List of Idioms


A:

    ace (verb)

    all right (3)

    and then some

    antsy

    as easy as pie

    at the eleventh hour

 

    B:

    bad-mouth (verb)

    be a piece of cake

    be all ears

    be broke

    be fed up with

    be in and out

    be on the go

    be on the road

    be over

    be up and running

    be used to

    beat (adj.)

    beat around the bush

    beat one’s brains out

    Beats me.

    bent out of shape

    before long

    bite off more than one can chew

    blabbermouth

    blow one’s top

    boom box

    the bottom line

    blow one’s top

    Break a leg!

    break someone’s heart

    broke

    bug (verb)

    bull-headed

    buck(s)

    a bundle

    burn the midnight oil

    bushed

    by one’s self

    by the skin of one’s teeth

 

    C:

    call it a day

    catch one’s eye

    catch some Zs

    can’t make heads or tails of something

    change one’s mind

    chicken

    chow

    chow down

    a cinch

    cool (adj.)

    cost (someone) an arm and a leg

    couch potato

    cram

    crash course

    Cut it out!

    Cool it!

 

    D:

    dicey

    ditch class

    Don’t count your chickens until (before) they hatch (they’re hatched).

    do a bang-up job

    down in the dumps

    drag one’s feet

    drop someone a line

 

    E:

    an eager beaver

    Easy does it!

    an egghead

    elbow grease

    every other _____

 

    F:

    far-fetched

    feel blue

    feel puny

    fender-bender

    fire someone

    for ages

 

    G:

    get going

    get it

    get a kick out of something

    get on one’s nerves

    get one’s wires crossed

    get out of hand

    get up and go

    give someone a hand (2)

    go with the flow

    grab a bite

 

    H:

    had (‘d) better

    have (has) got

    hard feelings

    hassle

    have one’s hands full

    have something down pat

    head honcho

    hit the books

    hit the hay

    hit the sack

    How come?

 

    I:

    if I had my druthers

    in over one’s head

    inside out

    in stock

    in the black

    in the red

    in time

 

    J:

    jump all over someone

    jump the gun

    jump to conclusion

    junk mail

 

    K:

    keep an eye on

    keep an eye out for

    keep one’s chin up

    keep one’s fingers crossed

    keep one’s nose to the grindstone

    keep (stay) in touch

    kid (2)

    kind of

    a klutz

    a know-it-all

    know something backwards and forward

    know something inside out

 

    L:

    let-down

    lend someone a hand

    leave well enough alone

    Let sleeping dogs lie.

    live from hand to mouth

    Live and let live.

    lose track of

    a low blow

    lousy

 

    M:

    macho

    make a mountain out of a mole hill

    can’t make heads or tails of

    make up one’s mind

 

    N:

    No way!

    nosh

    Not on your life!

    now and then

    nuke

    nuts

 

    O:

    OK (4)

    on the cutting edge

    on the dot

    on time

    once in a while

    over one’s head

 

    P:

    pay the piper

    plastic

    pop quiz

    pooped (adj.)

    pretty (adv.)

    pull an all-nighter

    pull someone’s leg

 

    Q:

    quite a few

    a quick study

 

    R:

    R and R

    rain or shine

    rain cats and dogs

    read someone’s mind

    rub someone the wrong way

    run-down (2)

 

    S:

    savvy

    schmooze

    sleep on it

    sooner or later

    shoot the breeze

    a snap

    so-so

    Someone’s made his/her bed; now let her/him lie in it.

    sort of

    state of the art

    stay (keep) in touch

    Step on it!

 

    T:

    take it easy

    tell a white lie

    There, there.

    tight-fisted

    a tightwad

    tough

    toss something

    tricky

    two-faced

 

    U:

    under the weather

    until hell freezes over

    until you’re blue in the face

    update

    upside down

    up-to-date

    used to

 

    W:

    Was my face red!

    wear out one’s welcome

    wet behind the ears

    What for?

    What’s up?

    wishy-washy

    with bells on

    would just as soon

 

    Y:

    a yes-man

    You don’t say!

    You’ve got to be kidding!

    yucky

    yummy

 

    Z:

    zilch

    Zip your lip!

Ideas on how to use this reference material in the ESL classroom at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/list-of-lists/

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