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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


SUCCESS and FAILURE, page 8

Idioms
from:   'smash hit'   to:  'have the world by its tail'


  • smash hit
    • A very successful performance in music, films, theatre, etc. is called a smash hit.
      "The film 'Titanic' was a smash hit all over the world."

  • snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
    • If you manage to win something such as a match or a contest, when you are on the verge of losing, you snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
      "With a last-minute goal, the team snatched victory form the jaws of defeat."

  • spread yourself too thin
    • If you spread yourself too thin, you do too many things at the same time and can't do any of them well.
      "Don't spread yourself too thin or you'll get nowhere."

  • throws a spanner (or a wrench) in the works
    • If someone or something throws a spanner (or a wrench) in the works, they do something that causes problems and prevents the success of a plan or event.
      "The two companies are keen to sign the agreement before anything happens to throw a spanner in the works."

  • throw in the towel
    • If you throw in the towel, you admit that you cannot succeed.
      "After unsuccessfully competing in several championships, she decided to throw in the towel and go back to college."

  • top dog
    • To say that a person, group or country is top dog means that they are more successful or more powerful than others.
      "Elizabeth is top dog in cosmetics today."

  • on the up and up
    • If you are on the up and up, you are becoming increasingly successful.
      "The architect has been on the up and up since he designed a building in Dubai."

  • weather the storm
    • If you weather the storm, you succeed in surviving a difficult period or situation.
      "Given the current recession, the company is weathering the storm better than most."

  • win-win
    • The term win-win refers to a situation or proposition where both or all parties benefit from the outcome.
      "There were smiles all round when the contract was signed - it was a win-win situation."

  • wither on the vine
    • If something withers on the vine, it fails or ceases to exist because people do not support or encourage it.
      "Let's hope the recent efforts towards peace will not wither on the vine."

  • wooden spoon
    • The person who finishes last in a race or competition receives an imaginary prize called the wooden spoon.
      "Our team got the wooden spoon in this year's tournament."

  • have the world at your feet
    • If you have the world at your feet, you are extremely successful and greatly admired.
      "The talented young actress has the world at her feet."

  • have the world by its tail
    • Someone who has the world by its tail is very successful and has many opportunities to choose from.
      "Due to her intelligence and hard work, she now has the world by its tail."

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