English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'F
- Fever pitch
- When a situation has reached fever pitch, people are extremely excited or agitated.
- Few and far between
- If things are few and far between, they happen very occasionally.
- Fiddle while Rome burns
- If people are fiddling while Rome burns, they are wasting their time on futile things while problems threaten to destroy them.
- Fifth columnist
- (UK) A fifth columnist is a member of a subversive organisation who tries to help an enemy invade.
- Fifth wheel
- (USA) A fifth wheel is something unnecessary or useless.
- Fight an uphill battle
- When you fight an uphill battle, you have to struggle against very unfavourable circumstances.
- Fight like Kilkenny cats
- When you say that people fought like Kilkenny cats, you mean they fought valiantly to the bitter end, even if they are both destroyed. For instance, ''The two political parties fought like Kilkenny cats over the matter''
- Fight tooth and nail
- If someone will fight tooth and nail for something, they will not stop at anything to get what they want.
('Fight tooth and claw' is an alternative.)
- Fighting chance
- If you have a fighting chance, you have a reasonable possibility of success.
- Find your feet
- When you are finding your feet, you are in the process of gaining confidence and experience in something.
- Finders keepers, losers weepers
- Whoever finds something can keep it. This is often shortened to 'finders keepers'.
- Fine and dandy
- (UK) If thing's are fine and dandy, then everything is going well.
- Fine as frog's hair
- (USA) If something is as fine as frog's hair, it is very delicate and fine. The phrase is facetious as frogs do not possess hair.
- Fine tuning
- Small adjustments to improve something or to get it working are called fine tuning.
- Fine words butter no parsnips
- This idiom means that it's easy to talk, but talk is not action.
- Fine-tooth comb
- If you examine or search something with a fine-tooth comb, you do it very thoroughly or carefully.('Fine-toothed comb' is also used.)
- Finger in the pie
- If you have a finger in the pie, you have an interest in something.
- Fingers and thumbs
- If you are all fingers and thumbs, you are being clumsy and not very skilled with your hands.
- Fire away
- If you want to ask someone a question and they tell you to fire away, they mean that you are free to ask what you want.
- Fire in the hole!
- This is used as a warning when a planned explosion is about to happen.
- Fire on all cylinders
- If something is firing on all cylinders, it is going as well as it could.
- First come, first served
- This means there will be no preferential treatment and a service will be provided to those that arrive first.
- First out of the gate
- When someone is first out of the gate, they are the first to do something that others are trying to do.
- First port of call
- The first place you stop to do something is your first port of call.
- First up, best dressed
- First up, best dressed comes from big families; the first child awake wore the best clothes, so if you are first to do something, you are ahead or have an advantage. Similar to the early bird catches the worm.
(First in, best dressed is also used.)
- Fish for compliments
- Usually said of someone who puts themselves down (similar to false modesty) in the hope that others will contradict them, and in the process, compliment them.
Sam: I'm no good at drawing!Judy: Nonsense! You're an excellent artist!Bob: Aw, he was just fishing for compliments.
- Fish in troubled waters
- Someone who fishes in troubled waters tries to takes advantage of a shaky or unstable situation. The extremists were fishing in troubled waters during the political uncertainty in the country.
- Fish or cut bait
- (USA) This idiom is used when you want to tell someone that it is time to take action.
- Fish out of water
- If you are placed in a situation that is completely new to you and confuses you, you are like a fish out of water.
- If there is something fishy about someone or something, there is something suspicious; a feeling that there is something wrong, though it isn't clear what it is.
- Fit as a butcher's dog
- Someone who's very healthy, fit or physically attractive is as fit as a butcher's dog.
- Fit as a fiddle
- If you are fit as a fiddle, you are in perfect health.
- Fit for a king
- If something is fit for a king, it is of the very highest quality or standard.
- Fit like a glove
- If something fits like a glove, it is suitable or the right size.
- Fit of pique
- If someone reacts badly because their pride is hurt, this is a fit of pique.
- Fit the bill
- If something fits the bill, it is what is required for the task.
- Fit to be tied
- If someone is fit to be tied, they are extremely angry.
- Five o'clock shadow
- A five o'clock shadow is the facial hair
that a man gets if he doesn't shave for a day or two.
- Flash as a rat with a gold tooth
- (AU) Someone who's as flash as a rat with a gold tooth tries hard to impress people by their appearance or bahaviour.
- Flash in the pan
- If something is a flash in the pan, it is very noticeable but doesn't last long, like most singers, who are very successful for a while, then forgotten.
- Flat as a pancake
- It is so flat that it is like a pancake- there is no head on that beer it is as flat as a pancake.
- Flat out
- If you work flat out, you work as hard and fast as you possibly can.
- Flat out like a lizard drinking
- (AU) An Australian idiom meaning extremely busy, which is a word play which humorously mixes two meanings of the term flat out.
- Fleet of foot
- If someone is fleet of foot, they are very quick.
- Flesh and blood
- Your flesh and blood are your blood relatives, especially your immediate family.
- Flogging a dead horse
- (UK) If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they're flogging a dead horse.
This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work.
- Flowery speech
- Flowery speech is full of lovely words, but may well lack substance.
- Flutter the dovecotes
- (UK) Something that flutters the dovecots causes alarm or excitement.
- Fly by the seat of one's pants
- If you fly by the seat of one's pants, you do something difficult even though you don't have the experience or training required.
- Fly in the face of
- Something that goes against what we know or expect, or what is normal or senible, it flies in the face of it.
If you have a question about idioms, ask us about it in our Idioms Discussion Forum. If you know of an idiom that you would like to be listed here, please use our online form to suggest an idiom.
Members Get More
- Sign up for free and gain access to many more idioms and slang expressions. Register now