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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


SUCCESS and FAILURE, page 7

Idioms
from:   'on the pig's back'   to:  'slam dunk'


  • on the pig's back
    • A person who is on the pig's back is in a successful situation and everything is going well for them.
      "Before the recession, the country was on the pig's back, but the situation has changed greatly."

  • a place in the sun
    • If you find a place in the sun, you reach a position which provides you with success, wealth and/or happiness, or whatever you have been hoping to obtain in life.
      "She finally found a place in the sun with the triumph of her latest book."

  • put the kibosh on something
    • If you do something to prevent a plan or activity from happening or being successful, you put the kibosh on it.
      "The bank's refusal to grant him a loan put the kibosh on Jack's project."

  • Pyrrhic victory
    • A victory that is obtained at a tremendous cost, or causes such a great loss that it is not worth winning, is called a Pyrrhic victory.
      "It was a Pyrrhic victory. The shop owner won the lawsuit but went bankrupt because of the legal expenses involved."

  • (go from) rags to riches
    • If a person goes from rags to riches, they start off being very poor and become very rich and successful.
      "By renovating old houses in the right places, he went from rags to riches."

  • riding high
    • Someone who is riding high is enjoying a period of success or popularity.
      "The actor has been riding high since the success of his last film."

  • rise to the occasion
    • If you rise to the occasion, you manage to do something successfully in difficult circumstances.
      "When her boss broke his leg, Julie had to represent the company at the congress, and she rose to the occasion extremely well"

  • run rings (or circles) around someone
    • If you show much more skill or ability than your opponent, you run rings (or circles) around them.
      "In a quiz show on TV yesterday, a teenage girl ran rings around the other contestants."

  • sail through something
    • If you sail through something, for example a test or an exam, you succeed in doing it without difficulty.
      "The English test was no problem for Pedro. He sailed through it."

  • save the day
    • If you find a solution to a serious problem, and ensure the success of something that was expected to fail, you save the day.
      "The dog ate the apple pie I had made for my guests, but my sister saved the day by making one of her speedy desserts!"

  • sink or swim
    • If someone has to sink or swim, they have to do something alone, and their success or failure depends entirely on their own efforts.
      "The sink-or-swim attitude in the company can be very difficult for young recruits."

  • the sky's the limit
    • To say the sky's the limit means that there is no limit to the possibility of success or progress for someone or something.
      "How successful do you think the project will be?"
      "Who knows ... the sky's the limit!"


  • slam dunk
    • A basketball term which means that success or victory will be easily achieved.
      "Our lawyer will win the case easily. It's a slam dunk."

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