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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Alphabetical List - P

(page 6 : at a pinch → play with fire)

at a pinch To say that something could be done at a pinch means that it would be possible to do it if absolutely necessary.
The hall can seat 50 people comfortably, and a few more at a pinch.
pink elephants This term refers to hallucinations or strange imaginary things seen by people as a result of heavy drinking or the use of narcotics.
No more drinks for me please, otherwise I'll be seeing pink elephants!
in the pink of health If you are in the pink of health, you are in excellent physical condition.
Caroline looks in the pink of health after her holiday.
tickled pink If you are tickled pink, you are very pleased about something.
My dad was tickled pink when he was asked to announce the winner.
have pins and needles To have pins and needles is to have a tingling sensation in a part of the body, for example an arm or a leg, when it has been in the same position for a long time.
I lay curled up for so long that I had pins and needles in my legs.
on pins and needles If you are on pins and needles, you are very anxious or nervous about what is going to happen.
Scott was on pins and needles while he waited for the result of the exam.
in the pipeline If something is in the pipeline, it is currently in progress or being organised.
A new talk show is in the pipeline at the moment.
the pits If something is referred to as the pits, it is considered to be absolutely the worst.
That magazine is the pits!
place in the sun If you find a place in the sun, you reach a position which provides you with wealth and happiness, or whatever you have been hoping to obtain in life.
She finally found a place in the sun with the triumph of her latest book.
plain sailing An activity or task that is plain sailing is without difficulty or free from trouble.
Once the plans were accepted, it was plain sailing all the way.
plan B Plan B is an alternative solution to be adopted if one's original plan does not succeed.
The idea is to get a caterer to provide the food.  If that's too expensive, plan B is to organise a buffet with the help of friends.
plastic smile A person with a plastic smile is wearing a forced smile which makes them appear happier that they really are.
A receptionist greeted customers with a plastic smile.
a lot on your plate If someone has a lot on their plate, they are extremely busy or have several problems to handle at the same time.
It's not a good time to discuss the problem with David.  He's got a lot on his plate at the moment.
play your cards right If you play your cards right, you do all that is necessary to succeed or to obtain what you want.
If we play our cards right, we'll get the contract.
play cat and mouse To play cat and mouse with someone means to treat them alternately cruelly and kindly, so that they do not know what to expect.
He's difficult to work for, always playing cat and mouse with the employees.
play by ear To play by ear means to improvise or act without preparation, according to the demands of the situation.
(Music : to play by remembering the tune, without printed music.)
It's hard to know how the situation will develop.  Let's just play it by ear.
play with fire People who take unnecessary risks or behave in a dangerous way are playing with fire.
Driving alone on isolated roads in this weather is playing with fire.
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 alphabetical lists P ... 

P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12 P13

 more alphabetical lists ...