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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

not by any stretch of the imagination
      Our family budget did not cover her extra expenses, not by any stretch of the imagination.
(not) hardlyNote, "not hardly" is used in some regions, but is incorrect because it is a double negative, it should always be "hardly"
      Do you really think that happened that way? Hardly!
not lose any sleep over
      It didn't work out this time, but it's not that important. Don't lose any sleep over it.
not worth the paper it's written on
      His guarantee is not worth the paper it is written on [useless].
not worth talking about
      She won't even discuss it. She says it is not worth talking about.
nothing ventured, nothing gained
      Sure, take the risk and do it. You know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
nuts to you
      I don't believe you, and I don't want to talk about it. Nuts to you!
of one kind or another
      We will find you a suitable replacement of one kind or another.
oh, my /oh, my dear
      Look at all this mess. Oh, my dear!

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

(on a) daily/weekly/monthly (basis)
      He checks the rain gauge daily.
(on a month-to-month basis)
      Bank statements should be reviewed monthly.
on a need-to-know basis/NTK
      Please distribute this confidential information on a need-to-know basis only [don't tell everyone].
on condition of anonymity
      She provided key details to the reporter, on condition of anonymity, asking that her identity remain hidden.
on notice about
      The company put the gardener on notice about his sloppy grounds keeping. He had to change or risk being fired.
on the money /right on the money
      That bet you placed at the racetrack yesterday sure paid off. You were right on the money!
on the run
      She usually skips a sit-down breakfast and eats on the run.
on the run from the law
      The three convicts escaped from prison, and are on the run from the law.
on the table /on the table during discussions
      The issue of contracting-out should be on the table during discussions [negotiable].
on-again, off-again
      Their love affair is on-again, off-again, come and go, up and down.
once and for all
      Let me tell you, when he talks to the Service Rep, he will straighten him out once and for all.

mp3 audio of the next 10 idioms

Once burned, twice shy.
      After his disastrous experience hang-gliding he will probably stay on the ground. Once burned, twice shy.
once upon a time
      The phrase "Once upon a time..." begins many children's stories.
one of a kind
      That work of art will never be repeated. It is one of a kind.
open for business
      Today, they are still setting up the kitchen, but tomorrow the restaurant will be open for business.
out of place
      He wasn't used to wearing a suit and tie, and felt quite out of place at the cocktail party.
Out of sight, out of mind.
      The toddler fretted over the broken toy until her mother removed it, saying "Out of sight, out of mind."
out of step with /in step with
      When he goes off on those wild tangents, he shows he is out of step with the rest of the management board.
Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
      They moved from a rental to a very old house that soon needed major structural repairs. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
outstanding in [one's] field
      She is an excellent teacher, positively outstanding in her field.
over and done with
      Don't cry over the past. It is over and done with.

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This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 8. Click below to go to a different page.

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