Phrases and Idioms

Meaning

1.

acid – the acid test

Way to determine the quality or workability of something.

2.

across - across the board

Applicable to all.

3.

ado - without further ado

Without wasting any more time.

4.

alive - alive and kicking

Still existing and very active.

5.

all – all at once

All done together at the same time.

6.

all – all in all

Take into account every part; on the whole

7.

all – all or nothing

Either done completely or in the exact way, or nothing; no compromise.

8.

all - all the same

In spite of that.

9.

all – it’s all go

Buzzing with activity.

10.

argue – argue the toss

To argue against a decision already made.

11.

arm - arm in arm

With arms linked.

12.

arm - up in arms

Enraged and protesting vigorously.

13.

arm – with open arms

Receiving with great affection or enthusiasm

14.

bag - bag and baggage

One’s personal possessions.

15.

bag - bag of bones

Used to refer to a very thin person or an animal.

16.

balance - balance of payments

The difference in total value between payments for import of and earnings from export of goods and services.

17.

balance - balance of trade

The difference in total value between a country’s import and export of goods, excluding services.

18.

baptism - baptism of fire

One’s first experience in an activity which is often difficult and painful.

19.

bare - bare one’s soul

To make known one’s previously unknown facts or feelings.

20.

bare - the bare bones

The essential parts of something.

21.

bat - bat one’s eyelashes

To make rapid opening and closing of one’s eyes.

22.

bated - with bated breath

In anxiety and suspense.

23.

belt - below the belt

Unfair; breaking the rules.

24.

belt – tighten one’s belt

Cut down on spending.

25.

belt – under one’s belt

To have achieved something or gained considerable experience.

26.

bend – bend over backwards

To be helpful with someone’s wishes or demands.

27.

bend – bend someone’s ear

To talk at length with someone.

28.

bend – bend the rules

Do what normally is not allowed

29.

bend – on bended knee

Requesting someone seriously to do something.

30.

best – all the best

An expression of good wishes.

31.

better – go one better 

Outdo someone else.

32.

better – one had better 

One would find it more advisable or advantageous to do.

33.

better – one’s better half

One’s spouse

34.

beyond - beyond the sea

In a foreign country; abroad.

35.

bit - a bit part

A minor and insignificant acting part in a film.

36.

bit - a bit previous

Before the due time.

37.

bit – bit by bit

Gradually.

38.

bit - do one’s bit

To contribute one’s service or do one’s share of the work.

39.

bite - bite the bullet

Forced to perform an unpleasant or difficult task.

40.

bite - bite the dust

To die, fail or be defeated.

41.

bite - bite your tongue

Refrain oneself from saying something.

42.

black – black and white (in)

In writing so that it’s clearly stated, not doubtful.

43.

black - in the black

To have money in one’s account.

44.

blaze – a trail

Lay a path through unknown territory; to be the first to develop something new.

45.

blessing - a mixed blessing

A situation that has both advantages and disadvantages

46.

blessing – blessing indisguise

An initial misfortune that later produces good results.

47.

blood - in cold blood

In a deliberate and merciless way.

48.

blood - in one’s blood

Firmly established in one’s character.

49.

blow – blow a fuse

Lose one’s temper.

50.

blow – blow one’s mind

To excite or impress someone very strongly.

51.

blow – blow one’s nose

To clean one’s nose by blowing through it into a cloth or piece of tissue paper.

52.

blow – blow one’s top

Lose one’s temper.

53.

blow – blow the whistle (on)

To inform an authority or expose publicly someone’s wrongful act or something that is wrong.

54.

blow - come to blows

To start hitting each other or a fight.

55.

blue – blue eyed boy

Someone who is treated with special favour.

56.

blue – blue with cold

Extremely cold.

57.

blue – boys in blue

The police.

58.

boat - rock the boat

Disturb an existing situation.

59.

boat - the same boat (in)

Be in the same difficult situation as someone else.

60.

body – body and soul

Completely.

61.

body – body of water

A large area of water such as a lake.

62.

bone – bone of contention

Cause of argument or disagreement.

63.

bone - make no bones (about)

To not hesitate about doing or saying something.

64.

book – by the book (go)

To observe exactly the rules and instructions.

65.

book - someone’s good book (in)

It means that someone is pleased with or approves of someone else.

66.

born - not born yesterday

Not easily deceived or gullible.

67.

bound - know no bounds

Have no limits.

68.

bound – out of bounds

Outside of allowed area of play.

69.

brain - pick someone’s brains

To get information from someone who knows a lot.

70.

break – break new ground

Venture into new sphere of activity; uncover new information.

71.

break – break of day

Dawn.

72.

break – break one’s word

To not do what one has promised.

73.

break – break the ice

To initiate a conversation between strangers.

74.

break - make the break

To end a relationship.

75.

breath –  waste one’s breath

To speak without getting the message through.

76.

breath – hold one’s breath

To cease breathing to see what is going to happen.

77.

breath – out of breath

To experience difficulty in breathing after some vigorous exercises.

78.

breath – under one’s breath

To say in a low voice so that no one can hear.

79.

breeze –  be a breeze

To be something that can be done or dealt with ease.

80.

bridge – bridge the gap

To narrow the difference between two things.

81.

bright – bright and early

Very early in the morning.

82.

bright - the bright lights

The kind of life in big cities that attract people.

83.

broke – go for broke

Risk all that one has in a determined attempt to achieve something.

84.

brother - brothers in arms

Soldiers who have been in combat together in the same war.

85.

buck – a fast buck

Money that is quickly and easily earned.

86.

buck – pass the buck

Shift the blame or responsibility to someone else.

87.

bumper – bumper-to-bumper

(Traffic) very close together and moving slowly.

88.

burn – burn one’s boats/bridges

Do something that can’t be reversed.

89.

bury – bury the hatchet

End a quarrel or conflict and be reconciled.

90.

business – business is business

Used to mean making profit overrides everything else.

91.

business – like nobody’s business

Exceptional.

92.

butterfly – butterflies in one’s stomach

An unpleasant sensation in one’s stomach when one is nervous.

93.

buyer - a buyer’s market

Situation in which supply of goods and shares is more than demand, and prices are low.

94.

by – by and by

Before long; soon.

95.

by – by and large

On the whole.

96.

by – by the by

By the way; incidentally.

97.

call – call attention to

To divert people’s attention to something.

98.

call – call into question

To express doubt about something.

99.

call – call of nature

A need to urinate or defecate.

100.

call – call one’s shots

To predict one’s course of action.