Idioms List

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add fuel to the fire
To inflame or worsen a bad situation.

Max was already upset. Your teasing him just added fuel to the fire.

add up
To make sense; to be consistent (usually negative)

John's excuse for not completing his homework just doesn't add up.

against the grain
Contrary to what is expected or preferred.

Mary has a difficult time getting along with others as she is inclined to go against the grain in everything she does.

ahead of one's time
In advance of current ideas and trends.

Some people describe Albert Einstein was a physicist ahead of his time.

all ears
Listening intently; eager to hear something.

So, you have some new gossip about Mary. I'm all ears.

all fired up
Excited; highly enthusiastic

I?m really fired up about the party next week.

arm and a leg
A very high cost; a large amount of money.

Many people are complaining that gas costs an arm and a leg nowadays.

at the top of one's lungs
In an extremely loud voice.

Max called out to Mary at the top of his lungs, but she didn?t hear him.

ballpark figure
A rough estimate within acceptable bounds.

Two months after the fire, the construction company gave us a ballpark figure on how much it would cost to rebuild our home.

bang for the buck
Value; efficiency; return on investment.

I?m not sure which car to buy. I?m trying to figure out which gives the greatest bang for the buck.

bark up the wrong tree
Pursue the wrong thing; to take the wrong approach.

Don?t ask me for a pay raise. You?re barking up the wrong tree. I have no authority to give anybody a pay raise.

add up
To make sense; to be consistent (usually negative)

John's excuse for not completing his homework just doesn't add up.

bear in mind
Remember; consider; note.

Bear in mind that money is not the most important thing in life.

beat a dead horse
To continue or persist talking about a topic or issue beyond normal interest.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but could we go over the plan just once more?

beat around the bush
To talk about a topic too indirectly or cautiously; to take a long time getting to the main point or idea.

Please stop beating around the bush and get to the point!

beats me
I don't know; this puzzles me.

Do you have any idea why Mary was upset? Beats me!

bend over backwards
To make a great effort; to go to great lengths.

Max bent over backwards to make sure that his boss was happy.

beside the point
Irrelevant, off the topic.

The color of the car is beside the point. What kind of gas mileage does it get?

between a rock and a hard place
Having the choice between two difficult or unacceptable options.

Max was between a rock and a hard place. He could fight in the war, which he didn?t believe in, or go to prison.

bite one's tongue
To stop oneself from speaking out.

Max quit his job because he was tired of biting his tongue every time his boss announced one of his stupid ideas.

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