Home Reference Idioms S Idioms Beginning With: 'S'
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See the elephant If you see the elephant, you experience much more than you wish to; it is often used when a soldier goes into a warzone for the first time. See the light When someone sees the light, they realise the truth. See which way the cat jumps (AU) If you see which way the cat jumps, you postpone making a decision or acting until you have seen how things are developing. See you anon (UK) If somebody says this when leaving, they expect to see you again soon. See you later A casual way of saying to friends I'll see you again, sometime, (without a definite date or time having been set) - this is often abbreviated to 'Later' or 'Laters' as an alternative way of saying goodbye. See you on the big drum A good night phrase to children. Seed money Seed money is money that is used to start a small business. Seeing is believing This idiom means that people can only really believe what they experience personally. Seen better days If something's seen better days, it has aged badly and visibly compared to when it was new. The phrase can also be used to describe people. Sell down the river If you sell someone down the river, you betray their trust. Sell like hot cakes If a product is selling very well, it is selling like hot cakes. Sell like hotcakes If something is selling like hotcakes, it is very popular and selling very well. Sell someone a pup If you are sold a pup, you buy, accept or believe something that turns out to be worthless. Sell your birthright for a mess of pottage If a person sells their birthright for a mess of pottage, they accept some trivial financial or other gain, but lose something much more important. 'Sell your soul for a mess of pottage' is an alternative form. Sell your soul If someone sells their soul, their betray the most precious beliefs. Selling point A selling point is a property of something that makes it more desirable. Send someone packing If you send someone packing, you send them away, normally when they want something from you. Send someone to Coventry (UK) If you send someone to Coventry, you refuse to talk to them or co-operate with them. Senior moment A memory lapse or a momentary confusion in someone who is no longer young is a senior moment. Separate the sheep from the goats If you separate the sheep from the goats, you sort out the good from the bad. Separate the wheat from the chaff When you separate the wheat from the chaff, you select what is useful or valuable and reject what is useless or worthless. Serve time When someone is serving time, they are in prison. Serve your country When someone is serving their country, they have enrolled in the military. Set a thief to catch a thief The best person to catch a criminal is another criminal as they understand how criminals work. Set in stone If something is set in stone, it cannot be changed or altered. Set the stage If you create the conditions for something to happen or take place, you set the stage for it. Set the Thames on fire If you do something remarkable, you set the Thames on fire, though this expression is used in the negative; someone who is dull or undistiguished will never set the Thames on fire. Set the wheels in motion When you set the wheels in motion, you get something started. Set your sights on If you set your sights on someone or something, it is your ambition to beat them or to achieve that goal. Set your teeth on edge If something, especially sounds, sets your teeth on edge, you react very negatively to it. Settle a score If you settle a score, you take revenge for something that someone did to you in the past. Settle your affairs When you make arrangements for what will happen after your death to your property, etc, and any wishes you have, you settle your affairs. Settled on your lees This is an old biblical idiom but still used. It refers to the lees (dregs, sediments) of wine or other liquids that settle in the bottom of the containing vessel if it is not disturbed. Hence, the idiom refers to someone or something that is at ease, not disturbed, or worried. Sometimes this also has reference to a false assurance. Seven sheets to the wind If someone is seven sheets to the wind, they are very drunk. Seventh heaven If you are in seventh heaven, you are extremely happy. Shades of meaning Shades of meaning is a phrase used to describe the small, subtle differences in meaning between similar words or phrases; 'kid' and 'youth' both refer to young people, but carry differing views and ideas about young people. Shaggy dog story A shaggy dog story is a joke which is a long story with a silly end. Shake a leg If you shake a leg, you are out of bed and active. It can be used to tell someone to hurry up. Shanks's pony (UK) If you go somewhere by Shanks's pony, you walk there. Shape up or ship out If someone has to shape up or ship out, they have to improve or leave their job, organisation, etc. Sharks are circling If the sharks are circling, then something is in danger and its enemies are getting ready for the kill. Sharp as a tack (USA) If someone is as sharp as a tack, they are very clever indeed. Sharp cookie Someone who isn't easily deceived or fooled is a sharp cookie. Sharpen your pencil (USA) If someone says this when negotiating, they want the other person to make a better offer, a lower price. She'll be apples (AU) A very popular old Australian saying meaning everything will be all right, often used when there is some doubt. Shed light If you shed light on something, you make it clearer and easier to understand. Shifting sands If the sands are shifting, circumstances are changing. Shilly-shally If people shilly-shally, they can't make up their minds about something and put off the decision. Ship came in If your ship has come in, something very good has happened to you. Shipshape and Bristol fashion If things are shipshape and Bristol fashion, they are in perfect working order. If you have a question about idioms, ask us about it in our . If you know of an idiom that you would like to be listed here, please use our online form to Idioms Discussion Forum suggest an idiom. Members Get More
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