ТОП 10:

Have butterflies in one's stomach

People who have butterflies in their stomachs are experiencing tension or excitement, usually brought on by anxiety while waiting to do something. This is often shortened to get/have butterflies. "I have butterflies in my stomach waiting to go on stage," the actress said. "I've got butterflies," the patient said as he was about to go into surgery.


Off to a flying start

When the gun sounded cark was off to a flying start. A flying start is a fast or successful beginning. "I get up early so I can begin my day with a flying start," Clark said, "and my team has got off to a flying start by winning its first five races this season," he grinned.


Rise with the lark

A lark is a bird, and birds always wake up and begin the day at dawn. "I like getting up with the lark" Alan yawned, "but I know one bird that doesn't always rise with the lark." To get up/rise with the lark is to get up/rise early in the morning.


Give a good/bad account of oneself

To win a promotion, Ken has to give a good account of himself. That is, he must win approval by showing that he has done well. If he gives a poor account of himself he's likely to be demoted. "I once helped an old lady to cross the street," Ken said, hoping to give a good account of himself.


Put on airs

Since her promotion Fecilia has been giving herself airs that her fellow workers regard as rather foolish. " We know you're an excellent worker," they assured her. "You don't have to put on airs." To give oneself airsorput on airs is to act as if one is better or more important than others.


Give the game/show away

"No, no, no ! You're not supposed to tell the audience who the murderer is ! You're giving the game away, Foyle !" To give the game/show away is to reveal a plan or information that is supposed to be kept secret. "OK, I won't give the how away," Foyle shouted. "The butler had nothing to do with it !"


Go down the drain

Work, time or money wasted or lost is gone forever. It has gone down the drain. "If I don't pass tomorrow's examination all my years of effort will go down the drain," Fiona said. "Hey, I worked hard to earn that money !" Buddy cried. "I want to spend it carefully, not see it go down the drain !"


Go like a house on fire

Mr. Bell's gas heater wouldn't work. He thought he would repair it himself. That proved to be a terrible mistake and he had to go like a house on fire to the nearby fire department for help. When a person goes like a house on fire he moves very, very quickly.


Go places

Those who know Anderson are convinced he is going to go places. "Anderson's young, intelligent and full of ambition," one of his neighbors said. "He's a man who will go places someday." To go places means to become successful. "If I'm going places I had better start now," Anderson said.


At great length

Todd has been talking at great length to his Uncle Freddy. In that sense, he's been talking a long time. He has been explaining at great length his new invention. In this sense, he's explaining something in great detail. Therefore, at great length can mean (1) for a long time; or (2) in great detail.


Half a chance

Either way you say this -- a half chanceorhalf a chance -- it means an opportunity, a reasonable chance. "Give yourself a half chance and you'll quickly get used to your new computer," Jim said. "Fear not, Mickey. With this magic sword you have at least half a chance of winning, " Larry grinned.


Have a change of heart

Matthew was about to give Angela a big box of chocolates when he saw a poor beggar. "Sorry, Angela," he said, "but I've had a change of heart. That man looks like he needs chocolates more than you do." To have a change of heart is to change one's aim, opinion or behavior about something.


Have a way with words

Cameron can be very charming when he wants something. Idiomatically, he has a way with words. That is, he knows what to say and how to say it to get what he wants. "It's not your birthday and it's a long time till Christmas but you have a way with words, Cameron. Sure, I'll buy you that bicycle" Uncle Bob smiled.


Have no stomach

People once believed that courage came from the stomach and that those who lacked courage had weak stomachs. From that, to have no stomach for ( something ) means to lack ambition or desire to do something. "Eat this or go to bed hungry," Kate frowned. "I have no stomach today for arguments about my cooking."


Have two left feet

"Grace, Lincoln, what an exciting dance that is !" Murray exclaimed. "To do it, though, I'd have to have two left feet like you have." Murray is being unkind for to say a person has two left feet is to say he or she is an awkward or clumsy dancer.


A hen party

You only find girls and ladies at a hen party. The reason for that is that this colloquialism defines a gathering of women. Frequently it's a meeting or a party where they exchange talk and gossip. "Helen and Pauline are attending a hen party to honor a friend who is getting married next week."


High as a kite (1)

Dillon has just learned that he's going to be promoted and be given a large wage increase ! "Wheee, I'm feeling high as a kite,' he laughed. To be high as a kite is to feel very excited or happy. "When I tell my family the news they'll be high as a kite too," Dillon grinned.


High as a kite (2)

Ron's been celebrating and we now see him on his merry way home. Obviously he has had too much alcohol to drink and he's high as a kite. That is, Ron's drunk !



A holy terror (1)

Jaime doesn't seem to understand that he's supposed to act like a little angel in his new abode. He's so full of energy and tricks he's a holy terror. In Jaime's case, a holy terror is a badly-behaved child. " I think we'd better have a look into Jaime's past," the director in his neighborhood sighed. "He's a holy terror up here !"


A holy terror (2)

New visitors to the dining room have found that Cavendish can be very demanding. "He insists that we conduct ourselves like proper ladies and gentleman," Jaime frowned. "He can be a holy terror at times." In this case a holy terror is someone -- a boss or someone in a position of authority -- who causes fear in people.


Hopping mad

"Hey, down there ! Quiet down 1 You're supposed to be taking your afternoon nap," Mrs K cried. "All that jumping about is making me hopping mad !" What Mrs K is saying is that her sweet little infant is making her very angry. It's not necessary to be a kangaroo to be hopping mad: simply being extremely mad will do.


Hot air

"Elect me and I promise I will reduce taxes, shorten the work week, and see to it that everyone gets paid a higher wage," Blah declared. "Blah is full of hot air," Someone said. "Yes, and everything he says is hot air," another replied. Promises and boasts that won't or can't be kept are called hot air.


It's a small world

"That foot looks familiar," Fenton cried. "It sure does," Oliver replied. "I saw it when we lived in Zanesville. It's a small world, isn't it ?" The phrase Oliver hurriedly uttered is used to express surprise when seeing someone or something from the past.


Keep one's head

Ben's trail of crime has come to an end. I was amazed, though, to learn how he kept his head when his sentence was carried out. Tokeep one's head is to stay calm, not get excited or frightened. "I'm a relaxed individual," Ben smiled. "I keep my head no matter how bad things get."


Keep open house

Nothing pleases Fergus more than visiting someone keeping open house. To keep open house is to welcome all guest or visitors to a house -- and not only that, but to entertain them 1 This is often shortened to open house. "Wow, the people who lived here must have had some great open house parties !" Fergus exclaimed.


Land on one's feet

If a cat falls, it always seems to land safely on its feet. That has given us this idiom, so when a person escapes misfortune or survives an unpleasant situation we say he lands on his feet. "Maxwell was born lucky. No matter what he does wrong he always seems to land on his feet.


Lay down the law

"The way my employees are behaving is terrible," Grouch grumbled. "I'm going to lay down the law and tell them to concentrate on their work." To lay down the law is to say something or give an order in a way that says "you will obey me or accept my word without argument or question !"


Like it or lump it

No one seems to know where this expression comes from. What we do know is that it means to put up with something unpleasant -- such as a decision or a situation -- without protesting or complaining. "It's no use making a scene, " Willy's mother said. "Like it or lump it, I insist that you finish eating your breakfast."



The lion's share

After a hunt, lions always take the largest amount of food for themselves -- and few animals dare dispute their right to it. That's why we have the lion's share, which means the largest part or the greatest amount."I'm certain I've read somewhere that I'm entitled to the lion's share," Cecil complained.


Liquid assets

A liquid is something that, like water, flows freely and easily. Assets are all of someone's belongings, including property. Those belongings that can be easily converted into cash are called liquid assets. " Herbert asked for a loan and the bank manager told him to bring in proof of all his liquid assets."


A lone wolf

Most people enjoy companionship and like doing things in groups. There are some people, however, who are very private and prefer being alone. A person like that is often called a lone wolf. "No wonder Wally is a lone wolf." Martin said. "Listen to the way he sings to the moon !"


Love is blind

According to this old saying a person in love doesn't see -- or admit to seeing -- faults in the person he loves. Pierre, for example, thinks Lulu is the sweetest and dearest girl on earth. "I see what people mean when they say love is blind," Lulu laughed, "but you'd better watch your step, Pierre."


Make a clown of oneself

In a romantic mood, Humphrey sat down to serenade Hermione. "Oh, Hermione, you've made a clown of me," he said as she rejected him. "Nonsense," Hermione replied. "You've made a clown of yourself. Your singing is awful !" To make a clown of oneself is to make oneself or appear foolish or stupid.


Make things hum

Until Gustav joined our company we had all sorts of problems on our production line. Gustav has corrected the problems and has really made things hum. Not only that, Gustav has been keeping things humming. To make things hum is to cause things to perform smoothly and efficiently. To keep things humming is to keep them performing well.


Marry above oneself

For a long, long time Manfred has been afraid to express his love for May. "After all," he said, "May is in what some people call 'the upper class', and people in low positions ( like me ) don't usually marry above themselves." To marry above oneself is to marry someone in a higher social class than one's own.


Marry beneath oneself

To some people the social position of the person they marry is very important consideration. "People who believe in that kind of nonsense almost never marry beneath themselves, do they Myrtle ?" "No," Myrtle answered " because marrying beneath oneself means to marry a person of a lower social class than the one -- real or imagined -- they belong to."


Miss the boat

They stood on the shore with the rain beating down and the water rising about their feet. "If you hadn't forgotten our tickets we would have been on time," Amelia scolded. "You've caused us to miss the boat." To miss the boat is to be too late for something or to fail to take advantage of an opportunity.


Not just a pretty face

"Personally, I favor that girl in the middle to win," John said. "Her name's Miss Leung, and as you can see she's not just a pretty face." A girl characterized like this possesses hidden skills, talents or intelligence. "See, she's loaded with talent. If I were the judge I'd vote for her. She's much more than a pretty face !"



"There's nothing wrong with you that can't be cured," Dr Grouse said. "Just be more tolerant, stop being so critical, show more concern for others, and open your mind to new ideas. " Willies looked shocked. "Are you telling me I'm narrow-minded ? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard !" Willies shouted -- thus proving his narrow-mindedness.


Hole in the head

"I need space there like I need a hole in the head !" Bridget screamed. "Madam, that's my style," the artist replied, " and your advice is as welcome as a hole in the head." You'll understand this conversation better if you know a hole in the head means something that is unnecessary or unwelcome.


No frills

A frill is an extra. It may be nice to have but it's not necessary. An airline, restaurant, tour company, hotel, etc. offering a basic service without extras ( frills ) can be called a no frills airline, no frills restaurant, no frills tour company, or a no frills hotel. "We went on a no frills trip to Europe," Ben said.


Off the hook

A fish that is able to get off the fishing hook and swim away is free of trouble. That's the idea behind this idiom which means to avoid difficulty or get out of trouble. "I'm late for school," Mack said. "I had better think up a good excuse to get off the hook."


An old master

Sorry, Paul, you don't qualify as an old master. It's possible you and your paintings will last forever but an old master is an artist or a painting dated before the 19th century. "If I change my name to Rembrandt or Michelangelo, maybe people would call me an old master and my paintings old masters, " Paul sighed.


One in a million

"My wife is the greatest person in the whole wide world," Peter said. "She's one in a million." What Peter is saying is that his wife is very, very special. She's unusual in every wonderful sense of the word. "I think you are one in a million, too," his rare and wonderful wife answered.


One's nearest and dearest

"I'm not as rich as Rocketfeller or as strong as Rambo, and no one has ever asked me to star in a film," Herbert said humbly, "yet my nearest and dearest tell me I'm the world's most wonderful husband and father," he grinned. Herbert should be very proud for one's nearest and dearest is one's family.


Out of action

I'm sure Chad would like to help his friend win an argument with the neighbor's dog but, unfortunately, he's out of action. "Personally," Chad whispered, "the way things are going in there I'm glad I'm out of action today." A person ( or a cat ) out of action is unable to work or perform, usually because of an illness.


Over and done with

"That's it, it's finished," the supervisor said. "I'm glad that job is finally over and done with." There's nothing difficult about this idiom for it's another way of saying that something -- a job, a relationship, etc. -- is finished. "I've enjoyed working with you," Aarok said. "I hope our association isn't over and done with and that we'll work together again."


Pack one's bags

"This place is beginning to bother me," Albert mumbled. "I'd like to pack my bags and say goodbye." In anticipation of making an escape, he practiced putting his valuables into a bag. "To pack one's bags is to leave a place in anger or annoyance or after a disagreement," the guard whispered. "And Albert isn't going anywhere !"


Paint a gloomy picture

Robert is depressed. That may be why he is painting a gloomy picture. To paint a gloomy picture is to describe something -- an event, a situation, the future, etc. -- in a cheerless, gloomy or unpromising way. "I'm sad because the weatherman has painted a gloomy picture for the weekend," Robert sighed. "he said it's going to rain."


Part of the furniture

Colin has been waiting in the doctor's waiting room so long that he's beginning to feel that he's now part of the furniture. For a person to feel that he's part of the furniture, he has been at one job or in one place so long that he actually feels he has become part of the environment.


Patch something up

When we patch something up -- something torn or broken -- we repair something that is damaged. Disagreements between people can also be patched up, though it must be remembered that such repairs are sometimes only temporary. "The manager was called in to try to patch up a quarrel between the two departments," Molly said.


Pin money

When we speak of pin money, we are always referring to a small amount of money. "I'm going to look for a better job. I'm working for pin money here," Ned said. It can also refer to a small allowance a man gives his wife, or moneys he saves from other sources. "Sarah saved her pin money to buy a new dress."


Plain Jane

A plain Jane is a girl or young woman whose looks are ordinary or common. Because "plain" and "Jane" rhyme, this is a rhyming idiom used to describe a girl -- regardless of her name -- who is neither pretty nor ugly. "Betsy was a plain Jane when we were in school but she's certainly a beautiful girl today."


Pot-luck dinner

A pot-luck dinner is an informal dinner where each of the guests brings a pot of food to share with others. Because nobody knows what anyone is bringing, the guests hope they'll be lucky and the food will be interesting. "Good heavens ! Look what Egbert's bringing to our pot-luck dinner !"


Pour oil on troubled waters

Before its dangers to the environment were known, oil was poured on rough seas to calm them. Today this idiom refers to settling disputes or bringing calm to a troubled situation. "This isn't working," Alex said. "Let's see if we can pour oil on troubled waters by sitting down and having a quiet talk about it."


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