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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


HESITATION - INDECISION - DOUBT

Idioms
from:   'beat around the bush'   to:  'up in the air'


  • beat around the bush
    • This expression is used to tell someone to say what they have to say, clearly and directly, even if it is unpleasant.
      "Stop beating around the bush. Just tell me what has been decided!"

  • blow hot and cold
    • If you blow hot and cold about something, you constantly change your opinion about it.
      "The boss keeps blowing hot and cold about the marketing campaign - one day he finds it excellent, the next day he wants to make changes."

  • chop and change
    • If you chop and change, you constantly change your opinion, plans or methods and often cause confusion
      "Don't chop and change all the time - just make up your mind!"

  • cough up
    • If you have to cough up something, such as money or information,  you give it reluctantly or unwillingly.
      "He refused to say who attacked him until his father made him cough up the names."

  • drag one's feet
    • If you drag your feet, you delay a decision or participate without any real enthusiasm.
      "The government is dragging its feet on measures to reduce pollution."

  • get cold feet
    • If you get cold feet about something, you begin to hesitate about doing it; you are no longer sure whether you want to do it or not.
      "I wanted to enter the competition but at the last minute I got cold feet."

  • on the fence
    • When faced with a choice, a person who is on the fence has not yet reached a decision.
      "The candidates have such similar ideas that many electors are still on the fence."

  • half a mind
    • If you have half a mind to do something, you are thinking seriously about it but have not yet reached a decision.
      "I've half a mind to start up my own business but first I need some advice."

  • hem and haw
    • When someone hems and haws, they are very evasive and avoid giving a clear answer.
      "Bobby hemmed and hawed when his parents asked him where had spent the night."

  • the jury is still out
    • To say that the jury is still out means that something is under consideration but no decision has been reached yet.
      "The jury is still out as concerns the location of the new station."

  • left hanging in the air
    • If a problem or issue is left hanging in the air (or in mid-air), no decision has been taken so it remains without a solution.
      "No solution was proposed during the meeting so the question was left hanging in the air."

  • prod someone into doing something
    • If you prod someone into doing something, you make a hesitant person do something that they are reluctant to do.
      "She was ideal for the job, but I had to prod her into applying for the position."

  • put out feelers
    • Before doing something, if you try to discover what other people think about it by making discreet enquiries, you put out feelers.
      "The politician put out feelers to test public reaction to his proposals."

  • in a quandary
    • If you are in a quandary, you find it difficult to decide what to do.
      "The job offered is less interesting but better paid. I'm in a quandary about what to do."

  • remains to be seen
    • If something is still unknown or a decision has not yet been taken, it remains to be seen.
      "The construction of a new hospital has been voted, but the exact location remains to be seen."

  • shilly-shally
    • If you shilly-shally, you hesitate a lot about something and have difficulty reaching a decision.
      "Come on! Don't shilly-shally - just make up your mind!"

  • sleep on it
    • If you take time (until the next day) to think something over before making a decision, you sleep on it.
      "I suggest you sleep on it. You can give me your decision tomorrow."

  • toing and froing
    • Someone who is toing and froing is either repeatedly going from one place to another and coming back, or is constantly changing their mind about something.
      "After months of toing and froing, a compromise was reached between the two parties."

  • in two minds
    • If you are in two minds about something, you have difficulty deciding what to do.
      "I'm in two minds about whether or not to accept the offer."

  • up in the air
    • If something, such as a plan or decision, is up in the air, it has not been decided or settled yet.
      "I can't give you a definite answer yet; the project is still up in the air."

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