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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


(Idioms page 1 :  against the clock  →  in the long run)

against the clock If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
They are working against the clock to have the presentation ready for Monday.
on the cusp On the cusp refers to a point in time that marks a transition or the beginning of a change.
Some people think the world is on the cusp of a new era.
all along If something has existed or been somewhere all along, it has been there all the time, from the beginning.
I had been looking for my keys for some time before I realized they had been in my pocket all along.
better late than never When someone does something late, this remark means that it is better to do it late than not do it at all.
Do you know what time it is? You promised you'd come early to help me - but better late than never I suppose!
in the blink of an eye If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens nearly instantaneously, with hardly enough time to notice it.
The pickpocket disappeared in the blink of an eye.
by degrees If something happens or develops by degrees, it happens gradually or little by little as time goes by.
By degrees their business relationship grew into friendship.
clock in/out When you clock in or out, you record the time you arrive or leave your job by punching a time clock to the show the  number of hours you have worked.
I'm going to clock out early today.  I've got a dental appointment.
cut it/things fine If you cut it/cut things fine, you leave barely enough time to do something.
You're counting just an hour between the airport and the train station -
isn't that cutting things a bit fine?
date late and a dollar short If something is a day late and a dollar short, it comes too late and
is not good enough.
They offered me an internship when I had already found a job - a day late and a dollar short!
donkey's years If someone has been doing something for donkey's years, they have been doing it for a very long time.
He knows the town inside out.  He's been living here for donkey's  years.
down to the wire If something such as project or a match goes down to the wire, the situation can change up until the last possible moment.
There's nothing as exciting as watching a game that goes down to the wire.
at the eleventh hour If something happens at the eleventh hour, it happens when it is almost too late, or at the last possible moment.
Our team won after they scored a goal at the eleventh hour.
five o'clock shadow This expression refers to a patch of stubble on the face of a man who hasn't shaved for at least a day.
He looked tired and had a five o'clock shadow.
in the interim Something that happens in the interim takes place during a period of time between two events.
I won't have the apartment until next month. In the interim I'm staying at a local hotel.
in the long run This term refers to something that will have effect over or after a long period of time.
Learning Chinese is going to be difficult, but it'll be worth it in the long run because it will help me to get a better job.

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