Idiom Category: General, Page 2

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Always a bridesmaid, never a bride
If someone is always a bridesmaid, never a bride, they never manage to fulfill their ambition- they get close, but never manage the recognition, etc, they crave.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
This expression means that is is better to try to avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise.
Answers on a postcard
This idiom can be used to suggest that the answer to something is very obvious or that the person would really like to hear what people think.
As a rule
If you do something as a rule, then you usually do it.
As good as new
If something has been used but is still in extremely good condition, it is as good as new.
As neat as a new pin
This idiom means tidy and clean.
As you sow, so shall you reap
This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things.
Asleep at the switch
If someone is asleep at the switch, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities very carefully. 'Asleep at the wheel' is an alternative.
At a loose end
(UK) If you are at a loose end, you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
At a loss
If you are at a loss, you are unable to understand or comply.
At cross purposes
When people are at cross purposes, they misunderstand each other or have different or opposing objectives.
At full tilt
If something is at full tilt, it is going or happening as fast or as hard as possible.
At large
If a criminal is at large, they have not been found or caught.
At loggerheads
If people are at loggerheads, they are arguing and can't agree on anything.
At loose ends
(USA) If you are at a loose end, you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
At odds
If you are at odds with someone, you cannot agree with them and argue.
At the coalface
If you work at the coalface, you deal with the real problems and issues, rather than sitting in a office discussing things in a detached way.
At the end of the day
This is used to mean 'in conclusion' or 'when all is said and done'.
At the end of your rope
(USA) If you are at the end of your rope, you are at the limit of your patience or endurance.
At the end of your tether
(UK) If you are at the end of your tether, you are at the limit of your patience or endurance.
At the fore
In a leading position
At the top of the list
If something is at the top of the list, it is of highest priority, most important, most urgent, or the next in one's line of attention.
At your wits' end
If you are at your wits' end, you have no idea what to do next and are very frustrated.
Avowed intent
If someone makes a solemn or serious promise publicly to attempt to reach a certain goal, this is their avowed intent.
Away with the fairies
If someone is away with the fairies, they don't face reality and have unrealistic expectations of life.
Awe inspiring
Something or someone that is awe inspiring amazes people in a slightly frightening but positive way.
AWOL
AWOL stands for "Absent Without Leave", or "Absent Without Official Leave". Orignially a military term, it is used when someone has gone missing without telling anyone or asking for permission.
Back burner
If an issue is on the back burner, it is being given low priority.
Back number
Something that's a back number is dated or out of fashion.
Back to back
If things happen back to back, they are directly one after another.
Back to the drawing board
If you have to go back to the drawing board, you have to go back to the beginning and start something again.
Back-of-the-envelope calculation
A back of the envelope calculation is a figure that was arrived at quickly or by using estimation--as if someone had grabbed the first scrap of paper they found and made a quick guess.
Bad shape
If something's in bad shape, it's in bad condition. If a person's in bad shape, they are unfit or unhealthy.
Bag and baggage
Bag and baggage means all your possessions, especially if you are moving them or leaving a place.
Balloon goes up
When the balloon goes up, a situation turns unpleasant or serious.
Balls to the walls
(USA) If you do something balls to the wall, you apply full acceleration or exertion.
Basket case
If something is a basket case, it is so bad that it cannot be helped.
Batten down the hatches
If you batten down the hatches, you prepare for the worst that could happen to you.
Be careful what you wish for
If you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.('Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.' and 'Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.' are also used.)
Be out in force
If people are out in force, they are present somewhere in large numbers.
Be that as it may
Be that as it may is an expression which means that, while you are prepared to accept that there is some truth in what the other person has just said, it's not going to change your opinions in any significant manner.
Be up the spout
(UK) If a woman is up the spout, she is pregnant.
Bear the brunt
People who bear the brunt of something endure the worst of something bad.
Beat someone to the draw
(USA) If you beat someone to the draw, you do something before they do.
Beck and call
Someone who does everything for you, no matter when you ask, is at your beck and call.
Been around the block a few times
Someone who says they've been around the block a few times is indicating that they have life experience relating to the topic at hand. It is not necessary to discuss the introductory aspects of the topic or give beginner level advice.
Been there, done that
People say this when they have already experienced what is being discussed.
Beg the question
In philosophy "to beg the question" is to assume something to be true that has not yet been proved. I have seen the idiom also to mean that a question is crying out to be asked.
Behind the curve
If you are behind the curve, you  are behind or out of touch with current trends or developments. ('Ahead of the curve' iis the opposite)  
Believe you me
This is an emphatic way of saying 'believe me'.

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