~ T ~
When the tables are turned, the situation has changed giving the advantage to the party who had previously been at a disadvantage.
If you tackle an issue or problem, you resolve or deal with it.
This is a way of telling someone to get out.
If you take a leaf out of someone’s book, you copy something they do because it will help you.
When things take a nosedive, they decline very quickly and head towards disaster.
If somebody takes a blow, something bad happens to them.
If you take a rain check, you decline an offer now, suggesting you will accept it later. (‘Raincheck’ is also used.)
If you take a straw poll, you sound a number of people out to see their opinions on an issue or topic.
If you take something by the scruff on the neck, you take complete control of it.
If you take something for a test driver, you try something to see if you like it.
If you take something for granted, you don’t worry or think about it because you assume you will always have it. If you take someone for granted, you don’t show your appreciation to them.
If you take 40 winks, you have a short sleep.
If something takes guts, it requires courage in the face of danger or great risk. It takes guts for firemen to enter a burning building to save someone.
If you take something in your stride, you deal with it even though it is difficult or unpleasant without letting it bother or upset you.
If you take something on the chin, something bad happens to you and you take it directly without fuss.
If people take no prisoners, they do things in a very aggressive way, without considering any harm they might do to achieve their objectives.
Doing something that is completely pointless or unnecessary is like taking sand to the beach.
If someone is taken down a peg (or taken down a peg or two), they lose status in the eyes of others because of something they have done wrong or badly.
If you are taken for a ride, you are deceived by someone.
If you take someone to task, you scold them for something they have done wrong.
If someone is taken to the woodshed, they are punished for something they have done.
If you take someone under your wing, you look after them while they are learning something.
To assess a situation, to conduct a personal inventory of ones beliefs and values, etc.
(UK) If something takes the biscuit, it is the absolute limit.
Taking a bull by its horns would be the most direct but also the most dangerous way to try to compete with such an animal. When we use the phrase in everyday talk, we mean that the person we are talking about tackles their problems directly and is not worried about any risks involved.
If you take the chair, your become the chairman or chairwoman of a committee, etc.
If you tall the fall, you accept the blame and possibly the punishment for another’s wrongdoing, with the implication that the true culprit, for political or other reasons, cannot be exposed as guilty (accompanied by a public suspicion that a reward of some sort may follow).
(USA) If you do not want to answer a question you can take the fifth, meaning you are choosing not to answer. (‘Plead the fifth’ is also used.)
If you take the flak, you are strongly criticised for something.(‘Take flak’ is also used.)
Start talking or giving a speech to a group
If you take the heat, you take the criticism or blame for something you didn’t do, normally to protect the guilty person.
(UK) If you take the Mickey, you tease someone. (‘Take the Mick’ is also used.)
If you take the plunge, you decide to do something or commit yourself even though you know there is an element of risk involved.
People say that you have to take the rough with the smooth, meaning that you have to be prepared to accept the disadvantages as well of the advantages of something.
If you take to your heels, you run away.
If you take up the torch, you take on a challenge or responsibility, usually when someone else retires, or leaves an organisation, etc.
If something takes your breath away, it astonishes or surprises you.
If someone takes their eye off the ball, they don’t concentrate on something important that they should be looking at.
If you say that you take your hat off to someone, you are showing your respect or admiration.
If you take your hat off to someone, you acknowledge that they have done something exceptional or otherwise deserve your respect.
If something can be taken as read, it is so definite that it’s not necessary to talk about it.
This idiom is used when comparing things, especially in sports; it comes from boxing where the fighters would be measured with a tape measure before a fight.
(USA) If someone talks a blue streak, they speak quickly and at length. (‘Talk up a blue streak’ is also used.)
Someone who could talk a glass eye to sleep is very boring and repetitive.
It’s easy to talk about something but harder to actually do it.
If someone talks very quickly, they talk nineteen to the dozen.
When everybody is talking about particular people and events, they are he talk of the town.
If someone is talking out of the back of their head, they are talking rubbish.
If someone is talking out of their hat, they’re talking utter rubbish, especially if compounded with total ignorance of the subject on which they are pontificating. (‘Talk through your hat’ is also used.)
If you talk shop, you talk about work matters, especially if you do this outside work.
A person who is excessively or extremely talkative can talk the hind legs off a donkey.
When people talk turkey, they discuss something frankly.
Someone who talks so much that it is a strain to listen can talk your arm off.
If you talk to someone and they do not listen to you, it is like talking to a brick wall.
Someone who is very tall and slender is a tall drink of water. (‘A tall glass of water’ is also used.)
Something that is likely to be hard to achieve or fulfil is a tall order.
A tall story is one that is untrue and unbelievable.
(UK) This is an exclamation used for encouragement before doing something difficult or dangerous.
A tar baby is a problem that gets worse when people try to sort it out.
If people are tarred with the same brush, they are said to have the same set of attributes or faults as someone they are associated with.
If someone has tasted blood, they have achieved something and are encouraged to think that victory is within their grasp.
If you give someone a taste of their own medicine, you do something bad to someone that they have done to you to teach them a lesson.
When people say ‘don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs’, they mean that people shouldn’t try to teach someone who has experience or is an expert in that area.
The teacher’s favorite pupil is the teacher’s pet, especially if disliked by the other pupils.
If someone is tearing their hair out, they are extremely worried or agitated about something.
(UK) This idiom is used when something seems certain to go wrong or cause trouble.
If something is teensy-weensy, it is very small indeed.(‘Teeny-weeny’ and ‘teensie-weensie’ are also used.)
(UK) The problems that a project has when it is starting are the teething problems.
(USA) If you tell them where the dog died, you strongly and sharply correct someone.
If people exaggerate the seriousness of a situation or problem, they are making a tempest in a teapot.
If you tempt providence, you take a risk that may well have unpleasant consequences. (‘Tempt fate’ is also used.)
(UK) If something is ten a penny, it is very common. (“Two a penny” is also used.)
If you test the waters, or test the water, you experiment to see how successful or acceptable something is before implementing it.
(USA) This is used to describe something that is deemed worthless. “He’s got a Ph.D. in Philosophy.” “So? That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.”
(USA) Very common Southern US expression meaning: What you say makes no sense.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles” means that things don’t always turn out the way we want.
A speaker says “that makes two of us” to indicate agreement with what another speaker just said. For example, I can say, “I wish I would win the lottery.” A listener who says “That makes two of us” is indicating the he or she wants to win the lottery, too.
A particular opportunity has passed you by when that ship has sailed.
(USA) This idiom is used to show that something has ended and there is nothing more to say about something.
Offspring grow up to be like their parents.
If somebody says this to you, they mean that it’s up to you to decide or take the next step.
The phrase ‘The be all and end all’ means that a something is the final, or ultimate outcome or result of a situation or event.
This idiom means that the more powerful have more to lose, so when they suffer something bad, it is worse for them.
If something is done for the common weal, it is done in the interests and for the benefit of the majority or the general public.
This idiom means that what other people have or do looks preferable to our life. The complete phrase is ‘The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.
Something’s meaning is becoming clear when the line forms on the right.
The more the merrier means that the greater the quantity or the bigger the number of something, the happier the speaker will be.
(Canada) The Mounties are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and they have a reputation for catching criminals they are after.
When the penny drops, someone belatedly understands something that everyone else has long since understood.
When the plot thickens, a situation become more complicated and difficult.
The rough and tumble refers to areas of life like business, sports, politics, etc, where competition is hard and people will take any advantage that they can.
The sands of time is an idiom meaning that time runs out either through something reaching an end or through a person’s death. It comes from the sand used in hourglasses, an ancient way of measuring time.
If you take the short straw, you lose a selection process, which means that you have to do something unpleasant.
When people say this, they mean that they don’t expect something to happen.
Everything, the entire object, or all the related parts.
If the world and his wife were somewhere, then huge numbers of people were present.
If someone’s bark is worse than their bite, they get angry and shout and make threats, but don’t actually do anything.
This is an expression meaning there are many different ways of doing the same thing.
No situation in life stays the same forever.
This idiom means that you don’t get things for free, so if something appears to be free, there’s a catch and you’ll have to pay in some way.
The meaning of this idiom is ‘that’s the problem’.
If things are happening thick and fast, they are happening so fast they seemed to be joined together.
(UK) If someone is as thick as mince, they are very stupid indeed.
If people are thick as thieves, they are very close friends who have no secrets from each other.
If a person is thick-skinned, they are not affected by criticism.
A rake is a garden tool with a long, thin, wooden handle, so someone very thin is thin as a rake.
(UK) The thin blue line is a term for the police, suggesting that they stand between an ordered society and potential chaos. (Police uniforms are blue.)
The thin end of the wedge is something small and seemingly unimportant that will lead to something much bigger and more serious.
If there’s a thin line between things, it’s hard to distinguish them- there’s a thin line between love and hate.
If somebody is thin-skinned, they are very sensitive to any sort of criticism.
If you think outside the box, you think in an imaginative and creative way.
To hold something or someone in very high esteem. To love or admire immensely.
If someone is given the third degree, they are put under a great deal of pressure and intimidation to force them to tell the truth about something.
The third rail of something is dangerous to alter or change. Originally, the third rail is the one carrying the electricity for a train.
This is used when the third time one tries something, one achieves a successful outcome.
A thorn in your side is someone or something that causes trouble or makes life difficult for you.
This means that violent people will be treated violently themselves.
(UK) Someone who is three sheets in the wind is very drunk. (‘Three sheets to the wind’ is also used. ‘Seven sheets’ is an alternative number used.)
If someone is three sheets to the wind, they are drunk.
If you are thrilled to bits, you are extremely pleased or excited about something.
If you do something through gritted teeth, you accept or agree with it against your will and it is obvious to others how you really feel.
If prices go through the ceiling, they rise very quickly.
If prices go, or fall, through the floor, they fall very quickly.
If someone supports you through thick and thin, they support you during good times and bad.
(USA) If you throw someone a curve, you surprise them with something they find difficult to deal with. (‘Throw’ a curveball’ is also used.)
(USA) If you throw a monkey wrench into the works, you ensure that something fails.
If you pretend to be ill to take a day off work or school, you throw a sickie.
When people throw caution to the wind, they take a great risk.
Throw down the gauntlet is to issue a challenge to somebody.
If you throw in the towel, you admit that you are defeated or cannot do something.
Someone that throws pearls to pigs is giving someone else something they don’t deserve or appreciate. (‘Throw pearls before pigs’ and ‘Cast pearls before swine’ are also used.)
If you throw someone a bone, you give them a small reward or some kind words to make them feel good even if they’ve not really contributed much.
If someone throws you a line, they give you help when you are in serious difficulties.
If you are thrown in at the deep end, you have to deal with serious issues the moment you start something like a job, instead of having time to acquire experience.
If someone is thrown to the wolves, they are abandoned and have to face trouble without any support.
To throw someone under the bus is to get the person in trouble either by placing blame on that person or not standing up for him.
If you get rid of useful things when discarding inessential things, you throw the baby out with the bath water.
If you throw the book at someone, you punish them as severely as possible.
If someone throws their hat in the ring, they announce that they want to take part in a competition or contest. ‘Toss your hat in the ring’ is an alternative.
To make an angry protest against a relatively minor problem, in the process embarrassing the protester. The analogy is with a baby who throws toys out of the pram in order to get their parent to pay attention to them. The implication in the idiom is that the protester is acting like a baby.
If someone throws their weight around, they use their authority or force of personality to get what they want in the face of opposition.
If you thumb your nose at something, you reject it or scorn it.
If something gets the thumbs up, it gets approval, while the thumbs down means disapproval.
If something tickles your fancy, it appeals to you and you want to try it or have it.
If you are very pleased about something, you are tickled pink.
A cluttered or disorganised environment will affect your clarity of thought. Organised surroundings and affairs will allow for clearer thought organisation.
When people tie the knot, they get married.
Describes a child (often a boy) who is so used to his mother’s care that he (or she) cannot do anything on his (or her) own.
If things or people are kept on a tight rein, they are given very little freedom or controlled carefully.
If you run a tight ship, you control something strictly and don’t allow people much freedom of action.
If you have to tighten your belt, you have to economise.
This idioms means ‘for a very long time’. (‘Until the cows come home’ is also used.)
If someone will do something till the pips squeak, they will do it to the limit, even though it will make other people suffer.
If you do something till you’re blue in the face, you do it repeatedly without achieving the desired result until you’re incredibly frustrated.
A person who tilts at windmills, tries to do things that will never work in practice.
If something happens time and again, it happens repeatedly. (‘Time and time again’ is also used.)
This is used as a way of suggestion that people should act without delay.
This idioms means that time passes by unnoticed.
This idiom means that time moves quickly and often unnoticed.
If time is on your side, you have the luxury of not having to worry about how long something will take.
If you’re having the time of your life, you are enjoying yourself very much indeed.
A time-honoured practice is a traditional way of doing something that has become almost universally accepted as the most appropriate or suitable way.
The tip of the iceberg is the part of a problem that can be seen, with far more serious problems lying underneath.
Small changes may have little effect until they build up to critical mass, then the next small change may suddenly change everything. this is the tipping point.
(UK) This idiom is a euphemism used to mean ‘drunk’, especially when talking about politicians.
If someone responds to an insult by being rude back, it’s tit for tat- repaying something negative the same way.
If something does something to a fault, they do it excessively. So someone who is generous to a fault is too generous.
If a group of people does, believes, thinks, etc, something to a man, then they all do it.
If something is done to a T, it is done perfectly.
This means in all the most important ways.
Someone who is as thick as two bricks is really stupid.
If something’s dog cheap, it is very cheap indeed.
This idiom is used when someone has done something wrong, suggesting that they should be forgiven.
If you have the courage of your convictions, you are brave enough to do what you feel is right, despite any pressure for you to do something different.
If something is to little avail, it means that, despite great efforts, something ended in failure, but taking comfort from the knowledge that nothing else could have been done to avert or avoid the result.
To the end of time is an extravagant way of saying ‘forever’.
If someone toes the line, they follow and respect the rules and regulations.
This means that things might turn out better or that there might be another opportunity in the future.
If something is tongue in cheek, it isn’t serious or meant to be taken seriously.
If someone is too big for their boots, they are conceited and have an exaggerated sense of their own importance.
If someone is too big for their britches, they are conceited and have an exaggerated sense of their own importance.
When there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians, there are two many managers and not enough workers to work efficiently.
This means that where there are too many people trying to do something, they make a mess of it.
This means juggling too many projects at once and something’s bound to fail; when a smith had too many irons in his fire, he couldn’t effectively keep track of all of them.
If someone toot their own horn, they like to boast about their achievements.
The most important or influential person is the top dog.
If something is top notch, it’s excellent, of the highest quality or standard.
If something is touch and go, the result is uncertain and could be good or bad.
If you touch base with someone, you contact them.
This idiom is used to wish for good luck. (‘Knock on wood’ is also used.)
If something is touch-and-go, it is very uncertain; if someone is ill and may well die, then it is touch-and-go.
Something or someone that is as tough as old boots is strong and resilient.
A tough cookie is a person who will do everything necessary to achieve what they want.
Tough luck is bad luck.
If something is a tough nut to crack, it is difficult to find the answer or solution. When used about a person, it means that it is difficult to get them to do or allow what you want. ‘Hard nut to crack’ is an alternative.
(USA) A tough row to hoe is a situation that is difficult to handle. (‘A hard row to hoe’ is an alternative form.)
If people trade barbs, they insult or attack each other.
If you are traffucked, you are stuck in heavy traffic and get where you need to be.
If you trail your coat, you act in a provocative way.
A train of thought is a sequence of thoughts, especially when you are talking to someone and you forget what you were going to say.
If you tread on someone’s toes, you upset them, especially if you do something that they should be in charge of.
When someone treads the boards, they perform on stage in a theatre.
If someone is treading water, they are making no progress.
Something of great value or a very good source.
If a method has been tried and tested, it is known to work or be effective because it has been successfully used long enough to be trusted.
A person who is true blue is loyal and dependable, someone who can be relied on in all circumstances.
If someone shows their true colours, they show themselves as they really are. (‘True colors’ is the American spelling.)
A trump card is a resource or strategy that is held back for use at a crucial time when it will beat rivals or opponents.
Truth will out means that, given time, the facts of a case will emerge no matter how people might try to conceal them.
f something tugs at the heartstrings, it makes you feel sad or sympathetic towards it.
If people or organisations are fighting for control of something, it is a turf war.
When people turn a blind eye, they deliberately ignore something, especially if people are doing something wrong.
If someone turns a deaf ear to you, they don’t listen to you.
If someone turns a new leaf, they change their behaviour and stop doing wrong or bad things.
If you turn something on its head, you turn it upside down or reverse it.
To get over a bad run. When a loss making venture ceases to make losses, it has “turned the corner”.
(Scot) If you turn the crack, you change the subject of a conversation.
If you turn the other cheek, you are humble and do not retaliate or get outwardly angry when someone offends or hurts you, in fact, you give them the opportunity to re-offend instead and compound their unpleasantness.
If circumstances change completely, giving an advantage to those who seemed to be losing, the tables are turned.
If something turns turtle, it turns upside down.
If someone turns up like a bad penny, they go somewhere where they are not wanted.
If someone has turned up their toes to the daisies, it means that the person died.
If someone turns water into wine, they transform something bad into something excellent.
If someone turns their nose up at something, they reject it or look odwn on it because they don’t think it is good enough for them.
A turn-up for the books is an unexpected or surprising event.
Twenty-four seven or 24/7 means all the time, coming from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If something happens in the twinkling of an eye, it happens very quickly.
If you twist someone’s arm, you put pressure on them to try to make them do what you want them to do.
If you are twisting in the wind, you are without help or support – you are on your own.
If you add or throw in your two cents, you give your opinion on an issue.
When two people work together more things get accomplished.
A person with two left feet can’t dance.
If things or people are like two peas in a pod, they look very similar or are always together.
If two things are two sides of the same coin, there is much difference between them.
If someone uses an argument that could both help them and harm them, then they are using a two-edged sword sword; it cuts both ways.
Someone who is two-faced will say one thing to your face and another when you’re not there.
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