Speak Read Write

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

by Sally Jennings

to tighten controls
      The corporation has tightened controls on executive expense accounts in order to save money.
to tighten one's belt
      He lost his job last week, but has already found work starting next week. They just have to tighten their belts and spend less for a couple of weeks.
to trace ancestry
      He can trace his ancestry back to the first settlers in that area.
to trade places
      I might complain, but I wouldn't trade places with you for anything in the world.
to turn over a new leaf
      She has practiced the piano every day this month. She seems to be turning over a new leaf and really applying herself for a change.
to uncover a plan
      The R.C.M.P. has uncovered a plan by a theft ring to fence bank card with stolen account numbers.
to undermine the process
      When they aren't honest with the police, they just undermine the process of investigation.
to underscore the need to /for
      The beggars on the streets underscore the need for more social programs.
to understand how to best help
      If is difficult for parents in that situation to understand how to best help their child.
to use as a measuring stick
      The tutor uses her marked work as a measuring stick to customize lesson plans for the student.

to volunteer for a job
      The teenagers volunteered to do a variety of cleaning jobs for the senior citizens.
to wander away from
      The older man wandered away from the group and became disoriented in the large mall.
to want it yesterday
      They are in too much of a hurry for that job to be done. He told me he wants it yesterday.
to warm up to
      After about an hour of chat, he was just warming up to his topic. No one knew how to stop him
to wash one's hands of
      I'm not involved. I wash my hands of the whole affair.
to waste an opportunity
      She is just wasting the opportunity to get a higher degree if she quits school to work now.
to water down
      Don't water down the story too much or there won't be any fun left. The humor will be too diluted.
to wear out one's welcome
      Her aunt stayed a very long three months with them, so she had really worn out her welcome when she left.
to weasel out of
      They promised to fix the steering by Friday, but they had too many service jobs to handle. Now they are trying to weasel out of their promise. Now that's bad management.
What a shame!
      Did you just say that she fell and broke her leg yesterday?  What a shame! That's too bad. I feel sorry for her.

to wimp out
      The third student wimped out on the other two and left them stranded at the work party. He was too tired to work hard, so he just left.
to wish someone well
      We are sorry to hear you are leaving the company. We will really miss you, We certainly wish you well in your new position.
to wish upon a star
      The toddler was learning from the storybook all about how to wish upon a star, the stuff of magic and fairy tales.
to wolf down (food)
      The two boys stopped hiking just long enough to wolf down a cheese sandwich, and two chocolate bars each and drink two bottles of water.
to work in cooperation with
      The police are working in cooperation with the parents to keep the school ground safe.
to work up a sweat
      The painters were out in the hot sun scraping the fence boards, really working up a sweat.
to work without a net
      Because he is self-employed, he doesn't have the unemployment benefits he used to have. Now he is really working without a net.
to worry about nothing
      The small girl said she stayed awake afraid of monsters in the dark. Her mother reminded her that she was worrying about nothing.
to wrap up a deal
      They agreed on the final price for the vehicle and wrapped up the deal.
to yield insight into
      The government report yields a little insight into the financial problems of that organization.


This Idiom Guide has 23 pages, in alphabetical order. This is page 22. Click below to go to a different page.

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