English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
results for letter 'S
- Stool pigeon
- (USA) A stool pigeon is a police informer.
- 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.
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