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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Numbers - Quantities - Amounts

(page 2 :  forty winks  →  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 I arrived, he was on all fours playing with his grandchildren.
give or take (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.
chance in a million A chance in a million 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 like a million dollars If you look like a million dollars, you look extremely good.
With a tan and a new hairstyle she looked 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.
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 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 This expression 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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