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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


from:  'forty winks'   to:  'safety in numbers'

  • forty winks
    • If you have forty winks, you have a short sleep or rest, generally during the day.
      "Dad likes to have forty winks after a game of golf."

  • on all fours
    • If you are on all fours, you are down on your hands and knees.
      "When his wife arrived he was on all fours playing with his grandchildren."

  • give or take (an amount or quantity)
    • This term is used when expressing an amount or estimate that is not exactly right.  It means 'plus or minus', 'more or less', or 'approximately'.
      "The nearest town is about 100 miles away, give or take a few miles."

  • half the battle
    • This expression refers to a significant part of the effort or work needed to achieve something.
      "We've already obtained a loan for the project - that's half the battle!"

  • half an eye
    • If you have or keep half an eye on something, you watch it without giving it your full attention.
      "She kept half an eye on the TV screen while she was preparing dinner."

  • half a mind
    • If you have half a mind to do something, you are thinking seriously about it but have not yet reached a decision.
      "I've half a mind to start up my own business, but first I need some advice."

  • (you don't know the) half of it
    • This expression is used to tell someone that they know some of the facts but they don't know how bad the situation is.
      "You don't know the half of it! He was beating her and terrifying the children. That's why she left him."

  • chance in a million
    • A is a very small chance, or no chance at all, that something will happen.
      "There's a chance in a million of finding the key I lost on the golf course."

  • look (or feel) like a million dollars
    • If you look (or feel) like a million dollars, you look/feel extremely good or attractive.
      "With a tan and a new hairstyle Jane looked (like) a million dollars!"

  • never in a million years
    • This expression means 'absolutely never'.
      "I will never in a million years understand why Anne married Bob."

  • next to nothing
    • Next to nothing is an informal way of saying almost nothing or very little.
      "We’ve bought a house with a garden, but we’ll need help because we know next to nothing about plants and shrubs.”

  • nine-day wonder
    • An event which is a nine-day wonder causes interest, surprise or excitement for a short time, but it doesn't last.
      "His sudden departure was a nine-day wonder but he was soon forgotten."

  • nine times out of ten
    • When something happens nine times out of ten, it is what usually happens.
      "The public transport system is very bad. Trains arrive late nine times out of ten."

  • on cloud nine
    • A person who is on cloud nine is very happy because something wonderful has happened.
      "When the boss announced my promotion, I was on cloud nine!"

  • dressed up to the nines
    • To describe someone as dressed up to the nines means that they are wearing very smart or glamorous clothes.
      "Caroline must be going to a party - she's dressed up to the nines."

  • (talk) nineteen to the dozen
    • Someone who talks nineteen to the dozen speaks very quickly.
      "He was talking nineteen to the dozen so I didn't catch the whole story."

  • number cruncher
    • This is a humorous way of referring to someone who is an accountant or who is very good at working with numbers and calculations.
      "She's a number cruncher who perfectly understands the organisation's financial situation."

  • safety in numbers
    • Th expression safety in numbers means that being part of a group makes people feel more secure and more confident when taking action.
      "None of the group went sightseeing alone, knowing there was safety in numbers."

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