Slovar idiomov

Angleški idiomi

~ A ~

A bit much
If something is excessive or annoying, it is a bit much.
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link
This means that processes, organisations, etc, are vulnerable because the weakest person or part can always damage or break them.
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 hitch in your giddy-up
If you have a hitch in your giddy-up, you’re not feeling well. (‘A hitch in your gittie-up’ is also used.)
A lick and a promise
If you give something a lick and a promise, you do it hurriedly, most often incompletely, intending to return to it later.
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.

~ 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, defenceless, 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.

~ C ~

Cake’s not worth the candle
If someone says that the cake’s not worth the candle, they mean that the result will not be worth the effort put in to achieve it.
Calf lick
A calf lick is the weird parting in your fringe where your hair grows in a different direction, usually to one side.
Call a spade a spade
A person who calls a spade a spade is one speaks frankly and makes little or no attempt to conceal their opinions or to spare the feelings of their audience.
Call it a day
If you call it a day, you stop doing something for a while, normally at least until the following day.
Call on the carpet
If you are called on the carpet, you are summoned for a reprimand by superiors or others in power.
Call the dogs off
If someone calls off their dogs, they stop attacking or criticising someone.
Call the shots
If you call the shots, you are in charge and tell people what to do.
Call the tune
The person who calls the tune makes the important decisions about something.

~ D ~

Daft as a brush
(UK) Someone who is daft as a brush is rather stupid.
Damp squib
(UK) If something is expected to have a great effect or impact but doesn’t, it is a damp squib.
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.
Davey Jones’ locker
Davey Jones’ locker is the bottom of the sea or resting place of drowned sailors.(‘Davy Jones’ locker’ is an alternative spelling.)
Day in the sun
If you have your day in the sun, you get attention and are appreciated.
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.
Days are numbered
When someone’s days are numbered, they are expected to die soon.

~ E ~

Each to their own
Different people have different preferences. In American English, ‘Each to his own’ is more common.
Eager beaver
A person who is extremely keen is an eager beaver.
Eagle eyes
Someone who has eagle eyes sees everything; no detail is too small.
Early bath
(UK) If someone has or goes for an early bath, they quit or lose their job or position earlier than expected because things have gone wrong.
Early bird catches the worm
The early bird catches the worm means that if you start something early, you stand a better chance of success.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise
It means that sleeping well and not staying up late will help you out physically and financially.
Earn a living
To make money Ex: We need to get a good job to earn a decent living.
Easier said than done
If something is easier said than done, it is much more difficult than it sounds. It is often used when someone advises you to do something difficult and tries to make it sound easy.

~ F ~

Face like thunder
If someone has a face like thunder, they are clearly very angry or upset about something.
Face only a mother could love
When someone has a face only a mother could love, they are ugly.
Face the music
If you have to face the music, you have to accept the negative consequences of something you have done wrong.
Face value
If you take something at face value, you accept the appearance rather than looking deeper into the matter.
Face your demons
If you face your demons, you confront your fears or something that you have been trying hard to avoid.
Facts of life
When someone is taught the facts of life, they learn about sex and reproduction.
Failure is the mother of success
Failure is often a stepping stone towards success.
Faint heart never won fair lady
This means that you will not get the partner of your dreams if you lack the confidence to let them know how you feel.

~ G ~

Game on
When someone says ‘Game on!’, it means that they are accepting a challenge or ready to get something done.
Game plan
A game plan is a strategy.
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.
Gardening leave
(UK) If someone is paid for a period when they are not working, either after they have given in their notice or when they are being investigated, they are on gardening leave.
Gather pace
If events gather pace, they move faster.
Gather steam
If something gathers speed, it moves or progresses at an increasing speed.
Get a grip
If you get a grip, you control your emotions so that they don’t overwhelm you.

~ H ~

Someone whose behavior is hearty, friendly and congenial.
Hair of the dog
If someone has a hair of the dog, they have an alcoholic drink as a way of getting rid of a hangover, the unpleasant effects of having drunk too much alcohol the night before. It is commonly used as a way of excusing having a drink early on in the day.
Hairy at the heel
(UK) Someone who is hairy at the heel is dangerous or untrustworthy.
Hale and hearty
Someone who is hale and hearty is in very good health.
Half a loaf is better than no bread
It means that getting part of what you want is better than getting nothing at all.
Half a mind
If you have half a mind to do something, you haven’t decided to do it, but are thinking seriously about doing it.
A half-baked idea or scheme hasn’t not been thought through or planned very well.
Hammer and tongs
If people are going at it hammer and tongs, they are arguing fiercely. The idiom can also be used hen people are doing something energetically.

~ I ~

I hereby give notice of my intention
Hereby is used sometimes in formal, official declarations and statements to give greater force to the speaker’ or the writer’s affirmation. People will say it sometimes to emphasise their sincerity and correctness.
I may be daft, but I’m not stupid
I might do or say silly things occasionally, but in this instance I know what I am doing (Usually used when someone questions your application of common-sense).
I should cocoa
(UK) This idiom comes from ‘I should think so’, but is normally used sarcastically to mean the opposite.
I’ll cross that road when I come to it
I’ll think about something just when it happens, not in advance.
I’ll eat my hat
You can say this when you are absolutely sure that you are right to let the other person know that there is no chance of your being wrong.
I’ve got a bone to pick with you
If somebody says this, they mean that they have some complaint to make against the person they are addressing.
I’ve got your number
You have made a mistake and I am going to call you on it. You are in trouble (a threat). I have a disagreement with you. I understand your true nature.
Icing on the cake
This expression is used to refer to something good that happens on top of an already good thing or situation.

~ J ~

Jack Frost
If everything has frozen in winter, then Jack Frost has visited.
Jack the Lad
A confident and not very serious young man who behaves as he wants to without thinking about other people is a Jack the Lad.
A jack-of-all-trades is someone that can do many different jobs.
Jam on your face
If you say that someone has jam on their face, they appear to be caught, embarrassed or found guilty.
Jam tomorrow
(UK) This idiom is used when people promise good things for the future that will never come.
Jane Doe
Jane Doe is a name given to an unidentified female who may be party to legal proceedings, or to an unidentified person in hospital, or dead. John Doe is the male equivalent.
Jekyll and Hyde
Someone who has a Jekyll and Hyde personality has a pleasant and a very unpleasant side to the character.
Jersey justice
(UK) Jersey justice is very severe justice.

~ K ~

Kangaroo court
When people take the law into their own hands and form courts that are not legal, these are known as kangaroo court.
Keen as mustard
(UK) If someone is very enthusiastic, they are as keen as mustard.
Keep abreast
If you keep abreast of things, you stay informed about developments.
Keep at bay
If you keep someone or something at bay, you maintain a safe distance from them.
Keep body and soul together
If you earn enough to cover your basic expenses, but nothing more than that, you earn enough to keep body and soul together.
Keep in touch
If you keep in touch with someone, you keep communicating with them even though you may live far apart.
Keep it on the Q T
If you keep something on the Q T, you keep it quiet or secret.(‘Q-T’ is also used.)
Keep it under your hat
If you keep something under your hat, you keep it secret.

~ L ~

Labor of love
A labor of love is a project or task undertaking for the interest or pleasure in doing it rather than the reward, financial or otherwise.
Labour of love
A labour of love is a project or task undertaking for the interest or pleasure in doing it rather than the reward, financial or otherwise.
Lame duck
If something or someone is a lame duck, they are in trouble.
Land of nod
If someone has gone to the land of nod, they have fallen asleep or gone to bed.
Landslide victory
A landslide victory is a victory in an election by a very large margin.
Lap dog
A lap dog is a person who is eager to please another at the expense of his or her own needs in order to maintain a position of privilege or favor.
Lap of the gods
If something is in the lap of the gods, it is beyond our control and fate will decide the outcome.
Larger than life
If something is excessive or exaggerated, it is larger than life.

~ M ~

Mad as a badger
If someone is as mad as a badger, they are crazy.
Mad as a bag of hammers
Someone who is as mad as a bag of hammers is crazy or stupid. (‘Daft as a bag of hammers’ is also used.)
Mad as a cut snake
(USA) One who is mad as a cut snake has lost all sense of reason, is crazy, out of control.
Mad as a hornet
(USA) If someone is as mad as a hornet, they are very angry indeed.
Mad as a March hare
Someone who is excitable and unpredictable is as mad as a March hare.
Mad as a wet hen
If someone is as mad as a wet hen, they are extremely angry.
Made in the shade
One has an easy time in life or in a given situation. Finding things working to one’s benefit.
Made of money
If you are made of money, you have a lot of money.

~ N ~

Nail in the coffin
A nail in someone or something’s coffin is a problem or event that is a clear step towards an inevitable failure.
If a game, election, contest, etc, is a nail-biter, it is exciting because the competitors are so close that it is impossible to predict the result.
Nature abhors a vacuum
This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics.
Nature of the beast
The basic characteristics of something is the nature of the beast; often used when there’s an aspect of something that cannot be changed or that is unpleasant or difficult.
Neck and neck
If two competitors or candidates, etc, are neck and neck, then they are very close and neither is clearly winning.
Neck of the woods
If someone talks about their neck of the woods, they mean the area where they live.
Need no introduction
Someone who is very famous and known to everyone needs no introduction.
Needle in a haystack
If trying to find something is like looking for a needle in a haystack, it means that it is very difficult, if not impossible to find among everything around it.

~ O ~

Object lesson
An object lesson serves as a warning to others. (In some varieties of English ‘abject lesson’ is used.)
Odds and ends
Odds and ends are small, remnant articles and things- the same as ‘bits and bobs’.
Off colour
If someone looks off colour/color, they look ill.
Off the beaten track
Somewhere that’s off the beaten track is in a remote location.
Off the chart
If something goes off the chart, it far exceeds the normal standards, good or bad, for something.
Off the cuff
If you do something off the cuff, you do it without any preparation.
Off the grid
Someone who is off the grid lives outside society and chooses not to follow its rules and conventions.
Off the hook
If someone is off the hook, they have avoided punishment or criticism for something they have done.

~ P ~

Packed like sardines
If a place is extremely crowded, people are packed like sardines, or packed in like sardines.
Paddle your own canoe
(USA) If you paddle your own canoe, you do things for yourself without outside help.
Pain in the neck
If someone is very annoying and always disturbing you, they are a pain in the neck. Pain in the butt, or pain in the ass (USA), and Pain in the arse (UK) are less polite alternative forms.
Paint the town red
If you go out for a night out with lots of fun and drinking, you paint the town red.
Paint yourself into a corner
(USA) If someone paints themselves into a corner, they get themselves into a mess.
Painted Jezebel
A painted Jezebel is a scheming woman.
Pandora’s box
If you open a Pandora’s box, something you do causes all sorts of trouble that you hadn’t anticipated.
Paper over the cracks
If you paper over the cracks, you try to make something look or work better but only deal with superficial issues, not the real underlying problems.

~ Q ~

Quarrel with bread and butter
Bread and butter, here, indicate the means of one’s living. (That is why we say ‘he is the bread winner of the family’). If a sub-ordinate in an organisation is quarrelsome or if he is not patient enough to bear the reprimand he deserves, gets angry and retorts or provokes the higher-up, the top man dismisses him from the job. So, he loses the job that gave him bread and butter. Hence we say, he quarrelled with bread and butter (manager or the top man) and lost his job.
Quart into a pint pot
(UK) If you try to put or get a quart into a pint pot, you try to put too much in a small space. (1 quart = 2 pints)
Queen bee
The queen bee is a woman who holds the most important position in a place.
Queen of Hearts
A woman who is pre-eminent in her area is a Queen of Hearts.
Queer fish
(UK) A strange person is a queer fish.
Queer Street
If someone is in a lot of trouble, especially financial, they are in Queer Street.
Queer your pitch
If someone queers your pitch, they interfere in your affairs and spoil things.
Question of time
If something’s a question of time, it’s certain to happen, though we don’t know exactly when.

~ R ~

Rack and ruin
If something or someone goes to rack and ruin, they are utterly destroyed or wrecked.
Rack your brain
If you rack your brain, you think very hard when trying to remember something. (‘Rack your brains’ is an alternative.)
Ragged blue line
(USA) This term was used to signify the Union forces (who wore blue uniforms) in the American Civil war .
Rags to riches
Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich goes from rags to riches.
Rain on your parade
If someone rains on your parade, they ruin your pleasure or your plans.
Raining cats and dogs
When it is raining cats and dogs, it is raining very heavily.
Rainy day
If you save something, especially money, for a rainy day, you save it for some possible problem or trouble in the future.
Raise Cain
(USA) If someone raises Cain, they make a big fuss publicly, causing a disturbance.

~ S ~

Sacred cow
Something that is a sacred cow is held in such respect that it cannot be criticised or attacked.
Safe and sound
If you arrive safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you on your way.
Safe as houses
Something that is as safe as houses is very secure or certain.
Safe bet
A proposition that is a safe bet doesn’t have any risks attached.
Safe pair of hands
A person who can be trusted to do something without causing any trouble is a safe pair of hands.
Safety in numbers
If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.
Saigon moment
(USA) A Saigon moment is when people realise that something has gone wrong and that they will lose or fail.
Sail close to the wind
If you sail close to the wind, you take risks to do something, going close to the limit of what is allowed or acceptable.

~ T ~

Tables are turned
When the tables are turned, the situation has changed giving the advantage to the party who had previously been at a disadvantage.
Tackle an issue
If you tackle an issue or problem, you resolve or deal with it.
Take a hike
This is a way of telling someone to get out.
Take a leaf out of someone’s book
If you take a leaf out of someone’s book, you copy something they do because it will help you.
Take a nosedive
When things take a nosedive, they decline very quickly and head towards disaster.
Take a punch
If somebody takes a blow, something bad happens to them.
Take a raincheck
If you take a rain check, you decline an offer now, suggesting you will accept it later. (‘Raincheck’ is also used.)
Take a straw poll
If you take a straw poll, you sound a number of people out to see their opinions on an issue or topic.

~ U ~

If a government changes its position radically on an issue, especially when they have promised not to do so, this is a U-turn.
Ugly as a stick
(USA) If someone is as ugly as a stick, they are very ugly indeed.
Ugly duckling
An ugly duckling is a child who shows little promise, but who develops later into a real talent or beauty.
Uncalled for
If someone does something bad and unnecessary without consideration for anothers feelings, what they do is uncalled for.
Uncharted waters
If you’re in uncharted waters, you are in a situation that is unfamiliar to you, that you have no experience of and don’t know what might happen. (‘Unchartered waters’ is an incorrect form that is a common mistake.)
Uncle Sam
(USA) Uncle Sam is the government of the USA.
Under a cloud
If someone is suspected of having done something wrong, they are under a cloud.
Under a flag of convenience
If a ship sails under a flag of convenience, it is registered in a country where taxes, etc, are lower than in the country it comes from, so if someone does something under a flag of convenience, they attempt to avoid regulations and taxes by a similar means.

~ V ~

Vale of tears
This vale of tears is the world and the suffering that life brings.
Velvet glove
This idiom is used to describe a person who appears gentle, but is determined and inflexible underneath. (‘Iron fist in a velvet glove’ is the full form.)
Vent your spleen
If someone vents their spleen, they release all their anger about something.
Vicar of Bray
(UK) A person who changes their beliefs and principles to stay popular with people above them is a Vicar of Bray
Vicious circle
A vicious circle is a sequence of events that make each other worse- someone drinks because they are unhappy at work, then loses their job… ‘Vicious cycle’ is also used.
Virgin territory
If something is virgin territory, it hasn’t been explored before.
If you do a volte-face on something, you make a sudden and complete change in your stance or position over an issue.

~ W ~

Wag the dog
To ‘wag the dog’ means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue.The expression comes from the saying that ‘a dog is smarter than its tail’, but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would ‘wag the dog’. The expression ‘wag the dog’ was elaborately used as theme of the movie. ‘Wag the Dog’, a 1997 film starring Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman, produced and directed by Barry Levinson.
Wait for a raindrop in the drought
When someone is waiting for a raindrop in the drought, they are waiting or hoping for something that is extremely unlikely to happen.
Waiting in the wings
If someone is waiting in the wings, or in the wings, they are in the background, but nearby, ready to act on short notice.
Wake up and smell the coffee
When someone doesn’t realise what is really happening or is not paying enough attention to events around them, you can tell them to wake up and smell the coffee.
Wake-up call
A wake-up call is a warning of a threat or a challenge, especially when it means that people will have to change their behaviour to meet it.
Walk a fine line
If you have to walk a fine line, you have to be very careful not to annoy or anger people or groups that are competing. (‘Walk a thin line’ is an alternative.)
Walk a mile in my shoes
This idiom means that you should try to understand someone before criticising them.
Walk a tightrope
If you walk a tightrope, you have to be very careful not to annoy or anger people who could become enemies.

~ X ~

X factor
The dangers for people in the military that civilians do not face, for which they receive payment, are known as the X factor.
X marks the spot
This is used to say where something is located or hidden.
If something is x-rated, it is not suitable for children.

~ Y ~

Yah boo sucks
Yah boo & yah boo sucks can be used to show that you have no sympathy with someone.
Yank my chain
If some one says this to another person (i.e. stop yanking my chain) it means for the other person to leave the person who said it alone and to stop bothering them.
Yellow press
The yellow press is a term for the popular and sensationalist newspapers.
Yellow streak
If someone has a yellow streak, they are cowardly about something.
A yellow-bellied person is a coward.
If you have a yen to do something, you have a desire to do it.
Someone who always agrees with people in authority is a yes-man.
Yesterday’s man or Yesterday’s woman
Someone, especially a politician or celebrity, whose career is over or on the decline is yesterday’s man or woman.

~ Z ~

Zero hour
The time when something important is to begin is zero hour.
Zero tolerance
If the police have a zero tolerance policy, they will not overlook any crime, no matter how small or trivial.
Zigged before you zagged
If you did things in the wrong order, you zigged before you zagged.
Zip it
This is used to tell someone to be quiet.
Zip your lip
If someone tells you to zip your lip, they want to to shut up or keep quiet about something. (‘Zip it’ is also used.)

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