Speak Read Write

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

by Sally Jennings

to stretch the truth
      The little boy was very good at fibbing, stretching the truth into little lies.
to strike out
      They really struck out in that game. It is game over and they are out of the playoffs.
to string someone along
      He won't be able to hire all those people. He is just stringing them along.
to suffer withdrawal symptoms
      She suffered withdrawal symptoms when she gave up coffee, but soon the headaches were over.
to support an agenda
      The parents seem to support the principal's agenda about the discipline in the school.
to suss out something
      He is very clever about sussing out the truth when he researches that kind of topic.
to swear by something
      Parents usually swear by a certain brand of diaper that it prevents leaks.
to sweep an issue under the carpet
      He may be a successful politician, but sometimes he does sweep an issue under the carpet, and not answer our questions directly.
to sweeten the pot /to sweeten the deal
      Can I offer you free car mats to sweeten the deal on the sports model?
to switch horses in midstream
      Switching majors in the third year of university is like switching horses midstream.

to take a chance
       They bought the house, even though they knew they were taking a chance that the roof would soon need to be replaced.
to take a crack at
      Want to go to Reno and take a crack at winning something on the slots?
to take a decision
      The decision has been taken about the school. It will remain open for the time being.
to take a second look
      Can we come back to the house you showed us last week and take a second look? We may want to buy it.
to take action
      The police are taking action against auto theft and using bait cars that videotape thieves stealing the cars.
to take issue with
      He wants to take issue with anyone who asks any questions about his son's behavior.
to take measures
      They will take measures to secure the borders of the country if the government falls.
to take off (on someone)
      The toddler was right with his parents in the boys clothing, but his mother let go of his hand and he just took off on them, running through the store.
to take over
      She said she would take over the payments on the car.
to take steps
      The doctor is taking steps to stop the progression of the disease.

to take the fall
      The two boys pulled the stunt together, but only one boy was caught. They blamed him, and he took the fall for it. He never told them what the other boy had done.
to take the heat
She resigned from the minister's portfolio because she could not take the heat about the scandal.
to take the plunge
      Are you ready to take the plunge from engagement into marriage?
to take something to heart
      I promise I won't do it again. I will really take your advice to heart next time, and resist.
to target individuals
      The new tax law targets individuals earning between $80,000 and $100,000 a year.
to tell it like it is
      She is sometimes too honest, always trying to tell it like it is.
to tell one's own version
      He wants to tell us his version of events, so we should be quiet and listen.
to tend to exaggerate /to tend not to exaggerate
      She tends not to exaggerate, so I would be surprised if she is wrong about the affair.
to test a response
      That party is testing the public response to their platform in the polls.
to think outside the box
      The youngest members of that company seem to be the best at innovations and thinking outside the box.


This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 21. Click below to go to a different page.

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