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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


DESCRIPTIONS OF PEOPLE, page 2

Idioms
from:   'call a spade a spade'   to:  'down to earth'


  • call a spade a spade
    • A person who calls a spade a spade speaks openly and truthfully about something, especially difficult matters.
      "What I like about the new manager is that he calls a spade a spade - it makes things so much easier for everyone."

  • fat cat
    • The term 'fat cat' is used to refer to a rich, powerful, self-satisfied person who uses their money and power in a way that you disapprove of.
      "The place was full of fat cats on their big yachts."

  • cat's whiskers (or cat's pyjamas)
    • This expression refers to someone who considers themselves
      to be better than others in a particular area : beauty, competence, intelligence, sport, etc.
      "Ever since she got a promotion, she thinks she's the cat's whiskers!"

  • chip off the old block
    • A person who is a chip off the old block resembles one of their parents in appearance, character or behaviour.
      "James is a chip off the old block- he reacts the same way as his father."

  • class act
    • To say that someone, for example an athlete or entertainer, is a class act means that they are very good at what they do.
      "The dancer's career is just beginning but she's already a class act."

  • cog in the machine
    • If you say that someone is a cog in the machine, you mean that, while they are necessary, they only play a small part in an organisation or plan.
      "The police quickly realised that the suspect was just a cog in the machine."

  • couch potato
    • If you refer to someone as a couch potato, you criticize them for spending a lot of time sitting and watching television.
      "Don't be such a couch potato. There are better ways of spending your time than in front of the TV."

  • not cut out for something
    • If you are not cut out for something, you are not the sort of person to succeed or be happy in a particular activity.
      "I started studying medicine but I quickly realised that I wasn't cut out for it."

  • dark horse
    • A dark horse is secretive person who keeps hidden a surprising ability or skill.
      "He is such a dark horse. I never knew he was a playwright!"

  • dead loss
    • Someone described as a dead loss is absolutely useless or a complete failure.
      "When it comes to gardening, my brother is a dead loss."

  • dead man walking
    • A dead man walking is someone who will inevitably be in great trouble very soon, especially a person who is about to lose their job or position.
      "Because of the way he handled the recent riots, the minister is a dead man walking."

  • dog in the manger
    • A person referred to as a dog in the manger is someone who stops others from enjoying something he/she cannot use or doesn't want.
      "Lisa hates the guitar so she won't allow her son to learn to play it - a real dog in the manger!"

  • doubting Thomas
    • A 'doubting Thomas' is a person who will not believe something without proof, or without seeing it for themselves.
      "I had to show him my membership card. What a doubting Thomas!"

  • down at heel
    • A person who is down-at-heel is someone whose appearance is untidy or neglected because of lack of money.
      "The down-at-heel student I first met became a successful writer."

  • down to earth
    • Someone who is down to earth is not a dreamer but a realistic and practical person who has sensible reactions and expectations.
      "Don't ask Suzy for help. She's fun, but not very down to earth."


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