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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to the house and its contents
from:  'armchair critic'   to:  'rob the cradle'

  • armchair critic
    • An armchair critic is someone who gives advice based on theory rather than practice.
      "That guy is such an armchair critic- no experience but plenty of advice."

  • armchair traveller
    • Someone who reads books or watches TV programmes about other places and countries, but doesn't actually travel anywhere, is called an armchair traveller.
      "A surprising number of adventure books are bought by armchair travellers."

  • basket case
    • A person whose agitated mental state leaves them helpless or unable to cope with things is called a basket case.
      "Jenny will turn into a basket case if this stressful situation continues."

  • wet blanket
    • To refer to someone as a wet blanket means that they spoil other people's fun, or make an event less enjoyable than it could have been.
      "Come on Mike! Don't be such a wet blanket. You're spoiling the party!"

  • you can't put new wine into old bottles
    • This expression means that you should not try to combine new concepts or innovations with an old or long-established framework or system.
      "You'll never get that program to work on your father's old computer - you can't put new wine into old bottles."

  • bucket list
    • A bucket list is a list of things a person would like to do or achieve before a certain age or before dying.
      "I have never visited the pyramids of Egypt but they're on my bucket list."

  • kick the bucket
    • To kick the bucket is a lighthearted way of talking about death.
      "He will inherit when his grandfather kicks the bucket!"

  • not the brightest bulb in the box
    • This expression is used to say that someone is not very intelligent.
      "Max has failed the exam for the third time!
      He's obviously not the brightest bulb in the box!"

  • burn the candle at both ends
    • If you burn the candle at both ends, you exhaust yourself by doing too much, especially going to bed late and getting up early.
      "Scott looks exhausted - I'll bet he's been burning the candle at both ends lately."

  • can't hold a candle to somebody
    • If one person can't hold a candle to another, they are much less competent or do not perform as well as the other.
      "John is very intelligent but he can't hold a candle to his brother Paul when it comes to sports."

  • roll out the red carpet
    • To roll out the red carpet means to give special treatment to an important or honoured visitor.
      "The management is going to roll out the red carpet for the visit of the Nobel prize winner."

  • glass ceiling
    • Th term glass ceiling refers to a discriminatory barrier perceived by women and minorities that prevents them from rising to positions of power or responsibility.
      "Claire knew she would never break the glass ceiling and rise to a senior management position."

  • smoke like a chimney
    • Someone who smokes a large amount of tobacco on a regular basis is said to smoke like a chimney.
      "My grandfather used to smoke like a chimney."

  • clock in/out
    • When you clock in or out, you record the time you arrive or leave your job by punching a time clock to the show the  number of hours you have worked.
      "I'm going to clock out early today. I've got a dental appointment"

  • 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."

  • rob the cradle
    • If you rob the cradle, you have a romantic relationship with someone who is much younger than yourself.
      "My uncle Ted is dating a twenty-year-old girl. That's really robbing the cradle!"

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