rack one's brains
- try hard to think or remember somethingI have been racking my brains all day trying to remember his name.
- a free ticket to an event in place of one cancelled because of rainWe received two rain checks to the baseball game after it was cancelled because of the rain.
- a promise to repeat an invitation at a later dateI didn't have time to go to the restaurant with my friend so I took a rain check instead.
raining cats and dogs
- raining very hardIt has been raining cats and dogs all morning.
raise a fuss
- make trouble, make a disturbanceThe woman at the restaurant raised a fuss when her meal arrived late.
raise a hand
- do something, do one's share, helpNobody likes him because he will never raise a hand to help his friends.
- create a disturbance, cause troubleThey began to raise Cain at the dance and were asked to leave.
- cause surprise or disapprovalIt really raised eyebrows when she appeared at the party unannounced.
rake in the money
- make a lot of moneyHis new pizza franchise has been raking in the money since it first opened.
rake someone over the coals
- scold, reprimandHis boss raked him over the coals when he heard about the lost sales report.
ram (something) down one's throat
- force one to do or agree to something not wantedShe always tries to ram her ideas down our throats which makes us very angry.
rat out on
- desert or betray someone, leave at a critical timeHis friend ratted out on him when he refused to support him in his fight with the neighborhood bully.
- endless hurried existenceHe likes working for a major corporation although sometimes he finds it too much of a rat race.
- unfair treatmenthe got a raw deal when he was forced to resign from his company.
read between the lines
- find a hidden meaning in somethingI know that he didn't say it but I can read between the lines so I know what he means.
read the riot act
- give someone a strong warning or scoldingThe teacher read the riot act to her students when they began to misbehave in class.
- the genuine thingThat new camera is the real McCoy and will let you do everything that you want.
- something that draws attention away from the matter under considerationThe issue of the pay cut is a red herring and is not related to the main issues.
red letter day
- a day that is memorable because of some important eventSaturday was a red letter day when we finally won the championship.
- excessive formalities in official transactionsThere was much red tape when we went to city hall to get a business license.
- a friendly person who everyone gets along withThe former Prime Minister was a regular guy and was well liked by most people.
rest on one's laurels
- be satisfied with the success one has already wonHe is always willing to work hard and is not the type of person to rest on his laurels.
rhyme or reason
- a good plan or reason, a reasonable purpose or explanationWithout rhyme or reason he suddenly decided to quit his job.
ride herd on
- watch closely and controlThe new supervisor plans to ride herd on the people who work for him.
- survive safely, endureWe were able to easily ride out the storm at the small restaurant.
- attracting attention, enjoying great popularityThe new government has been riding high in the polls for several months now.
- immediatelyI forgot to bring the book today but I will go home and get it right away.
right off the bat
- immediately, from the beginningI told him right off the bat that we didn't need a new computer for the office.
- indicates approval, "that's right", "yes"He called out "right on" every time that the politician promised a new program to help unemployed people.
- plainly, in a way that hides nothingHe told the new supervisor right out that he did not like him.
right under one's nose
- in an obvious, nearby placeI found the calculator right under my nose after searching for it for an hour.
ring a bell
- remind one of somethingThe name doesn't ring a bell. I'm sure I have never heard of him.
- add and record on a cash registerI went to the cash register to have them ring up the things that I had bought.
- telephone someoneYou should ring up the police if you see anybody strange around your house.
- cheat, robI was ripped off by the mechanics at that gas station.
- a car driver who takes up more than his share of the roadMy father becomes very angry at the road hogs when he is driving.
rob Peter to pay Paul
- take from one person or thing to pay anotherWhen the government began to take money from education to pay for the medical system it was like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
rob the cradle
- have dates with or marry a person much younger than oneselfEveryone said that my friend was robbing the cradle when he married the young woman at his company.
rock the boat
- upset the way things areHe is a very quiet worker and never likes to rock the boat at work.
- return at a regular or usual time, come backEvery time that his birthday rolls around he has a big party.
- arrive in great numbers or quantityThe money has been rolling in since they started the new franchise.
- a person who does not live or work in one placeHe is a rolling stone and I never know where to find him.
roll out the red carpet
- welcome an important guest by putting a red carpet down for him or her to walk onThey rolled out the red carpet when the President of France came for a visit.
roll out the red carpet
- make a big effort to greet and entertain someoneWhenever I visit my aunt in New York City she rolls out the red carpet for me.
roll up one's sleeves
- prepare to work hard or seriouslyEveryone in our club rolled up their sleeves to help prepare for the party.
- trick, persuade by pressuring someoneI didn't want to help with the dinner but I was roped into doing it by my best friend.
rough and ready
- rough or crude but effectiveThe boat is rough and ready so let's take it for a ride.
rough and tumble
- fighting or arguing in a very rough and reckless wayIt was a rough and tumble meeting that we attended at the city planning office last night.
- an approximate estimateHe made a rough guess as to how many people would come to the party.
- attack or hurt physicallyThe three men roughed up the bartender at the hotel and were arrested by the police.
round robin (letter)
- a letter written by a group of people with each person writing part of the letterWe sent a round robin letter to the librarian to ask for better opening hours for the library.
round robin (meeting or discussion)
- a meeting or discussion in which each person in a group takes partWe had a round robin panel discussion on what we could do to help save the environment.
round robin (tournament or contest)
- game or contest in which each player or team plays every other player or team in turnThe round robin tournament was held in order to choose the championship team for the city.
- bring together, collectWe rounded up enough people to play a game of soccer last night.
- be in the same place (with others), meet and mixAt the party we were able to rub elbows with many important people.
- remove or be removed by rubbing, eraseShe rubbed off the writing on the whiteboard.
- pass to someone nearby, transmit to someoneHer bad habit of talking all the time has rubbed off on her husband as well.
- destroy completely, kill, eliminateThe government troops rubbed out the whole village.
rub someone the wrong way
- irritate others with something one says or doesHer lack of politeness always rubs me the wrong way.
rub something in
- continue to talk or joke about something someone said or didI know that she made a mistake but you shouldn't rub it in.
- decide against, eliminateThey still haven't ruled out using him on the team for the tournament.
rule the roost
- be the dominant one in the familyShe seems rather quiet but she really rules the roost in their family.
run a risk
- unprotected, open to danger or lossYou are running a great risk if you drive with him after he has been drinking.
- go to different places for entertainment or to do thingsWe ran around all day and now we are very tired.
run around in circles
- act confused, do a lot but accomplish littleI have been running around all day but I can't seem to get anything done.
run away with
- take quickly and secretly - especially without permission or by stealingSomeone ran away with the dictionary so now we don't have one.
run away with
- take hold ofTheir imagination ran away with them when they went to the circus. They decided that they actually wanted to join the circus.
run away with
- be much better than others, win easilyOur hometown team ran away with the football championship.
- crash against and knock downMy dog was run down by a car last week.
- say bad things about someone, criticizeShe is always running down her friends. That is why nobody likes her.
- get into poor health or condition, look badShe has become run down since she started working at night.
run for it
- dash for safety, make a speedy escapeAs soon as it started raining we ran for it and tried to get to the shelter.
- make a brief visitI ran in to see my sister at her office before I left for the weekend.
run (someone) in
- take to jail, arrestThe police ran the three boys in for questioning about the robbery.
run in the family/blood
- be a common family characteristicBeing a left-handed golfer and baseball hitter runs in our family.
- add up to, totalIf you decide to stay in nice hotels during your holiday it will run into a lot of money.
- mix with, join withDuring the hot weather the red paint on the roof ran into the white paint.
- be affected by, get intoHe ran into trouble when he tried to cross the border with no visa.
run into (something)
- hit something or crash into somethingHis car ran into the other car on the highway.
run into (someone)
- meet by chanceI ran into him when I was at the supermarket.
run into the ground
- use something more than is wanted or neededHe ran his car into the ground before he had to buy another one.
- produce with a printing press or copy machineWe ran off hundreds of copies of the poster for the festival.
run off with (someone)
- go away with someone, elopeMy sister ran off with her boyfriend and got married when she was quite young.
- ordinary, usualThe restaurant was in a run-of-the-mill building but it was superb.
run out (of something)
- use up, come to an endThe car ran out of gas in the middle of the countryside.
- force to leave, expelThe drug dealers were run out of town by the police.
- be too full and flow over the edgeThe water in the bathtub ran over the edge and got everything in the room wet.
- try to go over something quickly, practice brieflyWe can run over this material tomorrow before the meeting.
- drive on top of, ride overWe ran over a small rabbit on the way to the meeting.
- be tired or exhaustedShe has been run ragged by her three children.
- try everything to avoid defeat as in a political campaignThe senator has been running scared in his attempt to win re-election.
- not have enough, be not enough in quantityWe ran short of money during our trip to Europe.
run the gauntlet
- face a hard test or painful experienceHe had to run the gauntlet of many interviews before he got the job.
- spend recklessly, use up wastefullyWe ran through a lot of money when we were looking for a new apartment.
- read or practice from beginning to end without stoppingI usually try to run through my speech a couple of times before I have to give it.
- add to the amount of something, increaseHe ran up a large bill at the department store before he left for home.
- pull something up on a ropeWe ran up the flag early this morning before the parade started.
run up against (something)
- encounterThey ran up against many problems when they were building the freeway.
- be or go out of controlThe crowd ran wild after the soccer game.
- a game of chance in which one bullet is placed in a revolver, the cartridge is spun, and the player aims the gun at his head and pulls the triggerThe men in the movie played Russian roulette until one of them finally died.
- a potentially dangerous situationPutting the load of plutonium on the old ship was like playing a game of Russian roulette.