English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'C
- Critical mass
- The minimum amount of resources or number of people needed to start and/or sustain a business, project or event.
- Crocodile tears
- If someone cries crocodile tears, they pretend to be upset or affected by something.
- Crooked as a dog's hind leg
- Someone who is very dishonest is as crooked as a dog's hind leg.
- Cross my heart and hope to die
- People say this to show how sincere their promise is.
- Cross swords
- When people cross swords, they argue or dispute. This expression is used when some groups accuse each other for non-adherence to norms. Actually no sword is used but the tempo of the argument is high enough to cause worsening of the already bad situation. It is a tussle (vehement struggle without use of arms) between the parties to establish supremacy.
- Cross that bridge when you come to it
- If you will cross that bridge when you come to it, you will deal with a problem when it arises, but not until that point
- Cross the line
- When someone crosses the line, they have done something that goes beyond the limits of acceptable behavior.
- Cross to bear
- If someone has a cross to bear, they have a heavy burden of responsibility or a problem that they alone must cope with.
- Crossing the Rubicon
- When you are crossing the Rubicon, you are passing a point of no return. After you do this thing, there is no way of turning around. The only way left is forward.
- Crunch time
- When people, companies, etc, have to make an important decision that will have a considerable effect on their future, it is crunch time.
- Cry wolf
- If someone cries wolf, they raise a false alarm about something.
- Cry your eyes out
- If you cry your eyes out, you cry uncontrollably.
- A cry-baby is a person who gets emotional and cries too easily.
- Cuckoo in the nest
- Is an issue or a problem, etc, is a cuckoo in the nest, it grows quickly and crowds out everything else.
- Cupboard love
- (UK) To show love to gain something from someone
- Curate's egg
- (UK) If something is a bit of a curate's egg, it is only good in parts.
- Curdle your blood
- If something is very frightening or disturbing, it curdles your blood.
- Curiosity killed the cat
- As cats are naturally curious animals, we use this expression to suggest to people that excessive curiosity is not necessarily a good thing, especially where it is not their business.
- Curry favour
- If people try to curry favour, they try to get people to support them.
('Curry favor' is the American spelling.)
- Curve ball
- (USA) If something is a curve ball, it is deceptive.
- Cut a dash
- If someone cuts a dash, their clothes and appearance makes an impression on people.
- Cut a long story short
- This idiom is used as a way of shortening a story by getting to to the end or the point.
- Cut a rug
- To cut a rug is to dance.
- Cut above
- If a person is described as a cut above other people, they are better in some way.
- Cut and dried
- If something is cut and dried, then everything has already been decided and, in the case of an opinion, might be a little stale and predictable.
- Cut and run
- If people cut and run, they take what they can get and leave before they lose everything.
- Cut corners
- If people try to do something as cheaply or as quickly as possible, often sacrificing quality, they are cutting corners.
- Cut down the tall poppies
- (AU) If people cut down the tall poppies, they criticise people who stand out from the crowd.
- Cut from the same cloth
- If people are cut from the same cloth, they are very similar in terms of ideas, opinions, beliefs, etc.
- Cut it fine
- If you cut it fine, you only just manage to do something- at the very last moment.
'Cut things fine' is the same. 'Cut it a bit fine' is a common variation.
- Cut off your nose to spite your face
- If you cut off your nose to spite your face, you do something rash or silly that ends up making things worse for you, often because you are angry or upset.
- Cut someone off at the knees
- (USA) If you cut someone off at the knees, you humiliate them or force them to do what you want.
- Cut someone some slack
- To relax a rule or make an allowance, as in allowing someone more time to finish something.
- Cut the Gordian knot
- If someone cuts the Gordian knot, they solve a very complex problem in a simple way.
- Cut the mustard
- If somebody or something doesn't cut the mustard, they fail or it fails to reach the required standard.
- Cut to the chase
- If you cut to the chase, you get to the point, or the most interesting or important part of something without delay.
- Cut to the quick
- If someone's cut to the quick by something, they are very hurt and upset indeed.
- Cut your coat according to your cloth
- If you cut your coat according to your cloth, you only buy things that you have sufficient money to pay for.
- Cut your losses
- If you cut your losses, you avoid losing any more money than you already have by getting out of a situation before matters worsen.
- Cut your teeth on
- The place where you gain your early experience is where you cut your teeth.
- Cute as a bug
- (USA) If something is as cute as a bug, it is sweet and endearing.
- Cute as a button
- If someone's as cute as a button, they are very attractive.
- Cuts no ice
- If something cuts no ice, it doesn't have any effect or influence.
- Cutting edge
- Something that is cutting edge is at the forefront of progress in its area.
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