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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Alphabetical List of Idioms - B

(Idioms B page 2 :  badger someone → whole new ball game)

badger someone If you badger someone into doing something, you persistently nag or pester them until you obtain what you want.
Sophie badgered her parents into buying her a new computer.
bag of bones To say that someone is a bag of bones means that they are extremely thin.
When he came home from the war he was a bag of bones.
bag of tricks If you use your (whole) bag of tricks to do something, you try (all) the clever methods you know in order to succeed.
Let's call on George and his bag of tricks; maybe he can help us solve the problem.
in the bag People use this expression when it becomes obvious that success or victory is going to be achieved.
An hour before the polling stations closed, victory seemed in the bag for the Conservative candidate.
bait and switch This term refers to a deceptive commercial practice of advertising
a low-priced item to attract customers, then telling them that the product is out of stock and persuading them to buy a more expensive article.
This store is famous for its bait and switch tactics. 
in the balance If something is in the balance, the situation is uncertain and it is not clear what is going to happen. 
The future of the company is in the balance while the takeover bid is being examined.
balancing act When you try to satisfy two or more people or groups who have different needs, and keep everyone happy, you perform a balancing act.
Many people, especially women,  have to perform a balancing act between work and family. 
ball and chain This term refers to a burden or problem that ties you down and prevents you from doing what you want. It can also refer to one's spouse.
 Our holiday home has become a ball and chain - it's too much work!
ball is in your court If the ball is in your court, it is your turn to speak or act next.
We gave the manager a list of complaints, so the ball is in his court now. 
have a ball If you have a ball you enjoy yourself immensely.
The party was great. We had a ball. 
on the ball If you are on the ball, you are aware of what is happening and are able to deal with things quickly and intelligently.
We need someone who is really on the ball to head the fund-raising campaign. 
start the ball rolling If you start the ball rolling, you begin an activity in which other people will join.
Let's start the ball rolling by calling on our first speaker. 
that's the way the ball bounces Things don't always work out as planned, and there's nothing we can do about it - that's life.
He didn't get the prize he expected, but never mind - that's the way the ball bounces. 
whole new ball game To refer to something as a whole new ball game means that it is a completely different situation due to a new set of circumstances.
Email and text messaging have made communication a whole new ball game. 
...back next...
Lists B B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 B15 B16 B17
more alphabetical lists ...