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A small list of A - Z English idioms

What will I learn from the English lesson A - Z List of English idioms?

During this lesson you will be able to use the list below to learn any idioms that you don't understand.

List of Idioms A - Z

a bad patch: This season we hit a bad patch of form and suddenly we were out of the Champions League.

a blue movie/film: Blue movies are rated X, which means that only people of 18 and over can watch them.

a bone of contention: The choice of place for holiday turned out to be a real bone of contention in their family this year.

a cold fish: He's such a cold fish - you can never see any emotions on his face.

a day off (to have/take/get): I think I am overworked - I certainly need a day off!

A drop in the ocean: We're grateful for your help although it's just a drop in the ocean of our needs.

a gap year: I'm considering taking a gap year, to develop myself and increase my self-confidence

a ray of hope: 1. There is a ray of hope for humanity after all. 2. Thank you so much for the ray of hope that shines in your message.

a walk of life: He has friends from many different walks of life.

after your own heart: She loves books too - she's a woman after my own heart!

all of a sudden  All of a sudden the lights went out.

all year round: Most of the hotels are open all year round.

as a matter of fact: As a matter of fact, I love him very much.

ask for trouble: Not wearing a seat belt is just asking for trouble.

at all costs: We must win at all costs.

at first sight: At first sight he seems to be a very competent person.

at heart She said she trusted him but at heart she knew he was lying.

at large There are fewer and fewer exotic species living at large.

at random  The burglar didn't have any plan - he just entered the shop and

grabbed things at random.

at expense one. The trip is at company's expense. We are always making jokes at Mark's expense.

at short notice: I'm so sorry I ask you for help at such short notice but I didn't realize this project would be so demanding.

at the eleventh hour: We were so nervous that he would miss the train but he, as usual, arrived to the railway station at the eleventh hour.

at the top of your voice: They are always discussing things at the top of their voices. It's so annoying.


be a wet blanket: Please somebody make Jane change the subject! With her stories from her childhood, she can be a real wet blanket.

be at one's best: There is no doubt he is to win this race - he is at his best now!

be in force: Don't worry about that - that rule is no longer in force in our office.

be in the air: The initial plans to publish this book in May are quite in the air.

be in the red: It has been announced that the company will still be in the red for the rest of this year.

be in two minds about something: Well, I don't know. I am still in two minds about buying this car.

It's second-hand you know...

be left stranded: That party was a disaster! Everybody was having fun and I was left stranded with that boring guy who sat next to me.

be on the air: Quiet everybody! Three, two, one ... You are on the air!

be out of order: I am sorry but this telephone is out of order. You have to go round the corner.

be quits (with somebody) You give me 21 pounds and we're quits.

be rolling in money: They dream of the day when they'll be rolling in money.

be under no illusions: Am under no illusions about them wanting to rip us off.

 be under the illusion I think Mark's under the illusion that he will be the new director.

be worlds apart: I really like this book but I guess it is worlds apart from what the real situation is.

beat about/around the bush: Stop beating about the bush and tell me what the problem is!

beat somebody black and blue: Tommy always threatens his little brother that he will beat him black and blue if she tells their parents about his marks at school.

blind date: Sheila is so desperate in her search for a husband - she's decided to have a blind date!

burst out laughing: The movie was so funny that finally even Susan burst out laughing.

by all means: By all means this guy should work for us - he is the best specialist I have ever seen!

by all means: By all means we will try to answer any questions, so feel free to ask.

by courtesy of These pictures are being shown by courtesy of CNN.

call it a day Why don't we call it a day and go home?

catch red-handed The trial won't take long as the defendant was caught red-handed.

change a fly into an elephant Gee! She doesn't have an evening dress?! It's just friends' party - why does she have to change a fly into an elephant!

change hands: The heavyweight title is about to change hands once again.

chew something over: I can't give you the answer today. I simply need to chew it over.

chicken out: I wanted to ask Mary out but I chickened out at the last moment.

choose a soft option: He gets on my nerves! Whenever there is something challenging, he always chooses a soft option.

come in handy: Never throw away your notes - they may come in handy one day.

come to terms with something: She can't come to terms with the fact that she was fired for being late all the time.

come true: I wish my dreams would come true one day.

come what may: I don't care that he is going to be there with his new girlfriend! I will be at the party tonight come what may.

commit a blunder: He committed a blunder asking Sue about her husband, while everybody knows that she is divorced.

cry for the moon: Oh, come on! Be realistic! It's like crying for the moon! We cannot afford it.

dead-end relationship: Mary is not happy with her marriage - actually, it is a dead-end relationship.

ease (somebody's) mind: The doctor tried to ease his mind about his daughter's illness.

easier said than done: I know it's easier said than done but in my opinion you should challenge it.

first and foremost: We need peace and stability first and foremost - these are the most important things.

for all the tea in China: Oh, come on! I am not going to ask him such question! Not for all the tea in China!

for short: Her name's Diana or Di for short.

for the sake of: I know that this treatment is unpleasant but you should try it for the sake of your health.

for the time being: That is all what we can offer for the time being but the service is still developing.

get on (somebody's) nerves: Turn that music down! It's getting on my nerves.

get the message: He finally got the message and left Mary and John alone together.

get up on the wrong side of the bed: You'd better avoid Mark today - he got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

give somebody a ring: I'll give you a ring in the evening.

gnash your teeth: Hell is so terrible that those who go there will weep and gnash their teeth. 2. Mary gnashes her teeth in frustration.

go for a song: This car went for a song - the owner was leaving the country and wanted a quick sale.

go off the air: This program was very popular so the information that it went off the air caused a wave of protest.

go to somebody's head: Power and success went to his head - he no longer comes to our parties.

go to waste: I can't bear to see good food going to waste!

Have a finger in every pie: I can't stand her any longer! She has to have a finger in every pie! Can't she just mind her own business?

have a narrow escape: He had a narrow escape when he slipped on the stairs.

have something on the brain: Do you know this song? I've had it on my brain all day.

have at one's fingertips: You can always go and ask Tom of anything concerned with maths, he just has it at his fingertips.

heave a sigh: She heaved a sigh of relief when she heard the good news.

high and low: We've searched high and low for this book.

hit the nail on the head: Right! Nothing to add! You've just hit the nail on the head!

if you like: Shall we stop for a rest? - Yes, if you like.

in a month of Sundays: He will never bring you these CDs, not even in a month of Sundays - just forget it.

in bad taste: Their house is decorated in such bad taste - where did they get the idea of buying these mock rococo chairs to the living room?

in black and white: This agreement is invalid, unless you bring it in black and white.

in bulk: If you buy in bulk, it's 20% cheaper.

in haste:  I'm writing in haste to let you know that I won't come on Friday.

in vain: The doctors tried to save the dying man but in vain. 2. How can you say that our soldiers died in vain?!

in writing: Please confirm the offer in writing next week.

inside out: He's a real computer freak - he knows them inside out.

it goes without saying: Oh, Amy you should marry him! It goes without saying.

just in case: We still have plenty of time but let's take a taxi just in case.

keep under one's hat: They tried to keep it under their hat but it soon became obvious that she is pregnant.

keep at bay: He always tries to keep his troubles at bay when he is on holiday.

learn by heart: There is no rule why these words collocate, you just need to learn them by heart.

leave no stone unturned: I may need to leave no stone unturned but I will find this book!

let something slip: He let slip that he had been in prison.

little by little: After the accident her strength returned little by little.

make a fool of somebody/yourself: Stop that before you make a fool of yourself!

make a fuss about: Gosh! It is just a broken glass. Don't make a fuss about it.

make amends: He went to him and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends.

make up one's mind: He finally made up his mind!

nagging headache: Jonathan is overworked. That's why he suffers from these nagging headaches so often.

nagging husband/wife: I have no idea how she can stand living with such a nagging husband as hers.

cup of tea: In fact, horror films aren't my cup of tea.

not have a clue: I haven't a clue where she left her book.

noughts and crosses: Noughts and Crosses is a very popular game among students

sitting on lectures.

on cloud nine: She has been on cloud nine since she was promoted.

on impulse: When the weather is nice it's fun to go away on impulse.

on location: The series was filmed on location in Sweden.

on one's own account: Well, you can try to run your own business, but remember that it will be on your own account.

on the market: At the moment this is the best camera on the market.

on thin ice: His rude answer put him on thin ice in the company.

on your own initiative: She realized that she had never done anything on her own initiative without the motivation of someone else.

once and for all: I tell you once and for all - I am tired of your complaining about your job! There is nothing else you can do.

out of date: I don't like this design - it is absolutely out of date to me.

out of print: I'm sorry but the book you've ordered is out of print.

out of stock: I'm so sorry but this camera is out of stock now. Can I propose a different model within the same price?

pay tribute to somebody/something: In 1992, a concert was held at Wembley Stadium to pay tribute to Freddie Mercury from Queen.

plead guilty: do winy Having seen his face on security video-tape he couldn't use his

alibi any longer and finally pleaded guilty.

pop the question: After seven years of dating, I finally popped the question to my


promise wonders: She was very disappointed with the job. They promised wonders when they hired her but nothing came true...

pull somebody's leg: Mary had me fooled for a while, but finally I realized she was just pulling my leg.

put in jeopardy: As the Ambassador didn't want to put the staff in jeopardy, they were all dismissed and sent home.

put one's foot down: My boss wanted me to work on weekends but I was brave enough to put my foot down.

put pressure: The press are putting pressure on the minister to resign.

put (somebody/be) at a disadvantage: The fact that the company's office was moved to the different part of the town has put me at a disadvantage. Now I have to commute almost one hour to get there.

rat race: After years in the rat race she's finally decided to quit and spend

more time with her family.

read hand: She wanted the Gypsy woman to read her hand and find out about

her future.

red tape:  Because of all the red tape she didn't get her visa on time and had

to cancel her holidays in Mexico.

red-letter day: Tomorrow is my red-letter day - I am getting promoted.

Ring the bell: I don't know where I might have met him, but the name rings the bell.

safe and sound: To everybody's relief, he returned safe and sound from the storm.

see pink elephants: Tim has a drinking problem. He drinks till he sees pink elephants.

self-made man: The idea of self-made man is one of the most important concepts in America.

sell like hot cakes: The album of this new Irish rock group sells like hot cakes - people ask for it every day.

shed blood: Much blood was shed during the war.

shoot the breeze: She can sit with her friend for hours doing nothing but shooting the breeze!

snap one's fingers: Music often inspires people to clap or snap their fingers.

take a shortcut: I wouldn't rely on him - he always thinks how to take shortcuts in everything he does.

take something for granted: Never take love for granted. It has to be cherished to last.

the lesser of two evils: Sometimes we have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

the naked eye: Bacteria are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

the other side of the coin: Fame has the other side of the coin as well.

the tip of the iceberg: The problems we've already experienced are just the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid.

throw somebody in at the deep end: You want to learn Spanish? There's no better way than to throw yourself in at the deep end - go to Spain.

trial and error I found the answer by trial and error, which obviously took little more time.

ups and downs Their relationship was full of ups and downs.

whistle in the dark: Totally alone in this big house we joked about nightmares, whistling in the dark perhaps.

with a vengeance: After a week of good weather winter has returned with a vengeance today.

without fail: The postman always comes at 10 o'clock without fail.

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