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What are idioms 什麼是成語/慣用語?
A group of words that has a special meaning that is different from the ordinary meaning of each separate word. For example, 'under the weather' is an idiom meaning 'ill'. The best way to understand an idiom is to see it in a text.
Idioms Sample sentences
A bitter pill to swallow
It was a bitter pill to swallow when they didn’t give me the promotion.
(to cost) An arm and a leg
= Extremely high price
I love my Mercedes, but it cost an arm and a leg.
Be left holding a baby
(被別人) 獨自處理困境
Everyone in my office helped with the project at first, but after a while they got bored and didn’t want the responsibility, so I was left holding the baby.
Be on someone’s back
(with V+ing或 to +原形動詞)
My parents are always on my back about getting a better job and getting married.
Be rushed off someone’s feet
異常忙碌= extremely busy
I’m sorry I can’t help you at the moment because I’m rushed off my feet.
Bear in mind
牢牢記住 = keep in mind
It is usually safe to swim in the sea but bear in mind, there are some dangers, such as sharks and currents.
Beat around the bush
Don’t beat around the bush; just tell me what you really mean.
Break the ice
解除冷場面 (開始互動起來)
He was quite shy when I first met him, but I told a few jokes and we broke the ice. Now we are good friends.
Like a bull in a china shop
Don’t invite him to your party. He is like a bull in a china shop and he will offend your guests.
By hook or by crook
She is determined to become a singer by hook or by crook. She’ll do anything to be famous.
Can of worms
He is a powerful man. If you upset him, you will open a can of worms.
Cut and dried
The situation is cut and dried. You don’t need to worry about it.
Cut off your nose to spite your face
You shouldn’t quit your job because you don’t like your boss. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.
Cut to the chase
說重點 = get to the point
Let’s cut to the chase. Tell me how much you want for your salary raise.
Drag one’s feet
= Procrastinate, put off
I have tried to help John get fit but he’s dragging his feet about doing exercise.
Drive someone up the wall
My neighbour plays his music loudly at night. He is driving me up the wall.
Drop someone a line
When you arrive in Manchester, drop me a line.
Dropped the ball
Michael was doing so well in the job interview, but he dropped the ball at the last minute when he told the interviewer he had no intention to stay long.
Face the music
I have just crashed my father’s car. I’ll have to go home and face the music.
Five finger discount
“How could she afford that necklace?”
“It didn’t cost her anything. She got a five finger discount on it”.
Flogging a dead horse
We shouldn’t keep trying to make him understand our viewpoint. We’re just flogging a dead horse.
Get/Let someone off the hook
The manager is going to let the shoplifter off the hook but I think he should be punished.
Get/Put someone’s back up
My mother-in-law is so critical of me; she really puts my back up.
My mother-in-law is so critical of me; she really puts my back up. My client trusts me so much he has given me a free hand to make any decisions I want about his discount.
Go all out
If you want to win this competition, you will have to go all out.
Go with the flow
It will be easier if you go with the flow, instead of disagreeing with whatever the manager decides.
Got out of hand
The party got out of hand. People got drunk and started to fight.
Have a bash
I’m not very good at playing tennis, but I’ll have a bash.
Have egg on your face
She lied to her fiance about her age, and by the time he found out, she had egg on her face.
Have the blues
Justine has the blues because she just broke up with her boyfriend.
Hit the hay/sack
去睡覺 = go to bed
It’s getting late, so we should hit the hay.
In deep water
Marie didn’t prepare for her camping trip properly and when she ran out of food, she found herself in deep water.
Keep in the loop (=Kept informed, given feedback)
I want to know everything that is discussed in the negotiations, so I want to be kept in the loop.
It’s early days yet
“Is your mother okay after her operation?”
“It’s early days yet, so we’ll know more in a day or so.”
Know someone or something inside out
Know someone or something inside out
Leave someone in the lurch
They were supposed to help me paint the house but they left me in the lurch and went to beach instead.
Let the cat out of the bag
My parents didn’t know I broke their favourite vase but my brother let the cat out of the bag at dinner.
Loan shark (=A predatory lender)
I need money urgently, so I went to a loan shark.
I don’t like attending Professor Hafenstein’s lecture. He’s very smart but a little long-winded.
Make hay ( To make hay while the sun shine)
天賜良機, 大好機會
You won’t get any better opportunities than this, so make hay while the Sun shines.
mind one's p's and q's (also mind your p's and q's
This is a very formal dinner party with many important people, so mind your p’s and q’s.
Nod off
Mike was late for work because he nodded off on the train and missed his stop.
Off one’s rocker ( = Crazy)
Nobody wants to be friends with Jim. He‘s off his rocker.
Off the hook
“I have to hand in my thesis tomorrow and I haven’t even started!”
“Don’t worry, the teacher extended the deadline, so you’re off
the hook.”
On a knife-edge
Our company has to fire some people, so we are all on a knife-edge
at the moment.
On the level (= Honest, straightforward)
He wants to do some business with us. Do you think he is on the
Once and for all
As the Managing Director, he needs to solve the problem of running out of cash flow, once and for all.
Once in a blue moon
“Have you seen your landlord lately?”
“No, he only comes around once in a blue moon.”
Over the hill
過氣了, 或形容一個人在事業(或健康) 達到高峰後,開始走下坡
He used to be a really great basketball player, but now he is over the hill.
Over the moon
I was over the moon when I passed my driving test.
Pay through the nose (for something)
If you hire a workman to fix your house, you’ll pay through the nose. You really should do it yourself.
Pick up the pieces
He likes to takes risks, but if something happens to him, we’ll have to pick up the pieces.
Pissing in the wind
There’s no point trying to change his mind. You are pissing in the
Pulling one’s leg/Hearing a laugh
Are you really related to the Queen of England or are you pulling my leg.
Rack your brain
I racked my brain to think of ways to make more money.
(Right) under your nose / From under someone’s nose
We looked for a qualified replacement for Tim for ages, but the solution was under our nose. We hired one of his subordinates.
Salt of the earth
Everyone likes to do business with Arthur; he’s the salt of the earth.
Slip my mind
I meant to tell you that the meeting was cancelled, but it slipped my mind.
Something is on the tip of someone’s tongue
“Do you remember the name of that T.V show we liked when we were kids?”
“It was ….oh, its on the tip of my tongue”.
(Something) makes someone’s day
It made my day when the typhoon caused meetings to be cancelled.
Speak of the devil
“Karen seems very absent-minded today.”
(Karen comes into the room)
“Speak of the devil; we were just talking about you.”
Stab someone in the back
I thought Vincent was my best friend, but he stabbed me in the back and stole my girlfriend.
Stick in the mud
Don’t be such a stick in the mud! Come to the party with me tonight.
Take a shine to
When I met my roommate, I took a shine to him immediately.
Take on sb. or take sb. on
= To begin to employ someone
錄取 聘僱
My company took me on last November, so I’ve been working there for one year.
Take sth upon yourself
No one seemed to want to do anything about it, so I took it upon myself to organise the concert.
There and then
I asked him if I could borrow some money, and there and then, he pulled $500 out of his pocket and gave it to me.
Three sheets to the wind
Don’t expect him to wake up early for work tomorrow. He ‘s three sheets to the wind.
To agree to disagree
We’ve been arguing about this for an hour. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
Treading water(= Making no progress)
At the moment, I feel my career is not going anywhere. I’m just treading water.
Under someone’s feet
Poor Julia, her kids are always under her feet, and she never gets any rest.
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed (= to be very grumpy)
If I were you, I wouldn’t bother Louisa today. She woke up on the wrong side of the bed and is losing her temper with everyone.
Work against the clock
We only have until tomorrow to finish building the house, so we have to work against the clock.
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