Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions




НазваниеDictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
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Close call

If the result of something is a close call, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the parties involved and to say who has won or whatever.

Close shave

If you have a close shave, you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.

Close the stable door after the horse has bolted

If people try to fix something after the problem has occurred, they are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. 'Close the barn door after the horse has bolted' is alternative, often used in American English.

Close to your heart

If something is close to your heart, you care a lot about it. ('Dear to your heart' is an alternative.)

Closed book to me

If a subject is a closed book to you, it is something that you don't understand or know anything about.

Cloth ears

If you don't listen to people, they may suggest you have cloth ears.

Cloud cuckoo land

If someone has ideas or plans that are completely unrealistic, they are living on cloud cuckoo land.

Cloud nine

If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. ('cloud seven' is a less common alternative)

Cloud of suspicion

If a cloud of suspicion hangs over an individual, it means that they are not believed or are distrusted.

Cloud on the horizon

If you can see a problem ahead, you can call it a cloud on the horizon.

Clutch at straws

If someone is in serious trouble and tries anything to help them, even though their chances of success are probably nil, they are clutching at straws.

Coals to Newcastle

(UK) Taking, bringing, or carrying coals to Newcastle is doing something that is completely unnecessary.

Cock a snook

To make a rude gesture by putting one thumb to the nose with the fingers outstretched.

Cock and bull story

A cock and bull story is a lie someone tells that is completely unbelievable.

Cock in the henhouse

This is used to describe a male in an all-female environment.

Cold day in hell

This is used as a prediction there is no chance some event or condition will ever happen.'There will be a cold day in hell before he manages it.'

Cold feet

If you get cold feet about something, you lose the courage to do it.

Cold fish

A cold fish is a person who doesn't show how they feel.

Cold light of day

If you see things in the cold light of day, you see them as they really are, not as you might want them to be.

Cold shoulder

If you give or show someone the cold shoulder, you are deliberately unfriendly and unco-operative towards them.

Cold sweat

If something brings you out in a cold sweat, it frightens you a lot.

Cold turkey

If someone suddenly stops taking drugs, instead of slowly cutting down, they do cold turkey.

Colder than a witches tit

If it is colder than a witches tit, it is extremely cold outside.

Collateral damage

Accidental or unintended damage or casualties are collateral damage.

Collect dust

If something is collecting dust, it isn't being used any more.

Color bar

Rules that restrict access on the  basis of race or ethnicity are a color bar.

Come a cropper

(UK) Someone whose actions or lifestyle will inevitably result in trouble is going to come a cropper.

Come clean

If someone comes clean about something, they admit to deceit or wrongdoing.

Come hell or high water

If someone says they'll do something come hell or high water, they mean that nothing will stop them, no matter what happens.

Come on the heels of

If something comes on the heels of something, it follows very soon after it.

Come out in the wash

If something will come out in the wash, it won't have any permanent negative effect.

Come out of the woodwork

When things come out of the woodwork, they appear unexpectedly.  ('Crawl out of the woodwork' is also used.)

Come out of your shell

If someone comes out of their shell, they stop being shy and withdrawn and become more friendly and sociable.

Come rain or shine

If I say I'll be at a place come rain or shine, I mean that I can be relied on to turn up; nothing, not even the vagaries of British weather, will deter me or stop me from being there.

Come to bear

If something comes to bear on you, you start to feel the pressure or effect of it. 

Come to call

If someone comes to call, they respond to an order or summons directly.

Come to grips

If you come to grips with a problem or issue, you face up to it and deal with it.

Come to heel

If someone comes to heel, they stop behaving in a way that is annoying to someone in authority and start being obedient.

Come up roses

If things come up roses, they produce a positive result, especially when things seemed to be going badly at first.

Come up smelling of roses

(UK) If someone comes up smelling of roses, they emerge from a situation with their reputation undamaged.

Come up trumps

When someone is said to have 'come up trumps', they have completed an activity successfully or produced a good result, especially when they were not expected to.

Come what may

If you're prepared to do something come what may, it means that nothing will stop or distract you, no matter how hard or difficult it becomes.

Come with the territory

If something comes with the territory, it is part of a job or responsibility and just has to be accepted, even if unpleasant.

Comes with the territory

If something comes with the territory, especially when undesirable, it is automatically included with something else, like a job, responsibility, etc.('Goes with the territory' is also used.) 

Comfort zone

It is the temperature range in which the body doesn't shiver or sweat, but has an idiomatic sense of a place where people feel comfortable, where they can avoid the worries of the world. It can be physical or mental.

Constitution of an ox

If someone has the constitution of an ox, they are less affected than most people by things like tiredness, illness, alcohol, etc.

Cook someone\'s goose

If you cook someone's goose, you ruin their plans.

Cook up a storm

If someone cooks up a storm, they cause a big fuss or generate a lot of talk about something.

Cool as a cat

To act fine when you a actually scared or nervous

Cool your heels

If you leave someone to cool their heels, you make them wait until they have calmed down.

Corner a market

If a business is dominant in an area and unlikely to be challenged by other companies, it has cornered the market.

Couch potato

A couch potato is an extremely idle or lazy person who chooses to spend most of their leisure time horizontal in front of the TV and eats a diet that is mainly junk food.

Could eat a horse

If you are very hungry, you could eat a horse.

Couldn\'t give two hoots

If you couldn't give two hoots about something, you don't care at all about it.

Count sheep

If people cannot sleep, they are advised to count sheep mentally.

Country mile

(USA) A country mile is used to describe a long distance.

Cover all the bases

If you cover all the bases, you deal with all aspects of a situation or issue, or anticipate all possibilities. ('Cover all bases' is also used.)

Crack a nut with a sledgehammer

If you use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, you apply too much force to achieve a result. ('Jackhammer' is also used.)

Crash a party

If you crash a party, or are a gatecrasher, you go somewhere you haven't been invited to.

Cream of the crop

The cream of the crop is the best there is.

Cream rises to the top

A good person or idea cannot go unnoticed for long, just as cream poured in coffee or tea eventually rises to the top.

Creature comforts

If a person said "I hate camping. I don't like giving up my creature comforts." the person would be referring, in particular, to the comfortable things he/she would have at home but not when camping. At home, for example, he/she would have complete shelter from the weather, a television, a nice comfortable warm bed, the ability to take a warm bath or shower, comfortable lounge chairs to relax in and so on. The person doesn't like giving up the material and psychological benefits of his/her normal life.

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