Don't count your chickens before the eggs have hatched. This idiom is used to express "Don't make plans for something that might not happen". Don't give up. type is said to be idiomatic. This dictionary is a collection of the idiomatic phrases and sentences that occur frequently in American English. Many of them occur. AMERICAN SLANG WORDS AND PHRASES. (To) ace (v.): To pass a test, exam, etc. really easily. "Robert aced his physics exam." A-Game: One's best self.
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NTC's American Idioms Dictionary is designed for easy use by lifelong speakers of English, as well as the new-to-English speaker or learner. The dictionary. understanding of American idioms, and the facility to use them, they are truly a part of the as expressions relating to sports or food, and (2) idioms derived from . Idiom: a group of words that means something different than the individual words it contains. As with any language, American English is full of idioms, especially.
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Related or similar expressions are given in boldface in the text of the entry. Historical precedents and obsolete phrases appear in italic type. Where a phrase has more than one meaning, definitions are numbered, and whenever possible, ordered by frequency of use.
Example sentences appear in italic type, quotations in roman type within quotation marks, and cross-references in small capitals.
Alphabetization and Cross-References Entries are arranged alphabetically, letter by letter up to the comma in the case of inverted or appended elements. To locate an entry, it sometimes may be hard to decide which word in a phrase will come first in the alphabetical listing. For example, is as luck would have it under as or luck? To help sort out these problems, entries listing cross-references for key words appear alphabetically among the main entries.
By checking these key-word entries, readers can locate every phrase treated as an entry in this book. The reader who does not find as luck would have it under as can look under the entries beginning with the next word, luck. If more help is needed, the entry for the word luck itself lists all the idioms containing that word which appear elsewhere in the book.
Variants or related expressions that are covered under other entry words appear in parentheses in the cross-references. Note, however, that words in parentheses are alphabetical order, so one should look for hard sell, not Variable Pronouns not considered part of the hard soft sell. Many idioms can be used with different pronouns, as, for example, clean up his act, clean up her act, clean up my act.
Consequently, the pronouns one and someone are used in entry words and variants to indicate that the object or possessive pronoun in the idiom may vary according to context.
One or one's means that the antecedent of the pronoun must be the subject of the clause, or in some cases an inanimate noun or a gerund must be the subject. For example, the idiom hit one's stride can appear in a sentence such as She finally hit her stride, or the idiom serve one right can be used in a sentence such as It serves him right to be thrown off the team. But note that sentences like She finally hit his stride are not possible.
The use of someone or someone's in the idiom means that the pronoun can be replaced only by a noun or pronoun that does not refer to the grammatical subject of the clause. In other words, the action of the verb is directed from one person to another the "someone". For example, the idiom call someone's bluff implies that you or he or she or they can only call someone else's bluff, never your or his or her or their own. Labels The labels in brackets preceding the date of an idiom's first appearance indicate the degree of formality or offensiveness.
The label colloquial means that a phrase is used in ordinary speech and informal writing but not in more formal contexts. Slang generally refers to phrases that are appropriate only to very informal contexts or are used in irreverent humor.
Vulgar slang indicates that a phrase is generally considered offensive. The absence of such a label indicates that a term is considered standard English.
Note that these labels are bound to change, as are the idioms themselves. What is slang today may be standard English tomorrow. Furthermore, what is common usage for a time may die out in this book indicated as obsolescent or it may change its meaning, as the idiom beg the question may be doing.
White put it, "The living language is like a cowpath; it is the creation of the cows themselves, who, having created it, follow it or depart from it according to their whims or their needs. From daily use, the path undergoes change. For many entries the date when the expression was invented or first used appears within brackets.
These dates are often approximate because in many cases a phrase has been used for some time in speech before being recorded in writing. In some cases, as when the expression first appeared in the work of a well-known writer, the precise date and location of its first recorded use are given.
Within brackets the abbreviation c. Quotations Unless otherwise specified, biblical quotations are from the King James translation of To avoid the difficulties posed to some readers by the English of earlier writers such as Chaucer, many quotations have had their spelling normalized, and some have been rendered into Modern English. A hand. For example, All members must agree to abide by the club regulations, or A trustworthy man abides by his word. An older sense of the verb abide, "remain," is still familiar in the well-known 19th-century hymn "Abide with Me," which asks God to stay with the singer in time of trouble.
A small amount of anything; also, a short period of time. For example, Here's a bit of wrapping paper, or It'll be ready in a bit, or Just wait a bit. He almost beat me! To pony up To pay for something or settle a debt. This is used similarly in everyday conversation, when someone raises a bet or agrees to do more.
Break even To neither gain nor lose money. Break the bank To be very expensive. Similar to being stingy. To go Dutch Everyone pays for their own meal at a restaurant.
I paid for my coffee and she paid for her salad. Midas touch To be able to make money easily. This idiom comes from the story of King Midas , who turned everything he touched into gold. Every business she starts becomes very successful. Living hand to mouth To live without a lot of money. To be loaded To have a lot of money. His family is loaded.
Make ends meet To make the money needed to pay for food and bills. I always have enough money for rent and groceries. But the U. Rule of thumb Can thumbs rule or can you literally rule a thumb? If you think about it logically, it means absolutely nothing and makes no sense. These rules of thumb are not based on science or research, and are instead just general principles. Keep your chin up Did you just have a massive fight with your friend?
Did you fail your English finals? Did your team lose the final match? Did you lose your job? In this situation, a supportive friend might tell you to keep your chin up. Find your feet Is it possible to lose your feet? Cool as a cucumber Cucumbers have a refreshing taste and leave you with a cool, calm feeling.
Compare apples and oranges Apples are very different from oranges both in looks and taste. Eat like a bird How much does a bird eat? Not very much, right? Eat like a horse Now, a horse is much bigger than a bird.
So how much do you think a horse eats? Packed like sardines What do you see when you open up a can of sardines? Yes, the fish crammed inside the can. Spill the beans You accidentally knock over a bowl of beans and they all spill out.
A bad apple Imagine a basket of apples with one rotten apple inside. Bread and butter Bread and butter is a basic food that many of us eat. A hard nut to crack Is it easy to crack open a nut? Not always. Have a sweet tooth Do you like eating cakes, candy and other sweet-tasting food?
I can never walk past a bakery and not stop to download myself a slice of chocolate cake. Under the weather Can you be under the weather literally? Probably yes, if you think about standing under the clouds, rain and sun, but it makes no sense.
A storm is brewing There will be trouble or emotional upset in the near future. I can sense a storm is brewing. Calm before the storm An unusually quiet period before a period of upheaval problems, chaos.
Little did she know, it was just the calm before the storm. Weather a storm To survive a dangerous event or effectively deal with a difficult situation.
Together, they weathered the storm and figured out how to keep going. When it rains, it pours Bad things occur in large numbers, but many big things happen all at once. When it rains, it pours. Rain or shine Used to indicate that something will happen no matter what. Under the sun Refers to everything on Earth, usually used as part of a superlative. Once in a blue moon Very rarely.
Now that she has passed away, he regrets not making more of an effort to keep in touch. Every cloud has a silver lining! A rising tide lifts all boats When an economy is performing well, all of the people involved will benefit from it.
A rising tide lifts all boats. Get into deep water To be in trouble. Very similar to the idiom in hot water that we discussed above.
Pour oil on troubled waters To try to make people feel better and become friendly again after an argument. This expression comes from the calming effect that oil has on waves as it spreads over the surface of the sea. Make waves To cause trouble, to change things in a dramatic way. They get a lot of attention from customers. Just go with the flow and see what happens! Lost at sea To be confused about something or to feel unsure about what to do.