Idioms Beginning With: 'P'
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Packed like sardines
If a place is extremely crowded, people are packed like sardines, or packed in like sardines.
Paddle your own canoe
If you paddle your own canoe, you do things for yourself without outside help.
A book so interesting that you can't stop reading it is a page turner.
Pain in the neck
If someone is very annoying and always disturbing you, they are a pain in the neck.
Pain in the butt, or pain in the ass (USA), and Pain in the arse (UK) are less polite alternative forms.
Paint the town red
If you go out for a night out with lots of fun and drinking, you paint the town red.
Paint yourself into a corner
If someone paints themselves into a corner, they get themselves into a mess.
A painted Jezebel is a scheming woman.
If you open a Pandora's box, something you do causes all sorts of trouble that you hadn't anticipated.
Paper over the cracks
If you paper over the cracks, you try to make something look or work better but only deal with superficial issues, not the real underlying problems.
A paper tiger is a person, country, institution, etc, that looks powerful, but is actually weak.
Par for the course
If something is par for the course, it is what you expected it would be. If it is above par, it is better, and if it is below par, it is worse.
If you learn something parrot fashion, you learn it word for word. A parrot is a bird from South America that can talk.
Part and parcel
If something is part and parcel of your job, say, it is an essential and unavoidable part that has to be accepted.
Part of the furniture
If someone or something is part of the furniture of a place, they have been there for so long that they seem a natural part of it.
If something passes muster, it meets the required standard.
Pass the buck
If you pass the buck, you avoid taking responsibility by saying that someone else is responsible.
Pass the hat
If you pass the hat, you ask a people in a group to give money.
Pass the time of day
If you pass the time of day with somebody, you stop and say hello, enquire how they are and other such acts of social politeness.
This is used in education to describe the aspect of care offered to pupils that cover things besides learning.
Patience of Job
If something requires the patience of Job, it requires great patience.
Pay on the nail
If you pay on the nail, you pay promptly in cash.
If some is paid peanuts, their salary is very low.
Pay the piper
When you pay the piper, you have to accept the consequences of something that you have done wrong or badly.
Pay through the nose
If you pay through the nose for something, you pay a very high price for it.
Pay your dues
If you have paid your dues, you have had your own struggles and earned your place or position.
Pea soup or pea souper can be used to describe dense fog.
An audience that interrupts, boos or heckles a performer, speaker, etc, is a peanut gallery.
Pearl of wisdom
A pearl of wisdom is a good or important piece of advice, but it is often used in an ironic way when someone gives advice that is very obvious or not very useful.
The pecking order is the order of importance or rank.
A peeping Tom is someone who tries to look through other people's windows without being seen in order to spy on people in their homes.
Pen is mightier than the sword
The idiom 'the pen is mightier than the sword' means that words and communication are more powerful than wars and fighting.
Pennies on the dollar
If something is pennies on the dollar, it's much cheaper than it cost originally.
Something that is very unimportant is penny ante.
A penny pincher is a mean person or who is very frugal.
Penny wise, pound foolish
Someone who is penny wise, pound foolish can be very careful or mean with small amounts of money, yet wasteful and extravagant with large sums.
Someone who enjoys interacting with people as part of their job
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones
People should not criticize other people for faults that they have themselves.
When someone gives you a pep talk it is to build you up to help you accomplish something. In sports a coach might give a player a pep talk before the game to bolster his confidence. At work the boss might give you a pep talk to get you to do a better job.
England is known to some as perfidious Albion, implying that it is not trustworthy in its dealings with foreigners.
Perish the thought
Perish the thought is an expression meaning that you really hope something will not happen.
A pet peeve is something that irritates an individual greatly.
A photo finish is when two contestants (usually in a race) finish at almost exactly the same time, making it difficult to determine the winner. (The saying stems from the practice of taking a photograph when the winners cross the finish line to determine who was ahead at the time.)
If you pick holes in a plan,theory, argument, etc, you find problems with it.
Pick of the litter
The best person or item in a group is the pick of the litter.
Pick someone's brains
If you pick someone's brains, you ask them for advice, suggestions and information about something they know about.
Pick up the pace
To speed things up
Pick up the tab
A person who pays for everyone picks up the tab.
A pick-up game is something unplanned where people respond to events as they happen.
When something is exactly as it should be it is said to be picture perfect.
Pie in the sky
If an idea or scheme is pie in the sky, it is utterly impractical.
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