English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'S
- Stop a clock
- A face that could (or would) stop a clock is very ugly indeed.
- Stop cold
- To stop suddenly out of surprise.
- Stop on a dime
- (USA) If something like a vehicle stops on a dime, it stops very quickly and accurately.
- Stop the music
- 'Stop the music' is a way of telling people to stop everything that they're doing as something important has happened or become known.
- Storm in a teacup
- If someone exaggerates a problem or makes a small problem seem far greater than it really is, then they are making a storm in a teacup.
- Straddle the fence
- To straddle the fence is to be indecisive, often to the point where it becomes painful not to make a decision.
- Straight and narrow
- The straight and narrow is the correct, conventional and law-abiding path.('Strait and narrow' was the original form and is still used, but is less common.)
- Straight as an arrow
- A person who is as straight as an arrow is extremely honest and genuine.
- Straight face
- If someone keeps a straight face, they remain serious and do not show emotion or amusement.
- Straight from the shoulder
- If someone talks straight from the shoulder, they talk honestly and plainly.
- Straight red
- If someone is given a straight red, they are expelled from something immediately and without warning- it comes from the red card shown to football players when they are expelled from a game.
- Strain every nerve
- If you strain every nerve, you make a great effort to achieve something.
- Strange at the best of times
- To describe someone or something as really weird or unpleasant in a mild way.
- Strapped for cash
- If you're strapped for cash, you are short of money.
- Straw man
- A straw man is a weak argument that is easily defeated. It can also be a person who is used as to give an illegal or inappropriate activity an appearance of respectability.
- Straw poll
- A straw poll is a small unofficial survey or ballot to find out what people think about an issue.
- Straw that broke the camel's back
- The straw that broke the camel's back is the problem that made you lose your temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something.
- Streets ahead
- If people are streets ahead of their rivals, they are a long way in front.
- Strike a chord
- If strikes a chord, it is familiar to you, reminds you of something or is connected to you somehow.
- Strike while the iron is hot
- If you strike while the iron is hot you do something when things are going well for you and you have a good chance to succeed.
- Stroke of luck
- When something fortunate happens unexpectedly, it is a stroke of luck.
- Stroll down memory lane
- If you take a stroll down memory lane, you talk about the past or revisit places that were important to you in the past.
(You can also 'take a trip down memory lane'.)
- Strong as an ox
- Someone who's exceedingly strong physically is said to be as strong as an ox.
- Stubborn as a mule
- Someone who will not listen to other people's advice and won't change their way of doing things is as stubborn as a mule.
- Stuffed shirt
- A stuffed shirt is a person who is very serious or formal.
- Stuffed to the gills
- If someone is stuffed to the gills, they have eaten a lot and are very full.
- Succeed in the clutch
- If you succeed in the clutch, you perform at a crucial time; it is particularly used in sports for the decisive moments of the game. The opposite is 'fail in the clutch.'
- Suck hind teat
- A person who sucks hind teat is at a disadvantage or considered worse or less important that others.
- Sunday driver
- A Sunday driver drives very slowly and makes unexpected manoeuvres.
- Sure as eggs is eggs
- These means absolutely certain, and we do say 'is' even though it is grammatically wrong.
- If something is sure-fire, it is certain to succeed.
('Surefire' is also used.)
- Swan song
- A swan song is a final act before dying or ending something.
- A person's swansong is their final achievement or public appearance.
- Swear like a sailor
- Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a sailor.
- Swear like a trooper
- Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a trooper.
- Sweat blood
- If you sweat blood, you make an extraordinary effort to achieve something.
- Sweat bullets
- (USA) If someone is sweating bullets, they're very worried or frightened.
- Sweat like a pig
- If someone is sweating like a pig, they are perspiring (sweating) a lot.
- Sweep off your feet
- If you are swept off your feet, you lose control emotionally when you fall in love or are really impressed.
- Sweep things under the carpet
- If people try to ignore unpleasant things and forget about them, they sweep them under the carpet.
- Sweet as a gumdrop
- This means that something or someone is very nice or pretty.
- Sweet tooth
- If you have a sweet tooth, you like eating food with sugar in it.
- If you sweet-talk someone, you use persuasion and charm to get what you want.
- Sweeten the pot
- If you sweeten the pot, you increase the stakes or make something more desirable.
- Swim against the tide
- If you swim against the tide, you try to do something that is very difficult because there is a lot of opposition to you.
('Go against the tide' is an alternative form.)
- Swim with the fishes
- If someone is swimming with the fishes, they are dead, especially if they have been murdered.
'Sleep with the fishes' is an alternative form.
- Swim with the tide
- If you swim with the tide, you do the same as people around you and accept the general consensus.
('Go with the tide' is an alternative form.)
- If things are going swimmingly, they are going very well.
- Swing into action
- When you swing into action, you are quickly beginning to act or operate something.
- Swing the lead
- (UK) If you swing the lead, you pretend to be ill or do not do your share of the work.
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