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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


AMBITION - DETERMINATION, page 2

(Idioms: fight tooth and nail → long row to hoe)


  • fight tooth and nail
    • If you fight tooth and nail for something, you fight with energy and determination.
      "The Transport Minister fought tooth and nail to have the proposed road safety law accepted."

  • first out of the gate
    • If you are first out of the gate, you are the first to make a start at something that others have also accepted to do.
      "Sandra was so enthusiastic about the project that she was first out of the gate."

  • fly by the seat of your pants
    • If you fly by the seat of your pants, you do something without any knowledge or experience, using only your instinct and hoping that you will succeed.
      "Without any formal training, he decided to fly by the seat of his pants and try his luck in New York."

  • go the extra mile
    • If you go the extra mile, you do more than what is expected of you.
      "You can count on Tom; he's always willing to go the extra mile."

  • go to great lengths
    • When trying to achieve something, if you go to great lengths, you do everything that is possible in order to succeed.
      "The two parties went to great lengths to reach an agreement."

  • go into overdrive
    • If someone or something goes into overdrive, they begin to work very hard or start to perform intensely
      "At the start of every new collection my imagination goes into overdrive."

  • going places
    • To say that someone is going places means that they show talent and ability that will no doubt lead to a successful future.
      "Even at college it was obvious that Paul was going places."

  • keep your nose to the grindstone
    • A person who keeps their nose to the grindstone is someone who concentrates on working  or studying hard.
      "Emma was so determined to get into the college of her choice that she kept her nose to the grindstone all year."

  • hang in there
    • This expression is used to encourage someone to persevere and not give up in spite of the difficult circumstances.
      "I know the atmosphere is very tense, but just hang in there and things will eventually calm down."

  • hang on by the fingernails
    • When you hang on by the fingernails, you succeed in continuing to do something in a very difficult situation.
      "The restaurant is losing more and more customers; the owner is just hanging on by his fingernails."

  • have your heart set on something
    • Someone who has their heart set on something is determined to obtain something they want very much.
      "From an early age Tiger had his heart set on becoming a professional golfer."

  • be hell-bent on doing something
    • If you are hell-bent on doing something, you are recklessly determined to do it, even if it is dangerous or stupid.
      "Although he is still weak, Tony is hell-bent on playing the match."

  • hitch your wagon to a star
    • Someone who hitches their wagon to a star has great ambitions and is very determined to reach their goal.
      "At an early age Vanessa decided to hitch her wagon to a star and become famous."

  • a long row to hoe
    • A difficult task, assignment or undertaking that will take a long time is a long row to hoe.
      "Getting through medical school is going to be a long row to hoe."

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