| Idiom|| Explanation + Example |
| 1)|| Don't give up the day job.|
| You are not very good at that. You could definitely not do it professionally.|
"I really like the way you sing, but don't give up your day job.
| 2)|| Cash cow.|
| An easy way to earn money regularly.|
"Income tax is a real cash cow for the government."
| 3)|| Bite off more than you can chew.|
| Trying to do something that is too difficult or time consuming to finish.|
"I'm glad you want to prepare the report by yourself. Just be sure that you don't bite off more than you can chew."
| 4)|| Clear the air|
| Discuss something that was causing people to feel upset.|
"There seems to have been a misunderstanding. I'd like to explain what happened, just to clear the air."
| 5)|| Turn your back on|
| Give up on, or abandon.|
"I needed your help but you just turned your back on me"
| 6)|| Not cut out for|
| Not suitable for something.|
"He tried mountain climbing, but he simply was not cut out for it."
| 7)|| Scrape the bottom of the barrel|
| The very last, or the very worst.|
"These are the last volunteers we could find. We really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find them."
| 8)|| A class act|
| Sophisticated, above average.|
"He offered to help, even though he doesn't know me. He's a real class act."
| 9)|| Clean up your act|
| Improve your behavior.|
"If you are ever going to improve your English skills, you must start getting in to class on time and doing your homework. Why don't you clean up your act?"
| 10)|| Get your act together|
| Get more organized.|
"You have been late for work every day this week. If you want to keep this job, you must get your act together."
| 11)|| A piece of the action|
| Participation in an activity.|
"I heard that you are looking for partners in your new investment. If you don't mind, I would like to get in on a piece of the action."
| 12)|| Actions speak louder than words.|
| People's intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say. |
"Why don't you give her a hug instead of saying you are sorry, actions speak louder than words."
| 13)|| In the air|
| Being discussed, generally obvious.|
"The days are getting longer and the flowers are blooming. Spring is in the air."
| 14)|| Go ape|
| Go crazy.|
"Jack was really angry. I thought he was going to go ape."
| 15)|| A grey area|
| Something that is difficult to define.|
"I researched your case, but there are not any black and white answers. Your situation seems to fall into a grey area."
| 16)|| Up in arms|
"The crows was agitated. Everyone was up in arms over the government decision."
| 17)|| Be glad to see the back of|
| Be happy when a person leaves.|
"That guy bothers me, I'll be glad to see the back of him."
| 18)|| Give him/her credit|
| Acknowledge an achievement or contribution of a person.|
"Although he is not easy to work for, you have to give him credit for managing the company well."
| 19)|| Go behind someone's back|
| Do something without telling someone.|
"Don't trust Jane. She acts friendly but she's always going behind someone's back."
| 20)|| Each to his own|
| Everyone is entitled to his own individual opinion.|
"I can't say that I like George's new furniture. It seems very plain and uncomfortable. Oh well, each to his own."
| 21)|| Eager beaver|
| Enthusiastic person.|
"John did all of his homework before supper. He sure is an eager beaver."
| 22)|| Early bird|
| A person who is early, or gets up early.|
"Dave was in class 30 minutes before anyone else. What an early bird."
| 23)|| Scratch the surface|
| Examine only a part of something. Uncover only a few facts about something|
"Cancer research is a very long-term process. So far, we have just begun to scratch the surface."
| 24)|| Give him the slip|
| Leave him. Hide from him.|
"I think that man is following us. Let's give him the slip."
| 25)|| Cold shoulder|
| To treat someone in an unfriendly manner.|
"I don't think Jim likes me. I tried to speak with him but he gave me the cold shoulder."
| 26)|| Get the ball rolling|
| Start something.|
"All right everyone, we spent a lot of time planning this project. Now, it's time to get the ball rolling."
| 27)|| Jump on the bandwagon|
| Join a popular trend or activity.|
"I like that new procedure and I've decided to jump on the bandwagon."
| 28)|| A losing battle|
| Something that cannot be accomplished.|
"I've tried fixing this phone many times, I just can't do it by myself. It's a losing battle."
| 29)|| Keep something at bay|
| Keep something away.|
"Sarah found it difficult to keep the salesperson at bay."
| 30)|| Spill the beans|
| Tell a secret.|
"I won't be the one to spill the beans."
| 31)|| Beggars can't be choosers|
| People cannot complain about something they get for free.|
"I don't like the color of the sweater she gave me, but beggars can't be choosers."
| 32)|| Flesh and blood|
| A relative.|
"I must help him. After all, he's my own flesh and blood."
| 33)|| Give the benefit of the doubt|
| Believe someone's statement, without proof.|
"The teacher's explanation did not seem logical, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt."
| 34)|| A safe bet|
| Probably true. Will probably happen.|
"It's a safe bet that your English skills improve quickly if you study at Elanguest."
| 35)|| Fit the bill|
| Seems correct.|
"That seems to fit the bill. I'll take it."
| 36)|| Black and blue|
"He was beaten until he was black and blue."
| 37)|| In cold blood|
| With no compassion or mercy. Usually associated with ruthless murder.|
"The assassin was evil. He killed him in cold blood."
| 38)|| Out of the blue|
"A great idea just came to me out of the blue."
| 39)|| Call someone's bluff|
| Make someone prove what they say. |
"He implied that he would terminate my contract, but I called his bluff."
| 40)|| Rock the boat|
| Create problems for other people.|
Everyone likes Anthony. He doesn't rock the boat."
| 41)|| By the book|
| Doing something according to rules.|
"He's a good cop. He does everything by the book."
| 42)|| Give someone the boot|
| Dismiss or get rid of someone.|
"Mr. Smith is an easy boss to work for. He doesn't like to give someone the boot."
| 43)|| Get to the bottom of|
| Learn about and understand fully.|
"We are not sure what happened, but we intend to get to the bottom of this."
| 44)|| Out of bounds|
| Not permitted.|
"Hans wanted to ask Mary out on a date, but I explained that she is out of bounds. Mary is engaged to Jack."
| 45)|| Bread and butter|
| Regular income.|
"We are very dependent on our advertising revenue. It's our bread and butter."
| 46)|| The best thing since sliced bread|
| A good invention or innovation.|
"I love this paper folding machine. It's the best thing since sliced bread."
| 47)|| Give me a break|
| Don't expect me to believe or agree with that.|
"You think the teacher is joking? Give me a break."
| 48)|| Don't hold your breath|
| Don't wait too long because it might not happen.|
"Yes, it's possible that they will lower taxes, but don't hold your breath."
| 49)|| Cross that bridge when you come to it|
| Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.|
"I'm not too wirried about a possible downturn in the economy. Anyway, let's cross that bridge when we come to it."
| 50)|| The bubble has burst|
| A previously positive situation has encountered a serious problem.|
"Last year, the stock market was doing very well. Unfortunately, it seems that the bubble has burst."
| 51)|| The buck stops here|
| Problems are resloved here.|
"A lot of people try to pass problems to other people. At my desk, however, the buck stops here."
| 52)|| Burn your bridges|
| make it impossible to return.|
"Be polite when you hand in your resignation. After all, you don't want to burn your bridges."
| 53)|| My ears are burning|
| I think someone is saying something about me.|
"Pierre is talking again. My ears are burning."
| 54)|| Put on the back burner|
| Leave it for later.|
"I don't think we'll have time to complete it this year. Let's put it on the back burner."
| 55)|| Someone means business|
| Someone is serious|
"Watch out for Harry. He's someone who means business."
| 56)|| At the touch of a button|
| Quickly and easily.|
"No problem. I can change your account information at the touch a button."
| 57)|| Have your cake and eat it|
| Enjoy something without paying for it.|
"He expected to pass without studying. Unfortunately, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too."
| 58)|| A close call|
| Something (usually bad) almost happening.|
"That car almost hit us. That was a close call."
| 59)|| Enough is enough|
| This should stop.|
"I have listened to his complaints for years but enough is enough."
| 60)|| A fat cat|
| A wealthy person.|
"He has everything he needs. He's a real fat cat."
| 61)|| My two cents worth|
| My humble opinion.|
"He seems like a corrupt politician. That's just my two cent's worth."
| 62)|| Hang out|
| Be together, spend time with each other.|
"Hey Lauren, let's get together tonight, we can just hang out and practice our English."
| 63)|| A change of heart|
| A changed opinion.|
"At one time, I supported George Bush. As time went on, however, I had a change of heart."
| 64)|| Get something off your chest|
| Explain something that is bothering you.|
"Gary, you don't seem happy. Is there something you would like to get off your chest?"
| 65)|| Don't count your chickens before the eggs have hatched|
| Don't make plans for something that might not happen.|
"Yes, I think we will probably get a raise in pay this year. Remember, though, don't count your chickens before the eggs have hatched."
| 66)|| A chip on his shoulder|
| He is angry about something.|
"I don't know why he's so unhappy. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder."
| 67)|| Come full circle|
| A process has been completed.|
"The salmon has returned to the place where it originally hatched. Its life cycle has come full circle."
| 68)|| Squeaky clean|
| Legitimate and proper.|
"We checked all of her references. She's squeaky clean."
| 69)|| In the clear|
| Out of trouble.|
"His innocence has been proven. He's in the clear."
| 70)|| Steer clear of|
"She's not very nice. I think we should steer clear of her."
| 71)|| Round the clock|
| All day.|
"She's a very hard worker. She usually works around the clock."
| 72)|| Turn back the clock|
| Go back in time. |
"I feel old. I wish I could turn back the clock."
| 73)|| Like clockwork|
| With mechanical efficiency.|
"He's very predictable. He always eats at the same time, like clockwork."
| 74)|| Wake up and smell the coffee|
| Think more realistically.|
"He doesn not respect you as much as you think. Wake up and smell the coffee."
| 75)|| The other side of the coin|
| Another version of a story or event.|
"The global summit will encourage meaningfull dialogue. On the other side of the coin, it might result in violent protests."
| 76)|| Left out in the cold|
| Left unaided or unprotected.|
"They don't include me in their group. I feel left out in the cold."
| 77)|| With flying colors|
| With enthusiasm and exuberance.|
"I can't wait to see you all. I'll be there with flying colors."
| 78)|| Scrape by|
| Have just enough but not more.|
"Our budget is not satisfactory but we will find a way to scrape by."
| 79)|| A tough cookie|
| A stubborn, strong person.|
"Don't get Shirley upset. She's a tough cookie."
| 80)|| Keep your cool|
| Don't become upset.|
"Relax, keep your cool."
| 81)|| Lose your cool|
| Become upset.|
"Don't get upset. If you lose your cool, it will make matters worse."
| 82)|| In a tight corner|
| Without any good options.|
"Milo has run out of options. If he takes any more chance, he might find himself in a tight corner."
| 83)|| A couch potato|
| A lazy person.|
"Luis just watches tv all day. He really is a couch potato."
| 84)|| Takes its course|
| A situation develops naturally.|
"There is nothing we can do to relieve the effects of her disease. We can only wait and let the illness take its course."
| 85)|| Up the creek|
| In trouble.|
"I warned Bill but he would not listen. Now, he's up the creek."
| 86)|| Crocodile tears|
| Exaggerated or faked sympathy.|
"She told me she was sorry but she was not, it was just crocodile tears."
| 87)|| When it comes to the crunch|
| When there are no more possibilities.|
"Victor seems to have a casual point of view. When it comes to the crunch, though, he is a real professional."
| 88)|| A far cry from|
| Very different from.|
"His personality is a far cry from his father's."
| 89)|| Off-the-cuff|
| Without research, planning, or considering.|
"I haven't had the time to think about it. My off-the-cuff impression, however, is that it is a good idea."
| 90)|| Can't cut it|
| Cannot do it.|
"Kim shouldn't be working here. She just can't cut it."
| 91)|| In the dark|
"They didn't tell me anything. I felt like they had left me in the dark."
| 92)|| A shot in the dark|
| A guess.|
"I'm not sure but I could take a shot in the dark."
| 93)|| Call it a day|
"I'm tired. Let's call it a day."
| 94)|| Late in the day|
| (Almost) too late.|
"The government just decided to buy new helicopters, but it seems a little late in the day to make such a decision."
| 95)|| In broad daylight|
| Without trying to hide it.|
"They robbed the bank in broad daylight."
| 96)|| Makes someone's day|
| Make someone happy.|
"Your letter made my day!"
| 97)|| Wouldn't be caught dead|
| Would never.|
"I hate that dress. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing it."
| 98)|| Get a raw deal|
| Receives less than what is deserved.|
"Be sure to read the contract carefully before you sign it. You don't want to get a raw deal."
| 99)|| Runs deep|
| Entrenched, or ingrained.|
"He loves his country. Patriotism runs deep in his veins."
| 100)|| Out of your depth|
| Beyond your existing knowledge or ability.|
"You don't seem to have much experience in this subject. Are you sure you're not out of your depth?"