English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Showing 101-150 of 203 results for letter 'P'
Politically correct
Things or people that are politically correct use language that will not cause offence.
Poor as a church mouse
If someone is as poor as a church mouse, they are very poor indeed.
Pop the question
When someone pops the question, they ask someone to marry them.
Pop your clogs
When someone pops their clogs, they die.
Pork barrel
Pork barrel politics involves investing money in an area to get political support rather than using the money for the common good.
Post-haste
Post-haste means as quickly as possible.
Pot calling the kettle black
If someone hypocritically criticises a person for something that they themselves do, then it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Pot-luck
If you take pot-luck, you take whatever happens to be available at the time.
Pound of flesh
If someone wants their pound of flesh, the force someone to pay or give back something owed, even though they don't need it and it will cause the other person a lot of difficulty.
Pour oil on troubled waters
If someone pours oil on troubled waters, they try to calm things down.
Powder your nose
If somebody goes to powder your nose, it is a euphemism for going to the lavatory (toilet).
Powers that be
The powers that be are the people who are in charge of something.
Practical joke
A practical joke is a trick played on someone that is meant to be funny for people watching, though normally embarrassing for the person being tricked.
Practise what you preach
If you practise what you preach, you do what you say other people should do.(In American English, the verb is 'practice')
Preaching to the choir
If someone preaches to the choir, they talking about a subject or issue with which their audience already agrees. ('Preaching to the converted' is an alternative form.)
Presence of mind
If someone behaves calmly and rationally in difficult circumstances, they show presence of mind.
Press the flesh
When people, especially politicians, press the flesh, they meet members of the public and shake their hands, usually when trying to get support.
Pressed for time
If you are pressed for time, you are in a hurry or working against a very tight schedule.
Prick up your ears
If you prick up your ears, you listen very carefully.  ('Pick up your ears' is also used.)
Pride goes before a fall
Excessive pride or confidence can allow people to make mistakes or go wrong.
Prim and proper
Someone who is prim and proper always behaves in the correct way and never breaks the rules of etiquette.
Primrose path
The primrose path is an easy and pleasurable lifestyle, but one that ends in unpleasantness and problems.
Prince charming
A prince charming is the perfect man in a woman's life.
Problem is thirty
If a problem is 30, the problem is the person who sits 30 cm from the computer screen. It is used to describe people that lack technical knowledge and can be used when you insult someone who's having computer problems.
Proclaim it from the rooftops
If something is proclaimed from the rooftops, it is made as widely known and as public as possible.
Prodigal son
A prodigal son is a young man who wastes a lot on money on a lavish lifestyle. If the prodigal son returns, they return to a better way of living.
Proof of the pudding is in the eating
This means that something can only be judged when it is tested or by its results. (It is often shortened to 'Proof of the pudding'.)
Pros and cons
Pros and cons are arguments for or against a particular issue. Pros are arguments which aim to promote the issue, while cons suggest points against it. The term has been in use since the 16th century and is a shortening of a Latin phrase, pro et contra, which means “for and against.” Considering the pros and cons of an issue is a very useful way to weigh the issue thoughtfully and reach an informed decision.
Proud as a peacock
Someone who is as proud as a peacock is excessively proud.
Pull a rabbit out of your hat
If you pull a rabbit out of a hat, you do something that no one was expecting.
Pull in the reins
When you pull in the reins, you slow down or stop something that has been a bit out of control.
Pull no punches
If you pull no punches, you hold nothing back.
Pull numbers out of your ass
(USA) If sopmeone pulls numbers out of their ass, they give unreliable or unsubstantiated figures to back their argument.
Pull out all the stops
If you pull out all the stops, you do everything you possibly can to achieve the result you want.
Pull out of the fire
(USA) If you pull something out of the fire, you save or rescue it.
Pull rank
A person of higher position or in authority pulls rank, he or she exercises his/her authority, generally ending any discussion and ignoring other people's views.
Pull someone's leg
If you pull someone's leg, you tease them, but not maliciously.
Pull strings
If you pull strings, you use contacts you have got to help you get what you want.
Pull the fat from the fire
If you pull the fat from the fire, you help someone in a difficult situation.
Pull the other one, it's got brass bells on
This idiom is way of telling somebody that you don't believe them. The word 'brass' is optional.
Pull the pin
If you pull the pin, you put an end to something, quit or resign.
Pull the plug
If the plug is pulled on something like a project, it is terminated prematurely, often by stopping funding.
Pull the trigger
The person who pulls the trigger is the one who does the action that closes or finishes something.
Pull the wool over someone's eyes
If you pull the wool over someone's eyes, you deceive or cheat them.
Pull up your socks
If you aren't satisfied with someone and want them to do better, you can tell them to pull up their socks.
Pull your chain
(USA) If someone pulls your chain, they take advantage of you in an unfair way or do something to annoy you.
Pull your finger out!
(UK) If someone tells you to do this, they want you to hurry up. ('Get your finger out' is also used.)
Pull your punches
If you pull your punches, you do not use all the power or authority at your disposal.
Pull your weight
If someone is not pulling their weight, they aren't making enough effort, especially in group work.
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps
If you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you make the effort to improve things for yourself.

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