Idioms a - c.txt

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Idioms a - c.txt
2010-01-20 23:13:10

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