English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'B
- Blow smoke
- (USA) If people blow smoke, they exaggerate or say things that are not true, usually to make themselves look better.
- Blow the cobwebs away
- If you blow the cobwebs away, you make sweeping changes to something to bring fresh views and ideas in.
- Blow the whistle
- If somebody blows the whistle on a plan, they report it to the authorities.
- Blow your mind
- Something that will blow your mind is something extraordinary that will amaze you beyond explanation.
- Blow your own horn
- If you blow your own horn, you boast about your achievements and abilities. ('Blow your own trumpet' is an alternative form.)
- Blow your own trumpet
- If someone blows their own trumpet, they boast about their talents and achievements. ('Blow your own horn' is an alternative form.)
- Blow your stack
- If you blow your stack, you lose your temper.
- Blow your top
- If someone blows their top, they lose their temper.
- Blue blood
- Someone with blue blood is royalty.
- Blue skies
- A overly enthusiastic outlook or disposition.
The sales team had blue skies projections for their deals, although not many of those deals were signed.
- Blue-eyed boy
- Someone's blue-eyed boy is their favourite person.
- An intellectual woman is a bluestocking.
- Boardinghouse reach
- Boardinghouse reach is the ability to reach a long distance across a table to get food. We've used it in our family for as long as I can remember, when you reach across someone's plate, "Pardon my boardinghouse reach".
- Bob's your uncle
- (UK) This idiom means that something will be successful:
Just tell him that I gave you his name and Bob's your uncle- he'll help you.
- Body politic
- A group of people organised under a single government or authority (national or regional) is a body politic.
- Boil to the surface
- If a problem or issue boils to the surface, it emerges at a particular time and needs to be discussed or resolved.
- Bold as brass
- Someone who is as bold as brass is very confident and not worried about how other people will respond or about being caught.
- Bolt from the blue
- If something happens unexpectedly and suddenly, it is a bolt from the blue.
- Bone of contention
- If there is an issue that always causes tension and arguments, it is a bone of contention.
- Bone to pick
- If you have a bone to pick with someone, you are annoyed about something they have done and want to tell them how you feel.
- Boot is on the other foot
- When the boot's on the other foot, a person who was in a position of weakness is now in a position of strength.
- Born on the wrong side of the blanket
- A child born on the wrong side of the blanket is illegitimate- his or her parents were not married at the time of the birth.
- Born on the wrong side of the tracks
- Someone whose is born on the wrong side of the tracks is from the poor part of town.
- Born to the purple
- Someone who is born to the purple is born in a royal or aristocratic family.
("Born in the purple" is also used.)
- Born with a silver spoon in your mouth
- If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you are born into a rich family.
- Both ends meet
- If you make both ends meet, you live off the money you earn and don't go into debt.
- Bottom line
- In accountancy, the bottom line is net income, and is used idiomatically to mean the conclusion.
- Equivalent to 'Cheers' when drinking with someone.
- Bounce ideas
- If you bounce ideas off someone, you share your ideas with them to know whether they think they would work.
- Bounce off the walls
- If someone's bouncing off the walls, they are very excited about something.
- Bouquet of orchids
- Id someone deserves a bouquet of orchids, they have done something worthy of praise.
- Box and dice
- Box and dice means everything.
- Box clever
- (UK) If you box clever, you use your intelligence to get what you want, even if you have to cheat a bit.
- Box of fluffy ducks
- (NZ) Used when something is working well or going your way. If you are happy, you are a box of fluffy ducks. Also can be shortened to 'a box of fluffies'.
- Boxing and coxing
- If people are boxing and coxing, they are sharing responsibilities so that one of them is working while the other isn't. It can also be used when couples are sharing a house, but their relationship has broken down and when one is at home, the other stays out.
- Boys in blue
- The boys in blue are the police.
- Boys will be boys
- Boys will be boys means that boys, or men, will behave in certain ways, often noisily or irresponsibily.
- Brain drain
- When organisations or countries can pay higher salaries to attract talented people from poorer countries, there's a brain drain, a loss of talent.
- Brain surgery
- If something is not brain surgery, it isn't very complicated or difficult to understand or master.
- Brass monkey
- If it's brass monkey weather, or cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, it is extremely cold.
- Brass neck
- (UK) Someone who has the brass neck to do something has no sense of shame about what they do.
- Brass tacks
- If you get down to brass tacks, you get down to the real business.
- Bread and butter
- Bread and butter issues are ones that affect people directly and in a very important way.
- Bread and circuses
- Activites that entertain people and distract them from problems to keep them from complaining or protesting are bread and circuses.
- Used to describe the person that earns the most money. For example - She's the breadwinner in the family.
- Break a leg
- This idiom is a way of wishing someone good luck.
- Break even
- If you break even, you don't make any money, but you don't lose any either.
- Break ground
- If you break ground, or break new ground, you make progress, taking things into a new area or going further than anyone has gone before.
'Ground-breaking' is used an adjective.
- Break the back of the beast
- If you break the back of the beast, you accomplish a challenge.
- Break the ice
- When you break the ice, you get over any initial embarrassment or shyness when you meet someone for the first time and start conversing.
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