- confront boldly and win, defyThey decided to face down their competitors and were able to easily stay in business.
face the music
- accept the consequences of somethingHe is going to have to face the music sooner or later.
face up to
- accept something that is not easy to acceptYou must face up to the fact that you are never going to have enough money to buy that car.
- value or price printed on a stamp/bond/paper money etc.He gave me the face value that was printed on the used stamps.
- seeming value or truth of somethingHe is a nice person but you must always take at face value what he says.
facts of life
- what one should know about sex, marriage and birthHe seems to be a little too young to know about the facts of life.
fair and square
- honestly, just, straightforwardThe British team won the game fair and square but still the other team complained.
- a likely object of aggressive interestThe company is fair game as a takeover target by other international companies.
- justice, equal and right actionHe believes in fair play and is a wonderful person to have on our team.
- honest treatmentShe was not given a fair shake at the inquiry into her behavior.
- a person who is a friend only when one is successfulHe is a fair-weather friend only and you can't rely on him if you have a problem.
- become to not work properlyThe equipment fell apart about six months after I bought it.
- move back, go backThe runner fell back from the rest of the runners when the race was half over.
fall back on something/someone
- turn to for help when something else has failedShe had to fall back on her father's money when her business had problems.
- fail to keep up with work or studies or payments etc.He fell behind with his homework at the beginning of the term and had problems throughout the year.
fall by the wayside
- give up or fail before the finishHe had a good chance of winning the competition but he fell by the wayside near the end.
- be unsuccessful, failI think that my attempt at humor fell flat and now she doesn't like me.
- begin to like very much, begin to loveHe fell for the woman at the bank but he is afraid to ask her for a date.
fall from grace
- lose approvalThe politician fell from grace with the public over the money scandal.
- argument, disagreement, quarrelWe had a falling-out during our holiday and we haven't spoken since.
fall in love with
- begin to love someoneI fell in love with her the first time that I saw her at the restaurant.
fall into line
- go and stand properly in a row (like soldiers)The students were forced to fall into line as they waited for the doors to open.
fall in with
- become associated with a bad group of peopleHe fell in with a bad group of friends and began to get lower marks.
- decreaseThe number of tourists to visit the island has fallen off recently.
fall off the wagon
- return to the consumption of alcohol or drugs after stopping for awhileHe fell off the wagon after he stopped drinking for three years.
- meet (troubles)The town had fallen on hard times before the new computer company moved to town and created many jobs.
fall out of use
- be no longer usedThat kind of stereo system has fallen out of use over the last 20 years.
fall over oneself
- be extremely eager to do something or please someoneThey fell over themselves in their effort to please their host.
fall short (of one's expectations)
- not be as good as you expected, not succeedThe new movie fell short of everyone's expectations and attendance is very low.
- fail, not happenMy plan to go abroad fell through when my father refused to lend me some money.
far and wide
- everywhere, in all directionsWe looked far and wide for the book but could not find it.
- something very differentWhat he said to my friend is a far cry from what he told me over the telephone.
- have someone else do something, send awayWe farmed out all of the printing to another company in order to save money.
- money earned quickly and easilyHe is always trying to make a fast buck without really trying to work very hard.
- con artist, clever talker who convinces others easilyHe is a fast talker so you should be careful not to believe everything that he says.
- little or no possibility, almost no chanceFat chance that he will let me use his car. He never lets me borrow anything.
(live off the) fat of the land
- have the best of everything, especially without having to work for itHe plans to move to the mountains and try and live off the fat of the land.
- a candidate supported by his home state for President etc.We voted for him because he is the favorite son of our state.
feather in one's cap
- something you achieve and are proud ofWinning the new contract was a real feather in his cap.
feather one's nest
- look after one's own interest (while holding public office or a trusted job etc.)The mayor has been feathering his nest for many years and is now very rich.
fed up with
- disgusted or bored with someone or somethingI think that he is getting fed up with the constant demands of his boss.
feed someone a line
- deceiveHe was feeding me a line about his plans to open a new restaurant downtown.
feel like a million dollars
- feel wonderfulI feel like a million dollars today so I think that I will go for a walk.
- talk or act carefully with someone and find out what he thinksI will try and feel out my boss this weekend and see what he thinks of my chance of promotion.
feel sorry for
- pityI feel sorry for him after losing his job.
feel up to (do something)
- feel able (healthy enough or rested enough) to do somethingI don't feel up to going to the game.
feet on the ground
- sensible ideasHe is a good family man and always has his feet on the ground.
few and far between
- not many, rare, few and scatteredThe gas stations were few and far between on the highway through the mountains.
- tinker, do something in an unplanned wayI tried fiddling around with the computer printer for awhile but it still won't work.
- equally, evenlyWe divided the cost of the trip fifty-fifty.
fight tooth and nail
- fight fiercely or with all one's mightHe is fighting tooth and nail to get a transfer to another department.
- depend on, be sure aboutYou can figure on about 30 people coming to the party next week.
- try to understand or solveHe finally figured out how to use the new video recorder.
fill (someone) in
- tell someone the detailsI will fill you in later about our plans for the weekend.
fill (something) in
- write words needed in blanksPlease fill in this form and give it to the receptionist.
fill one's shoes
- substitute satisfactorily forAlthough he is a good supervisor he is unable to fill the shoes of those who came before him.
- write down the facts that are asked for (in a report etc.)We were asked to fill out the forms before we could have an interview for the job.
fill the bill
- be suitable for what is requiredI think that the new equipment should fill the bill for us.
find fault with
- criticizeHe is always finding fault with everything that I do.
- learn, discoverShe is angry at me because she found out that I quit the night class.
(go over with a) fine-toothed comb
- very carefullyWe went over the apartment with a fine-toothed comb but couldn't find her watch.
finger in the pie
- part ownership or responsibilityHe has his finger in the pie of all the small companies in the area.
first come, first served
- the person who comes will have his turn first"First come, first served" she called as she put the food on the table.
- directlyI learned the news from him firsthand.
- new, shown for the first timeThere are a lot of first-run movies that I haven't had time to see yet.
- try to get or to find out (something) by hinting at itShe is always fishing for compliments when I see her at work.
fish out of water
- someone who does not fit inHe was like a fish out of water at the expensive restaurant.
- strange and suspiciousSomething is fishy with his excuse. Why did he take the day before the holiday off work?
fit as a fiddle
- in good athletic condition or healthHer grandfather is 92 years old but he is as fit as a fiddle.
fit like a glove
- fit perfectlyThe new pair of jeans that he bought fit like a glove.
fit to be tied
- very angry or upsetHe was fit to be tied when he heard that I was going to take a month off work in the summer.
fix someone up with someone
- help someone get a date by arranging a meeting for the twoI tried to fix my sister up with a date with my friend but she refused me.
- fail after a good start, end in failureThe party began to fizzle out about midnight when many people went home.
- become suddenly angry, begin again suddenlyThe fighting flared up again after the United Nations soldiers left the town.
flash in the pan
- something that makes a showy start and then failsHis sports career was a flash in the pan. Recently I haven't heard of him at all.
- have no moneyI have been flat broke since I stopped working last month.
- without hiding anything, plainly, openlyI told her flat-out that I would not go with her to the party.
flea in one's ear
- an annoying hint, an idea or answer that is not welcomeI put a flea in his ear regarding the proposal deadline that he had missed.
- a place where antiques or secondhand things are soldWe went to a flea market last Saturday to try and buy some dishes.
flesh and blood
- a close relativeShe is my own flesh and blood so of course I felt terrible when she got into trouble.
flip one's lid
- become very excited, lose one's temperHe really flipped his lid when I told him about the huge telephone bill.
- go insane, go out of one's mind, become very angryShe flipped out when she heard that I had sold her car.
fly by the seat of one's pants
- do a job instinctively rather than by using concrete informationI had to fly by the seat of my pants when the supervisor left me alone for a week.
- very happy, joyfulShe has been flying high since she heard that she had won a new car.
fly in the ointment
- a small thing that spoils enjoymentThe problem with the music was a fly in the ointment at the party.
fly off the handle
- become angryHe really flew off the handle when he saw the bill for the meal.
- unreliable (business)That new company is a real fly-by-night operation.
foam at the mouth
- be very angry (like a mad dog)He was foaming at the mouth when I told him that I had had an accident with his car.
follow in one's footsteps (tracks)
- follow someone's example, follow someone exactlyHe is following in his father's footsteps and has decided to work for a bank.
- do as someone else has done, follow someone's example, play a card of the same color and kind that another has put downHe followed suit and began to leave work early on Friday just as his boss was doing.
- continue or finish an action that one has startedHe said that he would help me paint my house but he has never followed through with his offer.
- make (one action) more successful by doing something moreHe followed up his phone call in the morning with a visit in the afternoon.
foot in the door
- an opening or opportunityI finally got a foot in the door when they accepted my application.
food for thought
- something worth thinking aboutI don't really agree with his proposal but at least it is food for thought.
- spend time playing rather than working, waste timeIf he would spend less time fooling around he would be able to get some work done.
foot the bill
- payThe company will foot the bill for his move to Chicago.
- in spite of, even withFor all the time that he spends studying his marks are still very low.
for all one is worth
- as hard as one canI will try for all I am worth to help you get the job at the supermarket.
for all the world
- for anything, for any priceFor all the world I do not know what he is trying to tell me with the notes that he writes.
for a song
- for very little moneyHe was able to buy his new car for a song.
for better or worse
- depending on how one looks at the matter, with good or bad effectsFor better or worse he has decided to quit his job and go to live in Brazil.
force one's hand
- make someone do something sooner than plannedI forced his hand and he told me what he planned to do about the new contract for our company.
- without doubt, certainly, surelyIt is for certain that he will not be playing in the game tonight.
for crying out loud
- used to show that you are surprised or angryFor crying out loud please turn your radio down a little.
for dear life
- as though afraid of losing one's lifeThe mountain climber held on to the rock for dear life as he waited for someone to rescue him.
forever and a day
- forever, alwaysIt took forever and a day to get the book that we ordered from the bookstore.
- permanentlyHe has decided to move to Los Angeles for good.
- for always, foreverHe told the boy that he could have the baseball bat for keeps.
- pay, pay outI had to fork out a lot of money to fix my car.
- hand over, giveThe robber told me to fork over my money or he was going to shoot me.
for love or money
- by any meansWe were unable to get him to agree to the proposal for love or money.
- one timeFor once he listened to what I said. Usually he ignores me.
- without doubt, certainly, surelyI will go to the movie with you for sure next week.
for that matter
- about that, with regard to thatI don't want to go shopping with you and for that matter I don't want to go anywhere with you.
for the asking
- by asking, on requestYou can get a free ticket to the concert for the asking from the front office.
for the birds
- uninteresting, something you don't likeDoing the cleaning all day is really for the birds.
for the time being
- for now, for awhileWe really need a new car but for the time being we'll have to continue using the old one.
for the world
- under any conditionsI would not want to sell my car for the world.
- ruin or spoil by stupid mistake, go wrongThere was a problem with our tickets so our plans were all fouled up.
frame of mind (good or bad)
- one's mental stateHe made sure his boss was in a good frame of mind before he asked him for the time off.
- become angry or lose control of oneselfI freaked out when I discovered that my reservations had not been made.
free and easy
- informalHe has a free and easy attitude about his work.
- great freedom to do somethingWe had a free hand in designing the new sport's program for the university.
- accept food and housing at someone else's expenseHe was angry at his brother because he was always freeloading and never worried about finding a job.
- keep from a share in something by unfriendly or dishonest treatmentThey froze him out of the profits that they made on the sale of land.
from hand to hand
- from one person to another and anotherThe plate of food went from hand to hand until finally it was all finished.
from A to Z
- know everything about somethingHe knows about cars from A to Z.
from the bottom of one's heart
- with great feeling, sincerelyI thanked him from the bottom of my heart for helping my daughter when she was sick.
from the heart
- sincerely, honestlyHe gave her some flowers with a message straight from his heart.
from now on
- from this moment forwardFrom now on I will study Italian every day.
- from the very beginningHe decided to build the house from scratch.
from time to time
- occasionallyWe go to that restaurant from time to time.
from way back
- since a long time ago, for a long timeI know him from way back. In fact we went to elementary school together.
- complete, having everything that is needed to be somethingShe became a full-fledged nurse before she went to Saudi Arabia to work for a year.
full of beans
- in high spirits, energeticShe seems to be full of beans today. She must be excited about something.
fun and games
- a very difficult task (used ironically)It was all fun and games today when I wrote my two final exams.
- the place at the back of the elbow that tingles when hitI hit my funny bone and it still hurts a little.