Speak Read Write

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

by Sally Jennings

to settle an argument
      The mother walked into the room and asked her daughters if they needed help to settle their argument.
to shake a leg
      Come on, we don't have much time to get there. We will really have to shake a leg or we will be late.
to shake on it
      Let's stop the bargaining and declare the deal final. Would you like to shake on it?
to share information
       We would like the school to share more information with us about our daughter's progress in reading.
to shed a few pounds /some pounds
      She was overweight, so she started running every other day, and shed a few pounds.
to shed light on
       You must know something about this. Please tell us what you know and shed some light on the matter.
to shell out
      The father shelled out a cool ten grand ($10,000.00) for his oldest daughter's wedding.
to shoot off one's mouth
      He doesn't know what he is talking about. He is just shooting off his mouth.
to shoot the rapids
      Some drivers weave through rush hour traffic like rafters shooting the rapids.
to show cause
      If he has evidence we need to hear that he was wronged by the tenants' group, then he should tell us. Come on, show cause.

to sign off on
      The school secretary signed off on the courier package delivery.
to siphon off money
      The tutoring service is siphoning off money as it passes from the student to the tutor. Everybody wants a piece of the pie.
to skirt around
       Don't you think she is just skirting around the issue? Or is she really dealing with every part of the argument?
to smarten up
      "Don't mess in that mud," the father told his son. "You know better than that, when you wear good clothes, you have to smarten up and stay clean or Mom will be angry."
to smell a rat
      There is something not right about her explanation. I think I smell a rat.
to sort out in the end
      I am sure we will sort it all out in the end, although it seems very confused now.
to spend a bundle
      The mother spent a bundle on their back-to-school clothes this year, so she wants the school to begin requiring school uniforms, instead.
to spill the beans
      The little girl told her brother Dad had gotten him a camera for his birthday. She ruined the surprise, and spilled the beans.
to spot a fake
      A jeweler can spot a fake diamond. A customs officer should be able to spot a fake passport. A merchant should learn to spot a fake $20 bill.
to square away
       Settle the debts you have and get squared away, and then contact me again about buying the boat.

to squeeze in /into
      We can just squeeze one more word into your classified ad.
to squeeze out
       She applied to medical school, but got squeezed out by the competition. She will try again, I guess.
to squelch a rumor /rumors
       The minister responsible for that portfolio squelched the rumor that the funds had been mishandled.
to stage an attack
      The rebels staged an attack at night and took the town.
to stand by
      We can't just stand by and watch, we want to be involved.
to stand in for
      The bride's brother walked her down the aisle, standing in for her absent father.
to stand in the gap
       The call to patriotism in some countries involves a call to stand in the gap against "evil forces."
to stand up for
      He is capable of standing up for what he believes; he can defend his belief.
to step up the action
      They stepped up the action in the war, fighting more battles with more troops.
to stick to a plan
      If they would pick a good plan and just stick to it, they would be out of debt soon.


This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 20. Click below to go to a different page.

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