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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Alphabetical List of Idioms D, page 3

Idioms D, page 3:  from:   'by degrees'   to:   'dice are loaded'


  • 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."

  • deliver the goods
    • If a person delivers the goods, they do what is expected of them or what they have promised to.
      "Let's hope that new whiz-kid the boss hired can deliver the goods!"

  • out of your depth
    • If you are out of your depth, you are in a situation which is too difficult for you, or which you know little about.
      "She started building a website with little computer knowledge, so she was soon out of her depth and had to look for help."

  • left to one's own devices
    • If you leave someone to their own devices, you let them look after themselves, without help or supervision.
      "When left to their own devices, many children watch TV and eat junk food."

  • devil's advocate
    • During a discussion or debate, if you play devil's advocate, you pretend to be against an idea or plan in order to determine the validity of the arguments in favour of it.
      "She decided to play devil's advocate just to see how strongly people felt about the project."

  • the devil is in the details
    • This expression refers to a task or a job which appears simple but is in fact more difficult to accomplish.
      "Framing a picture looks easy but the devil is in the details."

  • the devil makes hard work for idle hands
    • This expression means that people who do not have enough to do are often tempted to do something wrong.
      "It's not good for kids to have nothing to do at the week-end; the devil makes work for idle hands!"

  • the devil take the hindmost
    • This expression means that you should think of yourself and not worry about other people.
      "When the boat capsized it was a case of 'the devil take the hindmost', but luckily they all survived."

  • there'll be the devil to pay
    • This is a way of announcing that there will be trouble if something happens.
      "Be careful. There'll be the devil to pay if you break anything!"

  • between the devil and the deep blue sea
    • If you are between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a situation where there are two equally unacceptable alternatives.
      "When the new product didn't take off, the company was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: abandon the product or start a new marketing campaign."

  • speak of the devil!
    • This is said to refer to a person who appears just when his/her name is mentioned.
      "Well, speak of the devil! We were just talking about your invitation."

  • dial it back
    • If you dial it back, you reduce the intensity of something, or tone
      it down.
      "When Lucas started getting all excited, his mother said: Hey Lucas, dial it back a bit!"

  • the dice are loaded (against someone)
    • If everything seems to work to your disadvantage, and you are not likely to succeed, the dice are loaded against you.
      "I applied for the job, but being a woman, and over forty, the dice were loaded against me."

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