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early bird catches the worm
- a person who gets up early in the morning has the best chance of success
He always goes to work before his colleagues because he knows that the early bird catches the worm.
(keep/have one`s) ear to the ground
- pay attention to the way things are going or the way people feel and think
He always has his ear to the ground and knows everything that is going on in our company.
- reduce in severity or pressure, relax
The president was asked to ease off on his efforts to save money in the company.
easy come, easy go
- something that you get easily can be lost easily
He doesn`t care if he loses his job or not. For him everything is easy come, easy go.
easy does it
- do something without sudden movements or too fast
"Easy does it" he said as he helped to move the large piano.
- tolerant and relaxed
He has a very easy-going management style.
- rot, erode, destroy
The mildew has been eating away at the window frame all summer.
- admit one is mistaken or defeated
He was forced to eat crow when the figures that he gave us at the meeting were all wrong.
- accept another`s insult or bad treatment, act humble
He made the senior manager eat dirt as revenge for his bad treatment in the past.
eat one`s heart out
- suffer greatly from longing
You can eat your heart out. I`m going to Hawaii for three weeks!
eat humble pie
- admit one`s error and apologize
He had to eat humble pie in front of his friends when they discovered his mistake.
(be) eating someone
- bothering or worrying someone
I don`t know what is eating her but she doesn`t seem to be in a good mood today.
eat like a bird
- eat very little
He eats like a bird. That`s why he can`t put on enough weight to join the football team.
eat like a horse
- eat a lot
He eats like a horse but he never puts on any weight.
eat one`s cake and have it too
- use or spend something and still keep it
He always wants to eat his cake and have it too and is never prepared to sacrifice anything.
eat one`s words
- admit being wrong in something one has said, retract one`s statement
He was forced to eat his words after his boss proved that he was wrong.
- eat in a restaurant
He eats out three or four times a week.
egg (someone) on
- urge or push someone to do something
He is always egging his friend on when he is angry which makes him even angrier.
- earn with difficulty
He was unable to eke out a living on the farm so he sold it.
- effort and strength to clean something
We`ll have to use a lot of elbow grease to get the kitchen cleaned.
- space (enough to be comfortable)
They moved to the country in order to have a little more elbow room.
end in itself
- a purpose or goal one wants for itself alone and not as a way to something else
For some people travelling is an end in itself and the destination is not important.
(at the) end of one`s rope
- the last of one`s ability or ideas about how to proceed or do something
He is at the end of his rope regarding what to do about his
- finish, finally do something
We ended up going to the restaurant after the movie last night.
- nevertheless, however
He always works hard but even so he has no money saved.
every dog has his day
- everyone will have his chance or turn, everyone will get what he deserves
You should be patient and wait until you get a chance. Remember every dog has his day.
- alternate, every second one
She has to work every other Saturday evening.
every so often
You should walk around every so often when you are on a long plane trip.
every Tom, Dick and Harry
- the average person
He said he is not the same as every Tom, Dick and Harry.
eyes are bigger than one`s stomach
- one wants more food than one can eat
His eyes are bigger than his stomach. He will never finish all of the food that he took.
eyes in the back of one`s head
- ability to know what is happening behind one`s back
He has eyes in the back of his head and you can never borrow anything without him knowing about it.
eyes pop out
- much surprised
Her eyes popped out when she saw her name in the newspaper.
- confront boldly and win, defy
They decided to face down their competitors and were able to easily stay in business.
face the music
- accept the consequences of something
He is going to have to face the music sooner or later.
face up to
- accept something that is not easy to accept
You must face up to the fact that you are never going to have enough money to buy that car.
- value or price printed on a stamp/bond/paper money etc.
He gave me the face value that was printed on the used stamps.
- seeming value or truth of something
He is a nice person but you must always take at face value what he says.
facts of life
- what one should know about sex, marriage and birth
He seems to be a little too young to know about the facts of life.
fair and square
- honestly, just, straightforward
The British team won the game fair and square but still the other team complained.
- a likely object of aggressive interest
The company is fair game as a takeover target by other international companies.
- justice, equal and right action
He believes in fair play and is a wonderful person to have on our team.
- honest treatment
She was not given a fair shake at the inquiry into her behavior.
- a person who is a friend only when one is successful
He is a fair-weather friend only and you can`t rely on him if you have a problem.
- become to not work properly
The equipment fell apart about six months after I bought it.
- move back, go back
The runner fell back from the rest of the runners when the race was half over.
fall back on something/someone
- turn to for help when something else has failed
She had to fall back on her father`s money when her business had problems.
- fail to keep up with work or studies or payments etc.
He fell behind with his homework at the beginning of the term and had problems throughout the year.
fall by the wayside
- give up or fail before the finish
He had a good chance of winning the competition but he fell by the wayside near the end.
- be unsuccessful, fail
I think that my attempt at humor fell flat and now she doesn`t like me.
- begin to like very much, begin to love
He fell for the woman at the bank but he is afraid to ask her for a date.
fall from grace
- lose approval
The politician fell from grace with the public over the money scandal.
- argument, disagreement, quarrel
We had a falling-out during our holiday and we haven`t spoken since.
fall in love with
- begin to love someone
I fell in love with her the first time that I saw her at the restaurant.
fall into line
- go and stand properly in a row (like soldiers)
The students were forced to fall into line as they waited for the doors to open.
fall in with
- become associated with a bad group of people
He fell in with a bad group of friends and began to get lower marks.
The number of tourists to visit the island has fallen off recently.
fall off the wagon
- return to the consumption of alcohol or drugs after stopping for awhile
He fell off the wagon after he stopped drinking for three years.
- meet (troubles)
The town had fallen on hard times before the new computer company moved to town and created many jobs.
fall out of use
- be no longer used
That kind of stereo system has fallen out of use over the last 20 years.
fall over oneself
- be extremely eager to do something or please someone
They fell over themselves in their effort to please their host.
fall short (of one`s expectations)
- not be as good as you expected, not succeed
The new movie fell short of everyone`s expectations and attendance is very low.
- fail, not happen
My plan to go abroad fell through when my father refused to lend me some money.
far and wide
- everywhere, in all directions
We looked far and wide for the book but could not find it.
- something very different
What he said to my friend is a far cry from what he told me over the telephone.
- have someone else do something, send away
We farmed out all of the printing to another company in order to save money.
- money earned quickly and easily
He is always trying to make a fast buck without really trying to work very hard.
- con artist, clever talker who convinces others easily
He is a fast talker so you should be careful not to believe everything that he says.
- little or no possibility, almost no chance
Fat chance that he will let me use his car. He never lets me borrow anything.
(live off the) fat of the land
- have the best of everything, especially without having to work for it
He plans to move to the mountains and try and live off the fat of the land.
- a candidate supported by his home state for President etc.
We voted for him because he is the favorite son of our state.
feather in one`s cap
- something you achieve and are proud of
Winning the new contract was a real feather in his cap.
feather one`s nest
- look after one`s own interest (while holding public office or a trusted job etc.)
The mayor has been feathering his nest for many years and is now very rich.
fed up with
- disgusted or bored with someone or something
I think that he is getting fed up with the constant demands of his boss.
feed someone a line
He was feeding me a line about his plans to open a new restaurant downtown.
feel like a million dollars
- feel wonderful
I feel like a million dollars today so I think that I will go for a walk.
- talk or act carefully with someone and find out what he thinks
I will try and feel out my boss this weekend and see what he thinks of my chance of promotion.
feel sorry for
I feel sorry for him after losing his job.
feel up to (do something)
- feel able (healthy enough or rested enough) to do something
I don`t feel up to going to the game.
feet on the ground
- sensible ideas
He is a good family man and always has his feet on the ground.
few and far between
- not many, rare, few and scattered
The gas stations were few and far between on the highway through the mountains.
- tinker, do something in an unplanned way
I tried fiddling around with the computer printer for awhile but it still won`t work.
- equally, evenly
We divided the cost of the trip fifty-fifty.
fight tooth and nail
- fight fiercely or with all one`s might
He is fighting tooth and nail to get a transfer to another department.
- depend on, be sure about
You can figure on about 30 people coming to the party next week.
- try to understand or solve
He finally figured out how to use the new video recorder.
fill (someone) in
- tell someone the details
I will fill you in later about our plans for the weekend.
fill (something) in
- write words needed in blanks
Please fill in this form and give it to the receptionist.
fill one`s shoes
- substitute satisfactorily for
Although he is a good supervisor he is unable to fill the shoes of those who came before him.
- write down the facts that are asked for (in a report etc.)
We were asked to fill out the forms before we could have an interview for the job.
fill the bill
- be suitable for what is required
I think that the new equipment should fill the bill for us.
find fault with
He is always finding fault with everything that I do.
- learn, discover
She is angry at me because she found out that I quit the night class.
(go over with a) fine-toothed comb
- very carefully
We went over the apartment with a fine-toothed comb but couldn`t find her watch.
finger in the pie
- part ownership or responsibility
He has his finger in the pie of all the small companies in the area.
first come, first served
- the person who comes will have his turn first
"First come, first served" she called as she put the food on the table.
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