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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to communication and exchanging information
from:  'Chinese whispers'   to:  'word of mouth'

  • Chinese whispers
    • This expression refers to a process by which a message or piece of information (especially gossip, rumours or scandalous news) is passed on from one person to another, and changes along the way, so that the final version is often very different from the original. The information often becomes distorted or exaggerated.
      "Rumours about the company being on the verge of bankruptcy are nothing more than Chinese whispers!"

  • drop someone a line
    • If you drop someone a line, you .
      "I always drop her a line to wish her a Merry Christmas."

  • get hold of
    • If you obtain something, or manage to contact someone, you get hold of  them.
      "I'd like to contact the owner. Do you know where I can get hold of him?"

  • get/give the low-down
    • If you get or give the low-down, you get or give complete information or facts about something.
      "I'll call you after the meeting and give you the low-down."

  • go viral
    • When something such as a video, picture or story goes viral, it circulates quickly and widely through social media and e-mail.
      "The video of the bridge collapsing has now gone viral with millions of views."

  • (in) good part
    • Something done or said that is taken in good part is accepted good-naturedly, without taking offence
      "She took her colleagues' teasing in good part and laughed with them."

  • hear through the grapevine
    • If you hear of something through the grapevine, you learn about it informally, for example through friends or colleagues.
      "How did you hear that?" "Oh, through the grapevine as usual!"

  • hit the airwaves
    • When someone hits the airwaves, they go on radio and/or TV to be interviewed or to promote something.
      "The hospital was embarrassed when the patient hit the airways with his side of the story."

  • hot off the press
    • If a news article, for example, is hot off the press, it has just been published and contains the most recent information on the subject.
      "I just got it hot off the press: another bank has gone bankrupt."

  • keep someone posted
    • If someone asks you to keep them posted, they want you to keep them informed about a situation.
      "Our agent promised to keep us posted on developments in the negotiations."

  • megaphone diplomacy
    • One country using international media to issue (threatening) statements, warnings and press releases in order to force the other country to comply with their position is known as megaphone diplomacy.
      "Recent communication between the United States and North Korea is an example of megaphone diplomacy".

  • out of touch
    • If you are out of touch, you no longer communicate with someone, or you are unaware of recent developments.
      "I've been out of touch with Jenny since we left college."

  • put it in a nutshell
    • We use the expression put it in a nutshell to say that we are going to describe something briefly, or in as simple a way as possible.
      "To put it in a nutshell, the couple's problems are essentially due to a lack of communication."

  • put someone in the picture
    • If you give somebody all the information necessary to enable them to fully understand a situation, you put them in the picture.
      "Some changes were made during your absence. Let me put you in the picture. "

  • speed networking
    • The term speed networking refers to a relatively new urban trend which consists in making a potential business contact by briefly talking to a series of people at an organised event and exchanging contact details.

  • spread like wildfire
    • If something such as news, rumours or gossip spreads like wildfire, it becomes widely known very fast.
      "As soon as the nomination was announced, the news spread like wildfire."

  • stool pigeon
    • A person who acts as an informer, especially one who gives information to the police or the authorities, is called a stool pigeon.
      "I don't trust Jack. I think he's a stool pigeon for the management. "

  • on the stump
    • Before an election, when  politicians are campaigning for support and votes, they are on the stump.
      "On the stump for months, the candidates attended meeting after meeting."

  • touch base
    • If you touch base with someone, you make contact or renew communication with them.
      "I'll try to touch base with you next week in London."

  • word of mouth
    • Information passed on through conversation is transmitted by word of mouth.
      "No announcement was necessary - the news had already spread by word of mouth."

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