English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'C
- Clean break
- If you make a clean break, you break away completely from something.
- Clean hands
- Someone with clean hands, or who keeps their hands clean, is not involved in illegal or immoral activities.
- Clean sheet
- When someone has a clean sheet, they have got no criminal record or problems affecting their reputation.
In football and other sports, a goalkeeper has a clean sheet when let no goals in.
- Clean slate
- If you start something with a clean slate, then nothing bad from your past is taken into account.
- Clean sweep
- If someone makes a clean sweep, they win absolutely everything in a competition or contest.
- Clean your clock
- If you clean your clock, you beat someone decisively in a contest or fight.
- Clear as a bell
- If something is as clear as a bell, it is very clear or easy to understand.
- Clear as mud
- If something is as clear as mud, then it is very confusing and unclear.
- Clear the decks
- When you clear the decks, you get ready for an important action and put away items that might get in your way.
- If something like a sports match or an election is a cliffhanger, then the result is so close that it cannot be predicted and will only be known at the very end.
- Climb on the bandwagon
- When people climb on the bandwagon they do something because it is popular and everyone else is doing it.
- Climb the greasy pole
- Advance within an organisation - especially in politics.
- Cling to hope
- If people cling to hope, they continue to hope though the chances of success are very small.
- Close at hand
- If something is close at hand, it is nearby or conveniently located.
- Close but no cigar
- (USA) If you are close but no cigar, you are close to success or the truth, but have not got there.
- Close call
- If the result of something is a close call, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the parties involved and to say who has won or whatever. It can also mean that you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.
- Close lipped
- A person who is reluctant to talk about a specific subject is close lipped.
- Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades
- This phrase is used to say that if you come close to success without succeeding, it is not good enough
- Close ranks
- If members of an organisation close ranks, they show support for each other publicly, especially when being criticised. It is a military term- when soldiers close ranks, they stand closer together so that it is difficult to pass through them.
- Close shave
- If you have a close shave, you very nearly have a serious accident or get into trouble.
- Close the book
- If you close the book on something, you end it completely.
- Close the stable door after the horse has bolted
- If people try to fix something after the problem has occurred, they are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted.
'Close the barn door after the horse has bolted' is alternative, often used in American English.
- Close to your heart
- If something is close to your heart, you care a lot about it.
('Dear to your heart' is an alternative.)
- Closed book to me
- If a subject is a closed book to you, it is something that you don't understand or know anything about.
- Cloth ears
- If you don't listen to people, they may suggest you have cloth ears.
- Cloud cuckoo land
- If someone has ideas or plans that are completely unrealistic, they are living on cloud cuckoo land.
- Cloud nine
- If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy.
('cloud seven' is a less common alternative)
- Cloud of suspicion
- If a cloud of suspicion hangs over an individual, it means that they are not believed or are distrusted.
- Cloud on the horizon
- If you can see a problem ahead, you can call it a cloud on the horizon.
- Clutch at straws
- If someone is in serious trouble and tries anything to help them, even though their chances of success are probably nil, they are clutching at straws.
- Clutch play
- If an activity is referred to as a clutch play, it means that the activity was the key to the success or failure of the venture. For instance, a clutch play in a baseball game may be striking out a batter with the bases loaded.
- Coals to Newcastle
- (UK) Taking, bringing, or carrying coals to Newcastle is doing something that is completely unnecessary.
- Coast is clear
- When the coast is clear, the people supposed to be watching you are not there and you are able to move or leave.
- Cock a snook
- To make a rude gesture by putting one thumb to the nose with the fingers outstretched.
- Cock and bull story
- A cock and bull story is a lie someone tells that is completely unbelievable.
- Cock in the henhouse
- This is used to describe a male in an all-female environment.
- Cock of the walk
- A man who is excessively confident and thinks he's better than other people is the cock of the walk.
- Cog in the machine
- A person who does an unimportant job in a large company or organisation is a cog in the machine.
- Cold day in hell
- This is used as a prediction there is no chance some event or condition will ever happen.'There will be a cold day in hell before he manages it.'
- Cold feet
- If you get cold feet about something, you lose the courage to do it.
- Cold fish
- A cold fish is a person who doesn't show how they feel.
- Cold light of day
- If you see things in the cold light of day, you see them as they really are, not as you might want them to be.
- Cold shoulder
- If you give or show someone the cold shoulder, you are deliberately unfriendly and unco-operative towards them.
- Cold sweat
- If something brings you out in a cold sweat, it frightens you a lot.
- Cold turkey
- If someone suddenly stops taking drugs, instead of slowly cutting down, they do cold turkey.
- Colder than a witch's tit
- If it is colder than a witch's tit, it is extremely cold outside.
- Collateral damage
- Accidental or unintended damage or casualties are collateral damage.
- Collect dust
- If something is collecting dust, it isn't being used any more.
- Color bar
- Rules that restrict access on the basis of race or ethnicity are a color bar.
- Come a cropper
- (UK) Someone whose actions or lifestyle will inevitably result in trouble is going to come a cropper.
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