- 2 -
To my children and my students
To my children who have
awakened feelings in me that
my heart should never harden,
and my temper should not tire.
To my students who taught me
as much as I taught them.
- 3 -
An 'Idiom' is an expression in the usage of a language that has a meaning that
cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements; for example
"raining cats and dogs" is an expression that is used to convey the meaning of
"raining heavily", but this meaning most of the time cannot be derived from the
denotative meaning of the single words that constitute the whole expression.
Moreover, an idiom can be looked at as a combination of words whose meaning
can be either transparent (can be easily worked out of the literal meaning of the
individual words) or opaque (there is no resemblance between the meaning of
the individual words and the meaning of the idiom itself).
Consider the following examples of transparent idioms that are reasonably
1. `Throw someone to the lions' means `intentionally to put someone in a
difficult position', as in: All the commanders were responsible for the
tragedies in their last operation, but they threw that junior officer to the
lions when they asked him to address the journalists on the reasons of
2. `Keep a straight face' means `look serious', as in: I can't keep a
straight face whenever Chaplin acts before me; he looks so funny.
Idioms like `sell someone down the river' and `kick the bucket' are examples
of the opaque:
1. Understanding the words of the expression `sell someone down the
river', for instance, will not help you recognize that it actually means
`to betray, or be disloyal to', as in: The kidnapper who was caught by
the police refused to sell his associates down the river. Thus, having
such idioms in one book and learning their meaning would be
absolutely of a significant help.
2. Similarly, in the expression `kick the bucket' you cannot easily realize
that it means `to die', as in: Simon kicked the bucket last summer.
Interestingly, some English idioms are similar to expressions in other
languages (including Arabic), which makes it easy for the learner to figure out
their meaning, as in `hold one's horses' which means `to stop someone or
something, or to make them calm', for example: Hold your horses, I said to my
wife when she started packing her luggage.
- 4 -
The challenge lies in the fact that many idioms come from completely
different cultures or regions, or they come from various areas of knowledge.
This makes it more difficult to know the exact meaning of such idioms. In
addition, many idioms are field-specific, i.e. they refer to particular fields that
require some special knowledge to understand them. Various idioms have, for
instance, something to do with sports (as in: throw in the towel); `throw in the
towel' for instance means `to give in or to admit defeat' (She tried to deal with
all the difficulties in her business but finally she threw in the towel and left the
country). This idiom has been introduced to us from `boxing sport' in which
`throwing the towel' is considered a way of admitting defeat. Besides, a range
of different idioms are related to historical events (sell someone down the
river), parts of the body (eyes in the back of one's head), light (sunset years),
weather (hot air and stormy relationship), colours (red tape), and so forth.
In every society there are certain things that are not supposed to be
mentioned directly, and a fair number of words are labeled as frivolous, vulgar,
or at least inconsiderate. Hence, to maintain social relationship, people resort to
some idioms that may make distasteful ideas seem acceptable whilst
communicating. Therefore, idioms may serve as a milder to what might be
thought to be direct or harsh. Examples include using `comfort room/rest room'
instead of saying `toilet', and `be laid to rest' which is a euphemism for `be
dead'; similarly, any kind of ailment can also be described as condition, for
example we sometimes prefer to say `heart condition' instead of `heart disease'.
Some may also say `senior citizens' to refer to the `elderly people', and
`sanitary engineer' for `garbage man', and so on. This is what sometimes
justifies the daily use of most essential idioms.
Based on the aforesaid, the author of this treasury deems it vital to
introduce some of the widely used idioms, in addition to a number of multi-part
verbs which consist of a verb and one or two particles or prepositions (e.g. up,
over, in, down). It is worth highlighting, the reason of listing a number of multi-
part verbs in this treasury is because they often have meanings which we cannot
easily guess from their individual parts; yet, we need to learn them given their
popularity in everyday language use.
Words of Wisdom Supplement provides the reader with a number of
essential proverbs and treasured sayings that are widely used in English and
Arabic contexts. The supplement highlights words of wisdom, truth, advice and
morals that are based on practical experiences. Most of these proverbs and
sayings employ idioms and figurative language obviously, and that is why the
- 5 -
author has added them to this treasury- taking into account the socially related
aspect of the proverbs and sayings which act as a mirror of the society. They
generally praise the good and criticize the bad. Examples include: 'One half of
the world can't understand the pleasures of the other', Jane Austen (1775-1817);
`The early bird catches the worm'; 'Actions are judged by intentions', Prophet
Mohammad peace be upon him said; ' Little and often fills the purse'; and 'Allah
burdens not a person beyond his scope'.
Succinctly stressed, idioms and multi-part verbs (along with their Arabic
equivalents) are considered of paramount importance for a wide range of Arab
learners of English. Idioms are very useful to effectively communicate with
English speakers. And this treasury would be a helpful learning tool that
provides learners with a large number of English idioms and phrases along with
example sentences and Arabic equivalent.
Awni Etaywe Amman
- 6 -
Preface ...- 3 -
A ...- 7 -
B ...- 15 -
C ...- 31 -
D ...- 44 -
E ...- 51 -
F ...- 54 -
G ...- 63 -
H ...- 75 -
I ...- 88 -
J ...- 98 -
K ...- 101 -
L ...- 108 -
M ...- 121 -
N ...- 129 -
O ...- 135 -
P ...- 145 -
R ...- 153 -
S ...- 157 -
T ...- 165 -
U ...- 170 -
W ...- 175 -
Y ...- 180 -
Z ...- 182 -
References: ...- 210 -
- 7 -
- 8 -
Fundamentals, essentials, nitty-
e.g.: You have to learn the ABC of the English language prior to sitting for
Hypocritical, false, deceitful
e.g.: Benjamin is a two-faced person. You should never trust him.
Something with two possible
kinds of outcomes, could be
good and bad, useful and
A two-edged sword
e.g.: Internet service is widely considered a two-edged sword.
Difficult to understand
Above one's head
e.g.: Stop teaching the four-year old child algebra. It is above his head.
Forgetful, vague, inattentive,
e.g.: My colleague, Rashid, is absent-minded. He always forgets his stuff.
Justify, explain, answer for
e.g.: The high speeding accounts for the high rate of accidents in Jordan.
World class, first rate, star
e.g.: He's an ace journalist.
Weakness point, vulnerable pot
e.g.: For me sweet is my achille's heel. I cannot stop eating despite having
On the other side of
e.g.: The King's secondary school is across from Mary's hospital.
Comprehensive, all embracing,
Across the board
- 9 -
e.g.: Obama's speech was across the board.
Act of God
e.g.: The whole accident was an act of God.
Misbehave, cause trouble,
Malfunction, to work
e.g.: Children in the class acted up when their teacher, Suhad, left the room.
Count, add together
e.g.: How much does this list of items cost? I don't know, I'll have to add it
Be consistent, make sense,
e.g.: The thing you talked about doesn't really add up.
Early, beforehand, in advance
Ahead of time
e.g.: We started Jane's birthday party ahead of time so we could go home
Dreamer, idealist, stupid
e.g.: John is a real airhead.
Make public, reveal something
embarrassing that should be
Air one's dirty laundry
I couldn't stay at the party when the host began to air every one's dirty
laundry in public.
Still active, exist
Alive and kicking
e.g.: A: Has Austen died? I haven't heard of him for ages.
B: Yes, he is alive and kicking.
From start to finish, From the
e.g.: I knew all along that Adam would miss the opportunity.
Suddenly, in a flash, without
All at once
- 10 -
e.g.: All at once the fire alarm rang so the fire fighters had to respond
The whole day
All day long
e.g.: Sarah has been waiting for the train to arrive all day long.
Listening carefully, eager to
listen, paying attention,
e.g.: Okay, I'm all ears; please tell me what the story is.
To say that you don't
All Greek to me
e.g.: I don't understand physics at all. It's all Greek to me.
In general, on the whole
All in all
e.g.: We had a few problems but all in all the meeting was successful.
Suddenly, without warning
All of a sudden
e.g.: All of a sudden it became snowy and windy.
e.g.: I paid my all out effort to sort the problem out.
Fair enough, okay, fine,
agreed, no problem
e.g.: A: Are you all right? How was your class?
B: It was all right.
e.g.: Sir, your speech was all talk.
All the time
e.g.: Hala asks for money all the time.
Inept, unskilled, clumsy and
e.g.: Zaha is all thumbs when it comes to fixing things in the garage.
e.g.: Being so nervous would make you all thumbs.
- 11 -
e.g.: Your assumptions are all wet.
e.g.: Britain has decided to ally with the USA in the war against Iraq.
(cost) a large amount of money
An arm and a leg
e.g.: Henry's new house must have cost him an arm and a leg.
To go to the toilet, freshen up,
take a slash
Answer the call of
e.g.: I am desperate. I need to answer the call of nature.
Annoyed, sick of being home
Ants in pants
e.g.: My children have ants in ants. I think I should take them out.
Apple of one's eye
e.g.: My oldest son is the apple of my eye.
To argue words
e.g.: I had argy-bargy with my boss.
Armed to teeth
e.g.: ALAMEIN brigade is armed to teeth. They can defeat any other unit.
e.g.: This town is really an armpit.
Continuous, endless, constant
Around the clock
e.g.: I feel really tired. I have been working around the clock over the last
Usually, as a habit
As a rule
e.g.: As a rule I get up at 5 AM every morning.
Unclear, not understood
As clear as mud
- 12 -
e.g.: I'm sorry, but the reason we arrived late is that the directions the cop
gave us were as clear as mud.
As easy as ABC
e.g.: In few days you will find out that learning French is as easy as ABC.
As easy as pie
e.g.: Due to practice, TOEFL has become as easy as pie for me.
To the extent/ degree
As far as
e.g.: As far as I know Ross will be in Paris in an hour.
Provided that, on condition that
As long as
e.g.: As long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car.
As sure as eggs
e.g.: I will find the thief as sure as eggs.
e.g.: As usual, Dr. Kattab forgot to bring the file.
In addition to, plus
As well as
e.g.: Please bring your trousers as well as your towel.
Up to now
e.g.: As yet, Sundus has not told her boss about her future plans.
As soon as possible
e.g.: Please, get your assignment sorted out ASAP.
Search for troubles
Ask for trouble
e.g.: You are asking for trouble if you miss another session.
To invite someone on a date
- 13 -
e.g.: That handsome man asked Suzan out! They're going to a movie.
Not attentive, not alert to an
Asleep at the switch
e.g.: I think he was asleep at the switch. Can you tell me why he didn't
apply for the job?
Have opposing goals, to have
opposite ways of how to deal
At cross purposes
e.g.: My wife and I are at cross purposes and are always arguing about the
Mistaken, in the wrong, be
e.g.: Referring to the terrible accident, the truck driver was at fault.
At the beginning, initially
e.g.: At first Edie didn't want to go with her boy-friend, but later she
changed her mind.
When first seen, without
At first blush
e.g.: At first blush she looked like an angel, but later she had many
problems with her team.
Fundamentally, in fact,
e.g.: Although I don't like her, she is a very good person at heart.
At odds, having a quarrel, in
e.g.: Sam and Rumsfeld have been at loggerheads since last January.
- 14 -
e.g.: At most 45 candidates passed the selection board.
In disagreement, in opposition
e.g.: Sam is at odds with his boss.
Always ready to serve
At someone's beck and
e.g.: My eldest brother is always at my beck and call whenever I need him.
First light, break of day
At the crack of dawn
e.g.: You have to set off at the crack of dawn to catch your flight in time.
At the last minute
At the eleventh hour
e.g.: I got my work done in time. I finished it at the eleventh hour.
In the end
At the end of the day
e.g.: At the end of the day, you will be caught and punished.
At critical time
At zero hour
e.g.: The artillery bombarded the target at zero hour.
Take care, tackle, deal with
Attend to someone
e.g.: My sister attended to my child when I was away.
- 15 -
- 16 -
Baby, little child, newborn
Babe in arms
e.g.: Shadi was just a babe in arms when we migrated to Qatar.
Babe in the woods
e.g.: Maison is just a babe in the woods. She desperately needs a bodyguard.
Very difficult and unpleasant
first experience of a situation
Baptism of fire
e.g.: A: How was your meeting with the manager?
B: It was a baptism of fire. He scolded me.
Going and coming, sending and
Back and forth
e.g.: Tina and Tom had a great hour messaging back and forth.
Verbal answer back in a rude
e.g.: I didn't like Ali's back chat to his father.
Yield, admit defeat, to not stand
e.g.: Addison was going to see the monster, but then he backed down when
he knew that the monster was giant.
e.g.: Steve's back lash was slightly rude.
Move away, go backwards,
e.g.: I told Haifa to back off when I saw the snake approaching.
Return to good financial or
Back on one's feet
- 17 -
e.g.: Al-Fayed is finally back on his feet after his last loss.
e.g.: The national basketball team backed out of the deal with Fastlink.
e.g.: Donald to Smith: "I don't like your back talk to your mother".
Go into reverse, back pedal
e.g.: The president of the US back tracked to his last decision.
Defend, to confirm facts,
e.g.: Fahed backed Ronza's story up. He told the students the same facts
that she said.
To drive in reverse, to move
e.g.: Sal backed the car up to the garage gate.
Protect, preserve, to make a
e.g.: The computer users ought to back up their important files.
One who annoys the driver by
telling him what to do and how
e.g.: Stop annoying me. What a back seat driver you are!
It kicks anyone who goes near
e.g.: Don't get close to this horse. It is a bad actor.
Bad feeling, spite, antagonism,
- 18 -
e.g.: I don't like Sara. We have bad blood against each other.
Checks with no accounts
The old man over there is used to issuing bad checks to the newcomers.
Short but unpleasant time
Bad quarter of an hour
Last night I had a bad quarter of an hour in the dentist's.
Very thin person
Bag of bones
I have just visited Akai. How poor he is! He is just a bag of bones. He
I have bags of money.
Help, rescue, save, escape from
The western governments have decided to have a bail out plan for the
How many pens did you give Linda?
I gave her a baker's dozen.
To deceive, trick, confuse, take
I got bamboozled by his speech.
Your answer was a bang-on.
Trust, count on
You can bank on them to come and help the situation.
A person who often goes to bars
Every day Khalid goes to BARMED. He's quite a bar fly.
Throw up, vomit
- She barfed all over the seat of the car.
- 19 -
To interrupt, cut in, intrude
Don't barge in others' business.
Someone isn't as bad as they
Bark is worse than
Don't worry if Darin gets angry- her bark is worse than her bite.
Chew out, give a talking to
The big shot bawled out his assistant.
To be straight, honest, telling
Be on the level
Sadeq was trying to convince the police that he was on level with them,
but they didn't believe him.
Not have, lack
Be out of
I wanted to buy some biscuits, but the store was out of them.
Support you emotionally
Be there for you
Whatever you do and wherever you go, I will be there for you.
Guilty, be responsible for
Be to blame
He's not to blame for breaking the computer.
Consider, remember, take into
Bear in mind
Concentrate on final exams but bear in mind the more you do exercises
the more confident you become.
Bushed, hit, exhausted, done in
- After working all day I am really beat.
To draw back, leave quickly,
depart, to change your mind
when confronted, give ground
Beat a hasty retreat
You always beat a hasty retreat whenever your father asks you where
you get the money from.
Evade the issue, Speak
Beat around the bush
- 20 -
Stop beating around the bush and give us your final decision.
Try very hard to do something
Beat one's brain out
I have been beating my brain out with the current computer problem.
Do not worry about the gift that I am going to buy for you. I will buy you
the bees' knees.
Soon, shortly, after a while
The summer vacation will be here before long.
To ask to be excused, send
Noreen was supposed to come over for lunch, but she begged off.
Captive, jailed, detained
Jeff is behind bars for armed robbery.
In secret, confidentially
Behind closed doors
The police managed to know what was going on behind closed doors.
With no permit, Without
Behind someone's back
He is very angry because I took his car behind his back.
In an awkward situation
Behind the eight ball
Bartlett doesn't know what to do next with his new business. He's really
behind the eight ball.
Old fashioned, old, dated
Behind the times
My car is a little behind the times.
Taken out of the game
- Amer Shefi' was benched (bench) during the footbal playoffs.
Lean over, incline your body
Reed's body is flexible. He can easily bend over.
Nag, annoy them
Bend one's ears
- 21 -
Stop complaining. You bend my ears.
Do all you can, try your best
Bend over backwards
I will bend over backwards to help you pass the IELTS exam.
Get upset, sadden
Bent out of shape
- Don't get so bent out of shape.
Not relevant to the subject, not
the main point
Beside the point
What you are saying is beside the point. We are not talking about salary.
Miscalculate, be wrong about,
misjudge a coming event,
misread the future
Bet on the wrong horse
I think that he bet on the wrong horse by putting all of his money into
Husband or wife
Sue is my better half.
Better to be late than not turn up
Better late than never
A: I think I will arrive 5 minutes late.
B: Don't worry; it is Better late than never.
Between a rock and a
If I accept the offer, I will be in Gail. And if I refuse it I'll be broke. I
think I'm between a rock and a hard place.
Between two equal dangers
Between the devil and
deep blue sea
Sam was between the devil and the deep blue sea. He was either to fight
the lion or to cross the river swimming.
Matchless, without comparison
Sally is lovely beyond compare.
So good that one cannot make a
- 22 -
picture of it in one's mind
People of X country live in a comfort and a dignity that is beyond your
- Shut up! You have a big mouth.
Important person, VIP, major
Bell is a big shot in Microsoft's.
- The Jordanians made a big stink about the Casino.
VIP, big shot
Bell is a bigwig in Microsoft's.
Overdo, drinking to excess
Try not to binge in tonight's party.
Hi mate, have you met any birds tonight?
Having one is better than seeing
Bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush
While you are looking for a new job, remember that a bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush.
Naked, nude, exposed
I saw the victim in her birthday suit. That was nasty.
Go for it, face up to
Bite the bullet
Harith knew that the business would have many troubles but finally he
decided to bite the bullet.
To lose, to go down in defeat, to
Bite the dust
Richard did exceptionally well in all exams, but he bit the dust in the last
- 23 -
Turn against a friend, repay
kindness with wrong
Bite the hand feeds you
You are biting the hand feeds you if you insist on fighting against your
To refrain from saying
something you want to say,
Bite your tongue
As James complained about his problems, I had to bite my tongue.
To integrate, go well with,
match the surroundings
Blend in (with)
New immigrants often try to blend in with the citizens of the host
Person, chap, man
You should tell your blokes about the situation.
Blood out of a stone
Getting money from my step mother is like getting blood out of a stone.
My career blossomed after I was nominated for an Oscar.
Blot one's copy book
Bad friends often blot others' copy book when they are in dispute.
- Sam blew all his money gambling.
Blow one's top, hit the roof, lose
Blow a fuse
- Hey, don't blow a fuse.
Impress, explode, scatter
- I was blown away by your praise.
- The restaurant was blown away.
Fail at something, misfortune
I tried hard but I am sure that I blew the TOEFL exam last week.
Blow the whistle
WIKILEAKES blows the whistle.
- 24 -
Lose your temper, go mad
Marry blew up when I told her about her boy friend's ex-wife.
Explode, detonate, destroy, blast
The bomb blew up and hurt three people.
To inflate, pump up
The clown blew up the balloons.
Of a noble birth
Hassan has blue blood. (He is blue blooded).
A reason for quarrels/ dispute or
disagreement, the subject of a
Bone of contention
The family villa was a major bone of contention when their father passed
To look into, to study
completely for a short time
Bone up on
Dickey boned up on phrasal verbs before the test.
Mistake, slip-up, error
- If you make another boo-boo like that, you won't have a job.
Dismiss, fire, sack, get rid of
Samia was booted out of the university for setting fire in a hall of study.
Born rich, provided from birth
with everything he needs
Born with a silver
spoon in one's mouth
He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never worked in
Inexperienced, green, untested
Don't try to cheat me. I wasn't born yesterday.
To give orders, tell someone
what to do, bully
Jackie to her friend: "I hate when my husband tries to boss me around."
- 25 -
Control it, do not say it
Bottle it up
If you have any more bad suggestions, then you had better bottle it up.
The bottom line is that we need to have the syllabus completed by
Heading for, going to
I'm bound for Chelsea.
Happy, lively and energetic
Box of birds
Every time I go to the gym I feel like box of birds.
Idea, notion, inspiration, sudden
While I was thinking about you, I had a brain wave that I would set up a
new business with you.
Come up with suggestions or
solutions to a problem
Before we go to the meeting, we should have a brainstorm session so that
every one of us says what he thinks we should do next.
He was finally able to buy a brand-new car.
Break a leg
You have an interview tomorrow morning. Break a leg.
To stop working
Alma's car broke down last night.
To crash, dismantle, destroy
The robbers broke down the bank's door before they came in two days
When we broke the costs down, we found that we had been stolen.
make the team, to make
One of the commander's duties is to break the new soldiers in.
- 26 -
To enter forcefully, burglarize
Yesterday Shukri broke into a house and stole a satellite receiver. Now,
he's behind bars.
To cause calamity, crush with
sorrow, make someone feel
Break someone's heart
It broke his heart when she left him for another man.
Cost a lot of money
Break the bank
Hassan requires that I pay the whole expenses on his behalf. That breaks
the bank, undoubtedly.
Relax and start a conversation in
a formal situation
Break the ice
Nobody was enjoying the journey until the host family finally was able to
break the ice.
To end, finish, divorce, stop a
She broke up with her husband last month.
Advance, discovery of progress
The ministry of health had brought up a breakthrough that wiped out
Breathe one's last
My grand father breathed his last.
This cabinet is the real brick wall in the way of my progress.
Bring some food
Bring a plate
Suha, can you bring me a plate? I am so hungry.
Sure, wait a minute.
Cause, make happen
Smoking brings about lung cancer.
To return something
- 27 -
My homework is due after tomorrow. Will you please bring my book
back by tomorrow morning?
- The news of the airplane crash was a bring-down.
Come up with the goods, make
a living, feed your family
Bring home the bacon
Daniel is out bringing home the bacon and is always very busy.
To achieve, make it work,
accomplish something difficult
Nobody thought that Sami could get an A in French class, but he
brought it off.
Bring together, harmonize,
Persuade someone to agree with
Bring someone into
He was finally able to bring the other members of the committee into
Cause, lead to, trigger
Bring something on
I don't know what brought on his anger. Leave him alone at this time.
Recall, conjure up
Bring to mind
Fatima's perfect work brought to mind some of the great mothers of the
Introduce, discuss, launch
I brought up the global warming issue at the meeting but nobody wanted
to talk about it.
To raise, rear
I was brought up with very strict religious rules.
Penniless, have no money,
I spent all the money on my holiday and I am completely broke right
I wish I brought my brolly. It is raining
Pay no attention to, disregard
Would you brush aside all your personal interests?
- 28 -
Wipe away his/her tears
Brush one's tears
I asked Henry to brush his tears.
Refuse to listen to somebody
Brush somebody off
Alfred is keen on her but she is always brushing him off.
Brush up on
You should brush up on your history lessons before the final exam.
Bucket of worms
The whole issue seems to me a bucket of worms.
I have only 20 bucks.
Abandon in a hurry
When the explosion went off, the officers bugged out.
disencouraging, bad experience
- My trip to Amman was a bummer.
Bunch of fives
I hit him with my bunch of five.
Dress warmly, wrap up warmly
My wife and I bundled up and went to the market.
My neighbor's villa burnt down last night.
Do something that makes going
Burn one's bridges
Fred burned his bridges behind him and is unable to go to Gas Ras
Work until very late at night
Burn the midnight oil
Sally will definitely pass the test. She burns the midnight oil.
Reduce to ashes, burn
All my files burned up in the fire.
- 29 -
A question of great importance
The burning question is: "Is the prime minister going to resign?"
Work too hard, not get enough
Burning the candle at
I'm sure you will be exhausted soon. You don't get enough sleep. You
are burning the candle at both ends.
Laugh so much
Burst out laughing
When I told him your joke, he burst out laughing.
Refuse to face something
Bury/hide one's head
in the sand
He always buries his head in the sand and never wants to deal with his
family problems at all.
Ruined, not working, failiure
- The whole idea of Amman-FAST TRAIN was a bust.
Active, has a lot of things to do
She is like a busy bee. She can't just sit down.
To enter a conversation
uninvited, impolitely interrupt
That rude man butted into our conversation.
Butter someone up
Jason is trying to butter up his boss so that he can be promoted.
Buy something without seeing it
or knowing if it will be
Buy a pig in a poke
You shouldn't buy that car without first inspecting it. It is like buying a
pig in a poke.
Leave, depart quickly
When Captain Sam saw the commander, he buzzed off.
Certainly: used to give someone
By all means
- 30 -
permission in a friendly manner
A: Can I come in?
B: By all means sir, please do.
Generally, on the whole
By and large
I love watching TV, reading stories, and playing tennis. By and large,
I'm not always in business.
In any way possible
By hook or by crook
George will try to be the president by hook or by crook.
Die, breathe your last
- Slow down, or you're going to buy it in a car accident.
I built the house by myself.
Confidentially, in secret
I entered the bank by stealth.
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- 32 -
Be direct, Speak plainly, be
Call a spade a spade
Please call a spade a spade and tell your husband about his mistakes.
Stop, finish, quit working for the
Call it a day
I am tired. Let's call it a day.
Sami called on his ex-wife yesterday.
Call someone before an
authority to be scolded or
Call on to the carpet
Lieutenant Adam was called on to the carpet by his commander for the
My friend will call up his parents tomorrow.
Something is impossible to
Camel to go through
the eye of the needle
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich
man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Destroy the effect of something
The benefits of her healthy food were cancelled out by her beer-
Unable to judge or understand
the whole picture because you
are looking at the small parts of
Can't see the forest for
He has no real understanding of most problems as he always fails to see
the forest for the trees.
Copy, exact likeness
Patricia's daughter is a carbon copy of her.
Many people using one car to
Three of my friends are going to carpool as no one of them can afford
using his own car every day.
- 33 -
The promise of reward and
threat of punishment at the same
Carrot and stick
The USA foreign secretary took a carrot and stick approach toward the
Middle East peace talks.
Reschedule, save for another
We plan to carry over the summer products until next years.
Carry the ball
Your father passed away. You now carry the ball. Look after your little
Accept responsibility, take the
blame, be the fall guy
Carry the can
Charlie should carry the can for the whole scheme, it was his own idea.
Win, be successful
Carry the day
Sam's fine performance in today's show carried the day for his team.
Show loyalty to a cause or a
Carry the torch
He has been carrying the torch for the president for a long time
An example of
Look at Bosnia. That's a case of ethnic civil war.
Exchange something for money
We decided to cash in the cheque because we needed some money.
Take advantage of, benefit from,
Cash in on
South Africa cashed in on their success with the winter Olympics.
Waste something valuable on
someone who doesn't appreciate
Cast pearls before
Giving her the new apartment was casting pearls before swine.
Castles in the air
Ali is always building castles in the air and is very unrealistic.
Unable to speak or reply
Cat got your tongue
When his wife revealed his secrets, he was just like cat got his tongue.
Short sleep, snooze, forty winks
- 34 -
I don't feel well. I should take a cat-nap
Become sick with a cold
Catch a cold
I caught a cold because of the cold weather.
Understand, learn about
It was difficult to catch on physics.
Stop to rest and regain one's
Catch one's breath
After running two miles I stopped to catch my breath.
Take a nap, take some sleep
Catch some Z's
You look tired, Salah. Why don't you catch some Z's?
Attract one's attention, get
Catch someone's eye
When Rose walked in the room, she caught everybody's eye. She looked
Become even with
Catch up with
I can't catch up with the rest of the class. They're very intelligent.
See you later
Catch you later
Sally, I've got to go. Catch you later, bye.
Not having enough of something
when you need it
I was caught short last week and couldn't pay the weekly food bill.
Give in, collapse
The company finally caved in to the union's demand for salaries
Score, gain, record, mark up
The stock market chalked up a big gain last week.
Change one's decision
Change one's mind
Majed has changed his mind, and he would not go to the party tonight.
Make a change in one's opinions
Change one's tune
Majed has changed his tune recently and agreed that we need to do
Be unfaithful to someone
Cheat on (someone)
- 35 -
He began cheating on his wife a year ago.
I checked out of the Regency hotel at 11:00.
Scold, reprimand, yell at
Chew out (someone)
The platoon commander chewed out the cadet for talking in the class.
You can't count on Ramie. He's a chicken.
A small amount of money
The money he paid for his house was chicken feed compared to the
amount of money that he has in the Housing bank.
Calm down, relax
The policeman to the old man: "chill out and we'll find your car".
Chip in, Join in, interject
While we were having a nice conversation, he chimed in and started
complaining about the new firm.
Chin up, the whole nation counts on you chaps, the sergeant told his
Contribute, share the expense
We all chipped in and bought a new bungalow.
Person who looks or acts like
one of his parents
Chip off the old block
Osama is a chip off the old block and acts exactly like his father.
Picky, selective, not easy,
difficult to please
I don't like to go shopping with Maysa. She is choosy.
I finished the test quickly. It was a cinch.
Become tongue tied, stop talking
She clammed up as soon as her teacher entered the class room.
Appeal for, cry out for
- 36 -
When the foreign minister found out that he was under threat, he
clamored for the prime minister's office.
In clear, clean
Clean as a whistle
After inspecting his car, Sami was found as clean as a whistle.
The assurance that an animal or
person is healthy
Clean bill of health
The UN volunteer was given a clean bill of health before he began work.
Behave yourself, stop behaving
Clean up your act
My father told me to clean up my act. I think he saw me behaving badly.
Calm down, remove a
Clear the air
My father and John had a big argument so I think it is time to clear the
Settle, no clouds left
The sky cleared up in two hours.
Sports/ events/ contest or a story
of which the end is uncertain
The table tennis tournament was a cliffhanger and one of the most
enjoyable games of the year.
Be so bored that you become
anxious and frustrated
Climb the wall
Yasmeen began to climb the wall after only a few days at her new job.
- Be careful or they will clip you at that restaurant.
Narrow escape, an accident
Close call/ shave
I had a close call this morning when the truck hit me
In adjacent places
The new HQs must be in close quarters.
Come together for fighting
united, work together
- 37 -
They decided to close ranks and stop arguing among themselves close to
Not pay attention to something
Do not try to explain to Jiff. He is a cloth-eared.
- I can't go on a date in that clunker.
No danger is in sight, no one can
Coast is clear
When the coast was clear we decided to enter the building
Over confident, arrogant
Nobody likes her. She is an absolutely cocky.
Become afraid, reluctant to do
something, lack confidence
(to have ) Cold feet
Hajji had cold feet at the last minute and didn't jump out of the plane.
Someone who shows no
emotions, very aloof, dull
You can't marry Alfred. He's such a cold fish and no one likes or even
My date was a cold fish.
A look without friendliness,
Adam gave me a cold look when I arrived in Boston. I felt like he didn't
want to see me.
Not warm, unfriendly reception
Zalaya received a cold welcome of his people when he returned to his
A thing or a person of a very
great importance or ability
Mozart is a colossus among composers.
Interesting detail, vividness
Murad's description of the area is full of colour.
- 38 -
Have a fall, meet with a failure
Come a cropper
John is sad because he has come a cropper in his final exam.
Encounter, find something or
meet someone unexpectedly
Come across somebody
Last week I came across one of my university friends.
Please repeat, say that again
Come again, I didn't hear you the first time.
I said I found your keys.
Make progress, thrive, proceed
The work on our company is coming along very well now.
When the right opportunity comes along, I'll take it.
Return to one's memory, flood
The events of the past are slowly coming back to me.
Prevent somebody from having
or doing something
Rashid never lets anything comes between him and his projects.
Get, obtain, acquire
The manager came by a lot of money and is now enjoying her life.
A lowering in status/ income/
influence or energy
The general's new position was a real comedown.
Get tough on, scold or punish
Come down hard on
At 7:30 last night, the police were coming down hard on some robbers.
See the reality of every day life
Come down to earth
Dear, I will buy a palace and a BMW and I'll lend you 20000 $.
Come down to earth. You haven't won the lotto yet.
To get (an illness, etc.)
Come down with
I think I'm coming down with swine flu.
Be a native of place
Many students in my school come from Kuwait.
- 39 -
Present yourself, step forward
The judge asked the witness to come forward.
Arrive, become fashionable
Long hair for men came in the seventies.
Come into fashion
Rania says that, although BELL-pants have come into fashion again she
will never wear them.
Reach adult status, become fully
Come of age
Once you come of age, you are responsible for your actions.
Succeed, happen, go according
The conference came off without any problems.
Stop it, give it up
Come off it
Come off it! You don't have a chance of winning the final match.
Say, confess, make known
Come out with
The thief has recently come out with many strange facts.
After the turbulence, a new restlessness came over the plane passengers.
The car I bought came to 6000 JD.
Awaken, regain consciousness
Nabila came to a couple of hours ago.
Be discovered, become known
Come to light
It has recently come to light that the chief has lost his job.
End in failure, fail, go wrong
Come to nothing
All Hussein's efforts to help his sister find a job in Dhofar came to
Begin to think clearly or act
Come to one's senses
Shelbaieh finally came to his senses and decided to join the national
- 40 -
Reach an agreement
Come to terms
We came to terms with the negotiators and solved the problem.
Take five, take a break, take a
Come up for air
- You have to come up for air or you will die from exhaustion.
Produce, find a thought, invent
Come up with
Please try to come up with a name for the new grammar book.
Deserve, be worthy of
Great leaders command our respect.
Wish, ready to obey
Your wish is my command.
Bring something into operation
The nuclear plant is expected to be commissioned in two years.
A friendly manner with
Qasim has a nice common touch and everyone likes him.
I bought a new commodious cupboard.
Some issues are beyond the compass of the human mind.
Some matters are beyond the competence of the court.
Make up, consist of
Water is composed of oxygen and hydrogen
- Don't try to con me.
Fall asleep, doze off
As soon as we returned from the hike I conked out in front of the TV.
Be planned, happen as a result of
- 41 -
Everyone is being secretive. There is something cooking.
Ruin one's chances
Cook one's goose
Ghazi really cooked his own goose and has no chance of getting the new
Falsify accounts, cheat
Cook the books
Fred was in Gail because he had cooked the books and changed the facts.
Invent, plan, put something
I don't know what plan Suha is cooking up but it should be quite
Very calm and brave, not
worried or anxious
Cool as cucumber
Mr. Brown was as cool as cucumber when he knew that his car was
damaged in an accident.
Relax, take it easy, calm down
Cool it. You needn't be that upset.
Mr. Jeff is a great copy-cat.
To be very expensive
Cost an arm and a leg
The barn cost an arm and a leg but I think it was worth the money.
Lazy person, idle
- He is a couch potato.
Please, count Ronza in if you are visiting Spain next summer.
You can never count on him to do anything right.
count Sam out if he doesn't like to go to Spain
Cover one's back
I'm going to enter that house. Cover my back.
Hide, not say where he/she has
been or what one has done
Cover one's tracks
Bell was trying to cover his tracks but it was easy to find his safe house.
Excerpt out of 210 pages
- Quote paper
- Awni Etaywe (Author), 2017, Essential English idioms and multipart verbs, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/353467