Common English Phrase Idiom flashcards | Quizlet

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  • blackmail

    extortion of money by threats to divulge discrediting information

    black market

    an illegal market in which goods or currencies are bought and sold in violation of rationing or controls

    Dressed up to the nines

    wearing your best clothes

    taken to the cleaners

    victim of a con and as a result, lost most of your money


    miser; stingy person

    hard up

    not having enough money to pay for necessities

    browned off

    fed up; bored

    even stevens

    divided up equally

    gone south

    it has failed completely

    The bubble has burst

    the economic stock market or financial market has collapsed

    holding the purse strings

    the one in control of the budget and spending

    lame duck

    A person still in power but has on influence and no future

    sleep on a clothes line

    so tired that one could sleep anywhere

    hook line and sinker

    completely, all the way

    down and out

    destitute, very poor

    make ends meet

    to be able to make enough money only for one's basic needs

    stump up a payment

    make a payment or hand over money



    up to the mark

    good enough


    a symbol of high quality

    the devil is in the detail

    the difficulty or danger is in the detail

    to know / learn the ropes

    knowing the procedure

    true colours

    to reveal one's true nature, often for the first time

    touch and go

    with an uncertain result

    left high and dry

    left in a stranded situation

    turn the corner

    if something or someone turns the corner, their situation starts to improve after a difficult period

    silver lining

    a comforting or hopeful aspect of an otherwise desperate or unhappy situation

    light in the tunnel

    a sense of hope in a hopeless situation

    slush fund

    An unaccountable sum of money available for questionable to corrupt purposes. "He...piled up an enormous 'slush fund' for a 'campaign of education.'..."

    scraping the barrel

    in the situation where one ran out of options or money


    Distant, reserved in manner; uninvolved; hard to approached

    on the right track

    proceeding in a good way; going in the right direction

    dead wood; dead weight

    people or things that have become useless or unnecessary


    Insulting or intended to insult

    you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours

    you help me and I will help you

    catch 22

    In a very difficult situation of little options

    murphy's law

    if something can go wrong it will

    uncle sam

    US government

    throw one's hat into the ring

    going for it

    hit the ground running

    to work immediately very hard on something to make it successful

    the whole nine yards

    Everything. All of it

    heads up



    (n) praise, honor, congratulations

    step up to the plate

    stand up to the challenge

    ballpark figure

    a rough estimate

    throw a curve ball

    anything that come unexpectedly

    whistle blower

    an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it

    axis of evil

    the bad guys

    pass the buck

    to refuse to take responsibility

    Rome wasn't build in a day

    It takes time to achieve great success

    All roads lead to Rome

    many different ways of doing something.

    many way to skin a cat

    many different ways of doing something

    monkey business

    fooling around and not being serious

    out of your league

    too good for you

    bite the bullet

    Mean to endure a painful, unpleasant situation courageously. To face up to adversity.

    bite the dust

    to suffer a defeat

    cold turkey

    to stop doing one really love all together

    cold shoulder

    If you give or show someone the cold shoulder, you are deliberately unfriendly and unco-operative towards them.

    run of the mill

    average, ordinary

    bog standard

    completely ordinary, without anything special added

    not on my watch

    not when I'm in charge

    Mexican standoff

    a situation in which no one can emerge as a clear winner

    hold your horses

    wait a minute

    kicking tyres

    testing it out

    son of a gun

    a rascal

    draw a line in the sand

    you establish a limit beyond which things will be unacceptable.

    on the grapevine

    informally, gossip

    cut and run

    to leave quickly in order to avoid danger or trouble

    basket case

    (n) a person who is helpless or incapable of functioning normally

    hard and fast

    firmly established, invariable (rules and regulations)

    taken aback

    surprised; shocked

    free lunch

    something acquired without effort or payment or obligation

    above my pay grade

    beyond my responsibility

    nitty gritty

    important details

    kick the bucket

    to die

    reinvent the wheel

    to waste time trying to create something that someone else has already created

    sitting duck

    a defenseless victim

    play Russian roulette

    to take foolish and dangerous risks

    under dog

    someone or a team expected to lose, not supposed to win

    a French compliment

    empty flattery; an insincere compliment

    Dutch courage

    courage inspired by drinking

    going Dutch

    splitting the costs

    the proof is in the pudding

    you can't judge something good or bad until you try it....or try it and you will see the result.

    threw out the baby with the bathwater

    threw out the good stuff together with the bad stuff

    Call it a day

    stop working for the day; turn in for the night

    Goose bumps

    make my hair stand

    out of the blue

    by surprise, unexpectedly

    on the dot

    exactly on time

    by the skin of one's teeth

    close call; just got by

    hanging by a thread

    close call; just got by

    Pull someone's leg

    to joke with someone

    Read between the lines

    understand the hidden meaning

    Rings a bell

    sounds familiar

    Sleep on it

    "think about something before making a decision"

    Play it by ear


    Speak of the devil

    speak about someone, and just after that they arrive

    Grab a bite

    get something to eat

    Go with the flow

    follow what everyone does

    Over My Dead Body

    something that will never be permitted

    Cat Got Your Tongue

    unable to speak

    Totally Slipped My Mind

    totally forgotten

    Give It to Me Straight

    tell me honestly

    written all over your face

    It is clear what you are feeling

    my Two Cents

    My humble opinion.

    Take a Hike

    go away

    I'm Hosed

    I'm in trouble

    What's Eating You?

    that's troubling you

    I Can't Thank You Enough

    thank you so much

    No Strings Attached

    obligation free

    Back to the grind

    back to work

    Lighten Up

    cheer up

    Keep Me in the Loop

    Keep me informed and up-to-date

    throw in the towel

    give up

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