IDIOMS RELATED TO COLOURS
In the black: To say that a person or organization is in the black means that they
are financially sound, have a positive balance on their account and that they owe
Black and white: To say that something is in black and white means that there is
written proof of it. "It's an obligation. It's written in black and white in your
Black sheep: The black sheep of the family is one who is very different from the
others, and least respected by the other members of the family.
Blue around the gills: If a person looks blue around the gills, they look unwell or
sick. "You should sit down. You look a bit blue around the gills."
Blue in the face: If you do something until you're blue in the face, you try
unsuccessfully to do something for a very long time. "I explained the situation
until I was blue in the face but she wouldn't change her mind."
Blue-eyed boy: A blue-eyed boy is somebody's favourite e.g. he's the director's
Golden handcuffs: The term golden handcuffs refers to a large sum of money or a
generous financial arrangement granted to an executive as an incentive to stay in
their job, or to ensure long-term cooperation after their departure.
Golden opportunity: A golden opportunity is a favourable time or excellent
occasion which should not be missed.
Grey existence: To have a grey existence is to lead a dull, monotonous life.
Tickled pink: To say that someone is tickled pink means that they are extremely
amused or pleased.
To be in the red: If a person or organization is in the red, they owe money or have
a negative account.
Roll out the red carpet: To roll out the red carpet means to give special treatment
to an important or honoured visitor.
Catch someone red-handed: If a person is caught red-handed, they are caught
while they are doing something wrong or illegal.
Silver spoon: Saying that someone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth
means that their family is very rich and privileged.
See red: If someone sees red, they suddenly become very angry or annoyed
"Discrimination of any kind makes me see red!"
IDIOMS RELATED TO NUMBER
1. at sixes and sevens
- in a state of confusion
The workers were at sixes and sevens after the company announced that it was
going out of business.
2. at the eleventh hour
- at the last possible moment
At the eleventh hour the city and the garbage collectors settled their contract
3. cast the first stone
- to be the first to criticize or attack someone
I told my friend that he should be careful not to cast the first stone in an
- a situation in which whatever decision is made the outcome will have negative
consequences, a basically no-win situation
5. dressed to the nines
- to be dressed in one's best clothes
The woman at the concert was dressed to the nines.
6. kill two birds with one stone
- to achieve two aims with one effort or action
If I take the course now I may be able to kill two birds with one stone and not
have to take it again.
7. six feet under
- dead and buried
My uncle has been six feet under for over five years now.
8. nine-day wonder
- someone or something who briefly attracts a lot of attention
The man was a nine-day wonder and was soon forgotten by most people at his
9. like two peas in a pod
- very close or intimate, very similar
The two girls are like two peas in a pod and are very good friends.
10. have two left feet
- to move in a very awkward way when you dance
The man has two left feet and he is a very bad dancer.
The golfer got a hole in one during his first round of golf.
11. bat a thousand
- to be extremely successful at something
Recently, I have been batting a thousand in my attempts to sell the new product.
12. back to square one
- back to where one started
We were forced to go back to square one in our efforts to change the name of the
13. catch forty winks
- to take a nap, to get some sleep
I drove all night until I was very tired so I stopped to catch forty winks.
14. in two minds about (something)
- to be undecided about something
My niece is in two minds about whether or not she will visit me this summer.
15. two's company, three's a crowd
- two people (usually a couple on a date) are happier when nobody else is around
My friend wanted to come with my girlfriend and myself but I told him that two's
company and three's a crowd so he stayed home.
IDIOMS RELATED TO ANIMALS
1. as innocent as a lamb
- having no guilt, naive
The little girl is as innocent as a lamb and everybody loves her.
2. back the wrong horse
- to support someone or something that cannot or does not win or succeed
We backed the wrong horse when we supported the candidate for mayor.
3. beat a dead horse
- to continue fighting a battle that has been won, to continue to argue a point that
has been settled
I was beating a dead horse when I was arguing with my boss.
4. buy a pig in a poke
- to buy something without seeing it or knowing anything about it
You can buy the used computer but it will be like buying a pig in a poke if you do
not look at it first.
5. call the dogs off
- to stop threatening or chasing or hounding someone
The police decided to call the dogs off and stop hunting for the man.
6. cast pearls before a swine
- to waste something on someone who will not be thankful or care about it
Giving the jewellery to the woman will be casting pearls before swine. She will not
appreciate it at all.
7. a cat in gloves catches no mice
- if you are too careful and polite you may not get what you want
A cat in gloves catches no mice and I advised my friend that he should be more
aggressive at work or he will not be successful.
8. a cock-and-bull story
- a silly story that is not true
Our neighbor gave us a cock-and-bull story about how our window was broken.
9. a dark horse
- a candidate who is little known to the general public
The candidate for mayor was a dark horse until he gave some good speeches on
- ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what one wants
It is a dog-eat-dog world in our company.
11.every dog has his day
- everyone will have his chance or turn, everyone will get what he deserves
"Don`t worry about him. Every dog has his day and he will eventually suffer for all
the bad things that he is doing."
12. have a tiger by the tail
- to have a task or situation that you are not prepared for or which is a bigger
challenge that you expected
The politician had a tiger by the tail as he tried to manage the large problem.
13. hit the bulls-eye
- to reach or focus on the main point of something
Our manager hit the bulls-eye when he talked about the problems in the
14. let sleeping dogs lie
- do not make trouble if you do not have to
You should let sleeping dogs lie and not ask our boss about the dispute.
15. like lambs to the slaughter
- quietly and without complaining about the dangers that may lie ahead
Our football team went like lambs to the slaughter to play against the best
football team in the country.