Idioms List & Flashcards

Idioms List & Flashcards
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Steal someone's thunder
To take attention away from someone else, especially their achievements.
'You stole my thunder when you proposed to Rachel on my birthday!'
Got it
The whole nine yards
Every last bit.
'They went the whole nine yards, bringing cookies, cake, cupcakes, and even brownies!'
Got it
Speak of the devil
When someone arrives shortly after their name was mentioned.
'We were about to go ask Pranav for advice when, speak of the devil, he walked around the corner!'
Got it
Once in a blue moon
A rare event or happening.
'Once in a blue moon I'll eat tacos twice in a day.'
Got it
The last straw
The final incident before an action must be taken.
'You ate all the cookies again?! This is the last straw! You're grounded!'
Got it
Kill two birds with one stone
To accomplish two or more goals at the same time.
'If we stop by Johann's on the way to the gym, we can kill two birds with one stone.'
Got it
Getting canned
To be fired from a job.
'Mark is terrible at his job. He's going to get canned by Monday.'
Got it
Hear through the grapevine
To find out about something indirectly, often referring to gossip.
'I heard through the grapevine that Scotty is quitting tomorrow.'
Got it
Hit the hay
To go to bed.
'It's been a long day; I'm gonna hit the hay.'
Got it
Play the devil's advocate
To argue for a negative or opposite opinion or idea.
'I'll play the devil's advocate and argue that pizza is disgusting.'
Got it
The cat is out of the bag
When a secret is out in the open.
'Everyone knows we're dating? I guess the cat's out of the bag.'
Got it
When the stuff hits the fan
When something really bad happens. The word 'stuff' is often replaced with an expletive.
'I'm buying emergency supplies for when the stuff hits the fan.'
Got it
Cut corners
To do a sloppy job, often to save time or money.
'The plumber cut corners and now all the pipes leak!'
Got it
Cut the cheese
To be flatulent.
'It stinks in here! Who cut the cheese?'
Got it
Judging a book by its cover
Making assumptions based on appearance.
'I thought James was mean because he sings in a metal band, but he's actually really nice. I guess you can't judge a book by its cover.'
Got it
Best thing since sliced bread
A great idea or invention, often used sarcastically or ironically.
'He thinks his newest book is the best thing since sliced bread!'
Got it
Ball is in your court
The next step or decision is up to you.
'I've made my offer; the ball is in your court now.'
Got it
Back to the drawing board
To go back and rethink something, often after a failure.
'Well, that didn't work. I guess it's back to the drawing board.'
Got it
Idiom
An expression with a figurative meaning that differs from the literal meaning. These expressions often only make sense in a certain context or to speakers in a certain region.
Got it
Piece of cake
Something that is easy.
'That test was a piece of cake!'
Got it

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Flashcard Content Overview

What's up? Have your parents ever told you to get your ducks in a row? Maybe your co-worker called you a jack of all trades. All three of these sentences feature idioms, expressions that have a figurative meaning that differs from the literal meaning. Idioms can make conversations more colorful and engaging, and many are so well-used that we sometimes forget that they don't make literal sense. Native speakers of a language might think idioms are a piece of cake but they can seem absurd and confusing to people who aren't familiar with them. In fact, some idioms are so region-specific that native speakers from a different region wouldn't even understand them! So don't beat around the bush anymore, become rock solid with idioms by using this flashcard set.

Front
Back
Piece of cake
Something that is easy.
'That test was a piece of cake!'
Idiom
An expression with a figurative meaning that differs from the literal meaning. These expressions often only make sense in a certain context or to speakers in a certain region.
Back to the drawing board
To go back and rethink something, often after a failure.
'Well, that didn't work. I guess it's back to the drawing board.'
Ball is in your court
The next step or decision is up to you.
'I've made my offer; the ball is in your court now.'
Best thing since sliced bread
A great idea or invention, often used sarcastically or ironically.
'He thinks his newest book is the best thing since sliced bread!'
Judging a book by its cover
Making assumptions based on appearance.
'I thought James was mean because he sings in a metal band, but he's actually really nice. I guess you can't judge a book by its cover.'
Cut the cheese
To be flatulent.
'It stinks in here! Who cut the cheese?'
Cut corners
To do a sloppy job, often to save time or money.
'The plumber cut corners and now all the pipes leak!'
When the stuff hits the fan
When something really bad happens. The word 'stuff' is often replaced with an expletive.
'I'm buying emergency supplies for when the stuff hits the fan.'
The cat is out of the bag
When a secret is out in the open.
'Everyone knows we're dating? I guess the cat's out of the bag.'
Play the devil's advocate
To argue for a negative or opposite opinion or idea.
'I'll play the devil's advocate and argue that pizza is disgusting.'
Hit the hay
To go to bed.
'It's been a long day; I'm gonna hit the hay.'
Hear through the grapevine
To find out about something indirectly, often referring to gossip.
'I heard through the grapevine that Scotty is quitting tomorrow.'
Getting canned
To be fired from a job.
'Mark is terrible at his job. He's going to get canned by Monday.'
Kill two birds with one stone
To accomplish two or more goals at the same time.
'If we stop by Johann's on the way to the gym, we can kill two birds with one stone.'
The last straw
The final incident before an action must be taken.
'You ate all the cookies again?! This is the last straw! You're grounded!'
Once in a blue moon
A rare event or happening.
'Once in a blue moon I'll eat tacos twice in a day.'
Speak of the devil
When someone arrives shortly after their name was mentioned.
'We were about to go ask Pranav for advice when, speak of the devil, he walked around the corner!'
The whole nine yards
Every last bit.
'They went the whole nine yards, bringing cookies, cake, cupcakes, and even brownies!'
Steal someone's thunder
To take attention away from someone else, especially their achievements.
'You stole my thunder when you proposed to Rachel on my birthday!'
Wouldn't be caught dead
Would never want to be seen doing something.
'I wouldn't be caught dead eating salad.'
Taste of your own medicine
To be treated the way you've been treating others.
'Nolan Ryan got a taste of his own medicine when he struck out in the ninth inning.'
To waffle on something
To change your decision about something, often repeatedly.
'Jeff waffled between running or snacking.'
See eye-to-eye
To agree on something.
'Ed and Jimmy disagreed at first, but now they see eye-to-eye.'
Bite the dust
To die or become non-functioning.
'After 22 long years, Yolanda's car bit the dust.'
Put all your eggs in one basket
To limit yourself to one option.
'Mo applied to just one college; he's putting all his eggs in one basket.'
Feeling under the weather
To feel sick.
'I have to take a sick day today because I'm feeling under the weather.'
Close but no cigar
When you almost accomplish something but don't quite make it, and therefore aren't rewarded.
'Your guess was close but no cigar. Try again!'
Atta boy/girl!
An expression of encouragement or pride, likely stemming from 'That's a boy/girl'.
'You won the race? Atta girl!'
Jack of all trades
Someone with experience in a variety of skill sets.
'Giancarlo can play drums, trombone, and piano. He's a jack of all trades!'
Rock solid
Dependable.
'Alexandra was a rock solid salesperson. She always met her deadlines and sales goals.'
Low-hanging fruit
Something easy to acquire or accomplish.
'Answer the easy questions first; they're the low-hanging fruit.'
Icing on the cake
An added bonus to something.
'He just wanted a raise, but the promotion was the icing on the cake!'
Get your ducks in a row
To put your priorities in order.
'My son is so disorganized. He's going to have to get his ducks in a row if he wants to succeed.'
Crash course
A quick guide to something, with just the essential details.
'We don't have a lot of time so I'm going to give you a crash course.'
Cost an arm and a leg
To be really expensive.
'That billiards stick is gonna cost Jeff an arm and a leg!'
Can't make heads or tails of it
To be unable to understand something.
'I've been looking at this problem for two hours and I can't make heads or tails of it!'
What's up?
How are you doing?
'Hey Jenny, what's up?'
Beat around the bush
To avoid talking about something directly.
'She was beating around the bush but we finally got her to address the issue.'
Jump the shark
When something is past its prime and declining in quality, typically referring to a TV show.
'I think Lost jumped the shark in the fourth season.'

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