100 Idioms and Phrases with Meaning PDF




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1) A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush- Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might losing everything.
2) A blessing in disguise- Something good that isn’t recognized by first
3) Bull in china shop- One who causes damage
4) A chip on your shoulder- Being upset for something that happened in the past
5) A damp squib- Complete failure
6) A dime A dozen- Anything that is common and easy to get
7) A doubting Thomas- A skeptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something
8) A drop in the bucket- A very small part of something big or whole
9) A fool and his money are easily parted- It’s easy for a foolish person to lose his/ her money
10) A gentleman at large- An unreliable person
11) A green horn- Inexperienced
12) A house divided against itself cannot stand- Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.
13) A leopard can’t change his spots- You cannot change who you are
14) A lost cause- A hopeless case, a person or situation having no hope of positive change.
15) A man of straw- A weak person
16) A mare’s nest- A false invention
17) A penny saved is a penny earned- By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little)
18) A picture paints a thousand words- A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words
19) A piece of cake- A task that can be accomplished very easily
20) A slap on the wrist- A very mild punishment
21) A stalking horse- Pretence
22) A steal- Very inexpensive, a bargain
23) A taste of your own medicine- When you are mistreated the same way you mistreat others
24) A toss-up- A result hat is still unclear and can go either way
25) A wolf in sheep’s clothing- A dangerous person pretending harmless
26) ABC: Very common knowledge about to- Ready to, just going to
27) Above all- Mainly, especially
28) Above board- Fair and honest
29) According to- In the order of; on the authority of
30) Actions speak louder than words- It’s better to actually do something than hust talk about it
31) Add fuel to the fire- Whenever something is done to make a bad situation even worse than it is
32) Against the clock- Rushed and short on time
33) All (day, week, month, year) long- The entire day, week, month, year
34) All along- All the time, from the beginning (without change)
35) All and Sundry- Without making any distinction
36) All bark and no bite- When someone is threatening and/ or aggressive but not willing to engage in a fight
37) All greek to me- Meaningless and incomprehensible like someone who cannot read, speak, or
38) All in all- Considering everything
39) All in the same boat- When everyone is facing the same challenges
40) All of a sudden- Suddenly, without warning (All at once)
41) All right- Acceptable, fine; yes, okay
42) Alpha and omega- First and last letter of Greek alphabet, means beginning and end
43) An arm and a leg- Very expensive, A large amount of money
44) An axe to grind- To have a dispute with someone
45) An eye wash- A pretence
46) An iron hand- By force
47) Apple to my eye- Someone who is cherished above all others
48) As a matter of fact- Really, actually (also: as to)
49) As for- Regarding, concerning (also: as to)
50) As high as a kite- Anything that is high up in the sky
51) As soon as- Just after, when
52) As usual- as is the general case, as is typical
53) At all- To any degree (also: in the least)
54) At heart- Basically, fundamentally
55) At last- Finally, after a long time
56) At least- A minimum of, no fewer (or less) than
57) At odds- In dispute
58) At sixes and seven- Persons who are having different opinions
59) At the drop of a hat- Willing to do something immediately
60) Back and call- At the service
61) Back and forth- In a backward and forward motion
62) Back seat driver- People who criticize from the sidelines, much like someone giving unwanted advice
63) Back to square one- Having to start all over again
64) Back to the drawing board- When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over
65) Bag and baggage- with all goods
66) Baker’s dozen- Thirteen
67) Bank on- Depend on, count on
68) Barking up the wrong tree- A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve
69) Bated breath- In anxiety, expectancy
70) Beat a dead horse- To force an issue that has already ended
71) Beating around the bash- Avoiding the main topic, not speaking directly about the issue
72) Bend over backwards- Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything
73) Between a Rock and a Hard place- Stuck between two very bad options
74) Between Scylla and Charybdis- Choice between two unpleasant alternatives
75) Between the cup and the lips- On the point of achievement
76) Bite off more than you can chew- To take on a task that is a way to big
77) Bite your tongue- To avoid talking
78) Black and white- In writing
79) Blood is thicker than water- The family bond is closer than anything else
80) Blow hot and cold- Having no stand, shows favour at one time and unfavour at another
81) Blue moon- A rare event or occurrence
82) Body and soul- Entirely
83) Break a leg- A superstitious way to say ‘Good Luck’ without saying ‘Good Luck’,
84) Buy a lemon- To purchase a vehicle that constantly gives problems or stops running after you drive it
85) By & by- Gradually
86) By all means- Certainly, definitely, naturally (also: of course); using any possible way or method
87) By far- By a great margin, clearly
88) By fits and starts- Irregularly
89) By heart- By memorizing
90) By hook or by crook- By any means
91) By leaps and bound- speedily
92) By oneself- Alone, without assistance
93) By the way- Incidentally
94) Call a spade a spade- Straight talks
95) Can’t cut the mustard- Someone who isn’t adequate enough to compete or participate
96) Cast iron stomach- Someone who has no problems, complications or ill effects with eating anything
97) Cats and bull story- Untrue story
98) Cats and dogs- Heavy rain
99) Charley horse- stiffness in the leg/ A leg cramp
100) Chew someone out- Verbally scold someone
101) Chip on his shoulder- Angry today about something that occurred in the past
102) Chow down- To eat
103) Clear- cut- Clearly stated, definite, apparent
104) Close but no cigar- To be near and almost accomplish a goal, but fall short
105) Close call- A situation involving a narrow escape from danger
106) Cock and bull story- An unbelievable tale, untrue story
107) Come hell or high water- Any difficult situation or obstacle
108) Crack someone up- To make someone laugh
109) Cross your fingers- To hope that something happens the way you want it to
110) Cry wolf- Intentionally raise a false alarm
111) Cup of joe- A cup of coffee
112) Curtain lecture- A reproof by wife to her husband
113) Cut and dried- Ready made form
114) Cut to the chase- Leave out all the unnecessary details and just get to the point
115) Dark horse- One who was previously unknown and is now prominent
116) Day in and day out- Continuously, constantly
117) Dead Ringer- 100 % identical, a duplicate
118) Devil’s advocate- Someone who takes a position for the sake of argument without believing in that
119) Dog days of summer- The hottest day of the summer season
120) Don’t count your chickens before they hatch- Don’t rely on it until you sure of it
121) Don’t look a gift horse in the month- When someone gives you a gift, don’t be ungrateful
122) Don’t pull all your eggs in one basket- Do not pull all your resources in one possibility
123) Doozy- Something outstanding
124) Down to the wire- Something that ends at the last minute or last few seconds
125) Drastic times call for drastic measures- When you are extremely desperate you need to take extremely desperate actions
126) Drink like a fish- To drink very heavily, drinking anything
127) Dry run- Rehearsal
128) Egg on- To urge somebody
129) Eighty six- A certain item is no longer available. Or this idiom can also mean, to throw away
130) Elvis has left the building- The show has come to an end. It’s all over
131) Ethnic cleansing- Killing of a certain ethnic or religious group on a massive scale
132) Ever and anon- Now and then
133) Every cloud has a silver lining- Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days
134) Every other (one)- Every second (one), alternate (ones)
135) Everything but the kitchen sink- Almost everything and anything has been included
136) Excuse my French- Please forgive me for cussing
137) Fabian policy- Policy of delaying decisions
138) Face-to-face- Direct, personal; directly, personally (written without hyphens)
139) Fair and wide- Equal opportunity to all
140) Far and wide- Every where
141) Few and far between- Not frequent, unusual, rare
142) Field day- An enjoyable day or circumstance
143) Fifty- fifty- Divided into two equal parts
144) Finding your feet- To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing
145) Finger licking good- To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing
146) Fire and brimstone- A very tasty food or meal
147) Fire and fury- Fearful penalties
148) First and foremost- Extreme enthusiasm
149) Fishy: doubtful- Highest priority
150) Fixed in your ways- Not willing or wanting to change from your normal way of doing something
151) Flash in the pan- Something that shows potential or looks promising in the beginning but fails to deliver
152) Flea market- A swap meet. A place where people gather to buy and sell inexpensive goods
153) Flesh and blood- This idiom can mean living material of which people are made of, or it can refer to human nature
154) Flip the bird- To raise your middle finger at someone
155) Foam at the mouth- To be enraged and show it
156) Fools’ Gold- Iron pyrites, a worthless rock that resembles real gold
157) Foot the bill- Bear expenses
158) For good- Permanently, forever
159) For once- This one time, for only one time
160) For sure- Without doubt (also: for certain)
161) For the time being- Temporarily (also: for now)
162) Free and easy- Natural and simple
163) French kiss- An open mouth kiss where tongues touch
164) From now on- From this time into the future
165) From rags to riches- To go from very poor to being very wealthy
166) Fuddy- duddy- An old-fashioned and foolish type of person
167) Full monty- This idiom can mean either, “The whole thing” or “Completely nude”
168) Funny farm- A mental institutional facility
169) Gall and wormwood- Source of irritation
170) Get down to brass tacks- To become serious about something
171) Get over it- To move beyond something that is bothering you
172) Get up on the wrong side of the bed- Someone who is having a horrible day
173) Get your walking papers- Get fired from the job
174) Gird up the loin- To be ready
175) Give and take- Compromise, cooperation between people
176) Give him the slip- To get away from, to escape
177) Give in- Surrender
178) Go down like a lead balloon- To be received badly by an audience
179) Go for broke- To gamble everything you have
180) Go out on a limb- Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/ something
181) Go the extra mile- Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand
182) Good Samaritan- Someone who helps others when they are in need, with no discussion for
183) Graveyard shift- Working hours from about 12:00 am to 8.00
184) Great minds think alike- Intelligent people think like each other
185) Green room- The waiting room, especially for those who are about to go on a TV or radio show
186) Gut feeling- A personal intuition you get, especially when feel something may not be right
187) Had better- Should, ought to, be advisable to
188) Hand a gloves- Very intimate friends
189) Hard and fast- Certain
190) Hard of hearing- Partially deaf, not able to hear well
191) Haste makes waste- Quickly doing things results in a poor ending
192) Hat Trick- When one player scores three goals in the same hockey game.
193) Haughty and naughty- Arrogant and naughty
194) Have an axe to grind- To have a dispute with someone
195) Have got- To have, to possess
196) Have got to- Must (also: have to)
197) He lost his head- Angry and overcome by emotions
198) Head and shoulder- Superior
199) Head over heels- Very excited and/ or joyful, especially when in love
200) Heart and soul- With full devotion
201) Hell in a hand basket- Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster
202) Helter Shelter-Here and there
203) Herculean task- A tedious job
204) High five- Slapping palms above each others heads as celebration gesture
205) High on the Hog- Living in luxury
206) Hit below the belt- Contrary the principles of fairness
207) Hit the books- To study, especially for a test or exam
208) Hit the hay- Go to bed or go to sleep
209) Hit the nail on the head- Do something exactly right or say something exactly right
210) Hit the sack- Go to bed or go to sleep
211) Hither and thither- Here and there
212) Hocus Pocus- In general, a term used in magic or trickery
213) Hold your horses- Be patient
214) Hole and corner policy- A secret policy for an evil purpose
215) Hornet’s nest- Raise controversy
216) Hue and cry- Great noise
217) Hush money- A bribe
218) Icing on the cake- When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have
219) Idle hands are the devil’s tools- You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do
220) If it’s not one thing, it’s another- When one thing goes wrong, then another, and another…
221) Ill at ease- Uncomfortable or worried in a situation
222) In a hurry- Hurried, rushed (also: in a rush)
223) In case- In order to be prepared if the meaning is in order to be prepared if something happens
224) In hand- Under firm control, well managed
225) In like Flynn- To be easily successful, especially when sexual or romantic
226) In no time- Very quickly, rapidly
227) In the bag- To have something secured
228) In the buff- Nude
229) In the heat of the moment- Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment
230) In the long run- Eventually, after a long period of time
231) In the worst way- Very much, greatly
232) In time to- Before the time necessary to do something
233) In touch- Having contact
234) In vain- Useless, without the desired result
235) In your face- An aggressive and bold confrontation
236) Ins and outs- Full detail
237) Inside out- With the inside facing the outside
238) Intents and purposes- Practically
239) It figures- It seems likely, reasonable, or typical
240) It takes two to tango- A two person conflict where both people are at fault
241) It’s a small world- You frequently see the same people in different places
242) It anyone’s call- A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict
243) Ivory tower- Imaginary world
244) Ivy league- Since 1954 the Ivy league has been the following universities: Columbia, Brown, Cornell
245) Jaywalk- Crossing the street (from the middle) without using the crosswalk
246) Joshing me- Tricking me
247) Keep an eye on him- You should carefully watch him. Keep an eye on
248) Keep body and soul together- To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive
249) Keep your chin up- To remain joyful in a tough situation
250) Kick the bucket- Die
251) Kith and kin- Blood relatives
252) Kitty-corner- Diagonally across. Sometimes called Catty- Corner as well
253) Knock on Wood- Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid some bad luck
254) Know the ropes- To understand the details
255) Last but not least- An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is also very important
256) Last straw- The final event in a series of unacceptable actions
257) Latin and Greek- Unable to understand
258) Leave no stone unturned- Make all possible efforts
259) Lend me your ear- To politely ask for someone’s full attention
260) Length and breadth- All over
261) Let along- and certainly not (also: not to mention, to say nothing of)
262) Let the cat out of the bag- To share a secret that wasn’t suppose to be shared
263) Level playing field- A fair competition where no side has an advantage
264) Life and soul- Main support
265) Like a chicken and its head cut off- To act in a frenzied manner
266) Liquor someone up- To get someone drunk
267) Little by little- Gradually, slowly (also: step by step)
268) Live-wire- Energetic
269) Loaves and fish- Material interests
270) Lock and key- In safe place
271) Long in the tooth- Old people (or horses)
272) Loose cannon- Someone who is unpredictable and can cause damage if not kept in check
273) Make no bones about- To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections
274) Method to my madness- Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason
275) Might and main- With all enthusiasm
276) Milk and water- Weak
277) More or less- Approximately, almost, somewhat, to a certain degree
278) Mumbo Jumbo- Nonsense or meaningless speech
280) Mum’s the word- To keep quiet, To say nothing
280) Narrow-minded- Not willing to accept the ideas of others

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