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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
Lists of idioms used in everyday conversational English, with their meaning.


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📔Storm in a teacup (UK idiom)



📋Meaning
   A small event that has been exaggerated out of proportion.


🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 The whole controversy turned out to be a storm in a teacup.
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📔bad omen


📋Meaning
A sign, either real or imagined, of ill fortune or catastrophe in the future.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣It was a bad omen when my girlfriend broke up with me the day before my final exams.

🗣All of the recent natural disasters are a bad omen for the future of the planet.
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📔Sitting on the fence



📋Meaning
  a person's lack of decisiveness, neutrality or hesitance to choose between two sides in an argument or a competition, or inability to decide due to lack of courage. 



🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 “The councilman is afraid he'll lose votes if he takes sides on the zoning issue, but he can't sit on the fence forever.”
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📔banker's hours


📋Meaning
A limited work schedule (as banks were once known for having short work days and being closed on holidays and weekends).

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣You won't be able to reach her on a Saturday—she keeps banker's hours.
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📔raise the roof



📋Meaning
make or cause someone else to make a great deal of noise, especially through cheering. 



🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 "when I finally scored the fans raised the roof"
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📔case of the dropsy


📋Meaning
A fictitious "condition" characterized by continually dropping things from one's hands. It is a play on the term "dropsy," which was formerly used to denote the condition now known as edema (or oedema).

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣I've broken four or five plates since I started work. I guess I've got a bad case of the dropsy today.
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📔the big picture



📋Meaning
  the situation as a whole.


🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 "he's so involved in the minutiae that he often overlooks the big picture"
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📔crushing blow


📋Meaning
A major defeat or setback that is devastating to the goals of a person, group, or organization.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣The team's loss last Sunday was a crushing blow to their chances for a championship.

🗣Failing that test was a crushing blow to my hopes for an honors degree.
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📔living on the edge



📋Meaning
 To have an adventurous or perilous lifestyle; to behave in a manner which creates risks for oneself.


🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 Despite the apparent respectability, he was a man who liked to live on the edge.
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📔cushy job


📋Meaning
A job that is easy, stress-free, and/or very well paid.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣Since I got this cushy job managing a toy store, I've gotten to sit around playing with toys all day.

🗣Since Sarah got that cushy job with the bank, she has been driving a sports car and is buying a second home!
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📔a cut above the rest


📋Meaning
Better in quality than most others.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣This new restaurant is a cut above the rest.

🗣Trust me, Johannes is a cut above the rest. If you want the best legal advice money can buy, he's your man.

🗣An entrant's essay must be a cut above the rest for it to win our top prize.
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📔the elephant in the room



📋Meaning
  a major problem or controversial issue which is obviously present but is avoided as a subject for discussion.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 "they've steadfastly ignored the elephant in the room: the ever-growing debt burden on graduates"
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📔a cut above the rest


📋Meaning
Better in quality than most others.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣This new restaurant is a cut above the rest.

🗣Trust me, Johannes is a cut above the rest. If you want the best legal advice money can buy, he's your man.

🗣An entrant's essay must be a cut above the rest for it to win our top prize.
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📔The sky is the limit



📋Meaning
  If you say the sky is the limit, you mean that there is nothing to prevent someone or something from being very successful.


🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 They have found that, in terms of both salary and career success, the sky is the limit. 
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📔a cut below


📋Meaning
Of lower quality than or inferior to someone or something else, especially that of the expected norm.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣This waiter is really a cut below what I would expect from this restaurant.

🗣Your essay was a cut below, honestly. That's why it didn't win the contest.

🗣I haven't been that impressed with any of the candidates for the sales position—they've just been a cut below.
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📔Time flies



📋Meaning
  used to observe that time seems to pass very quickly.


🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 "people say time flies when you're having fun"
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📔freak of nature


📋Meaning
Something or someone that is unusual, rare, or abnormal in some way; beyond or outside the natural world.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣The goat they have at the circus sideshow is a real freak of nature, it was born with two heads!

🗣He can lift over 500 pounds in the gym, he's like some freak of nature.
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📔Button your lips



📋Meaning
  to not talk about something



🤔For example ⬇️

🗣 Button your lip. He's coming toward us. Don't tell him what I said, please.
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📔a free bit of advice


📋Meaning
A suggestion, opinion, or piece of advice that was unrequested or unsolicited by the recipient.

🤔For example ⬇️

🗣Allow me to give you a free bit of advice, my friend: don't say something you'll end up regretting later.

🗣I know you're worried about your kids, but here's a free bit of advice—you can't protect them from every little thing.

🗣Hey, here's a free bit of advice for you during your internship—always be kind and polite. People remember if you treat them well.
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