Idiom Category: General, Page 4

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Burn rubber
If you burn rubber, you drive very fast to get somewhere.
Burn the candle at both ends
Someone who burns the candle at both ends lives life at a hectic pace, doing things which are likely to affect their health badly.
Burn the midnight oil
If you stay up very late working or studying, you burn the midnight oil.
Burning daylight
Burning daylight is wasting time.
Burning question
A burning question is something we all want to know about.
Burst at the seams
To be filled to or beyond normal capacity: This room will be bursting at the seams when all the guests arrive.
Burst your bubble
If you correct someone's ignorant or delusional belief, you burst their bubble. (Bust someone's bubble is also used.)
Busted flush
Someone or something that had great potential but ended up a useless failure is a busted flush.
Butt of a joke
If something or someone becomes the butt of a joke it or they are not taken seriously anymore.
By a long chalk
(UK) If you beat somebody by a long chalk, you win easily and comfortably.
By a mile
If you miss, lose, win, etc, something by a mile, there is a considerable difference in standard oir performance between you and the others. ('By miles' is also used.)
By and large
By and large means usually or generally.
By cracky
A term used by rural folks in years past to emphasize a matter of importance or urgency. An example: 'By cracky, you need to get out there in the field with that mule and plow and finish the sod-busting before dark.'
By dint of
This means 'as a result of' or 'because of': It would be good to think he'd risen to position of Chief Executive by dint of hard work.
By hook or by crook
If you are prepared to do something by hook or by crook, you are willing to do anything, good or bad, to reach your goal.
By leaps and bounds
Something that happens by leaps and bounds happens very quickly in big steps.
By the book
If you do something by the book, you do it exactly as you are supposed to.
By the by
This is used as a way of introducing an incidental topic in a conversation or to say that something is irrelevant. ('By the bye' is also used.)
By the same token
If someone applies the same rule to different situations, they judge them by the same token: If things go well, he's full of praise, but, by the same token, when things go wrong he gets furious.
Call a spade a spade
A person who calls a spade a spade is one speaks frankly and makes little or no attempt to conceal their opinions or to spare the feelings of their audience.
Call the shots
If you call the shots, you are in charge and tell people what to do.
Can't beat that
If you can't beat something, it's the best and you aren't going to find anything better.
Can't dance and it's too wet to plow
(USA) When you can't dance and it's too wet to plow, you may as well do something because you can't or don't have the opportunity to do anything else.
Can't get a word in edgeways
If you can't get a word in edgeways, you don't have the chance to say anything because the person you are with is is talking all the time.
Can't hack it
Unable to perform an act, duty, job etc. (example: I have to quit my job as a computer technician; I just can't hack it.)
Can't hold a candle
If something can't hold a candle to something else, it is much worse.
Carry the can
If you carry the can, you take the blame for something, even though you didn't do it or are only partly at fault.
Case in point
Meaning an instance of something has just occurred that was previously discussed. For instance, a person may have told another that something always happens. Later that day, they see it happening, and the informer might say, 'case in point'.
Cast a long shadow
Something or someone that casts a long shadow has considerable influence on other people or events.
Cast aspersion
If you cast aspersion, you try to blacken someone's name and make people think badly of them.
Cast doubt on
If you make other people not sure about a matter, then you have cast doubt on it.
Cast your mind back
If somebody tells you to cast your mind back on something, they want you to think about something that happened in the past, but which you might not remember very well, and to try to remember as much as possible.
Cast your net widely
If you cast your net widely, you use a wide range of sources when trying to find something.
Cat's arse and cabbage
(UK) The idiom  "cat fur and kitty britches" reminded me of this saying that my granny used when asked what was for dinner, and was her way too of saying you get what you're given! This was in Gloucestershire, UK and in the first part of the 20th century.
Catch as catch can
This means that people should try to get something any way they can.
Catch some z's
If you catch some z's, you get some sleep.
Chafe under the yoke
If you chafe under the yoke, something restricts your freedom and you resent it.('Chafe under the harness' is also used.)
Champ at the bit
If someone is champing at the bit, they are very eager to accomplish something.  ('Chomping at the bit' is also used.)
Champing at the bit
To betray impatience, as to begin some action. "I'm champing at the bit to tell you" "Chomping at the bit" is also commonly used, though some regard it as an error.
Change tack
If you change tack, you use a different method for dealing with something.
Cheap shot
A cheap shot is an unprincipled criticism.
Chip off the old block
If someone is a chip off the old block, they closely resemble one or both of the parents in character.
Chop and change
If things chop and change, they keep changing, often unexpectedly.
Clean as a whistle
If something is as clean as a whistle, it is extremely clean, spotless. It can also be used to mean 'completely', though this meaning is less common nowadays. If somebody is clean as a whistle, they are not involved in anything illegal.
Clean bill of health
If something or someone has a clean bill of health, then there's nothing wrong; everything's fine.
Clean break
If you make a clean break, you break away completely from something.
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.
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.

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