Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions




НазваниеDictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
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All mod cons

If something has all mod cons, it has all the best and most desirable features. It is an abbreviation of 'modern convenience' that was used in house adverts.

All mouth and trousers

(UK) Someone who's all mouth and trousers talks or boasts a lot but doesn't deliver. 'All mouth and no trousers' is also used, though this is a corruption of the original.

All my eye and Peggy Martin

(UK) An idiom that appears to have gone out of use but was prevalent in the English north Midlands of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire from at least the turn of the 20th century until the early 1950s or so. The idiom's meaning is literally something said or written that is unbelievable, rumor, over embellished, the result of malicious village gossip etc.

All of the above

This idiom can be used to mean everything that has been said or written, especially all the choices or possibilities.

All over the map

(USA) If something like a discussion is all over the map, it doesn't stick to the main topic and goes off on tangents.

All over the place

If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the place.

All over the shop

If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the shop.

All over the show

If something is all over the show, it's in a complete mess.An alternative to 'All over the shop'.

All roads lead to Rome

This means that there can be many different ways of doing something.

All set

If you're all set, you are ready for something.

All skin and bone

If a person is very underweight, they are all skin and bone, or bones.

All square

If something is all square, nobody has an advantage or is ahead of the others.

All talk and no trousers

(UK) Someone who is all talk and no trousers, talks about doing big, important things, but doesn't take any action.

All that glitters is not gold

This means that appearances can be deceptive and things that look or sound valuable can be worthless. ('All that glistens is not gold' is an alternative.)

All the rage

If something's all the rage, it is very popular or fashionable at the moment.

All the tea in China

If someone won't do something for all the tea in China, they won't do it no matter how much money they are offered.

All your eggs in one basket

If you put all your eggs in one basket, you risk everything at once, instead of trying to spread the risk. (This is often used as a negative imperative- 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket'. 'Have your eggs in one basket' is also used.)

All\'s fair in love and war

This idiom is used to say that where there is conflict, people can be expected to behave in a more vicious way.

All\'s well that ends well

If the end result is good, then everything is good.

All-singing, all-dancing

If something's all-singing, all-dancing, it is the latest version with the most up-to-date features.

Alter ego

An alter ego is a very close and intimate friend. It is a Latin phrase that literally means 'other self'.

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride

If someone is always a bridesmaid, never a bride, they never manage to fulfill their ambition- they get close, but never manage the recognition, etc, they crave.

Ambulance chaser

A lawyer who encourages people who have been in accidents or become ill to sue for compensation is an ambulance chaser.

Amen

Some use 'Amen' or 'Amen to that' as a way of agreeing with something that has just been said.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Eating healthy food keeps you healthy.

An old flame

An old flame is a person that somebody has had an emotional, usually passionate, relationship with, who is still looked on fondly and with affection.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

This expression means that is is better to try to avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise.

And all that jazz

This idiom means that everything related or similar is included.

Angry as a bear

If someone is as angry as a bear, they are very angry.('Angry as a bear with a sore foot' is also used.)

Angry as a bull

If someone is as angry as a bull, they are very angry.

Answers on a postcard

This idiom can be used to suggest that the answer to something is very obvious or that the person would really like to hear what people think.

Ants in your pants

If someone has ants in their pants, they are agitated or excited about something and can't keep still.

Any port in a storm

This means that in an emergency any solution will do, even one that would normally be unacceptable.

Any Tom, Dick or Harry

If something could be done by any Tom, Dick or Harry, it could be done by absolutely anyone.

Apple of your eye

Something or, more often, someone that is very special to you is the 'apple of your' eye.

Apron strings

A man who is tied to a woman's apron strings is excessively dependent on her, especially when it is his mother's apron strings.

Argue the toss

(UK) If you argue the toss, you refuse to accept a decision and argue about it.

Arm and a leg

If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive.

Armchair critic

An armchair critic is someone who offers advice but never shows that they could actually do any better.

Armed to the teeth

If people are armed to the teeth, they have lots of weapons.

Around the clock

If something is open around the clock, it is open 24 hours a day. For example, an airport is open around the clock.

Arrow in the quiver

An arrow in the quiver is a strategy or option that could be used to achieve your objective.

As a rule

If you do something as a rule, then you usually do it.

As cold as ice

This idiom can be used to describe a person who does not show any emotion.

As cold as stone

If something is as cold as stone, it is very cold. If a person is as cold as stone, they are unemotional.

As cool as a cucumber

If someone is as cool as a cucumber, they don't get worried by anything.

As mad as a hatter

This simile means that someone is crazy or behaves very strangely. In the past many people who made hats went insane because they had a lot of contact with mercury.

As much use as a chocolate fire-guard

A fire-guard is used in front of a fireplace for safety. A chocolate fire-guard is of no use. An alternative to 'As much use as a chocolate teapot'.

As much use as a chocolate teapot

Something that is as much use as a chocolate teapot is not useful at all.

As much use as a handbrake on a canoe

This idiom is used to describe someone or something as worthless or pointless.

As neat as a new pin

This idiom means tidy and clean.

As one man

If people do something as one man, then they do it at exactly the same time or in complete agreement.

As the actress said to the bishop

(UK) This idiom is used to highlight a sexual reference, deliberate or accidental.

As the crow flies

This idiom is used to describe the shortest possible distance between two places.

As you sow, so shall you reap

This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things.

Asleep at the switch

If someone is asleep at the switch, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities very carefully. 'Asleep at the wheel' is an alternative.

Asleep at the wheel

If someone is asleep at the wheel, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities very carefully. 'Asleep at the switch' is an alternative.

At a loose end

(UK) If you are at a loose end, you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.

At a snail\'s pace

If something moves at a snail's pace, it moves very slowly.

At arm\'s length

(India) If something is at arm's length, it is very close to you.

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