English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Showing 51-100 of 197 results for letter 'A'
Acid test
An acid test is something that proves whether something is good, effective, etc, or not.
Across the board
If something applies to everybody, it applies across the board.
Across the ditch
(NZ) This idiom means on the other side of the Tasman Sea, used to refer to Australia or New Zealand depending on the speaker's location.
Across the pond
(UK) This idiom means on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, used to refer to the US or the UK depending on the speaker's location.
Act of God
An act of God is something like an earthquake or floods that human beings cannot prevent or control.
Act of war
An act of war is a action that is either intended to start a war or that is interpreted as being sufficient cause for a war.
Actions speak louder than words
This idiom means that what people actually do is more important than what they say- people can promise things but then fail to deliver.
Adam's ale
(dated, humorous) water
Adam's apple
The Adam's apple is a bulge in the throat, mostly seen in men.
Add fuel to the fire
If people add fuel to the fire, they make a bad situation worse.
Add insult to injury
When people add insult to injury, they make a bad situation even worse.
After the watershed
The watershed is the time limit after which more controversial  subjects, bad language, etc, can be shown on TV in some countries, so if it's after the watershed, then discussions can be freer, franker and more controversial.
After your own heart
A person after your own heart thinks the same way as you.
Against the clock
If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
Against the grain
If doing something goes against the grain, you're unwilling to do it because it contradicts what you believe in, but you have no real choice.
Age before beauty
When this idiom is used, it is a way of allowing an older person to do something first, though often in a slightly sarcastic way.
Agony aunt
An agony aunt is a newspaper columnist who gives advice to people having problems, especially personal ones.
Ahead of the curve
Similar to ahead of the pack, ahead of the curve literally refers to your position on the statistical bell curve, where the top of the curve represents the median, average result. By being ahead of the curve you represent the top percentile of results that either has the advanced skills or understanding that sets you apart.
Ahead of the pack
If you are ahead of the pack, you have made more progress than your rivals.
Ahead of time
If something happens ahead of time, it happens early or before the set time.
Air your dirty laundry in public
If you air your dirty laundry in public, you reveal aspects of your private life that should really remain private, by telling a secret, arguing in public, etc.
Albatross around your neck
An albatross around, or round, your neck is a problem resulting from something you did that stops you from being successful.
Alike as two peas
If people or things are as alike as two peas, they are identical.
Alive and kicking
If something is active and doing well, it is alive and kicking.  (It can be used for people too.)
All ages and stripes
A shorthand for expressing a diversity of folks in a group
All along
If you have known or suspected something all along, then you have felt this from the beginning.
All and sundry
This idiom is a way of emphasising 'all', like saying 'each and every one'.
All bark and no bite
When someone talks tough but really isn't, they are all bark and no bite.
All bets are off
(USA) If all bets are off, then agreements that have been made no longer apply.
All but
If someone all but does something, they almost do it, but don't manage to.
All cats are grey in the dark
Things are indistinguishable in the dark so appearances don't matter.('All cats are grey at night' is also used.)
All dressed up and nowhere to go
You're prepared for something that isn't going to happen.
All ears
If someone says they're all ears, they are very interested in hearing about something.
All eyes on me
If all eyes are on someone, then everyone is paying attention to them.
All fingers and thumbs
If you're all fingers and thumbs, you are too excited or clumsy to do something properly that requires manual dexterity. 'All thumbs' is an alternative form of the idiom.
All hat, no cattle
(USA) When someone talks big, but cannot back it up, they are all hat, no cattle.('Big hat, no cattle' is also used.)
All heart
Someone who is all heart is very kind and generous.
All hell broke loose
When all hell breaks loose, there is chaos, confusion and trouble.
All in a day's work
If something is all in a day's work, it is nothing special.
All in your head
If something is all in your head, you have imagined it and it is not real.
All mod cons
If something has all mod cons, it has all the best and most desirable features. It is an abbreviation of 'modern convenience' that was used in house adverts.
All mouth and trousers
(UK) Someone who's all mouth and trousers talks or boasts a lot but doesn't deliver. 'All mouth and no trousers' is also used, though this is a corruption of the original.
All my eye and Peggy Martin
(UK) An idiom that appears to have gone out of use but was prevalent in the English north Midlands of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire from at least the turn of the 20th century until the early 1950s or so. The idiom's meaning is literally something said or written that is unbelievable, rumor, over embellished, the result of malicious village gossip etc.
All of the above
This idiom can be used to mean everything that has been said or written, especially all the choices or possibilities.
All over bar the shouting
When something is all over bar the shouting, the outcome is absolutely certain.('All over but the shouting' is also used.)
All over Hell's half acre
(USA) If you have been all over Hell's half acre, you have been traveling and visiting many more places than originally intended, usually because you were unsuccessful in finding what you were looking for. It can also be used to mean everywhere.
All over the map
(USA) If something like a discussion is all over the map, it doesn't stick to the main topic and goes off on tangents.
All over the place
If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the place.
All over the shop
If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the shop.
All over the show
If something is all over the show, it's in a complete mess.An alternative to 'All over the shop'.

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