life.” “After making six months of determined effort, Cora finally managed to bring her weight down by thirty kilos.” “The World Health Organization is making a determined effort world wide to stamp out conditions that lead to Malaria.” * An intention or cause that results in a harmful effect. “Carbon gasses are having a detrimental effect on the ozone layer.” “All that cheap whiskey Tom has been drinking has been having a detrimental effect on both his brain and liver.” “Constant greed and worry are bound to have a detrimental effect on your health, sooner or later.” * A state of affairs with destructive, overwhelming, shocking conditions. “In the face of such a devastating situation, the Tsunami victims were totally at a loss to know where to begin or what to do.” “After the World Trade Center Bombing, the mayor of New York was faced with a devastating situation.” “When my husband ran away


Deviate from the norm

Devil in disguise

Devil’s advocate

Devious intentions

Devoted husband

Devoted to the cause

with a younger woman and left me with four children I was in an absolutely devastating emotional situation.” * Diverge, differ and digress from the mean; be different from what is normal. “If you live in normal society, and you deviate from the norm, people will think you are weird.” “The results of my blood-tests deviate from the norm, so my doctors are giving me further tests to try to determine the cause.” “Sometimes there are random impulses that deviate from the norm that could be an early sign of developing abnormality; this is as true for scientific research as it is for people.” * A bad influence dressed up as a good intention. “A wolf dressed-up to look like a little girl’s grandmother is a devil in disguise.” “Don’t be fooled the apparent benevolent, loving-kindness of Evelyn’s husband. He’s actually a devil in disguise.” “Sometimes a demon can take on attractive human form and appear to someone to try to tempt him as a devil in disguise.” * Someone who tests an argument just by saying the opposite, to see if it holds water. “Someone who always says the opposite just for the sake of argument is playing the devil’s advocate.” “My uncle Roger is always playing the devil’s advocate by questioning the truth of whatever people say; sometimes his intervention is helpful, but, more often, it is harmful.” “Just for the sake of argument, let me play the devil’s advocate and ask what happens if our assumption is wrong.” * Deceitful, sneaky, tricky, underhanded, scheming motives. “I don’t know what he is up to, but you can be sure that he has devious intentions.” “Someone who is secretly scheming to do an evil action may be said to have devious intentions.” “Sometimes you cannot see what is in a person’s mind, so you are not sure whether he has good or devious intentions.” * Loyal, dedicated, faithful husband. “My father was a loyal and devoted husband to my mother and never cheated on her even once in his life.” “It seems to be getting harder and harder for a young woman to find a loyal and devoted husband.” “If you marry me, I promise with all my heart that I will forever be a loyal and devoted husband.” * Committed to the cause with loyalty and devotion. “I am devoted to the cause of freedom but not so devoted that I would kill and die for it.” “I am devoted to the cause of freedom but not so devoted that I would kill and die for it.” “Catherine is a loyal, dedicated and faithful Red Cross Volunteer who is devoted to the cause.” “The government says that its young men should be so devoted to


Diatribe against

Dicker about the price

Diddle someone

Didn’t pan out

Die away

the cause of freedom that they are ready to fight for their country if necessary.” * Verbal attack and denunciation against; strong and extended criticism against. “In Church on Sunday, the preacher directed a diatribe against lust and sin that put the fear of the Lord into his parishioners.” “Antiabortionists have been conducting a diatribe against a women’s intentional choice to end a pregnancy and thereby because it involves the taking of life.” “The leader of the opposition stood up in parliament and firedoff a lengthy and angry diatribe about corruption and government contracts, the like of which had never been heard before.” * Bargain, argue and haggle about the price. “When I go to the market, I don’t bargain and bicker about the price, I just pay them what they ask for because I can’t be bothered dickering about money.” “My friend, Dr. Abdul, told me that a gentleman of standing would never bargain and haggle and dicker over the price of the item in an Egyptian marketplace because it would make him loose face.” “It always makes me feel a little ashamed when I see foreign tourists dickering about the price of a necktie in a tourist market place.” * Cheat someone out of something out by over-charging someone by using deceit and trickery. “When Pamela found out that the maid had been diddling her on the shopping bill every week for over a year, she immediately fired her.” “The amazing thing about this country is the way people are always coming up with new ways of trying to diddle one another out of a little money.” “I would never try to diddle someone out of even the smallest sum of money, for whatever reason, especially for just a few Baht, and I wonder why people are always trying to diddle me.” * Just as people pan for gold in the bed of a river, so they may say they invested in a business venture that didn’t pan out. “Most of the new business ventures registered under law soon run out of money and fail to pan out and have to close down.” “My Mom borrowed money from my uncle to open a Laundromat in Pattaya, and, when her idea didn’t pan out, she had no money to pay my uncle back.” “When Mitch was younger, he opened a coffee house, hoping he could make it a popular hangout and make a living at the same time, but his hopes didn’t pan out as expected.” * Just as the last evening light may die away in the west, so we may say that an attitude or custom or cultural characteristic dies away in the course of time. “The cultural


custom of showing high respect for one’s elders is unfortunately dying away.” “The idea that women are inferior to men has gradually been dying away for centuries.” “The custom of women bowing at the feet of their husbands at bedtime has all but died away.” * Die down Settle down and become quiet. ‘There were a lot of public demonstrations in the last few weeks, but, now, things are starting to die down.” “After the initial excitement of the scandal, Giovanni decided to lie low for a while to let the dust settle down and let things die down.” “There has been a great hue and cry about government corruption, but as usual, someone will appoint a committee to look into the matter, and, by the time they have filed their report, the commotion will have died down.” * Die of Die as a cause or result of. “You may feel devastated your heart is broken, but you are not going to die of it.” “Many British soldiers died of dysentery in Burma in the Second World War.” “Increasing numbers of needleinjecting heroin addicts are dying of HIV related causes.” * Die with your boots on Die like a man, while still active and working. “Cowboys used to say they didn’t want to get old and have to retire but would rather die with their boots on while still herding cattle.” “There used to be a lot of old gunslingers in the wild west who would rather have died with their boots on than in bed.” “Many laboring class workers say they would rather die with their boots on than old and alone in bed.” * Die-hard Someone who is too conservative and old-fashioned, who is inflexible and unwilling to change. “Some attitudes and opinions die hard, because it takes several generations for them to die out and be replaced by newer ideas.” “There were a lot of old die-hard Nazis still living in Germany, after the war, but eventually that generation passed away, it was replaced by a new, younger, moreopen-minded generation” “My Dad is one of those old die-hards who believe that women should not have the right to vote and that their place is in the kitchen.” “Old customs and traditions die hard, and sometimes that is a good thing.” * Different strokes for dif- Not everybody likes the same things; some people like ferent folks one thing; some like another; to each-his-own, according to his will, according to his own taste. “Some like it hot and hard; some like it soft and gentle; that’s why we say ‘different strokes for different folks.’” “Some like gorgeous girls; some like gay boys, as they say, ‘different strokes for different folks.’” “Everybody supposedly has the right to do as he pleases whether everyone else agrees


or not, according to the idiom, different strokes for different folks.” * Dig down deep into your Give generously and be charitable. “We are asking all of pockets you to dig down deep into your pockets and give generous contributions to help aid the Bangladesh flood victims.” “This charity is for a deserving cause so we hope you will all dig down deep in your pockets and donate generously.” “We are starting a Lodge of Research and, as there are so few founder-members, we are asking each one of you to dig down deep in his pocket and make a generous contribution towards this end.” * Dig it! Like, appreciate, understand and really get into something having to do with the jazz or music scene or something that is considered cool. “I dig you baby. I think you’re cool” “I just don’t dig it when a chick takes over sexual control.” “Jazz fans used to really dig it when Miles Davis played his trumpet standing with his back to the audience facing towards the other musicians.” * Dig up dirt on Find out some gossip; uncover something scandalous from the past from the past that has been kept secret. “When the Conservatives can’t think of any other way of discrediting their opponents, they hire a private detective to go out and dig up some dirt on him.” “Scandal magazines are always trying to dig up dirt on Hollywood stars to appeal to the low-mindedness of their readers.” “The press is always trying to dig up dirt on public servants and political figures just to increase newspaper circulation.” * Digging your own grave Setting up the situation for your own destruction. “When Sam went away to college, his Mom told him to stay away from drugs or he would be digging his own grave.” “Don’t do it! If you go ahead with your evil intentions, you will be digging your own grave.” “People who are excessive in the use of addictive substances are digging their own graves.” * Dilly-dally Wasting time hanging about; dawdling along behind the group, being slow, hesitant or indecisive. “Come on children! Hurry along the path and don’t get lost by dillydallying behind the others.” “In every tour group, there are always a couple of people who dilly-dally behind the rest, soothe tour guide has to keep an eye out for fear of losing them.” “There is no time for dilly-dallying about; we have to be packed and ready to go by ten o’clock, when the bus leaves for the airport.” * Dim view of Disapproving attitude towards something improper or morally wrong. “The religious community takes a dim view of increasing immorality amongst young people.” “The religious community takes a dim view of increasing




Dirt cheap

Dirt poor

Dirty deal

immorality amongst young people.” “My mother takes a dim view of my dating someone with another skin color, but I have told her that when you close your eyes, it all feels the same.” “The Ambassador takes a dim view of Embassy staff members getting drunk in The British Social Club after work, especially because it makes a bad impression when foreign guests are present.” * A little dull when it comes to intelligence. “John seems a little dim-witted at times, but it is mostly the effect of the heavy anti-anxiety drugs they are giving him.” “Some guys marry dim-witted blondes just as an ego-boost just to impress their friends.” “Our younger brother is a bit dim-witted and has to go to a special school, but that does not mean that we love him less.” * Just as in the past people used to sell ordinary items, like eggs or cakes, for ten cents a dozen, so, nowadays, when we want to say some things are common, in over-supply, and easy-to-find very cheap, we use the expression “dime-a-dozen.” “Beautiful blondes in Hollywood are a dime a dozen.” “Lawyers are a dime-a dozen and can’t always earn a living, but good and honest layers will always be able to find a job.” “Bar girls in Pattaya are a dime-a-dozen and, in the off-season, they have nothing to do but sit around and wait for the tourist season to begin again.” * As cheap as dirt; for almost nothing. “You can buy goods dirt cheap in the Thai border towns on the bordercrossings of Burma.” “A lot of European department stores by products dirt cheap directly China rather than from Thailand because labor and production costs here are much higher.” “Tourists who exchange Euros in Thailand find the prices here dirt cheap compared to prices in their home countries.” * A person who owns only the dirt where he farms is said to be dirt poor. “My grandparents were dirt poor when they started working the land here in Kansas three generations ago.” “Tom told me that although his forefathers were uneducated and dirt poor, the family can boast of having produced two doctors one lawyer and one judge, and architect and an engineer.” “No one ever claim that we are uneducated and dirt poor any more.” * An unfair transaction in which someone is cheated or suffers an unfair advantage. “I think it is a dirty deal the way middlemen take advantage of farmers by paying low prices for crops and then selling them at higher prices to make a big profit.” “It is a dirty deal the way the government is charging higher taxes but not using the money for the advantage of the common people.” “I think it is a


Dirty linen

Dirty looks

Disadvantaged children

Disappear into thin air

Disapprove of

Disciplinary measures

dirty deal the way I paid into my medical health-plan all of my life, only to find out in the end that they try every trick in the book to avoid paying for my hospital costs.” * Just as we wouldn’t want to show our dirty laundry (or linen in public, so we have deep, dirty secrets that good people wouldn’t want to know. “There is an old saying that says, ‘We should not wash our dirty linen in public.” “A married couple should discuss their problems and differences in private rather than wash their dirty linen in public.” “It was shameful the way prince Charles and Lady Diana washed their dirty linen in public each giving biased interviews that were then published in the press.” * Looking displeased; scornful; resentful. “I didn’t ask Cynthia to the school prom thirty yeas ago and she still gives me dirty looks whenever she sees me.” “Christopher’s ex-mother-in-law still gives him dirty looks for the way he treated her daughter who is now his ex-wife.” “When someone is resentful and gives other people dirty looks, this causes more resentment and never leads to good.” * Children with no family, no means of support, no one to take care of them, and many other disadvantages. “I like to donate to charity to help disadvantaged children.” “The Masonic Fraternity has done a lot of charity work providing medical care and education for disadvantaged children.” “The problem with men leaving their wives and families to run-off with another woman is that this leaves behind a lot of disadvantaged children.” * Do a disappearing act so no one can catch or find you. “The robber exited the front door of the bank and suddenly disappeared into thin air, and no body has been able to figure out how he pulled his disappearing act.” “My first husband withdrew all our money from the bank and disappeared into thin air and was never heard from again.” “The cops are onto me, so I’d better disappearing into thin air before they catch and arrest me.” * Take a dim view of something as being a wrong attitude or action. “Grandmother disapproves of people displaying physical affection in public.” “Our boss disapproves of women wearing trousers in the office because he likes to see them in skirts and dresses.” “My Mom disapproves of me hanging around the pool room because she thinks I will fall into bad company, and I know she is right.” * Rules of discipline being imposed on wrongdoers as an example to encourage others to follow regulations. “The Dean is imposing disciplinary measures against the stu-


dents who hoisted a toilet bow and placed it atop the flagpole.” “The army has imposed disciplinary measures against the enlisted men who imposed torture on captured, military prisoners.” “Disciplinary measures are being undertaken by the company to punish employees who deliberately disregard the working regulations.” * Discriminate against Judge people of being inferior due to religion, caste, race, sex or any other factor that would make them less than equal to oneself. “One should never discriminate against others based on race or religion.” “The employment policy used to discriminate against women, so they got paid less than a man for doing the same job.” “In the USA, it is against the law to show any kind of discrimination against anyone for any reason because all people are considered as being born equal.” * Disdainful attitude Scornful, derisive way of looking down on others. “The Duchess has a disdainful attitude and looks down on anyone not born into the aristocratic class.” “Those who show a disdainful attitude are often just covering up an inferiority complex.” “One should view all people as being equal and never have a disdainful attitude towards anyone in the world.” * Dismal end A miserable, unhappy final result. “I swear that boy will meet a dismal end if he does not stop flirting with risk and danger.” “Your life will come to a dismal end if you do not learn balance your mind to control your desire and anger.” “If you do not quit drinking to decrease the damage to your liver, you will surely come to a dismal end.” * Dismal prospect Depressing outlook and expectation for the future. “Environmentalists are predicting a dismal prospect for the future.” “Economists are convinced that increasing bank interest rates indicates a dismal prospect for fourth quarter earnings.” “Astrologists, scientists and pessimists are all predicting a dismal prospect for the future.” * Disparaging remark Reproachful, disapproving, belittling comment. “Colleen is always making disparaging and hurtful remarks about the other ladies in her social circle and making herself a lot of enemies.” “We should always be aware that when we are making disparaging remarks, about other people the effects will be painful and harmful.” “When you have the temptation to make a disparaging remark to someone, it would be better to hold your tongue.” * Dispense with the for- Skip the preliminary formal introductions. “Let’s dismalities pense with the formalities and get straight down to business.” “Since this is an informal meeting, we can dispense with traditional formalities and get down to brainstorming right away.” “When time means money, busi-


ness conferences dispense with time-wasting formalities and go directly to the point, so team members can understand what is expected of them and get back to their desks as quickly as possible.” * Display of affection Showing love and care publicly. “In Asian cultures it is considered improper to exhibit any public display of affection.” “In French society, people hug and kiss one another in a display of affection, as an expected part of the culture.” “In Italian society, men hug and kiss one another in an open and genuine display of affection.” * Disputatious person Argumentative individual. “People who always like to argue and disagree are disputatious individuals.” “My colleague Rod is a disputatious individual by nature; so I avoid talking to him if at all possible.” “Disputatious persons are usually motivated by some kind of hidden illwill.” * Disqualified from Declared ineligible or banned from participating. “Karen Oates was disqualified from competing in the Olympics because she failed to pass a drug test.” “One of the candidates has been disqualified from running in the public election because he has a criminal record.” “Did you hear the story about the girl who was disqualified from running in the Miss Universe contest because they found out she was married?” * Dissolute person Degenerate, debauched individual; someone with a dissipated way of life. “A dissolute person is one who lives an immoral, dissipated and self-indulgent “My father was a dissolute person who died at the age of forty-eight due to complications arising from a combination of HIV, Virus B and cirrhosis of the liver.” “When Dale was in his thirties, he was a drunken, debauched, dissolute person who was headed for a dismal end, but, at forty, he stopped his dissolute life and started meditating and later became a catholic priest.” * Distance yourself from Remain detached from; don’t get too close to. “Since Mr. Profumo has had his latest scandal, even his oldest friends are distancing themselves from him.” Distant corner of the A far off place, far from anywhere. “In Canada, Tasmaworld nia is considered as being in a distant corner of the world.” “When an American soldier is posted to Sinop, Turkey, on the Black Sea, he considers himself to be in an isolated distant corner of the world.” “In Singapore, Patagonia is considered as being in a far-off, distant corner of the world, but in Patagonia Singapore is considered a far-off distant corner of the world. Everything is relative to nothing at all.” * Distinct impression What seems to be a clear and obvious to the observer. “I have the distinct impression that the witness was paid for


Distinguished gentleman

Distinguishing marks

Disturbing the peace

Ditch somebody

Do a good turn

lying about being with the accused on the night of the crime.” “I have the distinct impression that Irene has got a crush on me.” “I have the distinct impression that the girl who sits next to me in the office dislikes me.”* Eminent, prominent, well-known gentlemen. “I would like to thank the distinguished gentlemen on the Senatorial Advisory Committee for their worthy contributions.” “Our next speaker is a distinguished gentleman who taught for forty years at Chulalongkorn University and wrote seventy research papers.” “General Prem is one of the country’s most well-known, eminent and distinguished gentlemen.” * Birthmarks or scars or such-like on a person or a corpse that would help to identify him or it. “Danny Dade was known to have the distinguishing marks of two black moles, one on his right arm and another on the left side of his neck.” “When Tim applied for his permanent resident visa, the Immigration Department asked him if he had any distinguishing marks on his body that would help Thai authorities to certify his identity.” “The police were able to find out the identity of the murdered woman when her mother recognized the distinguishing marks of two entangled tattooed snakes located on her left and right shoulders.” * Making noise that disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. ‘Moody got arrested last night for being drunk and disorderly and disturbing the peace.” “My wife tells me that if I do not stop my loud and argumentative behavior, which disturbs he peace of community, she will divorce me.” “One, when I was a student, I was arrested for disturbing the peace by going around campus shouting abusive insults about the faculty and the academic community.”* Get rid of a person; break off the relationship; leave them by the wayside; ditch by the roadside. “Leonine was my girlfriend in high school for three years, but, then, after she became Prom Queen, she suddenly ditched me.” It’s not so easy to ditch an old friend even if he has gone to the dogs, and may eventually do you harm through association.” “I never did like your wife and I have always thought you should ditch the bitch.”* Perform a good deed in the service of others. “Boy scouts are taught to do a good turn every day.” “If you are asked to do a good turn and you refuse to do it this creates bad karma which will come back to you sooner or later.” “If you see you have the chance to do a good turn by giving a small donation, don’t hesitate to reach in your pocket.”*


Do an about-face

Do as you are bid

Do hand-stands

Do or die

Do someone’s bidding

Do the dirty work

Literally, turn to face in the opposite direction, as in military drill; figuratively, to do the opposite of what you said you would; change your mind to the contrary; reverse your view; to change to the opposite opinion. “He was a liberal activist when he was in his twenties, but in later life, he did an about-face and joined the conservative right wing.” “The government did an about-face on the tax-cut promise and it cost them the next election.” “When she unexpectedly got pregnant, she suddenly did an about face on her anti-abortion view.”* Follow orders; fulfill a command; be forced to follow someone’s will; concede and do what you are to doe told; do as you are asked to do; behave as requested. “Just do as you are bid, and don’t ask any questions, and you won’t have any problems.” “The way to get along in the navy is just to do what you are bid and don’t make waves or rock the boat.” “If you do not do as you are bid I will soon find a way to get rid of you.”* Just as a gymnast may stand on his hands with his feet up in the air, so we may say that we are forced to do handstands to please a person such as the boss or the client or even a loved-one. “We are doing hand stands and bending over backwards to try to get the prospective client to sign the agreement, but he hasn’t done so yet.” “I’ll try my best to please you, but don’t force me to do hand stands or I’ll just walk out on you.” “Nothing I do for my boss is ever good enough. I could do handstands, and he still would not approve of me.”* To have to do something in order to avoid death; to destroy the enemy or be killed in the fighting; to perform an action that will save your life; to act in such a way as to avoid defeat or destruction. “Fight for your lives, men. Its do or die.” “If we do not jump from the cliff down into the pool below, the bandits approaching us from behind will kill us for sure. Its do or die.” “‘The doctor told me to lose thirty kilos. It was a do or die situation, so I followed his advice.” “We have to merge our company with a joint-partner, or we will go bankrupt; Its do or die.”* Do as requested; what you are asked; as you are told; ordered, commanded; act at someone’s behest. “I am not your servant. Find someone else to do your bidding.” “I hate to be forced to do someone’s bidding against my will.” “I will do your bidding and act at your behest, as long as you always ask me politely.”* Just as someone has to perform the dirty work in a household, so we may say someone has to do the dirty work in business or in crime. “The Mafia has hired kill-


ers to go in and do the dirty work when someone has double-crossed them.” “Don’t ask me to fire Mr. Perkins. Fire him yourself, I’m not going to do your dirty work.” “Don’t ask me to beat up your neighbor. If you want to hurt him, go over and do your own dirty work.”* Do the legwork Perform the preparatory work in order to set things up for a venture or event. “I went to Bangkok first, before my family, to do the legwork and make all the necessary arrangements before we all moved there.” My lawyer will have to do all the preliminary legwork and set up the business registration before I can come into Thailand and get a work permit.” “Let me do the preparatory legwork and get the election campaign planned and prepared before we make the announcement that you will be running for political office.”* Do what is expected of Do your duty; perform a task as you are ordered to do; you. live up to expectations; do the right thing. “In our firm, if you do not do what is expected of you, they soon get rid of you.” “OK boys! Get out on the field and play your utmost best. Do what is expected of you.” “You got my daughter pregnant, and now you must do what is expected of you and marry her.” * Do without Be deprived of; have to go without. “If I don’t have milk and sugar for my tea, I can do without.” “I do not need a lot of luxurious things and creature comforts. I could just as soon live in a small, simple, mountain hut and do without.” “When we had no money to but butter to put on our bread, we had to do without.” * Do your level best Try your hardest and do the best you can. Do your utmost! Strive as hard as you can and do your absolute best! “OK team! Today, out on the field, I want to see you do your utmost to win the game.” I do my utmost to try to please my husband, but he is never satisfied.” “We have done our utmost to try to win the election but the Conservatives have taken the day.” * Do’s and don’ts The things that you should and should not do. “In society, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts that are built into a culture.” “In being married, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts. For example, do your best earn income to provide food for the table and be sure you don’t forget your wife’s birthday.” “In giving a presentation there are many do’s and don’ts. For example do not forget to look your audience in the eye, and do not fiddle with your tie.”* Dodgy deal Crooked, corrupt, dishonest agreement or transaction. “Freddy Adams was arrested for some dodgy deal in which he was laundering dirty money.” “The real estate dealer is trying some dodgy deal in which the purchaser


of the land will not have the right of access.” “Be careful of doing business with the Russian Mafia. They are always trying to involve some foreign partner into a dodgy deal.”* Doesn’t hold water Not arguable or logical; unconvincing; not watertight. “Your alibi doesn’t stand up to investigation. It doesn’t hold water.” “The judge said that the case for the defense didn’t hold water because it was based on hearsay evidence.” “The President’s proposed tax cut taxes for the rich doesn’t hold water, because it will not benefit society or the people on the whole.”* Doesn’t know the time of An expression meaning someone is really stupid and day doesn’t even know anything. “Don’t ask my sister about advice about love. She doesn’t even know the time of day.” “My boss thinks he knows everything, but between you and me, he doesn’t even know the time of day.” “Uncle Freddy is and total imbecile and doesn’t even know the time of day.” * Doesn’t know which end Unintelligent; stupid; thick; dense; brainless. “You are so is up stupid you don’t know which end is up.” “Our Aunt Hilda is so confused and brainless she doesn’t even know which end is up.” “Unfortunately our youngest son born brain-damaged, and most of the time, he can’t even tell you which end is up.”* Dog eat dog world A world in which people behave and act primitively, like dogs, rather than as civilized human beings; a world in which one must eat or be eaten by one’s competitors; a savage world of survival of the fittest where the weak die and the strong survive. “When it comes to human nature, I’m a pessimist: I think it’s nothing but a dog eat dog world.” “Free enterprise is a-dog-eat-dog business, a world in which you must succeed or be eaten-up by the competition.” “You can’t trust anybody; it’s a dog eat dog world, in which everyone puts his own self-interest first and doesn’t care about anyone else.” * Dog in the manger Just as a miserable dog, hanging his head, may be looking despondent because there’s no food for him, so a person can hang this head when he doesn’t get what he wants. “When a person hangs his head looking dejected, disappointed and reproachful, we say he looks like a dog in a manger.” “Going around looking like a dog in a manger just because you don’t get what you want won’t get you anywhere.” “If you go about looking like a dog in a manger all the time, someone will want to put you out of your misery.” * Dog paddle Just as dogs swim with their front legs, sometimes children learning to swim do the dogpaddle. “When Kenny was four, his mother took him to the pool every morning


Dog’s years


Dogmatic opinion


Domineering manner

Don’t badger me!

and taught him how to dog paddle.” “If you cannot swim in deep water, you can go into the shallow end of the pool and just dogpaddle about a bit.” “Palm’s parents always told her to stay away from the water, so she never learned to swim and cannot even do the dog paddle.” * For some time; quite a while; seems like for ever; as long as I can remember; many long years; (for the normal life span or expectancy of the family dog.) “Welcome to the firm. I’d like you to meet your new colleague, Donald, who has been with the company for dog’s years, so he can tell you anything you need to know.” “It is so nice to meet you unexpectedly in the sky-train like this. I haven’t seen you in dog’s years.” “I have been a member of the British Club for dog’s years. For me, it’s like a home away from home.” * When the corners of pages of manuscripts, texts or books have often been folded down and/or worn from use. “My Webster’s Dictionary which I have been using since I was a student is all dog-eared from years of use.” “The Reverend Charles Mahoney has been using the same old Bible for thirty years, and its pages have become dogeared from constant use.” “When Prof. Harris is using his textbook, he folds down the corners of the pages between lessons, instead of using a bookmark, so the pages have become all dog-eared over the years.” * Inflexible, unbending, narrow view or attitude. “A person with a dogmatic opinion will be very unlikely to change his view.” “Some Bible-belt Christians have very dogmatic opinions when it comes to religious belief.” “Old Lord Richard was an eccentric gentleman with very dogmatic opinions, but people tolerated him because they knew he could never change his ways.” * Someone who is always trying to do the good, often for the wrong reasons. “When someone wants to do good just to make up for a sin or make a good impression, we call him a do-gooder.” “A lot of do-gooders that you see in society are doing the good for their own good and not for the good of others.” “When Thoreau saw a do-gooder coming his way, he would run away and hide.” * Bossy, dominant, assertive, authoritarian manner. “Sophisticated aristocrats from old families seldom have a domineering manner.” “Business tycoons with new money often have a domineering manner.” “In the mental hospital, there was a self-assertive nurse who had an inflated sense of her own power and a very domineering manner and everyone was afraid of her.” * Stop bothering me again and again with the same thing; don’t bug me; drop it and leave me alone. “Don’t keep


Don’t be a crybaby.

Don’t be a litterbug

Don’t be a quitter.

Don’t be cross with me.

Don’t be duped.

Don’t be short with me.

Don’t be so cranky.

badgering me about buying you a new bicycle. The answer is, ‘No!’” “Stop asking me over and over again. Don’t badger me! That’s not the way to persuade me to do what you want.” “If you keep badgering the boss about changing your job, he might just get annoyed enough to fire you altogether. * Don’t be one of those people who cry for sympathy every time something goes wrong.” “I know you feel hurt, but don’t be such a crybaby just because you dropped your candy in the mud.” “Don’t be such a crybaby just because you cannot get what you want You’ll get over it.” “Don’t be such a cry baby. You’re not the first person to be disappointed in love.” * Don’t throw and scatter trash around on the street or ground. “Don’t be a litterbug and throw your rubbish on the ground.” “Put your plastic wrappers in the trash-can provided and don’t be a litterbug.” “In Bangkok, you can be fined by the police for being a litterbug, so be careful not to drop anything on the street.” * Don’t be one of those people who gives-up easily. “Keep on striving and doing your best. Don’t be a quitter.” “If you want to be a success in life, you have to keep fighting and striving right to the bitter end. Don’t be a quitter.” “Never give up! No matter how hopeless things may sometimes seem. Don’t be a quitter.” * Don’t be angry or annoyed or sore with me. “I’m sorry I made a nasty remark to you. I just reacted without thinking. Please don’t be cross with me.” “I shall be very cross with you if I catch you smoking inside my house.” “Grandmother was very cross with Audrey for forgetting to bring her afternoon tea and biscuits.” “Mother gets very cross with the children when they purposely try to get out of doing their household chores.” * Don’t be fooled. “Don’t be duped into believing that you should sell Avon products and get rich quick.” “Don’t let yourself be duped into buying insurance that you do not need.” “Don’t be duped into believing that the president means to fulfill all his campaign promises.” * Do not talk curtly, abruptly, crossly with me. “Don’t be short with me. If you give me short, sharp answers. I’ll be even-more short with you.” “Don’t be short with me. Can’t you see that I’m trying to help you and not to criticizing you?” “Don’t be short with me just because I tell you the truth. It’s not my fault if you don’t like the truth, so don’t try taking it out on me.” * Don’t be so irritable; bed-tempered; grouchy; crabby; cantankerous; in a bad mood and complaining all the time. “Great Grandfather is an irritable, miserable, old


grouch, and we keep telling him not to be so cranky or no one will listen to him anymore.” “Don’t be so cranky or the nurse and the doctor will avoid contact with you, and then, where will you be?” “Aunt Angela was a badtempered, crabby old spinster, and no matter how many times Uncle Daniel told her not to be so cranky, she never changed her attitude or tone of voice.” * Don’t be so miserable. Try not to look so unhappy all the time; life is not so bad; cheer-up; take a more-positive attitude; nobody likes to see a long face. “Don’t be so miserable. Why do you go around with a hang-dog face all the time?” “Cheer-up and smile! Don’t be so miserable. Life is not all that bad.” “No one likes to see you looking unhappy and depressed all the time. Don’t be so miserable!” * Don’t be so silly Don’t be foolish; you’ve got the wrong idea. Don’t think I criticize you because I think you are stupid. Don’t be so silly. I am only trying to help you.” “Whatever made you think I don’t like you? Don’t be so silly! I love you!” “How did you ever get the idea the other girls look down on you? Don’t be so silly. All the girls look up to you.” * Don’t be so snooty. Don’t be so stuck-up; don’t stick your nose in the air; don’t look down on others; don’t think you are superior to others. “My Aunt Caroline was always a bit snooty with our family because my Uncle Arthur was a company president and earned a lot more money than my father who was just a schoolteacher.” “Don’t get so high and snooty with me just because you live on the South side with all the rich people.” “Don’t get snooty with me just because you’ve got more money now. Don’t forget, we were both born in the same neighborhood and used to pack groceries in the same supermarket together.” * Don’t be such a cheap- Stop trying to hang onto every penny; don’t be so misskate. erly; so tight with your money. “Charlie’s such a cheapskate that he even hates to spend money on food. He’s always on the lookout for a free meal wherever he can get one.” “Don’t be such a cheapskate and buy your friends a round of drinks when it’s your turn.” “Stop bumming other people’s cigarettes. Don’t be such a cheapskate and buy your own for a change.” * Don’t be such a fuss- Don’t let yourself worry so much; don’t create such a budget. fuss over nothing; don’t be a worrywart; stop nagging and complaining so much; don’t get so worked-up for no-good-reason. “I’m trying not to be such a fuss-budget, because I know that always worrying just makes things worse.” “Karen doesn’t want to be such a fuss-budget, but when she gets worked-up about a potential problem, she is nothing but a bundle of nerves.” “Our mother is a real fuss-budget and worrywart because she is always


afraid that something bad might happen to someone in the family.” * Don’t be such a grouch. Grumbling and complaining all the time; cranky and irritable; moaning and groaning; grumpy. “Stop complaining all the time and don’t be such a grouch.” “Don’t be such a grouch. If you grumble and groan all day long, you’ll just make your self and others feel more miserable.” “Don’t be such a grouch when you wake up in the morning. Rise and shine and put a smile on your face the way that other people have to do.” * Don’t be such a miser. Don’t be so unwilling to spend any money; cheap, penny-pinching; be a cheapskate; don’t be so stingy. “Don’t be such a miser and treat yourself to a nice expensive dinner once in a while.” “If I weren’t such a miser, I’d stay in a four star hotel, but I hate to part with my money, so I always stay in a guesthouse.” “Uncle Stooge was such a miser that he never once in his life gave a penny to charity.” * Don’t be such a pest Stop continually bothering me! “Don’t keep asking me questions and butting in on my conversations. Don’t be such a pest.” “Don’t be such a past. If you don’t stop badgering me to take you to the movies, I’ll never take you to the movies again.” “Don’t keep bugging me to get the job finished. Don’t be such a pest. If you keep interrupting me like this, I’ll never get the job finished.” * Don’t be such a sore Don’t be so resentful and angry just because you were loser. beaten by someone better. “When someone throws his tennis racquet on the ground when he loses a match, his friends will say, ‘Don’t be such a sore loser.” “Don’t be such a sore loser. Realize that you cannot always win, especially when you are up against a better player.” “No body likes a sore loser because he shows a un-sportsmanlike attitude, so don’t be a sore looser.”* Don’t be such a sour Don’t make such a long face; don’t go around with such puss. a sour look on your face; don’t look so unhappy, disappointed and embittered all the time. “Don’t be such a sour puss! I hate to see that same miserable, unhappy look on your face all the time.” “Don’t be such a sour puss and try to smile for a change.” “Sarah, you are a real sourpuss when you don’t get your own way. Don’t be such a sourpuss!” * Don’t be too hasty Do not act too quickly; take a moment to think before acting impulsively. “Don’t be too hasty to judge another until you know all the circumstances.” “Don’t be too hasty in forming an opinion because hasty opinions often lead to rash actions.” “Don’t be too hasty in reacting to derogatory comments from others; stay calm and balanced and choose your words carefully.” *


Confuse me; make me mixed-up; perplexed baffle me so I cannot think straight; make me muddle-things-up. “Don‘t befuddle me with a complicated explanation and details. Just tell me in simple words.” “I get all befuddled when I try to do too many things at once.” “Now you’ve got me all perplexed and befuddled. I don’t know if you are talking about things that are happening now, at the moment, or things that have occurred in the past.” * Don’t breathe a word Don’t tell anyone; keep it a secret. “If I tell you a secret, will you promise not to breathe a word to anybody?” “I missed my period for the second month in a row and I am worried that I might be pregnant, but don’t breathe a word about this to anyone.” “If I admit that I am having an affair with Connie’s husband, will you promise me you won’t breathe a word to anyone?” * Don’t bug me. Stop bothering me. “Can’t you see I’m busy right now? Don’t bug me! Don’t be such a pest!” “Don’t keep asking me so many questions when I am trying to concentrate on my science homework. Don’t be such a pest.” “Stop badgering me! Don’t bug me! Get out of here and stop pestering me with questions.” * Don’t dawdle. Do not waste time; don’t just stand there hanging around doing nothing; fooling- around. “Stop your lingering and loitering; hurry up; get a move on. Don’t dawdle.” ‘Don’t dawdle and wander off-track and lose direction.” “Proceed quickly and directly towards your goal and don’t dawdle.” * Don’t dicker about the Don’t haggle/bargain/quibble/argue about the price; price. don’t be mean and stingy about what you have to pay. “When we go to the flea market, the vendor will ask about double the price he expects to get, so try to bargain him down to fifty-percent and be satisfied with that and don’t dicker any further about the price.” “I always feel embarrassed when I go to the vegetable market with my Aunt Dolly, because of the persistent way she always bargains and haggles and dickers about the price.” “I’ll perform the service for ten thousand a day plus expenses. Take it or leave it. Don’t try to dicker about the price, or that will be the end of our conversation.” * Don’t dilly-dally. Do not waste time; lose time loiter; dawdle along; hesitate in uncertainty; vacillate before acting. “Stop your dilly-dallying about and get a move on, before I kick you in the backside.” “Do something useful for a change and quit your dilly-dallying about.” “Don’t dilly-dally away your day. Kick-start yourself into action right away.” * Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t keep thinking about experiences that have made you unhappy in the past; let go of them; free yourself from the past; live in the present and make the best of

Don’t befuddle me.


things. “If you dwell on the past, you will remember the pain and feel discouraged. Forget the past and look to the future.” “People who dwell on the past hang onto old resentments make them remain bitter so they cannot let bygones be bygones.” “Dwelling on the past is a way of avoiding the responsibility to make the best of things in the present, so avoid dwelling on the past.” * Don’t get along together Cannot agree; are always at odds with one another; not in harmony; unable to work together due to differences; always arguing; incompatible. “My older sister and I do not get along together with one another because she is so old-fashioned, and I am a modern-thinking girl.” “Mother and father did not get along together, and within five years of marriage, they got a divorce.” “In order to do teamwork, the people in the group must be compatible and be able to get along together.” * Don’t get hyper. Don’t get up-tight; over-stressed; stressed-out; overlytense; overly-anxious; over-exited; hassled. “Don’t get so hyper, Darling. Don’t react so strongly to criticism.” “Don’t get hyper. Try to relax and release some of your tensions, and chill-out a bit.” “I know you are sensitive, but don’t get so hyper. Be reasonable. Try not to be hypersensitive and over-react.” * Don’t get hysterical. Don’t go into a panic and lose control of yourself. “Don’t become panic-stricken and let yourself get out of control.” “Don’t get all hysterical just because one of the ladies said you were a cheap tart.” “The atomic reactor is emitting radiation, but don’t get hysterical. Keep calm and just follow the prescribed safety regulations.” * Don’t get me wrong. Don’t get the wrong idea and think I am against you. “I think your intentions are doubtful, but don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust you.” “I’m going to give you some advice about your behavior, but don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to criticize you. I’m only trying to help you.” “When I say you’d better drop your girlfriend, don’t get me wrong. I’m only trying to suggest you’d be you’d be better-off staying single.” * Don’t get mushy. Stop talking so romantically; stop all that embarrassing talk about love; don’t try to get too close with all that sweet talk. “Stop talking such sweet talk. I don’t like it.” “Don’t get mushy, or I’ll feel ashamed and embarrassed.” “I don’t like men who talk all soft and mushy. It makes me feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.” * Don’t get the wrong idea. Don’t get a false impression that something wrong is happening; don’t think the worst and assume my intentions are bad. “Don’t get the wrong idea if I criticize you. I’m just trying to help you.” Don’t get the wrong idea that I am in love with you just because you give me


money.” “I’m going to give you a little kiss on the cheek, but don’t get the wrong idea that I’m trying to seduce you.” * Don’t get your dander up Don’t lose your temper; keep yourself composed; don’t allow a thing to get you upset. “Lady Isabelle keeps telling Lord Gordon not to get his dander up when the servants are present, but he’s so easily irritated that he blows a fuse whenever something goes wrong.” “Don’t get your dander up, whatever happens in the court hearing, or it will make a negative impression on the judge and support your wife’s claim that you are incompatible.” “Your ex-wife will be at the reception tonight with the French Commercial Attaché, and she will probably be doing her best to make you feel jealous, but don’t get your dander up, or you’ll just lose face in front of everyone.” * Don’t get your hopes up. Don’t be too optimistic; don’t set your hopes too high because you may be disappointed. “You have been shortlisted for a scholarship, but don’t get your hopes up, because the other candidates all have a better GPA than you.” “The rumor is that we may be getting a pay raise, but don’t get your hopes up just yet because it is probably just a rumor.” “We are planning to go to Crystal Beach on Saturday, but don’t get your hopes up just yet, because father may have to go into the city that day.” * Don’t get your knickers Don’t let yourself get worked-up over nothing; don’t get in a twist. excited unnecessarily. “Come on, Granny! Don’t get your knickers in a twist. There’s nothing to be upset about.” “Miss Perkins has got her knickers in a twist because Mr. Williams has called her an old maid.” “Don’t get your knickers in a twist every time another woman makes a catty remark about you.” * Don’t give a hoot Don’t care; don’t give a damn; couldn’t care less. “I know that Palm is ruining her life, but that is her problem. I don’t give a hoot.” “The Police have been unable to crack down on illegal gambling, but I don’t give a hoot.” “The government is wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer’s money, but it’s not my problem. I don’t give a hoot.” * Don’t give me a hard Do not be so difficult, disagreeable and hard to get along time. with, when I ask you for help, cooperation or assistance. “Don’t give me a hard time every time I ask you to help out with the housework.” ‘Miss Perkins is giving Mr. Williams a hard time and won’t co-operate with him to help him get the job done.” “Why do you give me a hard time every time I ask you for assistance? What’s wrong with you? What makes you so hard to get along with?” * Don’t go-off half-cocked Just as an old-fashioned hammer-locked pistol can fire a


bullet if the hammer slips while being pulled back into firing position and accidentally hits the firing pin, so a person can suddenly fly into a rage if he is not careful to control his temper. “Learn to control your temper and don’t go off half-cocked every time someone makes a nasty remark to you.” “My husband is really stressed and edgy and goes off half-cocked every time I criticize him.” “Dimsdale was very short-tempered and was always going off half-cocked at the slightest inclination of an insult which was probably one of the factors that caused his heart condition.” * Don’t hand me that line. Don’t tell me that old familiar lie; don’t think I’ll fall for that old trick; try a more original lie; I’ve heard that one too often; you don’t think I’m going to believe that one do you? “You say you need money to send to your sick mother? Don’t hand me that line. I’ve heard it too often before” “You can’t give me your homework because the dog ate it? Don’t try and hand me that line. I won’t fall for that one.” “Are you seriously trying to tell me that you have never even looked at another woman before? Don’t hand me that line. That’s what all the men say.” * Don’t hassle me. Don’t irritate me; don’t annoy me; don’t bother me. “Don’t hassle me. Don’t give me a hard time. I couldn’t care less about your problem and I’m not going to help you no matter how much you bug me.” “Don’t hassle me about giving you money for charity. Don’t bother me. I never give to charity.” “Don’t hassle me to hurry-up and do the job right. If you hassle me too much, I won’t work at all; I’ll stand up to you and fight.” * Don’t hide your light un- Don’t hide your talents. Don’t conceal you good points der a bushel. due to shyness of fear of being asked to use them. “Do not hide your talents from others just because you’re so shy and timid.” “Don’t hide you light under a bushel just for fear you may be asked to put them to good use.” “Don’t hide tour light under a bushel just because you are backward about coming forward.” * Don’t know the first Don’t as me; don’t know anything about the matter. thing about it. “Don’t ask me about quantum physics. I don’t know the first thing about it,” “Don’t ask me who stole your wallet. I don’t know the first thing about it.” “I can’t tell you anything about the revenue code, I don’t know the first thing about it.” * Don’t lay a finger on me. Don’t touch me in any way. “I you lay even a finger on me with the intent to do me harm, I’ll call in my two thousand cousins to get revenge on you.” “I’m only fifteen, and if you lay a finger on me you can be charged with attempted statuary rape.” “I’m well-connected and well-protected, so, if you lay even a finger on me, all I


have to do is give-the-order and get some of our boys to break your arms.” * Don’t let it go to your Become conceited; big-headed; think you’re better than head you are. “Don’t let it go to your head just because the boss praised you for your good work. Learn to take praise with modesty.” “You may have got the highest GPA in our school but don’t let it go to you head because there are much better students in much better schools than this one.” “Don’t become swell-headed just because you won a local beauty contest. Don’t let it go to your head. You’re nothing but just another pretty face among thousands.” * Don’t let on you know. Keep it secret; don’t tell anybody; don’t let anybody suspect that you know. “If anyone asks you if you know anything about my secret, don’t let on you know. OK?” “Don’t let on you know about these dealings based on insider-pricing or we all may go to jail.” “If you hear people talking about the secret merger, don’t let on you know anything about it.” * Don’t let them get you Do not let people make you discouraged, no matter what down. they do to you. “I know they are giving you a hard time in the office, but don’t let them get you down. Keep your chin up and don’t let them see you are affected.” “The Officials are going to ask for a lot of documents and ask you to do a lot of running around, but don’t let them get you down. Just give them everything they want and, eventually, they’ll be satisfied and grant your permit.” “People can be pretty nasty in the things that they say and do, but don’t let them get you down because ignorance is inherent in human nature.” * Don’t lose faith Remain optimistic and follow what you believe in. “Stand up and fight for what you feel to be right, and don’t lose faith.” “At times, life will seem meaningless and hopeless, but don’t lose faith. This is just a temporary stage that people go through.” “Sometimes, when you seem to be fighting for a loosing cause, don’t lose faith. Hang right in there and keep on trying until you succeed in the end.” * Don’t lose your cool Don’t get upset by anything; ignore it; it’s not worth bothering about; forget it; avoid confrontation; don’t react, and it won’t seem so important later. “When people attack you verbally, keep calm and don’t lose your cool. Words will never hurt you unless you allow them to.” “When someone tries to hurt your feelings, don’t lose your cool and fly off the handle and try to pay him back.” “I know this is a humiliating situation, but don’t lose your cool. Wait the situation out, and you will probably see that you win in the end.” *


Don’t lose your head

Do not lose mental control of the situation; lose your temper; get mad; go crazy; loose your cool “There is an old saying that saying that you should not lose your head when those about you are losing theirs.” “Whatever your wife’s divorce lawyer may state during the trial, don’t let yourself get angry and don’t lose your head and say things you will regret later.” “One thing you should learn about women is not to lose your head and react emotionally, no matter how strongly they may try to provoke you.” * Don’t mention it. Not at all; it was nothing; I was glad to do it; not even worth to bother of speaking about. “I was glad to be of help to you. Don’t mention it.” “You don’t have to thank me. I am happy when I can give to you. Don’t mention it.” “What I did for you was really nothing at all. You needn’t bother to mention it.” * Don’t mince words. Say bluntly and directly what you mean. “Middy doesn’t mince words. He’s very blunt and to the point and says exactly what he thinks.” “I’m not going to lead up to it gently but be very blunt and not mix words: ‘You’re fired!’” “I’m not going to mince words and beat aboutthe bush, so let me come directly to the point and tell you directly that I’m very angry with you for the way you behaved in the meeting today.” * Don’t mind me. Please excuse me; pay no attention to me; just pretend I’m not here. “Excuse me. Don’t mind me. I’m just bringing the clients in some tea.” “Pay no attention to me. Just carry on with your preparations while I check if the microphones are set up correctly and don’t mind me.” “Sorry to interrupt. Don’t mind me. I’ll just sit here quietly and you can continue your conversation as though I was not here.” * Don’t monkey around Don’t play me for a fool. Don’t try any of your tricks with me! with me. Don’t try to give me a hard time “Don’t monkey around with me. I’m not as stupid as I look.” “Don’t monkey with me! If you try to monkey around with me, you’ll be sorry.” “Don’t monkey with me. The last guy who did that ended-up hanging from a tree.” * Don’t overdo it. Don’t over-react, go to extremes or go to excess. “When you make your thank-you speech, express your sincere gratitude but don’t overdo it.” “OK go out and have a good time with the boys, but don’t over do it. Try to stay sober.” “Sometimes, one has to know when enough is enough and when to stop and not to over do it.” * Don’t patronize me. Don’t be condescending to me; don’t look down on me when you speak; don’t talk down to me as though I were your inferior. “I know you are older and perhaps even wiser, but please don’t patronize me when you are ex-


plaining things to me.” “I’m not stupid. You don’t have to talk down to me. Don’t patronize me. I can understand the situation as well as you can.” “Don’t patronize me as though you were somehow superior. Remember, I am the one who is in line to take over your job.” * Don’t pester me. Don’t bother me, annoy me , disturb me; stop bugging me; don’t badger me; don’t keep coming back to me with the same, silly questions and requests. “Don’t pester me now, child. Can’t you see I’m busy?” “Don’t pester me with all your little grievances. Don’t you see I have more important things to think about?” “My boss has been bugging me about getting my cost sheets completed, but I told him not to pester me until I finished the tax returns.” * Don’t play with me Don’t fool around and try to lie to me; do not deceive me or try to manipulate my emotions. “Don’t play with me. Don’t play me for a fool. I know exactly what you are thinking, and you can’t fool me.” “Darling, don’t play with me. You know how sensitive I am. Don’t say insensitive things just to play with my emotions.” “If you think you can play with me, and take me for a fool, you’ve got another thing coming.” * Don’t push me. Don’t try to force me, pressure me, and make me act against my will. “Don’t make demands I don’t want to follow; because if you push me too far, I’ll resist the pressure.” “ My parents are trying to push me to marry a man I cannot love.” “Don’t push me to do your dirty work, or I swear, I’ll push your face in.” * Don’t push the panic but- Do not be alarmed and lose self-control; don’t lose your ton. head when something unexpected happens. “Don’t push the panic button the moment a scary situation arises. Keep a calm and cool and level head so you’ll be ready to deal with it.” “Mom always pushes the panic button and goes into hysterics the moment any threatening situation arises.” “Our stock shares are losing value, but don’t push the panic button just yet. If we wait the situation out, the value might even rise above its present value.” * Don’t push your luck You’ve been lucky so far but don’t go too far or luck will turn against you. “I have not got angry with you yet, but don’t push your luck. If you keep pestering me the way you are, I’ll break your neck once you go too far.” “You’ve been getting away with cheating on you exams so far, but don’t push your luck, or one of these days, you will get caught.” “You’ve had good success in the stock market so far, but don’t push your luck too far or one of these days you’ll take a beating.” * Don’t see eye-to-eye Unable to agree with someone about something; not able to see and think in the same way as the other(s); don’t


share the same view; are not in full accord; cannot look one another straight in the eye and see that the other agrees with you. “My father and I never seem to see eyeto eye when it comes to political issues.” “Hunters and pacifists do not see eye-to-eye on gun control and the argument has been going on for years.” “My girlfriend and I do not see eye-to-eye on the question of abortion. I am totally against it, but she believes in free choice.” * Don’t set yourself up for Do not set your hopes so high that you are sure to be disa letdown. appointed. “I know you are in love with Shelia and dreaming of marrying her, but don’t set yourself up for a letdown, because the future is far away, and she is likely to marry some other guy one day.” “Wanting a doctorate and getting one are two different things. If you set your hopes too high, you will be setting yourself up for a letdown.” “I know that you want to be a CPA more than everything, but don’t set yourself up for a letdown because more than sixty-percent of the candidates fail to complete the CPA cycle of exams.” * Don’t settle for less. Don’t be satisfied with less than you want, expect, hope for or demand; don’t agree unless you are treated fairly. “Expect your husband to treat you like a lady and don’t settle for less.” “The client expects a high professional standard of work and will not settle for less.” “Demand a monthly salary of 50,000 per month on your job application and, in the interview, don’t settle for less.” * Don’t smart–mouth me! Don’t give me any sassy back-talk. “Father says that if I smart-mouth him, he’ll stuff a dirty sock in my mouth.” “If you smart-mouth me with that kind of sassy talk again, I’ll smack your face.” “Don’t you smart-mouth me! You’re just one of those low-class brats from the other side of the railway tracks.” * Don’t squeal on me. Don’t inform on me. Don’t tell anyone what I did. “Don’t tell anybody I cheated on the exam. If you squeal on me, I’ll cut off your balls.” “Don’t rat me out. Don’t squeal on me. If the boss finds out what I did, he’ll kick me out for sure.” “Don’t tell Mom it was me who broke the window. If you don’t squeal on me, I’ll buy you an ice-cream tomorrow.” * Don’t stand a chance With no hope of success; no prospect of achieving the goal; not good enough to beat the competition. “I don’t stand a chance of winning a gold medal for Thailand in the Summer Olympics, but if I am lucky, I may come home with a bronze.” “You don’t stand a chance with her. She wouldn’t even look at you. What she wants is a big, brawny, good-looking guy.” “I don’t stand a ghost of a chance of winning the marathon race, but I’m going to enter and run just for the fun of it.” *


Do not disagree and argue about something that needn’t really concern you. “Don’t take issue with company policy because if you do, you can guess what will happen to you.” “I don’t take issue with the statement that women are superior to men. Indeed, I think one good woman is ten times better than twenty unworthy men.” “Don’t take issue with the Prime Minister on matters of the party line. It’s better to avoid dissention and contention and promote internal harmony.” * Don’t take it personally. I have nothing against you. I’m just doing what I have to do. “I’ve been sent to kill you. Don’t take it personally. I’m just carrying out orders.” “Look, I’m sorry I got the trophy instead of you, but don’t take it personally. Just accept the fact that the best man always wins.” “I regret to inform you that the company no longer has any need for your services. Don’t take it personally though. It’s just part of a cost-cutting process.” * Don’t take my word for Don’t believe me; try it yourself and see. “The body will it. die in ice cold water within a few minutes, but don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself and see.” “Meditation is very good for your mental balance, but don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself and see.” “Loving-kindness is the best medicine for an angry heart, but don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself and you will see.” * Don’t tangle with me. Just as two creepers may get tangled together, so we say two people who fight are tangling together. “Do not try to pick a fight with me. If you try to tangle with me, you will be sorry.” “I wouldn’t try to tangle with me if I were you. Other men braver than you have tried and died.” “Rule number one in this office is, ‘Remember I am the boss and don’t tangle with me.’ If you tangle with me, I’ll get angry, and you’ll get fired.” * Don’t tread on anyone’s Just as you can hurt someone by stepping on his toes, so toes. you must be careful not to do anything that will hurt, injure or insult another to make him aggressive towards you. “If you want to get what you wish for, without opposition, be careful not to tread on anyone’s toes.” “When you go to work for a new company, in the beginning, it is best to be careful not to tread on anyone’s toes to make them turn against you.” “I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes, but I am afraid it is my duty to tell you that the results of your team’s research leave much to be desired.” * Don’t try to con me To swindle someone using deceit and trickery. “Do not try to con me out of my money with some old salesman’s trick. I recognize a con-line when I hear one.” “Don’t try to con me that you were working late with your secretary. I know better than that.” “Don’t try and con me that

Don’t take issue


I can double my money overnight. “If I give you my money, you will surely disappear overnight.” * Don’t try to put words in Do not claim or assume that I said or would say somemy mouth. thing that you did not hear me say. “That’s not what I said. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.” “I did not say what you quote me as saying. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.” “Don’t ask me questions that try to put words in my mouth. I’m too experienced to fall for that old journalist trick.” * Don’t wait up for me Go to sleep before I come home. Don’t wait until I get back home before you can sleep. “Don’t wait up for me. I’ll be coming in late, so you go to bed early and get some rest.” “I’m going out partying and will probably be out all night, so don’t wait up for me.” “I’ll be working very late in the office tonight, Darling, and I don’t know when I’ll be coming home, so don’t wait up for me.” * Donkey’s years For a long time; for ages. “I haven’t seen my brother Bob in donkeys’ years.” “It was good of you to come to father’s funeral. We haven’t seen one another in donkey’s years.” “This is the first time I’ve been back to the British Club in donkey’s years.” * Doodling away the time Just as we doodle, drawing circles on paper with nothing else or nothing better to do, so we may say we doodle away the time doing nothing useful. “I hate just sitting at my desk waiting for the phone to ring, doodling away the time all day.” “Tina has been doodling away the time sitting around home waiting for a telephone call for a job interview that never comes.” “The old skippers down in the yacht club never take their boats out any more and just doodle away the time staring out at the sea all day.” * Dose of your own medi- Getting your own back; being bad to people so people cine are bad to you in turn; getting what you deserve.. “Don’t speak angrily to people, or you will surely get a dose of your own medicine back.” “I hope that Sgt. Campbell one day gets a dose of his own medicine and gets the chewing out of his life.” “A man who cheats on his wife never expects she might one day give him a dose of his own medicine.” * Double standards An unfair situation in which one standard applies to one group and another standard to another. “Women in the workplace have been complaining about double standards for the last fifty years.” “Thai and foreign teachers should be paid exactly the same wage. It is unfair to follow a double standard in which foreigners get more.” “For a long time in America there was a double standard, in which black Americans were discriminated against unfairly, but, now, there are supposed to be equal oppor-


Double talk

Double trouble




Down at the heel

tunities in the workplace.” * Trying to talk your way out of a situation by speaking lying nonsense. “Don’t give me any of your double talk. I won’t listen to any fake excuses. I know you are as guilty as sin.” “My husband’s always trying to give me a lot of double talk about why we have so little available money, but I know that he loses a lot through gambling.” “I tried to double talk my way out of the situation, but the teacher wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say and suspended me from school for two days." * The cause of big trouble. “Oh! Oh! Here comes double trouble! That’s Dale Wallace coming. He’s the boy that the teachers call the terror of the tenth grade.” “Watch out that you don’t say anything wrong to that big Scotsman at the bar. He’s double trouble and would as soon squash your head in as look at you.” “Sylvana Slaymore has always been double trouble to any man who came near her starting from the age of fourteen.” * The deceitful and underhanded cheating way someone talks, behaves, and does business. “I hate these doubledealing real estate developers who promise one thing in the beginning and come up with a different one in the end.” “Don’t trust old Cromwell. He’s double talking, double-dealing, lying, cheating crook if I ever saw one.” “Don’t listen to anything a politician says during an election campaign. They’re all nothing but a bunch of double-talking, double-dealing, low-down, dirty, rotten, lying bastards.” * Living two lives at once. “To be a good spy, you have to be trained in living a double life.” “When I was younger, I used to lead a double life: in the daytime, I was a respectable lawyer, but at night I was always out on the prowl drinking and chasing women.” “Some closet queen men live a double life, seeming to be regular guys at work during the day but wearing scanty, ladies’ clothing at night.” * Increase you money by one hundred percent. “Eileen put her savings into an offshore investment scheme and doubled-her-money within nine months.” “My stock broker guarantees that if I invest one million now, I can double my money within one year. Can you believe that?” “Normally, anyone who promises you that you can double your money by entrusting it to him is just a scam artist.” * Just as an old pair of shoes gets worn down at the heels, so we say a person is looking down at the heel when he looks poor and shabbily dressed in comparison to former times. “Perkins used to be the best-dressed man in town


Down on my luck

Down side

Down the drain

Down the line

Down the tubes

when he was wealthy, but now that he’s broke he’s starting to look a little down at the heel.” “After the Duke lost his money in the stock market, he came down in the world and began looking down at the heel in comparison to former days.” “In Venice, one can often spot old aristocrats who are trying to keep up appearances despite having lost their wealth, from the way they look a tiny bit shabby and down at the heel.” * Things are no going too well for me at the moment; I’m going through a state ill-fortune, ill-fate; I’ve had a spell of bad luck, but I hope to change that soon. “The Prince has been a bit down on his luck, since his stock shares took such a nose dive on Black Thursday but now he’s on his way to a slow recovery.” “I’ve been down on my luck since I lost my job and then my wife, but things are looking up.” “Igor was a bit down on his luck when the marketing boom went flat, but prospects are looking better for him now that he is getting government loans.” * The opposite of the good side; something that accompanies a good thing that is not so good. “It’s good to have such a highly-paid job, but the downside is that you have to work under stress and pressure.” “The downside of being married to a beautiful woman is that other guys are trying to steal her all the time.” “It’s great living in a country where the sun shines all year long, but the downside is that it often gets too darned hot.” * Just as water flows down the drain, so we may say that all our efforts were for nothing and went down the drain. “I invested five-hundred thousand in a chicken farm, and after the outbreak of chicken virus came, all my money went down the drain.” “After the Baht devaluation, a lot of time and investment went down the drain, and it took years for the economy to recover.” “After our divorce, all the time and effort and money I spent trying to have a happy home and marriage went down the drain, and I almost went insane.” * Later on after time has passed. “High government overspending now means that someone down the line is going to have to pay for it sooner or later.” “Somewhere, down the line, the world will run out of energy if drastic measures are not made to conserve it.” “Somewhere, down the line, there will be a great epidemic that kills half the people in the world, and that will be nature’s way of solving the overpopulation problem.” * A total loss in which everything was invested and done for nothing. “We had great plans for our research project, but everything went down the tubes when we couldn’t get continued-funding.” “All my hopes and dreams for








success went down the tubes when the price of oil increased and my operating costs ran sky high.” “My dreams of studying chemical engineering went down the tubes when my grade point average went down to 2.0.” * Homeless, penniless and destitute. “He used to be a big time real estate dealer, but now, he’s down and out without a penny to his name.” “When I was popular, everybody loved me, but now that I’m down and out I haven’t got even one friend left in the world.” “When I was studying abroad, I found myself, more than once, down and out and penniless with nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.” * Depressed; feeling downcast and disappointed. “Sometimes I feel so down-hearted and alone I curse the day I was born.” “When you are alone and feeling blue, don’t be down-hearted. Just wait a while and maybe your wildest dreams will come true.” “No one in the office looked at or talked to me for weeks, and I felt so lonely and downhearted I was about ready to cry.” * Depressed; sad; miserable; unhappy; despondent; dejected; disheartened “Claude is feeling down-in-thedumps because he failed his civil service examination.” “Young people often feel dejected and down-in-thedumps because they have no idea where their lives will lead them.” “When I am feeling alone and miserable and down-in-the-dumps, I always call my mother on the telephone and talk to her until I feel better.” * Looking sad and unhappy, and miserable, discouraged and disappointed about failure to realize wishes or desires. “You are looking so down-in-the-mouth recently. What has happened to make you so miserable?” “I have days when I am on top of the world, and I have days when I am feeling down-in-the-mouth.” “If you go around looking down-in-the-mouth and miserable, maybe, someday, someone will want put you out of your misery” * Ordinary, everyday, common; open and relaxed in behavior; the way that people naturally and normally act; not pretending to be more than they are. “I’m voting for Dixon for President because he seems to be so down-toearth and caring for the common man” “Despite his great wealth, Howard Hughes enjoyed the same common, down-to-earth pleasures of every man.” “I like farmers better than big city folks, because farmers are more down-to-earth and close to nature.” * Subjugated; oppressed; exploited; taken advantage of. “Just as blades of grass may be down-trodden from people walking on them, so we can say people are down-


trodden when they have no power to stop people in power from walking all over them.” “There was a time in history when almost everyone but the noble class was oppressed and down-trodden.” “There was a time in the early part of the twentieth century when factory laborers felt oppressed and down-trodden, but when trade unions began to spring up, and the laboring class finally began to get a fair shake, living standards across the nation improved for the better.” * Dozing-off Nodding off to sleep; on the point of falling asleep. “Often when I am just dozing off to sleep my mind wanders over the events of the day.” “When I am teaching, I often notice a student dozing-off to sleep and wonder if it is because my lecture is boring.” “After Bud has had a big lunch with a glass of beer, he sometimes catches himself dozing-off to sleep at desk in his office.” * Drag someone over the Give someone a good grilling or questioning. “Sharon’s coals mother gave her a good dragging over the coals about exactly what had happened during her date with Slick.” “The Senate panel called in the director of the CIA and gave him a good dragging over the coals about the agency’s covert operations in South America.” “After the Enron scandal, the government dragged the auditor over the coals with questioning until everything finally became transparent.” * Drained- of energy Lost all power; worked so hard, so one has no more physical power left to do anything. “Just as water runs down the drain, so we can say we are drained of energy when all our power is gone.” “I find I’m drained of emotion and drained of energy whenever I have a fight with my wife.” “By the time grandfather has walked to the post office and back, he is drained of energy and has to sit in his armchair for half an hour before he can climb upstairs.” * Drastic measures Drastic action taken in the face of dire circumstances. “The government has been forced to take drastic measures to heighten security against terrorist acts.” “Drastic measures had to be undertaken to control the flow of drugs from the Golden Triangle.” “If drastic measures are not taken to prop-up the Thai Baht, we will soon be facing yet currency devaluation.” * Draw the line at Avoid acting below a certain moral line or limit in the things that you will do. “It is natural to be attracted to the opposite sex, but one should draw the line at using someone else’s body for one’s own personal satisfaction.” “It’s necessary to make a profit in business, but one should draw a line at doing anything that is in any way harmful to others.” “There is almost anything Sadie


Drawn out

Drawn towards someone


Dream-up something

Dredge up old memories

Drenched to the skin

would do for money, but she draws the line being involved in corrupting other young women.”* Long and extended in time, as if it will never end. “Yesterday, there was a long, drawn-out debate in Parliament that lasted until after midnight.” “The conflict between the Israelis and its Arab neighbors has been going on and drawn out for so long that few can remember when it started.” “There was a long, drawn out argument in Flanagan’s pub Friday night about whether the English should get out of Northern Ireland.” * Attracted to a person due to his/her looks or some irresistible power. “Have you ever seen someone for the first time and suddenly been drawn towards him, as though there were some common bond between you?” “Sometimes, people are drawn towards one another because they have had links in previous lives.” “Just as magnetic shavings are attracted to one another, that’s how I feel when I am attracted to you.” * Having what you always hoped for happen in the way you always imagined. “Winning a hundred-million dollars in the lottery is a dream-come-true.” “If I could marry you, it would be a dream-come-true.” “Retiring to a Villa on the French Riviera is a dream-come-true. I could not have wished for anything better.” * Imagine; fantasize; invent; devise; formulate; come up with. “I don’t know yet how we are going to solve the problem, but I’m sure we’ll dream up something at the last moment.” “I don’t know how we are going to lie our way out of this situation, but we will dream up something.” “The Republicans are not sure how to think their way out of the upcoming recession, but they will surely dream up something.” * Just as a machine can dredge up muck from the bottom of a canal, so a person may dredge up bad memories for which he still blames others for something that they have done to him in the past. “Whenever I argue with wife, she keeps dredging up old memories, like the way I disappointed her on our wedding night.” “I wish you would stop dredging up all the negative things that have happened in the past and look on the positive side for once.” “Whenever I fall into a reverie of recollections of things past, I find myself dredging up old family memories that cause me pain.” * Soaking wet from the rain. “We ran from the boathouse to the clubhouse in the pouring rain, and by the time we got there, we were soaking wet and drenched to the skin.” “In S.E. Asia, people are often caught in tropical rainstorms without much warning and get totally




Drift away

Drift of the argument

Drill with questions

Drink it in

drenched to the skin.” “Sometimes. I go jogging in Central Park in the pouring rain until I’m absolutely drenched to the skin, and then I run back home to my apartment and jump into a hot shower.” * Describes a woman all dolled-up and looking beautiful, all dressed-up and ready to go out somewhere where men might even fight over her. “When she was last seen alive, she was dressed-to-kill and seen getting into a black limousine in front of the Biltmore Hotel.” “She had the strange habit of getting all dressed-up, fit to kill for, and going downtown in a taxi and doing her rounds of the bars.” “I was seven years old, the last time I saw my mother. She was all dressed-up and fit-to-kill and on her way to the train station.” * Scolding; tongue-lashing; telling-off; reprimand. Major Naylor was fond of giving his subordinate officers a dressing-down whenever they made a mistake.” “I got a good dressing down for forgetting to lock the safe when I went home from work.” “At the meeting, our senior partner gave the whole management team a good dressingdown for failing to adhere to generally accepted accounting procedures.” * Be carried away from the topic by thoughts and fantasies; become lost in your imagination. “During the lecture, my thoughts drifted away to happy memories of my childhood.” “Often, when I am sitting at a table with my friends my thoughts drift away from the conversation and go to far-off places.” “At night when I go to bed, I drift away into a stream of consciousness while drifting away into sleep.” * The point that the argument is trying to make; the intended direction of thought; the logical thread of development. “I don’t get the drift of your argument. I can’t see where you are going or what point you are trying to make?” “I could see the drift of Ted’s argument right away, because I suspected his hidden purpose and intention.” “If you could speak more logically and coherently, maybe I could get the drift of your argument.” * Interrogate intensively. “The police drilled the suspect with intensive questioning for five hours before he finally gave up resistance and told the truth.” “Sometimes, they drill suspected terrorists all day every day for a year until they finally tell what they know.” “Whenever I come home late at night, my wife drills me with questions based on silly fears I have been unfaithful to her.” * To enjoy something so much it’s as if you had a greedy thirst for it. “When Martin is able to gain the admiration of others, he just loves to drink it in.” “I love to drive up


Drink like a fish

Drinking binge


Drive a hard bargain

Drive a wedge between

Drive home the idea

into the mountains and drink in the scenery.” “Some big stars enjoy the adulation they get from their audience and they just drink it in as a source of energy for giving a good performance.” * Be an alcoholic “Someone who drinks like a fish cannot stop drinking and becomes an alcoholic.” “My Uncle Charlie drank like a fish and died if cirrhoses of the liver.” “If you drink like a fish, your very last wish before death will be just one more quick shot of whiskey.” * An extended period of non-stop drinking. “Our Aunt Jane was an alcoholic who, if she started with just one drink, would then go on a five-day non-stop drinking binge.” “If a true alcoholic even so mush as touches even one drop of liquor, he is likely to go on a drinking binge that will last until he has no availability to alcohol.” “When I was younger, every weekend I used to go on a drinking binge.” * Material that can be washed and dried which does not need ironing. “Clothing that you can wash and hang up to dry but don’t have to iron is called wash and wear.” “All my shirts and trousers are wash and wear and drip dry so they do not have to be ironed.” “Now that I don’t have an iron or an ironing board, I have to buy wash and wear clothing.” * Just as one may barter and bargain to seek one’s own advantage and not compromise with the needs of another, so we may say that in personal relations one person is unwilling to compromise and forces the other to do what he wants. “Murray usually drives such a hard bargain that it is hardly worth negotiating with him.” “Andrew drove such a hard bargain about buying my car that I finally just gave it away to a charity organization.” “Pom drives such a hard bargain when bartering with me that if I gave in to her price, I would be losing money.”* Just as we can drive a wedge into a crack between two pieces of wood to break them apart, so we may be said to drive a wedge between two people or parties when we want them to separate them or disagree. “Uncontrolled jealousy caused by both the brothers being attracted to a woman called Mauve has driven a wedge between their otherwise life-lasting bonds of loyalty.” “They have drawn an independent liberal candidate into the election to drive a wedge between the Conservatives and the Democrats.” “Disagreements on social welfare benefits have driven a wedge between the socialist and communist members of Parliament.”* Stress the point until you get it into the head of another


Drive to drink

Drives me buggy

Driving me mad

Driving me to distraction

Driving me wild

Drizzling rain

person. “The teacher is trying to drive home the idea that paragraphs must have unity and coherence, but no one wants to do it that way.” “I keep repeating myself to drive home the idea that unless you learn to be responsible for yourself, no one will want to be responsible for you.” “The management is trying to drive home the idea that across-the-board cost-cutting will decrease the number of jobs that will be cut.” * To exert such mental strain on someone that he turns to drinking as a way of escape. “You are such a nasty bitch. You are enough to drive a man to drink.” “My job id so stressful that it is enough to drive a man to drink.” “Captain Cooper was so strict a disciplinarian with his wife that he drove the poor woman to drink.” * Makes me irritated; gets on my nerves; makes me feel crazy; drives me mad; drives me to distraction. “We’ve got this woman, near me, in the office who speaks in an off-key, monotone all day long, and the sound of her voice is driving me buggy.” “I wish you would stop always tapping your fingers on the meeting-room table. It’s starting to drive me buggy.” “Those teenagers next door are always playing their rock music at full volume, and it’s really driving me buggy.” * Driving me crazy. “All that noise in the office is driving me mad, and I cannot think or concentrate anymore.” “All the backstabbing and infighting in my working environment is beginning to drive me mad.” “Listening to your constant complaining is starting to drive me mad and I’m about to go around the bend.” * Driving me crazy, so I can’t think clearly anymore; can’t focus my mind; returning to the same disturbing thought so I can no longer concentrate. “Thinking about our divorce is driving me to distraction: I feel like I’m starting to go crazy.” “My financial situation is driving me to distraction, and I just don’t know what to do any more.” * Making me over-excited and about to lose control “Don’t touch me like that. You’re driving me wild.” “All the noise and commotion in the Casino is starting to drive me wild.” “It’s driving me wild the way my neighbors drink and shout all night and throw and smash their empty bottles on the road.” * Fine, lightly-falling drizzling rain. “When the rain is so soft and light that you can hardly feel or see it, we call this drizzling rain.” “Sometimes, I like to take a walk in very fine drizzling rain, all the way to the outskirts of town and back again.” “When there is only a light drizzling rain, it is still possible to finish a football game without having to call it off due to the weather.” *



Drool over

Drop by sometime

Drop everything!

Drop in on

Drop in the bucket

Drop me a line

Drop me off

Continue talking on in the same mono-tone voice. “I hate it when a lecturer just reads from the page and drones on and on for an hour in the same monotone.” “The boss is always droning on and on about company procedures to the point that no one listens any more.” “Will you please shut-up and stop droning on and on about your grievances.” * Just as a dog drools when it sees something it wants to eat, so a person may be said to be drooling over the sight of some object of desire that he wants. “Caroline was so pretty that you could actually see the men drooling over her.” “The girls were standing in front of the ice cream shop drooling over the picture on the poster of a butterscotch-cream Sunday.” “As Mike Johnson was driving home, he was drooling over the idea of going back and grilling himself a big T-bone steak.” * Come by my house and visit me when you can. “If you are ever in my neighborhood, drop by sometime. I’d like to see you.” “Sometime, I’d like to drop by your place and see your stamp collection.” “Although the English are in the habit of saying, ‘Drop by sometime if you are ever in my neighborhood,’ but they seldom really mean it.” * Stop whatever you are doing right now! “Drop everything and rush to the warehouse to help us put out the fire.” “Drop everything, right this moment, and get yourselves down to the vice president’s office!” “Drop everything you are doing right now and try to get to the NTSC audit report out by the end of the day!” * Stop by and visit without notice. “If you are ever in my neighborhood, drop on in me and say hello.” “If you are ever over my way, do drop in on me.” “Nobody ever informally just drops in on me without previous notice.” * Very little compared to the overall whole; a drop in the ocean “A million here or there is a drop in the bucket to the American Foreign aid program.” “What the government is spending on foreign aid is just a drop in the bucket compared to its military spending.” “What Mario spends on women is just a drop in the bucket compared to huge amounts he loses on gambling.” * Don’t forget to write to me. “I hope you enjoyed visiting with me here. When you get home, don’t forget to drop me a line.” “It was good spending the holiday with you. When you get home, drop me a line.” “When you get to Hollywood, don’t forget to drop me a line or send a postcard.” * Give me a lift and let me out at. “John is going to take me in his car out to the main road and drop me off at the


Drop of a hat

Drop the ball

Drop the subject

Drop-out of

Drown in self-pity

Drown your sorrows

bus stop.” “Can you drive me out to the junction and drop me off at the subway station?” “Sally is going to ride in the car with Dad when he goes into town, and he will drop her off at school.” * Instantly; in the time that it takes one’s hat to drop to the floor. “Just give us the word when you want the job done, and we’ll have it finished at the drop of a hat.” “The emergency bomb squad is ready to be operational at the drop of a hat.” “Just give me a call when ever you need me, and I’ll be by your side at the drop of a hat.” * Just as in sports, a player can drop the ball so his team can’t continue moving towards the goal, so, in a teamwork situation, a member of the group may fail to fulfill his part properly and let the rest of the team down. “In last year’s Football League championship game, Collie Collins dropped the ball just before he crossed the goal line, and it was recovered by a member of the opposing team.” “Michael Mullins has dropped the ball and failed in his attempt to secure the ARC contract for our firm, and it’s going to cost him his job.” “In our third year term project, Ron Rogers dropped the ball and failed to do his part, so our group could not get the work handedin on time.” * Change the topic and start talking about something else. “Drop the subject, will you? I’m tired of hearing about it.” “This is an unpleasant topic, and I would prefer that you drop the subject and talk about something else.” “Let’s drop the subject. If we continue talking about it, someone’s feelings may get hurt.” * Fail in the attempt; have to dropout of school, the race or the running. “Steven had to drop out of the running in the marathon race due to a pulled tendon.” “The thirdranking candidate has dropped out of the political race for lack of campaign funds.” “The Lotus Racing team has dropped out of the running due to technical problems.” * Feel so sorry for yourself that you are almost drowning in your own tears. “When my brother Ike was thirteen, he felt very sorry for myself and was almost drowning in self pity, but it was just a stage he was going through.” “Since her divorce, Aunt Eileen has been down-in-thedumps and drowning in self pity.” “My parents died when I was very young, and I spent a while drowning in self-pity, but, after a while, I found that I could learn to stand on my own two feet without any help.” * Drink a lot of alcohol to forget your pain. “It is not going to help you feel better to drown your sorrows in alcohol.” “When Horst was going through his divorce, he spent


Drum-up support

Drunken debauchery


Dutch treat

Dwindling resources


months trying to drown his sorrows by getting drunk every night.” “You cannot drown your sorrows with drink because when you sober up they will still be there again.” * Go out and talk to people or parties to arouse and enlist their support. “Just as a marching band led by a big drum may try to get public attention to support some cause, so we may say we go out amongst our friends and try to drum up support for some idea or plan of ours.” “The City Council is trying to drum up public support to collect money for a home for orphaned children and so far the response has been good.” “The democratic cause has been trying to drum up support to run senator Kennedy for President, but so fat they are getting only weak response.” * Drunken, dissolute, decadent behavior. “After wasting my youth in drunken debauchery, I finally got serious at the age of thirty-five and straightened out my life.” “Father said he was not going to leave me any money in his will because I would only have wasted it on a life of drunken debauchery, and he was right.” “A life of drunken, dissolute debauchery clouds the mind with ignorance and obscures the path to purity and wisdom.” * Be quiet; don’t say another word and act as if you are not even there. “If you don’t dry up and stop your complaining, I’ll stuff a sock in your mouth.” “Dry up and blow away. Nobody here wants to hear what you have to say.” “If you don’t dry up and stop your yammering, I’ll give you a hammering.” * Share the cost equally; one pays half and so does the other. “When I used to go out with Barbara to the movies and for ice cream afterwards, she always insisted that we go Dutch treat.” “What Americans call ‘Dutch treat’ is what Thai’s call ‘American share.’” “In Sweden, everything is so expensive that couples often go out to drink and eat Dutch treat.” * Declining assets; running low on money and assets. “Due to dwindling financial resources, the city council has had to postpone building a new city hall until they find new sources of funds.” “Dwindling local energy resources have mad it necessary to tap power networks and import energy from power stations as far away as Canada.” “Dwindling supplies and oil resources have driven up the cost of fuel products worldwide.” * Totally convinced, loyal follower of a cause or party, who would never change. “My father was a dyed-in-thewool conservative and voted Conservative all of his life.” “Lord Elgin was a dyed-in-the-wool Freemason who


Dying for a chance

Dying for a drink

Dying to know

Dying wish

Dynamo of energy

served as Grand Master for over thirty years.” “It is hard to get a dyed-in-the-wool left-wing socialist to change his mind.” * Would do anything to get the opportunity; waiting in anticipation for a chance. “I’m dying for a chance to drive over the new suspension bridge when it is finally finished.” “Claude is dying for a chance to address the audience because he enjoys getting people’s attention.” “I’m dying for a chance to punch Sgt. Campbell in the nose, but I know I’ll never get it because there are hundreds of people already in line ahead of me.” * Very, very thirsty. “Now that we have walked out of the desert, let’s find the nearest pub. I’m dying for a drink.” “By the time old Bertie O’Leary had sat through the Sunday Church Service and listened to the Sermon, he was dying for a drink.” “An alcoholic who goes to a dry party and is dying for a drink will often excuse himself and say he is going out for a few minutes to get some cigarettes when actually he’s going for a drink.” * Very interested in knowing; curious; nosey; eager to learn. “I’m dying to know if Betty is having a sexual relationship with Hector.” “My mother is dying to know if I will finally settle down and get married to Chester.” “For that matter, I’m dying to know whether Chester is really interested in me or just wants to be friends.” * Last wish made on the deathbed before the moment of death. “Caroline’s father’s dying wish was that she get married and have children.” “My mother’s dying wish was that I never get married or have children, but, instead, become a Buddhist nun.” “My dying wish would be to pass through the pearly gates and live as an angel for eternity.” * A person who generates a lot of energy to motivate others and get the job done. “Our team leader, Erica, is a dynamo of energy, who stimulates us to work with power and determination.” “Detroit’s fullback, Billy Bullock, is a dynamo of energy, who can always be counted on to lead his team to victory.” “In his earlier campaign years, Tony Blair was a dynamo of energy who never let-up in his efforts to promote the cause of the Labour party.” *


Idioms and expressions Each man for himself Definitions followed by examples Everyone look out for himself with no help from anyone else. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world in which each man must look after himself.” “Competition in the IT business is so fierce; it becomes a relentless struggle to keep ahead of the other guy. It’s a war in which it is each man for himself.” “There once was a battle fought between two armies in Ancient Greece in the middle of a night that was so dark one could not see who was on one side and who was on the other, so it became a fight of each man for himself.” * Everyone has the right to his own taste, opinion or choice. “Everyone should have the right to his own opinion: to each his own.” “I always say to let others do what they like, to each his own, because each person is going to have a different way of viewing things.” “Some like Indian Yoga, some like Buddhist meditation. People should be allowed to practice each to his own preference.” * Someone who works and tries hard with all his heart. ‘That new, young gardener we hired is a real, eager beaver. Not only does he work from dawn to dusk, but he also comes up with a lot of creative and innovative ideas of his own.” “Our daughter, Mary Jane, is such an eager beaver that in addition to getting straight ‘A’s in school, she serves as editor of the school magazine and stars in the annual musical show.” “My new, young sales manager is a real, young eager beaver. Sales have increased forty percent in the last two quarters, and I am thinking I’d better offer him a partnership in my business before he resigns and starts up a business of his own.” * With eyes as sharp as those of an eagle. ‘Our supervisor sees and knows everything that is going on in the office. She is eagle-eyed and all-knowing.” “There is always an eagle-eyed hotel detective somewhere in the lobby keeping an eye out for anything that looks suspicious. “Presidential security agents are trained to be eagle-eyed and aware of everything that is going on in the field of perception, even down into the smallest detail.” * Someone who gets up early in the morning before the others and has the first opportunity before others get there. “Someone in the habit of rising early is called an early bird.” “Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, ‘The early bird catches the worm.’” “I am not a night owl who

Each to his own

Eagar beaver


Early bird


Early grave

Early memories


Earn your keep

Ears burning

Earthly desires

likes to stay up late; I am an early bird who wakes before dawn to get the jump on everyone.” * Death before expected. “My father was an alcoholic who drank himself into an early grave.” Our younger brother sadly went to an early grave due to complications of heart-valve failure.” “My mother always used to say that her children’s bad behavior would drive her to an early grave.” * Early experiences; first recollections of experiences in childhood. “Early memories can be both, happy and sad; my early memories were mostly bad.” “One of my early memories was rolling a big snowball with my brother until it got so big we couldn’t roll it anymore.” “Psychologists claim that early experiences and childhood memories are factors determining our later behavior patterns.” * Just as we can fold over the top corner of a page in a book so we can come back to it, so we may say that a person is earmarked or designated for some later job or position. “My older brother is already earmarked to become the head of our father’s business empire.” “It has always been a tradition in our family for the last son to become a monk, so our youngest brother is already earmarked to become a monk.” “The Country Managing Partner is already ear-marked to become the Asian Regional Director when the present one steps down.” * Make money to live on; to support yourself; work hard enough so that the man-in-charge will know you are worth the money he is paying you and therefore want to keep you on the job. “On my father’s farm, we all had to work hard to earn our keep.” “Benjamin Franklin earned his keep as a young man setting type in a print shop.” “Work diligently to earn your keep never let the boss catch you asleep.” * There is a saying that when people are talking about you, you will feel your ears burning. “Where your ears burning about eight o’clock last night when we were talking about you?” “Yesterday at five pm while I was riding in a taxi, I could feel my ears burning, and I got the sense that you guys were gossiping about me about me. Is that true?” “If your ears were burning this morning, it was because we were discussing why you missed the Monday morning meeting and whether we should continue to keep you on the job or fire you.” * Worldly sensual cravings. “Man is tied to earth as if by gravity by earthly desires and cravings.” “The reason advertising is so successful is that it appeals to our earthly desires.” “One day, I hope to be able to break the bond


of earthly desires and finally be free.” Earthshaking; as though it was the end of the world; devastating, shocking and overwhelming. “I do not believe that any earth-shattering geological event, like an earthquake, is going to take place in Bangkok in the next few years.” “The Prime Minister does not consider a vote of no confidence an earth-shattering event because he knows he can win the next election. “The effects of the Baht devaluation were earth-shattering to most of the industries that were making big money during the economic bubble period.” * Ease someone into some- Start off slowly at a new activity and work one’s way thing into it until one gets used to doing it. “Don’t start jogging by running ten kilometers a day. Start slowly and ease yourself gradually into it, beginning with short distances and then increasing them a little bit everyday.” “When you start people off at a new and difficult job, start them off slowly and ease them into the routine little-by-little until it becomes normal to them.” “When you start people off at a new and difficult job, start them off slowly and ease them into the routine little-by-little until it becomes normal to them.” “When I started as a summerhire construction laborer at sixteen, at first, they did not give me a full man’s load of work to do, but started me off slowly and gradually eased me into being capable of doing heavier work.” * Ease up on me Don’t be so harsh; take it easy on me; don’t be so hard on me; cut me some slack. “Don’t be so hard on me. I’ve seen my mistake and I’ve said I’m sorry, so I’m asking you to please ease up on me.” “Stop bitching about my work all the time. I’m doing the best I can, so just ease up on me a bit, before I lose my temper and quit.” “Stop punishing me for things I did to you in the past. Please ease up on me and cut me some slack. I want to feel that I am making things up to you and not that you are paying me back.” * Easier said than done! That is easier to say than to do. “Behaving morally perfectly is easier said than done.” “Don’t guarantee anyone anything that is easier said than done.” “Promising you can complete a job by deadline is easier said than done.” * Easiest thing in the world As simple as pie; no problem; consider it done; no trouble at all. “Let me help you find a part-time job. For me, it is the easiest thing in the world, because I know everybody in town.” “Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I have done it thousands of times.” “Let me speak my brother-in-law and ask him to make your problem disappear. It’s the easiest thing in the world.” * Earth-shattering


Easy as pie

Easy come easy go

Easy does it!

Easy money

Easy option

Easy touch


Not hard at all; nothing could be simpler; easy to accomplish; no trouble to do; takes little effort. “It’s as easy as pie to locate an old school friend, by using our name search software on your computer.” “Learning to assemble this book shelf is as easy as pie. Just look at the pictures and follow the directions and you will be done in no time.” “Getting spending money from father is as easy as pie. All you have to do is give him a kiss on the cheek and hold out your hand.” * Taking things in a relaxed manner; accepting the way things happen without getting stressed; being relaxed and unperturbed; not taking things seriously “Take things as they come and learn to let things go. Easy come go.” “Upcountry folks are much-more easy come easy go than uptight city folks.” “I won a million in the lottery and spent every penny of it with no regrets. Easy come easy go.” * Take it easy! Go slowly! “Not too fast! Easy does it! Take your time and be careful. Don’t go too fast or something wrong will surely happen.” “Easy does it! This is a heavy beam, so we will have to slide it carefully off the wall so it doesn’t slip and fall.” “East does it! Control your temper and hold your tongue before you say something you will be sorry for.” * Money that comes without one’s having had to work very hard for it. “People who become used to getting easy money soon lose their taste for hard work.” “’Easy money may come easy but it goes even more easily.” “The problem with easy money is that it is often money dishonestly made.” * The easier of two choices or alternatives; the easy way out. “When students have the choice between taking an easy or hard course, they usually take the easy option.” “There is always the hard way of doing things and the easy way. Most people, if they can, take the easy way out and choose the easy option.” “Most people when faced with telling the truth and taking the consequences or lying and taking the easy way out, take the easy option.” * Someone naïve and trusting who is easily cheated. “When I am broke, I always ask my Mom for money. She’s such an easy touch.” “Taxi drivers think that foreigners coming from the airport are an easy touch, and they are often right.” “If a bar girl tells a nice old man a sob story, he may feel sorry for her and offer her some money to help out. Bar girls can see from a mile away when such an old man is an easy touch.” * Relaxed and taking it easy in a friendly and happy way; not getting upset or taking things too seriously. “My boss


is very relaxed, friendly and easy-going and a pleasure to work with.” “Sister Mary was kind and easy-going in nature, and everybody got along with her extremely well.” “Even though the level of professional performance in my office is very high, the atmosphere is still friendly, polite and easy-going.” * Eat away (at one’s re- Keep slowly consuming something so it continues diminsources) ishing. “The way I was eating away at my financial resources slowly caused them to diminish to the point that I had almost nothing.” “If rising maintenance costs keep eating away at company resources the way they have been, the, we will have to restructure our finances and wait and hope for the situation to change.” “Environmentalists warn that if we keep eating away at our natural resources until the point there are not enough left to support world superstructure and civilization, then the world’s population will meet a dire end.” * Eat crow Means the same as ‘eat humble pie,’ in other words someone who makes a big statement or claim, that does not turn out to be true and has to admit he was wrong; has to eat his words; take back what he said; admit he was wrong and overstated his claim. “Those who are too loud and proud are often knocked-down low and forced to eat crow.” “I never expected that I would be forced to eat crow when I bragged that I would get the highest grade point average in the class.” “The incumbent Presidential candidate claimed he would surely be re-elected, but, then after he lost by an overwhelming majority, he was forced to eat crow.” * Eat in/ eat out Eat at home or go out to eat. “Usually I stay at home and eat in, but sometimes at the weekend when I am out-oftown, it’s easier to eat out.” “Mother is happy to eat in most days, but once in a while she enjoys the treat of eating out in some fancy restaurant.” “On days when I am working at the office in town, I always eat out, but on days when I plan to stay at home, I naturally eat in.” * Eat into Cause to diminish; become less. “The cost of fuel is beginning to eat into my available monthly budget for travel.” “If you keep eating into your savings and your accrued bank interest keeps diminishing, gradually everything will be eaten away.” “If Gerald keeps eating into his trust fund the way he has been, all his resources will be gone by the time he is thirty-one.” * Eat it up. To enjoy something so much that you are dying and crying for more. “Those who are addicted to getting other’s attention eat it up and cannot get enough of it.” “Some people love hearing praise so much that they eat it up as fast as it comes and keep craving for more and more.”


“Our friend Martin enjoys being the center of attention so much that he eats it up and cannot wait for the next occasion when he can become the center of attention once more.” * Eat like a horse Just as a horse will keep on eating until it has finished its oats, so people may be said to keep on stuffing themselves until they are full. “After a hard day of working on the farm, I am so hungry that I could eat like a horse.” “Sally is so hungry she could eat like a horse, but she knows that if she does, she’ll gain weight of course.” “Everybody on the football team eats like a horse, and their trainers feed them well because they believe good nourishment will improve their strength and force.” * Eat out of someone’s Just as we can tame an animal to eat out of our hand, so hand we can train a person to eat out of our hand when they do what we want. “Just as a wild deer might eat out of a gentle person’s hand, so my girlfriend has got me eating out of her hand.” “Shelia is so nice to the boss that she has got him eating out of her hand, and he will do anything she wants him too.” “We might be able to gain influence with the Premier by going through his daughter because, as everybody knows, he eats out of her hand.” * Eat your heart out An expression used derogatorily when you see someone else is jealous and feeling bitter envy of something you have achieved or received. “When you see your envious friends wish they had as much money as you, you can tell them to eat their hearts out, because they will never be as wealthy as you.” “I know that you have always wanted to marry Herbert, but you can eat your heart out, because, now, he has proposed to me already.” “I know you would love to have a two carat diamond ring just like mine, but you can eat your heart out, because your fiancée hasn’t got enough money to afford it.” * Eat your shirt There is an expression that says when you claim or state something, especially when boasting, that proves to be not true you will have to eat your words: saying ‘eat your shirt’ or ‘eat your hat’ means the same thing as ‘eat your words.’ “If what I have claimed proves to be not true, I’ll eat my shirt right here in front of you.” “If you are not as good as you claim to be, you will have to eat your shirt and your hat too.” “If what the President promises turns out not to be true, he will have to eat his shirt.” * Eating away at your con- Making you continue to feel guilty. “The way I disapscious pointed my first wife keeps eating away at my conscience.” “The way Mona took financial advantage of me is probably still eating away at her conscience.” “If the way Aye disappointed her boyfriend is not eating away at her conscience that will be a sign that she has no shame


Eating binge

Eats like a bird

Eaves-drop on someone

Eccentric individual

Educated guess

or fear of moral dread.”* Just as some alcoholics go on a drinking binge, so some bulimics go on an eating binge. “Between my father’s drinking binges and my mother’s eating binges, I had a rather unsettled childhood.” “Often, when people feel a psychological lack, they try to fill their sense of emptiness by going on an eating binge.” “One day, Maria, unconsciously went, to the fridge, opened it and started slowly eating almost everything in it until she finally had to vomit. That was her first eating binge.”* Someone who eats very little or only picks a bit at of the food on the plate without eating much may be said to eat like a bird. “She’s so thin. I don’t know how she nourishes herself, she eats like a bird.” “She’s on a very strict diet; she hardly eats anything. She eats like a bird.” “Since Granny began to recover from heart failure, she eats like a bird. It’s as though she’s afraid to gain weight that would put any extra strain on her heart.” * Stand so close by to a person having a conversation that you can listen to everything he says without him knowing it; use listening devices for spying purposes. “Jane loves to eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of the girl in the next cubicle to her in the office. In the hopes of learning some of her secrets.” “Eva loves to stand around and mingle at social receptions and eavesdrop on other people’s conversations so she will have some nasty secrets to gossip about.” “When I was with military intelligence, stationed at Sinope, Turkey, on the Black Sea, we had listening devices that allowed us to eavesdrop on radio and telephone communications between Russian submarines and on the Russian mainland.”* An odd, peculiar, unpredictable person who behaves in an unconventional way. “The Duchess is so eccentric that nobody ever knows what she is going to do next.” “Old Ebenezer was so odd, peculiar and eccentric that his pattern of behavior was wholly unpredictable.” “One way to describe a person as being ‘eccentric’ is to say he does not conform to the norm but acts differently than would be expected.” * A calculated guess based on the knowledge that one has. “I don’t know how much original, naturally, forested land has remained untouched in Thailand, but an educated guess might be eight to twelve percent.” “We are not quite sure when man will burn up the world based on greed and anger, but an educated guess suggests it might be before the next millennium.” “The Abbot does not know how much construction of the crematorium might cost to build, but an educated guess would be about one-


Egg someone on

Ego trip

Egocentric person


Eke out a living

Elaborate upon

point-five million, excluding labor costs.” * Push and dare someone to do something that may not be good for him and harmful for others. “Carl didn’t really want to set the henhouse on fire, but the other children kept egging him on until he finally did it.” “I’m really sorry I did a strip-tease in front of the whole student body at the home-coming football game, but the other students kept egging me on until I finally lost my head and just did it.” “The lawyer for the defense claims the accused acted under extenuating circumstances because he acted following the intentions of the bystanders who were egging him against his will rather than depending on his own will and volition.” * Getting carried away with an inflated sense of one’s own ego. “When a person is all full-of-himself and thinks he is the best and the greatest, we say he is on an ego trip.” “We should all be careful not to become overly proud of our accomplishments and go off on an ego trip.” “When someone goes on an ego trip, he gets so swell-headed and puffed that others want to pop his balloon.” * A person who sees himself as the center of the world. “Joan’s husband is so egocentric that he thinks he is the center of the world.” “Someone who is egocentric sees himself as the center of the world and views everything in a selfish way.” “We have a Scottish friend from Glasgow who is so egocentric that he thinks the sun shines out of his own navel.” * Someone who only thinks about himself as if the whole world revolved around him. “To be self-centered is one thing, but when a person wants the whole world to go his way and to follow his wishes, he becomes an egomaniac.” “Political dictators are sometimes ego-maniacs who, somehow, through circumstances, find themselves in a position of absolute power to rule over the lives of millions of others.” “J. Edgar Hoover, the former director of the FBI was thought by many to be a total ego-maniac who pried-into the secret lives of others just as a means of perpetuating his own power.” * Work hard to earn just barely enough to eat and survive. “Nowadays with the high cost of fuel, many taxi drivers are finding it hard to eke out a living in Bangkok.” “In the old days, in the Northeast, it was very hard for rice farmers to eke out a living and have enough even to just barely survive.” “During the Great Depression, in America, in the 1930’s, the farmers in Oklahoma could not eke out a living from their land and were forced to emigrate westwards were they found things even worse.” * Give more information about; explain further. “We shall


Elbow grease

Elbow room

Elbow your way

Embezzle funds

now ask the team leader to and elaborate upon and give more details about the project.” “Having explained my thesis and the concept I wish to confirm, please allow me to elaborate upon it by giving supporting statistics and details.” “The Senate Hearing Board is not satisfied that the CIA Director has told all he knows, and they are calling him back for more questioning to elaborate further upon the details of the satellite surveillance intelligence information.” * Working hard with the hands, especially to rub and polish; or bending the elbows continuously in a mechanical, circular fashion such, as for buffing or cleaning. “All right girls, we’d better put some elbow grease into it and get all these big, bay windows cleaned by the time the princess arrives at five pm.” “If you don’t put enough elbow grease into shining the brass candlesticks, they won’t shine the way they are supposed to.” “If we don’t speed up the effort and put some elbow grease into it, we’ll never have the silver service, polished in time for the wedding reception this afternoon.” * Space in which to move freely, without being squeezedin-together; without having to rub elbows tightly enclosed with a lot of other people; room within which to move; free space around you. “Give me a little elbow room and don’t crowd me, or I may go crazy and have a screaming fit.” “My problem with riding down in the lift at lunch hour is that I feel claustrophobic when I’m squeezed into a corner with no elbow room.” “I’ve stopped taking busses because, I’m afraid of enclosed spaces and being jammed together with a lot of others, with no elbow room.” * Force yourself to the front of the crowd, using your elbows to dig and push your way forward; “Macy’s is having a big summer sale, with drastically reduced prices, and customers are elbowing their way forward towards the sales counters to get the best bargain prices.” “In a crowded English pub, you sometimes have to elbow your forward, up to the bar, through a crushing mass of swaying bodies, if you want to order another round of drinks.” “Some people try to get ahead in their careers by elbowing their way forward, but this does not work in the long run, because it is the quality of one’s performance that counts and not how bold and brazen and aggressive one can be.” * Steal money in business or government by using dishonest bookkeeping. “When the Mafia found that their accountant had been embezzling funds, they put a hit out on him.” “Some government officials have been accused


of embezzling from appropriated funds, but that would never happen in a true democracy.” “If you embezzle millions in funds you go to jail for maybe three rears with good behavior but, if you get caught sticking up a liquor store, you might get four years or more.” * Empower someone to do Give someone the authority or authorization to do somesomething thing. “The President has empowered the Vice President to be responsible for his duties while the President is defending himself against charges of war crimes before an international tribunal.” “I have been empowered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland to present and reward you with this jewel in honor of your long and dedicated service.” “I have been empowered by my client through this power of attorney to represent him in clearing up his financial affairs.” * Empty promises Promises made with no intention of fulfilling them. “Men are always trying to get women to believe in them by making a lot of empty promises.” “My Dad was always disappointing me by making empty promises to take me to the circus and things like that when he never intended to keep them in the first place.” “Don’t make a lot of empty promises just to help you get what you want in the short run if you don’t intend to keep them in the long run.” * Empty threats Threats made with no intention of carrying them out. “Don’t be afraid if my brother threatens to harm you. He is always making empty threats that he never carries out.” “People who tell you you’d better watch out and that they are going to get back at you are usually just making empty threats.” “Our boss is always making empty treats about firing people who do not follow his orders, but, by now, we know that He never follows through on his stated intentions once he has cooled down.” * End of the line As far as it goes; nothing left to do; nothing further to try. “We have tried everything to succeed but every attempt has failed, and we have reached the end of the line.” “I’ve lost all my friends and my money, and I can’t see where my life can go on from here. To me, it looks like I’ve reached the end of the line.” “After years of drug and alcohol addiction followed by HIV infection, Cyrus had reached the end of the line and finally died.” * End up Reach the final result; what happens in the end. “The only sure thing about a man’s life is that he will end up dead.” “If you lie and cheat a lot, you will end up paying for your bad deeds in the end.” “My Mom says that she will be happy as long as I am able to hold down a steady job and don’t end up in jail.” *


Ends of the earth

Enduring effort

Engage in conversation

Enlarge upon

Enlist support

Enough is enough!

All over the world, in everyplace; to the furthest reaches and corners of the globe. “Darling, I would follow you to the ends of the earth just not to lose sight of you.” “You can search to the ends of the earth looking for the perfect society, but, in actual fact, there is no such thing.” “Research teams have searched to the ends of the earth for archeological relics and remains connected to the origin of the ancient mysteries, but, to date, they have come up empty-handed.” * Non-stop endeavor with no pause or let-up. “He who makes an enduring effort and never slackens his place will almost always succeed to achieve his goal in the end.” “It has been only because of the enduring effort of the United Nations that any progress to world peace is being made at all.” “If one does not arouse energy and make a concentrated and enduring effort, one has no chance whatever of achieving Nirvana.” * Talk together with another or others. “I am rather shy about engaging in conversation with other people.” “Some people have the talent of being easily able to engage others in conversation.” “If you have the ability to engage others in conversation easily, this might be an indication that you would make a good teacher.” * Explain in greater detail; expand by giving further information. “Allow me to enlarge upon my initial statement and give you some convincing details that will help you make up your mind.” “We understand your concept of how to develop the land, but, for the benefit of our potential investors, would you please enlarge upon the plan and give some further details.” “The Assistant District Attorney has asked his team to research back-up materials to be used to enlarge upon the prosecution’s allegation that the governor has been guilty of embezzlement of government funds.” * Call for backing for “My Mom used to go around knocking on doors trying to enlist support for the conservative party and getting people to vote for the conservative candidate.” “I am not one of those outgoing, aggressive people who can go around drumming up, and enlisting support for a good cause. I’m just not the type.” “The Rotary Club is trying to think of new ways of getting backing and enlisting support for opening neighborhood youth centers to combat juvenile delinquency.” * That is too much; this goes too far. “I’m fed up with all your deceitfulness. Stop your lying. Enough is enough!” “I’ve had it! I cannot stand your insults any more. Enough is enough!” “Ok. That’s it! I’m leaving because I cannot stand all this continual bickering. Enough is


enough!” * Enough rope to hang Give a man time enough time, and he will show through yourself his continuing behavior the necessary evidence to bring about his own demise and punishment. “Don’t arrest the suspect yet, just put him under surveillance and give him enough rope to hang himself.” “When you feel someone is lying to you, don’t let on you know. Let him keep talking and give him enough rope to hang himself until you catch him in an actual and undeniable lie.” “When you want to catch someone who is stealing from you, let him think you still trust him and, then, give him enough rope to hang himself, by allowing him to continue what he is doing until you get hard enough hard evidence to convict him of what of what you suspect.” * Enough to tide me over Enough to live on while you wait for a new low of income; money enough to get through a lean patch; enough to live on while waiting for better days. “Farmer Jones has put aside a little money to tide him over the winter until the following harvest season comes.” “Duncan hasn’t saved a whole lot of money from his last job on the oil rigs, but he has at least enough to tide him over until the next contract started in September.” “I’m going to take a break from work for a while and get some much-needed rest and recreation. I’ve got enough money set aside to tide me over for at least the next six months and maybe even a year if I am careful.” * Enticing offer A tempting, alluring, attractive offer which entices someone into accepting something that will not necessarily be good for him. “A pornographic film director made Judy an enticing offer to appear in a sex movie, but she wouldn’t think of it!” “Earning big bucks working offshore in Iran is an enticing offer, but I think it might be just a little bit too dangerous.” “The company made the CEO an enticing offer to stay on and run the company, but he knew he had run it into the ground and didn’t want to be around when the shit hit the fan.” * Equal opportunity The same opportunities as everyone else in society. “During the 1960’s, the US Army started an equal opportunity program that gave equal chances to women, Hispanics and blacks.” “All people in the nation should have an equal opportunity to get an education regardless of rank and station or where they were born.” “People of the third world are sometimes disheartened because they feel that they have not had an equal opportunity with the peoples of the developed world in being provided the right to work and earn money to strive to improve themselves.” * Equal to the task Able to meet the challenge; good enough to do the job. “I accept the responsibility of being a good mother, and I


Equitable conditions

Err on the side of caution

Erratic behavior

Erroneous belief

Error in judgment

am sure that I will prove equal to the task.” “Thank you for trusting me with the responsibility of being Toastmasters Club President for this year, and I hope to show you that I am equal to the task.” “I have signed-up for a tall ship cruising course in which I shall have to furl sails balancing out on the yardarm near the top of the mast, and I hope to prove equal to the task.” * Fair and balanced circumstances. “Working as a contract employee without welfare benefits does not provide the contract employee with equitable conditions.” “The lectures on yearly contracts complain that they do not have equitable conditions with the tenured-lecturers.” “Lawful employment practice must provide that everyone hired must work under fair and equitable conditions.” * Take heed to be too careful as opposed to being too careless. “He who errs on the side of caution will have the satisfaction that he is doing his best to avoid fatal results.” “It’s better to have a little too much food for the banquet than a little too little. It is always wise to err on the side of caution.” “It’s better to retain as much money in the company reserve fund as possible without hindering necessary capital flow, just as an assurance that the firm may have the reserves to pull through hard times should this prove to be necessary.” * Unpredictable, irregular, inconsistent ways of behaving. “We had to put out mother in a home-for- the-aged because of her erratic behavior, for her own safety and good.” “They say that people who are schizophrenic exhibit erratic behavior: one minute they can be calm and normal and the next the exact opposite or even something more dangerous and even worse.” “We had to fire the maid because of her erratic behavior: she would be thinking one thing one minute and the total opposite the next, and the same was true of her actions. We need someone solid and stable to run the house and not someone unpredictable and unreliable.” * Mistaken, wrong, incorrect belief based on error. “For a long time people suffered the erroneous belief that the earth was at the center of the universe.” “Similarly, people have the erroneous belief that is happening in the body or consciousness is synonymous with self.” “Another example of erroneous belief is that physics studies physical objects they have solidity in the world, when, actually, everything exits in waves and particles that have no permanent existence.” * Mistake in judging something. “The president now admits that he made an error in judgment in pardoning Albert Pike for his traitorous actions.” “I am afraid I have


Escape hatch

Establish yourself

Evaporate into thin air

Evasive answer

Eventual demise

to now admit that I made an error in judgment in choosing Palm to be put in charge of my household affairs.” “Whenever one makes an error in judgment, the best thing to do is admit that you were wrong and ask for understanding and forgiveness.” * Just as boat has an escape hatch as a way out in the case of flooding , so we say we will build in an seek ad escape hatch into a plan or contract. “We shall have to write this contract agreement so that it contains an escape hatch in case our partner runs out of funds and leaves us holding the bag and fully liable for all continuing expenses.” “The Constitution contains an escape hatch where it says that a man cannot be required to give evidence against himself that can be used to convict him.” * Get in somewhere and get on good footing so you are firm in your professional foundation. “Benjamin Franklin went to Philadelphia with hardly a penny in his pocket, but it did not take him long to establish himself in a trade that later led him into prosperity and wealth.” “If you graduate in law, it is a good idea to first establish yourself by gaining a few years of experience in an established law firm before making a parallel move or establishing your own practice.” “Once you have got a job as a university lecturer, you then need to establish yourself in the profession by writing articles, papers and books which will make you a name in your field.”* Just as sea water evaporates into the air and disappears, so we may say a person has evaporated or disappeared suddenly without a trace. “When I was just six, my Daddy evaporated into thin air and was never seen again.” “Angels and devas can take on human form to visit the human realm, but when they are finished their visit, they just evaporate into thin air, as if just little wisps of cloud.” “The bank robber went out the front door of the bank and seemed to evaporate into thin air, and nobody knows just how he pulled off his vanishing act.” * An ambiguous, vague reply; an indirect response which avoids answering the question directly by ignoring or evading the point. “I hate it when my husband gives evasive answers to my questions. I wish I could get him to reply directly and tell me the clear and exact truth.” “Sometimes monks give evasive answers because they do not want to be drawn into detailed discussions about worldly matters.” “Politicians are known for giving evasive answers to allow them to skirt issues which they do not want to face.” * Final and ultimate ruin; eventual downfall brought about


Every eventuality

Every man for himself.

Every man has his price.

Every trick in the book

by one’s own actions. “If A man continues lying and cheating and deceiving people, sooner or later he will bring about his own ruin and meet his eventual demise.” “Jimmy Hoffa, the union leader who had dealings with the Mafia met his eventual demise through being murdered and encased in cement.” “At first Adolph Hitler seemed to be unstoppable, mad, tyrant, dictator, but in the end, in a bunker in Berlin, he met his eventual demise by taking cyanide and got what he deserved.” Every possible condition that might arise. “Before you start a business venture you should consider every eventuality concerning anything and everything that could go wrong.” “A good risk manager is trained to spot any eventuality that might ultimately lead to financial loss for the firm.” “Disaster Relief Centers must plan for every eventuality in order to be prepared for any situation with which they might possibly be faced in the future.” * You’re on your own; you have to save yourself when there’s no one there to fight for you. “Try to save yourself first before you think of others. It’s a case of every man for himself.” “This is a dog-eat-dog world in which every man must look out for himself: it’s every man for himself.” “After we pull off the assassination, I want everybody in the unit to disappear into the crowd and try to get away from the scene in the best way you can. It’s every man for himself.” * This expression assumes that everybody can be corrupted and bribed into doing the wrong thing if he is paid enough: the higher the person’s integrity the higher his price is. “They say that some people are incorruptible, but every man has his price. You just have to find his weak point, and then work on him until he gives in.” “It will be hard to convince the President to lower taxes by seven percent, but every man has his price. If we convince him, it can help him get more votes to get reelected. He’ll go along with it.” “Sometimes when a person betrays his principles for money or for selfish motives related to security, power, influence or the satisfaction of other desires, we say, ironically that every person has his price.” * All the devious, dishonest tactics and devices possible. “Ann tried every known trick in the book to get my money and make me angry, but, I was too slippery for her and she failed to succeed.” “I have tried every trick in the book to try to seduce Murielle’s husband but nothing seems to work.” “Stay away from girls in bars. These girls know every conceivable trick in the book to be used to deceive and tale advantage of foreigners on their


own.” * the A lot of unnecessary things; a lot of extra stuff. “When I first went off to college I packed everything but the kitchen sink into my old jalopy only to find once I got to school that I took too much junk with me.” “When the Joads packed up for their journey to California, they packed everything they could into their vehicle but the kitchen sink.” “When I was young my mom used to carry a big handbag in which she carried everything but the kitchen sink.”* Exact information from To obtain or extract information from someone by quessomeone tioning or coercion. “The Americans have trained interrogators who interview and extract information from anyone who defects to the West from the opposing side.” “A good interviewer has ways of turning the conversation in a way of extracting information from people without then ever knowing what they said.” “The Revenue Department has people who are especially trained in ways to extract information from people suspected of hiding sources of income and holding black money.”* Excess baggage Just as at the airport you may have to pay an extra baggage fee for luggage over (in excess) a certain weightlimit or throw it in the dustbin, so we can call a person ‘excess baggage’ when we do not want him around or to take him along anymore. “The day when they finally fired me, the managing director said in a very nice way that I had become excess baggage.” “I’m sorry I married a divorcee, and I now think that she and her ex-husband’s useless children are just so much excess baggage!” “It’s not fair, after the way Aunt Sadie has devoted her whole life to putting her children through school, so they could get jobs and marry and have children of their own, that the whole family are now treating her as if she were nothing more than excess baggage.” * Excessive force More force than is necessary, required or allowable by law. “There is a law that prohibits the use of excessive force in expulsing unwanted patrons from entertainment establishments.” “There is a law against the police making use of excessive force to subdue suspects, and smart lawyers sometimes get their client’s off-the-hook by claiming use of unnecessary force and police brutality.” “American Troops have been warned against using extra and unnecessary force to route out terrorists hiding in densely populated areas because the USA does not want to make enemies unnecessarily amongst the indigenous people.” * Excruciating circum- Terrible, agonizing, unbearable conditions. “In early stances nineteenth century England, in Manchester, there were Everything kitchen sink but


Excuse the interruption

Exercise restraint

Exert yourself

Exist on borrowed time

Expand your horizon

Expel from school

many poor cotton mill workers who lived in miserable and excruciating circumstances.” “There are said to be forest monks who can live under the most excruciating circumstances in remote mountain caves full of snakes and frequented by tigers.” “In the Northeast, there are still many poor and destitute mothers, with four or more young children, with no means of income, who have been deserted by their husbands, and who live in excruciating circumstances.” * Sorry, please excuse me for breaking into your conversation or meeting. “Please excuse the interruption during your meeting, Sir, but your wife is on the phone asking if she can use the car and chauffeur this afternoon.” “Sorry to break into your meeting gentlemen. Excuse the interruption, but it is my duty to inform you that the court has just declared our firm to be bankrupt.” “Please excuse the interruption. I am sorry to disturb your conversation, but I would like to inform you that your turban is on fire!” * Practice moderation; be self-controlled. “Don’t go overboard and start shouting over even the slightest little insult. Exercise restraint.” “Mediators are taught to exercise mental restrain and guard the sense doors against intrusions that may make the mind stray from its object.” “The police are trained to exercise restraint in mob control, but they are also trained to use aggressive force in order to protect themselves from attack.” * Make your strongest effort; try as hard as you can to achieve your aim. “My teacher says that if I do not exert myself to learn something, he is going to kick me out of school for good.” “I know that if I exert myself to the fullest of my abilities that I am capable of achieving the final goal.” “If one sets one’s goals high and exerts oneself, there is no limit to the possibilities that may open up to one.” * Live beyond life expectancy. “After they discovered that the heart transplant was being rejected, they knew he was existing only on borrowed time.” “According to medical statistics, I should have died already three or four years ago, but by some miracle I have managed to continue to exist on borrowed time.” “The government will surely be defeated in the next election and may as well be dead already and its power and influence only continue to exist on borrowed time.” * Broaden your point of view. Traveling the world and seeing the ways and customs of different peoples helps expand your horizon.” Be dismissed and kicked out-of-school. “My friend,


Mitch, punched his history teacher in the face and was expelled from school immediately.” “Our brother Terry was expelled from school for a show of defiance against authority and was never able to continue his education.” “Several times in his youth, Dale was almost expelled from school for being a mischievous and naughty boy, but for some reason, he managed to stay in and even go to college.” * Explore the mind Just as early sailors and adventures explored the world, so we may be said to explore the mind to understand it better. “Some people seem to have been born with a closed-mind and some appear to have been born to open and explore the mind.” “Psychoanalysis, simply defined, is developing the ability to explore the mind.” “True explorers of the mind find that it has two sides: one side is passive and observes; the other side is active and wanders and swerves.” * Express condolences Convey or communicate sympathy, pity and kind understanding. “Please allow me to express my sincere condolences on the death of your mother.” “Messages have come in from heads-of-state from all around the world to express condolences upon the death of the Pope.” “My family and I wish to express our deepest and most-heartfelt condolences upon the occasion of the death of your daughter.” * Extenuating circum- Justifiable, explainable, mitigating circumstances beyond stances your control. “The Police Chief ruled that due to extenuating circumstances the officer concerned was not to be disciplined for allowing his badge and gun to be stolen.” “Sometimes, due to extenuating circumstances that you cannot control unexpected things may happen that you have to take responsibility for.” “If due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control, you cannot be at your workplace at the designated time, it is your duty to inform your supervisor-in-charge of the reason for your absence.” * Extort money from Force someone to give you money by making threats. “To extort money means to threaten someone that if he does not give you money, you will make something bad happen to him, his family, his business or reputation.” “In the old days, neighborhood Mafia gang-members used to extort protection money from local shop owners by threatening to break up their shops or hurt their children.” “Unfortunately, there are still places in the world were local strongmen are able to extort money from members of the community who have to pay for the sake of their own protection.” “In this country, fortunately, there are no corrupt politicians who would try to extort


money from others motivated by selfish circumstances.” * Extrasensory perception Sixth sense; being able to see phenomena that normal people in human society cannot see. “Extrasensory perception (ESP) means being able to see and know phenomenon that are come from beyond the realm of the senses.” “Someone who can see and talk to ghosts and know what is in the minds of spirits is said to have a sixth sense or extrasensory perception.” “There are some people who know things without knowing why or where the things come from; all they can say is that they somehow know due to extrasensory perception.” * Extricate yourself from Get yourself out of a situation so you don’t have to take the blame. “The Governor has managed to extricate himself from charges of embezzlement by making the financial records of all transactions public.” “The Mayor has managed to extricate himself from charges of taking payoffs from suppliers and contractors by saying that he had no personal knowledge of such transactions.” “The former Democratic leader tried unsuccessfully to extricate himself from accusations that he had an affair with a female congressional aid.” * Eye-opener An experience that serves as an awakening; a sudden realization based on new evidence or fact. “When someone told me that foreign wars were all about keeping up the price of oil that was a real eye-opener for me.” “When I discovered, first hand, from personal experience that under-the-table corruption money had risen from five fifteen percent that was a real eye-opener.” “The day I discovered that the price of sensual desire was proportionate to accumulated need, that was a real eye-opener, and, since then, I have never again looked at sensuality in the same way.” * Eyes in the back of your Have the capability to see what is coming up behind you head or going on behind your back. “In martial arts movies, Kung-Fu fighters always seem to have eyes in the back of their heads because they can sense when attack is coming from the back.” “If you hope to be a teacher and maintain classroom discipline, you must develop eyes in the back of your head, because, the moment you turn to write on the board, the students will start acting up behind your back.” “The supervisor always knows what is going on in the workshop, even when he is not looking. He must have eyes in the back of his head.” * Eye-to-eye See things the same way; share the same view; agree. “My father and I do not see eye-to-eye on the question of how to restructure the company.” “My mother and I do not see eye-to-eye on the way that young people dress



Fabricated excuse

Face reality!

Face the challenge

Face the consequences

today.” “The Prime Minister and the President do not see eye-to-eye on the issue of placing foreign troops indefinitely on foreign soil.” * A lot of lies; deception; dishonesty; falsehood; deceit; trickery; nonsense. “I don’t believe one word your saying. It’s all a lot of eyewash.” “Don’t try to fool me with a lot of eyewash. Just forget the phony excuse and tell me the truth.” “The government is trying to cover-up the political blunder with a lot of eyewash and propaganda in the press, but they are not fooling anybody.” * A total lie which is made-up to get out of trouble; a lie which is thought up to provide a false excuse. “I do not believe that the dog ate your homework. That is just s fabricated excuse to get your self out of trouble.” “When my mother wanted me to skip school and go somewhere with her, she would write a letter to the teacher containing the fabricated excuse that I was sick in bed.” “The President’s used the fabricated excuse that he had been misinformed by the CIA about suspicious-looking ground movements to get out of the accusation of having purposely killed a caravan of refugees on the move.” * Face the facts; accept reality as it is; face up to it. “Face reality! You can never be a Miss World or a Hollywood star because you are not charming or pretty enough.” “Be honest for once in your life. Face reality! You are just not big and strong and fast enough to become a world class football star.” ” “It’s time our team looked the facts and faced the reality that there is no way we can succeed in sending a manned-satellite to orbit the sun.” * Meet the confrontation with confidence and courage in order to overcome it. “Giving your first presentation in class is a big challenge for most, but, if you prepare carefully and practice hard, you will be able to face the challenge without any trouble.” “It’s not easy to pass the entrance exam, but if you face the challenge and work your hardest and get all the help you can, you may just succeed.” “In the mid-nineteenth century, no body would ever have thought that science and technology would be able to face the challenge and soon be able to put a man on the moon.” * Accept and pay the penalty for what you have done; make-up for your wrong actions. “You were caught breaking a dormitory regulation, and now, you are going to have to face the consequences of being expelled from the dormitory.” “If one insists on drinking a quart of whiskey every day, one will have to face the consequences of eventually dying from liver cirrhosis.’ “Now that you have got my daughter pregnant, you are going to


Face the music

Face your fears


Facts of life

Fading fast

Fail to see

have to face the consequences and marry her and, then, face the challenge of being a good husband and raising a family.” * Face the consequences and pay the penalty for what you have done. “If you persist in your criminal actions, one day you will be caught for sure and have to face the music.” “The audit team has caught you embezzling and juggling the books, and, now, you are going to have to face the music and go to jail for a few years.” “My teacher has caught me cheating on the math exam, so, now, I have been sent to the principal’s office where I am going to have to face the music.” * Meet your fears head-on and don’t run away from them. “Fear is all in the mind. If you know that fear arises only in your head, you can analyze it away and learn to face your fears.” “Stand up and be a man and face your fears, for, if you run away from them, you will know yourself to be a coward.” “I am afraid that I may not be able to realize my expectations, but one thing I know for sure is that if I do not learn to face my fears and to overcome all obstacles, then I will fail for sure.” * Being right in front of another person looking him straight in the face; vis-à-vis. “After my parents divorced, they never again saw one another face-to-face.” “The Prime Minister has declined to have a face-to-face Public Debate with the leader of the opposition.” “I’d like to get my two accusers face-to-face and ask them to justify on the basis of what evidence they have started this nasty rumor.” * The realities of life the way it really is; the truth about the birds and the bees; how babies come into the world. “By the time I knew the facts of life, I was already thirteen and pregnant.” “Sharon’s parents didn’t tell her the facts of life until she was sixteen, and, she didn’t bother to tell them, that, by then, she knew everything already.” “As we grow up we learn that we have to face everything the way it is that is; we have to learn to face the facts of life the way they come.”* Just as we can say a person is disappearing from view into the haze or fog quickly, so we can also say a person is fading fast when he is approaching death through illness. “Father’s health is fading fast and he will soon be on the brink of death.” “The twilight was fading fast and the soldiers had to pitch their tents quickly before total darkness set in.” “Tom Braxton’s breath was fading fast, and he knew he was dying from lack of oxygen.” * Cannot understand or comprehend. “Son, I fail to see why you cannot make an attempt to get along better with




Fair and square

Fair or foul

Fair to middling

Fair weather friends

your little brother. “I still fail to see why my mother and father cannot sit down face-to-face and have a reasonable discussion and somehow get back together.” “I fail to see how people would prefer to fight a war for going-on more than thirty years rather than sitting down and making an agreement to live in peace forever.” * Designed or considered to be absolutely safe and secure; cannot break down. “The ship. Titanic, was designed to be fail-safe, but it sank on its first, maiden voyage.” “Nuclear reactors must be built to be fail-safe to protect the surrounding environment from nuclear radiation.” “Space rockets are designed to be fail-safe to protect the lives of the scientists encapsulated inside the space module, but time has shown that not even fail-safe plans are always entirely safe.” * Weak-hearted; afraid to face anything; afraid to start behaving with courage and conviction; weak attempt with little heart. “Sissy is so faint-hearted and unsure of herself that she can hardly speak in front of others.” “Aunt Caroline did not want to help us raise funds for our charity, so she made only a fainthearted attempt before giving up altogether.” “Going to work in an oilfield that is in danger of being bombed and set on fire is not for the faint-hearted.” * Honest and upright. “A moral and upright individual should always be fair and square in his dealings with other people.” “One of the Freemason’s practices is that everything they do in life should always be on the fair and square.” “Even a king, no matter how great his power, should always be fair and square in his every action.” * Good or evil. “Some people are willing to resort to any means to get what they want, fair or foul.” “Those damned Democrats will try to play every trick in the book, fair or foul, to make the Republicans look bad.” “The problem with the Republican Party Chairman is that he will do anything within his means, fair or foul, to get what is expedient for the party.” * Average or a bit better. “If you ask me how I am, I have to say that I am ‘fair to middling.’ Things are not bad but they could be better as well.” “I saw uncle Arthur in the hospital and his condition is fair to middling. It could certainly be a lot worse, so we are glad that he is as well as he is.” “The condition of the national economy may be said to be fair to middling: there is no recession in view and there are signs of gradual growth.” * Friends you have when everything is going well, but who will not be there when you are in trouble. “When I was


Fake a headache

Fake check

Fall all over yourself

Fall back on

Fall by the wayside

spending a lot of money, I had a lot of fair weather friends, but now that my finances are limited I don’t have any friends any more.” “When I had my yacht in Monte Carlo, I had a lot of fair weather friends, in both senses of the word, but after the bank reclaimed the yacht, I found myself friendless and alone in the dark.” “Fair weather friends arise out of conditions: when the conditions are right such friends find themselves together at the same time in the same place, but when the conditions and factors that brought them together change, the conditions of the past are forever altered and can never come back together again.” * Pretend you have a headache when you don’t want to do something. “My wife always fakes a headache every time I want to have sex.” “Whenever we ask Jennie to help us grading the exam papers, she always fakes a headache.” “In the office, when I have been working on the computer too long and need a break, I fake a headache and tell my colleagues that I’m going to step out for a breath of fresh air.” * A check written without enough money in the bank to cover it. “I pacified my ex-wife, temporarily at least, by writing a fake check.” “They say the only thing a fake or rubber check will buy is time.” “Ken paid me for the car with a fake check and drove off into the distance, without remembering he had forgotten to also take the registration papers.”* Make a show of doing whatever it takes to appear friendly and please others. “When Aunt Caroline comes visiting, my falls all over herself to try and please her and be a good hostess.” “Our Public Relations Director is an expert at falling all over herself and bending over backwards; she’ll do anything within her power to please incoming clients and visitors.” “When the Regional Supervisor visits our office, our manager is falling all over himself with friendliness, but after his distinguished visitor leaves, he goes back to being his plain, old, everyday, miserable self.” * To keep something in reserve for when it is needed. “I always keep a cash reserve of a hundred thousand to fall back on in case of any emergency.” “Even in the earliest ancient Indic texts, one finds the proverb that one should try to put something extra aside to fall back on in case of hard times.” “Roger tells me he has never touched a penny of his old age pension but lets it accumulate in the bank just in case he needs something to fall back on if he lives to a very old age.” * Stray away from the path and not continue going on


Fall flat

Fall flat on your face

Fall for a line

Fall for it

Fall guy

ahead like the others. “On the road to fame and success many reach the pinnacle but many more fall by the wayside and do not progress.” “All my old school buddies graduated from college and had successful careers, except for my friend Mitch who was a lazy son-of-a bitch.” “On the Children’s Crusade to the Holy Land, many poor kids fell by the wayside where they were eaten by wild tigers and wolves.” * Fail to entertain; fail to please; fail to be accepted. “Orange marketing-planners proposed a advertising campaign picturing monkeys talking on mobile phones, but the plan fell flat.” “The Clinton’s Medical Health Care plan was a good idea, but it fell flat due to establishment opposition.” “Martin is always telling what he thinks are clever jokes to get everyone’s attention, and he can never understand why his attempts fall flat.” * Just as a comedian may fall flat on his face, so we say we fell flat on our face when we failed miserably in an attempt. “When I asked Sylvana for a date, she just laughed at me, and I fell flat on my face.” “I offered myself as a candidate for election, but my party rejected the idea, and I fell flat on my face.” “Your plan is a good idea, and that is why the old established Congressmen will not accept it. If you try to present it as a bill for legislation, you will fall flat on your face.” * Believe a lie or con man’s story. “To hand someone a line is a lie, a false story. “To fall for a line is to believe a false story.” “We also say we are stringing someone a line, as though unraveling twine in a long string of lies to lead the other person on, hoping that he falls for the line.” “Don’t give me tat old line! I’m not going to fall for an old line like that! I’m not stupid you know!”* Be taken-in by a trick; to believe an incredible lie or story. “Don’t think I’ll fall for that old story. I’ve heard it too many times before to be silly enough to fall for it again.” “I fell for your father’s empty promises when I first met him.” “The traveling Bible salesman handed me a line, that by paying sixty-nine dollars down and a dollar a week for thirty weeks I could get religion, and I fell for it.” * The person who has to take the blame when something goes wrong so the real person or persons responsible remains in the background and protected. “Sometimes, local politicians bring a foreign administrative coordinator into a large-scale construction project just to have a convenient fall guy to blame if ever their shady dealings should come to light.” “The CIA director was chosen to be the fall guy when nobody could explain who was re-


Fall in with

Fall into step

Fall on deaf ears

Fall on hard times

Fall on your feet

sponsible for torturing foreign prisoners.” “The Minister of Foreign Affairs was chosen as the fall guy to take the blame for the Tunnel affair, while each of the other Cabinet Ministers sighed a breath of relief at being able to retain his chair.” * Begin associating with or become friends with wrong sort of people and begin behaving like them. “When Ted was a teenager, he fell in with the wrong sort of crowd at the local poolroom and two or three times he woke up in the morning behind bars.” “If you female students go to bars and nightclubs, it is very easy for them to fall in with the sort of people who can corrupt them, especially with regard to sex and drugs.” “My son, Chris, fell in with the wrong sort of crowd while he was studying in Liverpool, and for a while, I was afraid that he’d end up in jail, but after he graduated, that all changed and now he’s running with a better sort of crowd.” * Come into line and follow the expectations of others. “If you don’t fall into step and follow the others in obeying regulations, we’ll throw you out on your ear.” “Just as soldiers have to fall into step when marching, so individuals in society are expected to fall into step and behave and conform like everybody else.” “Some people have a tendency to fall into step, and some have a tendency to step out of line. I think that stepping out of line is just fine.” * With no one listening to what is said or suggested. “Environmentalist protests to the government about the ozone level are falling on deaf ears.” “For years, astrologists have been warning about the immanent end of the world, but, so far, their warnings have been falling on deaf ears.” “I have been pleading with my husband for years to help me out of my sense of psychological isolation, but, so far, my pleas have been falling on deaf ears.” * Go from having enough money to being poor and almost penniless. “My Granddaddy was a rich plantation owner, but, now, after three generations, the family has fallen on hard times.” “It often happens that a rich man will fall on hard times and lose all his money, but then start over again and get rich again.” “Randolph Hurst was one of the richest and most powerful men in California in his heyday, but, later, due to his own weaknesses, he met his demise and fell on hard times.” * Just as a cat falls on its feet, so we may say a person falls on his feet when he has the good luck to survive a fall in life or fortune. “Don’t worry about your Daddy, Dear. Whenever he has a fall in fortune, he always manages to land on his feet.” “Some thieves always seem to land on


Fall out with someone

Fall prey to

Fall through

Fall to your knees

Fallen idol

their feet and live to commit countless crimes on other days, but landing on your feet does not mean you will escape the effects of bad karma and ultimate defeat.” “During the financial crisis, my father’s business was threatened with bankruptcy, but, fortunately, with the help of a good banker, a little luck, and a lot of hard work, we have managed to fall on our feet.” * Have a disagreement and no longer be friends. “Rodger and I fell out with one another due to his habit of being overly-argumentative, quarrelsome and obstreperous.” “Good friends often fall out with one another due to disagreements about money; that’s why it’s never good to mix friendship and money.” “The leaders of the political coalition have fallen out with one another regarding proposed alliances with the far left, and that is why government majority control appears to be falling apart.” * Just as a mouse might fall prey to a hawk that swoops down and take it in its claws, so we may say that weak of vulnerable person falls prey to. “I think I am so street smart, but every once in a while even I fall prey to tricksters due to my goodness of heart.” “Never let an innocent young country girl venture alone into the big city where she will be very likely to fall prey to the wolves of the urban jungle.” “Little old ladies sitting outside on their front porches on Sundays often fall prey to Bible salesmen who want nothing more than to take financial advantage of them.” * Fail to materialize or to succeed as planned. “My application to the bank for a loan has unfortunately fallen through, and, now, I don’t know where to turn for money.” “The planned legislation Aid Package to provide help and assistance for the rural poor has fallen through in Parliament, so, now, there’s nothing left for the demonstrators to do but go home.” “The final Appeal to the Supreme Court Justice for a stay of execution has fallen through and the prisoner will be electrocuted at midnight.” * Go down on your knees to beg. “I’m falling on my knees and asking you to marry me.” “He fell on his knees and begged the Emperor’s forgiveness.” “In the ancient East, if you did not fall to your knees in obeisance before a nobleman, he would cut off your legs at the knees.” * Just as a statue of an ancient king or god can crumble and fall, so a present-day-person whom everyone looks-up-to can crash and fall due to shame and scandal. “President Bill Clinton was idealized by clean-living American youth, but after the Monica Lewinski scandal, he became a fallen idol.” “After it became clear that JFK had been


Fallen on hard times

Falling apart

Falling star

Falling to pieces


having illicit love affairs, in the eyes of many people, he became a fallen idol.” “Michael Jackson was top of the pops and everybody’s darling, but after all the bad publicity about sexual child abuse, he became a fallen idol.” * Lost all one’s money; no longer able to help oneself; having fallen lower in social station; once better off, but now in a worse position; barely able to provide for oneself. “In China, we met a former noblewoman who had lost everything after the revolution and had fallen on hard times.” “I used to be a well-to-do lawyer with a high income, but I had to retire early and have fallen on hard times.” “After the bottom fell out of the market, Lee lost all his money and fell on hard times.” * The feeling that everything is going to pieces psychologically. “Steve has lost is job, his house and his wife, and his whole life is falling apart.” “Carole is all confused and emotionally imbalanced about her role in the marriage, and she is almost falling apart.” “After his divorce, Harry went through a difficult psychological period, during which his whole life seemed to be falling apart, but, with time, he got back on his feet, and he is OK now.” * A star seen falling through the night sky may be taken as a sign of good luck. “Over the bay, he could see a falling star coming down through the sky towards him, and he took it as an omen that it would change his luck in the future.” “They say that if you can catch a falling star and make a wish that you will get anything you want,” “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket. Never let it go-away, because one day it will bring you the luck to get you to where you want to go and where you want to stay.” * Breaking apart due to pressure; having a nervous breakdown; coming apart at the seams. “My marriage is falling to pieces and I’m becoming a psychological wreck.” “I’m so stressed-out due to emotional pressure that I’m falling to pieces.” “I’m coming apart at the seams, and everything is falling to pieces, and I don’t know how to put my life back together again.” * Just as there is radio-active fallout from the atmosphere after a nuclear explosion, so we may say that a bad political situation may have some negative fallout. “There is bound to be a lot of fallout when the public learns that the media is paid to propagate hidden propaganda schemes.” “There is going to be a lot of political fallout about the Illuminist Conspiracy affair.” “There is going to be a lot of fallout in the CIA hearings when the public


learns about the role of American operatives in their trading in drugs behind the scenes.” * False alarm An alarm that is based on a false report. “There was a bomb scare in our school this morning, but it was based on a false alarm.” “At first the media was reporting a giant meteor would collide with the earth, but, later on, they said it was a false alarm.” “Often terrorist tactics are used to create fear of devastating attacks, when the only real fear is based on the public’s reaction to what are only false alarms.” * False modesty Pretending to be humble and unassuming when you are really not. “Don’t pretend that you are not aware of how clever you are. We can see through your false modesty.” “She says she thinks that she is not pretty, but I know her statement is based on a cultural sense of false modesty.” “If false modesty is, by definition, a lie, why can a cultural lie based on false modesty be acceptable to any society?” * False move Do something wrong that will put you in trouble. “I’ll give you a second chance, but if I ever see you make even one false move again, then, you are out of here.” “The problem with being an auditor is that If they catch you making even just one false move they can take away your license.” “Stop! Put your hands up! One false move and I will shoot!”* False pride Pride based on a false evaluation of self. “Being insulted out of a sense of false pride is based on pure ignorance and self-delusion.” “Having an over-inflated view of your self based on false pride can be very painful when the balloon-of-false-view hits the ground and pops.” “False pride has provoked many a harsh and hurtful word to be spoken, the reaction to which, in due course, has caused many a swelled-head to be bashed in and broken.” * Familiarity breeds con- When you get up close to someone and get to know his tempt weaknesses, you lose your former sense of respect and admiration and tend to look down on him as not being as perfect as you thought he was before. “One of the problems with the close intimacy of marriage is that familiarity breeds contempt.” “Never let yourself get too close to the servants, because, invariably, familiarity breeds contempt.” “Never try to be pals with the enlisted men under your command because familiarity breeds contempt.” * Fancy dress ball Formal black suit and tie/evening gown dance or affair or gala occasion. “Every one in high society gets all dressed up once a year for the local fancy dress ball on the fourth of July.” “In Vienna, once a year, there is a fancy dress ball which id attended by anybody who is anybody in the


Fancy free

Fancy someone

Fancy that!

Far cry from



German-speaking part of Europe.” “After the conference has ended, on the final night of activities, there will be a fancy dress ball to which all the members and their wives are invited.” * With absolutely no ties and totally free to do whatever one wishes. “I’m unmarried and unemployed without any responsibility and so I’m absolutely fancy free.” “Now that I am retired with money in the bank, I am fancy free to do whatever I want with my time.” “When you are married with children, you sometimes want to be fancy free, but those who are free and alone are often lonely.” * To have a liking for a person of the opposite sex. “I fancy that new girl in the office. I’d like to go out on a date with her.” “I fancy Freddy’s wife, but I’m afraid she does not fancy me!” “I know that my boss fancies me but there’s no way I’d ever start doing any hanky panky with someone in my own office.”* Just imagine that; it’s hard to believe; hard to conceive! “The Socialists won the election. Fancy that!” “It snowed in Spain on the fifth of July! Fancy that!” “They could not even find one virgin in the French court to perform in the ceremony. Fancy that!” * Nowhere near the intended expectation. “Democracy may be a far cry from being perfect, but it is still the best that system that we have.” “I know I’m a far cry from being the ideal husband, but at least, I’m trying my best.” “The sum of the donations was a far cry from what was expected, but, at least, the money went to charitable cause.” * Hard to believe because it is so fanciful; implausible. “Don’t you think the idea of having manned-space centers on Mars is a bit far-fetched?” “Your excuse that being chased-up a tree by a monkey made you late for school sounds a bit far-fetched, but, this time, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.” “The hypothesis that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays sounds a bit farfetched, but some scholars insist that they have found evidence to prove their case.” * Just as some people can see far off into the distance, so some thinkers and leaders are said to be far-sighted in making predictions and plans for the future. “The Buddha was very far-sighted when he said that men and women were to be considered equal in the practice of moral purity.” “The Provincial Government developed a far-sighted, long-range, educational plan to prepare to meet the needs of students who had not yet even been born.” “Nostradamus was a far-sighted visionary who, hundreds of years ago, predicted the violent conflicts and


Fast and furiously

Fast lane

Fast on the draw

Fast talk


Fat chance!

eruptions of the twenty-first century.” * Very quickly and recklessly with heedless abandon. “He is acting recklessly and spending money fast and furiously as though there were no tomorrow.” “The economy is declining so fast and furiously that the bottom may drop out any day now.” “Corruption is developing so fast and furiously that, soon, the only thing you will be able to get without paying a bribe is a postage stamp.” * Just as cars pass in the fast lane on the highway, so some people like to say they are living in the fast lane in their private and business lives. “Living in the fast lane brings rewards but it also brings pains.” “I’m on my way to success moving away ahead of all the others in the fast lane.” “You can only move in the fast lane as long as you are young and strong. It’s a place where the old and feeble wouldn’t last long.” * Just as a cowboy gunslinger can be fast on the draw, so we may say a person is quick to respond when challenged verbally or put on the spot. “A man who can reply immediately, with a quick, clever answer, when challenged is said to be quick on the draw.” “Someone who is capable of making a quick quip is said to be fast on the draw.” “A good defense lawyer must be able to think quickly and be fast on the draw in the art of countercross-questioning.” * Talking quickly to try to confuse the other person and get out of trouble. “Stop all your lying fast talk and makingup excuses. Slow down and tell me in detail exactly what happened” “Don’t give me any fast talk. I can see through all that jive. Just slow down and tell me the truth for a change.” “Girls soon learn the difference between men on whom they can depend to mean what they say and those who only depend on making an impression with a lot of loose, fast talk.” * Just as you can fast track your tape deck to play your cassettes forward, so we say someone is in the fast track when he will be speedily promoted up the line of management. “After Evelyn got her doctorate, she was put on the fast track by the administration to work her way quickly towards becoming Dean.” “When there is a war with a lot of casualties, officers are on a fast track to promotion whether they want it or not.” * No hope! No likelihood! No way! Impossible! “Don’t ask me to lie. I’m not going to lie for you under any circumstances. Fat chance!” “There’s no way I’m going to write your essay for you. Fat chance! That’s cheating!” “No way! Hell would freeze over before I would ever trust you. Fat chance! You are asking for too much.” *


Fat lip

Fatal attraction

Fatal error

Fate worse than death

Father figure

Fathom the depths

A thick lip from being punched in the mouth. “If you don’t shut up right now, I’ll punch you in the mouth and give you a fat lip.” “Charlie sometimes turns up at the office on Monday with a fat lip after he has been having a fight with his wife.” “If you don’t want to get a fat lip, I would advise you not to butt in where you do not belong.” * Being attracted to something in a way that will cause harm or even death. “Charlie seems to have a fatal attraction to women who are going to harm him.” “Anthony could not resist the fatal attraction of Cleopatra and his falling hopelessly in love with her eventually caused his ruin.” “The goddess Venus can change herself into a mortal woman and with her fatal attraction, charm any man living into doing anything she wants.” * Just as a mistake may result in mortal death, so a mistaken strategy may result in human failure or even worse. “If you try to mess with me, you are making a fatal error. I would as soon kill you as look at you.” “The American President’s fatal error was in assuming that control of the price of oil was more valuable than the lives of American troops.” “Where Tony Blair made his fatal error was in letting himself be talked-into the idea of establishing a New World Order.” * Something that can happen to you that you would consider to be worse than death. “I swear that being married to you is a fate worse than death. “At least with death, the suffering would be over, but accumulating bad karma in this life is a fate worse than death that can go on for ever.” “The idea of being perpetually racked with the excruciating pains of death in the fires of Hell is a fate worse than death.”* Someone we look up to as a father and role model. “Many young women who did not have a father when they were growing-up feel attracted to an older man in a position of trust as a father figure.” “Prof. Carlson has been a father figure to many young people who lacked a warm family environment when they were young.” “Carl Jung was a father figure to the close circle he entrusted to write down his ideas and explain them in books to the world.” * Search as deep down into a topic as possible; look into the depths of your mind. “We shall have to fathom the depths of our minds and search to find the source of this deep and depressing psychological problem.” “Tobias is attempting to fathom the depths of his mind to analyze if there is still any hidden resentment there against his mother.” “It seems to be impossible for man to fathom


the depths of the god-question because its boundaries exceed beyond the limits reachable by the human mind.” * Feast or famine Either too much or too little. “Either we have much too much work all at once or much too little for a long time. It’s either feast or famine.” “In our business, it is either feast or famine, with either too many orders to deal with or none at all.” “We are either making a whole lot of money all at once or we are going through a dry period waiting for opportunity to come. It’s either feast or famine.” * Feather in your cap Just as the old hunters used to put a rare feather in their hat band to show their accomplishment, so nowadays, we say a person deserves a feather in his cap for something he has done or accomplished. “Eileen deserves a feather in her cap for the way she took care of the family when Mom was in the hospital.” “Prof. Clark deserves a feather in his cap for all the years he has struggled to setup and to establish new national standards of educational achievement.” “Captain Rodgers deserves a feather in his cap for the way he led his troops in the attack that cut the rebel forces in two so the fighting would stop and, thereby, save a lot of human lives on both sides.” * Feather your nest Get and set aside money for the future, bit-by-bit, the way a bird feathers her nest. “Corrupt politicians pick up payoffs here and there, along the way, with which to feather their nests hoping they will be well-provided for in the future.” “Pam told me that she was setting ten percent of her salary aside to feather her nest in case she ever found herself in need or in distress.” “It is good to be able to feather your nest for the future, but do it as a sparrow should and not as a vulture would.” * Fed-up with Bored with; tired or; can’t stand it any more; “I’m fed-up with the way you are always lying and taking advantage of me.” “I’ve had enough of this boring job and I’m fedup to the teeth with it.” “I’m fed up fed-up with the way my boss has been treating me and I’m not going to pit up with it any more.” * Feel like death warmed- Feel like a corpse that has been brought back to life; feel over terrible, usually because of a hangover. “Last night I drank a whole bottle of tequila and today, I feel like death warmed over.” “Slick woke up feeling like death warmed over and swore he would never ever mix drugs and drink again.” “After three days of malarial fever, the feeble and hungry monk emerged from out of the darkness of the cave feeling and looking like death warmed over.” * Feeble excuse Weak explanation as justification. “Saying that the dog



Feed someone a line

Feed to the wolves

Feeding frenzy

Feed off of

ate your homework is a feeble excuse.” “Saying that the woman touched you first is a feeble excuse. Why didn’t you tell her you were a married man?” “Don’t give me any feeble excuse laying the blame on someone else. Take the blame yourself and be a man!” * Simple minded; weak in the brain; dim-witted. “Uncle Geordie is a little bit feeble-minded but nobody seems to be bothered because he is always smiling and good natured.” “We had a little brother who was sickly and feeble-minded, but he died when he was seven.” “Saying that a ghost stole your shoes is the most-feeble-minded excuse that I have heard in years!” * Just as one feeds out a long line used to tow a boat, so we may be said to feed some one a line of lies, leading him on with deceptive intent. “Don’t feed me that old line. I’ve heard that lie a thousand times before already.” “Please don’t feed me the line that if I accept you, you will never look at another woman in your life. That’s what all men say.” “Don is feeding Linda a line that one day he will inherit a huge fortune, but he’s lying through his hat and using her greed to get what he wants.” * Just as one may feed meat to wolves, so one may be said to allow a person to be open to attack from his enemies. “Government is a dirty business in which politicians will, first, use you for their own ends and, then, feed you to the wolves when they do not need you an “If you betray a one-time-friend by exposing his confidences and secrets to the press, this is a good example of feeding someone to the wolves.” “When I had lots of money to spend, I had lots of friends and gave lots of parties and banquets for them to attend, but now that I am broke they don’t care and would just as soon feed me to the wolves.” * Just as a school of flesh-eating piranha fish will go into a feeding frenzy if they are fed fresh flesh, so, for example, the press may be said to go on a feeding frenzy when it gets a hot, juicy story and wants to get and spread the news as soon as possible.” “When the media got news about the Monica Lewinski affair with the President, they had an absolute feeding frenzy.” “Whenever there is a juicy scandal in Hollywood, multitudes of reporters from movie magazines go on an uncontrolled feeding frenzy.” “Whenever the members of the press are informed of any of Michael Jackson’s new sexual escapades with children, they go on a feeding frenzy that lasts until the very last nibble of news is gone.” * Just as a parasite feeds off the host plant or animal, so some people are said to feed off others. “Just as parasites


feed off of host animals in nature, so, in society, we see people who are parasites living off of others.” “Doris has got this pretty, young tomboy living with her who feeds off of her like a parasite.” “I don’t care if you are my sister! Get out of my house! I am tired of you and your family feeding off of me like a bunch of parasites.” * Feel free Do what you like; feel free to do whatever you want; go ahead and do what ever you please. “Make yourself at home and feel free to do as you please.” “I disagree with your decision, but feel free to do as you like.” “I want to be able to feel free to do what I want, where I want, and when I want” * Feel it in your bones Know something intuitively or through some sixth sense. “It’s going to rain. I can feel it in my bones.” “That man is not to be trusted. I can feel it in my bones.” “Some terrible catastrophe is going to happen. I can feel it in my bones.” * Feel like a million! Feeling really great; couldn’t be better! “I am feeling really great today! I’m feeling like a million!” “Now that I have changed my medicine, I feel like a totally new man. I feel like a million!” “You look very beautiful today. If you feel like you look you must feel like a million!” * Feel like doing some- In the mood to do something. “I know what you want me thing to do, but I don’t feel like doing it just now.” “Whenever I feel like doing something naughty and nasty, I try to overcome the urge.” “I feel like doing something to indulge myself, but my better-judgment tells me to control myself.” * Feel no remorse Without any sense of guilt, shame or regret. “Because the defendant felt no remorse for killing his own, helpless, invalid mother, the judge handed-down the maximum penalty of death by hanging.” “The defendant feels no remorse for the crimes he has committed and he feels no fear of punishment by death.” “I feel no remorse for the sins I have committed because life has made me pay for every mistake I have ever made and taught me not to make the same mistakes again.” * Feel out of place Having a sense that one does not belong in a certain group or location; a sense of being either socially or economically or otherwise above or below one’s station; being wholly different from those surrounding you. “I feel out of place at society parties because I am just a simple country girl at heart.” “Doug felt highly uncomfortable and certainly out of place while visiting a gay bar where his gay colleagues liked to hang out.” “Because I am only a secretary, I always feel a bit out of place sitting at the same conference table with a lot of big, high-powered


Feel put off

Feel sorry for someone

Feel the pinch

Feel up to it

Feel used

Feeling crushed

Feeling edgy

corporate business executives.” * Feel a loss of appetite or desire for. “When people talk bout dirty or smelly things when I’m eating, it puts me off my appetite.” “Thinking of how they kill animals before we eat then makes me fee a little put off my food when I see there is meat in a dish.” “I don’t know why but I always feel put off sex when I see a girl wearing jeans. Maybe it’s because jeans make girls look like boys.” * Feel pity for someone; feel empathy; feel understanding and compassion. “I feel sorry for all those people in Bangladesh who get flooded out of house and home every year.” “When you tell me about all you have been through, I feel sorry for you.” “You will never feel sorry for others when you are so busy feeling sorry for yourself.” * Suffering from lack of money in an economically-tight situation. “Everyone is short of cash and feeling the pinch of the economic recession.” “Ever since the cost of fuel went up, taxi drivers have been feeling the pinch.” “Ever since I lost the extra income from my part-time job, I have been feeling the pinch a bit.” * Strong and able and willing and motivated to something. “When I feel up to it, I’m going to clean my room and wash and iron my clothes.” “If you feel up to it, you could do the family a favor and drive us to Manchester”. “When I’m feeling stronger, and when I’m feeling more up to it, I’m going to paint the house.” * Have the feeling that someone has taken advantage of you or your help. “Women often feel used when a man simply takes what he wants from them and instead of being appreciative, throws them away.” “Being cooperative is a good quality, but it often leads to a helpful person being used by others to satisfy their selfish needs.” “She stayed with me until she had enough money to go out and start her own business, and, then, she just left me alone and feeling used.” * Feeling hurt, let down, disappointed or humiliated; having one’s feelings hurt; feeling injured by what someone said or did. “Sarah felt crushed when her best girlfriend stole her boyfriend.” “After all the good things I have done for you over the years, I feel crushed that you are leaving me for a younger woman.” “The Prime Minister and his party are feeling crushed because they didn’t get enough votes to get re-elected and control parliament.” * Feeling touchy, oversensitive, jittery, jumpy; on-edge, nervous, anxious, easily-aroused. “I’m feeling particularly over-sensitive and edgy, these days. I’m very jittery


Feeling fit

Feeling frustrated

Feeling good vibes

Feeling jumpy

Feeling let-down

Feeling mellow

and ready to jump at the slightest provocation.” “When I forget to take my medication, I find myself getting tense and feeling edgy.” “Our supervisor is feeling on edge because top management is pushing her to finish our report three days before the due deadline.” * Having a sense of being healthy, robust, in good shape. “Running ten kilometers a day keeps me feeling fit and helps me stay slim and trim.” “After a weekend of swimming and tennis and lots of sleep, I came back to Bangkok feeling very fit.” “I’m feeling fit this morning: I feel I could run in a long-distance marathon race.” * Feeling upset and thwarted, annoyed and bothered, when things do not go your way. “Men often feel frustrated when they do not get their way with women.” “I am feeling frustrated because I cannot get my students to take their studies seriously.” “The masses are feeling frustrated because they see the established elite doing what benefits them and ignoring the benefit of the people.” * Experiencing good vibrations means you are tuned-in to the same emotions and wave lengths as another person and that there is an unspoken bond between you. “I always smoked a joint with Annie, because, when we got a little high, we felt good vibes together.” “At a big rock concert, the music often makes everybody in the audience share the same good vibes.” “There, sitting alone together on the white, sandy beach watching the sunset, we were felling good vibes that drew us towards one another and made us feel at one with the world.” * Feeling nervous and on edge. “I’m feeling a little jumpy today because my nerves are so on edge. I’d better calm myself down and try to maintain mindfulness.” “Don’t be so jumpy. Why do you get startled so easily? What are you afraid of?” “I’ve been feeling really jumpy lately, and I fear it may be a sign of on-coming paranoiac disorder.” * Feeling disappointed in someone you trusted and depended upon. “I’m feeling a little let-down because my housekeeper has just left me, taking with her one year’s advance salary I had paid her on trust.” “Mother is feeling let-down because everyone has gone off for the weekend and left her at home alone to do all the work on her own.” “After all the trust I placed in you, I must admit that I am feeling a little let-down that you acted against me behind my back.” * Feeling in a fully calm, placid, mature, ripe, rich and satisfied mood. “While sitting here on the carpet with you before the warmth of the fire, sipping a class of fine wine, I am feeling very mellow.” “Granddad was a little


up-tight before he got to the party, but after eating a good Christmas dinner and drinking a couple of brandies, he is now is feeling mellow.” “Grandmother was a frustrated, agitated, irritable woman while Granddad was still alive, but since moving in with her oldest daughter’s family and feeling the kindness and warmth of fellowship there, for the first time in her life, she is starting to relax and feeling a bit mellow.” * Feeling out-of-sorts Feeling ill or unwell; not feeling well. “I am feeling outof-sorts today, so I’m going to take the day off work.” “The boss is feeling out-of-sorts and in a bad mood, so I would not approach him on any sensitive topic today if I were you.” “I convey apologies from my wife who is feeling out-of-sorts and will be unable to attend the dinner party this evening.” * Feeling rocky With a hangover, as if one has drunk to much scotch on the rocks is feeling unsteady on one’s feet, uneasy and queasy in the stomach with an ache like splitting rocks in the head. Feeling the crunch Just as a nutcracker crushes a nut using physical pressure, so people are said to feel the crunch of financial pressure. “After the financial crisis, there was very little cash flow, and everybody was feeling the financial crunch.” “The rising cost of fuel is affecting consumer spending and retail businesses across the nation are feeling the crunch.” “The government is feeling the crunch of financial pressure due to the necessity of paying off the huge national debt.” * Feeling under the Not feeling well; feeling sick and unwell. “Mother is weather feeling under the weather today and is going to stay in bed.” “Please in form Human Resources that I am feeling under the weather and that I will not be coming into work today.” “We regret to inform you that our guest speaker is feeling under the weather and cannot come this evening, so his deputy director has been asked to speak in his stead.” * Feeling woozy Feeling dizzy, unsteady and faint on your feet as if in a swoon. “When I stand up too fast I always feel woozy and have to catch my balance.” “When I first stood up out of my hospital bed, I was feeling a little woozy at first, but, after I took a few steps, the feeling of wooziness left my head.” “Whenever Carole rides in a boat, at first, she feels a little woozy in her head, then, nauseous in her stomach and, finally, so seasick she has to vomit everything up.” * Feeling your way for- Just as one feels one’s way forwards in total darkness, so wards one may say one is feeling one’s way forwards in a totally new and unaccustomed situation where one needs


Fender bender

Few and far between

Fib your way out

Fickleness of fate

Fiddle around/about

some time to get orientated and on the right path. “I’m a little lost in my new job, but I’m feeling my way forwards and slowly getting the hang of things.” “After being named the new dean to a old campus that was unknown to him, Bill had to feel his way forwards in the dark and try to get the lay of the land without people seeing his weaknesses and losing confidence in him.” “The relationship between the two diplomats was a bit unsteady at first, but after feeling their way forwards in the dark for a while, they got to know and trust one another and then negotiations got off to an encouraging start.” * A car accident that puts a dent in your fender. “I borrowed Dad’s new BMW and had a fender bender, and now he is sorry he loaned it to me.” “The problem with driving in Bangkok is that, traffic being the way it is, sooner or later, you are bound to have a fender bender.” “When you calculate the transportation costs for running your own car, in addition to fuel and maintenance and insurance, you also have to factor-in the odd fender bender.” * Very seldom; rarely found; unusual. “Everyone will tell you he is trustworthy, but those you can really trust are few and far between.” “There are many Buddhists in this country but people who can see the true Dhamma are few and far between.” “Every corporate employer will promise new staff members the chance for advancement, but those who actually follow such a policy are few and far between.” * Tell lies to get yourself out of trouble; lie your way out of a situation. “One of the first things that children learn is to fib their way out of a situation.” “The boss says that if we want to remain unpunished, we shall have to fib our way out of the situation.” “Even the government is not above fibbing its way out of a compromising situation when necessity dictates.” * Unpredictability of fortune/chance; capriciousness; changeable. “It is due to the fickleness of fate that we can never be sure if we will still be living an hour from now.” “It was the fickleness of fate that put me at the wheel of my car on the ice on the road in front of that big tree in Germany that demolished my big BMW and almost killed me.” “It was also the fickleness of fate that brought me to this country. I came here dependent on a whim of chance, due to a set of circumstances that was not determined by me.” * Fooling about with something with your fingers or sitting about making it look like you are doing something active when you are just being nervous. “Stop sitting in the


meeting room at the table t fiddling with your pencil all the time. It is making everybody nervous.” “When you are giving a presentation, remember not to fiddle with your necktie or jewelry because it will be distracting to your listeners.” “All our secretaries spend their days just sitting about and fiddling around doing very little actual work.” * Fiddle someone out of Cheat someone out of something. “Be careful of the something street hawkers. They have years of experience at fiddling innocent people out of their money.” “There was once a dishonest shopkeeper in Soho who was an expert at fiddling customers out of their money by distracting them in conversation whilst doing a fast-change-shuffle when giving back their change.” “There was this English guy in Pattaya who supposedly earned his living helping foreigners place their life-savings in so-called offshore accounts and investments, when the truth of the matter was that he was just trying to fiddle them out of their hardearned money.” * Fidget about Move nervously and restlessly without being able to keep still. “Stop pounding your fingers and fidgeting about! Calm yourself. Your nervousness makes me feel uncomfortable.” “Be a good boy and, sit still beside me and don’t fidget about, or I’ll ask you to go out of the room.” “Johnny! Hold still and stop fidgeting about, you little monkey. You’re driving me crazy!” * Fierce temper Violent, ferocious disposition; short-tempered and violent. “Dawn’s stepfather had a fierce temper and used to fly into a rage and beat her for good no reason at all.” “Ajarn Don had a fierce temper when he was younger and used fly off the handle easily at the slightest provocation.” “An antidote that can be used to counterbalance fierce temper is the calm of loving kindness.” * Fight for your rights Stand up and demand and defend your human, civil rights. “In America, in the 1960s, black people demonstrated successfully to fight for their civil rights under the Kennedy administration.” “In the 1070s, women went to the barricades to fight for their rights and demand equality with men.” “If you don’t stand up and fight for your rights, it is unlikely that anyone is going to do it for you.” * Fight it out Contest the issue or point until both sides are either satisfied or too worn-out to fight anymore. “When Bob and Ted disagree on something, they fight it out until the one with the weaker argument can’t defend himself anymore.” “Union leaders say they are prepared to fight it out with management whatever the cost may be to the shareholders.” “Some people say that the power elite is


setting-up the Muslims to fight it out with the western world in a war that will destroy both sides so that they will have no power to fight anymore.” * Fight tooth and nail Just as wild animals may be said to fight tooth and (claw or) nail, so we may say people fight with all their might to fight it out ferociously. “Back in the old days in Thailand, fierce, wild, forest tigers used to fight it out, tooth and nail to assert dominance over their territory.” “Not so long ago politicians used to fight it out tooth and nail to assert who had dominance over certain territories.” “Even today, behind the scenes, politicians within the government are fighting it out tooth and nail to see who gets control of what.” * Fighting a losing battle Trying to accomplish the impossible; trying ineffectively to change things. “Fighting corruption, all over the world, is a losing battle. It always has always been and always was.” “Trying to stop students from talking during class is a losing battle.” “Attempting to get people to treat others as they would be treated themselves is a losing battle.” * Fighting words Using words that are sure to cause an aggressive reaction and cause a fight. “When you ask someone, ‘Do you know who your father was?’ those are fighting words.” “If you tell someone you think he has his ‘fingers in the till,’ those are fighting words.” “One should be careful never to allow anything to come out of one’s mouth that could in any way be construed as fighting words.” * Figment of the imagina- An illusion that exists only in a person’s mind and is only tion imaginary. “That your wife may be in love with another man is nothing more than a figment of your imagination. Where do you get such ideas?” “The faeries that my son talks to in the forest are only a figment of his imagination. It couldn’t possibly be true, could it?” “The Illuminati Conspiracy Theory is said to be nothing more than a figment of the imagination.” * Fill-in for someone Take someone’s place temporarily; cover for someone. “Nurse Susan will fill in for me at the hospital on Monday night so I can take a three day holiday at the seaside.” “When the telephone receptionist in our office is sick, someone else from the admin staff has to fill in for her.” “I shall have to be in the hospital for twelve days, and there is no one who can fill in for me and run the business, so I’ll have to run the show from my hospital bed.’ * Filthy rich Having so much money that it makes common people jealous. “Although John D. Rockefeller was filthy rich, he was really stingy with his money.” “One day, I want to be filthy rich and have a thousand hand-maidens to


Final straw

Financial crunch

Find fault with

Find out about

Find your bearings

wait on me.” “The problem with being filthy rich is that everyone will be envious of you and wish you ill-will.” * Just as adding one final straw to a camel’s load might be enough to break the camel’s back, so we can say that when another person subjects us to one final insult or injury or imposition, that may become the point at which he has gone too far and finally made you angry or lose you patience or tolerance. “You’ve done a lot of bad things to me in life, but stealing my inheritance is the final straw!” “After all the humiliating questions that I had already been asked to answer, when the aid worker asked if anyone else had been sleeping with my wife that was the final straw!” “The Prime Minister said that he had endured a lot of abuse from the press but their latest statement that he was in the payoff big money players was the final straw.” * Just as nutcrackers can crunch a walnut, so sometimes when financial pressure is hard, we say that we are feeling under financial pressure. “The rising cost of production in Thailand is causing the manufacturing sector to feel the financial crunch.” “When the government favors monopolies and privatization of utilities, the big guys start to get rich quick and the little people begin feel the financial crunch.” “After the Financial crisis, the banks were all feeling the crunch. Now, that the banks are regaining their power by manipulating interest rates to make the people feel the crunch.” * Look for mistakes to to criticize. “My husband is always finding fault with me, and he is undermining my confidence.” “My teacher is always finding fault with me and never encourages me, so the result is that I have no incentive to learn.” “Some people have the characteristic of finding fault with everything and everybody without realizing that it is their way of seeing things that is at fault.” * Inquire; look around for information; discover the fact(s). “When Dad finds out I’ve had a fender bender with his new BMW, he’ll go through the roof.” “Marilyn lived with her step-parents for seven years thinking they were her real mother and father until she found out that it wasn’t true.” “The police are asking around on the street to find out if there are any rumors that a big drug delivery is coming into town.” * Just as a ship’s navigator must know his position and plot his course, so we may say that a person has to find his bearings when is in a strange, new position. “Sometimes, when you take on a new job or appointment, it takes you a while to find your bearings before you are fully able to


Find your calling

Fine and dandy

Fine print

Finger in the pie


cope with your duties.” “Now that I’ve lost my job and given up the city house, it will take me a while to find my bearings and decide how and where I want to spend the rest of my life.” “When one becomes emotionally lost, sometimes, it takes a while to find your bearings and decide how you want to steer the course of your life.” * Become aware of your purpose in life; chose your profession or career path following an inner-urge to fulfill a mission; as though it were pre-planned by destiny what you should do with your life. “When Dale was twentyfive, he found that his calling was to be a teacher, and he remained a teacher for the rest of his life.” “My school friend Doug always said that from his very earliest years he had felt the calling to become a Christian minister.” “Some young men, even when they are studying in university, feel a calling to give up everything and become Buddhist monks.” * Really good; great; excellent; wonderful. “I have fully recovered from my operation, and, now, I’m feeling fine and dandy.” “Your advice about my diet came in very handy, and since I started following it, I’ve been feeling fine and dandy.” “Mother was manic-depressive for years, but, since her psychiatrist put her on a new, antidepressive drug, she’s been feeling fine and dandy.” * The part of a contract that is written in very small print. “If I’d read the fine print in my high-speed internet contract, I’d have known you have to give one year’s advance notice before you can cancel.” In my “When I signed my home loan contract, I neglected to read the fine print which said, if I defaulted in payment, I would have to give up my rights to the property forthwith.” “They say the devil id always in the details in the fine print, so be careful never to sign a contract or agreement without first reading the fine print.” * Taking part if an illegal deed; having a hand in some money-making scheme; getting a share of an illegal profit. “If there is any corruption going on at city hall, you can be sure that the mayor has a finger in the pie.” “Crooked politicians always like to have a finger in the pie when any dirty deals are going on.” “I would not like to get caught with my finger in the pie because it would damage my reputation.” * Laying blame on someone; pointing out the faults of others; telling who committed an act. “In the Bangkok night-life, underworld scene, finger-pointing and namecalling can make you dead very quickly.” “There has been a lot of finger pointing about who is to blame for the war in the Middle East.” “Let’s not have any finger-



Finish someone off



Firm resolve

First come first served

pointing at this meeting. We are not here to lay blame; we are here to solve the problem of how to get ourselves out of this horrible mess.” * Just as a shop attendant may be caught stealing money from the cash register, so we may say a crooked official or has been caught stealing appropriated funds. “It’s easy to become corrupt when you have financial control of other’s money, and no one can stop you from putting your fingers in the till.” “The deputy financial officer was caught with his fingers in the till and was asked to give the money back, but I don’t think he will.” “The judicial penalty for putting your fingers in the till is fairly light when compared to that of armed-robbery.” * Finish killing someone who is not yet quite dead. “When the bandits realized their victim was not quite dead, they slit his throat to finish him off.” “When the killers heard the victim groan and realized he was not yet dead, , they bashed him on the skull a few times to finish him off.” “In wartime, when they don’t want to take any prisoners, they go around the battlefield to find those who are injured but not yet dead and mercilessly finish them off.” * Ask any questions you want and I’ll answer anything you want to know. “OK. I’m ready to answer any question put to me, so fire away.” Darling, I’ll tell you everything about my past that you want to know. Just fire away.” “I am not afraid of the questions of this Investigatory Committee, so just fire away and tell me whatever you want to know.” * All excited and enthusiastic and ready to go. “Before each game, our football coach used to give us a pep talk to get us all fired up and ready to give our best and put on a good show.” “Amway managers hold frequent meetings with their sales personnel and present them with energetic speeches that get them all fired-up by thinking they are going to be rich.” “What our reform party needs on the campaign trail is a catchy neo-activist slogan that will get the people all fired-up and make them vote for us.” * Strong determination. “If one wants to accomplish a long-term goal, one must have firm resolve and make a vigorous effort.” “Sir Winston Churchill had the firm resolve to lead the English nation to stand up to the threat of Nazi occupation.” “If one wants to make progress in meditation, one must have a firm resolve to persevere in practicing the steps of the path leading to emancipation.” * He who arrives first gets served first. “We are servicing incoming visitors on a first come first served basis: those


First impression

First indication of

First things first

First-hand experience

First-name basis

Fiscal irresponsibility

who arrive first will be served first.” “We are opening ur doors at eight in the morning and will be processing applications on a first come first served basis.” “Emergency Medical Services will be provided on a first come first served basis.” * The impression we make when we first see somebody. “Try to appear trustworthy to make a good first impression when people are initially introduced to you.” “First impressions are important because if your first impression doesn’t last, your fading image will disappear fast.” “Making first impressions will be important for a young man’s success, so he must learn to be heedful of how he will speak and how he will dress.” * First sign or symptom to appear. “My doctor told me that at the first indication of chest pains, I should get myself immediately to a hospital.” “Dale’s first noticeable indications of heart failure came when he used to get tired just pushing his wagon around the supermarket.” “The first indications of financial instability are starting to show in the wavering fluctuations in the currency market.” * Follow priorities, starting with the most important point. “Let me see if I can get the money together before we discuss the building plans. First things first.” “Lets do things one at a time, starting with first things first and clearing away our financial debts before we go making any long-range plans.” “The motto, ‘first things first,’ can also be taken to mean that you have to take care of yourself and your family first before you begin trying to take care of others.” * Personal experience that can only be gotten by undergoing it oneself. “Bank knows from first hand experience how it feels to be abused and beaten and battered as a child.” “A military man who does not know the horrors of war from first hand experience cannot be said to be a true soldier.” “I happen to know from first hand experience what it feels like to separate the mind from bodily pain.” * Knowing someone famous or important so well that you call one another by your first names. “Monica and Bill were on a first name basis, while everybody else had to call Clinton, ‘Mr. President.’” “David Rockefeller and George Bush Sr. are on a first name basis and have been political allies for years.” “When I worked with KPMG the big boss and I were on a first name basis and I called him John.” * Using the annual financial budget in a negligent manner. “Dean John F. Parr was fired for supposed financial, fis-


Fishing for compliments

Fit in with



Fix someone for good

cal irresponsibility, but many believed the charges were merely trumped-up and the real reason was political.” “The reason we have a Federal Reserve Chairman is to advise the government on matters for which they could be accused of fiscal irresponsibility.” “Many a government has been guilty of fiscal irresponsibility by increasing the national debt without considering who will have to pay the money back.” * Saying things in such a way that people must reply by saying complimentary things about you. “When you say you’re getting a little fat, you may just be fishing for compliments and hoping that people say your figure is fine.” “When our mother says she is getting old, she is actually fishing for compliments, waiting for people to tell her that she still looks so young.” “A man who says he has not done enough good in his life may be fishing for compliments and expecting praise for all the good he has done.” * To feel like you belong to a group of people; to feel comfortable within a social group or setting; to feel part of a circle of friends. “Shirley can fit in to any group any where, under any circumstances.” “Tim doesn’t feel like he fits into the atmosphere at the gambling casino in Monte Carlo.” “As soon as Jamie joined the club everyone felt that she fit in perfectly.” * Very upset and angry and ready to lose control, or even become aggravated and dangerous. “My brother was literally fit-to-be-tied when he heard that his daughter had been molested by a pedophile.” “Auntie Jane was fit-tobe-tied when she discovered that her daughter Amy had run off with a circus man.” “The President was fit-to-be tied when he was informed that the Secretary of State had contradicted his policy statement.” * About to explode in anger. “Col. French was fit-to-burst out into rage when he saw I had deliberately disobeyed his orders.” “Papa will be fit-to-burst when he finds that I got married to a man he doesn’t even know in a chapel in Los Vegas.” “My husband is going to be fit-to-burst when he discovers that I have maxed-out all of our joint credit cards.” * Pay someone back in such a way that he will never recover. “If I ever catch you lying about me behind my back again, I’m going to fix you for good.” “Keep looking over your shoulder because one day I am going to come up behind you and fix you for good.” “One day when the Rothchilds finally get the chance, they are going to revenge themselves on their political enemies and fix them for good.” *


Fix someone up with a Finding a friend someone to go out with or a blind date. date “It never seems to work when someone fixes me up with a date. For some reason or other, we just never seem to click.” “I can’t find anyone I like to go with me to the high school dance, so I’m asking my girlfriends to try to fix me up with a hot date.” “I remember once someone fixed me up with a blind date and the girl was actually blind. Still, I liked her because she was very kind.” * Fix someone’s wagon Just as in the past, one might have got revenge by loosening the wheel on someone’s wagon to cause a breakdown or an accident, so, nowadays, “When we say, ‘I’ll fix your wagon,’ it means we will get even and pay someone back for something he has done to us.” “One of these days, I’m going to fix your wagon and pay you back for the unfair way you treated me and my family.” “If you ever tell my secrets to anyone again, I’ll fix your wagon for good, and I say for good I mean ‘for good.’” * Fixed for life With enough money and security so one does not have to worry for the rest of one’s life. “Someone who bought Microsoft shares in the beginning is now fixed for life.” “Dad has a pension and a couple of million in the bank, so he is fixed for life, and not dependent on anyone else in the family.” “After I sold my company and got the golden handshake from the executive board, I had enough money to be fixed for life.” * Fizzle-out Just as a fire-cracker fuse may not burn to the end but fizzles-out before it explodes, so a plan or scheme may fizzle-out before it reaches its goal. “My plan to start a business fizzled out along with a lot of other schemes.” “There was a plan for national medical health care on the floor of the house, but it gradually fizzled out after influential people kept coming forward to oppose it.” “The original enthusiasm for the new constitutional amendment has gradually fizzled out as people have begun to realize that words written on paper have nothing to do with political reality.” * Flaked-out Lying down flat on your back, arms stretched out lacking the energy to even move. “Uncle John is still flaked out on the sofa this morning after drinking too much beer last night while watching the football matches on TV.” “Sam was still flaked out in his dormitory room at noon, today, as a result of taking too many tranquillizing pills last night.” “Three days after the gala festival, the emperor was still flaked out on his couch totally debauched and over-exhausted from the excesses of days of selfindulgent activities.” * Flaky character Just as layers of chalk or clay or slate can easily slip and slide and crumble away, so we say a flaky per-


Flash fires

Flash of inspiration



son/character is someone unreliable who cannot be depended upon or trusted to keep his word because he is so inconsistent. “You can never trust what my little brother says or promises. He’s a bit of a flakey character.” “Richard always listens to the person he has talked to last and follows that person’s advice. In this regard he’s a bit of a flakey character and cannot be counted upon to fulfill past promises.” “Our Manager is a bit of a flakey character. You cannot count on anything he says because he’s always changing his mind in the face of uncertainties.” * Forest fires that flash up unexpectedly and burn very fast spreading quickly. “In regions where the summers are extremely hot, you often see flash brush fires springingup due to extreme dryness and spontaneous combustion.” “There has been a series of flash fires on the California hillsides that are threatening to burn the homes of local residents, and firefighters are out in full-force trying to contain them.” “They actually have emergency teams of airborne firefighters who parachute into flash fire zones and try to contain their advancement.” * A sudden creative idea or insight. “One day I had a flash of inspiration which made me realize that the goodness of all religions is the same ‘good’ explained in terms of different languages and cultures.” “Then, one day I had another flash of inspiration in which I realized the things that appear solid on this earth are actually full of the emptiness inside molecular structure.” “My final flash of inspiration was to realize that there are not even any solid particles on earth, but that everything that appears to have form is nothing but an aggregate of unsubstantial waves and vibrations.” * The quick flash of an earlier moment that arises in the mind; a picture in the mind of a specific instant from the past; as when your mind goes back to something you have forgotten; going back to a mental image or recollection; a flash of memory. “This morning. I had a flashback to a time in my childhood I took a picture of some ducks with my first camera.” “In a mental flashback, he could suddenly see himself, at about the age of six, rolling a giant snowball with his little brother which got so big they couldn’t push it any more.” “In the novel, the author uses the technique of a flashback in which the main character remembers things from his past that had been imbedded so deeply in his unconsciousness, he hadn’t realized them before.” * Policeman, presumably because he gets flat feet from walking the beat. “The reason why they call a cop a flat-


Flat on your back


Flesh and blood

Flew the coop

Flippant remark

foot is that he spends the early part of his career pounding the beat, walking the street, to uphold law and order.” “There used to be a lot of Irish cops in NYC who had to pound the beat until they complained that they got flat feet.” “Dan is secretly proud of being called a police officer, but he gets terribly annoyed when anyone refers to him as a flat-foot.” * Knocked down; or ill in bed. “I am very sorry to have missed your wedding ceremony. Unfortunately, I was flat on my back in the hospital with a serious viral infection.” “I have just spent the last three days flat on my back at home in bed with a case of the Asian flu.” “When you feel sad and sorry for yourself, think of the people who are paralyzed and have to lie flat on their backs in bed for years without even being able to move.” * Set price; same amount for everyone. “The railway has been paying the Chinese laborers the same flat rate of a dollar a day for the last ten years.” “Our resort charges the same flat-rate for everyone, irrespective of whether they come in a group or walk in off the street.” “All members are charged the same flat-rate regardless of rank or office or income.” * Only human. “A man who is made of flesh and blood is only human, and he is, therefore, bound to make the occasional mistake.” ‘The Puritan Christian God says that all men of mortal flesh and blood are born into original sin.” “A person who is made of flesh and blood will be washed away in the worldly flood if he does not find refuge in the Dhamma.” * Escaped, in the way a bird would fly away if its cage door were left open; got away; disappeared; not coming back. “I wanted to leave my husband, so, after I had got enough money together, at the first opportunity, I flew the coop.” “If you try to keep a marriage partner locked up in a cage, he/she will certainly try to fly the coop.” “As soon as my daughter was eighteen, she flew the coop. She left home, and we have never seen or heard from her again.” * To dismiss something that somebody said as being below your level; look-down as though you were something better; glib. “Michael was always making flippant remarks about others he chose to lookdown upon.” “It would not be appropriate for the aristocracy to make flippant remarks about the foundations of democracy.” “Some flippant remarks were reported to have been made in the House of Lords about how the Labour Party is presently firming-up the foundations of the old establishment.” *


So high and happy that one has the feeling of floating on air. “The newly-married couple are so happy that they appear to be floating on air.” “As they were joyously dancing a romantic waltz at the Opera Ball, they felt just like they were floating on air.” “When I finally got to speak to my long-lost girlfriend, Ann, over the phone, after all those years, I was almost floating on air.” * Flotsam and jetsam Wreckage; fragments; remains; rubble; rubbish; remnants of old things. “When you sail through the doldrums, you will see a lot of flotsam and jetsam floating in the Sargasso Sea.” “In my mind, I see a lot of flotsam and jetsam and remnants of old memories from my earlier life floating in my memory.” “If you try order the flotsam and jetsam floating randomly in your mind into some kind of organized system, you will likely go out of your mind.” * Fluke chance Stroke of luck; accident of nature. “It can only happen by fluke chance that a beginning golfer might hit a hole-inone on his first swing off the number-one-tee.” “Sometimes it happens by fluke chance that you are in the right place at the right time and a stroke of luck befalls you.” “It was just a fluke of chance that the avalanche happened to rush down just in front of us as we were driving along that particular bit of mountain road. Or was it?” * Flunk out of school Get such bad grades that one fails and has to leave school. “Nobody who goes to Yale University ever flunks out of school.” “At Arcadia Academy, we have such high standards that every year, about ten percent of the student body flunk out of school.” “Back home where I come from, in West Virginia, usually, the only way to flunk out of school is to show that you don’t care by always cutting school.” * Flush-out Just as a hunter may flush-out birds from the bushes, so government forces or police may flush-out a suspect who is in hiding or under cover. “There is a disbeliever in our Church, and we are going to use the device of blame and shame to try to flush him out.” “The best way to flush out a bunch of bandits from where they are hiding in a barn is to set it on fire to flush them out into the open.” “There are terrorists hiding amidst the civilian populace and intelligence experts are at a loss about how to flush them out.” * Fly in the face of author- Someone who is treated as not important and insignifiity cant and therefore defies authority. “When I was a kid, I used to fly in the face of authority as an unconscious reaction to the way I had been mistreated and abused.” “Individuals who fly in the face of authority when they are younger often become criminals when they are

Floating on air


Fly off the handle

Fly on the wall

Fly-by-night operation

Flying high

older.” “Nan’s oldest brother cannot keep a job because he keeps flying in the face of authority and getting himself fired.” “In dealings with government officials, it is wise not to fly in the face of authority, because the officials will just make things harder for you and in the end, you will still have to do whatever they tell you to.” * Suddenly become angry; unexpectedly become enraged and lose control of your temper (as the head of an axe might come loose from the handle and fly through the air); lose command of your emotions; loose your cool. “When one’s mind is agitated, it’s easy for one to fly off the handle and suddenly become enraged without any prior warning.” “Our boss, Mr. Peterson, is normally quite calm and patient, but, occasionally, he flies off the handle and loses his cool over the slightest little mistake.” “I flew off the handle and shouted at my little sister, Annie, when she spilled tea on my embroidery, but I realized immediately I had over-reacted and apologized for losing control of my temper.” * Somebody who is made to feel very small and insignificant and unimportant. “When the secretary came into the meeting room, she told the gentlemen they should just carry on their conversation, and not pay any attention to her but just pretend she were a fly on the wall.” “The actual truth was that, to the elite group gathered there, she was even less important than a fly on the wall.” “One problem in working as a junior staff member for a big corporate entity is that, even though you may attend meetings with a lot of bigwigs, in their eyes, you are about as important as a fly on the wall.” * An unreliable; shifty; shady, dishonest, business activity; with a temporary address; here today and gone tomorrow. “The type of shady business that sets up a temporary office, and then when it has got some cash together disappears overnight is called a fly-by night operation.” “A lot of offshore investment businesses are run by flyby-night operators who keep on taking in people’s money as long as they can, but, then, when the going gets hot, they disappear and go to no one knows where.” “Some of these new insurance companies are just fly-bynight operations which are only waiting for the right opportunity to disappear taking a lot of profits with them.” * Having a good tome; feeling good; absolutely elated. “My son is spending money like mad and flying high and cannot justify to me the reason why.” “I’m in the Casino, and I’m on a roll, raking in the dough! I’m flying so high I feel I’m immortal and I’ll never die.” “I’m in the Ca-


sino, and I’m on a roll, raking in the dough! I’m flying so high I feel I’m immortal and I’ll never die.” “I’ve been snorting cocaine with Mary Jane, and we’re flying so high, we’re looking down on you from the sky.” * Foaming-at-the mouth Just as a dog foams at the mouth when it is mad, so we can say a person is foaming at the mouth when he is angry to the point of losing control. “I’ll bet that my Dad will be so angry with me for burning down our family house that he’ll be foaming at the mouth.” “The villain was so drawn to the woman who would be his victim that he was foaming at the mouth in anticipation of what he wanted to do to her.” “Pastor John was so angry with the sinners in his congregation that he was foaming at the mouth as he spoke the final words of his sermon.” * Focal point The point around which a problem or discussion centers. “The focal point of the Israeli /Arab continuing conflict is sometimes taken to be who has the right to claim the land located beneath the temple of the mount.” “The focal point of the debate is whether a tax hike will serve as a curb on spending and thereby hurt rather than help the economy.” “The focal point around which the whole argument turns is what decision will do the most good for the most people? Any other talk is just a lot of rot.” * Foggy notion Unclear idea. “I haven’t got the foggiest notion of how many angels there may be in the celestial realms.” “Can you explain to me, again, a little more clearly? I haven’t got the foggiest idea what you are talking about.” “When I first went to Romano Grassi’s philosophy classes, I hadn’t the foggiest notion of what he was talking about.” * Fold up Go out of business; give-up the effort; stop trying. “Did you know that most new businesses that are registered fold up within the first three years or less?” “After seven years of barely breaking even, we have decided to fold up the family business.” “After Daddy was forced to fold up his business during the financial crunch, I had to leave school and go out to work to try to help provide for the family.” * Follow someone’s bid- Do as you are told; act upon orders; fulfill another’s will; ding perform what you are asked to do. “When I am forced to follow someone’s bidding, against my will, it really makes my blood boil.” “You must be kidding when you demand I must follow your bidding.” “I will not follow any man’s bidding if his request goes against my moral principles.” * Follow the golden mean Take the path of moderation; keep well-centered and balanced; don’t tip-the-scales one way or the other. “Moderation is the golden mean. Never go to one extreme or


Follow your calling

Follow your instincts

Follow your nose

Food for thought

Foot the bill

Footloose and fancy-free

the other. Always follow the golden mean.” “The beauty of Greek architecture is to be found in the balance between extremes following the golden mean.” “Are we practicing the golden mean when maintaining dispassionate-balance between the opposite extremes of good and evil?” * Practice the profession of your choice. “Forty years ago Igor became a missionary preacher, and he has been following his calling ever since.” “After I graduated, I followed my calling to become a teacher and try to make class less boring for kids.” “When Winston decided to follow his calling and read the law, little did he know that one day he would sit on the Supreme Court.” * Do what comes naturally. “Sometimes, following your instincts makes you see danger ahead and helps you stand out of harm’s way and protect yourself.” “At other times, if you follow your instincts and do what seems to come naturally, you can cause a lot of harm to somebody close to you.” “At other times, when we are not sure which way to choose, we follow our instincts and guess and hope things don’t turn into a terrible mess.” * Go straight ahead. It’s right in front of you. “The men’s toilet is straight ahead of you. Just follow your nose.” “If you follow your nose and keep walking straight ahead for about a hundred meters, you will come to a junction where you must turn left.” “There’s only one way to find out where your life is going and that is to merely follow your nose and hope things turn out for the best.” * A thought, idea, suggestion, saying, proverb or bit of advice that is well-worth thinking about, for the sake of what we can learn from it and the benefit such thinking might bring. “I like reading short sayings and proverbs that give me food for thought.” “Thank you for your kind advice. What you have said to me is food for thought, and I shall sleep on it and, then, decide if I want to follow it or not.” “Sometimes, what we take as food for thought results in what is good for us and others, but, just as often, the unwholesome food with which we nourish our thought makes us do things that we should not.” * Pay the bill; cover the expenses; take over responsibility for the costs. “Let me pay the check for our lunch today. I’ll foot the bill because I just got an annual bonus of $4,000.” “Father says for you to plan your wedding party any way you like, and he will foot the bill.” “The municipal government has promised foot the bill for anyone who can qualify to become a computer programmer.” * Free to go anywhere and do anything you want; with no ties or restrictions. “When I was young, I was footloose


For a pittance

For a song


For keeps For the asking For the birds

For the hell of it

For the sake of

and fancy free, but my problem was I couldn’t travel anywhere because I had no money.” “Now. I am old and alone and nobody loves me, but, at least, I have enough money to be truly footloose and fancy free.” “When a man is married, he often wishes he were footloose and fancy free; when a man is alone and lonely, he often wishes he had a family.” “The reason why people don’t want to work as … is that people pay them a pittance.” * Very cheap; for almost nothing; for a very minimal amount. “Back when I was working as a student hiredboy, they used to pay me a pittance.” “Back in the old days you could buy land in Thonburi for a pittance; nowadays the same land is worth a fortune!” “The reason that maids never stay long in our household is that my grandmother is so stingy she is unwilling to pay them more than a mere pittance.” * For a very low price; inexpensive; sold cheaply, undervalue; below market price perhaps because the owner did not know its true value; at a low price long ago. “The owner of the gemstone didn’t know its true value and sold it to an unscrupulous dealer for a song.” “Nowadays, you can buy an old classic Benz for a song because fuel prices are so high no one wants to buy a gas-guzzling foreign car.” “The great-grandfather of a friend of mine bought a plot of land in Ekkamai three generations ago for as song that is now worth millions and millions.” * For ever; permanently. “When I grow-up, I’m going to leave this town for good and I’m never coming back” “I left my native, Canada, for good in 1963 and never went back to live there again.” “This time, I am leaving my husband for good and I never want to ever see him again.” * Forever; never to change again. Free for someone who just goes and asks. Something no good; of no value; makes no sense; has no purpose; is no good for anything but perhaps to feed the birds. “Your idea about making mini-motor cars out of recycled beer cans and plastic bottles is really for the birds.” “Your dream of setting up a little tea shop and being your own boss is really for the birds; you would ever break-even let alone make a profit.” “/// Just for the fun of being naughty. “Lets go out and have a few beers and visit a strip tease show just for the hell of it.” /// /// For the benefit of. “I only teach here for the sake of the students, and I don’t want to be involved in the politics or the administration of the place.” “For the sake of the starving children in Ethiopia, please giver a donation for


food.” /// Temporarily, just for now; at the moment. “I may have some money to give you later, but for the time being, I ask you to be patient and trust me.” /// /// Force the issue Use pressure to bring an issue out in the open where it can be seen and resolved. Force your way through Gain entrance through use of force. the door Foregone conclusion Decided already in advance; everyone knows in advance how things will turn out. “That the world will end in fire is a foregone conclusion. The only thing that we do not yet know is when.” /// /// Foresight is better than It is better to know beforehand what to do than after you hindsight. have made a mistake. Forget it It was nothing; think nothing of it; don’t bother to mention it. Forging away at Working very hard at; making headway; striving hard to finish a task or objective. Forgive and forget. Forgive whatever has happened in the past and carry on as though it had never happened. Forgive the imposition Please excuse me if I am causing you an extra burden; I hate to bother you sorry to be a nuisance. Fork it over Give it to me now or else; return what you took without permission. Fork out the dough Pay someone the money. “You owe me forty bucks. Come on. Fork out the dough right now or I’ll start breaking your fingers, one by one.” /// /// Forked-tongue Lying by promising one thing while intending another. “American native people (so-called Indians) used to say that the white man spoke with a forked tongue.” /// /// Forty winks A nap or short sleep. “I’ going to hit the sack and catch forty winks.” /// /// Foul play Evil-intended action; some evil intent going on behind the scenes. “They say Dr. Kelly committed suicide, but many suspect foul play and even say he was murdered by the secret service.” Fouled-up again Made the same mistake again; got things all mixed-up again; got it wrong again; “Mr. Jerkins told me that if I fouled up the job again I would soon be unemployed and standing out in the rain. “This is the third time I have tried to rewire the electrical system, and, now, I have fouled-up again.” “I can never get it right. Every time I try to explain, I foul-up again.” “Poor Jerkin, no matter how hard he tries, he always fouls-up again.” “Dad told Garvin that if he fouled-up just one more time, Garvin needn’t bother coming home ever again.” Foul-up the job/works Just as a coil of rope can get fouled-up when unwinding, so we may be said to foul-up a job when we make a comFor the time being 298

plete mess of things; mess-up; screw-up the works. Discovered to be inadequate upon inspection; found to be lacking something. Four-eyes A slang term for someone who wears glasses. “Kenny wore glasses in school and the other kids used to call him ‘four-eyes.” /// /// Frame of mind State of mind; attitude; mood; disposition. “The Ambassador is in an irritable frame of mind to day, and I wouldn’t try to disturb him if I were you.” “One’s frame of mind often determines whether we see things in a positive or negative light. It all depends on the hidden factors controlling our sense and sight.” “Depending on your frame of mind, you will be on the up-swing or on a down-swing, but if you remember that everything that emanates from mind can be controlled by mind, then you will know you can control your emotions.” * Frame-up Made to make someone appear guilty. “They blamed the corporate auditor for ruining the company, but, actually, it was a frame-up devised by the CEO.” “/// /// Free country A democracy where people are free to do what they like. “Do what you like. It’s a free county. But, if I were you, I’d take some time to consider that any actions you do cause no harm.” “Just because Americans say theirs is a free country that doesn’t mean that individuals can do anything they please.” “The expression, ‘It’s a free country,’ often means that you may be able to do what you like but you had better be prepared for the consequences. * Free the air Loosen-up the tension; do something to relax aggressive tensions so thing may go on more harmoniously. “There seems to be a lot of tension in the air at this meeting, I suggest that we have an open question and answer session just to loosen up the pressure and free the air.” /// /// Free-for-all Brawl; scuffle; tussle; run- riot; get out of hand. “There was a big free-for-all at the football match on Saturday night with fans from opposing teams running onto the field and fighting one another with their fists.” /// Freeze prices Fix prices so they cannot change, at least for a while. “Due to economic inflation, the government has decided to freeze prices for an indefinite period.” /// Freeze the balls of a Just as old battleships had brass cannons with piles of brass monkey. cannonballs stacked around them which were freezing to the touch in cold weather, so a man may by comparison say his genital appendages/balls can be frozen off by the cold …………… winter …………or in an airconditioned office Freeze! Stop where you are and don’t move! “Freeze! Don’t move even a muscle or I’ll shoot! You are under arrest!” Found wanting


“Freeze! Stay where you are and put your hands up in the air where I can see them!” “Freeze! OK, that’s good. Now, turn around and put your hands against the wall and spread your legs.” * Freezing cold So cold it is comparable to freezing. “Turn down the air conditioner! It’s freezing cold in here!” “In the old days, my grand father used to say it was so freezing cold, it could freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” “In Switzerland, in the mountains in winter it gets so freezing cold that the frost bites you at the tip of your nose.” * Fresh blood Some new people in the group or system. “Every year the firm hires a bunch of new graduates to add some fresh blood to the staff.” “It’s good to bring in some new fresh, young people into a working team now and again to add fresh blood.” “The irony about young, fresh blood in corporate business is that, after ten years, when the young people are not so young and energetic anymore, they get eased out and replaced new fresh blood.” * Freshen-up Wash your face to make yourself look and feel fresh. “If you will please excuse me, I think I’d like to go to the washroom and freshen-up a little bit.” “Sometimes, when people say they are going to ‘freshen-up,’ what they actually mean is that they are going for a pee.” “Let’s take a one hour break now which will allow the participants to freshen-up and have some lunch and relax for a while before we get back to work.” * Friends in high places People who are your friends who have the authority to not only protect you but make things happen the way you want. “In America, the only way to gain entrance into the business elite is to have friends in high places.” “In the military, being a good soldier helps you to get promoted, but having friends in high places helps you get promoted even faster.” “Having friends in high places means that you know someone powerful who can allow you to use him so you will be obligated to let him use you in the future.” * Fright of your life Biggest scare ever in your life. “When I opened the closet and the cat jumped out, I got the fright of my life.” “When you see mother in the hospital reduced to nothing but skin and bones, with her eyes popping out, you will get the fright of your life.” “If you go down into the bottom hollow of the cave and turn on your flashlight and see the piles of bones and sculls and skeleton’s lying there, you will get the fright of your life.” * Frightened of your own Overly timid; afraid of even the most insignificant thing. shadow “My little brother Timmy is such a scairdy-cat that he’s frightened of his own shadow.” “When Dale lived on the castle tower, he used to get spooked very easily because


Fringe benefits

Fritter-away your time

Frog in your throat

From the horse’s mouth

he was afraid of ghosts and would sometimes even be frightened and jump at the sight of his own shadow.” “There is a good reason to be frightened of your own shadow, because it reminds you of your own body which one day will die and begin the inevitable process of decay.” * Extra benefits that go with a contract or a job. “Sylvia wants to work as an audit manager for one of the big four so she will get extra fringe benefits, like a like a laptop, a car, traveling expenses, medical insurance , old age benefits, etc.” “The best thing about my job is the package of fringe benefits that go with it, like sick leave, hospital care care, life insurance, pension plan, yearly training seminars, and stock share options.” “Being in the Army does not pay well, but because of all the automatic fringe benefits you get, just being a member of the armed forces, it gives you a certain sense of long-term security.” * Waste away your time just fooling around doing nothing beneficial. “I can’t understand how some people can just sit around and fritter-away their time doing nothing when they could be doing something useful.” “It is ironic how people who are well-off often fritter-away their time uselessly while the poor must work so hard that they never have a moment to spare.” “I may be retired and alone at home, but I never fritter-away my time, because I always have something useful to do.’ * A deep, croaking, hoarse voice, caused by a cold or cough or bronchial infection. “The doctor says I have laryngitis, which in plain English means that I have got a frog in my throat.” “I’m sorry if I’m not speaking clearly. I have a frog in my throat because I’ve got a bad cold.” “Even when Mom has a frog in her throat and can hardly even talk, she still keeps bitching and complaining and getting on my father’s goat.” * Just as in horse racing at the track, gamblers may say that a tip on the winner comes direct from the horse’s mouth, so we may say that we got a direct tip from the person that knows the information. “If we get an insider tip on the stock market, we can say it comes direct from the horse’s mouth, which would imply information from someone who is in-on-the-deal and knows.” “We have just got breaking news direct from the horse’s mouth that the Federal Reserve Board is planning to lower bank interest rates.” “My Auntie Marge has s heard direct from the horse’s mouth that the White House domestic staff members have been forbidden to grin or laugh when serving white House visitors at formal dinners.” *


From the word go

From time immemorial

From time to time

Front line

Frothing at the mouth


Right from the beginning; from the outset. “When I arrived at college right from the word go I was a welldisciplined and dedicated student.” “When I joined the faculty, right from the word go I got off on the wrong foot with the Academic Dean.”’ “The way to be a success in life is to start doing your best right from the word go and never let up until your task or goal is achieved.” * Back beyond recorded history; so far back in time that no one knows about it. “From time immemorial, way back before recorded history, stories were passed along orally, from generation to generation, by word-of-mouth.” “From time immemorial, there have always been poets who recited such stories from memory about heroes and gods and moral and religious matters.” “From time immemorial, man has always been challenged by his environment to learn to develop new ways to adapt and change in order to survive.” * Now and again. “From time to time, I drink a glass of wine, but, normally, I never touch alcohol.” “From time to time, the company will change the authorized signatory according to times and conditions” “In accordance with the conditions of the agreement, the owner of the property may be allowed access for inspection during normal working hours.” The line of battle in war or the front line of conflict and competition in the struggle for life. “A lot of American soldiers have been dying out on the front line of the battlefield.” “The danger of being a war correspondent is that you have to be out on the front line where the fighting is going on and run the risk of being killed in the process.” “I want to be a manager in big business, out on the front line, fighting and competing for a big share in the market, and signing important contracts all the time.” * Just as a mad dog might be foaming at the mouth, so we may say a person is frothing at the mouth when he is so angry or greedy or mad that he can no longer control himself. “Brother John was so angry when I challenged his authority that he was spluttering and frothing at the mouth.” “The vampire was so greedy to suck the Archduke’s blood that he was already frothing at the mouth.” “The rebel bandits were so greedy for blood and revenge that they were actually foaming at the mouth as they stormed into the village police headquarters.” * Compared to a person’s body being frozen rigid in ice and snow. “Near the top of Mount Everest, there are bodies of unsuccessful climbers that have had to be left there frozen-stiff in the snow” “The air conditioning system in


Fruitless attempt


Fuel the flames

Full of beans

Full of bull

Full of hot air

our office is so cold that if I do not wear a warm jacket, I will feel so frozen-stiff and unable to do my job properly.” “If I have to stand here in the snow at the bus stop for much longer’ I’m going to be frozen-stiff.” * Try very hard and make an effort in an attempt that can never lead to success. “I’m afraid that my trying to get my PhD was fruitless attempt.” “Tying to make a million by setting-up a sandwich shop will inevitably turn out to be a fruitless attempt.” “Why should you spend all your life in the pursuit of satisfying sensual desires that can never be satisfied when you already know that it will be a fruitless attempt?” * A person with the characteristics of being an old, conservative, old-fashioned reactionary, and a diehard, stickin-the-mud. “Some people may see me as just some old fuddy-duddy, but actually, I’m still an adventurous kid at heart.” “Uncle Jacob is a real, old fuddy-duddy whose views were formed in the first half of the last century.” “Kids don’t want to tell their problems and secrets to some old fuddy-duddy counselor; they prefer to confide in someone more their own age.” * Just as we add fuel the fire to make it burn hotter, so we maybe said to add fuel to an argument to make it become even more heated. “As if it were not enough to have cleared our house of furniture she then went on to clean out our joint bank account, just to fuel the flames of my anger.” “When we are fighting about our marriage, my wife always comes back to the topic of my earlier infidelities, just to add fuel to the flames.” “Not only did Carina tell me my manuscript was useless, she told me I might just as well throw it in the wastebasket, just to add fuel to the flames.” * Just as eating beans makes one fart a lot, so one says another who is lying or talking nonsense of full of hot air. “You are full of beans. I don’t believe a word you are saying.” “No one will ever believe an outrageous story like that! They will tell you that you are full of beans.” “The expression ‘full of beans’ probably comes from the tradition of cowboys, who lived on beans, sitting around the campfire at night and making up a lot of stories and lies, just to pass the time.” * Talking bullshit; a load of crap; a lot of lies. “I don’t believe a word you are saying; I think you are full of bull.” “Mom says never to trust anything that Dad says because he is full of bull.” “Nobody believes the excuses the President is putting forward to justify the attack, and everyone thinks he’s full of bull.” * Just as a balloon is full of hot air so we may say that a


Full of it

Full of yourself

Full-steam ahead

Full to the brim

Fuming mad

person who is making high and lofty and unbelievable claims is full of hot air. “All these political campaign speeches are nothing but a lot of hot air.” “Never believe a man who promises you the world if you’ll only marry him. Tell him you think he is full of hot air.” “My Granddaddy is an old windbag who is full of hot air and nobody ever believes a word he says.” * Full of bullshit; telling lies. “Don’t ever believe a word he says; he’s full of it!” “Don’t try to fool us with a lot of tired, old lies: everyone here knows you are full of it.” “When I tell a lot of outrageous lies to my friends, they just laugh and tell me I’m full of it.” * Conceited; big-headed; egotistical. “When one gets too full of oneself and arrogant one is just asking to be taken down a peg or two.” “If you were not so full of yourself, maybe you would be able to stop and observe and see that people don’t even listen when you are talking about yourself.” “When you are too overconfident and full of yourself, you are apt to make decisions in which you overestimate your abilities and fall short of your goal and fail in your attempt as a result.” * Just as on the old steamships, the Captain would order the mate to drive full-steam ahead to, so, nowadays, we often say we are going to go full-steam ahead when we attempt something with full power. “We are progressing full-steam ahead in our attempt to push our competition out of the market.” “We are going full-steam ahead with our new-product launch and are hoping to be showing a profit by the end of next quarter.” “The government is going full-steam ahead with its anti-corruption campaign and more than eighty former officials have been jailed or executed.” * Just as a jar can be full to the brim (full to the top and ready to run over) so a person can be full to the brim with happiness and overjoyed with delight. “The cells in the honeycomb of the bees were full to the brim so we just had to suck the honey out with our lips” “Today I am so happy that I feel full to the brim with the overflowing joy of the milk of human kindness.” “The water jar is always full to the brim because drops of water are always falling into it from a crevice above in the roof of the cave. The monk is full to the brim with joy because his mind and body are fully-saturated with rapture and bliss.” * So angry one is about to break out in fiery anger. “I was so fuming mad that he broke his contractual obligations, my body was on the point of breaking out into flames of anger.” “Aimee is still fuming mad because I asked her to move out of my house, and her heart is still filled with




Funny business

Furnish an excuse


Futile effort

Fuzzy notions

resentment and ill-will.” “When I heard he had absconded with my money, I was so fuming mad I could have killed him if I had ever got my hands on him.” Enjoyment. “Kids like to play and enjoy themselves and have fun.” “Teaching English to little kids is fun for everybody; even the teacher is having fun.” “The problem with you is that you are too serious and never take any time off to enjoy yourself and have some fun.”* Causes one to laugh; humorous; amusing; witty; comical. “My brother, Felix, is a real comedian; he never stops telling jokes. He’s so funny.” “The comedy show was so funny that people were laughing themselves silly.” “A thing that is enjoyable is fun; a thing that is comical is funny Not all things that are fun and enjoyable are necessarily funny.” * Unsolicited sexual behavior. “Stop that funny business. I only want us to be friends.” “I’ll go out on a date with you if you promise me there will be no funny business.” “When my Mom and Dad took my boyfriend and I to the drive in movie, Dad said he didn’t want any funny business going on in the back seat.” * Provide an acceptable excuse. “Participants who wish to get a refund for non-attendance must furnish a justifiable excuse.” “If you are forced to miss the test, due to medical reasons, you must be able to furnish a doctor’s excuse.” “If we want to get our registration money back, we will have to fabricate and furnish some kind of justifiable excuse to hand in to the administration.” * Someone who is always nervous and worried or making a fuss and complaining. “Don’t be such a fuss-budget; constant worry and restlessness is just a waste of energy.” “Don’t get exited and upset so easily. Don’t be such a fuss-budget. Keep cool.” “Constantly being worked-up and complaining is harmful to your health, so don’t be such a fuss-budget.” * Useless attempt with no hope of success. “Wasting your time thing to stomp out corruption is a futile effort.” “We spend most of our energy in life in the futile effort of trying to satisfy insatiable pleasures.” “Trying to cure the world of its need for wealth and power is a futile effort, for the more people have and get, the more they want.” * Unclear ideas or thinking based on vague perceptions or blurred logic. “Men say that women have funny, fuzzy notions, but women explain it differently in terms of romantic emotions.” “My philosophy teacher accused me of having fuzzy notions and encouraged me to try to express myself in a more clear, rational and conceptual manner.” “Walt Whitman’s poetry expresses fuzzy no-


tions in an admixture of neo-Platonism, infused with cosmic consciousness overlain by Quaker devotions.” *

Idioms and expressions Gag order Definitions followed by examples A court judgment ordering someone not to talk about something. “The court has put a gag order on the witnesses in the jury trial and ordered them not to make any statements to the press.” “The Simmons case is such big news that the court has put a gag order on anyone connected to it in any way, so the public may not be influenced by people’s opinions and views.” “The Judge has put a gag order against anyone acquainted with the circumstances of Kelly’s death on the basis that any information leaked could affect national security.” * Big, festive celebration. “The King’s Birthday Celebration is always a gala affair with lots of grand ceremonies with lots of people there.” “In Vienna once a year, there is a gala affair called the Opera ball where everybody who is anybody turns up in order to be seen there.” “The New Year’s Eve ball is a gala, festive affair when the members of high society dress up in tuxedos and evening gowns and drink Champagne and dance the night away.” * Going about in big city society having a good time; amusing your self in frivolous social activities, somewhat irresponsibly and wastefully. “When I still had money, I used to enjoy gallivanting about town and throwing away money, but, after the stock market crash, that all stopped, and now I barely have enough to cover my monthly fixed-costs.” “Lord Russell has told his son Keith that it is time to stop gallivanting about town and choose a wife and settle down and start leading a respectable family life.” “When Eva was a big, well-known star, she spent a lot of time gallivanting about town hopping from one happy occasion to another, but, now, she is all-butforgotten and seldom receives an invitation to go anywhere.” * Attack in a group against only one person, physically or verbally. “Timmy came home bruised and battered and said that the other boys had all ganged-up-on him and given him a beating.” “I hate it when everybody disagrees with my opinion, and, then, they all gang-up-on me together trying to tell me I am wrong.” “The members of the media and the press are ganging up on the

Gala affair

Gallivanting about town

Gang-up-on somebody


Gape at somebody

Gaping hole


Gasping for air

Gathering dust

Gearing-up for action

Prime Minister because of his denial that he did not know the facts of Dr. Kelly’s case. They think his statement to the press is a pack of lies to cover up the truth.” * Stare, open-mouthed at someone. “The boys just sit along the sidewalk all day all day all day and gape at the girls going by.” “Don’t just stand there gaping at me in surprise. Tell me the reason why you told me all those outrageous lies!” “When the Foreign Minister could not think of an answer to the press, he just stood there gaping blankly at them trying to hide his duplicity.” * A big, open hole that leaves an open gap in what was before had a flat and solid surface. “The bomb exploded and left a big, gaping hole in the side of the ship.” “When the bank robbers blew open the safe, they not only blew open the door, they also blew a big gaping hole in the wall.” “The meteor caused a huge gaping hole in the ground that was so big that later sheep-herder used it to enclose their flocks.” * A person who talks too much; windbag; full of wind and hot air. “My Uncle Carl never stops talking about how good he is. He’s such a windbag. He’s a real gasbag if I ever saw one.” “We had a regional Director once who was very fat and never stopped talking. He was so full of hot air that we called him,’ Old Gasbag.’” * Just as a fish comes to the surface and gasp for air, so we may say that a person short of breath is gasping for air. “Sometimes, I feel short of breathe and find myself gasping for air like a fish that comes to the surface of the water seeking oxygen.” “Sometimes, when a patient is gasping for air and cannot breathe that means his windpipe is blocked and has to be cleared.” “My younger brother was trying to smother me with a pillow, and I could feel myself losing consciousness and vainly gasping for air, so I had to act fast and kicked him so hard in the nuts that he went flying back through the air.” * Sitting around in a place where it is not being used and particles of dust are gathering on it. “It is a good maxim to get rid of everything that gathers dust.” “Thoreau had a stone on the table in his hut, but after two or three days when he saw it was beginning to gather dust, he threw it out the window.” “I don’t drive any more, and I’ve got an old Benz 450SLC sitting at home in my driveway just gathering dust.” * Just as we shift gears in a car to go faster, so, in the same way, a team project or combined effort may be said to be gearing up for activities that will bring about success. “UN troops on the perimeter are gearing up for action, preparing to repel any enemy attack.” “Various units


General amnesty

Generation gap

Gentleman’s agreement

Genuine article

Gen-up on something

from the National Guard are now gearing up for action in order to be ready to respond to any insurgent attack anywhere in the world within forty-eight hours.” “The Boys in the Pentagon are said to be gearing up for all-out action to fight against terrorism wherever it occurs in the world in order to protect world peace and work towards establishing a new world order.” * A pardon for offenders and prisoners. “After the revolution, all former opponents to the corrupt regimes were granted a general amnesty and freed from prison.” “The Government has declared a general amnesty for all illegal immigrants working in the country, so it can collect income on their wages to help boost the economy.” “On the auspicious occasion of the birthdays of the former Kings, a general amnesty was often declared ordering the release of hundreds of former prisoners.” * A time period between the time that the parents formed their views and their children later developed a different set of views. “Between parents and their children, there is always an area of unshared views and experiences called ‘the generation gap.’” “My grandparents were very Victorian in there ideals, but my parents formed their views after World War II, and there was a wide generation gap between them that never could be breached.” “Similarly, my parents were too old and conservative to be able to understand and accept the world of Sixties and rock and roll and sex and drugs and, so, there was a very wide generation gap there too.” * An unwritten agreement made between honorable gentlemen. “My brother and I have a gentleman’s agreement that I won’t try to touch his wife, and he won’t try to touch mine.” “Ken and I have made a gentleman’s agreement that he will start paying me for the land when he gets some money. There is no contract.” “Let’s make a gentleman’s agreement to go our own ways out in the world and search for truth and the first one who finds the truth should come back and share it with the other.” * The real thing as opposed to a fake or copy. “This is not a fake Diamond Rolex. This is the genuine article!” “I’m showing you five diamonds, four of which are industrially made, and one of which is the genuine article. Can you identify which one is the genuine article?” “Sometimes, forgeries are done so perfectly that not even a socalled expert can tell the difference between the forgery and the genuine article.” * Study; review the general information to get an overview. “I haven’t studied chemistry in years, so I’ll have to take an evening or two to gen-up on it before I have to


take the production quality control examination next week.” “I have not worked with the principles of generally accepted accounting practice in years, so I’ll have to take some time to gen up on them before I begin my new job.” “It has been ages since I studied statistics, but I shall have to use it in my new job, so I’m going to buy a book and gen-up on it before I take over my new position.” * Get a breath of fresh air Just as we step outside to get a breath of fresh air, so we may say that a change of scene or having a new experience or working with a new person is like getting a breath of fresh air. “Working in the office is OK, but sometimes I like to work outside the office just to get a breath of fresh air.” “Taking that seminar on company logistics in Pattaya was like a breath of fresh air compared to the day-to-day routine of the office.” “Hiring a bunch of new, young graduates always brings a breath of fresh air into what has otherwise become an otherwise boring working environment routine.” * Get a dose of your own Have others treat you in the same bad way you have medicine treated them. “One of these days you will get a dose of your own medicine, and then you will know how it feels, to be treated the way you have been treating others.” “You may be able to beat up everyone on the block, but one day someone will come along and give you a dose of your own medicine.” “You may be able to subject me to your heartless, cruel indifference, but I hope that someday somebody else will come along and give you a dose of your own medicine.” * Get a good spanking Take a licking; have you bottom smacked; tale a good paddling. “The fist time my mother caught me lying, she gave me a good spanking, and, after that, she never caught me lying again.” “If you don’t keep still and stop all that noisy shouting, I am going to give you a good spanking.” “In the old days, people used to discipline their kids by paddling their behinds and giving them a good spanking, but, nowadays, it is against the law to hit your children.” * Get a grip on yourself Control yourself; get a hold of yourself; don’t let yourself lose your temper. “Control yourself; don’t lose control; get a grip on yourself.” “Restrain yourself. Don’t let yourself become aggravated and angry. Get a good grip on yourself and maintain detachment and self-control.” “Don’t get angry without reason. Learn to get a grip on yourself, so that instead of going to pieces about nothing, you may learn to be ever-heedful of how you react to outside impulses.” * Get a load of this! Come here and take a look at this! Take a good gander at


this! “Wow! Come over here to the window and get a load of this! There is a foreign woman swimming topless in the hotel pool!” “Get a load of this! A bunch of monkeys has come out of the jungle to steal mangoes from that tree. This is something that you will not often see.” “Get a load of this! Down there, in the street you can see a policeman accepting cash from a motorist he has pulled over to the side of the road and stopped!” Get a move on! Hurry up! Move your butt! Get going! “OK, guys, Get a move on and start marching before the sergeant comes along and chews you all out for loafing about.” “You had better get a move on if you want to be at the station in time to catch the train.” “OK, men, lets get a move on. We have to leave now if we want to be back in town before sundown.” * Get a rise out of someone Say or do something just for the purpose of making him irritated and upset. “Sometimes, I make sarcastic comments about gay guys just because I know I will get a rise out of Detlef.” “I know that, if I mention his not having a PhD, this will always get arise out of Michael.” “Mentioning sensitive topics that you know will make people get upset and get a rise out of them is called ‘pushing people’s buttons.’” * Get a yen for Develop a hankering, urge, desire, or wish for something you enjoyed in the past. “Sometimes, I get a yen for dill pickles.” “At other times I get an unexplainable urge or a yen for Swiss cheese.” “Every once in a while I feel a yen and a hankering after my first love, Cynthia Fallon and I wonder what she is doing now.” * Get ahead Make progress in business life; succeed and go forward to become a success. “Nowadays, with the economic growth-curve flattening out, it is becoming harder and harder to get ahead.” “Nowadays if you want to get ahead in the big business world, you have to have a high grade-point-average and a master’s degree from an English-speaking foreign university.” “The only real way to get ahead on the path to success is to get the best education that you can and get a job with a good firm and gradually move your way up the ladder.” * Get along famously Get along well together, with mutual liking and understanding. “My wife’s father and I get along famously. I’m closer to him than I am to my own father.” “My doctoral thesis advisor and I got along famously, and, because we shared the same interests and opinions, I had no trouble getting my dissertation topic approved.” “My wife first met my sister when my sister finally returned from America, and from that day on they have been getting along famously.” *


Finally find time to get a job done. “I’m going to fill out my tax form when I get around to it.” “One of these days, when I finally get around to it, I’m going to write my last will and testament.” “Make a long list of things that you are finally going to do when you get around to it, and, then, start doing them, one-by-one, day-by-day, until eventually you feel the psychological pressure looseningup in your mind.” * Get away with murder Not get caught in an obvious, fraudulent action; be able to do anything you want without being challenged or punished for it. “Getting away with murder does not mean you killed someone; it means that you can break any law you want and still get away with it.” “Some of the Ministers in the government are just doing whatever they want and getting away with murder because no one has the courage to challenge them.” “The power elite who hold ultimate control behind the politicians can do whatever they want without consulting the people, and, it is said that, sometimes, they literally get away with murder.” * Get back at someone Revenge oneself on someone. “You may think that you have got the better of me now, but you can be sure that I will find a way of getting back at you.” “I moved out of the house and took all of my husband’s furniture to get back at him for the way he hurt me by cheating with other women.” “I don’t yet know how I’m going to do it, but one day I want to be able to get back at my exhusband’s family for the cruel way they treated me.” * Get butterflies in your Be nervous before an event. “Even experienced actors stomach get butterflies in their stomach before appearing on stage.” “When Billy has to talk to a beautiful, intimidating girl, he always gets a case of butterflies in his stomach.” “I have no trouble talking to small audiences of people I know, but when I have to speak before a thousand or more people I have never seen before, I get butterflies in my stomach.”* Get cold feet Become afraid and back-out drop or cop-out of a plan at the last minute. “My school-buddy and I were going to stick-up the candy store, but we got cold feet at the last minute.” “Last Friday night, I wanted to ask Mollie to marry me, but at the last moment, I got cold feet and was afraid to pop the question.” “When it’s time to begin a mission, that’s no time to get cold feet. Just trust the system and do as you are ordered without thinking. Getting cold feet is accepting defeat even before you get started.” * Get cracking Hurry-up; get going; get a move on. “All right, you boys stop your lounging around and get cracking; it’s time to

Get around to it


get a move on and start working!” “Hurry up! If you don’t get cracking, you’ll be late for school.” “We had better get cracking, because if we don’t leave now, we’ll be too late for the opening ceremony.” * Get down on your knees Kneel before someone and beg for something. “You’ll have to go down on your knees and beg, if you want me to agree to become your wife.” “I’m going to go into the office of the Managing partner and go down on my knees and beg him to give me my job back again.” “Sometimes, in a compromise situation, you have to be ready to go down on your knees and beg in order to get the concessions you desire.” “In Western Culture, when you have to go down on your knees to beg for something, this is considered a humiliating position, except of course in Church.” * Get down to the nitty- Focus on the fine details of the matter; the basic fundagritty mentals. “Stop beating around the bush; cut through all the formalities and generalities and get down to the nittygritty: pinpoint exactly what you want from me.” “When one is writing a job description, one has to go into the nitty-gritty and explain the job even down into the minutest details.” “When you are going over financial accounts for an audit, you have to get down into the nittygritty and examine even the smallest details of each-andevery expenditure.” * Get even with Pay back; revenge yourself on someone. “One day I’ll pay you back and get even for all the nasty things you ever did to me!” “There is a very wise saying that says that instead of getting even for something, you should, instead, get over it and forget it and put it out of your mind.” “You maybe able to hurt me now, when I am too weak to defend myself, but you can be sure that, one day, when I’m in a stronger position, then, I’ll get even with you.” * Get going. Get started; get a move on; start working right now. “If you don’t get going and start making some progress on the job, the supervisor will surely fire you.” “We’d better get going and start the job before the boss comes along and chews us out for dragging our asses.” “There’s no point in your sitting around complaining about the work you have to do, so you’d better get going and do it, so no one can complain about you.” * Get hitched Just as two horsed are hitched-together as a team, so two persons can get hitched-together or married. “I don’t ever want to get hitched; I want to stay wild and free.” “Your granny and granddad got hitched when they were both only sixteen.” “In my part of the country people usually get hitched because they are expecting a baby.” *


Get in on the ground Start off employment with a company that is just setting floor up so you can work your way up quickly. “My friend, Guido, started off on the ground floor with Kontron Electronics when the company was first founded. Now, he is the CEO and MD.” “Did you hear about the old lady who got in on the ground floor of Kodak by being one of the first people to buy a public offering of Kodak stock shares? Just think of what those shares must be worth today.” “The problem with getting in on the ground floor of a fast-developing company is that you must first find a way of getting your foot in the door to get them to interview you.” * Get in over your head Become involved in complications that are out of and beyond your control. “When Sven joined into George’s land development project, he found that he had got in over his head financially, and that he’d never been so short of cash in his life.” “The problem with starting your own small company with limited capital is that sooneror-later, you’ll find yourself faced with cash flow problems and, then, get in financially over your head.” “When I first made the merger, I thought I would be able to handle thing, but once I got the overall picture, I realized I had got in hopelessly over my head.” * Get in someone’s good Get in good with someone; make someone begin to like books you. “One way to get in someone’s good books is to do something to make a good impression on him.” /// Get in someone’s hair Just as a bat or bird may get in a woman’s hair and be hard to untangle and let free, so we say a person is getting in our hair when he is really annoying us. “The problem with having two women living in one house is that they are always getting in one another’s hair.” “You tell your sister, Nancy, that if she tries to fight with me and gets into my hair once more, I’ll never again allow her to darken my door.” “My wife and my mother-in-law are always getting in one another’s hair and they totally ignore me when I tell them that being in constant conflict will not get them anywhere.” * Get in the last word Have the final say in order to fulfill an ego need; wanting to say the final word on an issue of disagreement; motivated by the need to make the last statement to prove you are right. ‘When I was younger, I had the habit of always trying to get in the last word, but, now, I see how childish it was, I know now I must just let it go.” “People who always want to get in the last word are acting out of the need to show the other guy that he is wrong and they are right.” “The problem with Richard is that he is always the one who wants to get in the last word. He must be motivated by some kind of defensive-ego-thing.” *


Get in a rut

Get into deep water

Get into hot water

Get it off your chest

Get lost!

Get miffed

Get into a routine in which you are doing the same thing over and over again until it becomes boring, the way a wheel wears a rut in a path. “The problem in working with tax law is that you end up following the same routine all the time and get stuck in a rut.” “I always wanted to be an accountant when I was still studying, but, now, after five tears in the job, I feel like I’ve got stuck in a rut.” “The good thing about being an auditor is that you keep going to different clients’ offices and never get stuck in one place in the same old rut.” * Get in big trouble because of circumstances over your head and beyond your control. “We have invested a lot of money in this project, and we will be getting into deep water if it doesn’t soon start to pay off.” “If you don’t stop borrowing money to pay off your accumulating gambling debts, you’ll soon be in deep water.” “If you don’t stop selling drugs to the kids at school, you are going to get into deep water beyond your depth.” * Being in trouble because you caused the problem and that caused the heat. “I’m going to get into hot water if I cannot keep up with my mortgage payments because of my gambling debts.” “When I was a kid at school, I was always getting myself into hot water for all the pranks I played.” “My number one girlfriend has learned that I was lying about where I go on weekends, and, now, I’ve got myself into really hot water.” * Bare your breast; open your heart; tell all about what is bothering you; state your complaint to make yourself feel better. “Sometimes if you have a good cry and tell someone all your troubles to get them off your chest, you feel a lot better afterwards.” “Something has been bothering me about my life, and I’m going to see a psychiatrist to talk about to try to get it off my chest.” “I’ve had a silent grudge against you for a long time and I want to tell you about it just to get it off my chest.” * Disappear! Get out of here! Go away and don’t come back! “Can’t you see where you are not wanted? Get lost! Get out of here!” “If you don’t get lost right away, you’ll soon find how it feels to get a swift boot up the ass.” “Get lost you creep! Can’t you see I’m not interested in talking to you?” * Become angry, annoyed, displeased or insulted. “Don’t go and get miffed just because I hinted that you are sometimes a little snooty.” “Michael got a bit miffed when I mentioned I had never seen him reach in his pocket and buy a round of drinks.” “I feel a bit miffed that the committee passed me over and put Winston in the chair instead.” *


Get more than you bar- Find that something you wanted is not so simple to hangained for dle and much harder than you thought. “Adopting a child seemed so appealing at first, but I got stuck with a resentful orphaned-kid and got more than I bargained for.” “Simone had big hopes about getting the job, as deputy financial director, but the workload was too heavy, and she got more than she bargained for.” “Taking over the family ranch seemed like such a good idea to me, at first, but then I found it was much too much work and I had got more than I had bargained for.” * Get mugged Get beaten-up and robbed in the street or park. “It pays to be careful and not leave a pub and walk on the street alone in the middle of the night because the chances are that you might get mugged.” “In New York City, wealthy-looking foreign tourists often get mugged in daylight in Central Park by drug addicts needing money for a fix.” “There have even been some reported cases of UN diplomats on their way to work being mugged in the street, in America, the land of the free.” * Get off lightly Receive light punishment. “When I was called before the discipline committee for drunken and disorderly behavior, I got off lightly because of my age and because it was the first time I had ever drunk alcohol.” “When teenagers under eighteen commit a crime, they often get off lightly with a warning that if they do it again, they will be doing some heavy time.” “Since my Dad was the principal of the school, I asked him to cut me some slack and let me off lightly for pulling what was just a silly prank, but he told me in no uncertain words that he was going to make an example of me and make me pay the maximum penalty.’ * Get off my back! Just as a monkey might cling to your back, so someone who wants to blame or punish you may be figuratively said to ‘be on your back.’ “Get off my back and stop bugging me! It’s not my fault things went wrong the way they did in our relationship!” “Since I have done absolutely nothing wrong to be ashamed of, I would like to ask you please to get off my back and stop hassling me.” “I wish that you would get off my back and stop riding me about some old grudge you are holding about something that happened in the last century.” * Get off on the wrong foot Begin by making a bad impression on someone. “When Sally joined the company, unfortunately, she got off on the wrong foot with her supervisor, who has never liked her since.” “When I first met my mother-in-law to be, I got off on the wrong foot by speaking to her much too intimately.” “Once you’ve start off with someone on the wrong foot, you have to try hard to find a way to get into


his good books.” * Become free of blame and resultant charges. “I’m always getting into trouble, but, usually, I find a way of getting off the hook.” “I know you always manage to wriggle your way out of trouble, but this time you’re not going to get off the hook so easily.” “Jan is just making excuses to try and get off the hook. Don’t believe anything she says or make any exceptions, just go by the book” * Get off the pot. Stop taking so long, hesitating while others are waiting for you to finish. “As the old saying goes, ‘Either shit or get off the pot.’” “If you are not ready to take action yourself, get off the pot. Stand aside and let someone else have a go at it.” “I don’t know why it is taking you so long to decide what to do. If you don’t get off the pot soon, someone will have to step in and do it for you.” * Get off your backside. Stop just sitting around on your rear end; stand up and do something useful or helpful for a change. “Get off your backside and do something useful for a change.” “Don’t just sit around and watch TV all day. Get off your backside and help your mother out with the household chores.” “If you could just motivate yourself to get up off your lazy, fat backside, you could take a walk outside and get a breath of fresh air for a change.” * Get off-track Not stick to the path; deviate from the proper course; line of development; become sidetracked and lose coherence. “Follow the course of commonly accepted moral values, and don’t get off track.” “When I first went to university, I could not write coherently and used to ramble and get off track.” “Stick to the proper path of meditation and don’t let your mind get off track or you will lose mindfulness.” * Get on someone’s good Make someone like you so you can benefit from the conside nection. “Eleanor is just trying to get on the boss’s good side so she can ask special favors of him.” “When you try to get on someone’s good side and make him partial to you, are you doing it just for your own benefit or is it also for his benefit too?” “It is always good to get on your commanding officer’s good side, because if he takes a liking to you, he won’t give you dirty jobs to do.” * Get on the bandwagon Just as, in a town parade, people like to jump up and ride on the bandwagon, so one may be said to get on the bandwagon when he joins in to support a popular cause. “It is in the nature of humans that when they see everyone else giving support to a cause or effort, that they will get on the bandwagon themselves and go with the flow of popular opinion.” “Once a Presidential candidate looks like he is going to win the primary elections, a lot of undecided delegates will get on the bandwagon in Get off the hook


hopes of sharing in his success too.” * Get on the wrong side of Turn someone against you by something you have done. someone “Be careful you don’t do anything to get on the wrong side of the new boss, because I have heard he is mean, nasty and vindictive to people he doesn’t like.” “It is never a good idea to get on the wrong side of your mother-in-law, because she is sure to influence the way your marriage goes.” “Never get on the wrong side of your wife’s best friend and make her your enemy or she is sure to cause you trouble in the end.” * Get on your soapbox Just as in the old days, people would stand up on a soapbox in a public place and address a crowd in the park on their favorite cause, so we say a person gets on his soapbox when he makes the same old speech to express the same old opinion that he has been pushing for years. “Darling! Don’t get on your soapbox! I’ve heard it all before.” “Once you get up on your soapbox and start talking about your hobby horse, no one can stop you any more.” “There is an old custom in England that whenever anyone wants to express a public opinion, he can get up on a soapbox in Hyde Park and talk to whoever will listen for as long as he wants.” * Get out of here. Leave; bugger-off; piss-off; “Get out of here. Can’t you see where you are not wanted?” “Get out of here before someone sees you out of bounds and you get into trouble.” “Get out of here! I can’t stand the sight of you! Dome a favor and disappear.” * Get out of the road! Don’t block my path! Get out of my way! “Don’t stand there blocking the passage. Get out of the way so we can carry these big boxes through the corridor.” “Get out of the road! If you don’t get out of my way right away, I’ll run right over you.” “You are blocking our right of way. If you do not clear the path, and get out of the road, we’ll blow you away.” * Get out! Go away and remove yourself from this place. “Get out of here! Can’t you see where you are not wanted?” “If you don’t get out of here immediately, I’ll call the police and have you arrested!” “Get out of here! I never want to see your ugly face again.” * Get over it Learn to accept and come to terms with disappointment. “When a bad thing happens that you cannot change, if you learn to accept it, you’ll finally get over it.” “It is a human characteristic that we become reconciled to disappointment over time, and finally get over it.” “I know you were devastated by Karen’s divorcing you, but with time, you will get over it and eventually see that it is in your own best interest.” * Get serious! Be realistic! Stop joking around! Don’t try to kid me!


Get someone’s goat

Get something wrong

Get somewhere

Get the boot

Get the bum’s rush

Who do you think you are fooling? “I’d never ever consider marring you. What are you talking about? Get serious!” “Don’t joke about punishing God for your disappointments. Get serious! Who do you think you are anyway?” “Stop fooling around doing nothing, as if you had all the time in the world to decide what you want to do with your life. Get serious! Go out and find a job. Go and find something useful to do!” * Make someone angry by doing or saying something to annoy and get a reaction out of him. “The local children keep picking the flowers from the old man’s garden just to get his goat.” “Don’t take my joking so seriously. I was just trying to get your goat. Now, I am sorry I succeeded.” “If you let people get your goat, you are more ignorant and stupid than they are.” * Get the wrong idea; misunderstand; misapprehend or misconceive something. “You’ve got the wrong idea. When I say I want to help you, that doesn’t mean you have to do anything to pay me back.” “Don’t get me wrong. When I give you constructive criticism, you should remember that my only purpose is doing so is to help you.” “Don’t get it wrong. You don’t understand. All I meant was that if everybody treated others the way they would like to be treated, we would all get along. That’s a good idea, isn’t it?” * Climb up the ladder of success. “It is my goal to work hard and get somewhere in this life.” “If you want to get somewhere in the corporate business world these days, it helps to have a foreign MBA.” “I don’t want to stay at home all my life and be like everybody else. I want to go away and get somewhere and be somebody out there in the world.” * Get kicked-out of one’s job; given the sack; get the axe; get thrown-out; be fired; given notice. “When they found out that I was stealing money from the petty cash box, they gave me the boot.” “You’d better not spend too much time talking with the girls in the shop or you’ll get the boot for not keeping your mind on the job.” “You can be given the boot without notice if the company finds out that you are using their resources for your own personal benefit.” * Just as a vagrant, drunken bum might be thrown out by the collar by the doormen of a respectable establishment, so we say we get the bum’s rush when someone throws us out of somewhere where we are not wanted. “I tried to get into the Embassy Social Club, but the security guards gave me the bum’s rush.” “I turned up at the exclusive St, James Club drunk as a skunk and without a necktie


Get the gist

Get the hang of it

Get the jitters

Get the knack of it

Get the lay of the land

but they gave me the bum’s rush before I got even one foot through the door.” “So, then, I had a few more drinks and went to see my ex-wife at her mother’s house, and they too gave me the bum’s rush, threw me half way across the street, they did.” * Begin to understand and get the general idea: begin to see the point of what someone is trying to explain. “I was confused and couldn’t understand your point, at first, but now I am beginning to get the gist of what you mean.” “Now that I have explained in closer detail, I hope you are beginning to get the gist of the matter.” “The jury was getting the gist of the argument for the defense of the accused, but there were still a number of questions that were unclear in their heads.” * Become accustomed to doing something; get a feel for it; get used to doing it through practice. “It is hard learning to ride a camel, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite enjoyable.” “You may have some trouble getting the hang of things in your new job, but once the routine becomes second nature, it will be breeze.” “I’m having some trouble getting the hang of how to use the new software program at work, but my boss says once I get the hang of it, I can do my job with ease.” * Become nervous and shaky; get the trembles; have stage fright. “Warren always gets the jitters before going into a new a job interview.” “I used to get the jitters before I had to give a presentation, but now, I‘ve got used to it and I don’t get nervous any more.” “Before I have to talk to a very large audience, I always get a case of the jitters.” * Start to get the feel of it; beginning to get used to performing a new task or job. “At first, I had trouble learning to type, but now, I’m getting to get the knack of it.” “I couldn’t get the knack of using my power point program at first, but once I had a friend explain it to me, I saw it was really easy.” “Try as I will, I feel I will never get the knack of being able to check my e-mail over my mobile phone.” * Just as a farmer or prospective buyer may stand in a high location to get an overview of a big area of land, so a manager or director or official may need to take time to size-up the situation before he takes over a new area of responsibility. ; “Let me have a few days with the previous director, before I take over his job, so he can help me get the lay of the land.” “When I first came to Bolder, Colorado, it took me a while to get the lay of the land in both the literal and figurative senses.” “After I was appointed new Dean at the U of Md., Munich Campus, it


took me about a year of looking and listening and talking to get the lay of the land.” * Get the message? Get the idea? Get the picture? Do you understand what we are trying to tell you? “I don’t ever want to see you again. Get the message?” “/// /// Get the nod To be given official permission; granted approval; given the go-ahead. “The new subway extension plan has been given the nod, and construction begins on the first of next month.” “My latest book manuscript has been given the nod by the editors of C U Press and has been accepted for publication.” “The government has given the nod to go ahead with the new education reform package.” */// Get the show on the road Just as the circus has to pack-up and load everything before it can move to the next town, so we often say it’s time to get the show on the road when we mean to get started towards our present goal. ‘It’s time to get moving and set-up the audio equipment in the concert hall. Let’s get the show on the road.” “Let’s not have anymore dillydallying about. Let’s get a move on. We have to be in Los Angeles by nine p.m., so let’s get the show on the road.” * Get the thread See the coherent line of argument and development in an explanation; follow the red thread of development. “I am afraid I do not get the thread of your argument. Could you start again please and go slowly and logically, stepby-step?” “These people are just too dumb to get the red thread of the argument, so there’s no use in talking to them.” “I have explained my thesis by using a coherent and unified argument backed up by facts and details, but my students still don’t get the tread of my argument. They have a listening problem and cannot concentrate for more than three minutes at a time.” * Get to grips with some- Face a fear or fight a problem until you finally have it in thing hand and under control. “I have such a terrible fear of failure that I am afraid to try anything, and my analyst says I must come to grips with this problem or it will dog me for the rest of my life.” “I just cannot come to grips with the fact that I was passed over for promotion to Colonel and, then, forced to retire early from the Army.” “You had better come to grips with yourself and stop your habitual drinking or you will never be able to maintain a long term meaningful relationship.” * Get to the bottom of Investigate to find the source of the problem; delve into things the depths of the matter. “It’s a mystery were the money went, but the police are carrying out a thorough investigation, and I’m sure with their help, we will ultimately get to the bottom of things.” “I know that you have not told me everything you know, so now I am asking you to


reveal the whole truth so I can finally get to the bottom of things.” “It’s time the full facts about Princess Diana’s death were revealed to the public so people can finally examine all the evidence and get to the bottom of things so everyone will know if it was an accident or a wellplanned assignation.” * Get to the point Stop hesitating and beating around the bush before saying what you want to say. “Never mind the long preamble. Just get to the point and say what you have to say.” “Some people, when they write, take a page-and-a-half to finally get to the point that they want to argue.” “Hesitating before you come to the point is a bad way to communicate, and you should learn to get to the point in the first fifty words or so.” * Get under my skin In a romantic sense, to feel titillated when you see or think about someone. “I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve got you under my skin.” “When I see you or smell you or think about you, a special sort of feeling gets under my skin which, then, spreads all throughout my body.” “In a non-romantic sense, we can also say someone is getting under your skin when he is really beginning to irritate you.” * Get up on the wrong side Wake up in the morning in a bad mood that lasts all day of the bed. long. “The boss is in a bad mood to day. He must have got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” “Why are you so irritable this morning, Darling? Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed or something?” “I have days when I get up on the wrong side of the bed and wish I had got up on the other side instead.” * Get what’s coming to Get what you deserve; get your own back. “One day you you will get what’s coming to you for the evil deeds you have been doing all your life.” “I’m just waiting for the day when you get what’s coming to you and suffer the punishment that you deserve.” “The Bible says that when you die, you will get what’s coming to you for your sins. If you’ve been a bad boy, you’ll go to hell for sure.” * Get wind of First learn about or hear of the news. “I just got wind of your new promotion. Congratulations.” “We have just got wind of the news that you are about to be engaged, That’s good news! We are happy for you!” “This is the first time I have ever got wind of the fact that my first wife was pregnant when she agreed to marry me.” * Get wise! Don’t be so stupid. Smarten up! Be a little, more clever! “Get wise! Don’t trust fast-talking, sexy guys.” “I finally got wise to the fact that the CEO had been telling the Revenue Department lies all there years, and I blew the whistle on him.” “If you don’t get wise to the fact that most people will put what they want ahead of what you


Get with it!

Get your act together

Get your back up

Get your bearings

Get your fingers burned

want, you’ll have a lot of disappointments ahead of you.” * Pay attention and adjust to the way everybody else does things around here; conform, comply and go along with others do. “You don’t know what’s going on here at all, do you? Get wise! Get with it! Otherwise, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.” “Keep your eyes open to see the way people do things around here, and once you are wise to the program, get with it!” “The company has written policy regulations that govern what people can or cannot say publicly. There is also an un-written policy that says “If you can’t get with it, get out!’” * Start becoming serious, start behaving and do something properly for a change. “Mother keeps asking me when I am finally going to get my act and start thinking about what I want to do with my life.” “Professor Gibbon took me aside and told me that if I didn’t start working and finally get my act together that he would fail me in the class.” “I was quite lazy and unreliable when I was a teenager, but after the first year of college, I started getting my act together and taking my studies seriously.” * Just as a cat will arch its back when it is threatened as though it were ready for attack, so some people may be said to get their back up when they are threatened by what seems to then to be a verbal attack. “Now, Michael, don’t go getting your back up every time someone says … Just as a sea captain takes his bearings by plotting his position on the chart, so a person may say he is getting his bearings when he is starting to figure out what is happening in a totally new situation. “When Dale became resident Dean of the U of MD campus, it took him a while to get his bearings and finally figure out what was going on.” “After Jill broke up with me and our old friends stopped talking to me, It took me a while to get my bearings.” “It took Jill a while to get her bearings when she first joined the faculty at KMUTT, but through keeping her mouth shut and observing a lot, she was finally able to get her bearings and figure out the way things worked.” * Suffer bad results from previous experience. “There is an old saying that says that if you play with fire, you’ll get your fingers burned. “The fist time I got my fingers burned was in love, and this taught me to control my passion for women.” “Another time I got my fingers burned was in trusting someone as a loyal friend. From that, I learned that even a loyal friend may turn against you in the end.” “The last time I got my fingers burned was in-


vesting in an insurance plan that turned out to be a scam. After that, I never invested in any financial plan again.” * Get your jollies What turns you on; what gets you off; how get your kicks. “I once had a girlfriend who got her jollies by tickling me with a peacock feather.” “I also had a girlfriend who was a geologist who joked about how she got her rocks off and how she got her jollies.” “There are all kinds of people out there in the world who use different ways to help them get their jollies, but as every psychiatrist will tell you, the mental images that help you get your jollies arise as unconscious mental images provoking desires and delusions that lead to mental follies.” * Get your marching orders Get your walking papers; be given the sack; be given notice; be told to go. “I have been given my marching orders and asked to leave the firm because they no longer have need of my services.” “The firm is making a lot of cutbacks to help cut costs, and I am expecting to get my marching orders any day now.” “If you give your boss a lot of lip and smart backtalk, he will soon give you your marching orders.” * Get your money’s worth Make sure that you are getting what you paid for, and then some, if possible. “When there is a salad bar in a restaurant, Shelia fills her plate as full as possible to be sure she’s getting my money’s worth.” “I push my employees pretty hard to let them know that I intend to get my money’s worth.” “When Annie stays in an expensive hotel, to get her money’s worth, she takes home what she sees as freebees, like samples of hand-soap, shampoo, hair rinse, body cream, packs of powder, tissues and sewing kits. One time, she even took a bath towel too.” * Get your own back Get what you have coming to you; get a taste of your own medicine; get what you deserve. “As the saying goes, ‘When you piss into the wind, you get your own back,’ and the effects of the bad actions that you do in the world will return to you too.” “When something bad happens to a bad man, people say that he is just getting his own back.” “People are usually happy to see a bad man get a taste of his own medicine, glad to see him get his own back, glad to finally see him get his just desert.” * Get your priorities Do things in order of importance; first things first. “Getstraight ting your priorities straight means realizing what is most important to you in your life and choosing to do that thing first rather than a variety of others that may hinde your progress. “One thing you have to learn in business life is to get your priorities straight, doing things in order of importance, getting the most important task out of the way and then going on to the next one and so on.”


Get your second wind

Get your teeth into Get your wires crossed


Getting across

Getting me down

Getting to be a chore

Getting to the bottom of

Getting used to it

Getting your own back

After hard and continuing labor and effort to catch your breath so you can continue to go on. “The work was pretty hard at first, but now I’m getting used to it and getting my second wind.” Just as a dog will want to get started chewing on a bone, so we say that a person cannot wait until he gets …. Just as in an electrical short-circuit, so we may make the wrong mental connection and get confused in a way that causes a problem. Make a beginning and get started. “OK guys! It’s time to get this show on the road. Let’s get-the-ball-rolling.” /// /// Making your meaning understood; getting listeners to understand. “I’ve been trying to explain the idea to my advisee, but I’m not getting across, and she still doesn’t understand.” /// Starting to bother me and make me depressed. “No matter how hard I study geometry, I still keep getting ‘Cs’ and, now, it’s beginning to get me down.” Starting to become a boring bothersome task or duty. “At first, I was so glad to be an English teacher, but after a few years, I found that constantly grading essays was getting to be a chore.” /// /// Discover the reason for; solve the problem; solve the riddle; find the cause; clarify; unearth; figure out the unknown secret. “When the police dig deep-enough into the forensic evidence of the case, they will eventually get to the bottom of who strangled Mrs. Clearwater.” I can’t understand why my husband keeps coming home so late all the time, but I’ve hired a private detective to investigate to get to the bottom of it.” “We don’t know how the students got the answers in advance of the test but when we to get to the bottom of it, and find out who was responsible, he is going to really be in hot water.” “It’s a mystery why ships keep disappearing in the Bermuda Triangle, but eventually researchers will get to the bottom of it.” Becoming accustomed to something with time. “At first, I was not accustomed to heavy labor, but now I am slowly getting used to it.” “Fred had a hard time adapting to marriage at first, but he is slowly getting accustomed to it.” “In the beginning Tad had trouble speaking in public, but now that he is getting used to it, he’s getting better and better.” * Getting what you deserve; reaping the fruit of your own actions. “Pissing into the wind is one way of getting your own back.” “If a woman hurts you after you have hurt her, then, you are just getting your own back.” “Another







Ghost of a chance

way of getting your own back is getting a taste of your own medicine.” * Making progress financially; making a bit of profit rather than losing on investment or breaking even; making-aliving and managing to save a bit; progressing in your career; doing-well; becoming-successful; improve one’s social status. “After four years of working to recover our initial investment, we are finally starting to get ahead.” “Some people must work just barely to meet their living expenses, but others manage not only to cover their cost of living but to and get ahead and save some money each month.” “I can say now that I’m finally starting to get ahead in the world and rising-up the social ladder.” Starting to irritate me; beginning to get annoying; becoming bothersome; getting aggravating; starting to bug me. “Stop your constant complaining; you’re beginning to get on my nerves.” “The background noise and chattering in the office is starting to get on my nerves, so I’ve begun to wear earplugs.” “I don’t know why the sound of barking dogs and crying children always gets on my nerves.” “Meeting all the report deadlines in the office is becoming stressful and starting to get on my nerves.” Since no one is exercising control, things will become harder to manage, will soon be out of control; the way things are going no one will be able to stop the consequences; someone must take control and lend a hand before it is too late; gone too far already; time to stop now; later will be too late. “His drinking habit is getting out of hand, and if he continues like that he will soon lose his job.” “Government spending is getting out of hand, and we are running up deficits that will ruin the economy in the end.” Becoming accustomed to a new home; beginning to feel at home in a new town or place; getting used to a new job; acclimatizing to new circumstances. “We are finally getting settled into our new house, and life is getting back to normal.” “Tom was just getting settled in to a new home and job in Seattle, when, unexpectedly, he was promoted and transferred to the Atlanta office.” “Frieda was already getting settled into the dormitory and college life and looking forward to her studies.” Party or gathering. “We are having a little get-together at my place Friday evening, and we would like you to come.” /// /// Very little or hardly even the slightest chance. “I know I don’t have even a ghost of a chance of ever winning your love.” “Out business venture will not have a ghost of a chance at success unless the government lowers interest


rates.” /// /// The ability to talk to others easily; the talent to get people into conversation; the capacity to be able to talk with anyone and make friends; the skill to speak so that others will listen; able to make pleasant and friendly conversation. “My Mom was born with the gift of the gab. She can strike up a conversation with anyone.” “You probably have to have the gift of the gab if you want to be a good salesman, then.” “Some people have the gift of the gab and some are born timid and tongue-tied.” Give someone a rough Making things difficult for someone by refusing to comtime ply with his wishes and/or asking a lot of questions about why or why not? “Come on! Don’t give me a rough time. All is said was that I want a couple of days off work. What’s the big problem with that.” /// /// Give an arm and a leg Have you ever wanted something so much that you would do anything to get it, including even giving an arm and a leg? This is an overstatement or exaggeration, of course, implying you’d pay an even higher price than something was worth; sacrifice anything to fulfill your desire. “She is so delightful and beautiful. I’d give and arm and a leg to become her husband just for one night.” “I wanted to get my own twelve meter Endurance ocean sailing yacht so badly that I would have even sacrificed and given an arm and a leg for it.” “My father’s folly was that he wanted a big expensive manor house so badly he didn’t care if it cost him an arm and a leg.” Give and take Both sides compromise. “Marriage is always a relationship of give and take: you give a little and you take a little, and that way both sides benefit.” /// Give anything for Do anything required in order to get what you want; give my eye teeth for. “I’d give anything for a chance to have a date with Miss Universe.” “I’d give anything for a chance to study in the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn university.” /// Give as hard as you get Treat someone as harshly as he treats you. “If people know that you are going to give as hard as you get, they’ll think twice about trying to push you around.” /// /// Give free reign to Just as one can give a horse free reign, so one may be allowed freedom to move about and do what wants. “It’s never good to give free reign to your emotions, because you will do and say things you will later be sorry for.” /// Give in to pressure Stop resisting outside pressures; cave in to pressure from all around. Give it a rest! Stop talking! That’s enough now! “Shut up and don’t talk about it any more. Give it a rest!” “I’m tired of hearing your nagging complaints. Do me a favor and give it a rest Gift of the gab


for a while. OK?” “Don’t keep bugging me to buy you a mobile phone. Give it a rest, before you start to get on my nerves.” * Give me a buzz Telephone me; give me a call; ring me up; call me on the telephone. “Let’s try and set a date to go out together. When you find time, give me a buzz and let me know when it would be most convenient.” “If you ever need my help, just give me a buzz, and I’ll be there for you, ready and willing.” “If I don’t see you, promise to give me a buzz to let me know how you are doing.” Give me a chance. Allow me an opportunity; let me have just one try. “I’ll show you that I can do a good job if you just give me a chance.” “Darling, if you just give me a chance, I’ll prove to you that I‘ll be the most perfect husband in the world.” “If you just give me a chance at that marketing manager’s post, I promise that I’ll double your sales figures witin a year.” * Give me a cuddle. Hold me close, put your arms around me and give me a close hug. “I’m feeling a little cold and lonely, Honey. Why don’t you come over here and give me a little cuddle.” “When I was a small girl, I would always wait for my dad to give me la little cuddle before he went to work in the morning.” /// Give me a dingle. Same as “give me a buzz” or give me a ring or give me a call. “When you wan to get together, give me a dingle on the phone, and let me know.” “If I don’t hear from you, I’ll give you a dingle.” “If there is ever anything I can do for you, just give me a dingle.” Give me a rundown. Outline all of the relevant information so I can get an overview. “Give me a quick rundown of the background of the case before we go into the meeting si I’ll know what’s going on.” /// Give me a second I know what I did was wrong but please give me a secchance. ond chance so I can show that I will not make the same mistake again. Give me credit. Just as we can give a person credit financially, so we can give him credit for his good deeds, and believe in his good intentions. Give me some breathing Don’t close me in and make me feel pressured; leave me space. to decide on my own. “Please don’t try to pressure me into doing things your way. Give me some breathing space. “Please give me some breathing space and time to think; let me decide on my own what is best for us and if I want to marry you.” “I’m starting to feel a little claustrophobic in our relationship, and I’d like to ask you to give me some breathing space.” * Give me some time to Let me have some time to think it over. “I like you busiconsider. ness plan, and I’m tempted to invest, but give me some


time to consider before I make my final decision.” “Please give me some time to consider your marriage proposal and I’ll give you my answer by the end of next week.” “My boss doesn’t want me to go to graduate school in the stares but to stay with the firm, and he has asked me to take some time to consider.” * Give me the lowdown Tell me what you know about the story; give me the dope; give me all the dirty details. “What’s the lowdown on the recent bank scandal? Can you give me the lowdown before it appears on the evening news?” “Can you give me the lowdown on Senator Kilpatrick’s private life? I hear he has a girlfriend in addition to his wife.” ‘We are trying to blacken the Senators name. Give me the lowdown on any rumors or dirty details you know may have heard about him.” * Give my eye-teeth for Give anything for; pay any price for; do anything to get what you want. “Jane would give her eye teeth for a chance to work for Donald Trump.” “I would give my eye teeth for a chance to become a delegate to the United Nations,” /// Give notice of Means to inform someone beforehand of something that will happen. “I have just been given notice of my termination of employment with the company.” “Your contract stipulates that if you wish to leave the company, you must give one month’s notice beforehand.” “Working regulations state that if you wish to take a leave of absence, you must give notice of such to your supervisor in advance.” Give someone his head Just as we might let loose of the reins of a horse to let him run as he will, so we can give free reign to a person and see what he does. Give someone a ribbing Tease someone about something that he has done or is embarrassed about, as though you were giving him a poke in the ribs to remind him. “My old pals still like to give me a ribbing about the time I scored a goal against my own team which cost us the national championship.” /// /// Give someone an earful Give me a telling-off; scolding; chewing-out. “I’m so angry! When I see your father I am really going to give him an earful.” /// Give someone enough Let someone carry on unhindered, making the same misrope to hang himself take, until everyone sees his bad intentions and thereby his guilt. Give someone the benefit Believe someone at least as long as there is no evidence of the doubt to indicate he is wrong. /// “Since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the court has to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt until conclusive evidence is brought against him.”


Give someone the brush- Just as we might brush-of a fly that lands on our shoulder off with a sweep of the hand, so we sometimes say that we give a person the brush-off when he comes too close or asks for something we are not willing to do. “I tried to ask Jane out for a date, but she gave me the brush-off.” “Jane approached Donald Trump for a job but he gave her the brush-off.” “Her father asked to be considered as a delegate to the United Nations but the delegates cave him a polite brush-off.” * Give someone the cold Give someone a cool reception; snub someone by not shoulder acknowledging him; turning away from someone to show you cannot accept him. “When middle class people try to break into upper class society, they are usually given the cold shoulder.” “The first time I approached Jacqueline to ask her for a date, she gave me the cold shoulder.” “When I first met my fiancée’s parents, they gave me the cold shoulder because they thought I was not good enough for their daughter.” * Give someone the eye To look at someone with a sexy look to let him/her see that you are interested. “Don’t give me the eye like that! Don’t you know that I am a married woman?” “That girl over there has just given me the eye and I’ going over to talk with her.” “At Chula, it is not considered polite to give the girls the eye.” Give someone the nudge Give someone a little shove or push to encourage him to get started on the right path. “I was ready to start meditating; I only needed someone to give me the nudge to get me started.” /// Give someone the once- Take a quick look to evaluate the quality of the person; over Give someone the runa- Cause someone a lot of problems by asking questions round and avoiding giving answers so as no to cooperate with his wishes Give someone the slip Lose someone who is following you. “Mickey knew he wa being followed by a private detective, but he managed to give him the slip.” “The police had the witness under protective custody but the witness got scared and somehow managed to give them the slip.” /// Give someone the third Question carefully and closely; “When Dad comes home degree late smelling of alcohol, Mom gives him the third degree, asking where he has been and why and with whom and for what reason.” /// /// Give someone the what Tell someone off; “When I see your father, I am going to for give him the what for because he let you play with his loaded gin.” /// /// Give something back to Repay society for what it has given you. “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor o a judge to be in a position to give something back to society.” /// ///


Give the green light

Give approval to go-ahead. “City Council has given the green light, and construction on the new city hall is about to begin immediately.” “The University Funding Committee has given me the green light to go ahead with my research project.” /// Give the word Say when it is time to start; announce that you need help. “Whenever you are ready to start, just give the word, and we will set the process in motion.” “If you ever need my help, just give me the word and I’ll come to your assistance immediately.” /// Give them a run for their Try your best not to let the competition beat you. “The money. competition may be better trained and better funded, but we are going to give them a run for their money and not give up without a fight.” /// /// Give them the slip To escape; slip through their fingers; get away before you are caught; escape from the clutches of authority. “We’d better get out of here and give the farmer the slip before he catches us stealing his apples.” “The police almost caught me red-handed trying to break into an ATM machine, but I gave them the slip by running through a maze of alleys and then climbing over a six-foot barbedwire fence and hiding in a garbage dumpster.” “The CIA is combing the mountainous regions in north eastern Pakistan to try to root out pockets of extremists, but the terrorists continue to give them the slip.” Give up the cause Stop fighting for something you believe in. “I’m so discouraged by recent political events I want to give up the cause of fighting for democracy.” /// Give up the ghost Lose spirit; lose enthusiasm; stop trying and give-up that last hope. “I’ve been trying so hard to get my degree at night school, but I’m so pressed for time and my grades are so bad that It’s time to give up the ghost.” /// Give vent to your emo- Open up and give release to all your built-up mental tions pressures. “Sometimes, I go out drinking and dancing and partying all night to give vent to my emotions.” “Open up and tell me all about what is causing you emotional pressure; if you give vent to your emotions it will be a big psychological release.” /// Give your word Make a promise verbally; assure someone you will do what you say; swear you will not to go back on your word. “I’ll pay you back the money as soon as I can. I swear. I give you my word.” “Albert gave Norma his word that he would be absolutely true to her until the end of their lives.” “You can count on my support in the next election. I give you my word that you will receive my vote.” Give-in easily Succumb to pressure and cave in without much offering much opposition. “I never can say no, and I always give-


Given it up for good

Given the nod

Glare of bright lights

Glide through

Glimmer of hope

Glint in your eye Gnawing conscience

Go about your business Go against the flow Go against the grain

Go along with

in easily.” “At the meeting stand up for what you think is right, and don’t give in too easily.” “My problem is that I am such a nice guy that I give in too easily when people pressure me into doing things for them.” * To stop doing something and never do it again; to give up a habit or a custom forever and never do it again. I was a heavy smoker ten years ago, but now I’ve given it up for good.” “I used to be an alcoholic and often drank for days on end, but, now, I haven’t had a drink in five years; I’ve given it up for good.” I used to be a compulsive gambler, but, now, I’ve given it up for good.” Received approval; given the go-ahead; been granted permission. “The new airport project had been given the nod by the cabinet, and construction will begin in September.” The administration has given the nod of approval to the education reform plan.” “Dr. Forester has finally got the nod from a group of financial backers, and he’s going ahead with his forensic research.” In the spotlight up on stage where everyone can see you, “I don’t know if I would want to be a big star and have to bear the glare of publicity and bright lights all the time.” /// /// Get through something easily because you are so smart and don’t have to make much effort. “Some kids just glide through school making only the minimum effort, while others have to work really hard and still do not manage to pass.” /// /// A faint ray of hope. “Things look dark for the future of the company, but there is a glimmer of hope that we may get a financial injection that could pull us through the financial crisis.” /// /// Sparkle; twinkle in the eye that shows what you are thinking, probably something mischievous and naughty. Guilty conscience that keeps bothering you; a sense of guilt that keeps eating away at you. “I know what I did to my first wife was wrong and it has been gnawing at my conscience for all these years.” /// Tend to your own affairs without mixing in those of others. Go in the opposite direction to everyone else; go against authority or common convention. If you fun your hand against the grain of a wooden board, it feels rough, whereas if you run your hand along the grain, it feels smooth …Go against someone’s will; do the opposite of what he wants; refuse to comply with authority. Follow the others; comply with rules and regulations and requirements; go with the flow. “In a democracy, you


Go back on your word

Go ballistic

Go belly up

Go berserk

Go dotty

Go down in flames

Go downhill

Go for broke

Go for it!

must go along with the decision of the majority whether you like it or not.” “I respect and understand the comittee requests, but I cannot go along with it because I disagree on moral grounds.” /// Not to keep a promise; keep your word; fail to do what you said you would; to let someone down on a promise; promise one thing and then do the opposite. “I’m counting on you to keep you’re promise and not go back on your word.” “He’s very reliable and trustworthy. If he says he’ll do something, he’ll do it and not go back on his word.” “A man who makes a promise to a woman and the goes back on his word is not only a liar but a cad.” Become enraged and dangerous; fall into a mad frenzy and go totally crazy. “Major General Schultz went totally ballistic when he heard that his military command center had actually got word about the planned-terrorist attack beforehand, but had not informed him because they not taken it seriously and.” Just as a dead fish floats belly-up, so a failed business or venture may be said to go belly up. “ when I first came to Thailand, I tried to establish an export business, but because of my lack of experience, it soon went belly up. /// /// Become mad, crazy, out-of-control, off your rocker. “When Olov has drunk too much vodka, he always goes berserk and starts breaking up chairs and tables and throwing things and people around.” /// Become a little odd, forgetful and eccentric in one’s old age. John has gone a bit dotty in his old age; his behavior has become very unpredictable and memory is going too.” //////////////// Just as a fighter plane goes down in flames, so a dream or scheme can be shot down in flames. “After the economic recession, all Pan’s efforts and dreams went down in flames.” /// Become rundown; deteriorate; let to slide into rack and ruin into decline in “After grandfather died the old homestead went down hill and into decline because there was no one there to look after it.” /// Gamble everything on success; risk everything you’ve got in hope that your venture will flourish; invest your last penny in one last chance/attempt. “We’ve invested almost everything we have in this gold mine, so lets go for broke and in hopes that we will finally strike it rich.” Take a chance and try your best! “Grab the opportunity before it ids too late. Go for it before someone else gets there first.” ///


Go gunning for someone

Go halves

Go haywire

Go hog wild

Go it alone

Go off in a huff

Go off the deep end

Go on a rampage

Go our separate ways

Go out looking for someone, seeking revenge. /// “I hear my ex-husband is out gunning for me since I got the court to raise the alimony payments.” Share fifty-fifty. “I’ll go halves with you on a big, deluxe banana split and we can share it together using two spoons.” /// Go crazy as if you got your wires crossed. “Every once in a while some young captain drinks too much in the officer’s mess and goes haywire and breaks the place up.” “The pressure in graduate school at MIT can get very intense, and it sometimes happens that one of the research assistants goes haywire and runs rampage through the lab.” /// Just as a wild boar will run around fiercely and looking threatening, so a person may become uncontrollable; … to extremes. “The ranch foreman gave the cowboys a night off in town, but he warned them not to get drunk and go hog wild or they’d all spend the night in jail.” /// /// Do it on your own; try to do it without outside help. “I can’t find anyone to invest in my business, so I have decided to go it alone.” “I was looking for a companion to sail across the Atlantic but couldn’t find one, so I decided to sail solo and go it alone.” /// Leave in a fit of anger and indignance. “Don’t get angry and rush off in a huff. Can’t you see I am just trying to help you?” “Whenever we suggest Micheal try to be less shirt-tempered and irritable, he gets angry and goes off in a huff.” /// Reach the point of becoming mentally disordered; turn crazy; finally reach the point where you become mad and start behaving abnormally. “Lenny was becoming more and more neurotic in the first two years of his marriage, until, finally, after three years he went off the deep end and had to be put in a mental home.” “I am afraid I will go off the deep end one day and start ranting and raving and screaming.” “Archibald was always a little bit offhis-rocker, but after he started taking hallucinogenic drugs, he went off the deep end and never came back again.” Go wild; storm and charge about with reckless heed and abandon; start running around knocking down people and things that get in the way. /// “Alex Strickling went on a wild rampage a few days after he got laid off from the company and shot and killed his ex-boss, three secretaries and the human resources manager.” You go one way; I go the other. “After our divorce, my husband and I went our separate ways and never saw one


Go out on a limb

Go out with the boys

Go over with a bang

Go overboard

Go soft on me.

Go stir-crazy

Go straight

Go the distance Go the extra mile Go to a flick

Go to pains to Go to pot Go to seed

another again.” Just as one takes a risk if one climbs too far out on a tree limb, so one may be said to take a risk to help someone. “Don’t ask me to go out on a limb for you and risk my own neck. Find somebody else to help you.” /// Meet with men friends for a drink or some other activity. “Every Friday night Tom goes out drinking with the boys because he knows he won’t have to get up early the next morning.” Just as a fireworks display may be said to go over with a bang, so we may say and event or business venture goes over with a bang, very successfully. Go to excess; do more tan necessary; do too much. “I know you are angry and exited, but don’t go overboard and lose control of yourself.” “Here’s my credit card. Take it and buy yourself some nice clothes, but don’t go overboard or you will exceed my credit limit.” /// Take it easy on me; o easy on me; don’t punish me too severely. “Please go soft on me. It wasn’t my fault. The others were egging me on and daring me to do it. Don’t punish me too harshly. Remember, I am jist a first time offender.” “Don’t punish me too severely. Go soft on me. And I promise I won’t tell you wife all the gossip I jave heard about you.” “If you go soft on me and don’t punish me too hard, I’ll put in a good word for you with my Daddy who is Chairman of the Board” * Become a bit crazy from being locked up like a person in jail who is unable to ‘stir’ and move about. “Locked-up in this mental clinic is making me go stir-crazy.” “Being limited to army barracks without permission to leave is making the men go a bit stir-crazy.” “After four months spent in the drug rehabilitation clinic, Cynthia started going stir-crazy.” * Return to an honest life; stop dealing crookedly and follow a straight and honest path. “When Fred gets out of jail, he is planning to get an honest job and go straight.” /// Stay on and keep striving until the job is finished. Do a little extra beyond what is expected of you. Go to a film or movie. “Sometimes, I like to go to a flick with my friends at Siam Square.” “In the old days, before television, people used to go to the movie theatre to see a flick.” “Nowadays they have movie festivals in which you can view old flicks that were trend-setters thirty and forty years ago.” * Make a great effort to; Deteriorate; go downhill; fall apart. Weaken; fail; deteriorate; degenerate; become rundown,


Go to the dogs

Go whole hog Go with the flow Go-between God’s gift to women


Going bananas

Going bonkers

Going cold turkey

Going concern

neglected and uncared for. Decline; degenerate; go downhill. “My holiday house on the sea was beautiful with a big garden of flowers, but I couldn’t maintain it after my heath went bad, and, now, the place is going to the dogs.” /// /// Try your absolute best; give it all you’ve got; go all the way. Go along with the swing of things; follow the stream. A person who mediates between two sides; liaison. A man who thinks he’s the best-looking and most attractive. “Slade thinks he’s God’s gift to women but the girls view him as the devil in disguise.” /// /// Someone who expends a lot of energy in order to succeed. “My brother, Ralph, was a real go-getter, and he made his first million before he was thirty.” Going mad; going crazy; losing it. “The time seems to be passing so slowly. “I’m going bananas waiting around to see if I passed the entrance exam.” “I wish there were some way I could get out of jail early. I’m going bananas being cooped-up here like a bird.” “I’m going bananas because I have nothing to do but sit around and wait for a call for a job interview that never comes.” * Becoming mad; going crazy, as though you got a bonkon-the-head and can’t think or behave normally. “Karl was literally going bonkers with tree firms under his supervision all going bankrupt and his wife threatening to leave him.” /// /// Stop drinking alcohol; go on the wagon; become abstemious; give-up drinking; go through a period of adjusting to a life free of alcohol addiction. “I was a hard drinker for years, but when the doctor told me alcohol was affecting my liver, I went cold turkey, and stopped drinking altogether.” “Sometimes, when an alcoholic goes cold turkey, he gets the delirium tremens and his body cannot stop shaking.” “Father was a boozer for fifteen years, but, when he saw that drinking was ruining his marriage he went cold turkey and never took a drink again.” A very successful business venture; having great success; going great guns. “My friend, Andrew’s firm started small ten years ago, but now it has developed well and become a going concern.” /// ///


Going downhill

Decline; deteriorate; disintegrate; degenerate; going to pot; become worse; going to the dogs; going to wrack and ruin. “This town was a booming until they built the superhighway that cut it off from through traffic. Since that day, everything has been going downhill, deteriorating and going to the dogs.” “When they turned the new local council housing estate over to low income families, everything was brand, sparkling new, but, now, the project is going downhill due to neglect and lack of proper maintenance.” “Since grandfather died the old, family farm house has been going downhill, deteriorating and going to rack and ruin.” Going for good Go away and never come back; leave with the intention of never coming back; decide to take final leave of a place and never return. “When I grow up and finish school, I’m going to leave this little town for good to seek my fortune in the big city.” My wife has left me again, and this time she says she’s gone for good; she’s never coming back no matter what.” “Once I quit my job with the company, I’m going to blow this two-bit town for good.” Going nowhere fast Making absolutely no progress. Going overboard Going to excess; to far; too much; to fast; overdoing it. Going places Rising up the ladder of success; becoming somebody; has a bright future. Going round in circles Just as one can walk or drive or sail around in circles when one has lost one’s sense of direction, so one can go around in circles when speaking, lacking coherence and unity. Going thing Latest fad or fashion; what everybody wants to do or to have. “It used to be the going thing to pierce your right ear and wear an index finger-sized gold ear ring,” “It used to be the going thing to cut your hair in Mohawk style and dye it purple or green.” “There is always some new fad or gadget that is the going thing, and all young people want to get one more than anything,” *. Going through a lean Just as one could be passing through a patch or field with patch no or little growth where there will be a poor harvest, one may also be said to be passing through a personal period of little money, very low profits; slow sales, economic hardship; getting little return for your effort waiting for the financial situation to improve. “The farming sector went through a lean patch in 2009 when there was very little rain.” “The steel industry has been going through a lean patch because of export sales are dropping because of the currency rate.” “Our family went through a lean patch when father was unemployed for seven months, but then things got better after he finally got another job.”


Passing through a temporary stage that will change with time. “Don’t pay any attention to my little sister’s moods. She’s just going through a phase.” “My big brother is going through a crazy phase, but he’ll pass through it and become normal again one of these days.” /// Going through a thorny Just as one might get scratched crawling through a thorny patch patch of bushes or underbrush, one may also have to pass through a place in one’s life where things are difficult and painful. “We went through a thorny patch early in our marriage, but after our daughter was born, our life together became more fulfilling.” “Our business went through a very thorny patch at the turn of the year, and things were looking grim, but as by summer time things were booming again.” “In the middle of my acting career, I went through a thorny patch, in my early thirties, but then, when I started playing character roles, I had lots of offers and the money started rolling in again.” * Going through the mo- Pretending to be doing what you are supposed to but, intions differently, without care or conviction; following a routine without caring and only pretending. Going to the dogs Becoming rundown and shabby; deteriorating fast; going to rack and ruin; coming down in the world “Since Grand Dad died, no one has been looking after the old farmstead, and the place is going to the dogs.” “Haywood was a well-known night club manager in Chicago, but when he started hitting the bottle, he lost his job and moved to New York, where he continued drinking and going to the dogs.” “Since they closed-down the old officers’ club, and it fell into private hands, the place has been going to the dogs.” Going under the hammer To be put up for auction Going up in flames Just as ones house can go up in flames so one’s hopes and plans and investments can go up in flames. Gold-digger A woman who is only after a man for his money; who schemes to find ways to get money, property, gold or gems out of rich men; a woman who marries for money rather than love. “My step-mother was nothing but a gold-digger; she was only in it for the money she didn’t love my father at all.” “You’ll find a lot of gold-diggers seeking to take advantage of wealthy men in luxury spots, gambling casinos and five star hotels.” “Don’t give her any chance to access to your money; she’s just a dirty, little gold-digger.” Golden goose The source of money and benefit. “There is an old saying that says you should not kill the golden goose, which in simple terms means you should protect your primary source of income.” . Golden handcuffs Confined to arrest at home in luxurious circumstances.

Going through a phase


“Sometimes, when big drug dealers are confined to house-arrest, it is like being in golden handcuffs having all the luxuries of home and being protected and not alone.” /// /// Golden handshake Being let go from a firm with a generous financial settlement. “When they let Donald go from Asia Pacific, they gave him a golden handshake so he would never have to work again,” /// /// Golden mean The balance of opposites between to positions or extremes; the balance of moderation; the middle path. “Athenian Greek architectural monuments were based on balance and moderation to be found in the ideal harmony and balance between not too much and not too little ornamentation” “There may be said to be a golden mean in the balance of opposites between two political extremes.” “If you get off the path too far one way or too far the other way, you may create an imbalance in the golden mean which could result in harmful effects.” “Always try to tread the middle path and do not stray from the golden mean.” Gone with the wind Just as dried leaves, dust and ashes can be blown away by the wind, so … Good deed/ turn A good action. “Boy scouts are taught to do a good deed every day.” /// Good for nothing Used o describe a person who is lazy and stupid and cannot do anything right, even when he tries, or used to describe a thing or object that is useless and no good at all for anything. “My useless, good for nothing second son dropped out of school, became a drug addict and eventually ended up in jail.” “You can throw this cartridge away now; it is good for nothing.” “You good for nothing no good bum, why don’t you go out and try to get a job to support your wife and family?” Good intentions Motivated to do the good. ‘Any deed motivated by good intentions will bear karmic benefit.” “When a person is motivated by good intentions, any deed he does should lead to the accomplishment of good.” “Please excuse me for my mistake I may have made, I hope you believe that I am always motivated by good intentions.” * Good riddance to bad Glad to get rid of someone or something who or that is rubbish no good; happy to see a bad person and go and leave and be out of the way; pleased to see that a person with bad intentions has been gotten-rid-of. “We will be glad to see the last of you, you no good lying scoundrel. Good riddance to bad rubbish.” “When our father finally left the family penniless and ran off to London with a young prostitute, we all said, ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish.’” “When Corporal Grindstone finally left India and re-


Goofing off Goofing-around Gorge your self

Gosh almighty!

Got a raw deal Got it down verbatim Got the knack Got-off Scott free Grasping in the dark Grave consequences Graveyard shift Gravy train Gray area Grease someone’s palm Green thumb Green with envy Grill someone about Grim reaper Grin and bear it Grind to a halt Grinning from ear to ear Griping and grumbling Grist for the mill

turned to England, everyone in the regiment said, ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish.’” “ Fooling around; being not serious and not working. Fooling around and wasting time when you should be doing something better. To eat in a greedy way; stuff your self; to eat so excessively that you couldn’t get anything else down your throat; to fill yourself up with co much food that you’d be ready to vomit if you took one more bite. “What a big dinner party. There was so much food that we absolutely gorged ourselves.” “When you go out to eat in polite company, be careful not to gorge yourself or people will think you are acting like a pig.” “At the wedding feast, I gorged-myself on stuffed goose and rich gravy sauce to the point where I couldn’t hold it down anymore and I finally I puked it all back up.” An expression that shows surprise; as if something has happened due to the grace of God almighty. “Gosh almighty! I never would have expected that it would snow in Spain on the fifth of June.” Was treated very badly and unfairly. Learned it off by heart. Has the natural skill or ability. Avoid any sort of punishment at all. Just as you grasp onto things in the dark because you cannot see your way, so Work-period from twelve midnight to eight in the morning. In a position to be making easy money. … on the gravy train. An area in knowledge where information is as yet insufficient and too allow any decision. Bribe; Indicates someone with a natural hand for gardening and making things grow. So full of envy that one shows it in his face. Question someone severely; give someone the third degree; interrogate and rake over the coals. The symbol of death that cuts down men they way a farmer cuts down stalks of wheat or rice. Keep putting on a happy face and put up with what you have to bear. Just as we can hear car breaks grind to a halt, so we may say that a … Smiling broadly; … ;….. Gripe about Just as grain is ground in a mill, so the kernel or gist of 339

Grit your teeth Groping in the dark

Grouchy old man Ground floor Grow apart Growing on me Growing pains Grubby little fingers

Grueling ordeal

Grumble about Grumpy, old man Grunt and groan Guard against Guarded remark Guardian angel Guiding light Guilt complex Gulp down Gushing enthusiasm

Gut feeling Guttersnipe

an idea is something to think about Grind your teeth because the job is too hard or you are angry with someone. Just as one might grope one’s way in the dark not knowing where to go or what is safe, so we say we are groping in the dark when … Grumpy, crabby, cantankerous old man. Literally, this means at the bottom level, but figuratively … getting in on the ground floor Develop in different directions. I’m beginning to develop a liking for; Just as child has growing pains, so we may say a venture or …a Dirty; grimy, filthy fingers touching something that they should not; … “get your grubby little fingers off my little sister or I’ll cut-off your whole hand” Demanding, difficult, exhausting struggle/experience …….. Very hard work under intense pressure. Very hard work under intense pressure…. Very hard work under intense pressure…. Grueling task Moan. Groan. Mumble, mutter, grouch and complain about something. Irritable, cranky, grouchy; bad-tempered old man Moaning and complaining Be heedful, careful. On the watch for… Saying something carefully so your disapproval is not evident or the other person does not perceive it. Like an angel that sits on your shoulder to protect you. A teacher or role model who leads the way on the correct path. A psychological disorder due to guilty conscience. Drink and swallow down quickly in huge amounts. Just as water may gush up in the air due to pressure from below the ground, so a person may be said to be gushing with joy, good feeling or enthusiasm. An instinctive reaction in your intestines; gut reaction Someone of low esteem who likes to gossip and criticize and snipe at others. “Molly is a nothing but a low class guttersnipe who loves to gossip and disparage others.” “You are nothing but a low-life gossip and guttersnipe, so …


Idioms and expressions Habit-forming Had it up to the ears! Definitions followed by examples Addictive; causing a dependency. Had enough! “I’ve had enough of this! I’ve had it up to the ears. If you two do not stop your bickering, I’m going to … .. ; ..expression Scary; very spooky; terrifying A near shave Just as a supernatural seeing a ghost might make the hairs on your arm stand on end, so … Going into fine argumentative details. Hazardous and frightening moment.

Haggard look Haggle about the price Hair stand-on-end Hair’s breadth Hair-raising

Hair-splitting Hairy experience Half the person he used to be Half-hearted Unenthusiastic; without commitment or enthusiasm. .half-hearted effort to go through the motions; Half-pint A little guy who needs to be reminded of his size Half-the-battle Half of the way towards success. Half-wit Someone with only half the normal intelligence of others. Ham it up Act extravagantly for comic effect; try to be the center of attention by telling jokes, Hammer it in Keep stressing and pressing an idea until a person or persons finally understand it clearly in their head(s). I’m glad I had a good English teacher who hammered correct grammar into our heads until it finally stuck and stayed” “How can I hammer it onto your head that you can’t just do anything you want to without considering the feelings of others?” “ … sunk in …and finally became second nature Hammer out an agree- Bargain and negotiate until you concur and agree. ment Hand in your resignation Give notice that you are going to resign from your job. “According to your contract, you must hand in notice of your resignation one month before you intend to leave the company.” Hand me downs Clothing passed down the line from older to younger brothers and sisters. Hand to mouth existence With barely enough to eat and survive on a day-by-day basis; Hand-picked Chosen from among the very best. Hands down! Absolutely beyond question and without doubt. Hands-off! Keep your hands to yourself! Don’t touch me! Don’t


Hand-to-hand Handwriting on the wall Handy to have Hang back Hang down your head in shame Hang in there!

touch anything that does not belong to you. Passed along for generations from hand to hand. Something bad that you can already anticipate coming. Useful to have nearby. Hesitate to go forwards Be ashamed for your action.

Don’t give up! Keep on trying your best! Keep-up the struggle! Hang it up. Give up. Hang up your gloves. Throw in the towel. Give up completely. Hang on for dear life. Hold on tight so you don’t falloff and lose your life. Hang-dog look Just a dog may hang its head and look desolate (or hurt or insulted), so a person can hang his head in order to evoke sympathy, compassion or understanding. “Don’t look at me with that hang-dog look, my son. There’s no way I’m letting you go to that party until you’ve finished practicing all your piano lessons.” “My husband always goes around with a hang-dog kook when ever I refuse to let him go to his Thursday-night poker game.” “Whenever I do not feel loved and appreciated, I go around with a hang-dog look, until someone notices that I need emotional support.” Hangers-on People who get on the band wagon and follow the rest of the crowd. Hang-loose Take it easy and relax; don’t be up-tight. “Hey man! Hang loose! There’s nothing to be uptight about!” Hang-on to the bitter end Persevere and continue striving until the very last moment without letup. Hang-up Psychological quirk or idiosyncrasy. …have a lot of hang-ups Hanker after/for …; “Sometimes, I have a hankering for sour pickles.” “Sometimes, I have a hankering after you.’ … Hanky-panky Sexual playfulness; Happy as a lark As happy as a bird singing in a tree. Happy days are here Back to old times when things were happier. “Hail! Hail! again. The old gang’s all here. Happy… Happy medium The middle way; a satisfying compromise. Happy-go-lucky Without a care in the world. Harboring a grudge Wanting to get revenge for something that happened in the past; being unable to overcome resentment over an earlier insult or injury; waiting for a chance to get even and pay someone back for something that happened previously. “I’m still harboring a grudge against Billy Boggs for the time stole my first girlfriend, Christina.” “The Koreans are still harboring a grudge against the Japanese for the war crimes they committed in the 2WW.” “I wish you’d stop harboring a grudge against me for the time I 342

beat you up in then school playground twenty years ago.” Hard as nails Hard feelings Hard going Hard hitting Hard knocks Hard nut to crack Hard pressed Hard sell

toughDifficult work; not so easy Life’s disappointments and blows A difficult person to convince or bring around to a different point of view, Just as some people refuse to buy a product, so some people are very reluctant to accept an opinion or change their minds. Difficult to accept take or endure due to loss of face Not easy to accept, put up with and endure. Just as an egg can be hard-boiled, so we can say that someone has a hard-boiled character which means he has been through a lot of bad experience and, now, has little feeling. “McMullen has been through a lot of pain and pressure over the years, and has developed into a hardboiled character with little understanding or sympathy for others.” Someone who can complain that he has been badly treated by others. Someone who has been so hardened by life that he cannot be reached or emotionally changed or affected. Struggled hard to get or achieve. Stubborn; inflexible; obstinate; hardened-by-life, tough, cynical, unfeeling. “A person who can’t be convinced to change his mind is said to be hard-headed.” “She’s very hard-headed and refuses to take any advice.” “She’s so hard-headed; she won’t listen to anyone.” A right winger with an aggressive conservative view. “The vice president and his business friends are hard liners because they profit whenever there is a war.” /// Tough; uncompromising; determined; stubborn. “She’s so hard-nosed that even if she knew she was wrong, she’d never admit it.” “Don’t be so hard-nosed, and try to be a bit more flexible.” “The deputy director is so hardnosed and ruthless that he would do anything to make things go his way.” “In the office everybody thought that she was a hard-nosed bitch, but outside her work environment she was actually kind and compromising.” Capricious; saying, ‘No’ when you really mean, ’Yes.’ “Pretending to be difficult because you like to be coaxed is called ‘playing hard to get.’ “Someone who likes to play hard-to-get says “No when he really means, ‘Yes.’ A lot of women are like that.” /// Down and out, without any money or means of assis343

Hard to swallow Hard to take Hard-boiled

Hard-done-by Hardened-case Hard-fought battle Hard-headed





tance. “When Dale was a foreign student in Germany, at the end of the month, he was always hard-up and short of money. Sometimes, he didn’t even eat for two days.” /// Hard-won Not easily won; hard fought-for. “I do not want to waste my hard won earnings so I put all the money I can in the bank.” Harmless lie A lie told that hurts no one or does no harm. “Telling a little white lie usually does no harm, but it is still dishonest.” … … Harping away at some- Complaining repeatedly with anger and dissatisfaction. one “My wife keeps harping away at me because she wants more spending money.” … … Has-been Someone who has been someone important in the past but is no longer important now, is said to be a “has been.” … … “When I was young, I was a ‘wanna be,’ when I was older, I became ‘somebody,’ but now that I have lost everything, I am just a ‘has been.’” Hash it over Argue it out to try to come to an agreement. “When two people disagree, they often sit down together band hash it over until they find a solution.” /// Hassle someone Irritate, annoy, bother, continue complaining; keep bugging someone about something. “Stop hassling me about doing my homework! Can’t you see I’m watching the football match? I’ll do it later. I promise.” … … Hate crime A crime committed motivated by hate. “Homosexual head-bashing is one type of hate crime,” “Another kind of hate crime is killing someone as a symbol of a religion or race.” /// Hateful comment A remark intended to hurt or injure someone you detest and dislike. “You can make any hateful comment about me that you like. It’s not going to hurt my feelings because I know how resentful you are. /// Hateful expression A look of hate or resentment on your face. Whenever I see my ex-husband, he always gives me a hateful expression.” “Wipe that hateful expression off your face and stop being so jealous and resentful all the time.” /// Haughty attitude Snooty manner; thinking you are better than others. “Why don’t you get down off your high horse and stop thinking you are so superior to others? It’s time you dropped your haughty attitude.” /// Haul someone over the Give someone a good grilling or questioning making him coals defend himself from suspicion of guilt. “The police gave the suspect, Perkins, a good hauling over the coals to try to get evidence concerning his whereabouts at the time when the crime was committed.” /// Have a conniption Have a fit of anger when you find out. “When mother finds out I missed my period, she’ll have a conniption.”


/// Become angry; upset; furious; enraged; turn crazy; go mad; lose control; react very strongly in a negative manner. “My mother would have a fit if she knew that I was using birth control pills and having sex with my boyfriend.” “Our boss, Mr. Pinkerton, would have a fit if he knew that we all called him ‘stinky-pinky’ behind his back.” “If I find out that my little sister has been using my makeup without first asking for my permission, I’ll have a fit.” “The teacher would have a fit if he knew that we all had the answers to the exam questions before the test.” Have a fling Have a brief sexual affair with an illicit partner. “Years ago the executive director had a fling with his secretary, but it didn’t last very long because they realized it was just too dangerous.” /// Have a go at it Give it a try; take a shot at it; try doing it yourself; “If you can’t do it, let me have a go at it. Maybe I will have success.” Have a hankering for Feel a yearning for, “Sometimes, I have a hankering for dill pickles, even though I have not tasted them in years.” “Sometimes, I get a hankering for my first wife even though I am glad we are divorced.” /// … Have a head on your Clever and well-balanced and trustworthy. “You have shoulders got a good head on your shoulders; y You will go along way in this life because people will trust and believe in you.” /// Have a heart! Show mercy, compassion or pity to show that you have a heart. “O, Come on! Have a heart! Don’t be so cruel and merciless!” Have a hunch Have an intuitive feeling; able to make a good guess. “I have a hunch that the stock market is going to go up. I cannot explain it; I just feel it in my bones.” “I have a hunch that you are lying to be and that the truth is the opposite of what you say.” /// Have a lot on the ball Have a lot going for you; quite talented and clever. “This new, young man we have hired looks promising. He seems to have a lot on the ball.”/// Have a premonition Have a feeling beforehand of what is going to happen. “I have premonition that there will be a military takeover of the government soon.” /// Have a run-in with Have a clash, conflict, confrontation, disagreement or argument with someone. “I had a run-in with my boss about the way he treats the staff, and he has asked me to resign.” “Dick was only sixteen when he had his first run-in with the law.” “… Have a say in the matter Be able to express your opinion to help in deciding on something. “If you are planning on selling the family Have a fit


Have a skeleton in your closet

Have a sneaking suspicion

Have a snooze

Have a very good name

Have it coming to you

Have it down-pat Have it in for someone Have it out with someone Have no say in the matter

Have no stomach for Have no use for someone Have nothing on

house, I think the children should be able to have a say in the matter.” “I have to go where my company sends me. I have little say in the matter.” /// Secret concerning something scandalous, immoral and indecent from your past. “In the old days, a Prince might murder his older brother and entomb his body in stones and mortar in a closet in his quarters, to assure he would be next in line for the throne.” “Someone who has reached a position of power through unknown evil ends may be said to have a skeleton in his closet.” “If no one knows you had a secret homosexual experience when you were young, then you have a skeleton in your closet.” * Have a nasty premonition or hunch. “I have a sneaking suspicion that there is corruption going on behind the scenes in national politics.” “I have a sneaking suspicion that all the votes for the next election have already been bought and paid for.” “I have a sneaking suspicion that the present military government believes it is protecting the country from the evils of democracy.” * Sleep for a while; take a short nap; sleep deeply to have rest for a time until you wake up and continue what you’re doing. “I think I’ll have a short snooze after lunch before continuing with my work.” “Grandpa always has a snooze in the late afternoon, so he will feel fresh when he comes down to enjoy dinner with the family.” Have a good reputation within a certain group. “I have a very good name within the academic community.” “I don’t have a very good name in the business community because of my bad loans.’ “… Get what you deserve. “I am happy to see that you are finally going to get what you deserve. Ypu have it coming to you.” /// /// To know perfectly; carefully-memorized and wellpracticed.. Have a grudge against someone; have something against someone; Have an argument and clear the air; fight to the finish; Have no authority to speak about or influence the matter. “I have no say in the matter of where I will be appointed to work. That is the company’s decision”; Cannot stand; cannot bear. To look down on someone as good-for-nothing and show no respect Be naked; nude; wearing no clothing. “Have you heard of the poor couple who only had one sarong, so when she went out to town, he stayed home with nothing on?”


Have no qualms about

Have something somebody Have the last laugh


Have your feet on the ground Have your fill

Have your hands full

Have your heart in your mouth

Have your way

Haven’t a prayer

Haven’t got a leg to stand on

Haven’t got a snowball’s

Not feel hesitant in judgment due to conscience. “The judge says he had no qualms about handing down the death sentence in this case because of the cold-blooded brutality of the murder;” /// /// To Know a dirty, little secret about somebody. “I have got something on you so be careful of what you do because if you annoy me I’ll tell on you.” /// Somebody maybe making you look stupid and ridiculous now, but, in the end, you will be the last one laughing at him. “/// Well-balanced; realistic, sensible and reliable. “The new GM seems to be stable, experienced and have his feet on the ground.” /// /// Be surfeited; had enough. “I’ve eaten so much I could not eat anymore. I’ve had my fill.” “Sensual pleasure is good as far as it goes, but after a while you will find that you have had your fill.” “I’ve worked in the big corporate world for long enough, but now, I’ve had my fill.” * Be so busy that you cannot take on any more work, as though your hands are full and you can’t pick up or carry anything else. Be so in love that you cannot use your mouth to speak because you are overcome with intimidation and emotion. “After weeks of waiting until I could finally get a chance to speak with her alone, I couldn’t say word because my heart was in my mouth.” /// /// Insist on doing things your way. “My first boyfriend insisted that I let him have his way with me.” “OK, have it your own way. Make me do anything you want.” “Do what you like. Do what you want. I give in. I don’t care. You can have your own way.” * No hope whatsoever; no chance at all. “We haven’t a hope of winning the election; we haven’t a prayer, so we may as well give hope.” /// /// No basis for argument; no proof to back you up; no support. ”You can argue until you are blue in the face that AIDS is not communicated through sexual contact, but you haven’t got a leg to stand on.” “You can’t stick to your story that you were in a Chicago hotel room with your girlfriend, because DNA evidence proves that you were at the scene of the crime at the time when it happened, so you should confess the truth and ask for leniency, because your alibi hasn’t a leg to stand on.” “I know you maintain that man does not descend from monkeys, but your argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on in the face of the vast body of anthropological research that speaks to the contrary.” Just as a snowball would have no chance of surviving in


chance in hell

the fires of hell, so a person knows he cannot succeed or be helped. “I haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being named Mr. Universe.” “I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting Cynthia to marry me. “Our team does not have a snowball’s chance in heel of ever winning the league championship.” * Having second thoughts Reconsidering; becoming unsure and hesitant; rethinking an intention. “I am having second thoughts about going to the South in May because I am afraid there may be terrorist bombings.” “Cynthia is having second thoughts about marrying me because I am poor and uneducated.” “My brother is having second thoughts about having a military career because he does not like the country’s foreign policy.” * Hawk-eyed With sharp eyes like a hawk. “Just as a hawk can see its prey from high in the sky, so …….“Our teacher is so hawk-eyed that we do not dare to cheat.” Hawks and doves Right wing, conservative war-mongers on the one hand and left-wing, advocates of peace on the other. “At the moment in Congress the hawks seem to be getting the upper hand over the doves.” He doesn’t want to know. He prefers to ignore or not be informed of the truth; he won’t listen. He hit on me. When a man makes a sexual advance towards a woman who doesn’t expect it, or tries to get her to spend time with him, the woman may say, “He hit on me.” “I always had a lot of respect for my boss until, despite the fact that he was a married man, he hit on me.” “Sharon was having an open and sincere relationship with one of her clients, until, one day, he hit on her, and, after that, she felt a bit uncomfortable.” “When my best friend’s boyfriend hit on me, I told her exactly what had happened, but she didn’t believe me.” He means well. He has good intentions. “Whatever father does, whether you agree with him or not, he means well.” “Mother’s motives are in your best inter4eest. I hope you realize that she means well.” “Sometimes, when the preacher points out people’s weaknesses, they should understand that he means well and is actually trying to help them.” He’s a big bruiser. He’s big and strong and likes to fight; he’s well-built and muscular and could beat you black and blue. “My brother Butch is a big bruiser, and you’d be better to stay out of his way, because he’d as soon give you a good bashing as look at you.” “The doorman was a big bruiser who would have no trouble throwing unwanted guests out the door and into the street.” “Be careful what you say to Billy because he’s a big bruiser and a bully who would fight you at the drop of a hat.”


He’s got a screw loose.

He’s got his screwed on right He’s not the man he He is weaker now than he used to be. “In the old days, used-to-be. tom could run fifteen kilometers to work nut nowadays, he could not even walk fifteen kilometers. He’s not the man he used to be.” /// He’s really sharp! He is very quick-witted and clever; He’s touched. He’s mentally abnormal; acts a little crazy; has something wrong with his brain; born mentally deficient. “My little brother’s a little touched; pay no attention if he acts a little strange.” “Granny’s been a little touched since she a coconut fall and landed on her head two years ago.” “How could you suggest such an idea? You’re mentally peculiar. You must be a little touched.” Head and shoulders Far better than all the others; a cut above the rest. “Coloabove the rest nel Alcott is the best commander in the regiment. He stands out head and shoulders above the rest.” Head case A crazy person; one who is not right in the head. “I think my new commanding officer must be a head case. I don’t know how anyone as crazy as that could ever be promoted to full Colonel.” “Lillian’s husband is a head case from outer space. I wonder wherever she ever found him?” /// Head for the hills In the old days when there was a flood in a valley, all the people had to head for the hills to get up onto dry land. “Just as the people from a village located in a valley will seek higher land and head for the hills when there is a flood, so we may say, figuratively, that we head for the hills to get out of the way of approaching danger.” “All hell is breaking loose in the town saloon and the respectable folks are all heading for a safe place in the hills.” /// Head in the clouds Lost in illusion; overly-optimistic. Head over heels in love Totally, illogically in love with the world turned upsidedown so-to-speak. Head start Being able or allowed to begin ahead of the others, perhaps due to a handicap. Heads up! Watch out what is coming down from above. “Heads up everybody! There are boulders and rocks starting to roll

He’s a bit mad; quite odd; peculiar; mentally dysfunctional; crazy; “My poor little brother, Pete, is mentally dysfunctional. He’s got a screw loose.” “From the peculiar way Franz acts, I’d say there’s something wrong with him. He definitely has a screw loose somewhere.” “A person’s brain can be compared to an antique clock that does not work right because there is a screw loose somewhere.” “Now that I’m getting older, my mind is not as sharp as it used to be. There must be a screw loose somewhere.” head He’s a level-headed, clever chap with good intentions.


Heads will roll

Head-to-head Hear a pin drop Hear me out

Heart failure

Heart in your mouth Heart of the matter Heart’s desire

Heartbreaker Heartfelt gratitude Heartfelt sympathy Heart-to-heart

Heaven-on-earth Heave-up Heavy-handed 350

off the mountainside down onto the path.” Just as in the French Revolution, they used to cut off the heads of noble, so we say nowadays that people in high positions will be fired and removed from position when a big change or upheaval in management comes. “If I could take over the administration of this university, a few heads would roll.” /// In direct confrontation; Absolutely quiet. “It was so quiet in the auditorium you could hear a pin drop.” At least listen to the end of what I have to say. Please don’t interrupt me. Hear me out and listen to what I have to say and then I will be happy to hear what you have to say.” Just as the human heart can become weak physically so that it cannot pump anymore, so a person may say he almost had heart failure when something worrisome and unexpected happened. A state of being so emotional you feel your heart is in your mouth so you are unable to speak. The central point; the core of the matter; the crux of .the issue. What the heart is set on having; highest hope; fondest dream. “Having a twelve meter teakwood yacht was my heart’s desire but it took me fifteen years to pay off the loan to buy it.” /// /// A man who breaks people’s hearts or a situation that can break one’s heart. A feeling of thankfulness deep in one’s heart. A deep feeling of sympathy and at another’s sorrow. An honest and open talk between two people saying how they feel, straight from the heart; explaining their feelings privately, one-on-one; in a dialogue during which both persons truly confess their emotions; talking freely; to get a load off their chests. “Janice told Derrick that it was time they had a heart-to-heart discussion about when they would be getting married.” “My wife and I had a heart-to-heart discussion in the third year of our marriage, and we both confessed to the other that we secretly desired to become separated and, then, get divorced.” “I had a heart-to-heart talk with my boss and told him that I felt my contribution to the firm was not sufficiently appreciated, but he assured me that everyone respected my ability, even though they might not be saying so.” Absolute bliss and contentment; as happy as one can be on this earth.. Vomit; puke; bring up the contents of your stomach. Oppressive, forceful and against peoples will. “I disap-

prove of the heavy-handed way the government is using its control to ignore the will of the people.” /// Hectic pace Frantic, stressful, excited rate. “Nowadays, it is hard to keep up with the hectic pace of technological development.” /// Height of ecstasy Peak of joy and blissfulness. Height of his career High-point; … Height of fame and glory Height of indecency The absolute lowest level of low, crude, offensive behavior. “Anyone who can even imagine the height of indecency has a defiled and tainted mind.” /// Held for questioning Retained by police for interregation. Held in high esteem Respected very highly. Help for the needy Charity for those not so well off as yourself. Help mate Someone close to you to assist you. “Since my wife died and left me alone, I really miss having a helpmate at my side.” Help your self Don’t depend on others to help you; help yourself. Help yourself to Take as much as you want. “There’s lots of good food on the table; help yourself to anything you like.” Helping hand Lending aid or giving a hand to someone needing help Helter-skelter Chaotic; haphazard; confused; in a panic; disorganized. Hen-pecked husband Just as there is a pecking order in the henhouse, so we can say that Here comes trouble! The person coming is going to show anger or direct blame or cause big problems or difficulties. Here today and gone to- Things can disappear quickly. morrow Hidden motives Latent or concealed intentions which are not necessarily good. Hidden-agenda A secret goal or plan or sequence of events that a politician or influential person desires to carry-out and will try to push through without the general public or the other members of the group realizing his intentions. “Some say that the Prime Minister has his own, private, personal hidden-agenda to further his own benefit, but most people seem to believe that he has the interests of the country at heart.” “ … Hide out A place to stay so no one can find you Hide your face Cover your face due to shame. Hide your feelings Conceal how you really feel about something. High and dry Left alone with no one to help you. High and mighty Thinking you are better than and superior to other people High brow Interesting to persons who are cultivated and welleducated; appealing to the cultured, scholarly-minded class in society. “People who have little or no background in musical appreciation generally find that opera music is too high brow for them.” “The openings of modern art gallery exhibitions are usually high brow, 351

High horse

High jinx

High on the hog High profile High time Higher than a kite

High-handed High-minded High-strung Hightail it out of here

Hit and miss Hit and run Hit it off Hit list Hit the books

black tie affairs, with cocktails and cultivated conversation.” “Because I was not born into cultivated circumstances, I have a short attention-span when it comes to viewing high brow performances of classical drama or listening to symphonic music.” Come down off your pedestal and stop thinking so highly of yourself. “Just as a king may ride on a high horse as a sign that he is of superior rank than all others, so we sometimes tell someone with a superior attitude to climb down off his high horse and act like a regular human being like the rest of us.” “It time you climbed down off your high horse and stopped thinking that you are better than everybody else.” “If you insist on maintaining an attitude that you are better than everyone else, someday, someone is going to come along knock you down off your high horse.” Wild, harmless fun; playing around, pulling pranks; acting-up; getting up to tomfoolery and harmless mischief. “Mother told her daughters that if they didn’t stop their silly, high jinks and learn to behave more like perfect ladies, no respectable gentleman would ever want to marry them.” “I told my son that it was time for him to stop his high jinx and settle down and lead a respectable life.” “ … Eating the best quality food that money can buy Having a well-known, respected image. About time! Just as a paper kite flies high in the sky, so we can say someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is higher than a kite. Arrogant; overbearing; bossy. Highly moral in intentioned; highly moral and philosophical. Very sensitive and nervous, tense and easily emotionally upset. Run away (like a rabbit) before you get caught; get away quickly. “We had better hightail it out of here before Farmer Jones catches us stealing apples from his orchard.’ /// /// Trial and error Have a car accident and flee from the scene to avoid being caught. Get along well A list of people to be assassinated or murdered. Start to study; study hard at the last minute; begin to take your studies seriously. “I used to leave studying to the last minute. Then, I would hit the books and do an allnighter before the exam.” “Having to hit the books at the


Hit the bottle

Hit the bull’s eye Hit the ceiling Hit the deck

Hit the hay Hit the jackpot Hit the nail on the head Hit the road Hit the roof Hive of activity

Hobby horse Hobnobbing-about with

Hog the road

Hold a grudge

last minute is very stressing and not the right way to go about gaining knowledge.” “If you study on a regular basis every day, you won’t have to suffer the panic and insecurity of having to hit the books when it is almost too late.” * Start drinking excessively. “I started hitting the bottle after my wife left me, and I was an alcoholic for the next twenty years.” /// /// Just as we hit he center of the target with the arrow, so we may …. Dead-on Explode with anger; blow your top; hit the roof; Fall flat on the deck of a ship to avoid being shot by enemy aircraft fire. “In the Navy in the 2WW, when enemy airplanes strafed the ships, the sailors would be ordered to hit the deck to try avoid being in the line of fire.” /// /// Lie down on the bed and go to sleep; hit the sack. Win the top prize; suddenly win a lot of money; be on a roll of success. Make the exact point; be absolutely right; Time to leave; time to go. “OK boys! It’s closing time. Finish your drinks and hit the road.” /// /// Be so angry that you go through the ceiling. Just as beehive is alive with activity so a place or building can be alive with human activity. “This building is a hive of activity during the day but, at night, it’s so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.” Pet peeve; something you like to complain about a lot; something that always bugs you. Enjoying mixing in high society; rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous; taking pleasure in moving about with people of a superior position and rank in society “Hobnobbing-about means tagging-along and hangingaround on a level where you don’t belong.” “Basil spent a time in his youth hobnobbing and gallivanting-about town, in high society, before he eventually came home and turned his attention to managing the family’s business affairs.” “After our Charles finished his studies at Cambridge, he went to London and spent a year just hobnobbing-about with classmates and upper-crust friends, but after he tired of the shallowness of it all, he, finally, decided to settle-down and join a solid law firm to work towards his future.” Drive in the middle of the road so no one can get past you. “Don’t you just hate the sort of driver who hogs the road so you can’t get past him?” Harbor resentment against someone for something. “I still hold a grudge against my twin brother for the time he stuck a fork in my eye.” /// ///


Hold a thing against someone Hold back Hold on a moment! Hold on tight

Hold out for more Hold still!

Hold the fort

Hold your breath Hold your horses.

Hold your tongue.

Holding something back Holding your own Hold-on!

Hole in the wall

To resent someone for something that he did to you. … ; …, but don’t hold it against me Hesitate or control your emotions; You just wait a minute; don’t act so hastily; don’t be so impulsive.. Hold your seat so you don’t fall off. “The roller-coaster is going around the bend then down a steep incline so you’d better hold on tight!” Wait until one gets a better offer; don’t settle for less. Remain still and don’t fidget. “Hold still for a moment, while I put this injection-needle into your vein. It won’t hurt a bit.” “Stop your fidgeting around all the time! Can’t you hold still for even a minute?” /// Just as in the so-called American Indians used to attack a fort in the open prairie and cut the soldiers off from …reinforcements … ………..“Be still and quiet for a moment and hold your breath; don’t even breath.” “Don’t hold your breath.” Just as a coachman pulls in the reigns to hold his horses back, so we may tell a person to slow down; stop to think for a moment before deciding to speak or act; and not to go rushing into things without judging the situation first. “Hold your horses! Don’t do or say anything you’ll be sorry for later; don’t speak to me like that or you will live to regret it.” “Don’t get angry over nothing; hold your horses for a minute and consider the consequences of what you are about to do.” “Don’t speak to me like that. Hold your horses and control your temper or I’ll make you feel sorry for the day you were ever born.” * Don’t say anything; keep the secret; keep quiet; keep your mouth shut; don’t talk out of turn; stop talking. “Hold your tongue, and don’t tell anybody yet that I’m already pregnant.” “Hold your tongue, and don’t give away our secret.” “If you do not hold your tongue and be quiet, son, you’ll have to go the bed early with no dinner.” “I’ll stuff a dirty sock in your mouth and tie and gag you, if I am not confident that you will hold your tongue about this matter.” Not telling all you know; keeping a secret; maintaining a hidden motive. Defending your position; surviving; struggling; getting along all right Stop right there! Don’t go any further or sat anything more. “Hold on! What do you think you’re doing? You can’t … A small place to live or go to. “When I was an architecture student, I lived in a small room that that you could barely call anything more than a hole-in-the wall.” “Ab-


Hole in-the head

Hole-up for a while Hollow leg

Honest buck

Honest mistake

Honest to God! Honeymoon is over


Hoof your way home Hop to it

Hopeless case Hopping-mad

Horn in on someone

Hornet’s nest

dul’s barber shop was no more than a hole-in- the wall.” “I go to this small, hole-in-the wall bar in the city where I meet and talk with artists and poets.” Something you definitely do not need. “I must have a hole-in-my-head to let myself be talked into a crazy stunt like that.” /// “I need you as a friend the way I need a hole in the head.” Go into hiding; keep out-of-sight; lay low; keep a low profile; When someone eats so mush that there is no more room in his stomach, we say that he must have a hollow leg. “The boys are always joking that Tex eats so much he must have a hollow leg.” /// /// An honest living. “It’s getting harder and harder to earn an honest buck these days.” “Dad says that a lot of people who have worked for him would rather steal and cheat than try to make an honest buck.” /// /// A mistake made unknowingly with no intention to do wrong. “I’m sorry I took you briefcase. It looks exactly like mine. It was an honest mistake.” That’s the real truth. I swear before God! “I never laid a finger on your sister. That is the honest to God truth.” Just as a happy honeymoon couple get to know one another’s faults in the initial period of a marriage, so we can say that a popular politician has a certain time in office before people begin to discover his faults and mistakes. Just as a person with a hood over his head cannot see what is going on, so we may say that one tricks, deceives or deludes another by leading him on a blind course. “Harold tricked me out of my life’s savings by purposely deceiving and misleading me. I never thought a good friend would hoodwink me like that.” ////////////// Walk home on foot; … “It’s impossible to get a taxi at this hour, so I guess we’ll just have to hoof-it home.” Jump up and get started in a hurry; move quickly to take advantage of the situation. “Better hop to it and close the floodgates before it is too late.” Beyond help; cannot be cured or helped rehabilitated. So angry that the person is almost jumping up and down on the spot, out-of-control; in the heat of anger; on the verge of doing something to express/show anger Just as a bull may use its horns to cut or force its way in to where it wants to get to, so we say a person horns in on another when … Just as there will be hell to pay if one steps on a hornet’s nest, so one may say one has stepped on a hornets nest when he has opened up a sensitive issue or topic.


Horns of the dilemma

Horsing around

Hot air

Hot and bothered

Hot potato Hot stuff! Hot tip Hot under the collar



Hot-tempered Hot-to-trot

Hound to death House of cards Household name House-to-house 356

Just as a bull has two horns, either which can maim and hurt you, so a person can be in a dilemma situation in which he must choose between two divergent alternatives. Fooling around; playing around; goofing around. “OK, kids, it’s time to stop horsing around and quiet down and pay attention to the teacher.” “Sheila doesn’t like the way the boys are always horsing around and expressing their youthful exuberance.” “If you don’t stop your horsing around, I’ll call my Dad to come in and make you stop it.” A lot of empty self- inflated egotistical or conceited talk. “I tell you, that guy is full of hot air; he’s so fullof lies, it’s a wonder he doesn’t rise like a helium balloon into the skies.” /// /// Excited; aroused; worked-up or displeased. “She gets me all hot and bothered and then tells me to stop because she doesn’t want to go any further.” “Porno flicks do not make me feel hot and bothered. They bore me.” “Don’t let yourself get all hot and bothered about what people say. Just ignore them” A hot issue tossed back and forth because nobody wants to deal with it. Good looking, sexy and attractive. Inside information on a good bet or investment Becoming heated-up and getting angry. “Don’t get so hot under the collar when I try to give you constructive criticism. Can’t you see I’m trying to help you?” Someone who gets angry easily. “Don’t be such a hothead. Cool down and take a moment to think before you react impulsively and say something you’ll be sorry for.” ////////////////////// Someone who thinks he can do everything better than anyone else. “OK, hotshot, If you think you are so smart, you solve the problem.” Easily angered. Just as a racing horse may be ready and eager to run at the opening of the starting gate, so a person may be said to be ready and raring to go in certain situations. “Marion looks like she’s hot–to-trot. I think I’ll ask her out on a date.” “Ervin’s wife always looks like she is hot to trot, but Ervin tells me she is not.” /// Keep asking for something doggedly until the other person is bored to death hearing about it. A shaky structure; a plan that is poorly put together; will fall down easily; shaky; unstable. A name that everybody knows; … ; canvassing… door to door

How can I ever make it Hoe can I show my gratitude? How thankful I am; up to you? How come? Why is that so? “How come it’s dark at night and light in the day?” “How come Daddy didn’t come home last night?” “How come you’re leaving your husband?” How low can you go? How’s life treating you? How are you doing? “Hello old boy! How’s life treating you? Well, I hope.” /// /// Hullabaloo The sound, clamor and tumult of voices upraised in a crowd of people, making a roaring din, hubbub; commotion; noisy racket. “I hear crowds of people clamoring in the corridors. What’s the hullabaloo? What’s the big to do? What’s the problem this time?” “Thousands of protesters and activists were gathered outside the presidential palace, making a big hullabaloo about holding a democratic election.” “When the news broke that there would be a three percent raise in value added tax, there was a big hullabaloo in the media, but things have quieted down now.” Human error Caused by human negligence. Humiliating circum- Humbling, demeaning conditions that make you feel stances afraid. Humor someone; Play along and pretend to listen in an insincere or condescending way; Humorous anecdote Re-telling of an incident as a funny story Hunger for knowledge Thirst for learning; strong desire for learning. Hunt down Chase and follow someone just like hounds follow a fox until he is caught. Hurry-up-and-wait. Official orders are to wait for further orders which may or may not come at any time. Hurt pride Injured sense of self-respect. “someone who is very proud of himself with a big ego will … Hush money Money paid on the side to keep quiet. “Politicians keep people quiet by paying them hush money not to say anything or tell what they know.” “When hush money does not work, they sometimes decide to have the person killed.” /// Hush-hush On the quiet; to be kept secret. “Let’s keep what we know on the hush-hush. It wouldn’t do to let everybody know, would it?” /// /// Hustle and bustle Commotion; confusion; chaos; hurly-burly; crowds of people moving about Hustle your bustle Hurry-up and get a move on; show some activity; get down- to-work quickly; begin to work energetically; move your butt/bustle. “You’d better hustle your bustle, or you’ll never get that report finished before the due deadline.” “I’d better hustle my bustle and get a move on or I’ll be late for my own wedding.” “If you don’t hustle 357

Hyped-up Hysteria broke out.

your bustle and start to show some energy, for a change, I’ll give you a low-rating in your annual efficiency review.” Get all enthusiastic and worked-up. Pandemonium broke loose;

Idioms and expressions I beg to differ I can barely hear myself think. I can’t bear it anymore! Definitions followed by examples Please excuse me if I express a different opinion. It is so loud in here that I can hardly concentrate.

It’s too much for me! It’s more that in can stand! “I cannot tolerate your complaining any longer. It is more than I can bear!” I can’t bear that man! I cannot tolerate that man! I can’t stand to see him! I find him unbearable. ………. I cannot stomach that man! I cannot bear him!” … I can’t stand it! It’s driving me crazy; I can’t tolerate it any more! I can’t bear it! I can’t take it anymore! I’ve had enough; reached the end of my patience; I’m fed-up. I cannot condone that. I cannot accept that; I do not want such a thing to take place; I cannot approve of such an action; I will not grant my approval; overlook; ignore; excuse. “I know that there is corruption going-on in government projects and I cannot condone it.” “I know that you claim the end justifies the means; nevertheless, I cannot condone your actions.” “I cannot condone the cloning of human beings, because I think it goes against nature.” “I cannot condone that taking of human life, even if it is done within and in accordance with the law.” I could kick myself I am so angry with myself for what I did wrong or forgot or neglected to do. “I could kick myself for not paying better attention in English class when I was younger.” /// /// I could kill you! I am very angry with you for what you have done. “I’m very angry with you for telling all the boys about our private affairs. I’m so mad I could kill you!” I couldn’t care less I’m not bothered; I’m indifferent. “Say what you like about me. I couldn’t care less.” I don’t get it. I don’t quite understand. I don’t get the thrust of I can’t follow the point or logic of what you are trying to your argument say; I don’t see the main purpose or idea. I don’t have a clue. I have absolutely no idea. “I don’t have clue what time it


is> Do you have a watch?” /// /// Hurry-up and get a move on because I’m in a big rush; do what I ask without making me wait long; “I’m feeling impatient because you are taking too long, so get a move on before I break out into a fit of impatience.” “Why don’t you answer me? Speak up now. I don’t have all day.” “What’s the hold-up? Get a move and on give me the invoice, immediately. I don’t have all day!” “If the doctor does not see me soon, I’m going to leave. I can’t wait any longer. I don’t have all day.” I don’t want to shoot Talk without thinking first; just saying what ever comes from the hip. into my head without thinking about the consequences. “Give me some time to think before I speak. I don’t want to shoot from the hip.” “Just as a gun-slinger must shoot from the hip and be fast on the draw, so we may say a person shoot from the hip when he makes a defensive or offensive remark because he must considering the consequences.” “Take time to make the decision, and don’t just shoot from the hip without due deliberation.” * I dread to think! I tremble to think. I shudder to think! “I dread to think what would happen if my husband knew I was seeing you.” “I dread to think what would happen if suddenly my source of income were cut off.” /// I fancy you. I like you; you seem very nice to me; I could fall in love with you. “I can’t keep it a secret any longer. I’m sweet on you. I fancy you.” “I can’t keep my eyes off of you. It must be obvious to everyone that I fancy you.” “I not only fancy you. I’d like you as my girlfriend and a wife.” * I figure that … I reckon that; I anticipate that; I think that. “I figure that big money interests are in the process of trying to control the world and create a new world order of a rich elite.” /// /// I get a kick out of you …; you give me a charge; I get a bang out of you. I get the picture I see and understand what you are telling me. I got burned! I was cheated! I got my wires crossed I short-circuited; I haven’t the foggiest no- I have absolutely no idea; I couldn’t even guess; I hation ven’t a clue. I hear you loud and clear. I can hear and understand exactly what you mean; I understand what you are saying to me. I know where you live. If you do anything to upset me I’ll come to your house and harm you and your family. “You’d better keep what you know a secret. I know where you live.” /// /// I owe you one Thanks, for helping me. I owe you a favor. I stand corrected. I understand my mistake now that it has been explained to me. I wouldn’t be caught … ; “There’s no way I’m going to … “No! I wont go to I don’t have all day. 359

dead with I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes. I wouldn’t mess with him if I were you.

I wouldn’t put it past you I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’ll blow up. I’ll clip you one. I’ll fix your wagon.

I’ll get back to you.

I’ll get down to work.

I’ll get even with you.

I’ll have to think about that. I’ll make you a proposal Let me make a suggestion that might help solve the situation. I’ll not kowtow to any I’ll not bow-down and obey anyone. man I’ll skin you alive. Scold severely; spank the pants off; give someone a good beating; hiding; whipping; licking. I’ll stick to you through I will be a loyal and trustworthy friend through times of thick and thin. trouble to the end I’ll swap you for it! I’ll trade you mine for yours. I’ll tear your head off … “I’m so angry! I’ll tear your head off when I get a hold of you.” I’ll wash your mouth out Don’t use dirty words if you don’t want to have your 360

the reception with you. I wouldn’t want to be caught dead with you!” I would not wish to change positions with you. I wouldn’t like to be in your skin. I would not do anything to make him upset if I were in your position; wouldn’t go up against him; wouldn’t oppose his will; wouldn’t get in his way; wouldn’t try to get him angry; wouldn’t give him a hard time. “Be careful, I wouldn’t try to mess with Pinky, if I were you, or he’ll beat you black and blue.” “Don’t mess with anybody from the Hells Angels motorcycle gang or you’ll be sorry.” “You’d better not mess with me, or I’ll make you regret the day you were ever born.” I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you had done such a dirty deed. This is a situation that I would not wish even my worst enemy to have to face. I will lose control and get angry. I will slap or smack or hot you. If you lie to me again, I clip you one over the ear.” Just as in the old days one might have ‘fixed’ someone’s wagon so that it would break down under way, so nowadays we threaten to do something to get revenge for a real or imagined wrong. I’ll call you back; I’ll let you know what happens; I’ll talk to you later about this. “let me look into the situation, and I’ll get back to you……….” “ …. And when I have the timed, I’ll get back to you.” //// I’ll start work immediately. “I can see that this job is urgent, so I will get down to work right away.” “If you don’t get down to work immediately, you’ll not be finished before the deadline.” I’ll revenge myself on you; I’ll pay you back for what you have done. Give me some time for consideration.

with soap. I’ll wring your neck. I’m a goner! I’m afraid so! I’m all ears.

I’m an open book

I’m as good as gone. I’m banking on you. I’m blotto.

I’m bushed.

I’m buzzed.

I’m cooked.

I’m fed-up

mouth washed out with soap. Just as people used to kill chickens bt wringing their necks, so we mat say to another that … I’m in so much trouble now that it’s going to be the end of me; I’m finished; I’ll have a heavy price to pay. I’ sorry, but that is the situation; that is an undeniable fact. Eager to listen; anxious to hear what you are going to say; waiting to hear what you have to say. “Tell me … I’m all ears.” You can look right into my heart and see everything. “I haven’t got a secret in the world. I’m an open book. You can look right into my heart and see everything.” /// /// I’m in such big trouble that I an about to be fired, expelled, kicked out. I trust you and I am depending on you to come through and help me. “/// /// /// Very drunk; intoxicated; inebriated; so under the influence that you can’t think right anymore. “I’m blotto. I so drunk I forgot whether I came to the party with my wife or not.” “Don’t ask me to tell you my address. I’m too blotto to remember.” “I was sober until I had my sixth gin and tonic, but now I’m on my tenth, and I’m completely blotto.” I’m really tired-out. “I bushed from working so hard, and I’m going to go to bed and get some well-needed rest.” /// /// High on drugs or alcohol; with head buzzing from the effects of stimulants. “Don’t ask me to think straight. I’m too buzzed.” “Hey man, don’t make me drink another beer. My head is swirling, and I’m buzzed enough already.” “I know what I want to say, but I can’t explain how I feel because I’m too buzzed.” When the truth comes out, the blame and punishment will fall upon me; I’m in big trouble now; there will be no escaping the consequences; there’s no way to get out of my situation, like the goose that is already being cooked in the oven “When the company finds out I authorized that incorrect audit report, I will be cooked. That will be the end of my professional career.” “Now that everyone knows I forged my educational transcripts and never even studied medicine, my goose is cooked.” “If the tax department officials learn the way that I have cooked the books, I’ll be cooked too. Along with the books.” Had enough; can’t take it anymore; can’t put up with it any longer; sick-and-tired, bored-to-the teeth; don’t want to do or hear it anymore. “I’m so fed-up with my job that


I am bored-to-tears and ready to resign.” “I’m fed up with hearing my father say that as long as I live in his house, I will follow rules.” “Zack was so fed-up with his family and teachers telling him what to do all the time, that one day he skipped school and ran away from home.” “Darling, I know that you love me and mean well, but I’m fed-up with listening to your complaining all the time.” I’m feeling jumpy. Frightened by the slightest sound or unexpected movement; edgy; touchy; easily-agitated; easily-shocked; hypersensitive-sensitive. “I’m feeling quite jumpy these days. I’m startled by the slightest unexpected sound. It must be because my nerves have been a bit on edge recently” “Little Sally is so jumpy that she jumps in shock whenever there is any unexpected movement near her.” “The troops were feeling jumpy and on edge as they waited for the enemy attack to commence.” “Sorry, if I seem irritable. I’m feeling a bit sensitive and jumpy due to a nervous disorder.” I’m going to get you. I’ll get revenge on you. “I want you always to remember that I know where you live and one day, I am going to get you when you least expect it.” /// /// I’m going to nail you. Just as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross ………..I’m going to catch you and make you pay for what you have done. I’m going to nail you one of these days! I’m goners I’ in trouble now and I wont be around much longer. I’m in a mess In trouble; in a fix I’m in for it! I’m in for trouble now! I’m in the soup. Caught and about to be cooked or punished, with no chance of escape, much as a chicken might be caught and chopped up to be put in the soup; in serious trouble; in a fix; being blamed; facing reproach; in difficulty; having problems; doomed. “I have borrowed money at high interest rates that I cannot pay and I’m definitely in the soup now.” “If my boss finds out that I have been wooing his wife, I will really be in the soup.” “Mother has found out that I have been stealing money from her purse, and, now, I’m really in the soup.” I’m not asking. I’m tell- I am not requesting you to do something. I am giving you ing! a direct order. I’m perishing. I’m very hungry; I’m almost starving. I’m really beat. Very tired; exhausted from working. I’m shot Tired out I’m so grateful. I am so thankful and full of gratitude. I’m soft on you. I have got a weak spot for you; I’m strapped for cash Short of money; broke; not well-off; poor; impoverished. “Can you lend me fifty Dollars? I can’t pay my telephone bill because I’m strapped for cash.” “If I had the money,


I’m stumped.

I’m totally cleaned-out.

I’m touched.

I’m wise to you. I’ve been duped.

I’ve been had

I would buy your car on the spot, but, at the moment, I’m afraid that I’m not poorly-off and strapped for cash.” “I can’t raise a red cent because I am so strapped for cash.” Don’t know the answer; can’t figure it out; it’s beyond me; at a loss for an answer; confused; bewildered. “Frankie doesn’t know what to do to solve the problem. He’s stumped” “I can’t figure out how to jiggle the numbers so that we can show a profit this month. I ‘m stumped.” “It’s beyond me how a lovely girl like that could have married a loser like Harry. I’m stumped.” I have no money; I’m broke; I’m out-of-cash ; I’ve lost every thing; I haven’t a penny to my name; I’ve gone bankrupt. “I’ve gone bust; I’m totally cleaned-out.” “Sorry, I have no money to lend you. I’m totally cleanedout myself.” “I wish I could make a donation to the earthquake victims, but I’m totally cleaned-out and have nothing left to give.” I squandered every last red cent, until I was totally cleaned-out.” Feeling emotionally grateful; moved at heart because of kindness; pleasantly surprised by another’s thoughtfulness. “I’m touched that a great artist like you would take time to encourage a little man like me in my efforts.” “Karen was touched at heart to see her husband holding their new baby.” “Sarah was touched when her husband, Reginald, remembered to give her flowers on their wedding anniversary.” “It was a touching scene to see three generations of family members together at a harmonious family reunion.” I know your tricks; I know what you are up to; you cannot fool me. Someone has deceived me; fooled me; I fell for a false story; I was led to believe an untruth; was taken in by an old trick; taken in by a ploy; taken for a sucker; led to believe a falsehood. “I believed her when she said she loved me for my goodness and not my money, but after I found out that she was a dirty, lying gold-digger, I realized I had been duped.” “An Amway representative talked me into believing that I could get rich and become independent by recruiting all my friends to participate in a sales network but after a year of trying, I realized it was just a pyramid scheme and that I had been duped.” “The committee was duped by an unscrupulous architect into believing that the project could be completed successfully within one year if they donated another million dollars.” I have been cheated; tricked; fooled; I believed a liar; I was the victim of an illegal action; I fell for the line of a con man and thief; I trusted someone who deceived me.


I’ve been in hot water This is not the first time I have been in trouble. before. I’ve been stung! I have been cheated by a conman! This was a setup! I’ve got my eye on you. I have been watching you (i) either because I like you or (ii) because I’m trying to catch you doing something wrong.. I’ve got to hand it to you. I have to give you credit for your cleverness or decisiveness. “I’ve got to hand it to you for the way you stepped in and solved the problem.” I’ve got you pegged. Just as we can peg an animal with a rope to the ground so that it has little room in which to move, so we can say we have got a person pegged. “I’ve got you pegged as a fraud, because. I can provide evidence to prove your claim is untrue.” “I see through your greedy and evil intentions. I’ve got you pegged” “I know that’s what you say to all the girls. You can’t fool me.” I’ve got you pegged.” I’ve got your number. I have got you figured out and I know what tricks you are using. I’ve had a belly-full. That’s enough of that I have had quite enough. I’ve had a long day! Don’t talk to me now about any problems. I am already stressed enough from the problems I have had throughout the day. “ I’ve only got two hands. Can’t you see that I am already busy and both my hands are full? I’ve seen better days. I was better off in the past; things are in decline. I’ve seen everything That is the most unbelievable bad action I have ever now! seen! Ice-breaker Something to say to break the silence and get people talking; a warm-up session so every body gets acquainted; a way of getting two strongly opposing sides to start thawing out the resentment in their relationship. “Just as an ice-breaker, to get a conversation started, I made a comment about the nice weather.” “As an icebreaker, the seminar leader got the participants to say a few words about themselves.” “In the multilateral talks, delegates from the opposing nations began negotiations with a discussion of the mutual benefits of opening up cross border trade.” Icing on the cake Something extra special on top of everything else. Ideal couple Two people wedded together in a perfect marriage which should serve as a model for others; marriage partners who serve as an example; who are perfectly-matched; get along perfectly; appear to be the perfect couple; a husband and wife team that are the envy of all. “John and Jackie Kennedy appeared to be the ideal couple, until news about his extra-marital affairs began to leak-out.” “There can be no such thing as the ideal couple as long


as one partner has different wishes than the other.” “When we first got married, everyone thought and said that we were the ideal couple, but as the years went by and we grew in different directions, the foundations of our marriage became more and more shaky.” If I may take the liberty If you will allow me to … If you know what’s good Be careful not to do the wrong thing so that you’ll cause for you ... yourself harm; don’t draw negative attention yourself that will get you into trouble; avoid causing trouble and be careful and stay out of harm’s way; be cautious and avoid provoking anyone; stay out of trouble for your own good. “If you know what’s good for you, you will avoid having casual sex without using a condom.” “I you know what’s good for you, you’d better do as your father wishes, or you will get the licking of your life.” “If you know what’s good for you, you’d better do as you have been ordered, or you’ll be charged with disobeying your commanding officer.” Ignorance is no excuse Imagine that! Wow! Just think of that! Is such a thing possible? Imagining things Immoderate behavior Actions and deeds that deviate from the mean; excessive …; lacking restraint. Immodest behavior Impartial opinion An unbiased, neutral opinion or view. Impending disaster Immanent catastrophe. Impertinent child Insolent, cheeky child. “You impudent little pup! I have never seen such an impertinent child in all my years.” … Implausible excuse An unlikely and improbable excuse. Impose upon Intrude on someone and require something. Impossible task A feat that is too hard to accomplish Impulsive action An instinctual action made without thinking; In a bind Facing a dilemma situation. In a blind alley A dead end; going nowhere; in a cul-de-sac; no way to go further; run out of possibilities. “After three years of intensive research, we found that we’d run out of possibilities and come to a blind alley, so we had to give up trying and were forced to shut the project down.” In a class of your own There’s nobody like you; no one can compare with you; you defy categorization. “No one can play golf on the level of Tiger Woods. He’s in a class of his own.” “Nobody can compare with you when it comes to interior design based on the emptiness of Zen Buddhism You’re in a class of your own” “Darling, I have never once in my life ever encountered a woman like you. You’re in a class of your own.” In a cold sweat In a double bind 365

In a fix

In a flash of the eye In a goldfish bowl In a heartbeat

In a jam

In a jiffy In a pickle

In a pinch In a quandary

In trouble; in a difficult spot, in a sticky situation; in need of help to get out of a problem that needs fixing; in hot water. “I’m in a fix because my money has not yet come through from the USA, and I need to pay a ten percent deposit on my rental agreement by the end of the day.” “I’m in a bit of a fix, because I have to be in two places at once tomorrow night. Could you take my son to the football game while I am at the reception at the Swedish embassy?” “I’m in a fix because my car has broken down, and I have to be at the dentist’s in thirty minutes. Can you lend me your car for about two hours?” In a second; in a moment; Living in luxury where everyone can see and judge everything you do. In the time it takes for the heart to beat once; in an instant; in a second; right away; immediately. “Just a second. I’ll be with you in a heartbeat.” “As soon as I touched the door knob, within a heartbeat, the alarm device went off.” “I’d have gone to his aid in a heartbeat if only I’d known he needed me.” “She would accept within a heart beat if I asked her to become my bride.” In a difficult situation; in a problem you got your self into and can’t get yourself out of; in a fix; in trouble. “I’m in a jam because of cash flow problems, and I need to borrow a ten thousand until tomorrow. Can you help me out?” “I’m in a jam because I got my girlfriend pregnant. We don’t want to get an abortion and we don’t know what to do.” “I’m in a jam because I’m supposed to take both my wife and my girlfriend to the same office party, and I don’t want them to find out about one another. What would you do if you were in my place?” In just a second; in a minute. Just as cucumbers are soaked in vinegar when pickles are made, so a person may find himself “in a pickle,” so-tospeak, if he finds himself in difficulties that are not so easy to get out of; in trouble; in a jam; in a fix; in so deep, it’s hard to get out; in a predicament. “I have mistakenly made two important appointments in two different cities at the same time, on the same date. I’ve got myself in a pickle that I don’t know how to get out of.” “Jamison, our accountant, is in a pickle because the Revenue Department is starting a tax review, and the books don’t quite balance.” “I’ll really be in a pickle if there is not enough money in my bank account to cover the cost of my monthly fixed-expenses.” Tight, difficult situation; Confused; not sure what to do/decide. I’m in a quandary about what to do about …


In a rut In a slump

In a sorry state

In a stupor

Just as a cart wheel leaves a rut in a dirt road, so we …… Going through a bad period; on the downswing; sales have slowed; feeling depressed; on a losing streak; can’t seem to pull out of a low (or a trough). “Sales are in a slump period at the moment but are expected to be on the upswing as the Christmas season approaches.” “The Giants have lost three games in a row, but they’re expected to pull them selves out of their slump by winning the next two home games.” “Oil prices have been dropping for two weeks, but the market is taking regulatory measures to pull itself out of this slump.” I’ll have to do something about my emotional slump. I’ve been feeling really down and depressed since mid-term exams, and I don’t quite know how to pull myself out of it.” In bad condition; in poor circumstances; in a miserable state of affairs; in bad shape; in a sad situation; in a wretched position. “The city architect inspected the housing development after the tenants had departed and found they had left it in a sorry state.” “The national economy of Somalia finds itself in a sorry state indeed.” “When we finally found Uncle Phillip, in a sleazy hotel, after a week of boozing, without eating properly, he was in a very sorry state.” In capable of understanding; in a daze or dream; in a trance or coma; unconscious of what is happening; unaware of what is going-on; as if too stupid to comprehend. “Whenever I drink three bottles of whiskey in a row in one night, I find myself in a stupor for the next three days.” “The doctor said that the patient was in a stupor and unable to understand or answer questions.” “Someone who is too stupid to understand may be said to be in a stupor.”

In a world of his own In bad shape In bad taste In bits and pieces In broad daylight In cahoots In cold blood In collusion with In compliance with

In dog’s ages In donkey’s years

Out in front of everyone so every one can see. Conspiring together with; in league with. Mercilessly; without pity; with no feeling; heartlessly; without moral compunction. Conspiring together; in cahoots with In accordance with. “In compliance with the law all foreigners must inform the immigration department of any change of address within fourteen days.” For a long time For a long, long time. “Well, hello Donald. How are you” I haven’t seen you in donkey’s years.” “It has been donkeys years since …


In dribs and drabs In for a surprise In hiding In his heyday In hot water

A little bit at a time;

In hysterics In jeopardy In keeping with In league with In line for a promotion In line with

In my books In my element In my humble opinion In no uncertain terms In nothing flat In on it

At the peak of his career and fame. Just as one might be about-to-be cooked in a big pot of hot water and eaten by cannibals, so one might say one is ‘in the soup,’ so-to-speak; in serious trouble; facing big difficulties. “I’m in hot water because my wife has realized that I have been making-love to the babysitter.” “I’m in hot water because I’ve lost the client’s passport, and he needs an exit visa by tomorrow.” “I’d better get home before midnight because my Mom said that I’d be in hot water if I came in one second after twelve.” Laughing hysterically. In danger; In accordance with; following the guidelines of . In cahoots with; in alliance with; in collusion with. Due to be promoted soon. Following the guidelines or provisions of; in accordance with; adhering to the accepted way of practice. “In line with the spirit of charity, we should always try to help others when we can.” In my opinion; in my estimation; what I think. Feeling at home; Definitely, without question. Suddenly With a piece of the action; in league with; part of the conspiracy.

In one ear and out the other In one fell swoop Just as an eagle swoops down from the sky and grabs its prey, so we can say that something bad happens quickly in one fell swoop. “He started taking high risks in the stock-market, and, in one fell swoop, all of his assets suddenly disappeared into thin air.” “ In pecking order Just as chickens in the roost have an order in which the stronger ones peck with their beaks at the weaker ones, so people may be said to be put into pecking order within the family, group or workforce. “We have a pecking order in our house. Mother rules the roost, next, comes my father, then, my two big brothers, then, my older sister, and, then, me. I am at the bottom of the pecking order.” “Sociologists have done research studied to determine what factors influence the pecking order within social, human groups.” “Mrs. Crabtree runs her office like a henhouse, with a clearly understood pecking order. She comes first, then, her personal aide, then, the assistant 368

In pristine condition

In quest of In so many words In someone’s good books

manager, and, then, the rest of us in order of seniority.” Like new; almost perfect; spotless; immaculate. “I want to sell one of my classic cars, namely, a 1978 Benz, two door coupe, in pristine condition which looks as good as new.” In Greece, they are still digging-up ceramic artifacts which are in pristine condition.” “At a recent auction, Catherine bought an ancient, antique Egyptian necklace which was in pristine condition.” “ Searching and striving towards. In short summary A person likes you; thinks well of you; would depend on you; could trust you; would do you a favor or recommend you if asked; has taken mental note of your good qualities;

In someone’s good graces In the air In the bag In the black In the blink of an eye In the bud In the cards In the clear In the course of events In the dark

Pending; as yet undecided; not yet concluded. It’s a sure thing! We can’t miss! We can’t lose! Making a profit In a second; in an instant; so quickly that you almost don’t see it. In the beginning phase. According to fate and fortune Innocent of all charges; free from difficulty; Ignorant of; with no knowledge of; do not know; have no knowledge about; with no answer; no idea; hidden knowledge about; not informed. “Researchers are still in the dark about how to find a cure for this disease.” “I wish I could tell you when the world will disappear into a black hole, but scientists are jut as much in the dark as I am on this subject.” “The government is purposely keeping the public in the dark concerning evidence about UFO’s.” In disgrace; in trouble; in disfavor; out of favor; suffering humility for your mistakes until you will be forgiven. “I’m in the doghouse now, because I forgot to pick up Nelly for our date.” “Charlie’s in the doghouse with his wife because he forgot to give her a Valentine’s gift.” “I’ll be in the doghouse with my boss for a while, until I get this case through the court and finally collect the outstanding bill from the client.” In charge; in control; in command; be the one who decides; the one who makes the decisions. “My mother is more strong-willed than my father, so when it comes to making family decisions, she is in the driving seat.” “Don’t ask me what you should do. You’re the boss. You are in the driving seat, so you tell me what to do.” “I 369

In the doghouse

In the driving seat

In the final analysis In the foreseeable future In the heat of the moment In the hole In debt In the hot seat In trouble; being blamed and questioned. In the know Well-informed due to being close to the source; having secret information; insider information; being in the select few who know something that others do not. “If I had been one of the few in the know that the Baht was going to decline drastically in value, I would have changed all of my money into US Dollars beforehand.” “Those in the know about matter of national security are sworn to secrecy not to let outsiders know what they know.” “Stock brokers who are in the know regarding secret insider market information can go to jail if they use said information for their own profit or benefit.” In the lap of luxury Living in a situation of affluence with every comfort. In the limelight In the spotlight; the center of positive attention at the moment. In the line of duty While doing your job, especially as a soldier, policeman or fireman; carrying out the responsibilities of your job; “Policemen are sometimes killed in the line of duty.” In the manner to which I The way I am used to living. am accustomed In the money Having come into cash suddenly. In the next breath In next to no time In the nick of time In the Paddy wagon In the police van that picks up drunks and takes them to the police station. In the palm of your hand In the pink of health Very fit and healthy; In the red In debt; In the same boat In the same breath At one and the same time. In the spotlight To be at the center of attention; to be very popular at the moment; to need to draw attention to yourself to get everyone’s attention.’ In the thick of battle Just as soldiers are exposed to danger in the thick of battle, so we may say politicians or businessmen are in the thick of battle when ….. In the time-being Meanwhile; for the moment. In the wake of In the way Blocking the path; In the wild

thought we were equal partners in this relationship.. I don’t see why you are the one who always has to be in the driver’s seat.” In the end; at the end of the day; the final result. As far ahead as we can see or predict into the future.


In the works (in process)

In the wrong In too deep already In touch with In tow In two shakes In your birthday suit In your dotage In your element In your own back yard In your own best interest In your own way In your right mind Inane comment Incoherent nonsense Incorrigible behavior Indiscreet question Indiscreet remark Indulge yourself

In the process of being completed at the moment; preparations have begun; procedures have been started in order to get things underway; official paperwork is passing through channels to get permission; plans are being made, effort is being made to fulfill the task. “The architectural plans have been completed, and the preparations for construction are in the works.” “An application has been made and the granting of permission is in the works.” “Planning for the new international airport is in the works.” Against what is right; against justice; guilty Too deeply involved in trouble already. Keeping up contact with. Just a ship may be pulling a barge in toe behind it, so…….. With someone following behind; In two seconds. … “ if you can wait two shakes Stark naked; with no clothes on; the way you were born. In your old age; in advanced years; when you are getting dotty.

The way you want. Not crazy; Stupid remark;

……… ; careless, thoughtless comment Do something to give yourself a treat; give yourself something you think that you deserve; allow yourself to enjoy something for your own pleasure. “I think I’ll indulge myself and eat another slice of ice cream cake.” “Sometimes you should indulge yourself and do something good for yourself for a change, like booking into a five star hotel for the weekend.” “Although Bert didn’t normally drink alcohol, he decided to indulge himself and have a glass of Champagne.”

Inept attempt Inexcusable behavior Infamous character Infect with enthusiasm Infectious laughter In-fighting

Someone known for their immoral action and bad deeds.

Inflammatory remark

Squabbling; bickering; internal strife; …; “In our office, there is a lot of in-fighting about who gets preferential treatment.” A comment that causes anger and outrage.


Inflated-opinion of yourself Inform someone of To give official notice of; to notify; to let someone know. Informed of Means that someone has informed someone of something. “The company has been informed of the new tax regulations by the Revenue Department.” “The staff has been informed by management that there would be no bonus this year.” “The general public has been informed by the government that there will be an increase in VAT to ten percent commencing on the first of January.” Informed sources Informed that Means that someone has told someone that something is the case. “The company has been informed that there will be an intensive tax review commencing at the end of the fiscal year.” “ Inner solitude Inner-peace Inopportune moment At an embarrassing or inconvenient moment. Insatiable appetite An appetite that can never be satisfied; never get enough; greedy; voracious; unquenchable. Inscrutable expression Impossible to read or interpret the look on someone’s face; Inside job Inside-information Inside-out (garment) Garment Inside-out (book) Backwards and forwards; really-well; by rote memory; Inside-scoop News straight from the original source; the horse’s mouth. Insolent attitude Disrespectful, cheeky, impudent manner. “Teachers who are too strict cause some pupils to develop an insolent attitude.” “My psychiatrist says I have an insolent attitude because of resentment about the way I was treated in my childhood.” “Jack has an insolent attitude towards the upper classes because he was born in the lower classes.” Insolent remark A rude or disrespectful comment; rude, impudent, impertinent statement. “What a cheeky little boy you are to make such an insolent remark that your teacher looks like a hedgehog.” “Your insolent remarks and behavior have shown you do not know how to behave like a young gentleman, so you are being expelled from this school as a result.” “The leader of the opposition made the insolent remark that the Prime Minister was not even fit to lead a flock of sheep to slaughter.” Insufficient evidence …; not enough evidence to get a conviction; Insufficient funds Intense hatred Interfere in someone 372

else’s affairs Interject a comment Intervene between Intestinal fortitude In-the-offing Intimidate someone Into thin air Invasion of privacy Inviting trouble Involved argument Iron out the wrinkles Iron out your differences Iron will Iron-clad argument Irons in the fire Irresistible urge Irreverent attitude It all boils down to

Guts; courage; strength and determination. About to begin; going to start soon. Into empty nothingness Asking for trouble. Complicated argument.

Unbending intent; Just as ancient knights rode iron-clad in their armor into a… An impulsive desire to have or try something. In the final analysis; the final essence; at the end of the day;

It boggles the mind It bombed It was a failure. It cost me an arm and a It was very expensive. leg. It does no harm to …; try…ask… ‘There’s no harm in trying... It does no harm to ask.” It doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make common sense. It finally crystallized It finally clicked; I got the idea; the concept became clear. It finally dawned on me. Just as the dawn of the morning takes some time before the sun has arisen, so people sometimes take a while to realize something they have been trying to figure out for a while. “It finally dawned on me that people seemed to dislike me because I was being too selfish and not thinking of others.” “I had been wondering about the cause of my wife’s dissatisfaction, when it finally dawned on me that I was not showing her enough attention.” “I couldn’t remember where my father had said he’d hidden the money, it finally dawned on me that he’d told me he’d stuffed it in his hiking- boots.” It isn’t worth the paper A written-promise or vow of little value that cannot be it’s printed on. trusted; a worthless contract or written agreement that has no legal basis or validity; a published premise or theory that is wrong and invalid. “This rental agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on; the landlord does


not have the title-deed to the property.” “Your promise is not worth the paper it’s written on, because I know you cannot be trusted.” “The thesis he on political science is not worth the paper it is written on, and I totally disagree with the basic premises of his argument.” It serves you right. That’s what you deserve; you’ve got what’s coming to you; you’re getting your own back; now you have to pay for the wrong you have done. “After the way in which you treated your wife, I’m not surprised that she has left you. It serves you right.” “Don’t expect anyone to pity you for becoming the victim of your own excessive desires. It serves you right.” “After the way you neglected your duty, it was to be expected that they would fire you, It serves you right.” It staggers belief Almost impossible to believe; stretches the mind; mindboggling; incomprehensible; beyond the capacity of common understanding; overwhelming; unbelievable; incredible; astonishing. “It staggers belief how many millions of children are under-nourished and starving all around the world, and, yet, so little is being done to remedy the situation.” “It stagers belief that some politicians in Washington would want to go to war just so that certain influential people would be able to make money by causing a shortage of oil reserves.” It staggers belief that a politician with enough money could buy the support of the majority of members of parliament in order to control the government to achieve his own ends.” “It staggers belief how many millions of people have died worldwide as a result of genocide in the last sixty years.” It takes all kinds to make The world is made up of many different types of people. a world. “It is OK to be different. It takes all kinds of people to make a world.” //// It takes one to know one It takes two to tango Just as it takes two to do the dance of the tango, so it takes two to fight; if one will not fight the other has no one to fight with. It was a flop. It was a total failure; did not succeed; was not popular; did not attain approval; fell on its face. “Last season’s Broadway play, Nights and Days, was an unfortunate flop and ran for only thirty-three performances before they had to shut it down.” “They thought that the movie about the agony of Christ would be a total flop at the box office, but it made millions and millions, all around the world, and is on its way to becoming a classic.” “Our joint business venture was a flop because the people from my staff could not get along with your staff and the result was a financial disaster.” It was a fluke. A stroke of luck that came by accident; something good


that happened through coincidence. “Sometimes an invention is the result of a fluke in which a chemist is trying to achieve one result and a totally different one appears instead.” “I don’t know how I managed to guess the correct answer. It was a fluke.” “I cannot take credit for the conceiving the idea. It just popped into my head out of no where. It was a fluke.” It works for me. It’s a breeze. It’s very easy; anybody could do it; nothing to it; it’s really simple. ““Don’t worry. You’ll pass the written part-of the driver’s test. It’s a breeze.” “Students often and waste spend more time worrying than studying, only to discover that if they have attended class regularly and done the homework assignments consistently, they find the exam to be a breeze.” “People usually worry about getting through a job interview, but if you just relax and be yourself and answer candidly, you’ll find it to be a breeze.” Don’t believe what you see; it’s only make-believe. It’s only a show to fool people; a false impression; a farce; play-acting. “They appear to be the ideal Hollywood couple, but it’s only a charade: the truth is that she hates men and he’s gay.” “My life from the outside may look happy to you, but I can confide in you that what you see is only a charade. Inside, I am extremely tormented and lonely.” “The whole of life is just one big charade and we are the players pretending to be something we are not.” Something easy to do; simple to accomplish; a sure thing; promising to do a thing with no trouble; a done deal; certain to happen. “We can finish your audit within one week. No problem. It’s a cinch.” “I promise you that I can get the task accomplished. For someone of my skill level, it’s a cinch.” “The deal is cinched; it was a sure thing from the beginning.” It is very boring to have to do and endure. I cannot understand why it happened. It is so easy! It’s a breeze! Nothing could be easier; as easy as pie. No one knows whether it will go one way or the other; like the flip of a coin; it could go any which way; there’s a fifty-fifty chance it will go one way or the other way; six of one and half a dozen of the other. “No one knows which way the election will go. It’s a tossup.” “At the moment, I can’t decide what to do. I may travel for a

It’s a charade

It’s a cinch.

It’s a crying shame. It’s a drag! It’s a drawback. It’s a mystery to me It’s a setup. It’s a snap! It’s a tossup.


year or I may start college. It’s a tossup.” “We can’t decide which business option to pick. It’s a tossup between long term gain and short term pain.” It’s about time! It’s all in your head. There’s no truth to the matter; you are just imagining it; worrying about nothing; a twisted distortion of reality not based-on fact; fearing fear itself; ungrounded suspicion. “Don’t start worrying that your husband may be unfaithful. I have never been such a loyal husband. It’s all in your head.” “You may think that the other girls in class don’t like you, but it’s all in your head. Everyone adores you.” “I know you are afraid of giving your marketing presentation, but do not worry. Worry never solved anything. It’s all in your head.” It’s all over now! That’s the end; there’s no more chance. It’s beginning to jell. I’m starting to get the idea; to understand; see what you mean; to get the picture. It’s curtains! Just as the curtains go down; this is the end for me! … It’s just as well. It’s probably a good thing it didn’t happen. It’s no crime to It is not against the law to … It’s no hassle. It is no trouble at all. It’s no picnic It is not easy; no fun; It’s no use crying over Just as it is too late to cry one spilt milk, so one might spilt milk. say it is too late to It’s not for me to judge I cannot be the one who makes the final conclusion.. “I don’t know enough facts and information about the case, so it’s not for me to judge who is right or wrong.” “It’s not for me to judge what you do in your secret life in your own private time. Only you can be the judge of that.” “It’s not for me to judge whether the Americans are the destroyers or the saviors of the world.” It’s not the end of the Don’t be so disappointed; much worse things could hapworld pen; it’s not as disastrous as you think. “You’ll get over the loss of your home in the hurricane; it’s not the end of the world; you can start over again.” “Being disappointed in your first love is not the end of the world, even though it seems to be at the time it is happening.” It’s not worth it. Forget it; it’ll cost you more than its worth; not worth the bother; you may lose more than you get; it’s too risky. “Don’t pay any attention to his silly remarks, and don’t try to contradict his stupid statements. It’s just not worth it.” “If you complain, you’ll be punished, so just keep your mouth shut. It’s not worth it.” “Don’t quit you job and risk your future just on a theoretical, moral principle. It’s not worth it.” It’s now or never Act now for later will be too late. It’s six of one and half a There is no difference; they are the same thing; one is the dozen of the other same as the other. 376

It’s the dregs! The worst; residue at the bottom of the bottle; It’s the pits. The worst; the lowest possible; It’s time to take stock of The time has come