aches and pains – minor pains that are continuous and unpleasant due to physical work or old age, but usually not very serious. – Tom is tired of hearing about all her grandma’s aches and pains. – You might have all sorts of aches and pains when you get older.
achieve a goal – to do something that you’d planned or hoped to achieve. – I think she will be able to achieve her goal of losing ten kilos before Christmas. – He hasn’t yet achieved his goal of buying the house of 1 million dollars.
acute illness – any illness that develops quickly. – It may be severe and last a relatively short period of time. She died of an acute illness. – Her father dropped dead of an acute illness.
all along – all the time, from the very beginning. – I think she’s been cheating us all along. – He knew all along that it wasn’t her real name.
all in good time – used when somebody wants to do something soon but you want to wait a little. – I know you wish your house had sold already, but all in good time. – When are we going to open the presents? All in good time.
all over again – used for saying that you do the whole of something again starting from the beginning: – At the police station they asked me the same questions all over again. – The computer crashed and deleted all my work – I had to start the essay all over again.
an arm and a leg – is used to describe anything that is considered to be extremely expensive. – Large houses cost an arm and a leg to maintain. – I’m sick of paying an arm and leg for rent in this town.
around the clock – all day and all night without stopping. – The company worked around the clock to repair the problem. – For the past 4 days, they’ve been working around the clock and through the night.
ask a favor – to ask somebody to do something for you because you need their help, support or approval of something. – Can/ Could/ may I ask you a favor? – I would like to ask a favor of you.
as a matter of fact – used when adding more details about what you have just said. – Have you had many visitors yet? No, as a matter of fact you’re the first. – I knew him when we were in college – as a matter of fact we were on the same course.
as (one ) pleases – in whatever way one wishes or which suits one best: – I’m really not concerned with what way you go about researching your report. Do as you please, so long as the report is good. – He looks at himself in the mirror any chance he gets; he’s as conceited as you please.
at ease – feeling relaxed, especially in a situation in which people might feel a little nervous. – She felt completely at ease with Bernard. – She had an ability to put people at their ease.
at the drop of a hat – if you do something at the drop of hat, you do it immediately without stopping to think about it. – People will file lawsuits at the drop a hat these days. – India is one part of the world I would go to at the drop of a hat.
attract attention – to make someone notice you or something. – Movies with excellent actors and actresses always attract great attention. – He has tried to attract her attention, but she hasn’t noticed him yet.
an awful lot – a very large amount. – His wife has spent an awful lot of money on clothes these days. – John is a famous lawyer. He gets an awful lot of clients.
badly need – need something very much. – They badly need the money. – She badly needs to clean her room.
balanced diet – a diet that contains adequate amounts of the nutrients necessary for good health. – Eating balanced diet is one of the most important things everyone should try. – If you need to live healthily, you should eat balanced diet.
barely able to do something – used for saying that it is possible for someone to do something but only with difficulty. – She was barely able to see the bridge in the fog. – His mother was barely able to read and write.
bear in mind – to remember. – Bear in mind that I can’t run as fast as you. – Bear in mind that he is not as young as he was, so don’t walk so fast.
beyond your wildest dreams – you are emphasizing that it is better than you could have imagined or hoped for. – She had already achieved success beyond her wildest dreams. – I want to make you happy beyond your wildest dreams.
bide your time – to wait patiently for a good opportunity to do something. – He’s just biding his time until a permanent job opens up. – So you bide your time, just kind of for that perfect moment.
big mouth – if someone is or has a big mouth, they often say things that are meant to be kept secret. – He went and opened his big mouth and told them the whole story. – I’m sorry. I wasn’t supposed to tell you! Me and my big mouth.
box of birds – be fine or happy. – Once she’s had some time to cheer up, she’ll be a box of birds again, don’t worry. – He described the dogs as a box of birds.
break bread with – share a meal with someone. – To break bread with one’s enemy is the fastest way to find common ground. – Please come by and break bread with us sometime, I would like to break bread with you.
breaking news – current news that a media organization gives special or live coverage on. – I was watching the game when some breaking news came on, so I missed Mario’s goal. – We interrupt this broadcast with some breaking news about the crisis in the Middle East.
breathtaking scenery – extremely impressive, striking and beautiful views. – We floated down a river in a canoe and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery. – People enjoy visiting Amirsoy mountain because of its breathtaking scenery.
break the mold – to do something in a new way. – She really broke the mold with her innovative approach to this notification system – several companies have since adopted her method. – She broke the mold by being the first person in her family to go to the university.
bring something to an end – to make something finish. – I think it is time to bring the meeting to an end. – The conflict has been brought to a close end.
bury the hatchet – to stop an argument and become friends again. – Can’t you two just bury the hatchet? – You two really did bury the hatchet, didn’t you?
bury your head in the sand – to ignore an unpleasant situation and hope it will stop if you do not think about it. – If you bury your head in the sand now, you may lose your house. – You’ll never solve your problems if you just bury your head in the sand – you have to face them.
cast doubt on someone / something – to make something seem less certain, good, or real. – The recent downturn in sales casts doubt on the company’s future. – Fresh information that casts doubt on his integrity.
casual relationship – a relationship that isn’t serious and doesn’t last a long time. – They are just in a casual relationship, but they enjoy each other’s company. – We’re now just in a casual relationship, but we hope that it will soon become quite serious.
center of attention – a person or thing that excites everyone’s interest or attention. – Helen likes to be center of attention. – Jane was the center of attention at her wedding.
chance of a lifetime – an extremely important and or fortuitous opportunity, especially one that is not likely to ever present itself again. – They offered me the chance of a lifetime to travel the world and write about my experiences abroad. – Make sure you take advantage of our sale, it’s a chance of a lifetime.
a change of heart – a move to a different opinion or attitude. – You can have your money back if you have a change of heart. – She was going to sell her house but had a change of heart at the last minute.
change (one’s) tune – to change one’s attitude opinion, manner, or stance on something typically in a way that is more positive or agreeable. – The mention of a hefty tip really changed the host’s tune, so I think he’ll be able to find us a table after all. – After I threatened him with no allowance, my son changed his tune and started doing his chores.
cheesy smile – a smile which is very obvious but looks false or not sincere. – She snapped a cheesy smile at him. – He flashed a cheesy smile at me before he looks down at his notes.
circle of friends – a number of close friends who meet regularly to do things together as a group. – We have a large circle of friends and acquaintances. – He is one of my close circle of friends.
cock (one’s) ear – to listen intently. – I’m about to give you some important instructions , so cock your ear. – The little dog looked up and cocked its ears.
come up with an idea – to think of an idea. – He is broke. He has to come up with an idea for making money. – He came up with an idea for starting his business.
contrary to popular belief/opinion – used to say that something is true even though people believe the opposite. – Contrary to popular belief, a desert can be very cold. – Contrary to popular belief, many cats dislike milk.
cost a fortune – to cost a lot of money. – It costs a fortune to get the motor car fixed. – A week in a five-star hotel costs a fortune.
critically ill – extremely/dangerously ill. – He became critically ill and were a waiting surgery. – He begged her to take care of him because he was critically ill.
cross(one’s) mind – if an idea crosses your mind, you think about it for a short time. – When was the first thing that crossed your mind when you won the prize? – I haven’t thought of my high school English teacher in years, so I’m not sure why she crossed my mind today.
daily life – all the things / activities that you do every day as part of your normal life. – Travelling is a great way to escape the routines of our daily life. – Surfing the internet has become part of my daily life.
dead tired – completely exhausted or fatigued; extremely tired. – Tom was dead tired after working continuously 14 hours since this morning. – I was dead tired, so I had an early night.
deal with – to take the necessary action, especially in order to solve a problem. – Don’t worry, I’ll deal with this. – The council has failed to deal with the problem of homelessness in the city.
do a favor – to do something to help someone as an act of kindness. – Would you please do me a favor and take my son to the school? – My brother did me a favor by lending me his car.
down on your luck – to have no money because you have had a lot of bad luck over a long period of time. – When someone is down on their luck, friends are very difficult to find. – The program is for motivated people who are temporarily down on their luck.
eat like a horse – to eat a lot / to eat large amounts of food. – Jane’s so thin even though she eats like a horse. – My mom always cooks a lot of food when my friends and I come for lunch because we eat like horses.
environmentally friendly – not harmful to the environment. – Local businesses are encouraged to produce environmentally friendly products. – Most organic products are environmentally friendly.
embark on a career – to begin a career. – My brother embarked on a career as a game developer last year. – Encouraged by her father, Sarah embarked on a career in literature.
extended family – a family unit including grandparents, parents, children, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. – My brothers and I have been grown up in an extended family. – Most Chinese elderly people live in an extended family, usually with a son or daughter and grandchildren.
face (the) facts – to accept or confront the truth about something or its consequences. – It’s time to face facts: there’s one way for us to recover from this financially. – Eventually, you will have to face the facts. Times are hard.
feel at home – to feel comfortable and relaxed as if you were in your home. – Jane liked her dormitory room. She really felt at home there. – By the end of the first week, Tom was beginning to feel at home in his new job.
foregone conclusion – a result that is obvious before it happens. – It was foregone conclusion that he’d go into politics. – The result of the election seems to a foregone conclusion.
for good – permanently, without the possibility of change in the future – She’s gone and this time it’s for good. – Have they split up for good, do you think, or is it only temporary?
from all walks of life(from every walk of life) – from various levels of social position or achievement. – In my work I see people from all walks of life. – Our volunteers include people from all walks of life.
from time to time – occasionally, sometimes. – This restaurant is pretty good. I come here from time to time. – From time to time, I like to go fishing instead of going to work.
give a hand – to give someone help, support or assistance. – Hey Bill, could you give me a hand with these suitcases? They are heavy. – If I have any trouble with my homework, please give me a hand.
give a hoot about – to care at all about someone or something: – Many of my friends don’t give a hoot about college basketball. – It isn’t that I give a hoot about jewelry, except diamonds, of course.
go wild – to behave in a very excited uncontrolled/ to get very angry. – The crowd went wild as soon as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal. – When he told her what he’d done, she went wild.
go with the flow – to do what other people are doing or to agree with other people because it is the easiest thing to do: – Just relax and go with the flow. – When you’re new in a school, it’s easiest to just go with the flow for a while, and see what people are like.
have a change of heart – to experience a change in one’s opinion or feelings on a matter. – The government seems to has a change of heart over the newly implemented tax policy. – I think it’s perfect time to propose her now – before she has a change of heart.
head over heels (in love )– fall deeply and completely in love especially suddenly. – She and her husband make an amazing couple. They are head over heels in love and are very supportive of each other. – We used to be head over heels, but now we just annoy each other most of time.
hide one’s light under a bushel – to keep quiet or conceal one’s talents, ideas or accomplishments. – I didn’t realize that Bill could play the guitar – he’s been hiding his light under a bushel. – Please don’t hide your light under a bushel. We know you can play this game very well.
hold (someone or something) dear – to consider someone or something to be very valuable or important, especially at a personal level. – I consider myself pretty gregarious person, but there are only a few people I truly hold dear. – Even though this old pocket watch doesn’t work anymore, I still hold it dear as it was the last thing my grandfather ever gave me.
have a wealth of – have a lot of – Jim has a wealth of teaching experience. – Russia has a wealth of coal and timber.
have in common – have the same interests, attitudes etc as someone else. – I found I had a lot in common with these people. – We don’t really have much in common.
incurable disease – a disease that cannot be cured. – He was diagnosed with an incurable disease. – She is suffering from an incurable disease.
in someone’s corner – giving one’s full support to someone. – I’m nervous about the trial, but I’m glad I have you in my corner. – I feel a little bad that he’s going into the meeting with no one in his corner.
in vain – unsuccessfully. – I tried in vain to start a conversation. – All the police’s efforts to find him were in vain.
jump to a conclusion – to decide, guess, evaluate or judge something without a sufficient examination of the facts. – Don’t jump to conclusion! Perhaps it was her father who was having dinner with. – Let’s find out more before jumping to any conclusions. Wait until we hear what he has to say.
just about – almost exactly, very nearly. – John can do just about anything when he’s on his game because he has a good understanding of it. – I’ve just about finished my essay.
key issue – a very important subject or problem that people think or talk about, or need to deal with. – Health care could become the key issue in political debate. – The key issue is whether workers should be classified as ‘employees’.
keep under one’s hat – to not reveal or discuss something publicly. – I’ll tell you about it if you promise to keep it under your hat. – Keep this under your hat for now, but Greg is definitely the one getting the promotion.
keep up with your studies – to make progress or learn at the same level as others. – Keep up with your studies or you’ll fall behind. – If you want to be a successful student, you must keep up with your studies at college.
keep (close) watch over (someone or something) – to guard , protect, or ensure the welfare of someone or something, often through close observation. – I felt better sending the kids to camp when I knew Mrs. James would be there to keep close watch over them. – I can’t help but feeling that I had an angel keeping watch over me that day.
know inside out – to know everything or nearly about someone or something, to be thoroughly familiar with someone or something. – I’ve read this book so many times that I know it inside out. – I just think you should know a person inside out before you decide to marry them.
lead to believe – to cause someone to believe something untrue. – I had been led to believe that if I worked hard, I wouldn’t lose my job. – He led to believe that this product was guaranteed.
leap to conclusions – to make a decision about something too quickly without knowing all the facts. – He saw the two of them together and leaped to the wrong conclusion. – You’re always leaping to conclusions whenever I make the slightest criticism of our relationship.
lend color to something – to make something , especially something unusual, appear likely or true. – We have new evidence that lends color to the accusation of fraud. – We cannot do anything that will lend color to our opponents’ allegations about us.
look on the bright side – to find good things in a bad situation. – Look on the bright side no one was badly hurt. – All of this is bad news for the human race , but look on the bright side.
low hanging fruit – something that can be achieved very easily. – The easy changes have all been made. All the low-hanging fruit has been picked. – I’m a great believer in picking low-hanging fruit. Start with what’s easy, and go higher later.
make common cause with – to work together with a person, group etc that you do not usually agree with, in order to achieve a shared aim. – Several different religious groups have made common cause in the campaign. – Environment protesters have made common cause with local people to stop the setting up of the factories and iron industries on fertile land.
off the top of one’s head – without careful thought or investigation. – I can’t tell you off the top of my head. – There are some good restaurants around here, but I can’t tell you their names off the top of my head.
once in a blue moon – very rarely. – Do you ever eat pork? “Only once in a blue moon“. I prefer beef. – Once in a blue moon, there’s an issue I can’t resolve.
once in a while – sometimes but not regularly. – Once in a while she phoned him. – You meet some really interesting people every once in a while.
on cloud nine – extremely happy – I was on cloud nine once I had completed it. – I guarantee you, within half an hour, you’ll be on cloud nine.
out for the count – unconscious, or sleeping are not likely to wake up. – I didn’t even hear you come in – I was so tired that I was out for the count as soon as my head hit the pillow. – The rowdy customer was out for the count when the bouncer punched him in the head.
out of habit – without thinking, because you always do a particular thing. – I locked the door out of force of habit. – Many people add to their food out of habit, without even tasting it first.
out of your depth – not having the knowledge, experience, or skills to deal with a particular subject or situation. – I was out of my depth in the advanced class, so I moved to the intermediate class. – I’d always struggled at school. I hated it and felt out of my depth.
pick sb’s brain(s) – to ask someone who knows a lot about a subject for information or their opinion. – Can I pick your brain about how you got rid of those weeds? – Have you got a minute ? I need to pick your brains.
put your feet up – to relax, especially by sitting with your feet supported on something. – He says it gave him time to put his feet up and relax. – That boy needs a lot of teaching, he thought, putting his feet up.
rack your brain(s)– to try very hard to remember or think of something. – I racked my brains, trying to remember his name. – They sat in silence, racking their brains for the name of the road.
rush hour – the time of day when traffic is at its heaviest. – Many accidents happened during the rush hour this morning. – I always try to avoid travelling during the rush hour.
steady job – a job that offers constant and reliable income (you will be paid regularly) – It isn’t easy to find a steady job these days. – Her parents would like her to get a steady job.
stimulate growth – to encourage something to grow or develop. – Innovation has stimulated the growth of economy. – An increase in the amount CO2 has stimulated the growth of tropical trees.
stop dead in (sb’s or sth’s) tracks – to instantly stopping and remaining motionless, silent, and/or inactive upon encountering something. – The sound of leaking water stopped me dead in my tracks, and I cringed at the thought of yet another home repair. – Even though we were talking quietly, the noise stopped the deer dead in its tracks.
strike a balance – to give the correct amount of importance or attention two separate things. – Successful relationships strike a balance between these two needs. – Every team has to strike a balance between youth and experience.
surf the Net/ Internet – to look quickly through information on the Internet for anything that interests you. – We give them quizzes on Britain and allow them to surf the Net. – Who spends an inordinate number of work hours surfing the Internet?
take sth/sb for granted – 1) to believe something to be the truth without even thinking about it; 2)If you take situations or people for granted, you do not realize or show that you are grateful for how much you get from them. – I didn’t realize that Melanie hadn’t been to college – I suppose I just took it for granted. – One of the problems with relationships is that after a while you just take each other for granted.
take stock – to think carefully about a situation or event and form an opinion about it, so that you can decide what to do. – When markets touch new highs, investors need to take stock. – I am currently taking stock of our position.
throw a tantrum – to suddenly become very angry and unreasonable, often screaming , crying. – Her son threw a tantrum and screamed loudly. – Alex threw a tantrum in the shop because her mom wouldn’t buy her any sweets.
tight schedule – many things to do in short time. – They are working to a tight schedule. – We have a very tight schedule today. We won’t have enough time to hang out for beer as usual.
turn over a new leaf – to change one’s behavior usually in a positive way. – Jason has really turned over a new leaf – he hasn’t been in the slightest bit of trouble in months. – I have made a mess of my life. I’ll turn over a new leaf and hope to do better.
up in arms – very upset or angry about something. – The whole town is up in arms about the addition of a new shopping center. – Mom was really up in arms after I dented her brand-new car.
waste your breath – talk or give advice without effect. – The tone of her voice told him he was wasting his breath. – Don’t bother trying to change my mind about this you’re wasting your breath!