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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Descriptions of places - things - events

(page 3 :  gizmo  →  icing on the cake )

gizmo The term 'gizmo' refers to a gadget or any small technological item which is unusual or novel, and for which the proper term is unknown or forgotten.
going downhill When something goes downhill, it deteriorates or gets worse little by little.
His health has been going downhill since the last operation.
going to hell in a handcart If something is going to hell in a handcart, it is in a bad state and continues to deteriorate.
This used to be a nice place to live but now the area is going to hell in a handcart.
going to rack and ruin If something is going to rack and ruin, it is falling into very bad condition because of lack of care.
When the factory closed down, the building went to rack and ruin.
gutter press This term refers to newspapers that print a lot of sensational stories about people's private lives.
Of course the gutter press was quick to print a sensational version of the incident!
hard and fast Something which is hard and fast is inflexible or cannot be altered.
Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules related to English spelling.
hard to come by Something that is hard to come by is rare or difficult to find.
Experienced carpenters are hard to come by these days.
hard to swallow When something is difficult to accept or believe, it is hard to swallow.
She invented an excuse that the teacher found hard to swallow.
here today, gone tomorrow This is said of something which appears and disappears very quickly, or does not last long,
The shops in this area change very often - here today, gone tomorrow.
hive of activity A place where there are lots of things happening, and everyone is very busy, is called a hive of activity.
When I went to offer help, the kitchen was already a hive of activity.
hollow victory A victory obtained in unsatisfactory conditions, which as a result seems worthless or without significance for the winner, is called a hollow victory.
Won in the absence of the major ski champions, his gold medal was a hollow victory.
household name When the name of something becomes very familiar because it is so often used, it is called a household name or word.
The product was so successful that its name became a household word
in no time.
hustle and bustle This term refers to busy energetic activity in an atmosphere of general excitement.
I prefer to live in the country. I hate the hustle and bustle of city life.
icing on the cake If something is referred to as icing on the cake, it is an extra benefit that makes a good situation even better.
Good news!  I get the job ... and the icing on the cake is that I get a company car too!
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