~ Y ~

Yah boo sucks

Yah boo & yah boo sucks can be used to show that you have no sympathy with someone.

Yank my chain

If some one says this to another person (i.e. stop yanking my chain) it means for the other person to leave the person who said it alone and to stop bothering them.

Yellow press

The yellow press is a term for the popular and sensationalist newspapers.

Yellow streak

If someone has a yellow streak, they are cowardly about something.


A yellow-bellied person is a coward.


If you have a yen to do something, you have a desire to do it.

Yeoman’s service

(UK) To do yeoman’s service is to serve in an exemplary manner.


Someone who always agrees with people in authority is a yes-man.

Yesterday’s man or Yesterday’s woman

Someone, especially a politician or celebrity, whose career is over or on the decline is yesterday’s man or woman.

You are what you eat

This is used to emphasise the importance of a good diet as a key to good health.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar

This means that it is easier to persuade people if you use polite arguments and flattery than if you are confrontational.

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family

Some things you can choose, but others you cannot, so you have to try to make the best of what you have where you have no choice.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink

This idiom means you can offer something to someone, like good advice, but you cannot make them take it.

You can say that again

If you want to agree strongly with what someone has said, you can say ‘You can say that again’ as a way of doing so.

You can’t fight City Hall

This phrase is used when one is so cynical that one doesn’t think one can change their Representatives. The phrase must have started with frustration towards a local body of government.

You can’t have cake and the topping, too

(USA) This idiom means that you can’t have everything the way you want it, especially if your desires are contradictory.

You can’t have your cake and eat it

This idiom means that you can’t have things both ways. For example, you can’t have very low taxes and a high standard of state care.

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

If something isn’t very good to start with, you can’t do much to improve it.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs

This idiom means that in order to achieve something or make progress, there are often losers in the process.

You can’t take it with you

Enjoy life, enjoy what you have and don’t worry about not having a lot, especially money…because once you’re dead, ‘you can’t take it with you.’ For some, it means to use up all you have before you die because it’s no use to you afterwards.

You can’t unring a bell

This means that once something has been done, you have to live with the consequences as it can’t be undone.

You could have knocked me down with a feather

This idiom is used to mean that the person was very shocked or surprised.

You do not get a dog and bark yourself

(UK) If there is someone in a lower position who can or should do a task, then you shouldn’t do it.

You get what you pay for

Something that is very low in price is not usually of very good quality.

You reap what you sow

This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things.  It is normally used when someone has done something bad.

You said it!

Used to say you agree completely with something just said.

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours

This idiom means that if you do something for me, I’ll return the favour.

You what?

This is a very colloquial way of expressing surprise or disbelief at something you have heard. It can also be used to ask someone to say something again.

You’re toast

If someone tells you that you are toast, you are in a lot of trouble.

You’ve got rocks in your head

(USA) Someone who has acted with a lack of intelligence has rocks in their head.

You’ve made your bed- you’ll have to lie in it

This means that someone will have to live with the consequences of their own actions.

Young blood

Young people with new ideas and fresh approaches are young blood.

Young Turk

A Young Turk is a young person who is rebellious and difficult to control in a company, team or organisation.

Your belly button is bigger than your stomach

If your belly button is bigger than your stomach, you take on more responsibilities than you can handle.

Your call

If something is your call, it is up to you to make a decision on the matter.

Your name is mud

If someone’s name is mud, then they have a bad reputation.

Your sins will find you out

This idiom means that things you do wrong will become known.

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