Idioms, idiomatic expressions

The following idioms  and expressions are brought to you by: 

Enjoy and have fun with idioms


“Let the cat out of the bag” 


Definition: To tell people secret information, often without intending to

I was trying to keep the party a secret, but Jim went and let the cat out of the bag.


 “When it rains, it pours”


Definition: it hasn’t happened for a long time, and then it happens all at once .

“It looks like everyone in our department is sick again, and all at the same time.” Reply: “When it rains, it pours.”


“Go cold turkey”……


  • to suddenly and completely stop doing something, esp. a bad habit

Finally she went cold turkey on a 23-year smoking habit and hasn’t smoked since.

  • also used in the form quit cold turkey with the same meaning:

The big organizations suddenly quit cold turkey, leaving the work to volunteers.


A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush.

Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.


Swift as an arrow * 


Definition: Very fast. (*Also: as ~.)

The new intercity train is as swift as an arrow. You won’t have to wait for me long; I’ll be there, swift as thought. 

Also,*swift as the wind; *swift as thought


A Chip On Your Shoulder


Definition: Being upset for something that happened in the past

 He has a chip on his shoulder because his brother got more ice cream than he did. 


jump down his/her throat


Definition: If you jump down someone’s throat, you criticise or chastise them severely.

John’s mom jumped down his throat when she saw his dirty room.


“Nest egg”


Definition: Savings set aside for future use….

“Now that our nest egg is large enough, we can finally retire.”


Race against the clock


Definition: If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have
very little time to do it.

“They are working against the clock to have the presentation
ready for Monday.”

Bend over backwards

 bend backwards


Definition:Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything. 
“He will bend over backwards to help you.”

Add fuel to the fire / flames

If you add fuel to the fire, you do or say something that makes a difficult situation even worse.   

He forgot their wedding anniversary, and his apologies only added fuel to the fire/ flames.


The following cooking idioms  and expressions are brought to you by:

1. To cook the books – to record false information in the accounts of an organisation.

Blog_Cook the Books
When the company went bankrupt, it was discovered that one of the directors had been cooking the books for years.



2. To go from/get/jump out of the frying pan into the fire – to go from a bad situation to a worse one

Blog_out of frying pan into fire
‘She had always had problems with her Sales Manager, so was relieved when he was sacked. However, she went from the frying into the fire with the new Sales Manager!’


3. Too many cooks spoil the broth – too many people managing a job can actually create more problems

‘Look, we need to decide once and for all who is managing this project because we have a situation of too many cooks spoiling the broth at the moment’.


4. To Cook Something Up* – to organise something
‘Leave the organisational details of the party to me. I will cook something up and it will be fantastic. You’ll see.’
*It is also used literally to mean to cook a meal.


5. To grill someone -to question someone without stopping

Blog_grill someone
The police grilled the suspect for seven hours and still couldn’t get a confession out of him.’


6. To boil over (phrasal verb) – when someone cannot control their anger and start to argue or fight
The situation was so tense in the boardroom that people’s tempers were boiling over by the end of the meeting.

Blog_Simmer Down before you boil over by Prader

7. To simmer down (phrasal verb) – to become calm
‘Hey, simmer down and relax. Getting angry won’t change things’.

8. To Simmer with rage/anger – to be filled with negative emotions like rage and anger
‘Susan simmered with rage when she saw the disaster the builders had caused to the extension’


9. To stew(v) or to be in a stew(noun) – to be mentally agitated
‘After the interrogation, the police let Tom stew for a few hours before releasing him’.


Blog_half-baked ideas10. Half-baked ideas (informal) – ideas that have not been thought out enough

‘James is always coming to me with his half-baked ideas on how we can increase sales. He is so annoying.’


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