Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

НазваниеDictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Дата конвертации05.02.2016
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Cast doubt on

If you make other people not sure about a matter, then you have cast doubt on it.

Cast iron stomach

A person with a cast iron stomach can eat or drink anything without any ill effects.

Cast pearls before swine

If you cast pearls before swine, you offer something of value to someone who doesn't appreciate it- 'swine' are 'pigs'.

Cast sheep\'s eyes at

If you cast sheep's eyes at at someone, you look lovingly or with longing at them.

Cast your mind back

If somebody tells you to cast your mind back on something, they want you to think about something that happened in the past, but which you might not remember very well, and to try to remember as much as possible.

Cast your net widely

If you cast your net widely, you use a wide range of sources when trying to find something.

Casting vote

The casting vote is a vote given to a chairman or president that is used when there is a deadlock.

Castles in the air

Plans that are impractical and will never work out are castles in the air.

Cat among the pigeons

If something or someone puts, or sets or lets, the cat among the pigeons, they create a disturbance and cause trouble.

Cat and dog life

If people lead a cat and dog life, they are always arguing.

Cat burglar

A cat burglar is a skillful thief who breaks into places without disturbing people or setting off alarms.

Cat fur and kitty britches

(USA) When I used to ask my grandma what was for dinner, she would say 'cat fur and kitty britches'. This was her Ozark way of telling me that I would get what she cooked. (Ozark is a region in the center of the United States)

Cat got your tongue?

If someone asks if the cat has got your tongue, they want to know why you are not speaking when they think you should.

Cat nap

If you have a short sleep during the day, you are cat napping.

Cat\'s lick

(Scot) A cat's lick is a very quick wash.

Cat\'s pajamas

(USA) Something that is the cat's pajamas is excellent.

Cat\'s whiskers

Something excellent is the cat's whiskers.

Catch as catch can

This means that people should try to get something any way they can.

Catch hell

If you catch hell, you get into trouble or get scolded. ('Catch heck' is also used.)

Catch someone red-handed

If someone is caught red-handed, they are found doing something wrong or illegal.

Caught with your hand in the cookie jar

(USA) If someone is caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar, he or she is caught doing something wrong.

Chalk and cheese

Things, or people, that are like chalk and cheese are very different and have nothing in common.

Change horses in midstream

If people change horses in midstream, they change plans or leaders when they are in the middle of something, even though it may be very risky to do so.

Change of heart

If you change the way you think or feel about something, you have a change of heart.

Change tack

If you change tack, you use a different method for dealing with something.

Change your tune

If someone changes their ideas or the way they talk about them, they change their tune.

Charity begins at home

This idiom means that family members are more important than anyone else, and should be the focus of a person's efforts.

Chase rainbows

If someone chases rainbows, they try to do something that they will never achieve.

Chase your tail

If you are chasing your tail, you are very busy but not being very productive.

Cheap as chips

(UK) If something is very inexpensive, it is as cheap as chips.

Cheap at half the price

If something's cheap at half the price, it's very cheap indeed.

Cheap shot

A cheap shot is an unprincipled criticism.

Cheat death

If someone cheats death, they narrowly avoid a major problem or accident.

Cheek by jowl

If things or people are cheek by jowl, they are very close together.

Cherry pick

If people cherry pick, they choose things that support their position, while ignoring things that contradict it.

Chew on a bone

If someone is chewing on a bone, he or she is thinking about something intently.

Chew the cud

If you chew the cud, you think carefully about something.

Chew the fat

If you chew the fat with someone, you talk at leisure with them.


If something is small or unimportant, especially money, it is chickenfeed.

Chinese walls

Chinese walls are regulatory information barriers that aim to stop the flow of information that could be misused, especially in financial corporations.

Chinese whispers

(UK) When a story is told from person to person, especially if it is gossip or scandal, it inevitably gets distorted and exaggerated. This process is called Chinese whispers.

Chip off the old block

If someone is a chip off the old block, they closely resemble one or both of the parents in character.

Chip on your shoulder

If someone has a chip on their shoulder, they are resentful about something and feel that they have been treated badly.

Chomp at the bit

If someone is chomping at the bit, they are very eager to accomplish something; to carry on with a task in a timely fashion.

Chop and change

If things chop and change, they keep changing, often unexpectedly.

Cigarette paper

If you cannot get or put a cigarette paper between people, they are so closely bonded that nothing will separate them or their positions on issues.

Circle the wagons

(USA) If you circle the wagons, you stop communicating with people who don't think the same way as you to avoid their ideas.  It can also mean to bring everyone together to defend a group against an attack.

Circling the drain

If someone is circling the drain, they are very near death and have little time to live. The phrase can also describe a project or plan or campaign that that is on the brink of failure.

Class act

Someone who's a class act is exceptional in what they do.

Clean as a whistle

If something is as clean as a whistle, it is extremely clean, spotless. It can also be used to mean 'completely', though this meaning is less common nowadays. If somebody is clean as a whistle, they are not involved in anything illegal.

Clean bill of health

If something or someone has a clean bill of health, then there's nothing wrong; everything's fine.

Clean break

If you make a clean break, you break away completely from something.

Clean hands

Someone with clean hands, or who keeps their hands clean, is not involved in illegal or immoral activities.

Clean sheet

When someone has a clean sheet, they have got no criminal record or problems affecting their reputation. In football and other sports, a goalkeeper has a clean sheet when let no goals in.

Clean slate

If you start something with a clean slate, then nothing bad from your past is taken into account.

Clean sweep

If someone makes a clean sweep, they win absolutely everything in a competition or contest.

Clear as a bell

If something is as clear as a bell, it is very clear or easy to understand.

Clear as mud

If something is as clear as mud, then it is very confusing and unclear.


If something like a sports match or an election is a cliffhanger, then the result is so close that it cannot be predicted and will only be known at the very end.

Climb on the bandwagon

When people climb on the bandwagon they do something because it is popular and everyone else is doing it.

Cling to hope

If people cling to hope, they continue to hope though the chances of success are very small.

Close at hand

If something is close at hand, it is nearby or conveniently located.

Close but no cigar

(USA) If you are close but no cigar, you are close to success, but have not got there.

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