800+ Most Common Idioms and Phrases

English Idioms and Phrases Eduhyme

Every language has its own idioms and expressions and the English language has plenty of phrases that is useful to learn. Idioms are words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally and usually have a cultural meaning behind them.

Most of the English idioms you hear are offering advice’s but also contain some underlying principles and values.

You have probably heard some of them, especially in some TV-shows and movies, and wondered why you can’t understand these idioms even though you fully understand the words.

Also Read:

To learn English idioms and phrases it can take some time but there are some of them that are more popular than others that will come handy if you know them.

When you learn English idioms and phrases you will sound more confident especially when you speak with native English speakers. If you can’t understand idioms you will not be able to understand the context. That is why we have gathered some of the most common English idioms and phrases so you will understand the true meaning of them.

  1. Sweeping Statement – Thoughtless statement
  2. All at sea – Puzzled
  3. Enough rope – Enough freedom for action
  4. By fits and start – Irregularly
  5. Fell foul of – Got into trouble with
  6. Token strike – Short strike held as warning
  7. Face the music – Get reprimanded
  8. Look down upon – Hate intensely
  9. Flogging a dead horse – Wasting time in useless effort
  10. Under a cloud – Under suspicion
  11. Green thumb – To have a natural interest
  12. Played havoc – Caused destruction
  13. No love lost between – Not on good terms
  14. Fair and square – Honest
  15. A white elephant – Costly or troublesome possession
  16. Out and out – Totally
  17. On the cuff – On credit
  18. Does not hold water – Cannot be believed
  19. A wild goose chase – Futile search
  20. In a tight corner – In a difficult situation
  21. Going places – Talented and successful
  22. In cold blood – A murder done with intention
  23. Off and on – Occasionally
  24. Hard and fast – Strict
  25. Took to heels – Run away in fear
  26. To keep up – To keep in touch
  27. Make a clean breast – Confess without reserve
  28. Heads will roll – Transfers will take place
  29. Make no bones about – Do not have any hesitation in anything
  30. Take after – Resembles
  31. To stave off – Postpone
  32. To give a piece of mind – To reprimand
  33. Rest on laurels – To be complacent
  34. Pay through nose – Pay an extremely high price
  35. Draw on fancy – Use imagination
  36. Turn an honest living – Make an legitimate living
  37. Give the game away – Give out the secret
  38. Cheek by jowl – Very near
  39. Give in – Yield
  40. Run riot – Act without restraint
  41. Go through fire and water – Undergo any risk
  42. Talking through hat – Talking nonsense
  43. Put up with – Tolerate
  44. By fits and starts – Irregularly
  45. Reading between the lines – Understanding the hidden meaning
  46. Get the sack – Dismissed from
  47. Pros and cons – Considering all the facts
  48. By leaps and bounds – Very Quickly
  49. In the good books – In favour with boss
  50. In the long run – Ultimately
  51. To be always one’s beck and call – At one’s disposal (ready to serve one’s master)
  52. Turn a deaf ear – Disregard / Ignore / Refuse
  53. At one’s wit’s end – Puzzled / Confused / Perplexed
  54. To fight tooth and nail – To fight in a determined way for what you want
  55. The green-eyed monster – Used as a way of talking about jealousy
  56. Set the record straight – Give a correct account
  57. Good Samaritan – Helpful person
  58. Bad blood – Angry feeling
  59. To go to the whole hog – To do it completely
  60. Lay out – Spend
  61. Laying off – Dismissal from jobs
  62. By Leaps and bounds – At rapid pace
  63. Spilling the beans – Revealing the information indiscreetly
  64. Carry out – Execute
  65. Went to the winds – Dissipated/ To be utterly lost
  66. Ins and outs – Full details
  67. A white elephant – A costly but useless possession
  68. Fed up – Annoyed
  69. In the good books – In favour with
  70. Sharp practices – Dishonest means
  71. In high spirits – Full of hope and enthusiasm
  72. Shake in shoes – Tremble with fear
  73. Fits and starts – Not regularly
  74. Close shave – Narrow escape
  75. Take with a grain of salt – To listen to something with considerable doubt
  76. Hobson’s choice – No real choice at all
  77. To eat a humble pie – To apologize
  78. To give the devil his due – To give encouragement even to the enemy
  79. Reading between the lines – Looking for meanings that are not actually expressed
  80. An open book – One that hold no secrets
  81. An axe to grind – A private interest to serve
  82. To blow one’s own trumpet – Praise one’s own abilities and achievements
  83. Stand-offish – Indifferent
  84. Sowing wild oats – Irresponsible pleasure seeking in young age
  85. A bolt from the blue – Something unexpected and unpleasant
  86. By leaps and bounds – Rapidly
  87. Of no avail – Useless
  88. On the verge of – On the brink of
  89. A sore point – Something which hurts
  90. Rise like a phoenix from the ashes – With a new life/rebirth/reincarnation
  91. To keep under wraps – Secret
  92. Die in harness – To die at one’s work
  93. Fair- weather friend – A friend that deserts in difficulties
  94. Emerge out of thin air – Appear Suddenly
  95. Cut no ice – Have no influence
  96. Bring to light – Introduce for discussion
  97. Cannot hold a candle to – Cannot be compared to
  98. Burn one’s boat – Leave no means of return
  99. Make one’s flesh creep – Horrify
  100. Pros and cons – For and against / Analysis of all the given facts
  101. To take into account – To consider
  102. Blow over – Pass off
  103. Run into – Incurred / To experience difficulties
  104. Blue-eyed boys – Favorites
  105. Dropping names – Hinting at high connections/ To mention famous people you know or have met in order to impress others
  106. A Red letter day – An important day
  107. Bone to pick – Cause of quarrel/ Bone of contention
  108. At stone’s throw – Very near
  109. Struck a chill to the heart – Arouse fear/to make somebody afraid
  110. End in a fiasco – A total or utter failure
  111. Fall back – To turn or move back
  112. Turn up one’s nose at – To reject / Despises
  113. Turn one’s head – To feel proud in a way that other people find it annoying
  114. High and dry – Neglected / To leave someone helpless
  115. Take for granted – To accept readily / To pre-suppose as certainly true
  116. Mince matters – To confuse issues/ to mix facts
  117. Currying favour with – Ingratiating / Trying too hard to get please somebody
  118. Set one’s face against – Oppose strongly
  119. Strom in a tea cup – Commotion (angry/worry) over a trivial matter
  120. Putting one’s foot down – Asserting one’s authority / Take a firm stand
  121. The man in the street – An ordinary man (common man)
  122. To catch up with – To compete with
  123. Fight to the bitter end – To fight a losing battle
  124. Throw down a glove – To accept defeat
  125. Read between the lines – Understanding the hidden meaning
  126. Let the cat out of the bag – To utter a secret carelessly or by mistake
  127. To have Too many iron in the fire – To get engage in too many enterprises at the same time
  128. Fall through – To fail
  129. Cut one off, without a shilling – Disinheriting / To expel from fraternal property
  130. To smell a rat – To suspect a trick
  131. Turn a deaf ear – Disobey
  132. Have the last laugh – To be victorious at the end of an argument / To succeed when others thought you would not
  133. Red letter day – Happy and significant day (Gala day)
  134. To blaze a trail – To lead the way as a pioneer
  135. To beat a retreat – To run away in fear from a dangerous or unpleasant situation
  136. To steer clear of – Avoid
  137. To get one’s own back – To get one’s revenge
  138. To run across – To meet by chance
  139. A dark horse – An unforeseen competitor
  140. Put up with – Endure
  141. Got the sack – Dismissed from
  142. Herculean task – A work requiring very great effort
  143. By leaps and bounds – Rapidly
  144. Helter-Skelter – In disorderly haste
  145. Go to the winds – Disappear
  146. Make ducks and drakes of – Squander
  147. On the level – Honest and sincere
  148. Done for – Ruined
  149. Make a clean breast – Confess
  150. To end in smoke – To come to nothing, no outcome
  151. To have something up one’s sleeve – Having a secret plan or solution
  152. To take to one’s heel – To run away
  153. To turn a deaf ear – To be indifferent
  154. At snail’s pace – To do things very slowly
  155. To run one down – To disparage someone
  156. To blow one’s own trumpet – To praise oneself
  157. To face the music – To bear the consequences
  158. To take someone to task – To scold someone
  159. At one’s wit – Puzzled/Confused/Perplexed
  160. At stake – In danger/ that can be lost or won depending on the success of a particular action
  161. To play to the gallery – To behave in an exaggerated way to attract people’s attention
  162. Read between the lines – Understand the hidden meaning
  163. Sitting on the fence – Hesitating which side to take
  164. No love lost between – Not on good terms
  165. To have not a leg to stand on – Unable to prove or explain why something is reasonable
  166. A man in the street – An ordinary person / Common man
  167. Blood running cold – Become very frightened
  168. Playing to the gallery – Befooling the common man
  169. Come out of one’s shell – To appear suddenly
  170. Lay down arms – To surrender
  171. Making hay while the sun shines – Taking advantage of a favorable opportunity
  172. Blow one’s own trumpet – To praise oneself
  173. Bear with – Support / To be patient with some body or something (especially through difficulties)
  174. Give vent to – To emphasize or to express
  175. Turn a deaf ear – Pay no attention
  176. Bone of contention – Matter of dispute
  177. Stand on own feet – To be independent
  178. By fits and starts – Irregularly
  179. Over head and ears – Completely
  180. To call it a day – To conclude proceedings
  181. To put up with – To tolerate
  182. To face the music – To bear the consequences
  183. Yeoman’s service – Social work
  184. To take to hearts – To grieve over
  185. To smell a rat – To be suspicious
  186. To move heaven and earth – To try everything possible
  187. To take someone for a ride – To deceive (cheat) someone
  188. In cold blood – Intentional / Excitedly
  189. A damp squib – A disappointing result
  190. To bite the dust – To be defeated
  191. To take to one’s heel – To run away
  192. To be all at sea – Lost and confused
  193. Cold Comfort – Slight satisfaction
  194. A bolt from the blue – An unexpected and unpleasant event
  195. To feather one’s nest – To make oneself rich (in position or in monetary terms)
  196. To die in harness – To die while in service
  197. To show a clean pair of heels – To escape / Run away
  198. To flog a dead horse – To waste one’s efforts
  199. To strain every nerve – To make utmost efforts
  200. A bolt form the blue – Unexpected problem
  201. Sailing in the same boat – Being in the same difficult situation
  202. Gift of the gab – Ability to speak well
  203. To keep the wolf from the door – Escape starvation
  204. Soft option – Easy and agreeable option
  205. A little gush of gratitude – Feeling grateful
  206. To lose ground – To become less popular
  207. To fall back on – To use or do something else after other things have failed
  208. To make one’s blood boil – To make somebody furious
  209. Wear and tear – Damage
  210. To add fuel to the fire – To cause additional anger
  211. Hand in glove – In close relationship
  212. To make a mountain of a molehill – To give great importance to little things
  213. To speak one’s mind – To be frank and honest
  214. Maiden speech – First speech
  215. At the eleventh hour – At the very last moment
  216. Cope with – To face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner
  217. Go a long way towards doing something – To be helpful
  218. Gift of the gab – Talent of speaking
  219. Standstill – Complete halt
  220. Cross swords – Disagree
  221. Pore over – Go through
  222. Make both ends meet – To live a lavish life
  223. Run down – Criticise
  224. Grease anybody’s palm – To give bribe
  225. Leave in the lurch – Abandon in the midway/difficult situation
  226. Caught red handed – At the time of committing crime
  227. On the brink of – On the point of
  228. Face the music – Face the unpleasant consequences
  229. Gift of the gab – Ability to speak impressively
  230. Go down the drain – Lose forever
  231. A close shave – Narrow escape from danger
  232. Cool as a cucumber – Not nervous or emotional
  233. In high spirits – Cheerful
  234. Scapegoats – A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings with arrogant reactions
  235. A red letter day – A day memorable for joyful event
  236. Wears heart on sleeves – Express feelings openly
  237. To pay off old scores – To refund old dues
  238. Man of letters – Proficient in literary arts
  239. Turn down – Refuse
  240. On good terms – Agree with someone
  241. Stole the show – Win everyone’s praise
  242. Measure up – Reach the level
  243. Doctor the accounts – To manipulate the accounts
  244. Dark horse – An unexpected winner
  245. Face the music – To bear the criticism
  246. In the red – Losing money/ To owe money
  247. In lieu of – Despite of
  248. Beat about the bush – Speak in a round-about manner
  249. Bring about – Cause
  250. Pull up – Reprimand
  251. At sixes and seven – In disorder or confusion
  252. Lose head – Panic
  253. Take to task – To criticize severely/ To punish
  254. Sit in judgement – To pass judgement(or comment on someone ) especially when you have no authority
  255. Leave in the lurch – To desert someone
  256. Cry over spilt milk – Cry over irreparable loss
  257. Bad blood – Active enmity
  258. Close shave – A narrow escape
  259. Grease palms – To bribe someone
  260. Carrot and stick – Reward and punishment policy
  261. To cut teeth – To gain experience of something for the first time
  262. Cut no ice – Have no influence
  263. Close the book – Stop working on something
  264. In fits and starts – Irregularly
  265. Bird’s eye view – An overview
  266. Run in the same groove – Advance in harmony
  267. Keep your head – Remain calm
  268. Pull strings – Use personal influence
  269. Pot luck dinner – Dinner where somebody brings something to eat
  270. To hit below the belt – To attack unfairly
  271. All at sea – Puzzled
  272. Sought after – Wanted by many people because it’s of good quality or difficult to find / Pursued by many
  273. Build castles in the air – Daydreaming
  274. On the spur of the moment – To act suddenly, without planning
  275. To have something up one’s sleeve – To have a secret plan
  276. A red letter day – An important or joyful occasion in one’s life
  277. To explore every avenue – To try every opportunity
  278. At one’s beck and call – Ready to follow orders/ To be dominated by someone
  279. By fair or foul means – In honest or dishonest way
  280. Status quo – As it is / Unchanged position
  281. To burn candle at both ends – To be extravagant / Spend without any worry
  282. To hit the jackpot – To make money quickly
  283. To bring to light – To reveal
  284. At the eleventh hour – At the last possible moment
  285. Go scot-free – To escape without punishment
  286. To shed crocodile tears – To pretend grief
  287. To look down one’s nose – To regard with contempt
  288. To miss the bus – To miss an opportunity
  289. A white elephant – Costly and troublesome possession, without much use to its owner
  290. To call spade a spade – To be frank
  291. To fight tooth and nail – To fight heroically, in very determined way
  292. Birds of same feather – Persons of same character
  293. Take exception – To object over something
  294. High handed – Using authority in an unreasonable way, overbearing
  295. Too fond of one’s own voice – To like talking without wanting to listen to other people/ Very selfish
  296. By leaps and bounds – Rapidly
  297. An open book – Straight forward and honest dealings
  298. Fall short – Fail to meet expectation/ Have no effect
  299. Heart to heart talk – Frank talk
  300. Give the game away – Give out the secret (unintentionally)
  301. Take cue from – To copy what someone already did in past in order to be successful
  302. Call for – To ask
  303. Out of the question – Undesirable/ Not worth discussing
  304. Run into – To meet someone accidently
  305. End up in smoke – Come to nothing / Useless
  306. Spread like fire – Spread rapidly
  307. Ins and outs – Full details
  308. Dropping like flies – Collapsing in large numbers
  309. Rat race – Fierce competition for power
  310. Hard nut to crack – Difficult task
  311. See eye to eye – To think in the same way
  312. Put across – To communicate your ideas, feelings, etc. successfully
  313. To have second thoughts – To reconsider
  314. Not my cup of tea – Not what somebody likes or interested in
  315. To break the ice – To start a conversation
  316. To eat a humble pie – To say or show sorry for a mistake that one made
  317. To add fuel to fire – To worsen the matter / To incite
  318. To burn one’s fingers – To get physically hurt
  319. At the eleventh hour – At the last moment
  320. To feel like a fish out of water – Uncomfortable situation
  321. To foam at one’s mouth – To be very angry
  322. Send packing – To tell somebody firmly or rudely to go away / Terminate service
  323. Kick up a row – Make a great fuss / To complain loudly about something
  324. Wet behind the ears – Young and without experience / Naïve
  325. To talk someone over – To convince over
  326. Wear heart on sleeves – Express emotions freely
  327. Bury the hatchet – To make peace / To stop being unfriendly and become friends again
  328. Once in a blue moon – Rarely
  329. Through thick and thin – Under all circumstances
  330. Come to grief – To suffer
  331. Eat anyone’s salt – To be anyone’s guest
  332. Give a hand with – To help with something
  333. Take to heart – To be very upset by something that somebody says or does
  334. Had better – Used for telling somebody what you think he ‘should’ do
  335. Strike a bargain – To negotiate a deal
  336. Point blank – Very definite and direct
  337. Scapegoat – A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency / Fall guy
  338. Kicking heels – To be relaxed and enjoy / Waste time
  339. End in smoke – Come to nothing
  340. Die in harness – Die in service/ Die while working
  341. On the horns of dilemma – In a situation where you have to make choice between things that are equally unpleasant
  342. Hold one’s tongue – To be silent
  343. No hard and fast rules – Easy regulation
  344. Live from hand to mouth – Miserably
  345. Turn a deaf ear – Refuse to obey
  346. Take exception – To object
  347. To hail from – To come from
  348. By fits and starts – Irregularly
  349. Bad blood – Feeling of hatred
  350. Turn up – To appear
  351. Die hard – Unwilling to change
  352. Turn down – Reject
  353. To pass away – Die
  354. Carry weight – Be important / Important influence
  355. Fall flat – Fail to amuse people / Fail to produce intended effect
  356. Under the thumb of – Under the control of
  357. To get wind – Come to know about something secret or private
  358. Part and parcel – An essential part of something
  359. To give vent to – To express a feeling, especially anger, strongly
  360. Stand by – To help / Support somebody or be friend, even in difficult times
  361. In black and white – In writing
  362. At a loss – Unable / Not knowing about what to do or say
  363. Lame excuse – Unsatisfactory explanation
  364. Hand in glove – Working closely with someone / Very intimate
  365. A hard nut to crack – A difficult problem or situation to solve or deal with
  366. For better or worse – Always / In every condition
  367. From the bottom of one’s heart – To speak frankly
  368. In a nutshell – Brief
  369. A shot in the dark – An attempt to guess something
  370. At the eleventh hour – At a last moment
  371. Water under the bridge – Something that happened in the past and is now forgotten or no longer important
  372. Stick to guns – Hold on to original decisions
  373. Out of hand – Out of control, at once, immediately
  374. The salt of the earth – Very good and honest/ Kind
  375. Talking through hat – Talking nonsense
  376. Looking forward to – To expect something or someone
  377. Slip off – Leave quietly
  378. Get on well – Have a friendly relationship
  379. In a pickle – In an embarrassing or awkward situation
  380. Under a cloud – Being subject to suspicion
  381. As hard as nail – Emotionless / To show no sympathy, kindness or fear
  382. Allow a free hand – Complete liberty
  383. Lays out – To spend money
  384. Break down – To lose control of your feelings and start crying / Could not proceed
  385. Cut coat according to one’s cloth – Live within one’s means
  386. Weal and woe – Ups and downs
  387. Iron will – Strong determination
  388. To take to task – Punish
  389. Rack and ruin – Ransacked
  390. Rides the high horse – Feel superior
  391. By fits and starts – Irregularly
  392. Have a bee in one’s bonnet – To be preoccupied or obsessed with something
  393. See through – Detect / To realize the truth about someone or somebody
  394. Take after – To follow / To take care of older members of family
  395. Break up – Disband itself / The breaking up of relationship or association
  396. Stand by – Support
  397. Bull in a China shop – A clumsy person
  398. Change colours – To turn pale
  399. Spick and span – Neat and clean / Tidy
  400. Give in – To agree to do something that you don’t want to do
  401. Wide off the mark Irrelevant / Not accurate / Inadequate
  402. Out of the world – Extraordinary
  403. Sweep under the carpet – To hide something
  404. By leaps and bound – Very rapidly
  405. To toe the line – To follow the lead / To follow boss’s orders
  406. Stick to guns – Maintain opinion
  407. Take hat off – Encourage / To admire somebody very much for something he has done
  408. Null and void – Empty
  409. Break the ice – Initiate a talk
  410. Keep the wolf from the door – Avoid starvation
  411. Fish in troubled water – To make a profit out of troubled situation
  412. Look into – To investigate
  413. Smell the rat – Suspect that something is fishy
  414. Let the grass grow under the feet – Delay in getting things done
  415. Apple of discord – Cause of animosity
  416. A fish out of water – In uncomfortable situation
  417. In the long run – Over a period of time
  418. Jumping down one’s throat – To react very angrily to somebody
  419. Out of wits – Greatly confused
  420. Call spade a spade – To speak in a straightforward manner (frankly)
  421. Face the music – Accept the punishment
  422. To play second fiddle – Take a subordinate role
  423. Casting pearl before swine – Offering good things to undeserving people
  424. Putting the cart before the horse – Doing things in the wrong way
  425. Not fit to hold candle – Not so good as somebody or something else
  426. Egg someone on – To encourage somebody to do something
  427. For good – Permanently
  428. Achilles’s heel – Weak spot
  429. Take a leap in the dark – To take risk
  430. Cut the guardian knot – Remove difficulty / To solve problem
  431. Blow one’s own trumpet – Self boasting
  432. A cakewalk – An easy achievement
  433. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth – Not to find fault with the gift received
  434. Man of straw – A man of no substance
  435. Born with a silver spoon – Born in a rich family
  436. Let sleeping dogs lie – Not to bring up an old controversial issue
  437. A month of Sundays – A long time
  438. A closed book – A mystery
  439. In apple pie order – In perfect order
  440. Through thick and thin – In spite of all difficulties
  441. Wet one’s whistle – To have a drink
  442. Bury the hatchet – Make peace
  443. Cool one’s heel – To keep waiting
  444. Live-wire – A person who is lively or energetic
  445. Feel blue – In trouble / depressed
  446. Above board – Legal and honest
  447. Pour cats and dogs – Rain heavily
  448. For good – Permanently
  449. Iron fist – To treat people in severe manner / strictly
  450. Time and again – Always
  451. Eat humble pie – To say or show that you are sorry for the mistakes committed by you
  452. Rule the roost – Exercise authority / To be the most powerful member in the group
  453. Have something up your sleeve – Have an alternate plan
  454. Take to task – Punished / Reprimanded
  455. Feel one’s pulse – To find what one is thinking on some point
  456. Donkey’s year – A long time
  457. To make things done – To manage
  458. Chicken out – Withdraw / To decide not to do something because you are afraid /
  459. Ice braking – Starting a conversation
  460. Bad hats – People of bad character
  461. Give and take – Adjustment / Willingness in relationship to accept what somebody else wants and gives up some of what you want
  462. Off and on – Irregularly
  463. Man of straw – A man of no substance
  464. Break down – Weep bitterly
  465. Get down to business – To begin work seriously
  466. Giving a piece of one’s mind – Speak sharply
  467. Go about – Go around / To continue to do something
  468. Take exception – To object at something
  469. Picking up holes in – Finding out faults with something
  470. To cast a die – To take a decision
  471. Put up with – Bear patiently / To bear or endure
  472. The gift of the gab – Ability to speak well
  473. See through – Detect / To realize the truth
  474. Cordon off – Isolate / To stop people from getting into an area by surrounding it with police
  475. Keep an open house – Welcome all members
  476. Wet behind ears – Young and inexperienced / Naïve
  477. Pick on – Warn severely
  478. Fight tooth and nail – Fight with strength and fury
  479. Teething problems – Difficulties at the start
  480. A wild goose chase – Fruitless pursuit
  481. To get into hot water – To get into trouble
  482. A bolt from the blue – A complete surprise
  483. Plain sailing – Very easy
  484. Take to one’s heel – Run off
  485. To cut one short – To criticize
  486. Show the white flag – To surrender
  487. A cut above – Rather superior to
  488. To throw dust in one’s eye – To deceive
  489. Read between the lines – Know what the writer thinks / Know hidden meaning
  490. Give vent to – To express
  491. Bring about – Cause to happen
  492. Husband one’s resource –To save / Economical
  493. Foam at the mouth – Angry
  494. Keep wolf away from the door – Keep away extreme poverty
  495. Pin money – Additional money
  496. The Alpha and Omega – Beginning and end
  497. Salt of the earth – Good, honest and ideal
  498. Bring the house down – Make the audience applaud enthusiastically
  499. Gerrymandering way – In a manipulative and unfair way
  500. Strain every nerve – Make all efforts / Try all tricks
  501. Hard and fast – That cannot be altered / fixed
  502. Turn up one’s nose at – To not accept something because you do not think it is good enough for you / To treat with contempt
  503. Down in the dumps – Sad and depressed
  504. Dot one’s I’s and cross one T’s – Be detailed and exact
  505. All moonshine – Superficial
  506. Wild goose chase – A foolish and useless enterprise
  507. Swan song – Last prayer (at funeral or farewell)
  508. By the skin of teeth – By the narrowest margin
  509. Bury the hatchet – Make peace / Forget the quarrels
  510. Keep up with – Go at equal pace
  511. Flies off at a tangent – Start discussing something irrelevant
  512. Batten down the hatches – Prepare for a difficult situation
  513. Nail one’s colours to the mast – Refuse to climb down
  514. All might and main – With full force
  515. Red herrings – Clues intended to distract or mislead / An unimportant fact, idea, event, etc. that takes people attention from the important ones
  516. To cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth – To live within one’s means
  517. White elephant – A costly but useless possession
  518. Look sharp – Pay attention
  519. Big draw – Huge attraction
  520. Bear down – To move quickly towards something/someone in a determined or threatening way
  521. To put a spoke in someone’s wheel – Destroy the plan / Cause hindrance / To prevent somebody from putting their plan into action
  522. At a stretch – Continuously
  523. Know beans about something – Well informed and intelligent
  524. To get into hot water – To get into troubles
  525. Know the ropes – Learn the procedures
  526. Barking up the wrong tree – Trying to find someone at wrong place
  527. In the swim – Well informed and up-to-date
  528. Rub up the wrong way – To irk or irritate someone
  529. Add fuel to the fire – Worsen the situation
  530. In the loop – Informed regularly
  531. Hold one’s horses – To keep waiting
  532. Black out – Lost consciousness
  533. Cut and dry method – Specific
  534. Back to the drawing board – Plan it all over again
  535. In the air – Certain / Able to be firmly relied on to happen or be the case / Specific but not explicitly named or stated
  536. On the same page – Thinks in a similar way
  537. Pull no punch – Speaks frankly
  538. Going places – Talented and successful
  539. Stand / Hold your ground – Refuse to yield / To continue with your opinions or intentions when someone is opposing you
  540. Put your feet down – Take a firm stand / To be very strict in opposing what somebody wishes to do
  541. Read between the line – To understand the inner meaning
  542. To the letter – Paying attention to every detail / Doing or following exactly what somebody something says
  543. To carve out a niche – To work harder in order to have successful career / Develop a special position for oneself
  544. Wild goose chase – Useless search / Unprofitable adventure
  545. In Dutch – In trouble
  546. See eye to eye – To have the same opinion
  547. Come to light – Been revealed / To become known to people
  548. Around the clock – Day and night
  549. Balloon goes up – The situation turns unpleasant or serious
  550. Watching grass grow – Very boring
  551. Nine day’s wonder – A dazzling short-lived spectacle of no real value
  552. Beyond the pale – Outside commonly accepted standards
  553. Took after – Similar to / to look or behave like an older member of your family
  554. Throw dust into one’s eye – To deceive
  555. Cool about working – Not tense about working / Reading to work
  556. All ears – Attentive
  557. Maiden speech – First speech
  558. Hold water – With logical backing / To stand up to critical examination
  559. Other fish to fry – Some important work to attend to
  560. A close shave – A narrow escape from danger
  561. To tell in a nut shell – In a brief manner / Summarize
  562. Within a stone’s throw – At a short distance
  563. To feather one’s nest – To enrich oneself when opportunity occurs
  564. A close-fisted person – A miser
  565. To gather roses only – To seek all enjoyments of life
  566. A black sheep – A person with bad reputation
  567. To grease the palm – To bribe
  568. For good – Permanently
  569. An about turn – Complete change of opinion or situation
  570. Make a mockery – To make something seem ridiculous or useless / No serious outcome
  571. Eat like a horse – Eat a lot
  572. Go to the dogs – To be ruined
  573. Pay on the nail – Pay promptly / Payment without delay
  574. Penelope’s web – An endless job
  575. At draggers drawn – Enmity
  576. Bury the hatchet – Make peace
  577. Null and void – Not binding / Having no legal force
  578. Break in – Force entry to a building
  579. Stir up a Hornet’s nest – To create a lot of trouble
  580. Second thoughts – Reconsidering the original idea
  581. Average out – Balance
  582. Go to the dogs – Ruin / to go to in very bad situation
  583. Floored – To surprise or confuse
  584. Give way – Collapse
  585. Tall tales – Boasting
  586. Backseat driver – A person who gives unwanted advice
  587. At random – Without any aim or target
  588. Break off – Suddenly stop
  589. Go haywire – Become out of control
  590. Above board – Honest / Without any secret
  591. Feather in one’s cap – An achievement
  592. Follow one’s nose – To go straight ahead
  593. To latch onto – To promote
  594. Fight shy of – To avoid someone/ something
  595. Add fuel to the fire – Worsen the matter
  596. Cock and bull story – Absurd an unbelievable story
  597. Hold water – Seem logical
  598. To be down to earth – To be realistic
  599. In the nick of time – Just in time
  600. To shun evil company – To avoid or give up bad company
  601. Seamy side – Unpleasant and immoral
  602. A sacred cow – A person never to be criticized
  603. A dog’s breakfast – A total mess / A thing that has been done badly
  604. Sail in the same boat – To be in same situation
  605. Take the bull by the horns – To face a difficulty courageously
  606. Shed crocodile tears – To pretend to be sympathetic
  607. To be in a quandary – In a confusing situation
  608. Take French leave – Absenting oneself without permission
  609. To put in a nutshell – To state something very concisely
  610. The genomes of Zurich – A slang term for Swiss bankers
  611. To make up one’s mind – To decide what to do
  612. To call it a day – Decide to finish working of the day
  613. In two minds – To be undecided
  614. Put something by – To save money for a particular purpose
  615. On cloud nine – Extremely happy
  616. The jury is out – No decision has been reached
  617. Have a finger in every pie – To be meddlesome / To involved in a lot of different activities and having influence over them
  618. To take after – To resemble an older member of family
  619. Flying visit – Very short visit
  620. Telling upon – Showing effectively / Having strong effect
  621. Kith and kin – Relatives
  622. Part and parcel – Important part
  623. Beat about the bush – Circumlocution / Does not talk specifically
  624. Carry out – Complete something
  625. Take fancy – To attract or please somebody
  626. Snake in the grass – A hidden enemy
  627. Make a mountain of a mole hill – Exaggerate a minor problem
  628. Spill the beans – Reveal the secret information
  629. Make amends for – Compensate the loss
  630. Leave high and dry – In a difficult situation without help or money / Leave alone to work / A boat in a position out of water
  631. Make believe – To pretend that something is true
  632. Go for the jugular – Attack all out / To attack somebody’s weaker point during a discussion
  633. Keep a level head – To remain calm and sensible in a difficult situation
  634. Under the weather – Sick
  635. At loggerheads – In strong disagreement
  636. Go Dutch – Divide the cost
  637. Alma mater – Institution where one got education
  638. A closefisted man – A miser
  639. As daft as a brush – Very silly
  640. Rise with the lark – Get up early / To get out of bed very early in the morning
  641. At one’s wit’s end – To be so worried by a problem that you don’t know what to do next
  642. Make a beeline – Rush / To go straight towards something as quick as you can
  643. Wild goose chase – Useless search
  644. A man of letters – A literary person
  645. Horse sense – Basic common sense
  646. Shot in the arm – Something that gives encouragement
  647. Catch time by the forelock – Seize opportunity
  648. Get on nerves – Annoying
  649. Clean hands – Innocent
  650. A golden mean – Middle course between two extremes
  651. Vexed question – Controversial issue
  652. Keep the wolf away from the door – To keep off starvation
  653. Out of sorts – Ill or sick / Upset
  654. Gut feeling – Strong instinct (based on feelings and emotions rather than thought and reason)
  655. Finish with something – Be through / To have something at the end / To stop doing something
  656. Red-letter day – An important day
  657. A close fisted man – Miser
  658. To set the Thames on fire – Do a heroic deed / To do such a work that needs a strenuous effort
  659. Eat humble pie – To say sorry for mistakes / Suffer humiliation
  660. Play ducks and drakes – Spend lavishly / To waste or squander
  661. Be taken aback – Shocked or surprised
  662. Lay it on thick – An exaggeration / To talk about somebody or something in a way than they really are
  663. Bird’s eye view – A overview / A general view from above
  664. To win laurels – To earn great prestige
  665. In the soup – To be in trouble
  666. Draw the line – To set a limit
  667. A bee hive – A busy place
  668. To cut the Gordian knot – To perform a difficult task
  669. Take a French leave – Being absent without permission
  670. Arm-chair critic – A person who give advice based on theory not on practice
  671. A chip of the old block – An experienced old man
  672. Feather your nest – To make yourself richer, especially by spending money on yourself that should be spent on something else
  673. Throw up cards – To give in / To blow away the plan
  674. Vote with your feet – Showing your disapproval
  675. Dog in a manger – A selfish person
  676. Chapter and verse – Providing minutes details
  677. Bring down the house – Amuse the audience greatly / To make everyone cheer
  678. Give a wide berth to – To stay away from or avoid someone
  679. A hard nut to crack – A difficult problem to solve
  680. In black and white – In writing
  681. Beside the mark – Irrelevant / Not to be accurate
  682. To give a piece of mind – Scolding / To tell someone that you are angry with them or you disapprove of their behavior
  683. Give away – To distribute something
  684. Fight tooth and nail – Fight with all strengths
  685. Show a clean a pair of heels – To run away fast / To flee swiftly
  686. All moonshine – Concocted
  687. Up to the mark – According to the required standard
  688. A red letter day – An important day
  689. Sit on the fence – To avoid becoming involved in deciding or influencing something
  690. Shake off – Forget / To get away from somebody who is chasing or following you
  691. Cock and bull story – A concocted or absurd story
  692. Pull a long face – Look dejected / An unhappy or disappointed expression
  693. Under a cloud – Under suspicion
  694. Cat-nap – Short sleep
  695. To pull a long face – Look sad
  696. Fit like a glove – Perfectly
  697. Caught red-handed – Discovered in the act of doing
  698. Gate crasher – Uninvited guest
  699. To angle – To fish
  700. For all intents and purposes – Practically
  701. Go out of one’s way – Do everything possible
  702. In the running – Has good prospects in competition
  703. Beat about the bush – To say everything except the main topic
  704. Make room – Make space
  705. Mend your way’s – Improve one’s behavior
  706. Beggar description – Cannot be described
  707. Drag one’s feet – Be reluctant to act
  708. Hope against hope – Nurture an impossible hope
  709. For keeps – Forever
  710. Paled into insignificance – Seemed less important
  711. With one voice – Unanimously
  712. Make it light – Treat lightly
  713. Every inch a gentleman – Entirely
  714. Catch a tartar – A rough, violent, troublesome person
  715. To add fuel to the fire – Make thing worse
  716. To take to heart – To be greatly affected
  717. To bring to light – To reveal
  718. All moon shine – Far from reality
  719. At a snail’s pace – Slowly
  720. Call on – Pay a visit
  721. Pros and cons – Advantages and disadvantage
  722. Once in a blue moon – Very rarely
  723. Fish out of water – An uncomfortable position
  724. Be down with – Suffering from
  725. Fair-weather friend – Supports only when easy and convenient
  726. Pull together – Work harmoniously
  727. To bury the hatchet – To make peace
  728. Selling like hot cakes – To have a very good sale
  729. Scot free – Unpunished
  730. To give oneself airs – Behave arrogantly
  731. At a stone’s throw – At short distance
  732. Bone of contention – Matter of dispute
  733. To eat humble pie – To yield under humiliating circumstances
  734. To end in smoke – To fail / To end without any practical results
  735. To spill the beans – To reveal a secret
  736. Drive home – Emphasise
  737. A left hand compliment – An ambiguous compliment
  738. Cut a sorry figure – Make a poor impression
  739. To take to task – Reprimand
  740. Bad blood – Enmity
  741. Maiden speech – First speech
  742. To get cold feet – Fear
  743. Beside the mark – Not to the point
  744. On tenterhooks – In suspense and anxiety
  745. A cuckoo in the nest – An unwelcomed intruder
  746. A house of cards – An insecure scheme
  747. To smell a rat – To suspect foul dealings
  748. Old head on young shoulder – To be wise beyond one’s age
  749. A wild-goose chase – Pointless search
  750. Hard of hearing – To be deaf
  751. Burn your boats – Do something that makes it impossible to return to the previous situation
  752. Dressing-down – To give scolding
  753. Null and void – Invalid
  754. A dark horse – Unexpected winner
  755. Throw cold water – Discourage
  756. Butt in – Interrupt
  757. Couch potato – A person who prefers to watch television
  758. Carry the ball – Be in charge
  759. Turn down – Reject
  760. Catch a tartar – To deal with a person who is more than one’s match
  761. Cap in hand – In a respectful manner
  762. In the blues – Cheerless and depressed
  763. Cheek by jowl – Very close together
  764. Beyond the pale – Unreasonable or unacceptable
  765. Blow one’s own trumpet – Praise oneself
  766. Stick to one’s guns – Maintain own opinion
  767. At sea – Confused
  768. Straw in the wind – An indication of what might happen
  769. Face the music – Be punished
  770. Curry favours – Seek favourable attention
  771. Weal and woe – Good times and bad times
  772. Call in question – Challenge
  773. Make both ends meet – Live within means
  774. Put up the shutters – Go out of business
  775. A drop in a bucket – A very insignificant amount
  776. Draw a blank – Find no favour
  777. To keep in abeyance – In a state of suspension
  778. To be in a fix – In a difficult situation
  779. To break the ice – Make people comfortable and relaxed / Start conversation
  780. As daft as a brush – Extremely silly
  781. In a nutshell – Briefly and concisely
  782. Strain every nerve – Work very hard
  783. Evening of life – Old age
  784. Button one’s lips – Stop talking
  785. Cock and bull stories – Absurd and unlikely stories
  786. A live wire – Lively and active
  787. Capital punishment – Death sentence
  788. Leaps and bounds – Rapidly
  789. Wet behind the ears – Young and without much experience
  790. Under a cloud – Under suspicion
  791. Get the sack – Be dismissed
  792. Feather in one’s cap – A new and additional distinction
  793. Donkey’s year – A long time
  794. Leave no stone unturned – To try every possible way
  795. A man of letters – Scholar
  796. Bear in mind – Remember
  797. To nip in the bud – To stop something in the starting
  798. To put a spoke in one’s wheel – To hinder
  799. To clip one’s wings – To deprive one of power
  800. Hold up – Delay
  801. To play fast and loose – To act in an unreliable way
  802. Feather one’s own nest – Make money in an improper way
  803. Pull a fast one – Play a trick
  804. Turn-turtle – Complete over-turn of a situation
  805. Take the bull by the horns – Grapple the situation courageously
  806. A gentleman at large – A man without a job
  807. Lose face – Become embarrassed
  808. Build castle in the air – Day dreaming
  809. Fall back on – Resort to something
  810. Go to rack and ruin – Get into a bad condition
  811. Bite the dust – Suffer a defeat
  812. Have a chip on one’s shoulder – Nurse a grudge
  813. The seamy side – Unpleasant aspect
  814. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians – An inefficient situation (too many managers and not enough people to do the work)
  815. Make one’s mark – Distinguish oneself
  816. Throw in the towel – Acknowledge defeat
  817. Mare’s nest – Worthless thing
  818. A storm in a teacup – Big fuss over a small matter
  819. Blue-blooded – Of noble birth
  820. Do a roaring trade – Highly successful
  821. Keep body and soul together – To have just enough to sustain
  822. Will-o-the-wisp – Unreal Imagining
  823. Cloak-and-dagger – An activity that involves mystery and secrecy
  824. Palm off – To dispose off with the intent to deceive
  825. From stem to stern – All the way from the front of a ship to the back
  826. Over-egg the pudding – Add unnecessary details to make something seem better or worse
  827. Turn over a new leaf – Change ones behavior for the better
  828. Take up the hatchet – Prepare for or go to war
  829. At loose ends – In an uncertain situation
  830. With might and main – With full force
  831. Ruffle somebody’s feather – Annoy somebody
  832. Cut short – Interrupt
  833. Bad blood – Ill feeling
  834. A laughing stock – An object of laughter

Leave a Reply