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Idioms, Slang, Phrasal Verbs, Colloquialisms, Cliches, and Proverbs, with Context Examples

by Sally Jennings

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

a skeleton in the closet
      He's not telling you everything, bet he has a skeleton or two in the closet.
a slice of life
      Teenage school woes, parental pressure, dating nightmares, how's that for a slice of life?
a slippery slope
      Don't even start on that issue. Don't go there. It's a slippery slope.
a smash success /a smashing success
      The program was well received, a smashing success.
a smattering of applause
      The lukewarm speech received a smattering of applause.
a sore spot
      She's very sensitive and touchy on that issue. It's a real sore spot.
a speedy recovery
      We wish you a speedy recovery. Get well soon!
a splash of colour
      The red maple tree was a splash of colour on the bare lawn.
a square peg in a round hole
      He doesn't fit in this department. He's a square peg in a round hole.
a standing ovation
      The outstanding performance rated a standing ovation from the audience. Everyone stood up and clapped.

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

a state of affairs
      The roast was burning in the oven, the washer had gone off balance, and then the smoke alarm went off upstairs.  What a pretty state of affairs!
a stitch in time saves nine
      Better think and act ahead; a stitch in time saves nine.
a sucker punch
      He came up from behind, grabbed his head, and landed a sucker punch, right to his face.
a sure thing
      The deal's done, I promise. It's a sure thing.
a sweet deal /a really sweet deal
      He gets plenty of perks with his job, it's a really sweet deal.
a symptom of a larger problem
      The inadequate level of English at the university level is just a symptom of a larger problem.
a tight schedule
      He had only thirty minutes between planes, it was a very tight schedule.
a tight spot
      If you get in trouble with the teacher, don't expect me to get you out of a tight spot.
a time slot
      Her school schedule was almost full. She had only one time slot left.
a toothy grin
      The witch's mask stared back with a toothy grin.

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

a trade-off
      I'll mend your pants if you will babysit. It will be a trade-off.
a train of thought
      She was sitting quietly, but he interrupted her and broke her train of thought.
a vintage car
      He had a pristine, restored, 1930's Packard, truly a beautiful vintage car.
a weather vane
      The wind whistled over the barn roof, spinning the weather vane around and around.
a welcome change
      The vacation was a welcome change from months of hard work.
a while ago /a short while ago
       He left work a short while ago. He has been gone about fifteen minutes.
a world of difference
      Your donation to our cause will make a world of difference in a child's life.
absent/absence without leave /AWOL
      He is AWOL from the army.
all of a sudden
      He had just gotten off his bike, when all of a sudden, he collapsed.
Am I right?
      So you knew ahead of time, [all along,] [in advance,] but you won't admit it. Am I right?

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This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 3. Click below to go to a different page.

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