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|Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions|
2,812 English idiomatic expressions
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A bit much
If something is excessive or annoying, it is a bit much.
A day late and a dollar short
(USA) If something is a day late and a dollar short, it is too little, too late.
A fool and his money are soon parted
This idiom means that people who aren't careful with their money spend it quickly. 'A fool and his money are easily parted' is an alternative form of the idiom.
A fool at 40 is a fool forever
If someone hasn't matured by the time they reach forty, they never will.
A little bird told me
If someone doesn't want to say where they got some information from, they can say that a little bird told them.
A little learning is a dangerous thing
A small amount of knowledge can cause people to think they are more expert than they really are.eg. he said he'd done a course on home electrics, but when he tried to mend my table lamp, he fused all the lights! I think a little learning is a dangerous thing
A lost ball in the high weeds
A lost ball in the high weeds is someone who does not know what they are doing, where they are or how to do something.
If things are A OK, they are absolutely fine.
A penny for your thoughts
This idiom is used as a way of asking someone what they are thinking about.
A penny saved is a penny earned
This means that we shouldn't spend or waste money, but try to save it.
A picture is worth a thousand words
A picture can often get a message across much better than the best verbal description.
A poor man\'s something
Something or someone that can be compared to something or someone else, but is not as good is a poor man's version; a writer who uses lots of puns but isn't very funny would be a poor man's Oscar Wilde.
A pretty penny
If something costs a pretty penny, it is very expensive.
A problem shared is a problem halved
If you talk about your problems, it will make you feel better.
A rising tide lifts all boats
This idiom, coined by John F Kennedy, describes the idea that when an economy is performing well, all people will benefit from it.
A rolling stone gathers no moss
People say this to mean that that a go-getter type person is more successful than a person not doing any thing.
If something is a steal, it costs much less than it is really worth.
A still tongue keeps a wise head
Wise people don't talk much.
A watched pot never boils
Some things work out in their own time, so being impatient and constantly checking will just make things seem longer.
If something is A1, it is the very best or finest.
Abide by a decision
If you abide by a decision, you accept it and comply with it, even though you might disagree with it.
(India) An abject lesson serves as a warning to others. (In some varieties of English 'object lesson' is used.)
About as useful as a chocolate teapot
Someone or something that is of no practical use is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
If someone changes their mind completely, this is an about face. It can be used when companies, governments, etc, change their position on an issue.
If things are done above board, they are carried out in a legal and proper manner.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
This idiom means that when people are apart, their love grows stronger.
Accident waiting to happen
If something is an accident waiting to happen, there's definitely going to be an accident or it's bound to go wrong. ('Disaster waiting to happen' is also used.)
Ace up your sleeve
If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something that will give you an advantage that other people don't know about.
A person's weak spot is their Achilles' heel.
An acid test is something that proves whether something is good, effective, etc, or not.
Across the board
If something applies to everybody, it applies across the board.
Across the ditch
(NZ) This idiom means on the other side of the Tasman Sea, used to refer to Australia or New Zealand depending on the speaker's location.
Across the pond
(UK) This idiom means on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, used to refer to the US or the UK depending on the speaker's location.
Act of God
An act of God is something like an earthquake or floods that human beings cannot prevent or control.
Actions speak louder than words
This idiom means that what people actually do is more important than what they say- people can promise things but then fail to deliver.
The Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men.
Add fuel to the fire
If people add fuel to the fire, they make a bad situation worse.
Add insult to injury
When people add insult to injury, they make a bad situation even worse.
After your own heart
A person after your own heart thinks the same way as you.
Against the clock
If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
Against the grain
If doing something goes against the grain, you're unwilling to do it because it contradicts what you believe in, but you have no real choice.
Age before beauty
When this idiom is used, it is a way of allowing an older person to do something first, though often in a slightly sarcastic way.
An agony aunt is a newspaper columnist who gives advice to people having problems, especially personal ones.
Ahead of the pack
If you are ahead of the pack, you have made more progress than your rivals.
Ahead of time
If something happens ahead of time, it happens early or before the set time.
Albatross around your neck
An albatross around, or round, your neck is a problem resulting from something you did that stops you from being successful.
Alike as two peas
If people or things are as alike as two peas, they are identical.
Alive and kicking
If something is active and doing well, it is alive and kicking. (It can be used for people too.)
If you have known or suspected something all along, then you have felt this from the beginning.
All and sundry
This idiom is a way of emphasising 'all', like saying 'each and every one'.
All bark and no bite
When someone talks tough but really isn't, they are all bark and no bite.
All bark and no bite
Someone who talks a lot, but does nothing to back up their words-- like a dog that barks at strangers, but won't actually bite.
All bets are off
(USA) If all bets are off, then agreements that have been made no longer apply.
If someone says they're all ears, they are very interested in hearing about something.
All eyes on me
If all eyes are on someone, then everyone is paying attention to them.
All fingers and thumbs
If you're all fingers and thumbs, you are too excited or clumsy to do something properly that requires manual dexterity. 'All thumbs' is an alternative form of the idiom.
All hat, no cattle
(USA) When someone talks big, but cannot back it up, they are all hat, no cattle.('Big hat, no cattle' is also used.)
Someone who is all heart is very kind and generous.
All hell broke loose
When all hell breaks loose, there is chaos, confusion and trouble.
All in a day\'s work
If something is all in a day's work, it is nothing special.
All in your head
If something is all in your head, you have imagined it and it is not real.
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