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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


SUCCESS and FAILURE, page 4

Idioms
from:   'with flying colours'   to:  'on its knees'


  • with flying colours
    • To achieve something with flying colours means to do it very successfully.
      "My daughter passed the entrance exam with flying colours. I'm so proud of her."

  • a flying start
    • If something gets off to a flying start, it is immediately successful.
      "Sales of the book got off to a flying start and exceeded our expectations."

  • a fool's errand
    • If you go on a fool's errand, you try to do something which is useless, unnecessary or has no chance of success.
      "I knew it was a fool's errand to look for a bank in such an isolated region."

  • a foot in the door
    • To say that someone has a foot in the door means that they have a small but successful start in something and will possibly do well in the future.
      "With today's unemployment, it is difficult to get a foot in the door in any profession."

  • get a foothold
    • If you get a foothold somewhere, you secure a position for yourself in a business, profession or organisation.
      "The contract got the firm a foothold in the local administration."

  • the front runner
    • In a contest, race or election, the front runner is the person who is most likely to succeed or win.
      "Who are the front runners in the coming elections?"

  • get the better of you
    • If someone or something gets the better of you, they defeat you.
      "She went on a diet but it didn't last long - her love of chocolate got the better of her!"

  • go to the dogs
    • To say that a company, organisation or country is going to the dogs means that it is becoming less successful or efficient than before.
      "Some think the company will go to the dogs if it is nationalised."

  • go great guns
    • If someone or something is going great guns, they are successful or doing very well.
      "Fred's night club is going great guns. It's becoming hard to get in!"

  • go off/over with a bang
    • If something such as an event or performance goes off with a bang, it is very successful.
      "The party went off with a bang - everyone enjoyed it."

  • go up in smoke
    • If a plan or project goes up in smoke, it fails or ends before producing a result.
      "When Amy and Tom separated, my mother's dream of a romantic wedding went up in smoke."

  • have got it made
    • Someone who has got it made is so happy and successful in life that they have no worries.
      "With a happy family life, a new house and a super job, Sam's got it made."

  • hit pay dirt
    • If you hit pay dirt, you are lucky and suddenly find yourself in a successful money-making situation.
      "Charlie finally hit pay dirt with his latent invention."

  • be on its knees / bring to its knees
    • When something such as a country or organisation is on its knees, or brought to its knees, it is in a very weak situation or on the verge of failure.
      "The civil war brought the country to its knees."

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