(In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

(In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

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Top Idioms of daily use


Idioms and Phrases:
   These idioms are compiled from the Cambridge International Dictionary. The Cambridge International Dictionary explains over 7,000 idioms current in British, American and other English speaking countries, helping learners to understand them and use them with confidence. The Cambridge Dictionary, based on the 200 million words of English text in the Cambridge International Corpus, unlocks the meaning of more than 5,000 idiomatic phrases used in contemporary English. Full-sentence examples show how idioms are really used. 
   The Cambridge University Press is respected worldwide for its commitment to advancing knowledge, education, learning and research. It was founded on a Royal Charter granted to the University by Henry VIII in 1534 and has been operating continuously as a printer and publisher since the first Press book was printed in 1584. 
Here is the list of idioms beginning with A. 
A bit much: If something is excessive or annoying, it is a bit much. 
A day late and a dollar short: (USA) If something is a day late and a dollar short, it is too little, too late. 
A fool and his money are soon parted: This idiom means that people who aren't careful with their money spend it quickly. 'A fool and his money are easily parted' is an alternative form of the idiom. 
A fool at 40 is a fool forever: If someone hasn't matured by the time they reach forty, they never will. 
A little bird told me: If someone doesn't want to say where they got some information from, they can say that a little bird told them. 
A little learning is a dangerous thing: 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 home electrics, but when he tried to mend my table lamp, he fused all the lights! I think a little learning is a dangerous thing 
A lost ball in the high weeds: A lost ball in the high weeds is someone who does not know what they are doing, where they are or how to do something. 
A penny for your thoughts: This idiom is used as a way of asking someone what they are thinking about. 
A penny saved is a penny earned: This means that we shouldn't spend or waste money, but try to save it. 
A picture is worth a thousand words: A picture can often get a message across much better than the best verbal description. 
A poor man's something: 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. 
A pretty penny: If something costs a pretty penny, it is very expensive. 
A problem shared is a problem halved: If you talk about your problems, it will make you feel better. 
A rising tide lifts all boats: This idiom, coined by John F Kennedy, describes the idea that when an economy is performing well, all people will benefit from it. 
A rolling stone gathers no moss: People say this to mean that that a go-getter type person is more successful than a person not doing any thing. 
A steal: If something is a steal, it costs much less than it is really worth. 
A still tongue keeps a wise head: Wise people don't talk much. 
A watched pot never boils: Some things work out in their own time, so being impatient and constantly checking will just make things seem longer.  
Abide by a decision: If you abide by a decision, you accept it and comply with it, even though you might disagree with it. 
Abject lesson: (India) An abject lesson serves as a warning to others. (In some varieties of English 'object lesson' is used.) 
Above board: If things are done above board, they are carried out in a legal and proper manner. 
All of the above: This idiom can be used to mean everything that has been said or written, especially all the choices or possibilities. 
All over the map: (USA) If something like a discussion is all over the map, it doesn't stick to the main topic and goes off on tangents. 
All over the place: If something is completely disorganized or confused, it is all over the place. 
All over the shop: If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the shop. 
All over the show: If something is all over the show, it's in a complete mess. An alternative to 'All over the shop'. 
All roads lead to Rome: This means that there can be many different ways of doing something. 
All skin and bone: If a person is very underweight, they are all skin and bone, or bones. 
Ants in your pants: If someone has ants in their pants, they are agitated or excited about something and can't keep still. 
Any Tom, Dick or Harry: If something could be done by any Tom, Dick or Harry, it could be done by absolutely anyone. 
Apple of your eye: Something or, more often, someone that is very special to you is the 'apple of your' eye. 
As cold as ice: This idiom can be used to describe a person who does not show any emotion. 
As cold as stone: If something is as cold as stone, it is very cold. If a person is as cold as stone, they are unemotional. 
As cool as a cucumber: If someone is as cool as a cucumber, they don't get worried by anything. 
As mad as a hatter: This simile means that someone is crazy or behaves very strangely. In the past many people who made hats went insane because they had a lot of contact with mercury. 
As much use as a chocolate fire-guard: A fire-guard is used in front of a fireplace for safety. A chocolate fire-guard is of no use. An alternative to 'As much use as a chocolate teapot'. 
As much use as a chocolate teapot: Something that is as much use as a chocolate teapot is not useful at all. 
As much use as a handbrake on a canoe: This idiom is used to describe someone or something as worthless or pointless. 
As neat as a new pin: This idiom means tidy and clean. 
As you sow, so shall you reap: This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things. 
At the end of the day: This is used to mean 'in conclusion' or 'when all is said and done'.

Here is the list of idioms beginning with B. 
Babe in arms: A babe in arms is a very young child, or a person who is very young to be holding a position. 
Babe in the woods: A babe in the woods is a naive, defenseless, young person.
Baby boomer: (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. 
Back burner: If an issue is on the back burner, it is being given low priority. 
Back foot: (UK) If you are on your back foot, you are at a disadvantage and forced to be defensive of your position. 
Back number: Something that's a back number is dated or out of fashion. 
Back the wrong horse: If you back the wrong horse, you give your support to the losing side in something. 
Back to back: If things happen back to back, they are directly one after another. 
Back to square one: If you are back to square one, you have to start from the beginning again. 
Back to the drawing board: If you have to go back to the drawing board, you have to go back to the beginning and start something again. 
Back to the salt mine: If someone says they have to go back to the salt mine, they have to return to work. 
Back to the wall: If you have your back to the wall, you are in a difficult situation with very little room for maneuver. 
Backseat driver: A backseat driver is an annoying person who is fond of giving advice to the person performing a task or doing something, especially when the advice is either wrong or unwelcome. 
Bad Apple: A person who is bad and makes other bad is a bad apple. 
Bad blood: If people feel hate because of things that happened in the past, there is bad blood between them. 
Bad egg: A person who cannot be trusted is a bad egg. Good egg is the opposite. 
Bad hair day: If you're having a bad hair day, things are not going the way you would like or had planned. 
Bad mouth: (UK) When you are bad mouthing, you are saying negative things about someone or something.('Bad-mouth' and 'badmouth' are also used.) 
Bad shape: If something's in bad shape, it's in bad condition. If a person's in bad shape, they are unfit or unhealthy. 
Bad taste in your mouth: If something leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, you feel there is something wrong or bad about it. 
Bag of bones: If someone is a bag of bones, they are very underweight. 
Be all ears: If you are all ears, you are very eager to hear what someone has to say. 
Beat to the punch: If you beat someone to the punch, you act before them and gain an advantage. 
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: 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. 
Beauty is only skin deep: This idiom means that appearances can be deceptive and something that seems or looks good may turn out to be bad. 
Better late than never: This idiom suggests that doing something late is better than not doing it at all. 
Better safe than sorry: This idiom is used to recommend being cautious rather than taking a risk. 
Better than a stick in the eye: If something is better than a stick in the eye, it isn't very good, but it is better than nothing. 
Bigger fish to fry: 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. 
Bite your lip: 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. 
Bite your tongue: If you bite your tongue, you refrain from speaking because it is socially or otherwise better not to. 
Bitter pill to swallow: A bitter pill to swallow is something that is hard to accept. 
Black and white: When it is very clear who or what is right and wrong, then the situation is black and white. 
Black sheep: Someone who is the black sheep doesn't fit into a group or family because their behavior or character is not good enough. 
Blood is thicker than water: This idiom means that family relationships are stronger than others. 

Here is the list of idioms beginning with C. 
Call the dogs off: If someone calls off their dogs, they stop attacking or criticizing someone. 
Calm before the storm: A calm time immediately before period of violent activity or argument is the calm before the storm. 
Can't dance and it's too wet to plow: (USA) When you can't dance and it's too wet to plow, you may as well do something because you can't or don't have the opportunity to do anything else. 
Carry the can: If you carry the can, you take the blame for something, even though you didn't do it or are only partly at fault. 
Case by case: If things are done case by case, each situation or issue is handled separately on its own merits and demerits. 
Case in point: 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, they see it happening, and the informer might say, 'case in point'. 
Cash in your chips: 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'.
Cast a long shadow: Something or someone that casts a long shadow has considerable influence on other people or events. 
Cast your mind back: If somebody tells you to cast your mind back on something, they want you to think about something that happened in the past, but which you might not remember very well, and to try to remember as much as possible. 
Casting vote: The casting vote is a vote given to a chairman or president that is used when there is a deadlock. 
Cat and dog life: If people lead a cat and dog life, they are always arguing. 
Cat's lick: (Scot) A cat's lick is a very quick wash. 
Cat's pajamas: (USA) something that is the cat's pajamas is excellent. 
Catch as catch can: This means that people should try to get something any way they can. 
Catch someone red-handed: If someone is caught red-handed, they are found doing something wrong or illegal. 
Caught with your hand in the cookie jar: (USA) If someone is caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar, he or she is caught doing something wrong. 
Charity begins at home: This idiom means that family members are more important than anyone else, and should be the focus of a person's efforts. 
Cold fish: A cold fish is a person who doesn't show how they feel. 
Come what may: If you're prepared to do something come what may, it means that nothing will stop or distract you, no matter how hard or difficult it becomes. 
Cool as a cat: To act fine when you a actually scared or nervous 
Crocodile tears: If someone cries crocodile tears, they pretend to be upset or affected by something. 
Crooked as a dog's hind leg: Someone who is very dishonest is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. 
Cry wolf: If someone cries wolf, they raise a false alarm about something. 
Cry your eyes out: If you cry your eyes out, you cry uncontrollably. 
Cuckoo in the nest: Is an issue or a problem, etc, is a cuckoo in the nest, it grows quickly and crowds out everything else. 
Cut off your nose to spite your face: If you cut off your nose to spite your face, you do something rash or silly that ends up making things worse for you, often because you are angry or upset. 
Cut your teeth on: The place where you gain your early experience is where you cut your teeth. 
Cute as a bug: (USA) If something is as cute as a bug, it is sweet and endearing. 
Cuts no ice: If something cuts no ice, it doesn't have any effect or influence. 
Cutting edge: Something that is cutting edge is at the forefront of progress in its area. 

Here is the list of idioms beginning with D. 
Dancing on someone's grave: If you will dance on someone's grave, you will outlive or outlast them and will celebrate their demise. 
Dark horse: If someone is a dark horse, they are a bit of a mystery. 
Daylight robbery: If you are overcharged or underpaid, it is a daylight robbery; open, unfair and hard to prevent. Rip-off has a similar meaning. 
Dead in the water: If something is dead in the water, it isn't going anywhere or making any progress. 
Die is cast: If the die is cast, a decision has been made that cannot be altered and fate will decide the consequences. 
Dirty dog: A dirty dog is an untrustworthy person. 
Do's and don’ts: The do's and don’ts are what is acceptable or allowed or not within an area or issue, etc. 
Dog days: Dog days are very hot summer days. 
Dog eat dog: In a dog eat dog world, there is intense competition and rivalry, where everybody thinks only of himself or herself. 
Dog's life: If some has a dog's life, they have a very unfortunate and wretched life.
Don't catch your chickens before they're hatched: This means that you should wait until you know whether something has produced the results you desire, rather than acting beforehand. ('Don't count your chickens until they've hatched' is an alternative.) 
Don't cry over spilt milk: When something bad happens and nothing can be done to help it people say, 'Don't cry over spilt milk'. 
Don't give up the day job: This idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly. 
Don't hold your breath: If you are told not to hold your breath, it means that you shouldn't have high expectations about something. 
Don't judge a book by the cover: This idiom means that you should not judge something or someone by appearances, but should look deeper at what is inside and more important. 
Don't push my buttons! : This can be said to someone who is starting to annoy you. 
Draw a long bow: If someone draws a long bow, they lie or exaggerate. 
Draw the line: When you draw the line, you set out limits of what you find acceptable, beyond which you will not go. 

Here is the list of idioms beginning with E. 
Easy as ABC: Something that is as easy as ABC is very easy or simple. 
Easy as pie: If something is easy as pie, it is very easy indeed. 
Easy come, easy go: This idiom means that money or other material gains that come without much effort tend to get spent or consumed as easily. 
Eat crow: (USA) If you eat crow, you have to admit that you were wrong about something. 
Eat humble pie: If someone apologises and shows a lot of contrition for something they have done, they eat humble pie. 
Eat like a bird: If someone eats like a bird, they eat very little. 
Eat like a horse: Someone who eats like a horse eats a lot. 
Eat like a pig: If some eats like a pig, they either eat too much or they have bad table manners. 
Eat my hat: People say this when they don't believe that something is going to happen e.g. 'If he passes that exam, I'll eat my hat!' 
Eat someone alive: If you eat someone alive, you defeat or beat them comprehensively. 
Eat your heart out: If someone tells you to eat your heart out, they are saying they are better than you at something. 
Eat your words: If you eat your words, you accept publicly that you were wrong about something you said. 
Egg on your face: If someone has egg on their face, they are made to look foolish or embarrassed. 
End in smoke: If something ends in smoke, it produces no concrete or positive result. This expression refers to the boasting by a person, of having put in a lot of efforts by him, for a particular cause or to attain a result which is very difficult to be done by any person. (This mainly refers to an investigation of a crime or solving a serious offence or a mystery). But at the end, when the desired result is not obtained, his claims are found to be false and not worth mentioning. So, he looses his credibility. 
Even the dogs in the street know: (Irish) This idiom is used frequently in Ireland, and means something is so obvious that even the dogs in the street know it. 
Every ass likes to hear himself bray: This means that people like the sound of their own voice. 
Every dog has its day: This idiom means that everyone gets their moment to shine. 
Every man and his dog: A lot of people - as in sending out invitations to a large number of people 
Every Tom, Dick and Harry: If every Tom, Dick and Harry knows about something, then it is common knowledge. 
Eye for an eye: This is an expression for retributive justice, where the punishment equals the crime. 
Eyes are bigger than one's stomach: If someone's eyes are bigger than their stomach, they are greedy and take on more than they can consume or manage.

Here is the list of idioms beginning with F. 
Face the music: If you have to face the music, you have to accept the negative consequences of something you have done wrong. 
Fall on your sword: If someone falls on their sword, they resign or accept the consequences of some wrongdoing. 
Fat cat: A fat cat is a person who makes a lot of money and enjoys a privileged position in society. 
Fed up to the back teeth: When you are extremely irritated and fed up with something or someone, you are fed up to the back teeth. 
Feel free: If you ask for permission to do something and are told to feel free, the other person means that there is absolutely no problem 
Feeling blue: If you feel blue, you are feeling unwell, mainly associated with depression or unhappiness. 
Fight an uphill battle: When you fight an uphill battle, you have to struggle against very unfavourable circumstances. 
Fight tooth and nail: If someone will fight tooth and nail for something, they will not stop at anything to get what they want. ('Fight tooth and claw' is an alternative.) 
Fighting chance: If you have a fighting chance, you have a reasonable possibility of success. 
Find your feet: When you are finding your feet, you are in the process of gaining confidence and experience in something. 
Fine words butter no parsnips: This idiom means that it's easy to talk, but talk is not action. 
Finger in the pie: If you have a finger in the pie, you have an interest in something. 
Fingers and thumbs: If you are all fingers and thumbs, you are being clumsy and not very skilled with your hands. 
Fire away: If you want to ask someone a question and they tell you to fire away, they mean that you are free to ask what you want. 
Fire on all cylinders: If something is firing on all cylinders, it is going as well as it could. 
First come, first served: This means there will be no preferential treatment and a service will be provided to those that arrive first. 
First out of the gate: When someone is first out of the gate, they are the first to do something that others are trying to do. 
Free-for-all: A free-for-all is a fight or contest in which everyone gets involved and rules are not respected. 
From the bottom of your heart: If someone does something from the bottom of their heart, then they do it with genuine emotion and feeling. 
From the horse's mouth: If you hear something from the horse's mouth, you hear it directly from the person concerned or responsible. 
Full of beans: If someone's full of beans, they are very energetic. 

Here is the list of idioms beginning with G
Garbage fee: A garbage fee is a charge that has no value and doesn't provide any real service. 
Garbage in, garbage out: If a computer system or database is built badly, then the results will be bad. 
Get in on the ground floor: If you get in on the ground floor, you enter a project or venture at the start before people know how successful it might be. 
Get it off your chest: If you get something off your chest, you confess to something that has been troubling you. 
Get on like a house on fire: If people get on like a house on fire, they have a very close and good relationship. 
Get on your nerves: If something gets on your nerves, it annoys or irritates you. 
Get the monkey off your back: If you get the monkey off your back, you pass on a problem to someone else. 
Get up and go: If someone has lots of get up and go, they have lots of enthusiasm and energy. 
Get wind of: If you get wind of something, you hear or learn about it, especially if it was meant to be secret. 
Get your feet wet: If you get your feet wet, you gain your first experience of something. 
Girl Friday: A girl Friday is a female employee who assists someone without any specific duties. 
Give a big hand: Applaud by clapping hands. 'Let's give all the contestants a big hand.' 
Give a dog a bad name: A person who is generally known to have been guilty of some offence will always be suspected to be the author of all similar types of offence. Once someone has gained a bad reputation, it is very difficult to lose it. 
Go hand in hand: If things go hand in hand, they are associated and go together. 
Good egg: A person who can be relied on is a good egg. Bad egg is the opposite. 

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