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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

an economic disaster
      Their personal finances are nothing short of an economic disaster. They are flat broke all the time.
an eager beaver
      I gave him the project to work on, and he started right away.  He's a real eager beaver.
an errand of mercy
      She took the pie to the sick man on an errand of mercy.
an instant success
      Sales took right off and the company's products became an instant success.
an open and shut case
      He was caught red-handed. There were plenty of credible witnesses. It was an open and shut case.
an opportunity for advancement
      The job ad promised the successful applicant opportunity for advancement, a chance for a promotion.
an unbiased opinion
      You say your girlfriend is very beautiful? Now isn't that an unbiased opinion!
an undisclosed source
      The news report was based on information from an undisclosed source.
as far as something /someone is concerned
      The father told his adult son, that as far as he was concerned, he could do anything he wanted. He trusted him.
at any (given) time
      We are finished here, so you are free to go at any time.

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

(at the end of the day)
      When all was said and done, at the end of the day, the company was a success.
at the last minute /a last minute change
      He changed his mind at the last minute.
at this (moment in) time /at this (point in) time
      At this time, the Manager is on a business trip overseas.
aware /unaware of the discrepancy
      The bank staff seemed to be unaware of the discrepancy in our chequing account.
bear with me
      This is long, so please be patient and bear with me.
best of show
      The tiny dog in the pink collar won Best of Show.
better...or else
      You better do what he says, or else!
better and better
      She loved country life. It was better and better each passing year.
between a rock and a hard place
      He shouldn't have lied. As a result of his lie, he was caught between a rock and a hard place.
big bucks
      He's just dreaming if he thinks he is going to be making big bucks at that job. They don't pay much.

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

bread and butter
      The wife spends lots of time doing volunteer work, but her husband's job is their bread and butter. His job pays their bills.
break and enter /B & E
       All the doors were locked, so the police charged the burglar with Break and Enter.
breakneck speed
      The two motorcyclists raced down the street at breakneck speed.
but then again
       She could do that for you, but then again, why should she do it if she knows you don't like her?
can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear
       Don't trust your confidences to a low class gossip. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
can't see the forest for the trees
      He is way too close to the situation. He can't see the forest for the trees.
carry out attacks
      The army will carry out the attacks as planned.
cat got your tongue
      Are you in shock or something? What's the matter, cat got your tongue? You haven't said anything.
catch-as-catch-can
      She's a real free spirit. She has lived her life catch-as-catch-can.
cheek by jowl
      They built the houses without side yards. They were packed in cheek by jowl on the property.

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This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 4. Click below to go to a different page.

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