PDA

View Full Version : english idioms



Zauriel
05-09-05, 17:48
English idioms: What do these words mean?

"Face the music." means you prepare yourself for the punishment.

"An ace up one's sleeve." means one has a very important strategy or a trick to facilitate your victory.

"Tip of the iceberg." means it's only a basic or small part of a significant thing

"Icing on the cake." means a part of something is very satisfactory

"Chip on one's shoulder" means one has a problem with authority.

"a thorn in one's paw" means one has an antagonist pestering him/her.

"a pain in the butt." means a persistent annoyance.

"Hold your horses" means to be patient and to wait.

"Step on the gas" means to start the car or a vehicle.

"I'm all ears"- means I'm listening attentively.

"Something [name] ring any bells?"- means the mention of a word creates familiarity, refreshing one's memory.

"a penny for your thoughts."- is a greeting of some sort.

"Cat's got your tongue" means you are suddenly quiet or have clamped your mouth shut.

"Why the long face"- means why are you sad?

"Buy the farm" means you die, or you are dead. ("He bought the farm." means he's dead.")

"Rub it in one's nose."- means you are annoying someone by gloating about their bad luck.

"cool one`s heels"- one is forced to wait by someone in charge.

"have an eye for something"- means to be interested in it.

"wet behind the ears" means inexperienced, naive or new in one's position, occupation or place.

"turn a deaf ear to it" means- pretend not to hear it, not pay attention to it.

"bite off more than one can chew" means one gets a lot of more setbacks or failures than one wants to or can endure.

"cross one`s fingers" means cross two fingers of one hand to hope for good luck or to wish a lie would work.

"something under one`s nose" means it is very easily seen

"hit the books" means to start reading and doing homework.

"hit the road" means to go off or away.

"to have or to stick one's nose in others' business/affairs" means to have irritatingly unwelcome interest or impolite curiosity in others' affairs.

"with one's tail between one`s legs"- means feel beaten, ashamed

"smell a rat" means to be suspicious, to feel that something is wrong

"hit the jackpot" means to make a lot of money suddenly

"head over heels in love with someone" means be very much in love with someone

However I can hardly understand what this idiomatic expression "a gift's horse in one's mouth." mean.

Tsuyoiko
05-09-05, 18:06
You have most of these exactly right, but a few are a bit off, IMHO. :cool:

"Icing on the cake." means that one more good thing has been added to an already good situation

"Chip on one's shoulder" means one feels bitter about one's situation

"a penny for your thoughts." means 'please tell me what you are thinking'

"have an eye for something"- means to easily see when something is good quality

The last one is "don't look a gift horse in the mouth". It means 'accept a gift graciously'. If someone is buying a horse they will look in its mouth to check if its teeth are good - but if someone gives you a horse you shouldn't check its teeth - just be grateful for the gift.

Hope this helps. :-)

Zauriel
05-09-05, 23:21
The last one is "don't look a gift horse in the mouth". It means 'accept a gift graciously'. If someone is buying a horse they will look in its mouth to check if its teeth are good - but if someone gives you a horse you shouldn't check its teeth - just be grateful for the gift.

Hope this helps. :-)

Yes, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" is exactly what I meant. I just couldn't remember this phrase completely .

Yes, your corrections are very helpful. Thank you

Zauriel
06-09-05, 06:22
"Spill the beans" means To reveal too much information.

"Have someone on the ropes" means to be about to take your opponent down.

"Lose one's marbles" means one goes crazy/insane.

"to turn tail" means to retreat

"to take a powder" means to retreat, to run away.

"It fits like a glove" meaning that it is the right size.

Kinsao
06-09-05, 10:47
I love expressions like that, and I wish people would use them more often in ordinary conversation! My personal favourite is "it's as black as the Earl of Hell's waistcoat" (i.e. very dark!)....

Tsuyoiko
06-09-05, 11:06
My mum says one: "nipples like chapel hatpegs". That one cracks me up. :D

Kinsao
06-09-05, 14:47
My mum says one: "nipples like chapel hatpegs". That one cracks me up. :D

rofl - That... is so cool! :lol:

Rather difficult to say, though... :worried:
*shuffles off muttering "nipples like chapel hatpegs... nipples like chapel hatpegs..."*

:D

Kara_Nari
06-09-05, 16:29
My friend and I were talking about this a few weeks ago, that Australians and New Zealanders dont really use idioms as much as Americans and people from the UK. I disagreed at first, thinking that I always say them, but then he proceeded to mention that he had never heard me use one. I tried to give him some examples, but yeah I too was stumped as to when I would use them. Of course I know what they mean, but I guess I just find other things to say? Strange... I thought it was a part of my everyday conversation. Seems I just curse and use profanity instead....
My boyfriend always liked to play with words, and bust out some strange old idioms, that we just dont use in everyday conversation in NZ... I would laugh and ask where he got them from. He just likes to think he's super intelligent and that I just had no idea. Typical. English isnt even his first language and he thinks he's better than me.

innerfire
06-09-05, 17:44
hmm...very nice thread!

Rich303
06-09-05, 18:52
rofl - That... is so cool! :lol:

Rather difficult to say, though... :worried:
*shuffles off muttering "nipples like chapel hatpegs... nipples like chapel hatpegs..."*

:D

Scania wheel nuts, or JCB starter buttons, or......

Rich303
06-09-05, 18:56
face like a bull dog chewing a wasp - ugly

face like a box of frogs - ugly

face like a blind cobbler's bench - ugly

face like a kicked in fridge door - ugly

Mycernius
06-09-05, 19:58
About as good as a one legged man at an arse kicking contest - Useless
I like this one
Another one I heard was American in origin:
As dry as a dead dog in a desert - Thirsty

Frank D. White
06-09-05, 20:11
Over the shoulder boulder holder --- bra


Frank

:blush:

Tsuyoiko
07-09-05, 11:30
face like a bull dog chewing a wasp - ugly

face like a box of frogs - ugly

face like a blind cobbler's bench - ugly

face like a kicked in fridge door - ugly
Face like the back end of a bus - ugly

Arse like a bobby's lantern - well-endowed in the rear portions

Built like a brick shithouse - big and muscly

Mycernius
10-09-05, 14:07
Queens, I'm Going Slightly Mad is full of Idioms for going mad

See Lyrics below: (I've highlighted the relevant lines)
I'm Going Slightly Mad
Words and music by Queen

When the outside temperature rises
And the meaning is oh so clear
One thousand and one yellow daffodils
Begin to dance in front of you - oh dear
Are they trying to tell you something
You're missing that one final screw
You're simply not in the pink my dear
To be honest you haven't got a clue

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened - happened
It finally happened - ooh oh
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad
Oh dear

I'm one card short of a full deck
I'm not quite the shilling
One wave short of a shipwreck
I'm not my usual top billing
I'm coming down with a fever
I'm really out to sea
This kettle is boiling over
I think I'm a banana tree
Oh dear

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened - happened
It finally happened - uh huh
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad
Oh dear

Ooh ooh ah ah
Ooh ooh ah ah
I'm knitting with only one needle
Unravelling fast it's true
I'm driving only three wheels these days
But my dear how about you

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened
It finally happened - oh yes
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad
Just very slightly mad

And there you have it

To be honest you haven't got a clue
This can also mean you don't really know what is going on around you ie: Clueless

Zauriel
11-09-05, 23:38
"We are in the same boat"- meaning we have the same problems.

"To give someone a run for their money"- meaning, to compete with them in a fight or sports.

"To clean someone's clock" meaning, to beat someone or defeat someone..

Tsuyoiko
12-09-05, 11:38
Queens, I'm Going Slightly Mad is full of Idioms for going mad
Other idioms for 'mad':
Nutty as a fruitcake
One sandwich short of a picnic

And one I use a lot at work:
Couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery - disorganised.

Kinsao
12-09-05, 11:52
The wheel's turning, but the hamster's dead - (errr... how to describe?) there seems to be activity, but the person's brain is not functioning. (Would that be right kind of thing? :? )

Kara_Nari
12-09-05, 12:23
Face like a dogs arse.

Our science teacher loved using this one on us: Your brain is like a stone in an empty vessel. Meaning we are so stupid that whatever goes in rattles around. He was scottish and oh so fearful.

Cheap as Chips! Something that has been gotten for a good price.

Tsuyoiko
13-09-05, 12:29
The wheel's turning, but the hamster's dead - (errr... how to describe?) there seems to be activity, but the person's brain is not functioning. (Would that be right kind of thing? :? )
I like that one, but it makes me think of my little hamster who is 2 next month - he's getting old! :worried:
It's a bit like "The lights are on but no-one's home"

Sensuikan San
15-09-05, 04:21
OK ... I've got nothing better to do this evening, have been in construction for 40-odd years - I've got lots of these ... some are American/Canadian versions ... but, here we go with the ones I like ...

Ugly: "face like a bag of spanners"

Ugly: "face like the back of a bus"

Cheap and untrustworthy: " ...would sell his granny if he had the chance ...."

Cheap: "Cheap as borscht..."(N.America)

Someone you don't approve of being there: "Hanging a round like a fart in a phone booth" (I believe this is from Australia/NZ...?)

Someone not contributing as they should, or could: "hanging around like a spare pr1ck at a wedding"

Someone you simply cannot tolerate by any means: "I ... wouldn't piss on him/her if he/she was on fire!"

Physically of substantial weight/mass: "Heavy as a dead preacher..."(N.America)

Your opinion of a major problem: "I need this like two broken arms" (N.American)
also: "I need this like a hole in the head"

A total mess of mismanagement: "The biggest f**k-up since Dunkirk!" (this may have fallen into disuse, now...?)

And, of course ... my personal favourite ... which is self-explanatory: "... a load of bollocks!" :biggrin:

ジョン

Takakoo
19-09-05, 13:40
Sam Chambers on Living the Dream (http://tvnz.co.nz/view/tv2_story_skin/438986?format=html) was always saying things like "smooth as a gravy sandwich".

Tsuyoiko
19-09-05, 13:48
Face like a constipated arse - miserable.

Why are mine all concerned with body parts/functions? Maybe I should ask my therapist! :D

Kara_Nari
19-09-05, 14:10
Doesnt cut the mustard. Something that is not right.

Pararousia
03-11-05, 18:08
A disgusting one my mother used on me which I hadn't performed a job to her satisfaction, she'd say: "You're going to have to lick the calf over". Ewwwwww!

"Busy as a one-armed paper-hanger"=busier than you can possibly get done

Rin Daemoko
04-11-05, 02:14
My favorite one has to be "to fall ass over tea kettle in love." A more common expression of the same kind is "to fall head over heals in love." They both mean the same thing, but I like the first one. It basically means to fall in love with someone quickly and deeply.

Glenn
07-11-05, 06:15
I've merged the two threads. :-)

Tsuyoiko
07-11-05, 14:25
My favorite one has to be "to fall ass over tea kettle in love." A more common expression of the same kind is "to fall head over heals in love." They both mean the same thing, but I like the first one. It basically means to fall in love with someone quickly and deeply.Around here we say 'arse over tit' instead of 'head over heels'. We are so vulgar! :sorry:

Dutch Baka
07-11-05, 20:38
I found this nice Idom's game, also good for myself to practise!!!!

have fun everybody!!!!!!!!
http://www.funbrain.com/funbrain/idioms/

Sensuikan San
10-11-05, 04:49
Around here we say 'arse over tit' instead of 'head over heels'. We are so vulgar! :sorry:

Indeed!

I think I may be too young and fair of face for this thread ... the way it's going!

ジョン :blush: :blush: :blush: :blush:

Tsuyoiko
10-11-05, 14:39
I know. I don't know why, but every time I think of an idiom it is vulgar. I am starting to worry that it might be a scatological obsession. :worried: The road home was flooded on Tuesday night, and I had recourse to use this one:

sh*t a brick! - expressing painful surprise. :blush:

Kinsao
14-11-05, 14:14
I invent my own idioms: to kill two birds of a feather with one rolling stone, for example. :hihi:

One unusual phrase my mom uses; if you have a lot of something, and you want to express it like "jeez, I've got more [whatever] than -" she always use the expression: "to have more [whatever-it-is] than soft mick". The first time I ever heard it, I was quite old - about 17 - and I was referring to jewellery. I started my sentence: "I've got more jewellery than - than - than -" and I became lost for words, and she chimed in with "than soft mick!" I was like "whaaat?" I thought Mick was maybe a transvestite! :giggle:

Does anyone else know of that expression? Mom insists it's a northern British expression, but I've only ever heard her and her mom use it. I'm convinced they invented it!

Tsuyoiko
14-11-05, 14:50
Good old soft Mick! My mum uses that too, and I thought she had invented it!

Sensuikan San
15-11-05, 03:08
I know. I don't know why, but every time I think of an idiom it is vulgar. I am starting to worry that it might be a scatological obsession. :worried: The road home was flooded on Tuesday night, and I had recourse to use this one:

sh*t a brick! - expressing painful surprise. :blush:

LOL

If my road was flooded ... I think I might have come up with something far more powerful than that!

... and far more vulgar ....!

My Sympathies ...

John

Mikawa Ossan
15-11-05, 03:44
Can you guess what these mean? They all mean the same thing, btw.

He's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
He's not the brightest bulb of the lot.
The light's on, but nobody's home.
He's running under beta software.
He's got two ears and nothing in between.

Unrelated, my mother used to always say,

"You're slower than molasses moving uphill in January."

If I didn't zip up my trousers' zipper,

"Your barndoor's open!"

When I was in a rush,

"Hold your horses!"

And sometimes, instead of 'Good-bye',

"Elvis has left the building."

Index
15-11-05, 04:17
That's about as funny as a fart in an elevator

Kinsao
16-11-05, 10:42
Good old soft Mick! My mum uses that too, and I thought she had invented it!

Really?!? Aw, I'm not alone! :giggle:

If I (or my mom!) left the living room door open, Dad would say "Born in a field?"

"About as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike."

Horizon used an expression that I liked and I asked if I could borrow it on occasions: "Holy snugglebutt!" :D

"Thick as two short planks."

To describe really good guitar playing: "Tight as a gnat's arse."

And ones that I require too often for my own good :( : "Between the devil and the deep blue sea", or "between a rock and a hard place." (If you were feeling particularly intellectual you could even say "Between Scylla and Charybdis." :D )

And, of course, "Cool as a cucumber." :cool:

Tsuyoiko
16-11-05, 13:35
If I (or my mom!) left the living room door open, Dad would say "Born in a field?"Our version is "put wood in hole and save some coal"
To describe really good guitar playing: "Tight as a gnat's arse."Strange. We use "tight as a duck's arse" to mean mean. You made me be vulgar again!:p
"Between Scylla and Charybdis." :D LOL! I like that one!

bcrich67
18-09-10, 21:26
Here's one I picked up: "Tough titty said the kitty, but the milk's still good"
it basically means 'deal with it'

Aristander
19-09-10, 04:06
Here's some of my favorites from the southern U.S.A.
Stupid as a box of rocks. (really, really stupid)
Dumb as a bag full of hammers. (really, really, stupid again)
Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. (Sarcastic response to a "how are you?")
Scream like a broke d!ck panther.... used like... "when he slammed his hand in the car door, he screamed like a broke d!ck panther."
There are a number of other very funny but quite vulgar ones that I can't bring myself to put on this forum. :innocent:

ziateacher
24-01-14, 17:15
don't look a gift horse in the mouth - when you get a present that you don't appreciate, don't complain, since it is a present!
origin: a horse's age can be deducted from the length of its teeth

toyomotor
26-01-14, 00:44
[QUOTE=Kara_Nari;250682]My friend and I were talking about this a few weeks ago, that Australians and New Zealanders dont really use idioms as much as Americans and people from the UK. I disagreed at first, thinking that I always say them, but then he proceeded to mention that he had never heard me use one. I tried to give him some examples, but yeah I too was stumped as to when I would use them. Of course I know what they mean, but I guess I just find other things to say? Strange... I thought it was a part of my everyday conversation. Seems I just curse and use profanity instead....
My boyfriend always liked to play with words, and bust out some strange old idioms, that we just dont use in everyday conversation in NZ... I would laugh and ask where he got them from. He just likes to think he's super intelligent and that I just had no idea. Typical. English isnt even his first language and he thinks he's better
use


Australians do use idioms, but they're not well understood by foreigners.

Smelly as a dead dingos bum.
Just how much can a Koala Bear? (How much can one tolerate?)
Beyond the Black Stump. (The Black Stump being the most remote place imaginable.)
If that aint out I'm not playing.(When someone farts).


Too many more to list.

Keegah
03-02-14, 02:09
Surprised no one's said "Cold as a witch's tit" yet.