English on the Internet - Idioms

English Idioms - A

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about to do something
- on the point of doing something
She was about to leave when the phone rang.

about time
- something that should have happened earlier
It is about time that you returned that book to me.

- forgetful
My grandfather is very absent-minded and often forgets his key.

according to Hoyle
- strictly by the rules, the usual and correct way to do something
According to Hoyle you are not allowed to enter this room but if nobody is here I think it will be okay.

add up
- seem consistent or reasonable
The things that he said about his boss don`t really add up.

ahead of time
- early
We started the meeting ahead of time so we could go home early.

air one`s dirty laundry (linen) in public
- make public something embarrassing that should be kept secret
The dinner party became uncomfortable when the host began to air his colleagues dirty laundry in public.

all along
- all the time
I knew all along that he would not get the promotion.

all at once
- suddenly, without warning
All at once the fire alarm rang so we had to leave the building.

all day long
- the whole day
She has been sitting and waiting for the mail to arrive all day long.

all ears
- eager to listen to someone
Okay, I`m all ears, please tell me about the party.

all in all
- in summary, after considering everything
We had a few problems but all in all the meeting was successful.

all of a sudden
- suddenly, without advance warning
All of a sudden it became cloudy and began to rain.

all right
- okay, satisfactory
She said that it would be all right for me to bring my friend to the party.

all the time
- continually
She asks for money all the time but I don`t like to give it to her.

all thumbs
- have difficulty fixing things or working with one`s hands, clumsy
He is all thumbs when it comes to fixing things around the house.

an arm and a leg
- (cost) a large amount of money
His new car must have cost him an arm and a leg.

apple of one`s eye
- one`s favorite
His youngest daughter is the apple of his eye.

as a rule
- usually, as a habit
As a rule I usually get up at 7:00 AM every morning.

as far as
- to the extent or degree that
As far as I know he will be here in a few minutes.

ask for trouble
- behave in a way that trouble is likely
He is asking for trouble if he misses another class.

asleep at the switch
- not alert to an opportunity
I think he was asleep at the switch. He didn`t even know that the job was available so he never applied for it.

as long as
- provided that, on condition that
As long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car.

as the crow flies
- by the most direct way, along a straight line between two places
As the crow flies it is about 6 kilometers between my house and my company.

as usual
- most of the time, as is the custom
As usual, she forgot to bring her book to class.

as well as
- in addition to
Please bring your swimming suit as well as your towell.

as yet
- until now, up to the present
As yet, she has not told me about her plans to leave the company.

at cross purposes
- have opposite ways to do something, opposing goals
They are at cross purposes and are always arguing about what to do.

at fault
- be responsible or to blame for something
The truck driver was at fault in the terrible accident.

at first
- at the beginning
At first she didn`t want to go to a movie but later she changed her mind.

at first blush
- when first seen, without careful study
At first blush he seemed like a good worker but later we had many problems with him.

at heart
- basically, fundamentally
She is a very nice person at heart although many people dislike her.

at home
- in one`s house
I`m sorry but I left my money at home. Can you lend me some money?

at last
- finally, after a long time
I was waiting all morning for her call but at last it came.

at loggerheads
- having a quarrel, opposing each other
We have been at loggerheads over their plans to build a new office complex.

at odds
- in disagreement
He has been at odds with his boss over the new sales territory.

at someone`s beck and call
- always ready to serve somebody
His eldest daughter is always at his beck and call when he spends an evening at home.

at the end of one`s rope
- at the limit of one`s ability to cope
I am at the end of my rope about what to do about my current situation at work.

attend to someone
- take care or deal with someone
The doctor attended to the other patient before he got to my mother.

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