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

by Sally Jennings

to down drink /food
      Because it was so hot, and he was so thirsty, he downed three glasses in a row, then stopped to talk.
to draw attention to something
      The store would like to draw your attention to the specials in the women's shoe department.
to draw a conclusion
      The students will be asked to draw a conclusion from the information presented in live debate.
to dredge up something
      Don't dredge up anything from a past relationship to poison a new one.
to drive someone around the bend
      The toddler's lengthy temper tantrums nearly drove her mother around the bend.
to drive someone up the wall
      When he got a busy signal repeatedly after calling the company all afternoon, it really drove him up the wall.
to drop a hint
      What she really wanted for Valentine's Day was a diamond ring from her boyfriend, so she dropped a hint or two. Now they are engaged.
to earn a living
      He earns a living as a customer service representative.
to earn brownie points
      The man earned brownie points from his wife every time he mopped the kitchen floor. She was pleased and surprised.
to eke out an existence
      During the Depression, Prairie farmers barely eked out an existence, as soil blew away from their farms.

to exacerbate a condition
      Don't get him involved in this argument, that will just exacerbate the condition. It will get much worse fast.
to face off against someone
      The two teams faced off against each other on centre ice, and the game began.
to fare better /worse /well overall
      He didn't do very well on Part III of the exam, but he fared well overall, earning a higher grade than twenty of his classmates.
to feast one's eyes on
      She entered the small boutique and feasted her eyes on the pleasant display of soaps and perfumes, looking and enjoying.
to feed someone a line
      You don't really believe what that guy told you, do you? He was just feeding you a line.
to feel for someone
      "Oh, you work so hard," said the girl sarcastically to her older brother who had just gotten his first job, "I really feel for you!"
to feel like a million dollars
      "Wow," said the senior citizen, "now that the Doctor put me on that new medicine, I feel like a million dollars!"
to fiddle with
     Don't fiddle with that TV remote, you will screw up the channel selections.
     There's been some fiddling with the financial figures for the organization, and some money is apparently missing.
to fight fire with fire
      The company finally rearranged their sales tactics, and began to make more money. They were gaining over the competition by fighting fire with fire [a response appropriate to the opponent or threat].
to figure it out
      I just can't understand these instructions, the girl said. She hoped her father could figure it out.

to fill someone's shoes
      He is a valuable employee. When he retires from the company, it will be hard to fill his shoes.
to fill in for
      She was gone from work Friday so a co-worker filled in for her.
to find a way to make it happen
      Don't worry about money, the parent promised. If you want to go to college, son, we will find a way to make it happen.
to find common ground
      The two sides were able to solve the labour dispute by finding common ground about benefits and contracting out.
to find the time
      "Come see me next week if you manage to find the time in your busy schedule," the mother told her daughter.
to fix up with
     She wants to fix me up with some cousin of hers, but I really don't want to start dating again.
to flex one's muscles
      We don't think he is serious about threatening to sue, he's just flexing his muscles.
to float a loan
      The son was able to able to enlist two relatives to help him and floated a loan from his father in order to buy the new car.
to foil a plot
      The company foiled a plot by hackers to break into their client database.
to forge ahead
      The research arm of the corporation didn't let the failure hold them back. They just forged ahead with new work in a related area.

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This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 14. Click below to go to a different page.

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