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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


PROBLEMS and DIFFICULTIES, page 2

Idioms
from:   'cloud on the horizon'   to:  'get to the bottom'


  • (a) cloud on the horizon
    • A problem or difficulty that is predictable, or seems likely to arise in the future, is called a cloud on the horizon.
      "They are happily married and for the moment there appear to be no clouds on the horizon."

  • come to a head
      If a problem or difficult situation comes to a head, it reaches a point where action has to be taken.
    • "The conflict came to a head yesterday when rioting broke out in the streets."

  • come hell or high water
    • If you say that you will do something come hell or high water, you mean that you will do it in spite of the difficulties involved.
      "Come hell or high water, I've got to be on time for the interview."

  • come out in the wash
    • This expression is used to tell someone not to worry about a mistake or problem because it won't have any serious effect and everything will work out all right.
      "Yes, he was furious when it happened, but don't worry - it'll all come out in the wash."

  • (a) cross to bear
    • A person who has across to bear have a serious problem or heavy responsibility that they must accept because they cannot change it.
      "Alzheimer's is a cross to bear for the whole family."

  • cross that bridge when we come to it
    • This is another way of saying 'we will deal with that problem when it occurs and not worry about it before'.
      "What will happen if we can't repay the loan?"
      "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


  • (the) crux of the matter
    • The most vital or main part of a problem is called the crux of the matter.
      "The crux of the matter is that he's too old to live alone in that big house."

  • a dead man walking
    • A dead man walking is someone who will inevitably be in great trouble very soon, especially a person who is about to lose their job or position.
      "Because of the way he handled the recent riots, the minister is a dead man walking."

  • disaster written all over it 
    • If something, such as a plan or idea, has disaster written all over it, it is thought to be heading for complete failure, or will cause a lot of trouble.
      "Mary's idea of a holiday with her in-laws has disaster written all over it!"

  • dodge a bullet
    • If you dodge a bullet, you narrowly avoid a very serious problem or a disaster.
      "I dodged a bullet when I missed the plane. It crashed just after take-off."

  • an elephant in the room
    • A problem that no one wants to discuss, but is so obvious that it cannot be ignored, is called an elephant in the room.
      "Let's face it, his work is unsatisfactory. It's an elephant in the room that we need to discuss."

  • the fat hits the fire
    • When trouble breaks out, or a situation deteriorates as a result of something said or done, it is said that the fat hits the fire.
      "The situation was already tense, but the fat hit the fire when Larry was accused of cheating."

  • get to the bottom (of something)
    • If you get to the bottom of a problem or mystery, you solve it by finding out the true cause of it.
      "We have a problem of goods disappearing during transport. Hopefully the investigation will get to the bottom of it."

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