English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'L
- Labor of love
- A labor of love is a project or task undertaking for the interest or pleasure in doing it rather than the reward, financial or otherwise.
- Labour of love
- A labour of love is a project or task undertaking for the interest or pleasure in doing it rather than the reward, financial or otherwise.
- Lame duck
- If something or someone is a lame duck, they are in trouble.
- Land of nod
- If someone has gone to the land of nod, they have fallen asleep or gone to bed.
- Landslide victory
- A landslide victory is a victory in an election by a very large margin.
- Lap dog
- A lap dog is a person who is eager to please another at the expense of his or her own needs in order to maintain a position of privilege or favor.
- Lap of the gods
- If something is in the lap of the gods, it is beyond our control and fate will decide the outcome.
- Larger than life
- If something is excessive or exaggerated, it is larger than life.
- Last hurrah
- If an elderly person does something special before they die, it is a last hurrah.
- Last laugh
- The person who has the last laugh ends up with the the advantage in a situation after some setbacks.
- Last straw
- The last straw is the final problem that makes someone lose their temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something. It comes from an Arabic story, where a camel was loaded with straw until a single straw placed on the rest of the load broke its back.
- A last-ditch attempt is a desperate attempt that will probably fail anyway.
- Late bloomer
- When someone does not obtain success with their interests, talents, or personality until later in their lives, we say they are a late bloomer.
- Laugh a minute
- Someone who is a laugh a minute is very funny.
- Laugh like a drain
- (UK) If you laugh very loudly, you laugh like a drain.
- Laugh to see a pudding crawl
- (UK) Someone who would laugh to see a pudding crawl is easily amused and will laugh at anything.
- Laugh up your sleeve
- If you laugh up your sleeve, you laugh at someone secretly.
- Laughing stock
- If someone becomes a laughing stock they do something so stupid or wrong that no one can take them seriously and people scorn and laugh at them.
- Laughter is the best medicine
- Laughing is often helpful for healing, especially emotional healing.
- Law of unintended consequences
- Events and/or actions that result from the implementation of a law or rule that the makers of the law did not expect.
- Law unto yourself
- If somebody's a law unto themselves, they do what they believe is right regardless of what is generally accepted as correct.
- Lay a glove on
- If you lay a glove on someone, you strike a blow against them in an argument, dispute, etc. (Mostly used in the negative)
- Lay down the law
- If someone lays down the law, they tell people what to do and are authoritarian.
- Lay it on thick
- If someone lays it on thick, they make an emotion or experience seem more important or serious than it really is.
- Lay of the land
- The lay of the land is the way something is organised, runs, is arranged, etc.
('The lie of the land' is also used.)
- Lay on the table
- This phrase occurs in the official records of meetings or deliberations of various government bodies. If a proposal or motion is laid on the table, it is essentially a euphemism, meaning that "nothing further will be done in this matter" or "we are not going to do anything about this" or "we refuse the petition".
- Lay waste
- To lay waste to something is to destroy it.
- Lead someone up the garden path
- If someone leads you up the garden path, they deceive you, or give you false information that causes you to waste your time.
'Lead someone down the garden path' is also used.
- Lead with the chin
- If someone leads with their chin, they speak or behave without fear of the consequences.
- Leading edge
- If something is on the leading edge, it is using the most advanced technology available.
- Lean and mean
- An organisation that is lean and mean has no excess or unnecessary elements and is very competitive.
- Learn the ropes
- If you are learning the ropes, you are learning how to do something.
- Leave no stone unturned
- If you look everywhere to find something, or try everything to achieve something, you leave no stone unturned.
- Leave well alone
- If you leave something well alone, you keep a safe distance from it, either physically or metaphorically.
- Left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing
- If the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, then communication within a company, organisation, group, etc, is so bad that people don't know what the others are doing.
- Left in the dark
- If you are left in the dark about something, you aren't given the information that you should have.
- Left to your own devices
- If someone is left to their own devices, they are not controlled and can do what they want.
- Left-handed compliment
- A left-handed compliment is one that sounds like praise but has an insulting meaning.
('Backhanded compliment' is an alternative form.)
- Legend in your own lunchtime
- Somebody who becomes a legend in their own lifetime acquires fame, but often only to a select or specialist audience, while they are still alive.
- Lend an ear
- If you lend an ear, you listen to what someone has to say.
('Lend your ear' is an alternative form.)
- Leopard can't change its spots
- This idiom means that people cannot change basic aspects of their character, especially negative ones.
("A leopard doesn't change its spots" is also used.)
- Lesser of two evils
- Something that is the lesser of two evils, is an unpleasant option, but not as bad as the other.
- Let alone
- This is used to emphasise how extreme something could be:
'We hadn't got the money to phone home, let alone stay in a hotel.'
This emphasises the utter impossibility of staying in a hotel.
- Let bygones be bygones
- If people decide to let bygones be bygones, they decide to forget old problems or grievances they have with each other.
- Let sleeping dogs lie
- If someone is told to let sleeping dogs lie, it means that they shouldn't disturb a situation as it would result in trouble or complications.
- Let the best be the enemy of the good
- If the desire for an unattainable perfection stops someone from choosing good possibilities, they let the best be the enemy of the good.
- Let the cat out of the bag
- If you reveal a secret, you let the cat out of the bag.
- Let the chips fall where they may
- This means that we shouldn't try to control events, because destiny controls them.
- Let the devil take the hindmost
- This idiom means that you should think of yourself and not be concerned about other people; look after yourself and let the devil take the hindmost.
- Let the dust settle
- If you let the dust settle, or wait till the dust settles, you wait until things have become calmer or have returned to normality after conflict or a problem.
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