English idioms

Idioms with animals
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as free as a bird = free, without worries a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush = más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando the early bird catches the worm = al que madruga Dios lo ayuda birds of a feather flock together = Dios los cría y ellos se juntan to kill two birds with one stone = matar dos pájaros de un tiro to eat like a bird = eat very little a bird's eye view = a vuelo de pájaro an early bird = a person who arrives or gets up early a bird of ill omen = un pájaro de mal agüero as the crow flies = in a straight line a little bird told me something = expression used to say that you know something but you will not say how you found out = me contó un pajarito a cock and bull story = an absurd and improbable story, used as an excuse or explanation = un cuento chino to take the bull by the horns = face a difficulty boldly like a bull in a china shop = a rough and clumsy person like a red tag to a bull = likely to cause anger to move like a bull at a gate = to move very fast, ignoring everything in your way to hit the bull's eye = dar en el blanco to shoot the bull (US) = to have an informal conversation about unimportant things a cat has nine lives = un gato tiene siete vidas (Nótese que en inglés el gato tiene dos vidas más!) curiosity killed the cat = it may be dangerous to be too curious to fight like cat and dog = to fight a lot has a cat got your tongue? = ¿te comieron la lengua los ratones? to let the cat out of the bag = to reveal a secret carelessly like a cat on hot bricks = very nervous no room to swing a cat = not enough space to play cat and mouse with somebody = to keep somebody in uncertain expectation, treating him alternately cruelly and kindly when the cat's away, the mice will play = cuando el gato no está, los ratones se divierten to put/set the cat among the pigeons = to introduce somebody/something that is likely to cause trouble it's raining cats and dogs = it's raining a lot never count your chickens before they are hatched = no cantes victoria antes de tiempo (lit. nunca cuentes tus pollos antes de que nazcan) which came first, the chicken or the egg? = it is difficult or impossible to decide which of two things happened first a chicken and egg situation = a situation in which it is difficult or impossible to decide which of two things happened first

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somebody's chickens have come home to roost = somebody's bad actions in the past cause problems now to run around like a headless chicken = to go from one place to another in a disorganized way chicken feed = small amount of money, almost useless to chicken out = to decide at the last moment not to do something because you are afraid chicken pox = illness which causes fever and spots on your skin = varicela somebody is no spring chicken = somebody is no longer young to behave like a hen mother = to be very protective a hen party = party for women only, usually the night before one of them gets married a stag party/night = party for men only, usually the night before one of them gets married a cock and bull story = an absurd and improbable story, used as an excuse or explanation = un cuento chino to live like fighting cocks = to enjoy the best possible food cock of the walk = person who dominates others a dog's life = constantly worried, troubled or miserable every dog has his day = everyone can succeed sooner or later his bark is worse than his bite = perro que ladra no muerde love me, love my dog = if one loves somebody, one should love everyone and everything associated with him to be like a dog with two tails = to be very happy to give a dog a bad name (and hang him) = once a person has lost his reputation, it's difficult to regain it to go to the dog = (an organization) become less eficient to let sleeping dogs lie = to let it be quiet not to stand/have a dog's chance = to have no chance at all to work like a dog = to work a lot to treat somebody like a dog = to treat somebody with no respect at all the tail wagging the dog = situation in which a minor part of something controls the course of the whole barking dogs seldom bite = people who look aggressive are not really too bad you can't teach an old dog new tricks = it's difficult for an old person to change or do new things a sitting duck = somebody easy to attack an ugly duckling = a person who at first seems unpromising but later becomes admired like a duck to water = without fear, naturally like water off a duck's back = (of criticisms) without any effect a dead duck = a plan that will probably fail a lame duck = a person/organization in trouble that needs help to duck a subject/question = to avoid a difficult or unpleasant subject/question like a fish out of water = strange, different to the rest = como sapo de otro pozo like a fish in muddy/troubled waters = in confused subjects a big fish (in a little pond) = an important person (in a small comunity or a restricted situation) an odd fish = an eccentric person

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2

but has surprising abilites or qualities pigs might fly = expression used to say that you do not believe that something will happen to buy a pig in a poke = to buy something that is not as good as you thought = comprar gato por liebre to make a pig of oneself = to eat a lot = comer en gran cantidad. flesh nor good red herring = too ambiguous there are (plenty of) other fish in the sea = there are (many) other people/things to cook somebody's goose = ensure that somebody fails to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs = to destroy something that would have produced continuous profit in the future not to say boo to a goose = to be very timid or gentle what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander = what is good for one person must be also good for another in similar circumstances a wild goose chase = a situation where you look for something that does not exist so you waste a lot of time to get goose pimples/flesh = to get small raised spots on your skin when you are cold or frightened to eat like a horse = to eat a lot to be flogging a dead horse = to be wasting time or effort on something impossible to be/get on one's high horse = to act proudly. darse un atracón to make a pig's ear of something = to make something very badly = hacer algo mal. be arrogant to get on one's hobby-horse = to start talking about something that one likes to discuss to hold your horses = to do something more slowly to change horses in midstream = to transfer one's preference for somebody to another in the middle of an undertaking to close the stable door after the horse has bolted = try to prevent something when it is too late to put the cart before the horse = to reverse the logical order a Trojan horse = something that looks normal but hides somebody's real intentions never look a gift horse in the mouth = a caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes a nod is as good as a wink (to a blind horse) = a hint or suggestion can be understood without being explicitly stated straight from the horse's mouth = from a reliable source = de buena fuente you can take a horse to water.                                to dream like fish = to dream a lot to drink like a fish = to drink a lot of alcohol to have bigger/other fish to fry = to have something more important to do neither fish. but he may still refuse to do it a dark horse = someone mysterious. who doesn't tell others about himself. como la mona a guinea pig = somebody used in a scientific test = un conejillo de las Indias to pig out = to eat a lot all at once to sweat like a pig = to sweat a lot 3 . but you can't make him drink = you can give a person the chance to do something.

mad with something monkey business/tricks = dishonest or bad behaviour brass monkey weather = very cold weather to make a monkey out of somebody = to make somebody look stupid to have ants in one's pants = to be very restless to be mas as a March hare = to be completely mad to be packed like sardines = estar como sardinas enlatadas to shed crocodile tears = llorar lágrimas de cocodrilo to be like a bear with a sore head = be rude. That car cost him an arm and a leg. 4 . to fold somebody in one's arms = hold somebody closely by putting one's arms around him. as a way of getting to sleep like a lamb (to the slaughter) = without realising that something dangerous is going to happen as meek as a lamb = humble. in a bad mood Idioms with parts of the body   to cost someone an arm and a leg = cost somebody a lot of money. from memory to be a busy bee = to enjoy being busy or active to have a bee in one's bonnet (about something) = to be obsessed.                                to smell a rat = to guess that something wrong is happening = oler a gato encerrado the rat race = competition to keep one's position in work/life like rats leaving/deserting the sinking ship = expression used to describe people who leave a place when it is in trouble like a drowned rat = soaking wet and miserable a pack rat = somebody who collects things that he does not need to separate the sheep from the goats = to distinguish good people from bad people a wolf in sheep's clothing = somebody who appears friendly or harmless but is really an enemy like sheep = easily influenced by others the black sheep (of the family) = somebody regarded as a failure or embarrassment to count sheep = to imagine sheep jumping over a fence and count them. obedient a mutton dressed as a lamb = older person wearing clothes made for younger people donkey's years = a very long time donkey-work = the hard part of a job to talk the hind legs off a donkey = to talk a lot a scapegoat = chivo expiatorio a red herring = something that attracts people's attention a white elephant = possession that is useless and expensive to maintain to have a frog in one's throat = to have a phlem to come out of one's shell = to become less shy to learn/say something parrot-fashion = to learn/say sth by heart.

He's been beating his brains out all afternoon trying to finish his homework. to turn one's back on someone = refuse to help somebody. as long as your arm = very long. I've just had a brainwave! I know how to solve this! to rack one's brain about something = think hard to remember something or to find a solution. to be out on one's ear = be forced to leave a place because something wrong has been done. to see the back of something = get rid of something unpleasant. to twist somebody's arm = persuade somebody to do something he doesn't want to do. Don't trust him. This report is excellent. he would stab you in the back when you don't expect it. to stab someone in the back = be disloyal to somebody. behind someone's back = when someone is not present. I'm sorry I didn't call you yesterday. 5 . like criticism or complaints. You should work harder or you'll be out on your ear. to walk arm in arm = with the arms bent around each other's. They were talking about me behind my back. I told him not to park there but he just turned a deaf ear to it. If you work hard next week. I've been racking my brain all day and still can't remember her name. to beat your brains out = think about something very hard and for a long time. but I was up to my ears in work. when one's back is turned = when one can't see or know what others are doing to pick somebody's brain = find out what somebody knows/thinks by asking questions. to be all ears = listen with attention and interest. to turn a deaf ear to something = ignore something unwelcome. to be up to one's ears (in somehing) = be extremely busy. system. he was fired and everyone was against him.                        to give one's right arm = be prepared to make a great sacrifice in order to do something. He would give his right arm to have a new house. John had his back against the wall. to be the brains behind/of something = be the person who thought of something (a plan. you can certainly pat yourself on the back. Martin is definitely the brains behind this project. you'll see the back of this job. to have no backbone = have a weak character. to have a brainwave = have a sudden good idea. I can't stand her. Nobody twisted my arm about coming here. He was all ears when I told him I had free tickets for the cinema. that's why I keep her at arm's length. The interviewer will pick your brain to discover how much you know. to pat oneself on the back = feel pleased with oneself. to have one's back against the wall = be in a difficult position and forced to defend oneself. to hold/keep someone at arm's length = keep someone at a distance. to have somebody/something on the brain = think repeatedly about someone or something. to welcome/accept/receive something with open arms = with enthusiasm. organization).

to go in (at) one ear and out (at) the other = to forget something almost immediately after hearing it. there's more to something that meets the eye = something is more complex than it looks. She can twist him round his little finger. If you would catch the waiter's eye. to keep one's ears open = to listen in order to find out what is happening. He knows I always get late. Would you keep an eye on the children while I go to the doctor's? to see eye to eye (with someone) (on something) = agree. He got his fingers burnt dabbling in the stock market. Please keep your ears open for anything unusual. to have a finger in every pie = be involved in many activities. so she will convince him to go to the party. I don't know why I tell her. shops have Christmas lightnings coming out of their ears. Her flat is so nice. to have something coming out of one's ears = have too much of something. she obviously has an eye for decoration. At this time of year. you can do it with your eyes closed! to keep one's eyes skinned/peeled = remain alert. Please. she must have eyes in the back of her head! to keep an eye on something/somebody = look at something/somebody continually and carefully. but I was up to my eyes in work. I'm sorry I didn't call you yesterday. The teacher knows everything we do. to catch someone's eye = attract someone's attention. to turn a blind eye to something = ignore something. Using this fax machine is really easy. to open someone's eyes = make somebody realize the truth about something. 6 . to have eyes in the back of one's head = be alert. to be up to one's eyes (in something) = be extremely busy. to cry one's eyes out = cry a lot. Nobody should see that I'm doing this. he likes to have a finger in every pie. to keep one's fingers crossed (for someone) = wish for luck. It just goes in one ear and out the other. make someone notice. to have an eye for something = be a good judge of something. notice everything going on around one. They are a perfect couple. to play by ear = play an instrument from memory. I'd like some more bread. to do something with one's eyes closed = do something very easily. so keep your fingers crossed! to get one's fingers burnt = suffer financially as a result of being careless. He's on the board of five companies. to be easy on the eye = be pleasant to look at. but he just turns a blind eye to it.                       to close/shut your ears to something = refuse to listen to bad or unpleasant news. listen to him. to twist someone round one's little finger = have someone under one's influence. don't shut you ears to his warning. they see eye to eye on most things. so keep your eyes peeled and tell me if someone is coming. I have my final exam today. to cast/run an eye over something = look quickly over something.

to give/lend someone a hand = help someone. While being ill for two weeks. to know something like the back of one's hand = be thouroughly familiar with something. Why did you tell her about it? You always put your foot in it! to stand on one's own two feet = be independent. to wait on someone hand and foot = serve somebody by attending to all his needs. She's an intelligent young lady with the world at her feet. She left in the middle of the meal. to put one's finger on something = be able to explain what is wrong or unusual about something. to be hand in glove with someone = be in close relationship with someone. he's perfectly able to stand on his own two feet. but he got cold feet at the last minute. He seemed to expect to be waited on hand and foot. to foot the bill = pay for something. to put one's best foot forward = do one's best. He can see that I'm busy. to put one's foot in it = do or say something foolish. He's a taxi driver. and I had to foot the bill. to eat out of someone's hands = be under someone's influence. but he doesn't lift a finger. he always falls on his feet. to get cold feet = stop doing something because one becomes afraid of the consequences. to have the world at one's feet = have the chance to become very successful. He was found to be hand in glove with the enemy. The party was great. He won't start saving money when he's been living from hand to mouth all his life! to show one's hand = let others know one's intentions. you'll have to put your best foot forward. I bet he had a hand in it. his mother helped her to get back on his feet. He was about to break into the house. to have two left feet = be very clumsy. 7 . to fall/land on one's feet = get into a good situation because of luck. She soon had the class eating out of her hand. He is 19 and already has a job and a house. She's no dreamer. There was something strange about him.                      to not lift/raise a finger = to not make any effort to help someone. to live from hand to mouth = satisfy one one's present basic needs. to start/get off on the right/wrong foot = make a good/bad start. I suspect they're planning something but they haven't shown their hand yet. after a difficult situation. Don't worry about George. she has her feet firmly on the ground. to have/take a hand in something = be partly responsible for something. so he knows the city like the back of his hand. to have one's hands full = be extremely busy. to get back on one's feet = recover. If you want to pass the exam. to have/keep one's feet on the ground = be realistic. The new student started off on the wrong foot with the teacher by answering back rudely. but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Julia has a head start on us for the job in Paris because she's bilingual. I hadn't the heart to refuse. to have a head start = have an advantage over others. 8 . to learn/know something by heart = from memory. I'm sure we can solve the problem if we all put our heads together. at heart = in one's real nature. I can't make head or tail of it! to put our heads together = exchange ideas or advice. This advice comes from the bottom of my heart.                         to wait on someone hand and foot = serve somebody by attending to all his needs. he can do well in any trade. He looks bad-tempered but really he's got a heart of gold. I'm managing to keep my head above water. He seemed to expect to be waited on hand and foot. John has a good head on his shoulders. be daydreaming. He looks like he's on his last legs. to have one's head screwed on the right way = be sensible and practical. to use one's head = use one's common sense. to keep one's head above water = keep out of debt. to have one's heart in one's mouth = be badly frightened. to have one's head in the clouds = have one's thoughts far away. to make head or tail of something = understand. He likes good wine too. to take something to heart = be much affected or upset by something. to talk one's head off = talk for a long time. so you'll be able to eat to your heart's content. a heart of gold = a very kind nature. after one's own heart = of exactly the type one likes best. to lose heart = become discouraged. heads will roll (for something) = somebody will be punished (because of something). he's obviously a man after my own heart. to have a good head on one's shoulders = have common sense and practical ability. I was alone and when the lights went out. I had my heart in my mouth! to do something to one's heart's content = do something as much as one wishes. from the bottom of one's heart = sincerely. to set one's heart on something = want something very much. to have the heart to do something = be unfeeling enough to do something. I took your criticism very much to heart. There will be lots of food. I'm a country girl at heart. to be on one's last legs = be very tired or ill. She had so many job refusals that she's beginning to lose heart. She had set her heart on becoming a policewoman. to go off one's head = become mad. even though I'm not earning much. a heart of stone = a pitiless and unfeeling nature. He knows the poem by heart. He doesn't care about others. he's got a heart of stone. The student's essay is full of mistakes.

you don't have a leg to stand on! to give someone a leg-up = help somebody towards success. After being fired. to get one's teeth into something = deal with or concentrate on something. Come on. That car cost him an arm and a leg. You can't say that. shake a leg! We are late! with one's tail between one's legs = in a humble or sad manner. they were all said with tongue in cheek. but I just can't think of it! to hold one's tongue = say nothing. these two countries fought tooth and nail. A slip of the tongue made me say Robert instead of Richard. We left for a weekend's camping armed to the teeth with pots. tents and boots! to cut one's teeth on something = gain experience from something. here's something to get your teeth into. Don't be fooled by all his complimentary remarks. to lie through one's teeth = tell lies openly and without shame. That's not true! You're lying through your teeth! to show one's teeth = use one's power or authority to intimidate or punish somebody. to have something on the tip of one's tongue = just about to be spoken or remembered. to bite one's tongue = try hard not to say what one thinks. so I gave him the leg-up he needed. to pull someone's leg = tease somebody. Of course he doesn't want his present back.                   to cost someone an arm and a leg = cost somebody a lot of money. with energy and determination. When he joined the company I noticed his talent. His name's on the tip of my tongue. I couldn't get my tongue around the names of the villages we'd been to. causing the pilot to black out. to be armed to the teeth = have all the necessary equipment. make somebody believe something that is untrue. blame oneself for having said something embarrassing. so I don't need your money. This reporter cut his teeth on his job at that small press agency. to fight tooth and nail = fight fiercely. to get one's tongue around something = be able to say a difficult word. Now you know what the job involves. to set tongues wagging = encourage people to gossip. During the war. he left with his tail between his legs. The plane dived suddenly. to shake a leg = hurry up. Idioms with colours   to be in the black = have money in one's bank account. he's just pulling your leg! not have a leg to stand on = have nothing to support one's opinion. Their scandalous affair has really set tongues wagging. (The opposite is to be in the red) I'm still in the black. to black out = lose consciousness or memory temporarily. tins. with (one's) tongue in (one's) cheek = not intending to be taken seriously. pans. 9 . a slip of the tongue = minor error in speech.

she gave him a black look. the black sheep of the family = person whose conduct is considered to be a disgrace to the family. the pot calling the kettle black = the accuser having the same fault as the person he is accusing. I caught the boys red-handed smoking in the kitchen. to do something till one is blue in the face = work as hard and as long as one possibly can (usually without success). black market = illegal trade. to catch someone red-handed = discover somebody in the act of doing something wrong or criminal. we'll be rolling out the red carpet. You are not on the blacklist yet. in black and white = in writing or in print. Make sure he answers all your questions. He can write me letters till he's blue in the face.. Peter is a nice person. complete surprise. to be in the red = have no money in one's bank account. Do you understand? Or shall I put it in black and white? not so black as somebody is painted = not as bad as people believe. Her resignation came right out of the blue. The cashier went off into the blue with ten thousand dollars. The union yelled blue murder when one of its members was sacked. out of the blue = unexpectedly. I see her once in a blue moon. a blue-collar worker = manual worker. black and blue = covered with bruises. to scream/yell blue murder = protest wildly and noisily. a red herring = unimportant matter introduced into a discussion to divert attention from the main subject. Her criticisms were enough to make anyone see red. a black look = a look of anger. a bolt from the blue = unexpected and usually unwelcome event. to see red = become very angry. 9/11 was a black day in history.. depressed.                         a black day = an unhappy day when something bad happens. Don't let him confuse you with any red herring. but be careful. I'm not going to reply. once in a blue moon = very rarely or never. (The opposite is a white-collar worker) a blue film/joke = a pornographic or indecent film/joke. She accused us of being extravagant! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! to go off into the blue = go away suddenly and without trace. The news of her resignation was like a bolt from the blue. to look/feel blue = look/feel sad. he's not so black as he is painted. to have blue blood = be aristocratic. to roll out the the red carpet = to give a special welcome to an important visitor. the boys in blue = the police. 10 . so when he arrives tomorrow from Europe. We haven't seen Uncle Jones for years. When Sarah heard him talk like that. a blacklist = list of people who are considered undesirable.

(The opposite is a blue-collar worker) as white as a sheet = very pale. to be green = be immature. That old man had his hair as white as snow. as a result of fear or shock. to have green fingers = have skill in gardening.                     red tape = excessive bureaucracy. easily fooled. in a brown study = in deep thought. to be browned off = be bored. There's so much red tape involved. fed up. and is therefore difficult to deal with. It takes weeks to get that visa. You must be green to believe that! to be green with envy = be extremely envious. a green belt = area of open land around a city. to go grey = become grey-haired. as white as snow = very white. Idioms with numbers              at one time = en el pasado. pronto one too many = demasiado the one and only = el único to be at one with somebody = estar de acuerdo con alguien 11 . grey area = aspect that doesn't fit into a particular category. a lot of grey areas remained. a greenhouse = building with sides and roof of glass. as brown as a berry = having the skin tanned brown by the sun or the weather. He's browned off with his job. he is extremely good at maths. a yellow streak = cowardice in somebody's character. en un momento dado back to square one = de nuevo en el comienzo for one thing = principalmente it's all one to me = es todo lo mismo para mí one and the same = exactamente el mismo one fine day = algún día one for the road = una para el camino (cuando se toma una copa más antes de salir) one in a thousand = uno en mil one in a million = uno en un millón one of these days = uno día de estos. to give someone the green light = give somebody permission to do something. a red-letter day = an important or memorable day because something good happened on it. a white-collar worker = non-manual worker. a white elephant = possession that is useless and often expensive to maintain. grey matter = one's brain or intelligence. inexperienced. a white lie = harmless or trivial lie. I was absolutely green with envy when I saw his splendid new car. the yellow press = newspapers that deliberately include sensational news items to attract readers. She went as white as a sheet when I told her the news. When the rules for police procedure were laid down. He's a boy with much grey matter. used for growing plants.

de oficina o comercio nine times out of ten = casi siempre. escribir y aritmética (reading. muerto y enterrado six of the best = golpiza to knock somebody for six = golpear a alguien at sixes and sevens = en desordento have one over the eight = tomar mucho alcohol a nine days' wonder = una maravilla pero de corta duración a nine-to-five job = un trabajo rutinario. casi seguro a ten-gallon hat = sombrero alto usado por los cowboys Number Ten = residencia oficial del primer ministro británico (Number Ten Downing Street) 12 . en un abrir y cerrar de ojos in twos and threes = de a dos o tres it takes two to do something = una persona sola no es responsable de un casamiento feliz/infeliz. hacia adelante y hacia atrás in twos and threes = de a dos o tres the three Rs = habilidades básicas que se aprenden en la escuela: leer. tener la misma jerarquía a nine-to-five job = un trabajo rutinario. de oficina o comercio five o'clock shadow = apariencia oscura en la cara de un hombre por el crecimiento de la barba desde que se afeitó por la mañana to give somebody five = chocar las manos para felicitar a alguien to take five = tomarse cinco minutos a six-pack = paquete de seis botellas o latas at sixes and sevens = en desorden six feet under = bajo tierra. un acuerdo to be in two minds about something = estar indeciso sobre algo to be two-faced = no ser sincero to have two bites of the cherry = tener dos chances to have two strings to your bow = tener una segunda alternativa por si la primera falla to put two and two together = deducir. en un periquete. una pelea. con las manos y las piernas the fourth dimension = la cuarta dimensión (el tiempo) the fourth estate = el cuarto poder (el periodismo que influye políticamente) to be on all fours with somebody = estar a la misma altura de alguien. darse cuenta a three-piece suit = un traje de tres piezas a three-point turn = mover el automóvil en un espacio reducido.                                       to have one over the eight = tomar mucho alcohol to pull a fast one on somebody = engañar a alguien in two shakes of a lamb's tail = rápido. dos por tres to be dressed up to the nines = vestir formalmente to be on cloud nine = estar muy feliz ten to one = muy probable. writing and arithmetic) a four-letter word = mala palabra (la mayoría de las malas palabras en inglés tienen cuatro letras) a four-poster bed = cama con cuatro postes que sostienen las cortinas a four-wheel drive (4WD) = vehículo con tracción en las cuatro ruedas on all fours = en cuatro patas.

and then to the restaurant. bright and early = very early in the morning. I'm sick and tired of hearing about your trip to Russia. try to make it short and sweet. bits and pieces = small things. I don't understand much about grammar but I can give you a rough and ready explanation. just some bits and pieces. working for an insurance company. Our plan is cut and dried: first we are going to the cinema. rough and ready = not exact. everything was going round and round in my head. bag and baggage = with all your possessions. he's alive and kicking. we arrived home safe and sound. I didn't hear everything he said.Idiomatic pairs  alive and kicking = in good health and active. A long letter of complaint would be annoying. on and on = without stopping. cut and dried = final. bag and baggage. born and bred = born and educated. After being away for five months. I started to feel sick. body and soul = physical and mental energy. If you study a lot. I've been cleaning the house all morning. We will pay for our part. home and dry = sure of success. Jim loves learning a new language.                13 . For our anniversary I think we could wine and dine at that new restaurant that opened last week. and I still have to go on and on to finish. that's why she always carries an umbrella. sick and tired = completely annoyed or tired of something/someone. short and sweet = without unnecesary details. I got a letter from Ronald. you will be home and dry for the final exam. Mary got tired of living with her boyfriend so she decided to move. so when you write it. safe and sound = unharmed. decided (plans). fair and square = in a fair way. round and round = in circles. Helen was born and bred in London. let's make it fair and square. We have to leave bright and early if we want to arrive there by 10. he puts body and soul into it. wine and dine = have a meal with wine at a restaurant.

wear and tear = deterioration. part and parcel = part. he was not fired! That's all stuff and nonsense! touch and go = close to success and failure at the same time. First and foremost. first and foremost = most important. he earns his bread and butter as a teacher. but there are still some odds and ends I have to deal with. Go change those clothes! Those can't stand any more wear and tear! by and large = in general. so don't get fooled again. We can reach an agreement with a bit of give and take from both sides. ifs and buts = excuses. She tried far and wide to find the keys but she couldn't. Oh. I'm sorry for what I've done. by and large.                  14 . he's in a critical situation. If you want to invest your money. odds and ends = small things. I would advise you to put it into bricks and mortar. I've almost finished this work. bricks and mortar = property. but you have to forgive and forget. give and take = compromise. You trusted her and she deceived you. Let's be friends again. I don't know how to operate this machine. forgive and forget = forget enmity. far and wide = everywhere. This is a nice neighbourhood. but it's a shame that these old buildings are going rack and ruin. bread and butter = way of earning money to live. Don't panic. Thomas doesn't have much money. the doctor said it's touch and go. no. hustle and bustle = hurried activity. I would like to thank you all for this welcome. No ifs and buts. I guess the team played quite well. All those information programmes on TV are part and parcel of a campaign to destabilize the new government. it's just a question of hit and miss for me! live and learn = become wiser. After the accident. She had to take a taxi instead. You live and learn. buildings. stuff and nonsense = foolish things. ups and downs = good and bad moments. hit and miss = random. rack and ruin = in bad conditions. just finish your homework and then you can go to play with the computer. I don't like living in the city centre. it's all hustle and bustle. in a married couple there are always ups and downs.

 a butterfingers = somebody who often drops things. he recovered very well. loud and clear = very clearly. We don't know if this government will be able to put his plans into practice. over and out = message used to end a radio communication. Idioms with food        the salt of the earth = a very good and honest person. Even though he was 400km away. at irregular intervals. The boss has been in and out all day. Understood. We have to wait and see. I prefer jazz.  15 . to see if the employees were working. They like to go to a concert now and again. on and off = not all the time. up and about = in good health. Rock isn't my cup of tea. I'm going to go nuts/bananas if I don't get a new job soon. Sally is so clumsy. in and out = entering and leaving a place. It's been raining on and off all day.  not my cup of tea = something that you don't like much.  the cream of something = the best things or people from a group. I could hear him loud and clear on the telephone line. Sheila is full of beans this morning! nuts / bananas = crazy. After the accident. now and again = occasionally. you have to be careful. This a very difficult job. wait and see = wait patiently. sink or swim = be successful or fail. The students at this university are the cream of the crop. Learning English is a piece of cake! full of beans = full of energy. Over and out.  the cream of the crop = the best of all. he's now up and about. Our university only takes the cream of applicants. It's really sink or swim. I hate this kind of weather. she's really a butterfingers!     a piece of cake = something very easy. Jack is the salt of the earth. peanuts = a very small amount of money. Hotel workers usually get paid peanuts.

I guess Ken is becoming a real couch potato. keen as mustard = very enthusiastic.  to sell like hot cakes = become popular. warm as toast.  16 .  small beer / small potatoes = not important.  a lemon = a silly person.  sour grapes = something important that somebody pretends that has no value. John was red as a beetroot when he noticed that he hadn't enough money to pay the bill. This profit is small beer/potatoes for the holding company. The teacher's advice game me food for thought. Tim's girlfriend was sour-faced when she saw him talking to another girl. to cut the mustard = be good enough to do something. they are very different indeed!  gravy train = an activity from which people can make money without much effort. a couch potato = somebody who spends a lot of time sitting and watching TV. to turn to jelly = lose physical strength because one gets frightened or nervous. but that's just sour grapes. Samantha is as brown as a berry. He wanted to confuse them. calm. The criminal dropped a red herring into his statement to the police. He says he doesn't want to marry her. The countryside in this area is flat as a pancake.    flat as a pancake = very flat. his knees turned to jelly. The two brothers are like chalk and cheese. having the skin turned brown by the sun. Sheila was new in the job and keen as mustard. When the thief saw the police.  warm as toast = very warm and comfortable. Fred is not very good at his new job.  food for thought = something that makes you think carefully.  a red herring = a misleading statement or action that attracts people's attention. sell a lot.  brown as a berry = suntanned.  chalk and cheese = completely different. These cheap shoes are selling like hot cakes. I guess he can't cut the mustard!  to feel like jelly. The driver was as cool as a cucumber when the police stopped him. Privatization isn't usually the gravy train that the government promises. After her holiday in Florida. The kids sat near the fire. Thomas behaved like a real lemon at the party last night.  red as a beetroot = embarrassed.as cool as a cucumber = relaxed.  sour-faced = showing dislike for something or somebody.

be unconvincing. fishy = suspicious. When Mark lost his passport. Some women like men with saltand-pepper hair. People on the evening train are packed like sardines.    easy as pie = very easy. Fred made a real hash of his exams. The green party needs to beef the campaign up.  to make a hash of something = make a mess of something. Mark has a very easy job. he is now in deep waters.  money for jam = money earned from a task that is very easy.  a good egg = a good trustworthy person.  a drop in the ocean = a quantity too small to make any improvement.  to be in deep waters = be in trouble. he got into a stew. In fact. I think that man's behaviour is a bit fishy. add force to something. She finally broke the ice and asked him about his family. My boss is really hard-boiled. he was in a pickle. Call the police. he was really in the soup.  17 . You can trust Mary. Having lost his passport.  to be in a pickle = be in a difficult situation and not know what to do.  salt-and-pepper = hair that is becoming grey. in a stew = confused or worried about a difficult situation.  to get a roasting = to be told off for something wrong. He's impossible to fool. hard-boiled = tough.  to beef up something = improve something. it's money for jam. When David's girlfriend was late. The player got a roasting from angry fans. not showing any emotions. please.  to cut no ice with somebody = have little influence.  to be packed like sardines = be crowded tightly together in a small space. They think it looks distinguished. Aid to the Third World is just a drop in the ocean. do something very badly.  Idioms with water to break the ice = say something to reduce tension at a first meeting. His excuses cut no ice with me. to be in the soup = to be in trouble. she's a good egg. Learning English is easy as pie. When Harry lost his job.

When they start talking about economy. She felt like a fish out of water among those high-society people. To be in seventh heaven = to be extremely happy.  like a fish out of water = awkward because of being unfamiliar with the surroundings. More than ten burglaries are reported every week. He had lost his job last week and now he was robbed. He finally decided to take the plunge and get married.  to let off steam = release surplus energy from being restrained. To be downhearted = to feel sad. To be on top of the world = to be really happy.  to leave someone high and dry = leave someone helpless. that dispute is water under the bridge now. you can do it.  Idioms to do with emotions        To be as pleased as Punch = to be really pleased.  to be out of one's depth = be unable to understand something.  water under the bridge = event that has already occurred and cannot be altered. That was the last straw. To be thrilled to bits = to be very happy and excited. That's a storm in a teacup.  the tip of the iceberg = small but evident part of a much larger problem. I'm out of my depth. He decided to move to a foreign country.  to take the plunge = take a decisive step after thinking about it for a long time.the last straw (that broke the camel's back) = additional event that makes a situation intolerable. They were soaked to the skin after the storm. He was thrown in at the deep end because he had to finish his job and didn't know where to start.  to be thrown in at the deep end = be introduced to the most difficult part of an activity. The children were out in the playground letting off steam. 18 . stop fussing about it. Their hints about his behaviour were like water off a duck's back. and that's just the tip of the iceberg. To be as miserable as sin = to be extremely sad. for which one is not prepared.  to be soaked to the skin = be completely soaked.  a storm in a teacup = a lot of fuss about something unimportant. Stop worrying about it. He left her high and dry in a strange country without any money. To be browned off = to be bored.  like water off a duck's back = without any effect.

 To have a go at somebody = to criticize somebody angrily. To cut somebody down to size = to reduce somebody's sense of their own importance. You could have knocked me down with a feather! = you say it to emphasize how surprised you were when you heard something. to become very angry. tense. To be keyed up = to be excited. To be all at sea = to be puzzled and bewildered.     To have something on one's mind = to have a problem that is worrying you. Idioms related to sports the ball is in your court = it's your turn. it's your decision.  To be hopping mad = to be really angry. To be rooted to the spot = to be unable to move through fear. To be like a cat on hot bricks = to feel nervous and unable to stand still. That's a turn up for the books! = you say it when something surprising happens.      To be hot under the collar = to be annoyed or embarrassed. To go spare = to lose your temper. We already decided what to do. To be scared to death = to be extremely frightened. To be at sixes and sevens = to be uncertain and confused.        To have a long face = to look unhappy.  19 .    To avoid somebody like the plague = to avoid somebody completely. To be in a cold sweat = to be in a state of shock or fear. To be gobsmacked = to be very surprised. To be on tenterhooks = to be uncertain and anxious about what is going to happen. now the ball is in your court. To go white as a sheet = to go pale through fear or shock. To be out of one's depth = to be in a situation which is difficult for you to cope with.  To tear somebody off a strip = to speak angrily to somebody because they have done something wrong. To go off at the deep end = to lose your temper.

Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando. to take time out = to take a break from an activity. to jump the gun = to start doing something too son. so don't jump the gun. Laura gave the game away by laughing just when Tom came in. could we just take a time-out?  to touch base with somebody = to talk to somebody about something. I have to touch base with my boss before I present my resignation. to do things in the expected or usual way. We will get to first base when we finish this campaign.  to get to first base = to reach the first stage of success in an attempt to achieve something.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Paul was fired. We have to take our time to think about this decision.  20 . Los hechos valen más que las palabras. famous artists were invited to contribute to the campaign.  to hold the aces = to have the necessary advantages so that you are sure that you will win. people can donate their part too. To keep the ball rolling.  to throw in the towel = to admit that you have been defeated.  a win-win situation = a situation that will end well for everyone involved.  to play the game = to accept the rules. To start the ball rolling.  Proverbs A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.    to kick off = to start.  Actions speak louder than words. I have a terrible headache. If you want to be promoted. I have to go on until I succeed. La ausencia alimenta al corazón. The Americans hold all the aces in space exploration. to start/keep the ball rolling = to begin/continue something. His comments hit below the belt. Sheila didn't know what to do when she was asked that question out of left field. The meeting kicked off with the director's speech.  to hit below the belt = to hurt somebody in an unfair or cruel way. This campaign is a win-win situation. you have to play the game. I'm not going to throw in the towel yet.out of left field = unexpected.   that's the way the ball bounces = that's the way things happen.  to give the game away = to spoil a surprise or secret by doing something that lets somebody guess what the secret is.

All roads lead to Rome.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  It's the last straw that breaks the camel's back. Todos los caminos conducen a Roma. Hay que divertirse y dejar de lado el trabajo por un rato. los ratones bailan. Hay que estar a las duras y a las maduras. Muchas manos en un plato hacen mucho garabato. Dios los cría y ellos se juntan.  Don't put all your eggs in one basket.  You have to take the rough with the smooth. No hagas a los demás lo que no quieres que te hagan a ti.  Many hands make light work. Es la gota que colma el vaso. Cuando el gato no está.  Birds of a feather flock together. pecho. and the pounds will take care of themselves. Muchas manos hacen el trabajo ligero. No te lo juegues todo a una sola carta.  People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Lo mejor siempre lo tiene el otro. Hay que tomar la vida como es.  Take care of the pennies/pence. Demasiados cocineros estropean el caldo. Los lazos familiares son más fuertes. No hay que llorar sobre la leche derramada. the mice will play.  While the cat's away.  It's no good crying over spilt milk.  Blood is thicker than water. Ahorra la calderilla y tendrás dinero.  21 .  Too many cooks spoil the broth. A lo hecho.

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