Idioms a - c.txt

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Idioms a - c.txt
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  1. A little bird told me
  2. If someone doesn't want to say where they got some information from
    they can say that a little bird told them.
  3. A little learning is a dangerous thing
  4. A small amount of knowledge can cause people to think they are more expert than they really are.eg. he said he'd done a course on
  5. home electrics
    but when he tried to mend my table lamp
  6. A long row to hoe
  7. Something that is a long row to hoe is a difficult task that takes a long time.
  8. A penny for your thoughts
  9. This idiom is used as a way of asking someone what they are thinking about.
  10. A penny saved is a penny earned
  11. This means that we shouldn't spend or waste money
    but try to save it.
  12. A poor man's something
  13. Something or someone that can be compared to something or someone else
    but is not as good is a poor man's version; a writer
  14. who uses lots of puns but isn't very funny would be a poor man's Oscar Wilde.
  15. A steal
  16. If something is a steal
    it costs much less than it is really worth.
  17. A watched pot never boils
  18. Some things work out in their own time
    so being impatient and constantly checking will just make things seem longer.
  19. About face
  20. If someone changes their mind completely
    this is an about face. It can be used when companies
  21. position on an issue.
  22. Above board
  23. If things are done above board
    they are carried out in a legal and proper manner.
  24. Above par
  25. Better than average or normal
  26. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  27. This idiom means that when people are apart
    their love grows stronger.
  28. Accident waiting to happen
  29. If something is an accident waiting to happen
    there's definitely going to be an accident or it's bound to go wrong. ('Disaster waiting
  30. to happen' is also used.)
  31. Ace in the hole
  32. An ace in the hole is something other people are not aware of that can be used to your advantage when the time is right.
  33. Ace up your sleeve
  34. If you have an ace up your sleeve
    you have something that will give you an advantage that other people don't know about.
  35. Achilles' heel
  36. A person's weak spot is their Achilles' heel.
  37. Acid test
  38. An acid test is something that proves whether something is good
    effective
  39. Across the board
  40. If something applies to everybody
    it applies across the board.
  41. Act of God
  42. An act of God is something like an earthquake or floods that human beings cannot prevent or control.
  43. Act of war
  44. An act of war is a action that is either intended to start a war or that is interpreted as being sufficient cause for a war.
  45. Adam's apple
  46. The Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat
    mostly seen in men.
  47. Add fuel to the fire
  48. If people add fuel to the fire
    they make a bad situation worse.
  49. After your own heart
  50. A person after your own heart thinks the same way as you.
  51. Against the clock
  52. If you do something against the clock
    you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
  53. Against the grain
  54. If doing something goes against the grain
    you're unwilling to do it because it contradicts what you believe in
  55. choice.
  56. Age before beauty
  57. When this idiom is used
    it is a way of allowing an older person to do something first
  58. Ahead of the curve
  59. Similar to ahead of the pack
    ahead of the curve literally refers to your position on the statistical bell curve
  60. curve represents the median
    average result. By being ahead of the curve you represent the top perce
  61. Ahead of the pack
  62. If you are ahead of the pack
    you have made more progress than your rivals.
  63. Ahead of time
  64. If something happens ahead of time
    it happens early or before the set time.
  65. Air your dirty laundry in public
  66. If you air your dirty laundry in public
    you reveal aspects of your private life that should really remain private
  67. arguing in public
    etc.
  68. Alive and kicking
  69. If something is active and doing well
    it is alive and kicking.� (It can be used for people too.)
  70. All along
  71. If you have known or suspected something all along
    then you have felt this from the beginning.
  72. All and sundry
  73. This idiom is a way of emphasising 'all'
    like saying 'each and every one'.
  74. All bark and no bite
  75. When someone talks tough but really isn't
    they are all bark and no bite.
  76. All bets are off
  77. (USA) If all bets are off
    then agreements that have been made no longer apply.
  78. All dressed up and nowhere to go
  79. You're prepared for something that isn't going to happen.
  80. All eyes on me
  81. If all eyes are on someone
    then everyone is paying attention to them.
  82. All fingers and thumbs
  83. If you're all fingers and thumbs
    you are too excited or clumsy to do something properly that requires manual dexterity. 'All thumbs' is
  84. an alternative form of the idiom.
  85. All hat
    no cattle
  86. (USA) When someone talks big
    but cannot back it up
  87. All hell broke loose
  88. When all hell breaks loose
    there is chaos
  89. All in a day's work
  90. If something is all in a day's work
    it is nothing special.
  91. All in your head
  92. If something is all in your head
    you have imagined it and it is not real.
  93. All of the above
  94. This idiom can be used to mean everything that has been said or written
    especially all the choices or possibilities.
  95. All over the map
  96. (USA) If something like a discussion is all over the map
    it doesn't stick to the main topic and goes off on tangents.
  97. All over the place
  98. If something is completely disorganised or confused
    it is all over the place.
  99. All over the shop
  100. If something is completely disorganised or confused
    it is all over the shop.
  101. All over the show
  102. If something is all over the show
    it's in a complete mess.An alternative to 'All over the shop'.
  103. All roads lead to Rome
  104. This means that there can be many different ways of doing something.
  105. All set
  106. If you're all set
    you are ready for something.
  107. All skin and bone
  108. If a person is very underweight
    they are all skin and bone
  109. All square
  110. If something is all square
    nobody has an advantage or is ahead of the others.
  111. All that glitters is not gold
  112. This means that appearances can be deceptive and things that look or sound valuable can be worthless. ('All that glistens is not
  113. gold' is an alternative.)
  114. All the tea in China
  115. If someone won't do something for all the tea in China
    they won't do it no matter how much money they are offered.
  116. All your eggs in one basket
  117. If you put all your eggs in one basket
    you risk everything at once
  118. negative imperative- 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket'. 'Have your eggs in one basket' i
  119. All's fair in love and war
  120. This idiom is used to say that where there is conflict
    people can be expected to behave in a more vicious way.
  121. Alter ego
  122. An alter ego is a very close and intimate friend. It is a Latin phrase that literally means 'other self'.
  123. Ambulance chaser
  124. A lawyer who encourages people who have been in accidents or become ill to sue for compensation is an ambulance chaser.
  125. An old flame
  126. An old flame is a person that somebody has had an emotional
    usually passionate
  127. with affection.
  128. Angry as a bull
  129. If someone is as angry as a bull
    they are very angry.
  130. Answers on a postcard
  131. This idiom can be used to suggest that the answer to something is very obvious or that the person would really like to hear what
  132. people think.
  133. Ants in your pants
  134. If someone has ants in their pants
    they are agitated or excited about something and can't keep still.
  135. Apple of your eye
  136. Something or
    more often
  137. Apple pie order
  138. Everything is in perfect order and tidy if it is in apple pie order.
  139. Apples and oranges
  140. Tis used when people compare or describe two totally different things. ('Apples to oranges' is also used.)
  141. Apples for apples
  142. An apples for apples comparison is a comparison between related or simialr things. ('Apples to apples' is also used.)
  143. Arm and a leg
  144. If something costs an arm and a leg
    it is very expensive.
  145. Around the clock
  146. If something is open around the clock
    it is open 24 hours a day. For example
  147. As cold as stone
  148. If something is as cold as stone
    it is very cold. If a person is as cold as stone
  149. As good as new
  150. If something has been used but is still in extremely good condition
    it is as good as new.
  151. At a drop of a dime
  152. (USA) If someone will do something at the drop of a dime
    they will do it instantly
  153. At a loose end
  154. (UK) If you are at a loose end
    you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
  155. At a loss
  156. If you are at a loss
    you are unable to understand or comply.
  157. At a snail's pace
  158. If something moves at a snail's pace
    it moves very slowly.
  159. At arm's length
  160. If something is at arm's length
    it is a safe distance waway from you.
  161. At death's door
  162. If someone looks as if they are at death's door
    they look seriously unwell and might actually be dying.
  163. At each other's throats
  164. If people are at each other's throats
    they are fighting
  165. At full tilt
  166. If something is at full tilt
    it is going or happening as fast or as hard as possible.
  167. At large
  168. If a criminal is at large
    they have not been found or caught.
  169. At loose ends
  170. (USA) If you are at a loose end
    you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
  171. At sea
  172. If things are at sea
    or all at sea
  173. At the drop of a hat
  174. If you would do something at the drop of a hat
    you'd do it immediately.
  175. At the end of the day
  176. This is used to mean 'in conclusion' or 'when all is said and done'.
  177. At the end of your rope
  178. (USA) If you are at the end of your rope
    you are at the limit of your patience or endurance.
  179. At the top of my lungs
  180. If you shout at the top of your lungs
    you shout as loudly as you possibly can.
  181. At the top of the list
  182. If something is at the top of the list
    it is of highest priority
  183. At your wits' end
  184. If you are at your wits' end
    you have no idea what to do next and are very frustrated.
  185. Average Joe
  186. An average Joe is an ordinary person without anything exceptional about them.
  187. AWOL
  188. AWOL stands for "Absent Without Leave"
    or "Absent Without Official Leave". Orignially a military term
  189. has gone missing without telling anyone or asking for permission.
  190. Axe to grind
  191. If you have an axe to grind with someone or about something
    you have a grievance
  192. sort it out. In American English
    it is 'ax'.
  193. Babe in arms
  194. A babe in arms is a very young child
    or a person who is very young to be holding a position.
  195. Babe in the woods
  196. A babe in the woods is a naive
    defenceless
  197. Baby boomer
  198. (USA) A baby boomer is someone born in the years after the end of the Second World War
    a period when the population was
  199. growing very fast.
  200. Back burner
  201. If an issue is on the back burner
    it is being given low priority.
  202. Back to square one
  203. If you are back to square one
    you have to start from the beginning again.
  204. Back to the drawing board
  205. If you have to go back to the drawing board
    you have to go back to the beginning and start something again.
  206. Back to the salt mine
  207. If someone says they have to go back to the salt mine
    they have to return to work.
  208. Bad Apple
  209. A person who is bad and makes other bad is a bad apple.
  210. Bad blood
  211. If people feel hate because of things that happened in the past
    there is bad blood between them.
  212. Bad egg
  213. A person who cannot be trusted is a bad egg. Good egg is the opposite.
  214. Bad hair day
  215. If you're having a bad hair day
    things are not going the way you would like or had planned.
  216. Bad mouth
  217. (UK) When you are bad mouthing
    you are saying negative things about someone or something.('Bad-mouth' and 'badmouth' are also
  218. used.)
  219. Bad taste in your mouth
  220. If something leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth
    you feel there is something wrong or bad about it.
  221. Bag of nerves
  222. If someone is a bag of nerves
    they are very worried or nervous.
  223. Ball is in your court
  224. If the ball is in your court
    it is up to you to make the next decision or step.
  225. Ballpark figure
  226. A ballpark figure is a rough or approximate number (guesstimate) to give a general idea of something
    like a rough estimate for a
  227. cost
    etc.
  228. Banana republic
  229. Banana republic is a term used for small countries that are dependent on a single crop or resource and governed badly by a corrupt
  230. elite.
  231. Baptism of fire
  232. A baptism of fire was a soldier's first experience of shooting. Any unpleasant experience undergone
    usually where it is also a
  233. learning experience
    is a baptism of fire.
  234. Barking up the wrong tree
  235. If you are barking up the wrong tree
    it means that you have completely misunderstood something or are totally wrong.
  236. Bean counter
  237. A bean counter is an accountant.
  238. Bear fruit
  239. If something bears fruit
    it produces positive results.
  240. Bear market
  241. A bear market is a period when investors are pessimistic and expect financial losses so are more likely to sell than to buy shares.
  242. Bear the brunt
  243. People who bear the brunt of something endure the worst of something bad.
  244. Beat about the bush
  245. If someone doesn't say clearly what they mean and try to make it hard to understand
    they are beating about (around) the bush.
  246. Beat someone to the draw
  247. (USA) If you beat someone to the draw
    you do something before they do.
  248. Beat your brains out
  249. If you beat your brains out
    you think hard about something but cannot solve
  250. Beating a dead horse
  251. (USA) If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding
    they're beating a dead
  252. horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beati
  253. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  254. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder means that different people will find different things beautiful and that the differences of opinion
  255. don't matter greatly.
  256. Beauty is only skin deep
  257. This idiom means that appearances can be deceptive and something that seems or looks good may turn out to be bad.
  258. Bedroom eyes
  259. Someone with bedroom eyes has a sexy look in their eyes.
  260. Behind bars
  261. When someone is behind bars
    they are in prison.
  262. Behind closed doors
  263. If something happens away from the public eye
    it happens behind closed doors.
  264. Behind the eight ball
  265. A difficult position from which it is unlikely one can escape.
  266. Behind the times
  267. Someone that is behind the times is old-fashioned and has ideas that are regarded as out-dated.
  268. Bells and whistles
  269. Bells and whistles are attractive features that things like computer programs have
    though often a bit unnecessary.
  270. Bells on
  271. (USA) To be somewhere with bells on means to arrive there happy and delighted to attend.
  272. Belly up
  273. If things go belly up
    they go badly wrong.
  274. Below par
  275. If something isn't up to standard
    or someone isn't feeling or doing very well
  276. Below the belt
  277. If someone says something that is cruel or unfair
    it is below the belt
  278. Bend over backwards
  279. If someone bends over backwards
    they do everything they can to help someone.
  280. Beside the point
  281. If something is beside the point
    it's not relevant to the matter being discussed or considered.
  282. Beside themselves
  283. If people are beside themselves
    they are very worried or emotional about something.�
  284. Beside yourself
  285. If you are beside yourself
    you are extremely angry.
  286. Best of both worlds
  287. If you have the best of both worlds
    you benefit from different things that do not normally go together.
  288. Best thing since sliced bread
  289. If something is the best thing since sliced bread
    it is excellent. ('The greatest thing since sliced bread' is also used.)
  290. Better half
  291. Your better half is your husband or wife.
  292. Better late than never
  293. This idiom suggests that doing something late is better than not doing it at all.
  294. Better safe than sorry
  295. This idiom is used to recommend being cautious rather than taking a risk.
  296. Better the devil you know
  297. This is the shortened form of the full idiom
    'better the devil you know than the devil you don't'
  298. deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know
    even if they are not ideal
  299. Between a rock and a hard place
  300. If you are caught between a rock and a hard place
    you are in a position where you have to choose between unpleasant
  301. alternatives
    and your choice might cause you problems; you will not be able to satisfy everyone.
  302. Between the devil and the deep blue sea
  303. If you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea
    you are in a dilemma; a difficult choice.
  304. Between you and me and the cat's whiskers
  305. This idiom is used when telling someone something that you want them to keep secret.
  306. Beyond a shadow of a doubt
  307. If something's beyond a shadow of a doubt
    then absolutely no doubts remain about it.
  308. Beyond belief
  309. 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
  310. behaviour was beyond belief.
  311. Beyond the pale
  312. If something's beyond the pale
    it is too extreme to be acceptable morally or socially.
  313. Big Apple
  314. (USA) The Big Apple is New York.
  315. Big bucks
  316. If someone is making big bucks
    they are making a lot of money.
  317. Big cheese
  318. The big cheese is the boss.
  319. Big Easy
  320. (USA) The Big Easy is New Orleans
    Louisiana
  321. Big fish
  322. An important person in a company or an organisation is a big fish.
  323. Big fish in a small pond
  324. A big fish in a small pond is an important person in a small place or organisation.
  325. Big nose
  326. If someone has a big nose
    it means they are excessively interested in everyone else's business.
  327. Big picture
  328. The big picture of something is the overall perspective or objective
    not the fine detail.
  329. Big time
  330. This can be used to with the meaning 'very much'- if you like something big time
    you like it a lot.
  331. Bigger fish to fry
  332. 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
  333. bigger fish to fry.
  334. Birds and the bees
  335. If a child is taught about the birds and the bees
    they are taught about sex.
  336. Birds of a feather flock together
  337. This idiom means that people with similar interests will stick together.
  338. Birthday suit
  339. If you are in your birthday suit
    you are naked.
  340. Bite someone's head off
  341. If you bite someone's head off
    you criticise them angrily.
  342. Bite the bullet
  343. If you have to bite the bullet
    you have to accept or face something unpleasant because it cannot be avoided.
  344. Bite the dust
  345. This is a way of saying that somebody has died
    especially if they are killed violently like a soldier in battle.
  346. Bite your lip
  347. 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.
  348. Bite your tongue
  349. If you bite your tongue
    you refrain from speaking because it is socially or otherwise better not to.
  350. Bitter end
  351. If you do something to the bitter end
    you do it to the very end
  352. Bitter pill to swallow
  353. A bitter pill to swallow is something that is hard to accept.
  354. Black hole
  355. If there is a black hole in financial accounts
    money has disappeared.
  356. Black sheep
  357. Someone who is the black sheep doesn't fit into a group or family because their behaviour or character is not good enough.
  358. Bleeding edge
  359. Similar to 'cutting edge'
    this implies a technology or process that is at the forefront or beyond current practices. However
  360. it is unproven
    it is often dangerous to use (hence the 'bleeding').
  361. Bleeding heart
  362. A bleeding heart is a person who is excessively sympathetic towards other people.
  363. Blessing in disguise
  364. If some bad luck or misfortune ultimately results in something positive
    it's a blessing in disguise.
  365. Blind acceptance
  366. If people accept thing blindly
    they accept them without questioning�them at all.
  367. Blind as a bat
  368. If you are in total darkness and can't see anything at all
    you are as blind as a bat.
  369. Blind leading the blind
  370. 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
  371. of
    when they should have greater knowledge.
  372. Blind-sided
  373. If you are blind-sided
    an event with a negative impact takes you completely by surprise.
  374. Blink of an eye
  375. If something happens in the blink of an eye
    it happens so fast it is almost impossible to notice it.
  376. Blood and thunder
  377. An emotional speech or performance is full of blood and thunder.
  378. Blood from a turnip
  379. It is impossible to get something from someone if they don't have it
    just as you cannot get blood from a turnip.
  380. Blood is thicker than water
  381. This idiom means that family relationships are stronger than others.
  382. Blow a gasket
  383. If you blow a gasket
    you get very angry.
  384. Blow by blow
  385. A blow-by-blow description gives every detail in sequence.
  386. Blow me down
  387. People say '(well
    ) blow me down' when you have just told them something surprising
  388. with a feather' is also used.)�
  389. Blow off steam
  390. (USA) If you blow off steam
    you express your anger or frustration.
  391. Blow out of the water
  392. If something
    like an idea
  393. Blow smoke
  394. (USA) If people blow smoke
    they exaggerate or say things that are not true
  395. Blow the cobwebs away
  396. If you blow the cobwebs away
    you make sweeping changes to something to bring fresh views and ideas in.
  397. Blow the whistle
  398. If somebody blows the whistle on a plan
    they report it to the authorities.
  399. Blow your mind
  400. Something that will blow your mind is something extraordinary that will amaze you beyond explanation.
  401. Blow your own horn
  402. If you blow your own horn
    you boast about your achievements and abilities. ('Blow your own trumpet' is an alternative form.)
  403. Blow your own trumpet
  404. If someone blows their own trumpet
    they boast about their talents and achievements.� ('Blow your own horn' is an alternative form.)
  405. Blow your stack
  406. If you blow your stack
    you lose your temper.
  407. Blow your top
  408. If someone blows their top
    they lose their temper.
  409. Bone of contention
  410. If there is an issue that always causes tension and arguments
    it is a bone of contention.
  411. Bone to pick
  412. If you have a bone to pick with someone
    you are annoyed about something they have done and want to tell them how you feel.
  413. Boot is on the other foot
  414. When the boot's on the other foot
    a person who was in a position of weakness is now in a position of strength.
  415. Born with a silver spoon in your mouth
  416. If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth
    you are born into a rich family.
  417. Both ends meet
  418. If you make both ends meet
    you live off the money you earn and don't go into debt.
  419. Bottom line
  420. In accountancy
    the bottom line is net income
  421. Bounce ideas
  422. If you bounce ideas off someone
    you share your ideas with them to know whether they think they would work.
  423. Bounce off the walls
  424. If someone's bouncing off the walls
    they are very excited about something.
  425. Brain surgery
  426. If something is not brain surgery
    it isn't very complicated or difficult to understand or master.
  427. Brass monkey
  428. If it's brass monkey weather
    or cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey
  429. Breadwinner
  430. Used to describe the person that earns the most money. For example - She's the breadwinner in the family.
  431. Break a leg
  432. This idiom is a way of wishing someone good luck.
  433. Break even
  434. If you break even
    you don't make any money
  435. Break ground
  436. If you break ground
    or break new ground
  437. before. 'Ground-breaking' is used an adjective.
  438. Break the ice
  439. When you break the ice
    you get over any initial embarrassment or shyness when you meet someone for the first time and start
  440. conversing.
  441. Break your heart
  442. If someone upsets you greatly
    they break your heart
  443. Bring the house down
  444. Something that brings the house down is acclaimed and praised vigorously.
  445. Bring to the table
  446. If you bring something to the table
    you make a contribution or an offer in a discussion or negotiation..
  447. Broke as a joke and it ain't funny
  448. This idiom in my opinion describes how it's not funny to be without a cent and just uses broke and joke as rhyming words that help
  449. explain this idiom a lot better.
  450. Burn the midnight oil
  451. If you stay up very late working or studying
    you burn the midnight oil.
  452. Burn your bridges
  453. If you burn your bridges
    you do something that makes it impossible to go back from the position you have taken.
  454. Burn your fingers
  455. If you burn your fingers
    you suffer a loss or something unpleasant as the result of something you did
  456. again.
  457. Burning question
  458. A burning question is something we all want to know about.
  459. Burst at the seams
  460. To be filled to or beyond normal capacity: This room will be bursting at the seams when all the guests arrive.
  461. Burst your bubble
  462. If you correct someone's ignorant or delusional belief
    you burst their bubble. (Bust someone's bubble is also used.)
  463. Bury the hatchet
  464. If you bury the hatchet
    you make peace with someone and stop arguing or fighting.
  465. Bury your head in the sand
  466. If someone buries their head in the sand
    they ignore something that is obviously wrong.
  467. Busy as a bee
  468. If you are as busy as a bee
    you are very busy indeed.
  469. Butt naked
  470. If someone is butt naked
    they have no clothes on at all
  471. Butt of a joke
  472. If something or someone becomes the butt of a joke it or they are not taken seriously anymore.
  473. Butterfingers
  474. Someone who has butterfingers is clumsy and drops things.
  475. Button your lip
  476. If you button your lip
    you keep quiet and don't speak. It is also used as a way of telling someone to shut up.
  477. Buy the farm
  478. When somebody has bought the farm
    they have died.
  479. By a whisker
  480. If you do something by a whisker
    you only just manage to do it and come very near indeed to failing.
  481. By heart
  482. If you learn something by heart
    you learn it word for word.
  483. By the book
  484. If you do something by the book
    you do it exactly as you are supposed to.
  485. By the numbers
  486. If something is done by the numbers
    it is done in a mechanical manner without room for creativity.
  487. By the same token
  488. If someone applies the same rule to different situations
    they judge them by the same token: If things go well
  489. by the same token
    when things go wrong he gets furious.
  490. By the seat of your pants
  491. If you do something by the seat of your pants
    you achieve something
  492. advance preparation.
  493. By the skin of your teeth
  494. If you do something by the skin of your teeth
    you only just manage to do it and come very near indeed to failing.
  495. By word of mouth
  496. If something becomes known by word of mouth
    it gets known by being talked about rather than through publicity or advertising
  497. Cake's not worth the candle
  498. If someone says that the cake's not worth the candle
    they mean that the result will not be worth the effort put in to achieve it.
  499. Call a spade a spade
  500. A person who calls a spade a spade is one speaks frankly and makes little or no attempt to conceal their opinions or to spare the
  501. feelings of their audience.
  502. Call it a day
  503. If you call it a day
    you stop doing something for a while
  504. Call on the carpet
  505. If you are called on the carpet
    you are summoned for a reprimand by superiors or others in power.
  506. Call the dogs off
  507. If someone calls off their dogs
    they stop attacking or criticising someone.
  508. Call the shots
  509. If you call the shots
    you are in charge and tell people what to do.
  510. Call the tune
  511. The person who calls the tune makes the important decisions about something.
  512. Calm before the storm
  513. A calm time immediately before period of violent activity or argument is the calm before the storm.
  514. Can of worms
  515. If an action can create serious problems
    it is opening a can of worms.
  516. Can't hack it
  517. Unable to perform an act
    duty
  518. Can't hold a candle
  519. If something can't hold a candle to something else
    it is much worse.
  520. Can't see the forest for its trees
  521. If someone can't see the forest for its trees
    they are too focused on specific details to see the picture as a whole.
  522. Canary in a coal mine
  523. (UK) A canary in a coal mine is an early warning of danger.
  524. Card up your sleeve
  525. If you have a card up your sleeve
    you have a surprise plan or idea that you are keeping back until the time is right.
  526. Carrot and stick
  527. If someone offers a carrot and stick
    they offer an incentive to do something combined with the threat of punishment.
  528. Carry the can
  529. If you carry the can
    you take the blame for something
  530. Carry the day
  531. If something carries the day
    it wins a battle (the sense is that the battle has been long and could have gone either way) or
  532. competition for supremacy.
  533. Case in point
  534. Meaning an instance of something has just occurred that was previously discussed. For instance
    a person may have told another
  535. that something always happens. Later that day
    they see it happening
  536. Cash cow
  537. A product
    business
  538. Cash in your chips
  539. If you cash in your chips
    you sell something to get what profit you can because you think its value is going to fall. It can also mean
  540. 'to die'.
  541. Casting vote
  542. The casting vote is a vote given to a chairman or president that is used when there is a deadlock.
  543. Castles in the air
  544. Plans that are impractical and will never work out are castles in the air.
  545. Cat among the pigeons
  546. If something or someone puts
    or sets or lets
  547. Cat and dog life
  548. If people lead a cat and dog life
    they are always arguing.
  549. Cat got your tongue?
  550. If someone asks if the cat has got your tongue
    they want to know why you are not speaking when they think you should.
  551. Cat nap
  552. If you have a short sleep during the day
    you are cat napping.
  553. Catch hell
  554. If you catch hell
    you get into trouble or get scolded. ('Catch heck' is also used.)
  555. Catch someone red-handed
  556. If someone is caught red-handed
    they are found doing something wrong or illegal.
  557. Catch-22
  558. Catch-22 is a situation where conflicting rules make the desired outcome impossible. It comes from a novel by the American author
  559. Joseph Heller
    in which pilots would not have to fly missions if they were mentally ill
  560. Caught with your hand in the cookie jar
  561. (USA) If someone is caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar
    he or she is caught doing something wrong.
  562. Chalk and cheese
  563. Things
    or people
  564. Chase rainbows
  565. If someone chases rainbows
    they try to do something that they will never achieve.
  566. Chase your tail
  567. If you are chasing your tail
    you are very busy but not being very productive.
  568. Cheap shot
  569. A cheap shot is an unprincipled criticism.
  570. Cheat death
  571. If someone cheats death
    they narrowly avoid a major problem or accident.
  572. Cherry pick
  573. If people cherry pick
    they choose things that support their position
  574. Chew on a bone
  575. If someone is chewing on a bone
    he or she is thinking about something intently.
  576. Chew the fat
  577. If you chew the fat with someone
    you talk at leisure with them.
  578. Chickenfeed
  579. If something is small or unimportant
    especially money
  580. Child's play
  581. If something is child's play
    it is very easy and simple.
  582. Chinese walls
  583. Chinese walls are regulatory information barriers that aim to stop the flow of information that could be misused
    especially in
  584. financial corporations.
  585. Chip off the old block
  586. If someone is a chip off the old block
    they closely resemble one or both of the parents in character.
  587. Chip on your shoulder
  588. If someone has a chip on their shoulder
    they are resentful about something and feel that they have been treated badly.
  589. Class act
  590. Someone who's a class act is exceptional in what they do.
  591. Clean as a whistle
  592. If something is as clean as a whistle
    it is extremely clean
  593. less common nowadays. If somebody is clean as a whistle
    they are not involved in anything illegal
  594. Clean bill of health
  595. If something or someone has a clean bill of health
    then there's nothing wrong; everything's fine.
  596. Clean break
  597. If you make a clean break
    you break away completely from something.
  598. Clean hands
  599. Someone with clean hands
    or who keeps their hands clean
  600. Clean slate
  601. If you start something with a clean slate
    then nothing bad from your past is taken into account.
  602. Clean sweep
  603. If someone makes a clean sweep
    they win absolutely everything in a competition or contest.
  604. Clean your clock
  605. If you clean your clock
    you beat someone decisively in a contest or fight.
  606. Clear as a bell
  607. If something is as clear as a bell
    it is very clear or easy to understand.
  608. Clear as mud
  609. If something is as clear as mud
    then it is very confusing and unclear.
  610. Cliffhanger
  611. 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
  612. known at the very end.
  613. Climb on the bandwagon
  614. When people climb on the bandwagon they do something because it is popular and everyone else is doing it.
  615. Climb the greasy pole
  616. Advance within an organisation - especially in politics.
  617. Cling to hope
  618. If people cling to hope
    they continue to hope though the chances of success are very small.
  619. Close at hand
  620. If something is close at hand
    it is nearby or conveniently located.
  621. Close but no cigar
  622. (USA) If you are close but no cigar
    you are close to success
  623. Close call
  624. 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
  625. or whatever.� It can also mean that you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.
  626. Close shave
  627. If you have a close shave
    you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.
  628. Close to your heart
  629. If something is close to your heart
    you care a lot about it. ('Dear to your heart' is an alternative.)
  630. Closed book to me
  631. If a subject is a closed book to you
    it is something that you don't understand or know anything about.
  632. Cloth ears
  633. If you don't listen to people
    they may suggest you have cloth ears.
  634. Cloud cuckoo land
  635. If someone has ideas or plans that are completely unrealistic
    they are living on cloud cuckoo land.
  636. Cloud nine
  637. If you are on cloud nine
    you are extremely happy. ('cloud seven' is a less common alternative)
  638. Cloud on the horizon
  639. If you can see a problem ahead
    you can call it a cloud on the horizon.
  640. Coast is clear
  641. When the coast is clear
    the people supposed to be watching you are not there and you are able to move or leave.
  642. Cold feet
  643. If you get cold feet about something
    you lose the courage to do it.
  644. Cold fish
  645. A cold fish is a person who doesn't show how they feel.
  646. Cold light of day
  647. If you see things in the cold light of day
    you see them as they really are
  648. Cold shoulder
  649. If you give or show someone the cold shoulder
    you are deliberately unfriendly and unco-operative towards them.
  650. Cold sweat
  651. If something brings you out in a cold sweat
    it frightens you a lot.
  652. Cold turkey
  653. If someone suddenly stops taking drugs
    instead of slowly cutting down
  654. Collateral damage
  655. Accidental or unintended damage or casualties are collateral damage.
  656. Collect dust
  657. If something is collecting dust
    it isn't being used any more.
  658. Come clean
  659. If someone comes clean about something
    they admit to deceit or wrongdoing.
  660. Come of age
  661. When something comes of age it develops completely and reaches maturity. When someone comes of age
    they reach adulthood or
  662. fulfill their potential.
  663. Come on hard
  664. If you come on hard
    you are aggressive in your dealing with someone.
  665. Come on the heels of
  666. If something comes on the heels of something
    it follows very soon after it.
  667. Come out in the wash
  668. If something will come out in the wash
    it won't have any permanent negative effect.
  669. Come out of the woodwork
  670. When things come out of the woodwork
    they appear unexpectedly.� ('Crawl out of the woodwork' is also used.)
  671. Come out of your shell
  672. If someone comes out of their shell
    they stop being shy and withdrawn and become more friendly and sociable.
  673. Come rain or shine
  674. 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
  675. will deter me or stop me from being there.
  676. Come to a head
  677. If events reach a crisis point
    they come to a head.
  678. Come to bear
  679. If something comes to bear on you
    you start to feel the pressure or effect of it.�
  680. Come to call
  681. If someone comes to call
    they respond to an order or summons directly.
  682. Come to grips
  683. If you come to grips with a problem or issue
    you face up to it and deal with it.
  684. Come to heel
  685. If someone comes to heel
    they stop behaving in a way that is annoying to someone in authority and start being obedient.
  686. Come up roses
  687. If things come up roses
    they produce a positive result
  688. Comes with the territory
  689. If something comes with the territory
    especially when undesirable
  690. responsibility
    etc.('Goes with the territory' is also used.)�
  691. Comfort zone
  692. 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
  693. comfortable
    where they can avoid the worries of the world. It can be physical or mental.
  694. Connect the dots
  695. When you connect the dots
    you understand the connections and relationships.
  696. Constitution of an ox
  697. If someone has the constitution of an ox
    they are less affected than most people by things like tiredness
  698. Cook someone's goose
  699. If you cook someone's goose
    you ruin their plans.
  700. Cook the books
  701. If people cook the books
    they keep false accounts to make money illegally or avoid paying tax.
  702. Cool as a cat
  703. To act fine when you a actually scared or nervous
  704. Cool your heels
  705. If you leave someone to cool their heels
    you make them wait until they have calmed down.
  706. Coon's age
  707. (USA) A very long time
    as in 'I haven't seen her in a coon's age!'
  708. Corner a market
  709. If a business is dominant in an area and unlikely to be challenged by other companies
    it has cornered the market.
  710. Couch potato
  711. 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
  712. eats a diet that is mainly junk food.
  713. Could eat a horse
  714. If you are very hungry
    you could eat a horse.
  715. Count sheep
  716. If people cannot sleep
    they are advised to count sheep mentally.
  717. Count your blessings
  718. When people count their blessings
    they concentrate on all the good things in their lives instead of the negative ones.
  719. Country mile
  720. (USA) A country mile is used to describe a long distance.
  721. Cover all the bases
  722. If you cover all the bases
    you deal with all aspects of a situation or issue
  723. used.)
  724. Crack of dawn
  725. The crack of dawn is very early in the morning.
  726. Crash a party
  727. If you crash a party
    or are a gatecrasher
  728. Cream of the crop
  729. The cream of the crop is the best there is.
  730. Cr�me de la cr�me
  731. The cr�me de la cr�me is the very best of something.
  732. Crocodile tears
  733. If someone cries crocodile tears
    they pretend to be upset or affected by something.
  734. Cry-baby
  735. A cry-baby is a person who gets emotional and cries too easily.
  736. Cut down the tall poppies
  737. (AU) If people cut down the tall poppies
    they criticise people who stand out from the crowd.
  738. Cut it fine
  739. If you cut it fine
    you only just manage to do something- at the very last moment. 'Cut things fine' is the same. 'Cut it a bit fine' is a
  740. common variation.
  741. Cut someone some slack
  742. To relax a rule or make an allowance
    as in allowing someone more time to finish something.
  743. Cut the mustard
  744. (UK) If somebody or something doesn't cut the mustard
    they fail or it fails to reach the required standard.
  745. Cut to the chase
  746. If you cut to the chase
    you get to the point
  747. Cut to the quick
  748. If someone's cut to the quick by something
    they are very hurt and upset indeed.
  749. Cut your losses
  750. If you cut your losses
    you avoid losing any more money than you already have by getting out of a situation before matters worsen.
  751. Cute as a bug
  752. (USA) If something is as cute as a bug
    it is sweet and endearing.
  753. Cuts no ice
  754. If something cuts no ice
    it doesn't have any effect or influence.
  755. Cutting edge
  756. Something that is cutting edge is at the forefront of progress in its area.

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