You are on page 1of 21

English idioms

Idioms with animals
                               

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

1

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

                                   

2

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 .                                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. who doesn't tell others about himself. 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. darse un atracón to make a pig's ear of something = to make something very badly = hacer algo mal. but he may still refuse to do it a dark horse = someone mysterious. 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. 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. but you can't make him drink = you can give a person the chance to do something.

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. 4 . 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.                                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. in a bad mood Idioms with parts of the body   to cost someone an arm and a leg = cost somebody a lot of money. 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. That car cost him an arm and a leg. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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 . escribir y aritmética (reading. 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. 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. de oficina o comercio nine times out of ten = casi siempre. 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.                                       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. 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. en un periquete. tener la misma jerarquía a nine-to-five job = un trabajo rutinario. 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. una pelea. 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. 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. darse cuenta a three-piece suit = un traje de tres piezas a three-point turn = mover el automóvil en un espacio reducido.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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