A Idioms

Idioms Index | A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

about to do something

- on the point of doing something

She was about to leave when the phone rang.

about time

- something that should have happened earlier

It is about time that you returned that book to me.


- forgetful

My grandfather is very absent-minded and often forgets his key.

add up

- seem consistent or reasonable

The things that he said about his boss don't really add up.

ahead of time

- early

We started the meeting ahead of time so we could go home early.

air one's dirty laundry (linen) in public

- make public something embarrassing that should be kept secret

The dinner party became uncomfortable when the host began to air his colleagues' dirty laundry in public.

all along

- all the time

I knew all along that he would not get the promotion.

all at once

- suddenly, without warning

All at once the fire alarm rang so we had to leave the building.

all day long

- the whole day

She has been sitting and waiting for the mail to arrive all day long.

all ears

- eager to listen to someone

Okay, I'm all ears, please tell me about the party.

all in all

- in summary, after considering everything

We had a few problems but all in all the meeting was successful.

all of a sudden

- suddenly, without advance warning

All of a sudden it became cloudy and began to rain.

all right

- okay, satisfactory

She said that it would be all right for me to bring my friend to the party.

all the time

- continually

She asks for money all the time but I don't like to give it to her.

all thumbs

- have difficulty fixing things or working with one's hands, clumsy

He is all thumbs when it comes to fixing things around the house.

an arm and a leg

- (cost) a large amount of money

His new car must have cost him an arm and a leg.

apple of one's eye

- one's favorite

His youngest daughter is the apple of his eye.

as a rule

- usually, as a habit

As a rule I usually get up at 7:00 AM every morning.

as far as

- to the extent or degree that

As far as I know he will be here in a few minutes.

ask for trouble

- behave in a way that trouble is likely

He is asking for trouble if he misses another class.

asleep at the switch

- not alert to an opportunity

I think he was asleep at the switch. He didn't even know that the job was available so he never applied for it.

as long as

- provided that, on condition that

As long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car.

as the crow flies

- by the most direct way, along a straight line between two places

As the crow flies it is about 6 kilometers between my house and my company.

as usual

- most of the time, as is the custom

As usual, she forgot to bring her book to class.

as well as

- in addition to

Please bring your swimming suit as well as your towel.

as yet

- until now, up to the present

As yet, she has not told me about her plans to leave the company.

at cross purposes

- have opposite ways to do something, opposing goals

They are at cross purposes and are always arguing about what to do.

at fault

- be responsible or to blame for something

The truck driver was at fault in the terrible accident.

at first

- at the beginning

At first she didn't want to go to a movie but later she changed her mind.

at first blush

- when first seen, without careful study

At first blush he seemed like a good worker but later we had many problems with him.

at heart

- basically, fundamentally

She is a very nice person at heart although many people dislike her.

at home

- in one's house

I'm sorry but I left my money at home. Can you lend me some money?

at last

- finally, after a long time

I was waiting all morning for her call but at last it came.

at loggerheads

- having a quarrel, opposing each other

We have been at loggerheads over their plans to build a new office complex.

at odds

- in disagreement

He has been at odds with his boss over the new sales territory.

at someone's beck and call

- always ready to serve somebody

His eldest daughter is always at his beck and call when he spends an evening at home.

at the end of one's rope

- at the limit of one's ability to cope

I am at the end of my rope about what to do about my current situation at work.

attend to someone

- take care or deal with someone

The doctor attended to the other patient before he got to my mother.