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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Descriptions of places - things - events

(page 1:  act of God  → dead as a dodo)

act of God This term refers to an natural event or accident, for which no person is responsible (such as an earthquake, lightning and similar acts of nature).
The insurance company refused to pay for the damage because it was caused by an act of God.
been through the wars If something has been in or through the wars, it show signs of rough treatment or damage.
He arrived in a car that looked as though it had been through the wars.
beyond recall Something which is beyond recall is impossible to retrieve, cancel or reverse.
I'm afraid we can't recover the pictures - your camera is beyond recall.
beyond redemption If something is beyond redemption, it is in such a poor state that there is no hope of improvement or recovery.
With the latest scandal, his reputation is now beyond redemption.
bodice-ripper A novel, usually on a historical theme, with a plot that involves romantic passion between a vulnerable heroine and a rich, powerful male character, is called a bodice-ripper.
The novel is a bodice-ripper set in the French revolution.
broad strokes If something is described or defined with/in broad strokes, it is outlined in a very general way, without any details.
In a few broad strokes he summed up the situation.
clean as a whistle Something as clean as a whistle is extremely clean.
This can also mean that a person's criminal record is clean.
Bob spent the afternoon washing and shining his car until it was as clean as a whistle.
collecting dust If something is collecting dust, it hasn't been touched or used for a long period of time.
My dad doesn't play golf any more.  His clubs are collecting dust now.
come in handy To say that something may come in handy means that it may be useful some time or other.
Don't throw away those old shelves; they may come in handy one day.
copper-bottomed To describe something such as a plan, a contract or a financial arrangement as copper-bottomed means that it is completely safe or reliable.
He signed a copper-bottomed agreement with a distributor.
creature comforts This expression refers to modern conveniences (such as hot water or central heating) that make life comfortable and pleasant.
I need my creature comforts. I don't know how I'd survive without air-conditioning in this climate!
(a) cut above Something which is a cut above everything else is better or of higher quality.
The articles in this magazine are a cut above the others.
cut and dried If you refer to a situation, problem or solution as cut and dried, you mean that it is clear and straightforward with no likely complications.
When the new manager arrived, he didn't find the situation as cut and dried as he had expected.
dead as a dodo To say that something is (as) dead as a dodo means that it is unquestionably dead or obsolete, or has gone out of fashion.
(A dodo is a bird that is now extinct.)
The floppy disk is an invention that is now (as) dead as a dodo.
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