Idioms 1, 2, 3, 4
Ace an exam
(Receive an almost perfect score) I want to ace the exam on Friday
A piece of cake
(Very easy) The exam was a piece of cake.
Apple of his eye
(Cherished person) His daughter was the apple of his eye
Mad as a hornet
(very angry) I was mad as a hornet when the thief stole my purse.
Idioms 5, 6, 7, 8
Nutty as a fruitcake
(very crazy) He acts nutty as a fruitcake when he drinks liquor. He didn’t think it was fair that he got axed from his job.
(fired from a job)
Bad mouth someone
(to criticize someone) I don’t like it when my friend bad mouth’s someone.
Be my guest
(help yourself) Thanks for coming to the party. Please be my guest.
Idioms 9, 10
Big Cheese
(top executive of a company) Dress nice for work tomorrow because the big cheese is coming to see us.
Birthday suit
(completely naked) A baby is cute in its birthday suit, but you aren’t!
Idioms 11, 12, 13, 14
(have no money) I am really broke since the holidays.
Bull in a China Shop
(A clumsy or tactless person) I felt like a bull in a China shop when I knocked over my drink.
Butter up or butter up to
(become friends by flattery) It was fun to butter up the secretary when I went for my job interview.
Catch Cold
(to become ill) It is easy to catch cold when the weather is cold.
Idioms 15, 16, 17, 18
Cat got your tongue
(person is not willing to talk because of shyness) The cat got her tongue when she was introduced to Chen.
Chicken feed
(a small amount of money) I just have chicken feed left over after buying groceries.
Cough up Cold Turkey
(stopping something abruptly)
(To give money unwilling) He coughed up the money for the Charity Ball, even though he didn’t want to.
He stopped smoking cold turkey.
Idioms 19, 20, 21, 22
Crack a book
(to study) I would like to go to the movie, but I need to crack a book. (complain about something that has happened) It doesn’t do any good to cry over spilled milk.
Cry over spilled milk
Cup of tea
Cry wolf
(To give a false alarm) If you cry wolf one more time, help won’t come when you really need it.
(Something you enjoy or do well or easily) Playing the piano was her cup of tea.
Idioms 23, 24, 25, 26
Cut off your nose To spite your face
(To make things worse for yourself because of anger) It was silly of her to cut off her nose to spite her face.
Dead ahead
(Exactly in front) We saw the stop sign dead ahead.
Double cross
(To promise one thing and do another) I felt bad when my friend double crossed me.
(Wording something to be misunderstood) I couldn’t understand what they were trying to say because of all their double-talk.
Idioms 27, 28, 29, 30
Down in the dumps
(sad or discouraged) She was down in the dumps when her boyfriend didn’t call her. (To write and mail a note or letter) I dropped a line to my Grandmother.
Drop a line
Drop by or stop by
(to make a short or unplanned visit) I didn’t know my grandparents were coming to town, but I was sure glad that they dropped by for a visit.
Drop dead
(Stop bothering me or go away) Don’t keep asking me the same question, just drop dead.
Idioms 31, 32, 33, 34
Dutch Treat
(Everyone pays for his or her own way) Let’s go dutch treat for lunch.
Eat your heart out
(Grieve long and hopelessly) You don’t need to eat your heart out just because you didn’t get an 100% on your exam.
Eat your words
(to be forced to take back something you said) I’m going to make him eat his words. Every Tom, Dick and Harry were at the party.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry
(Everyone in general)
Idioms 35, 36, 37, 38
Fast buck
(money earned quickly and easily) He thinks gambling is a good way to earn a fast buck.
Fat chance
(Little or no possibility) Fat chance that he will be able to lift that 500 pound weight.
Flea Market
(place where used items and antiques are sold) You can get a good bargain at the Flea Market.
Food for thought
(something that is worth thinking about) His presentation on the environment Is food for thought.
Idioms 39, 40, 41, 42
Full of beans
(You don’t know what You are talking about) He was full of beans when he was bragging about playing basketball as good as Michael Jordan.
Get off my back
(Leave me alone) I told her to get off my back.
Get to the point
(Talk about the important Idea) It took the lecturer a long time to get to the point.
Give my right arm
(Willing to give something valuable to get something) I’d give my right arm to know if she likes me.
Idioms 43, 44, 45, 46
Go jump in the lake
(Go away and stop bothering me) I told him to go jump in the lake after he had called me 10 times.
Green thumb
(Ability of garden successfully) He had a green thumb and could make anything grow in his garden.
(A delay in some process) There was a hang-up in getting our textbooks printed.
Hit the ceiling
(To become very angry) I hit the ceiling when he told me he had wrecked my car.
Idioms 47, 48, 49, 50
Hit the hay (sack)
(To go to bed)
Holy cow
(Expression of strong feeling similar to WOW!) Holy cow, he’s so handsome
I’m tired. It’s time to hit the sack
Hot water
(Having trouble) I got in hot water with my professor for not handing my report in on time.
I’ll buy that!
(I agree with you)
After my discussion with Tom, and he suggested I study harder, I said I’ll buy that!
Idioms 51, 52, 53, 54
In a nutshell
(In a few words, briefly) Tell me about your weekend, in a nutshell.
In the red
(In an unsuccessful or unprofitable way) My bank account is in the red.
Jump down my throat
(To suddenly become very angry with me) You don’t need to jump down my throat, just because I didn’t call you.
Kangaroo court
(Self-appointed disciplinary group ? unfair judgment) The students held a kangaroo court when they thought their advisor had been unfair.
Idioms 55, 56, 57, 58
Kick the bucket
(to die) You might kick the bucket too soon if you keep drinking and smoking.
Make believe
(to act as if something is true, pretend) It was hard to believe that movie was all make believe.
Make your mouth water
(to look or smell something very good to eat) That soup smells so good, it is making my mouth water.
Money to burn
Have more money than is necessary He is so rich. He has money to burn.
Idioms 59, 60, 61, 62
Nail down
(to make sure) I want to nail down that interview for a new job.
Neck and neck
(a race or contest that is nearly equal) The race was neck and neck at the finish line.
No sweat
(easily accomplished)
Off the cuff
(Without preparation) I had to give a speech off the cuff.
It’s no sweat to catch a fish if you use the right bait.
Idioms 63, 64, 65, 66
On a shoestring
(with very little money) Many students go to school on a shoestring
Once in a blue moon
(very seldom or never) He attends class once in a blue moon and still wants credit for it.
On the Q.T.
Out of the frying pan into the fire
(Out of one trouble into a worse trouble)
Don’t tell me. It’s supposed to be on the Q.T.
The choice the teenager made put him out of the frying pan into the fire.
Idioms 67, 68, 69, 70
Pass away
(to die) The soldiers passed away while they were fighting for our freedom.
Piggy back
(to carry a child or a load on your back) He carried his little son piggy back up the mountain.
Pull your weight
(to do your full share of the work) The boss wanted you to pull your weight on the new job.
Put a bug in your ear
(to give important information) He put a bug in my ear about the new project we were starting.
Idioms 71, 72, 73, 74
Raining cats and dogs
(a very hard rain storm.) Let’s wait until it stops raining cats and dogs.
Right on
(that’s correct) You were right on about that book you recommended for me to read.
Run into
(to meet by chance)
Run that by again
(repeat what you just said) Please run that by me again. I couldn’t hear you because the music was too loud.
It was so fun to run into you.
Idioms 75, 76, 77, 78
Search me
(I don’t know) Search me about the whereabouts of the cafeteria.
Set the world on fire
(to do something unusual or outstanding) When I graduate, I’m going to set the world on fire.
Shape up
(to begin to act or work right) Shape up or I will have to fire you from your job.
Shoot the breeze
(to talk) My friend and I like to sit around and shoot the breeze.
Idioms 79, 80, 81, 82
(overwhelmed with work) I can’t go to lunch with you today because I’m really snowed with work.
Snow job
(flattery to impress someone) He gave her a snow job before he asked her out on a date.
Sob story
(a story to make someone pity you) She told the class a sob story.
Step on it
(hurry) I asked him to step on it so I wouldn’t miss my flight.
Idioms 83, 84, 85, 86
Stick up for
(to defend against attack) But teacher, I had to stick up for my sister.
Stick to your ribs
(very filling food that keeps you from getting hungry) I’m glad I had rice for lunch. It sticks to my ribs so I’m not hungry now.
Sweetie pie
(darling or sweetheart) My wife is my sweetie pie. I love her so much.
Take down
(to write or record) Please take down the instructions I am going to give you.
Idioms 87, 88, 89, 90
Take it easy
(to be careful) He said he wanted to take it easy after a hard day at work.
Take off
(to leave fast) The pilot said it was time to take off.
Take with a grain of salt
(to not believe everything) Take what he says with a grain of salt.
Throw a curve
(to mislead or deceive someone) It’s not our policy to throw a curve in our meetings.
Idioms 91, 92, 93, 94
Throw in the towel
(to give up or admit defeat) I’m ready to throw in the towel on this project.
Thumb a ride
(to hitchhike) Hurry! Let’s thumb a ride to Beijing.
Tie the knot
(to get married) Let’s tie the knot during Chinese New Year.
Tighten your belt
(to live on less money than usual) We are going to have to tighten our belt this month.
Idioms 95, 96, 97, 98
Top banana
(top executive of a company) Mr. Wang was the top banana of his company.
Try on
(to put on clothes or shoes to see if they fit) May I pleaseTe try on this shirt.
Turn on
(to become interested in something) Being in China, turns me on.
Up the creek
(in trouble or difficulty) I felt like I was up the creek without a paddle.
Idioms 99, 100, 101, 102
Up to par
(to be in good health or physical condition) I feel up to par today. Let’s go for a hike.
Wait on tables
(to serve food as a waiter or waitress) I got a job to wait on tables at TGI Fridays.
Walking on air
(to be happy and excited) I feel like I am walking on air since I got an A on the exam.
Watch it
(be careful) Watch it when you cross the street.
Idioms 103, 104, 105, 106
Wet behind the ears
(not experienced)
When hell freezes over
(never) When hell freezes over, then I will go on a date with him.
He is wet behind the ears when it comes to working on the computer.
Worth his salt
(A very valuable person, usually an employee) I’m glad we hired him. He is worth his salt.
Wrap up
(To put on warm clothes) Wrap up it’s cold outside today.
Idioms 107, 108, 109, 110
Yes man
(a person who always agrees with the boss) That new employee got this job because he is a yes man.
Hop to it
(get started) Hop to it on that new proposal.
Get on the ball
(do it)
Level with me
(tell me the truth) Come on and level with me.
I told her to get on the ball.
Idioms 111, 112, 113, 114
Hang in there
(stay with it) Hang in there until you have finished your assignment.
Off to a flying start
(things are going well) The class got off to a flying start.
Time flies
(time goes quickly) Time flies when you are having fun.
Lend me a hand
(help me) Please lend me a hand when I move to a new apartment next week.
Idioms 115, 116, 117, 118
Cutting it close
(made it in time) We were cutting it close when we took the bus to the airport instead of a taxi.
Knock me over with a feather
(surprised me) You could have knocked me over with a feather when you brought me those beautiful flowers.
Go fly a kite
(go away)
Hit the road
(get going) Let’s hit the road if we are going to make it to Hong Kong.
Go fly a kite and leave me alone.
Idioms 119, 120, 121, 122
Go haywire
(do wrong things)
Like looking for a needle in a haystack
(hard to find) To find my ring is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
That gang of boys have gone haywire.
Tough as leather
(hard to cut) The beefsteak I ordered was tough as leather.
Work yourself Into a lather
(get upset) Don’t work yourself into a lather over your experiment.
Idioms 123, 124, 125, 126
Wiped out
Out of this world.
(very good) Her presentation was out of this world.
I was really wiped out after the three hour test.
Eat humble pie Eat crow
(take back what you said) It’s hard to eat crow when you say the wrong thing. (admit your error) The boss insisted that I eat humble pie.
Idioms 127, 128, 129, 130
Bark up the wrong tree
(going the wrong direction) He was barking up the wrong tree when he told us to turn left.
Chew the fat
(talk) I like to chew the fat with my friends.
Jump the gun
(start before you are ready) It is easy to jump the gun when you are running a race.
Buzz off
(go away) I told him to buzz off and leave me alone.
Idioms 131, 132, 133, 134
What’s the scoop
(latest news)
He is flying high
(doing well) He is flying high since the business he started is doing so well.
What’s the scoop on the world oil prices?
He blew it
(not doing well) He blew it



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