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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Problems - Difficulties

(page 3 :  go haywire  →  see light)

go haywire If something goes haywire, it becomes disorganised or goes out of control.
The photocopier has gone completely haywire. It's only printing half of each page!
go pear-shaped If a plan or project goes pear-shaped, it either goes wrong or it produces an undesirable result.
Jane organised a treasure hunt in the park for the kids but it all went pear-shaped and everyone was disappointed.
go through the mill If you go through the mill, you experience a very difficult period, or are exposed to rough treatment.
When I was an intern, I was put through the mill.  Nothing went unnoticed.
when the going gets tough ... This expression means that when faced with a difficult or dangerous situation, strong people take action in order to solve the problem.
Tom has a positive attitude. He often says 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going'.
grasp/clutch at straws If you are in a desperate situation and you grasp at straws, you try any method, even if it has little chance of success, in an attempt to find a solution.
In his search for a cure, he turned to a faith healer, knowing that he was grasping at straws.
hang out to dry If you abandon someone who is in difficulty, without giving any assistance or support, you hang them out to dry.
You'll get no help from Jack. He'll hang you out to dry if your plan fails.
high and dry If you are left high and dry, you find yourself in a difficult situation without help or resources.
When her husband walked out on her, Amanda was left high and dry with two kids to raise.
in dire straits If a person or organisation is in dire straits, they are in a very difficult situation.
The loss of major contracts has put the company in dire straits.
in the lurch If something leaves you in the lurch, it leaves you in a difficult or embarrassing situation.
When Paul missed the last bus, he was left in the lurch.
in over your head If you are in over your head, you are involved in something that is too difficult for you to handle.
I accepted to organise the festival, but I quickly realized that I was in over my head.
juggle frogs A person who is juggling frogs is trying to deal with many different tasks at the tame time and finding the situation difficult.
I've got so many things to do at the moment, I feel like I'm juggling frogs!
last resort To say that you would so something as a last resort means that it is the last thing you would do if you were desperate and all other courses of action had failed.
I still haven't found a hotel for the night;  I can always sleep in the car as
a last resort!
(see) light at end of tunnel If you see light at the end of the tunnnel, you see signs of hope for the future after a long period of difficulty.
Sales dropped heavily last year but we're beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
   
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