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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Success - Failure

(Idioms page 2 :  close but no cigar → dice are loaded)

close but no cigar This expression refers to an effort to do something which was a good attempt but not quite good enough to succeed.
The ball touched the goal post - close but no cigar!
come to grief If someone or something comes to grief, they either have an accident, are destroyed or end in failure.
Their plans for a golf course came to grief when it was decided to build a motorway.
come up in the world A person who has come up in the world is richer than before and has a higher social status.
My old school friend has bought an apartment overlooking Central Park.  She has certainly come up in the world.
come up roses If things come up roses, the end result is successful or positive, even if there were difficult times.
After several disappointments, everything seems to be coming up roses for the tennis player this year.
come/turn up trumps To say that someone has come up trumps means that they have achieved unexpectedly good results.
Against all expectations, our team came up trumps in the cup final. 
cook someone's goose To cook somebody's goose means to spoil that person's chances of success.
When the burglar saw the police car arriving, he realized his goose was cooked!
on course for If you are on course for something, you are likely to achieve it.
Our team is on course for a victory in the national championship.
crest of the wave If you are on the crest of a wave, you are very successful in what you are doing.
Our company is going from success to success.  We're on the crest of a wave right now.
cut one's losses If you end or withdraw from something that is already failing, in order to reduce the loss of money, time or effort invested in it,
you cut your losses.
The project is heading for failure.  Let's cut our losses before it's too late.
cut one's own throat If you cut your own throat, you do something that will be the cause of your own failure or ruin your chances in the future.
Tony has already missed a lot of classes.  He's cutting his own throat.
dead cert Something that is certain to happen or be achieved is a dead cert.
After such praise, his appointment as captain of the team is a dead cert.
dead duck This expression refers to a project or scheme which has been abandoned or is certain to fail.
The new cinema is going to be a dead duck because it's too far away from the town centre.
dead in the water A plan or project that is dead in the water is at a standstill or has ceased to function and is unlikely to be reactivated in the future.
Because of the crisis, the planned housing development is now dead in the water.
dice are loaded If everything seems to work to your disadvantage, and you are not likely to succeed, the dice are loaded against you.
I applied for the job, but being a woman, and over forty, the dice were loaded against me.
   
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