Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

НазваниеDictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Дата конвертации05.02.2016
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Bet your bottom dollar

(USA) If you can bet your bottom dollar on something, you can be absolutely sure about it.

Better late than never

This idiom suggests that doing something late is better than not doing it at all.

Better safe than sorry

This idiom is used to recommend being cautious rather than taking a risk.

Better than a stick in the eye

If something is better than a stick in the eye, it isn't very good, but it is better than nothing.

Better the devil you know

This is the shortened form of the full idiom, 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't', and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.

Between a rock and a hard place

If you are caught between a rock and a hard place, you are in a position where you have to choose between unpleasant alternatives, and your choice might cause you problems; you will not be able to satisfy everyone.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

If you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a dilemma; a difficult choice.

Between the lines

If you read between the lines, you find the real message in what you're reading or hearing, a meaning that is not available from a literal interpretation of the words.

Between you and me and the cat\'s whiskers

This idiom is used when telling someone something that you want them to keep secret.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt

If something's beyond a shadow of a doubt, then absolutely no doubts remain about it.

Beyond belief

If people behave in such a way that you find it almost impossible to accept that they actually did it, then you can say that their behaviour was beyond belief.

Beyond our ken

If something's beyond your ken, it is beyond your understanding.

Beyond the pale

If something's beyond the pale, it is too extreme to be acceptable morally or socially.

Big Apple

(USA) The Big Apple is New York.

Big bucks

If someone is making big bucks, they are making a lot of money.

Big cheese

The big cheese is the boss.

Big Easy

(USA) The Big Easy is New Orleans, Louisiana

Big fish

An important person in a company or an organisation is a big fish.

Big fish in a small pond

A big fish in a small pond is an important person in a small place or organisation.

Big hitter

A big hitter is someone who commands a lot of respect and is very important in their field.

Big nose

If someone has a big nose, it means they are excessively interested in everyone else's business.

Big picture

The big picture of something is the overall perspective or objective, not the fine detail.

Big time

This can be used to with the meaning 'very much'- if you like something big time, you like it a lot.

Bigger fish to fry

If you aren't interested in something because it isn't important to you and there are more important things for you to do, you have bigger fish to fry.

Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything.

Bird\'s eye view

If you have a bird's eye view of something, you can see it perfectly clearly.


Someone who has a bird-brain, or is bird-brained, is stupid.

Birds and the bees

If a child is taught about the birds and the bees, they are taught about sex.

Birds of a feather flock together

This idiom means that people with similar interests will stick together.

Birthday suit

If you are in your birthday suit, you are naked.

Bit between your teeth

If you take or have the bit between your teeth, you take or have control of a situation. (Bit = piece of metal in a horse's mouth)

Bit part

If someone has a small or unimportant role in something, they have a bit part.

Bit player

A bit player has a small or unimportant role in something.

Bite off more than you can chew

If you bite off more than you can chew, you take on more responsibilities than you can manage. 'Don't bite off more than you can chew' is often used to advise people against agreeing to more than they can handle.

Bite someone\'s head off

If you bite someone's head off, you criticise them angrily.

Bite the bullet

If you have to bite the bullet, you have to accept or face something unpleasant because it cannot be avoided.

Bite the dust

This is a way of saying that somebody has died, especially if they are killed violently like a soldier in battle.

Bite your lip

If you have to bite your lip, you have to make a conscious effort not to react or to keep quiet about something that displeases you.

Bite your tongue

If you bite your tongue, you refrain from speaking because it is socially or otherwise better not to.

Bits and bobs

Bits and bobs are small, remnant articles and things- the same as odds and ends.

Bitter end

If you do something to the bitter end, you do it to the very end, no matter how unsuccessful you are.

Bitter pill to swallow

A bitter pill to swallow is something that is hard to accept.

Black and white

When it is very clear who or what is right and wrong, then the situation is black and white.

Black as Newgate\'s knocker

(UK) If things are as black as Newgate's knocker, they are very bad. Newgate was an infamous prison in England, so its door knocker meant trouble.

Black hole

If there is a black hole in financial accounts, money has disappeared.

Black sheep

Someone who is the black sheep doesn't fit into a group or family because their behaviour or character is not good enough.


If you vote against allowing someone to be a member of an organisation or group, you are blackballing him or her.

Blank cheque

If you are given a blank cheque, you are allowed to use as much money as you need for a project.

Bleeding edge

Similar to 'cutting edge', this implies a technology or process that is at the forefront or beyond current practices. However, because it is unproven, it is often dangerous to use (hence the 'bleeding').

Bleeding heart

A bleeding heart is a person who is excessively sympathetic towards other people.

Blessing in disguise

If some bad luck or misfortune ultimately results in something positive, it's a blessing in disguise.

Blind as a bat

If you are in total darkness and can't see anything at all, you are as blind as a bat.

Blind leading the blind

When the blind are leading the blind, the people in charge of something don't know anything more than the people they are in charge of, when they should have greater knowledge.

Blink of an eye

If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens so fast it is almost impossible to notice it.

Blood and thunder

An emotional speech or performance is full of blood and thunder.

Blood from a turnip

It is impossible to get something from someone if they don't have it, just as you cannot get blood from a turnip.

Blood is thicker than water

This idiom means that family relationships are stronger than others.

Blood is worth bottling

(AU) If an Australian says to you "Your blood is worth bottling", he/she is complimenting or praising you for doing something or being someone very special.

Blood out of a stone

If something is like getting blood out of a stone, it is very difficult indeed.

Blood, sweat and tears

If something will take blood, sweat and tears, it will be very difficult and will require a lot of effort and sacrifice.

Blow a gasket

If you blow a gasket, you get very angry.

Blow by blow

A blow-by-blow description gives every detail in sequence.

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