English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'D
- Dine on ashes
- I someone is dining on ashes he or she is excessively focusing attention on failures or regrets for past actions.
- A dinosaur is a person who is thought to be too old for their position.
- Dip your toes in the water
- If you dip your toes in the water, you try something tentatively because you are not sure whether it will work or not.
- Dirty dog
- A dirty dog is an untrustworthy person.
- Discerning eye
- If a person has a discerning eye, they are particularly good at judging the quality of something.
- Discretion is the better part of valour
- This idiom means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems.
- Dish the dirt
- If you dish the dirt on something or someone, you make unpleasant or shocking information public.
- Do a Devon Loch
- (UK) If someone does a Devon Loch, they fail when they were very close to winning. Devon Loch was a horse that collapsed just short of the winning line of the Grand National race.
- Do a Lord Lucan
- (UK) If someone disappears without a trace or runs off, they do a Lord Lucan. (Lord Lucan disappeared after a murder)
- Do a runner
- (UK) If people leave a restaurant without paying, they do a runner.
- Do as you would be done by
- Treat and respect others as you would hope to be respected and treated by them.
- Do the needful
- (India) If you do the needful, you do what is necessary.
- Do the running
- (UK) The person who has to do the running has to make sure that things get done.
('Make the running' is also used.)
- Do the trick
- If something does the trick, it is was is needed or has the necessary effect.
- Do their dirty work
- Someone who does someone's dirty work, carries out the unpleasant jobs that the first person doesn't want to do. Someone who seems to enjoy doing this is sometimes known as a 'henchman'.
- Do time
- (UK) When someone is doing time, they are in prison.
- Do's and don't's
- The do's and don't's are what is acceptable or allowed or not within an area or issue, etc.
- Dodge the bullet
- If someone has dodged a bullet, they have successfully avoided a very serious problem.
- Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?
- (USA) (US Southern) This is a response given to an unnecessary question for which the obvious answer is yes. Example: If you were to ask an Olympic archer whether she could put an arrow in an apple at ten yards, she could answer: "Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?"('Do one-legged ducks swim in circles?' is also used.)
- Dog and pony show
- (USA) A dog and pony show is a presentation or some marketing that has lots of style, but no real content.
- Dog days
- Dog days are very hot summer days.
- Dog eat dog
- In a dog eat dog world, there is intense competition and rivalry, where everybody thinks only of himself or herself.
- Dog in the manger
- (UK) If someone acts like a dog in the manger, they don't want other people to have or enjoy things that are useless to them.
- Dog tired
- If you are dog tired, you are exhausted.
- Dog's dinner
- Something that is a dog's dinner is a real mess.
- Dog's life
- If some has a dog's life, they have a very unfortunate and wretched life.
- If a book is dog-eared, it is in bad condition, with torn pages, etc.
- Dog-whistle politics
- (AU) When political parties have policies that will appeal to racists while not being overtly racist, they are indulging in dog-whistle politics.
- Doggy bag
- If you ask for a doggy bag in a restaurant, they will pack the food you haven't eaten for you to take home.
- If a person is in the doldrums, they are depressed.
If a project or something similar is in the doldrums, it isn't making any progress.
- Dollars for doughnuts
- (USA) If something is dollars for doughnuts, it is a sure bet or certainty.
- Don't bite the hand that feeds
- When someone says this to you, they are trying to tell you not to act against those on whom you depend.
- Don't catch your chickens before they're hatched
- This means that you should wait until you know whether something has produced the results you desire, rather than acting beforehand.
('Don't count your chickens until they've hatched' is an alternative.)
- Don't cry over spilt milk
- When something bad happens and nothing can be done to help it people say, 'Don't cry over spilt milk'.
- Don't give up the day job
- This idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly.
- Don't hold your breath
- If you are told not to hold your breath, it means that you shouldn't have high expectations about something.
- Don't judge a book by the cover
- This idiom means that you should not judge something or someone by appearances, but should look deeper at what is inside and more important.
- Don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon
- If you don't know what to do, you don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon.
- Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
- This means that if you are given something, a present or a chance, you should not waste it by being too critical or examining it too closely.
- Don't mention it
- This is used as a response to being thanked, suggesting that the help given was no trouble.
- Don't mention the war
- This means that you shouldn't speak about things that could cause an argument or tension.This idiom was used in a classic episode of the much-loved British comedy series Fawlty Towers. As a consequence if you use this phrase in Britain, listeners will understand you to be referring to Germans, or just start laughing.
- Don't push my buttons!
- This can be said to someone who is starting to annoy you.
- Don't shoot the messenger
- This phrase can be used when breaking some bad news to someone and you don't want to be blamed for the news.
('Don't kill the messenger' is also used.)
- Don't stand there with curlers in your hair
- This means 'don't keep me waiting'. It's said to someone who is taking too long to get moving.
- Don't stop and kick at every dog that barks at you
- (USA) If we stop to kick at every dog that barks at us we will never arrive at our destination in life, because we are obsessed with righting insignifigant wrongs that should have no more effect on us then a dog that barks as we walk by.
- Don't sweat the small stuff
- (USA) This is used to tell people not to worry about trivial or unimportant issues.
- Don't take any wooden nickels
- (USA) This idiom is used to advise people not to be cheated or ripped off.
- 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.
- Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you
- Don't go looking for trouble or problems- let them come to you.
- Don't upset the applecart
- If you are advised not to upset the applecart, you are being told not to disturb the way things are done because it might ruin things.
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