Speak Read Write

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

by Sally Jennings

to have unfinished business
      He returned to his homeland to sell his home. This wrapped up his unfinished business.
to head out for
       They were heading out for a camping trip when they got the news about the tornado.
to hit a home run
      The last batter connected with the ball so well that he rounded all the bases before the catcher caught the ball. It was a home run.
to hold the dubious distinction of
      He holds the dubious distinction of changing departments more often than anyone else in our company.
to hope for the best
      The cat was very injured, but the vet operated on her and they all hoped for the best.
to horse around
      The kids were horsing around in the water, getting everybody wet.
to hunker down
      During the thunderstorm, we just lit some candles and hunkered down in the cabin.
to identify a group /target /trigger
      He has identified the preschool children as his target audience for his magician's act.
to increase /decrease dramatically
      Spending has increased dramatically over the last two decades.
to issue a directive
      The company issued a directive to its middle management to cut back on all non-essential training expenses.

to jump to a conclusion
      She looked at the way he was dressed and jumped to the conclusion that he had money.
to keep afloat
      They hoped the extra loan from the bank would keep the business afloat during the mill strike.
to keep an eye on
      Keep an eye on the beans I put on to cook so they don't burn, while I go take the wash out of the dryer.
to keep an account of
      We will have to keep a good account of the money we spend on extras, because the mortgage is going to take a pretty big chunk out of our pay.
to keep it under your hat
      She says not to tell anybody she is expecting a baby again. Just keep it under your hat.
to keep under wraps
      The company president kept the new plan under wraps until the funding was all worked out.
to kick the bucket
       Sometime during the night, the sick frog kicked the bucket. They buried it's body this morning.
to knock one's socks off
      He did a really good job on the public relations work. He just knocked off our socks; we were so surprised he worked so hard.
to land a job
      He's sure happy. He landed the job he has always wanted.
to launch an investigation
      The police launched an investigation into the killings.

to lead to misunderstanding
      Too many careless remarks like that will lead to misunderstanding.
to leave (all) one's options open
      If you take a broad variety of courses in the first two years of university, you can leave your options open for a career choice.
to leave high and dry
      She lost her wallet at the bus depot. It left her high and dry for cash to get a ride home.
to let someone know
      If you don't want to come next week, please let me know.
to limit out
      They caught several fish this morning, and limited out for the day.
to live on the growing edge
      That's my son, he's into high tech. He loves to live on the growing edge.
to look at the ramifications
      Before you change neighborhoods, look at all the ramifications of your children changing schools.
to look down on
      Among other things, multiculturalism teaches us not to look down on anyone because of their ethnic background.
to look down the road
      That plan won't work for our community. They should be able to see that if they just look down the road a few years.
to look like a joke
      After I had been gardening, my new shoes were so dirty they looked like a joke.


This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 16. Click below to go to a different page.

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