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  1. #1
    dammy Guest

    Default interpretation of idoms

    "to hit the nail on the head"
    "to see eyeto eye with somebody"
    "to kill two birds with one stone"
    "to put your foot on something"
    "to have a bone to pick with somebody"
    "to feel something in your bone"
    "to the cat before the horse"
    "to put a finger in too many pies"
    "to get your teeth into something"
    "to keep an open mind on something"
    "to take the law into your own hands"
    "to turn the tables on someone"
    "to pay back someone in his own coin"
    "to put all your cards on the table"
    "to be in a person's book"
    "to give somebody a wide birth"
    "to get more than you bargined for"
    "to make short work of something"
    "to be out of step with someone"

  2. #2
    Jamgirl is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: interpretation of idoms

    "to hit the nail on the head"
    When someone completely understands you or gets something right.
    e.g. a conversation might run:
    Bob: "I've just broken up with my girlfriend"
    Jim: "You must be feeling lonely"
    Bob: "You've hit the nail on the head"
    "to see eye to eye with somebody"
    To agree with someone, to understand their point of view, to get on with someone. e.g. "The Mother-In-Law and the Daughter-In-Law did not see eye to eye about how to bring up the child" i.e. they disagreed about how to bring up the child.
    "to kill two birds with one stone"
    To get two things done with one action e.g. 'I took the cat to the vet - she had her yearly vaccinations done and her teeth cleaned' - this is killing 2 birds with 1 stone.
    "to put your foot on something"
    I don't know about putting your foot on something, but if you put your foot in something or 'put your foot in it' means that you have said or done something that you shouldn't have done and you will get in trouble.
    "to have a bone to pick with somebody"
    Means you need to speak to someone about their actions, because their actions have made you angry or upset.
    "to feel something in your bone"
    To have an instinct for something, to think something is going to happen, although you do not have any facts to prove your feeling is correct e.g. "Something's wrong, I can feel it in my bones"
    "to the cat before the horse"
    Don't know this one. Sorry!
    "to put a finger in too many pies"
    To have your finger in many pies means that you have many options open to you. I've not heard the expression with 'too' in it.
    "to get your teeth into something"
    To really get involved in something. e.g. Paul finally had a work project he could get his teeth into.
    "to keep an open mind on something"
    To not make a decision, to not be judgemental. e.g. "She kept an open mind about spiritual matters"
    "to take the law into your own hands"
    When the police won't help you to sort out a problem with criminals, ordinary people sometimes take action against them.
    "to turn the tables on someone"
    To play a trick on someone, especially someone who likes playing tricks themselves. To surprise someone.
    "to pay back someone in his own coin"
    ?
    "to put all your cards on the table"
    To be totally honest.
    "to be in a person's book"
    ?
    "to give somebody a wide birth"
    To give a person plenty of space, because they maybe emotional e.g. angry or upset.
    "to get more than you bargined for"
    To get more that you bargained for means you get more than you expected. It can be used in a positive (honest) way or a negative (sarcastic) way e.g.
    'When the woman bought her new car, she discovered she got more than she had bargained for - there was a gold necklace on the passenger seat'
    or
    'When the woman bought her new car, she discovered she got more than she had bargained for when the exhaust pipe fell off'
    "to make short work of something"
    To do something quickly with little effort.
    "to be out of step with someone"
    Not sure how to explain this one. Can anyone else help?

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: interpretation of idoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgirl View Post
    ...
    "to put your foot on something"
    I don't know about putting your foot on something, but if you put your foot in something or 'put your foot in it' means that you have said or done something that you shouldn't have done and you will get in trouble.
    ...
    But if you must have the "on", the object must be "it", meaning the accelerator pedal:

    'We were late, so I told the driver to put his foot on it."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgirl View Post
    ..."to the cat before the horse"
    Don't know this one. Sorry!
    Isn't it cart? To "put the cart before the horse" is to do things back-to-front.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgirl View Post
    ..."to be in a person's book"
    ?
    "to give somebody a wide birth"
    To give a person plenty of space, because they maybe emotional e.g. angry or upset.
    I think you have to classify the books (usually plural) in some way:
    "By being late repeatedly, he had got into the teacher's bad books."

    And note the spelling of "berth" (same pronunciation). The i spelling may be OK in some parts of the world, now I come to think of it; after all, some people spell "tyre" with an i

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgirl View Post
    ..."
    "to be out of step with someone"
    Not sure how to explain this one. Can anyone else help?
    Not to see eye to eye?! But there's also a sense of actually (physically) behaving appropriately, given what they're doing:
    "He was always out of step with his brother. When Michael wore boots, John wore shoes; when Michael wore shoes, John wore sandals; when Michael wore shandals, John went bare-foot."

    b

  4. #4
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: interpretation of idoms

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I think you have to classify the books (usually plural) in some way:
    "By being late repeatedly, he had got into the teacher's bad books."
    And note the spelling of "berth" (same pronunciation). The i spelling may be OK in some parts of the world, now I come to think of it; after all, some people spell "tyre" with an i
    .
    I think even those of us who tend to write tire would actually write berth in this case, Bob.
    .

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