Career Pathway

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Most important “IDIOMS & PHRASES”

Phrases with Meaning

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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