Religion Idioms (Page 1)

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Act of God
An act of God is something like an earthquake or floods that human beings cannot prevent or control.
Adam's ale
(dated, humorous) water
All hell broke loose
When all hell breaks loose, there is chaos, confusion and trouble.
Some use 'Amen' or 'Amen to that' as a way of agreeing with something that has just been said.
At the bottom of the totem pole
(USA) If someone is at the bottom of the totem pole, they are unimportant. Opposite is at the top of the totem pole.
Baptism of fire
A baptism of fire was a soldier's first experience of shooting. Any unpleasant experience undergone, usually where it is also a learning experience, is a baptism of fire.
Believe in the hereafter
A belief in the hereafter is a belief in the afterlife, or life after death. It is, therefore, associated with religions and the soul's journey to heaven or to hell, whichever way being just deserts for the person based on how they led their life.
Better the devil you know
This is the shortened form of the full idiom, 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't', and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
If you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a dilemma; a difficult choice.
Broad church
If an organisation is described as broad church, it is tolerant and accepting of different opinions and ideas.
Catch hell
If you catch hell, you get into trouble or get scolded. ('Catch heck' is also used.)
Chapter and verse
When you know something very well, and can quote it, you know it chapter and verse.
Cold day in hell
This is used as a prediction there is no chance some event or condition will ever happen.'There will be a cold day in hell before he manages it.'
Come hell or high water
If someone says they'll do something come hell or high water, they mean that nothing will stop them, no matter what happens.
Cross to bear
If someone has a cross to bear, they have a heavy burden of responsibility or a problem that they alone must cope with.
Devil finds work for idle hands
When people say that the devil finds work for idle hands, they mean that if people don't have anything to do with their time, they are more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality.
Devil is in the detail
When people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on.
Devil may care
If you live a devil-may-care life it means you are willing to take more risks than most people.
Devil's advocate
If someone plays Devil's advocate in an argument, they adopt a position they don't believe in just for the sake of the argument
Doubting Thomas
A Doubting Thomas is someone who only believes what they see themselves, not what they are told.
Dry as a wooden god
(AU) Very dry area or very thirsty: That desert is as dry as a wooden god.
Face your demons
If you face your demons, you confront your fears or something that you have been trying hard to avoid.
Fall from grace
If a person falls from grace, they lose favor with someone.
Fool's paradise
A fool's paradise is a false sense of happiness or success.
From your lips to God's ears
When you say this to someone, it means that you hope what they are saying will come true.("From your mouth to God's ears" is also used.
Heaven knows
If you ask someone a question and they say this, they have no idea.
Heaven knows
Used when someone does not feel recognized or appreciated. For example; heaven knows how hard I work to feed my family.
Heaven only knows
The answer to a question is not or cannot be known. For example, heaven only knows when the war will end.
Heavenly bodies
The heavenly bodies are the stars.
Hell for leather
If you do something hell for leather, especially running, you do it as fast as you can.
Hell in a handcart
If something is going to hell in a handcart, it is getting worse and worse, with no hope of stopping the decline.
Someone who is holier-than-thou believes that they are morally superior to other people.
Holy smoke!
This is a way of expressing surprise: "Holy smoke! Look at all of those geese!"
Hope in hell
If something hasn't got a hope in hell, it stands absolutely no chance of succeeding.
Hot as Hades
If something's as hot as Hades, it's extremely hot.
Idle hands are the devil's handiwork
When someone is not busy, or being productive, trouble is bound to follow.
If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed
If something cannot or will not happen the easy way, then sometimes it must be done the hard way.
If you lie down with the Devil, you will wake up in hell
This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.
Lap of the gods
If something is in the lap of the gods, it is beyond our control and fate will decide the outcome.
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.
Lord willing and the creek don't rise
Pertains to the ability to accomplish a task or meet an obligation, barring unforseen complications. Example: "I will be at work tomorrow, Lord willing and the creek don't rise."
Man Of God
A man of God is a clergyman.
Man of the cloth
A man of the cloth is a priest.
Man proposes, God disposes
Your fate lies in the hands of God.
Manna from heaven
When something fortunate or profitable happens easilyor unexpectedly, it is like manna from heaven.
Move heaven and earth
This expression indicates a person's determined intention of getting a work done in spite of all odds he may face. He will use all and every means to accomplish the target. Example: He moved heaven and earth to get his literary work recognised by the committee of experts.
Ninth circle of hell
In Dante's Inferno, the ninth circle of hell is the centre where the worst punishments are found, so it is used idiomatically for something that couldn't get worse.
Not a snowball's chance in hell
There is absolutely no possibility of something hapening if there's not a snowball's chance in hell.
Pastoral care
This is used in education to describe the aspect of care offered to pupils that cover things besides learning.
Poisoned chalice
If someone is given a poisoned chalice, they are given a job or task which appears attractive but is actually doomed to failure or beset with problems that will damage their reputation or harm them.

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