Go to the homepage
Sign in for full access
Test yourself in English
Read about language
Discussions & chat room
Extra tools & resources
Materials for Teachers
> Buildings & construction
Idiom Category: Buildings & construction, Page 1
Buildings & construction
A bridge too far
A bridge too far is an act of overreaching- going too far and getting into trouble or failing.
Back to the wall
If you have your back to the wall, you are in a difficult situation with very little room for manoeuvre.
Behind closed doors
If something happens away from the public eye, it happens behind closed doors.
Bet the farm
If you bet the farm, you risk everything on something you think will succeed.
Bet the ranch
(USA) If you bet the ranch, you risk everything on something you think will succeed.
Bounce off the walls
If someone's bouncing off the walls, they are very excited about something.
Bridge the gap
If you bridge the gap, you make a connection where there is a great difference.
If you bring something home, you explain it or make it very clear.
Bring the house down
Something that brings the house down is acclaimed and praised vigorously.
Burn your bridges
If you burn your bridges, you do something that makes it impossible to go back from the position you have taken.
Buy the farm
When somebody has bought the farm, they have died.
By the back door
If something is started or introduced by the back door, then it is not done openly or by following the proper procedures.
Castles in the air
Plans that are impractical and will never work out are castles in the air.
Charity begins at home
This idiom means that family members are more important than anyone else, and should be the focus of a person's efforts.
Circle the drain
If someone is circling the drain, they are spiraling downward to a usually inevitable death.
Circling the drain
If someone is circling the drain, they are very near death and have little time to live. The phrase can also describe a project or plan or campaign that that is on the brink of failure.
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
Don't throw bricks when you live in a glass house
Don't call others out on actions that you, yourself do. Don't be a hypocrite.
The idiomatic expression 'drive home' means 'reinforce' as in 'The company offered unlimited technical support as a way to drive home the message that customer satisfaction was its highest priority.'
Drive someone up the wall
If something or someone drives you up the wall, they do something that irritates you greatly.
Feel at home
If you feel relaxed and comfortable somewhere or with someone, you feel at home.
Someone that try to support both side of an argument without committing to either is a fence sitter.
Flutter the dovecotes
(UK) Something that flutters the dovecots causes alarm or excitement.
Get in on the ground floor
If you get in on the ground floor, you enter a project or venture at the start before people know how successful it might be.
Get on like a house on fire
If people get on like a house on fire, they have a very close and good relationship.
Go to the wall
If a company goes to the wall, it goes bust or fails.
Good fences make good neighbours
This means that it is better for people to mind their own business and to respect the privacy of others. ('Good fences make good neighbors' is the American English spelling.)
Good walls make good neighbours
Your relationship with your neighbours depends, among other things, on respecting one another's privacy.
Grist for the mill
Something that you can use to your advantage is grist for the mill. ('Grist to the mill' is also used.)
Have the floor
If someone has the floor, it is their turn to speak at a meeting.
If something hits home, it is understood completely and has a strong effect as people accept it even though it is negative.
Hit the ceiling
If someone hits the ceiling, they lose their temper and become very angry.
Hit the roof
If you lose your temper and get very angry, you hit the roof.
Hold the fort
If you hold the fort, you look after something or assume someone's responsibilities while they are away.
Home and hearth
'Home and hearth' is an idiom evoking warmth and security.
Home sweet home
This is said when one is pleased to be back at one's own home.
House of cards
Something that is poorly thought out and can easily collapse or fail is a house of cards.
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
Originally a Harry S. Truman quote, this means that if you can't take the pressure, then you should remove yourself from the situation.
People who live in ivory towers are detached from the world around them.
(USA) A jerwater town is a small and insignificant town without many amenities.
Light at the end of the tunnel
If you can see light at the end of the tunnel, then you can see some signs of hope in the future, though things are difficult at the moment.
When people mend fences, they try to improve or restore relations that have been damaged by disputes or arguments.
My way or the highway
This idiom is used to say that if people don't do what you say, they will have to leave or quit the project, etc.
Nothing to write home about
Something that is not special or good is nothing to write home about.
Off the wall
Something that is off the wall is unconventional.
On the factory floor
On the factory floor means the place where things are actually produced.
On the house
If you get something for free that would normally have to be bought, especially in a bar or restaurant, it is on the house.
Paper over the cracks
If you paper over the cracks, you try to make something look or work better but only deal with superficial issues, not the real underlying problems.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones
People should not criticize other people for faults that they have themselves.
Proclaim it from the rooftops
If something is proclaimed from the rooftops, it is made as widely known and as public as possible.
Suggest an Idiom
Members Get More
- Sign up for free and gain access to many more idioms and slang expressions.
Idioms Discussion Forum
English Phrasal Verbs
English Irregular Verbs
Staff & Contributors
Link to Us
Privacy & Cookies
Copyright © 2002 - 2015 UsingEnglish.com
. All rights reserved.
Generated in 0.011 seconds