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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


PROBLEMS and DIFFICULTIES, page 3

Idioms
from:   'go haywire'   to:  '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 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 (someone) 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."

  • leave 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."

  • leave 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 same time and finding the situation difficult.
      "I've got so many things to do at the moment, I feel like I'm juggling frogs!"

  • a 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 the end of the 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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