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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to comparisons and similarities
from:  'like something the cat dragged in'   to:  'like pouring water into a sieve'

  • like something the cat dragged in
    • If you compare a person or thing to something the cat dragged in, you think they they look dirty, untidy or generally unappealing.
      "My teenage son often looks like something the cat dragged in."

  • like cat and dog
    • Two people who fight or argue like cat and dog frequently have violent arguments, even though they are fond of each other.
      "They fight like cat and dog but they're still together after 30 years."

  • like death warmed up
    • If you look like death warmed up, you look very ill or tired.
      "My boss told me to go home. He said I looked like death warmed up."

  • like a deer/rabbit caught in the headlights
    • When you are so surprised that you are momentarily confused or unable to react quickly, you are like a deer (or a rabbit) caught in the headlights.
      "Surprised by the journalist's question, he was like a deer caught in the headlights."

  • like a dog with two tails
    • If someone is like a dog with two tails, they are extremely happy.
      "When Paul won the first prize he was like a dog with two tails."

  • like greased lightning
    • If someone or something moves like greased lightning, they move extremely fast.
      "As soon as the owner appeared, the boy ran like greased lightning."

  • like herding cats
    • This expression refers to the difficulty of coordinating a situation which involves people who all want to act independently.
      "Arranging an outing for a group of people from different countries is like herding cats!"

  • like a headless chicken
    • If a person rushes about like a headless chicken, they act in a disorderly way, without thinking or analysing the situation carefully.
      "As soon as the store opened, my mother started running around like a headless chicken, eager to find bargains."

  • like kicking whales down the beach
    • This expression is used, especially in computing, to refer to a particularly slow and difficult process.
      "Getting him to adopt the new method is like kicking whales down the beach."

  • like a moth to a flame
    • To say that a person is attracted to someone or something like a moth to a flame means that the attraction is so strong they cannot resist.
      "He's drawn to the casino like a moth to a flame."

  • like nailing jelly to the wall
    • To say that something is like nailing jelly to the wall means that it is extremely difficult to do, if not impossible.
      "Keeping track of his movements is like nailing jelly to the wall."

  • like pouring water into a sieve
    • If someone spends time or energy trying to do something that is inefficient or useless, it is like pouring water into a sieve.
      "Danny's mother used to say that teaching him good behaviour was like pouring water into a sieve."

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