Speak Read Write

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

by Sally Jennings

to pass on the savings
      We were able to get a very good deal on the wholesale price of these computers, so we are passing on the savings to you, our customers.
to pass up a deal
      They could not pass up the deal and bought the house when it dropped in price by ten percent.
to pay attention to
      "Will you stand up straight, and pay attention to what you are doing?" the crabby mother asked her jiggling toddler.
to pay the piper
      He won't get away with what he did. He'll have to pay the piper someday.
to pay through the nose
      She made the mistake of trusting her new friend with her purse, and the "friend" took some money from her. Now she is paying through the nose for her ignorance.
to pin down
      The politician evaded their questions. He was hard to pin down.
to pinch hit for
      The Principal is unexpectedly gone today, so the Vice Principal is pinch hitting for him.
to pinch pennies
      Neither of them makes much money, so they really have to pinch pennies or they will be in debt.
to play around with
      The cat just played around with the snake, and then left it.
to play hooky
      He is gone when he is supposed to be here. Why does he always play hooky on Friday's?

to play with fire
      You should know better than to get involved in that scheme. Don't play with fire or you will get burned.
to plow through
      In their search, they ploughed through hundreds of job applications before they found a suitable applicant.
to polish off
      He finished the apple pie and congratulated himself that he had polished off the whole meal.
to pop into one's mind /head
      It just popped into the student's head that the answer to question number three was "were" not "was."
to pose a problem
      That leak in the roof poses quite a problem for us if we want to go on vacation during wet weather.
to post a notice
      She posted a rental-wanted notice on the Library bulletin board.
to present a basis for
      The first person giving the talk will present the basis for our argument.
to present a threat to
      The militant groups present a threat to cross-country travel in that country.
to press one's luck
      You already have one freebie this visit, don't press your luck to get another one.
to prove to be someone's salvation
      The web site proved to be his salvation on the essay part of his homework.

to pull a fast one /to pull a fast one on someone
      I can hardly believe they got away with that trick. They cheated us. They really pulled a fast one.
to pull a stunt
      He got away with too much. Next time someone pulls that kind of stunt, call us.
to pull someone's leg
      You don't believe his story, do you? He is just pulling your leg.
to pull the plug on
      The government pulled the plug on the funding program, causing the clinic to shut down.
to pull the rug out from under
      They changed their minds at the last minute and decided not to rent the suite to her. They pulled the rug out from under her feet, and left her with nowhere to go.
to pull the wool over someone's eyes
      That company is not telling you truth. They are just pulling the wool over your eyes.
to push the envelope
      If the company wants to keep growing, they have to keep pushing the envelope, staying ahead of market trends.
to put a spin on something
      She isn't telling you all of the story, just her side. You know she always likes to put her own spin on things, and twist them.
to put on hold
      The bank put a hold on his account so he could not make debit transactions because he was bouncing so many cheques.
to put on the back burner
      She wanted to marry him, but after meeting his family, and finding out she didn't like them, she decided to put the idea on the back burner for a while.


This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 18. Click below to go to a different page.

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