The Idiom Connection Clothes Idioms and Quizzes






Clothes Idioms






Clothes Idioms

air one`s dirty linen in public

- to discuss one`s private quarrels or problems in front of others

The man does not like his wife to air his dirty linen in public when they are with friends.

all dressed up

- dressed in one's best clothes

The girls were all dressed up for the evening.

as comfortable as an old shoe

- very comfortable, very familiar

I felt as comfortable as an old shoe when I entered my aunt's house.

as common as an old shoe

- low class, badly mannered

The young woman is as common as an old shoe.

as tough as an old boot

- very tough, not easily moved by feelings such as pity

The old lady is as tough as an old boot and never shows her feelings at all.

at the drop of a hat

- without waiting or planning, immediately, promptly

Our boss will stop working and help someone at the drop of a hat.

beat the pants off (someone)

- to beat someone severely, to win against someone easily in a race or a game

Our team beat the pants off the other team very easily.

best bib and tucker

- one's best clothing

The man wore his best bib and tucker to the meeting.

bet one`s boots

- to bet everything that one has

I will bet my boots that my friend will not have enough money to go on a holiday.

birthday suit

- complete nakedness

The little boy was running through the park in his birthday suit.

bore the pants off (someone)

- to make someone feel very bored

The new teacher bored the pants off the students.

buckle down to (do something) or buckle down and (do something)

- to make a big effort to do something, to give one's complete attention or effort to do something

The teacher told the girl that she must buckle down and begin to work harder than before.

burn a hole in one`s pocket

- to stimulate someone to spend money quickly

My money is burning a hole in my pocket and I will probably spend it quickly.

burst at the seams

- to be very full or very crowded

The train station was bursting at the seams as everyone waited to go on their holidays.

by the seat of one's pants

- by luck and with very little skill

I was able to complete the course but only by the seat of my pants.

cap and gown

- the academic cap and gown that is worn during graduation ceremonies

Everybody was wearing their cap and gown for the university graduation ceremony.

catch (someone) with their pants down

- to surprise someone in an embarrassing situation or doing something that they should not be doing

The sales manager was caught with his pants down when he was asked for the sales figures that he did not have.

charm the pants off (someone)

- to use very nice or charming behavior to persuade someone to do something

I was able to charm the pants off the man in the job interview and I got the job.

cloak-and-dagger

- involving secrecy and plotting

The spy was involved in some cloak-and-dagger operations.

coat and tie

- a jacket or a sports coat and a necktie

The company asked everyone to wear a coat and tie to the company dinner.

come apart at the seams

- to be in a bad situation and to begin to lose control, to become extremely upset

Our team is coming apart at the seams since our coach left.
The man is coming apart at the seams since he lost his job.

come into fashion

- to become fashionable

Recently, the mini-skirt has come into fashion again.

cut a fine figure

- to look good, to dress well

The man cut a fine figure when he entered the dining room.

cut from the same cloth

- to share a lot of similarities

The two boys are cut from the same cloth and are similar in every way.

decked out in (something)

- to be dressed in fancy clothes

The actress was decked out in a beautiful silk dress at the ceremony.

die with one`s boots on

- to die while still active in one`s work or while doing a job

The man worked hard all his life and died with his boots on when he had a heart attack at the factory.

do (something) like it is going out of fashion/style

- to use/buy/eat much or too much of something

My friend is spending money like it is going out of fashion.

don sackcloth and ashes

- to behave in a way that shows that you are very sorry for something that you have done wrong - in ancient Biblical times people wore very uncomfortable sackcloth (cloth for sacks) for mourning and also to repent for something that they had done wrong

The man had to don sackcloth and ashes to repent for his terrible mistake.

down-at-the-heels

- to be shabby, to be poorly dressed

The man looked down-at-the-heels after he was fired from his job.

dressed to kill

- wearing one`s finest clothes

The woman was dressed to kill when I saw her at the meeting.

dressed to the nines/teeth

- to be dressed elegantly, to be dressed very well

The couple were dressed to the nines when they went to the opening of the new theater production.

dress up

- to wear one`s best clothes

I decided to dress up for dinner on Saturday night.

eat one's hat

- to do something extraordinary or special if something that you do not think will happen actually happens (this is always used with if and is used when you are quite certain that something will happen and if it does not happen then you will do something extraordinary or special - like eating your hat)

I do not think that my friend will arrive here on time and if he does arrive on time I will eat my hat.
I do not think that our team will win the game today but if we do win I will eat my hat.

emperor's new clothes

- used when many people believe something that is not true, a situation in which people are afraid to criticize something because everyone else seems to think that it is good or important

It was like the emperor's new clothes when nobody would criticize the popular politician although he was doing many bad things.

fall apart at the seams

- to separate at the seams (seams are the place where material is sewn together), to fall apart

My backpack was falling apart at the seams so I bought a new one.

a feather in one`s cap

- something to be proud of, an honor

Winning the speech contest was a feather in the boy's cap and a great honor.

fill (someone`s) shoes or fill the shoes of (someone)

- to take the place of someone else and do as well as he or she would do

It will be difficult for the woman to fill the shoes of the previous supervisor.

fine-tooth/toothed comb

- great care, careful attention so as not to miss anything

We went over the room with a fine-tooth comb but we were unable to find the lost credit card.

fit like a glove

- to fit perfectly

The woman's new dress fit like a glove so she was very happy.

fly by the seat of one`s pants

- to do something by instinct rather than by knowledge or logic

I was forced to fly by the seat of my pants when my computer broke and I had to try and fix it.

get along on a shoestring

- to manage with very little money

I had to get along on a shoestring during university.

get dolled up or get all dolled up

- to wear one's best clothes

The girls like to get dolled up when they are playing.
The woman got all dolled up for the party.

get the boot

- to be fired from a job, to be told to leave a place

I got the boot from my first job in high school.
The man got the boot from the restaurant for smoking.

give (someone) the boot

- to fire someone from a job, to force someone to leave a place

The manager gave the man the boot when he began yelling in the restaurant.

give (someone) the shirt off one's back

- to be very generous to someone

My uncle is very kind and he will give you the shirt off his back.

go out of fashion/style

- to become unfashionable

Striped pants have recently gone out of fashion.

go with (something)

- to go well with something, to match something

My green shirt does not go with my red hat.

hand in glove with (someone)

- very close with someone

The supervisor and manager work hand in glove to create a positive atmosphere in the company.

handle (someone) with kid gloves

- to handle someone very gently and carefully because you do not want to upset him or her

You must handle the new employee with kid gloves because he is very sensitive.

a hand-me-down

- a piece of clothing that is given to someone after another person does not need it

My father wore many hand-me-down clothes when he was a child.

hang on (someone's) coattails

- to have one's fortune or success depend on another person

The man is hanging on the coattails of his successful boss.

hang one's hat (somewhere)

- to live or take up residence somewhere

I want to go and hang my hat in a small town somewhere.

hang up one's hat

- to leave a job (usually after a long career)

The man decided to hang up his hat after forty years at his job.

have a bee in one`s bonnet

- to have a fixed idea that stays in one's mind

The woman has a bee in her bonnet about starting a new business.

have a card up one`s sleeve

- to have a secret advantage or strategy

I do not know the manager's plans but I think that he has a card up his sleeve and he will soon make an important announcement.

have an ace up one's sleeve

- to have something that you can use to gain an advantage (in a card game the ace is often the most valuable card and a cheater could have an ace up his or her sleeve to use against an opponent)

The workers were ready to go on strike but the company owners had an ace their sleeve and offered more money and stopped the strike.

have ants in one`s pants

- to be restless, to be nervous

The teacher told the boy that he was moving around like he had ants in his pants.

have on (something) or have (something) on

- to be wearing something

"What did the woman have on when you saw her?"

have (someone) in one's pocket

- to have control over someone

The large union has the city mayor in their pocket.

have (something) up one`s sleeve

- to have a secret plan or solution for something, to be ready for a time when something is needed

I do not know what my friend has up his sleeve but I am sure that he is planning to say something at the meeting.

hit (someone) below the belt

- to do something in an unfair or cowardly way

My friend was hitting below the belt when he criticized me after I told him my true feelings.

hot under the collar

- to be very angry

Our boss is hot under the collar today because three of the staff came late.

if the shoe fits wear it

- if what is being said in general describes you then it probably means you

You should not criticize others for something that you would do yourself. Remember, if the shoe fits wear it.

in fashion

- fashionable

Very thin neckties are not in fashion now.

in one's Sunday best

- in one's best clothes that you would wear to go to worship in a church (in the days when people dressed in a more formal way to attend church)

I was dressed in my Sunday best when I went to the restaurant.

in rags

- dressed in old and worn clothing

The man standing outside the restaurant was in rags.

in (someone`s) shoes

- in another person's place or position

I would not like to be in my cousin's shoes now that he has lost his job.

keep one`s shirt on

- to keep from losing one`s temper or from getting excited, to be calm or patient

"Keep your shirt on. You shouldn`t get so excited about such a small problem."

keep (something) under one`s hat

- to keep something secret

I plan to keep my plans to look for a new job under my hat.

laugh up one's sleeve

- to laugh quietly to oneself

I was laughing up my sleeve when I learned that my friend would have to clean the bathroom at work.

let down (something) or let (something) down

- to lengthen something, to make something longer

The woman wanted to let down her dress because it was too short.

let out (something) or let (something) out

- to make clothes bigger or looser

I went to the tailor to ask him to let out my sports jacket.

lick (someone's) boots

- to behave in a manner like a servant or a slave toward someone

Our boss wants everybody to lick his boots. That is why nobody likes him.

line one's own pockets

- to make money for oneself in a dishonest way

The local politician was lining his own pockets and lost the next election.

lose one`s shirt

- to lose all or most of one`s money

The man lost his shirt gambling and now he is in serious financial difficulty.

made to measure

- clothing that is made especially to fit the measurements of someone

The man purchased several suits that were made to measure.

make (something) by hand

- to make something with one's hands rather than with a machine

The people in the small village make most of their clothes by hand.
The woman likes to buy clothes that are made by hand.

off-the-cuff

- without preparation

Our boss made a great off-the-cuff speech at the party last night.

off the rack

- (an article of clothing that is) available for immediate purchase, ready-made

Our boss always buys his suits off the rack.

old hat

- not new or different, old-fashioned

We have been using the new computer program for many months. It is old hat now.

on a shoestring

- on a very low budget, with very little money

We went to Europe on a shoestring and we enjoyed it very much.

on (someone`s) coat-tails

- as a result of someone else doing something

The woman was elected to city council on her husband`s coat-tails.

out of fashion

- not fashionable

Most of the woman's clothes are out of fashion.

out of pocket

- the direct expenses that one spends for business or personal use

My out-of-pocket expenses for my recent business trip were very low.
The money that I spent on my business trip was all out of pocket.

out of style

- not fashionable

The style of jeans that my friend likes to wear have been out of style for a long time now.

pass the hat

- to attempt to collect money from a group of people for some project or special cause

We passed the hat in order to raise money to buy a new camera.

pull oneself up by one's bootstraps

- to improve oneself or achieve something through one's own efforts

The boy pulled himself up by his bootstraps and went back and finished university.

pull (something) out of a hat

- to produce something as if by magic, to invent something

The lawyer said that she did not have the information but suddenly she pulled it out of a hat.

pull up one`s socks

- to make a greater effort than before to do something

"It is time that you pull up your socks and begin to work hard and take this job seriously."

put on one`s thinking cap

- to think hard and seriously about something

I will put on my thinking cap and try to find a solution to the problem before next week.

put on the dog

- to dress or entertain in an extravagant manner

The couple put on the dog for the visit of their old college friend.

put one's clothes in mothballs

- to put clothes somewhere with mothballs in order to protect the clothes from insects like moths (mothballs contain a chemical and they are often in the shape of a ball)

The woman plans to put her coat in mothballs for the winter.

quake in one's boots

- to be afraid, to shake from fear

I was quaking in my boots when my boss told me to come to his office.

ride on (someone's) coattails

- to have one's fortune or success depend on another person

The sales manager was riding on the coattails of his boss and hoped to achieve success in the company.

roll up one`s sleeves

- to get ready for a hard job, to prepare to work hard or seriously

"Let`s roll up our sleeves and begin to work so that we can finish early."

scare the pants off (someone)

- to frighten someone very badly

The big dog scared the pants off the little boy.

shake in one's boots

- to be afraid, to shake from fear

The little boy was shaking in his boots when the large dog approached him.

shoe is on the other foot

- the opposite is true, places are changed

For a long time my friend laughed at my problems at work. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and he also has serious problems.

smarty pants

- a person who is annoying because he or she always has an answer for something or seems to know everything

The boy is a smarty pants and he acts like he knows everything.

speak off the cuff

- to speak in public without preparation

My father plans to speak off the cuff at his retirement party tonight.

step into (someone's) shoes

- to take over a job or other role from someone

I will have to step into my supervisor's shoes while he is away on vacation.

a stuffed shirt

- a person who is too rigid or too formal

I do not want to invite my neighbor to come with us because he is a stuffed shirt and not very interesting to spend time with.

take in (something) or take (something) in

- to make something smaller

The tailor took in the waist of my suit jacket and now it fits much better.

take off (something - clothes or shoes etc.) or take (something) off

- to remove clothes or shoes etc.

"Please take off your shoes before you enter our house."
I took my shoes off at the door.

take one`s hat off to (someone)

- to admire or respect or praise someone

You have to take your hat off to my neighbor. He started a small business and now it is very successful.

talk through one`s hat

- to say something without knowing or understanding the facts

Our supervisor is talking through his hat and does not know what he is talking about.

throw one's hat into the ring

- to announce that one is running for an elected office

The mayor threw his hat into the ring and decided to run for national office.

tighten one`s belt

- to live on less money than usual

If we want to go on a holiday to Europe this year we will have to tighten our belts and begin to save some money.

too big for one`s boots

- to think that you are more important than you really are

The man is too big for his boots and nobody likes him.

too big for one`s breeches

- to think that you are more important than you really are (breeches are a type of pants or trousers)

Our manager is too big for his breeches and needs someone to make him realize that he is not so important.

toss one's hat into the ring

- to announce that one is running for an elected office

My friend tossed his hat into the ring and will try and become the school president.

town and gown

- the two distinct communities of a university town - the town is the inhabitants of the town and the gown is the university community

The relations between town and gown in the small university town were terrible.

treat (someone) with kid gloves

- to treat someone very gently and carefully because you do not want to upset him or her

I treat my friend with kid gloves because she is very sensitive.

try on (something) or try (something) on

- to put clothes on to see how they fit and look

"You should try on that jacket before you buy it."

under one`s belt

- in one`s experience or possession, gained by effort and skill

Now that I have some job experience under my belt, I will have more chances to apply for a good job.

wait for the other shoe to drop

- to wait for something bad to happen, to wait for something to happen after already knowing that something is going to happen

Our company announced that many people will lose their jobs. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop in order to learn more details of this announcement.

wash-and-wear

- clothing that you can wash and it does not need to be ironed before you wear it

My uncle always likes to buy wash-and-wear clothes.

wear more than one hat

- to have more than one set of responsibilities

Our teacher wears more than one hat. She is the head of the school board as well as the coach of the swim team.

wear one`s heart on one`s sleeve

- to show one`s feelings openly

The girl is wearing her heart on her sleeve and everybody knows that she is having problems with her boyfriend.

wear out (something) or wear (something) out

- to use or wear something until it becomes old and in bad condition

My shoes wore out during my trip to Paris.

wear sackcloth and ashes

- to behave in a way that shows that you are very sorry for something that you have done wrong - in ancient Biblical times people wore very uncomfortable sackcloth (cloth for sacks) for mourning and also to repent for something that they did wrong

The politician was forced to wear sackcloth and ashes as an apology for his wrongdoing.

wear several hats

- to have more than one set of responsibilities

Our teacher wears several hats. She is the head of the school board as well as the coach of the swim team.

wear the pants in one`s family

- to be the boss of a family or household

The woman wears the pants in her family and she is always telling her husband what to do.

with hat in hand

- with humility (usually used when you ask for something from someone who is more powerful than you)

The man came to his boss with hat in hand to ask for a raise in pay.

wolf in sheep`s clothing

- a person who pretends to be good but is really bad

The man is a wolf in sheep's clothing and someone who you should be very careful around.

You bet your boots!

- most certainly, yes indeed, absolutely

"You bet your boots that I am going to apply for my passport as early as possible."

Belt Idioms


hit (someone) below the belt

- to do something in an unfair or cowardly way

My friend was hitting below the belt when he criticized me after I told him my true feelings.

tighten one`s belt

- to live on less money than usual

If we want to go on a holiday to Europe this year we will have to tighten our belts and begin to save some money.

under one`s belt

- in one`s experience or possession, gained by effort and skill

Now that I have some job experience under my belt, I will have more chances to apply for a good job.















Boot Idioms


as tough as an old boot

- very tough, not easily moved by feelings such as pity

The old lady is as tough as an old boot and never shows her feelings at all.

bet one`s boots

- to bet everything that one has

I will bet my boots that my friend will not have enough money to go on a holiday.

die with one`s boots on

- to die while still active in one`s work or while doing a job

The man worked hard all his life and died with his boots on when he had a heart attack at the factory.

get the boot

- to be fired from a job, to be told to leave a place

I got the boot from my first job in high school.
The man got the boot from the restaurant for smoking.

give (someone) the boot

- to fire someone from a job, to force someone to leave a place

The manager gave the man the boot when he began yelling in the restaurant.

lick (someone's) boots

- to behave in a manner like a servant or a slave toward someone

Our boss wants everybody to lick his boots. That is why nobody likes him.

pull oneself up by one's bootstraps

- to improve oneself or achieve something through one's own efforts

The boy pulled himself up by his bootstraps and went back and finished university.

quake in one's boots

- to be afraid, to shake from fear

I was quaking in my boots when my boss told me to come to his office.

shake in one's boots

- to be afraid, to shake from fear

The little boy was shaking in his boots when the large dog approached him.

too big for one`s boots

- to think that you are more important than you really are

The man is too big for his boots and nobody likes him.

You bet your boots!

- most certainly, yes indeed, absolutely

"You bet your boots that I am going to apply for my passport as early as possible."

Coat Idioms


coat and tie

- a jacket or a sports coat and a necktie

The company asked everyone to wear a coat and tie to the company dinner.

hang on (someone's) coattails

- to have one's fortune or success depend on another person

The man is hanging on the coattails of his successful boss.

on (someone`s) coat-tails

- as a result of someone else doing something

The woman was elected to city council on her husband`s coat-tails.

ride on (someone's) coattails

- to have one's fortune or success depend on another person

The sales manager was riding on the coattails of his boss and hoped to achieve success in the company.

Glove Idioms


fit like a glove

- to fit perfectly

The woman's new dress fit like a glove so she was very happy.

hand in glove with (someone)

- very close with someone

The supervisor and manager work hand in glove to create a positive atmosphere in the company.

handle (someone) with kid gloves

- to handle someone very gently and carefully because you do not want to upset him or her

You must handle the new employee with kid gloves because he is very sensitive.

treat (someone) with kid gloves

- to treat someone very gently and carefully because you do not want to upset him or her

I treat my friend with kid gloves because she is very sensitive.

Hat Idioms


at the drop of a hat

- without waiting or planning, immediately, promptly

Our boss will stop working and help someone at the drop of a hat.

cap and gown

- the academic cap and gown that is worn during graduation ceremonies

Everybody was wearing their cap and gown for the university graduation ceremony.

eat one's hat

- to do something extraordinary or special if something that you do not think will happen actually happens (this is always used with if and is used when you are quite certain that something will happen and if it does not happen then you will do something extraordinary or special - like eating your hat)

I do not think that my friend will arrive here on time and if he does arrive on time I will eat my hat.
I do not think that our team will win the game today but if we do win I will eat my hat.

a feather in one`s cap

- something to be proud of, an honor

Winning the speech contest was a feather in the boy's cap and a great honor.

hang one's hat (somewhere)

- to live or take up residence somewhere

I want to go and hang my hat in a small town somewhere.

hang up one's hat

- to leave a job (usually after a long career)

The man decided to hang up his hat after forty years at his job.

have a bee in one`s bonnet

- to have a fixed idea that stays in one's mind

The woman has a bee in her bonnet about starting a new business.

keep (something) under one`s hat

- to keep something secret

I plan to keep my plans to look for a new job under my hat.

old hat

- not new or different, old-fashioned

We have been using the new computer program for many months. It is old hat now.

pass the hat

- to attempt to collect money from a group of people for some project or special cause

We passed the hat in order to raise money to buy a new camera.

pull (something) out of a hat

- to produce something as if by magic, to invent something

The lawyer said that she did not have the information but suddenly she pulled it out of a hat.

put on one`s thinking cap

- to think hard and seriously about something

I will put on my thinking cap and try to find a solution to the problem before next week.

take one`s hat off to (someone)

- to admire or respect or praise someone

You have to take your hat off to my neighbor. He started a small business and now it is very successful.

talk through one`s hat

- to say something without knowing or understanding the facts

Our supervisor is talking through his hat and does not know what he is talking about.

throw one's hat into the ring

- to announce that one is running for an elected office

The mayor threw his hat into the ring and decided to run for national office.

toss one's hat into the ring

- to announce that one is running for an elected office

My friend tossed his hat into the ring and will try and become the school president.

wear more than one hat

- to have more than one set of responsibilities

Our teacher wears more than one hat. She is the head of the school board as well as the coach of the swim team.

wear several hats

- to have more than one set of responsibilities

Our teacher wears several hats. She is the head of the school board as well as the coach of the swim team.

with hat in hand

- with humility (usually used when you ask for something from someone who is more powerful than you)

The man came to his boss with hat in hand to ask for a raise in pay.

Pant Idioms


beat the pants off (someone)

- to beat someone severely, to win against someone easily in a race or a game

Our team beat the pants off the other team very easily.

bore the pants off (someone)

- to make someone feel very bored

The new teacher bored the pants off the students.

by the seat of one's pants

- by luck and with very little skill

I was able to complete the course but only by the seat of my pants.

catch (someone) with their pants down

- to surprise someone in an embarrassing situation or doing something that they should not be doing

The sales manager was caught with his pants down when he was asked for the sales figures that he did not have.

charm the pants off (someone)

- to use very nice or charming behavior to persuade someone to do something

I was able to charm the pants off the man in the job interview and I got the job.

fly by the seat of one`s pants

- to do something by instinct rather than by knowledge or logic

I was forced to fly by the seat of my pants when my computer broke and I had to try and fix it.

have ants in one`s pants

- to be restless, to be nervous

The teacher told the boy that he was moving around like he had ants in his pants.

scare the pants off (someone)

- to frighten someone very badly

The big dog scared the pants off the little boy.

smarty pants

- a person who is annoying because he or she always has an answer for something or seems to know everything

The boy is a smarty pants and he acts like he knows everything.

too big for one`s breeches

- to think that you are more important than you really are (breeches are a type of pants or trousers)

Our manager is too big for his breeches and needs someone to make him realize that he is not so important.

wear the pants in one`s family

- to be the boss of a family or household

The woman wears the pants in her family and she is always telling her husband what to do.

Pocket Idioms


burn a hole in one`s pocket

- to stimulate someone to spend money quickly

My money is burning a hole in my pocket and I will probably spend it quickly.

have (someone) in one's pocket

- to have control over someone

The large union has the city mayor in their pocket.

line one's own pockets

- to make money for oneself in a dishonest way

The local politician was lining his own pockets and lost the next election.

out of pocket

- the direct expenses that one spends for business or personal use

My out-of-pocket expenses for my recent business trip were very low.
The money that I spent on my business trip was all out of pocket.

Shirt Idioms


give (someone) the shirt off one's back

- to be very generous to someone

My uncle is very kind and he will give you the shirt off his back.

hot under the collar

- to be very angry

Our boss is hot under the collar today because three of the staff came late.

keep one`s shirt on

- to keep from losing one`s temper or from getting excited, to be calm or patient

"Keep your shirt on. You shouldn`t get so excited about such a small problem."

lose one`s shirt

- to lose all or most of one`s money

The man lost his shirt gambling and now he is in serious financial difficulty.

a stuffed shirt

- a person who is too rigid or too formal

I do not want to invite my neighbor to come with us because he is a stuffed shirt and not very interesting to spend time with.

Shoe Idioms


as comfortable as an old shoe

- very comfortable, very familiar

I felt as comfortable as an old shoe when I entered my aunt's house.

as common as an old shoe

- low class, badly mannered

The young woman is as common as an old shoe.

down-at-the-heels

- to be shabby, to be poorly dressed

The man looked down-at-the-heels after he was fired from his job.

fill (someone`s) shoes or fill the shoes of (someone)

- to take the place of someone else and do as well as he or she would do

It will be difficult for the woman to fill the shoes of the previous supervisor.

get along on a shoestring

- to manage with very little money

I had to get along on a shoestring during university.

if the shoe fits wear it

- if what is being said in general describes you then it probably means you

You should not criticize others for something that you would do yourself. Remember, if the shoe fits wear it.

in (someone`s) shoes

- in another person's place or position

I would not like to be in my cousin's shoes now that he has lost his job.

on a shoestring

- on a very low budget, with very little money

We went to Europe on a shoestring and we enjoyed it very much.

shoe is on the other foot

- the opposite is true, places are changed

For a long time my friend laughed at my problems at work. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and he also has serious problems.

step into (someone's) shoes

- to take over a job or other role from someone

I will have to step into my supervisor's shoes while he is away on vacation.

wait for the other shoe to drop

- to wait for something bad to happen, to wait for something to happen after already knowing that something is going to happen

Our company announced that many people will lose their jobs. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop in order to learn more details of this announcement.

Sleeve Idioms


have a card up one`s sleeve

- to have a secret advantage or strategy

I do not know the manager's plans but I think that he has a card up his sleeve and he will soon make an important announcement.

have an ace up one's sleeve

- to have something that you can use to gain an advantage (in a card game the ace is often the most valuable card and a cheater could have an ace up his or her sleeve to use against an opponent)

The workers were ready to go on strike but the company owners had an ace their sleeve and offered more money and stopped the strike.

have (something) up one`s sleeve

- to have a secret plan or solution for something, to be ready for a time when something is needed

I do not know what my friend has up his sleeve but I am sure that he is planning to say something at the meeting.

laugh up one's sleeve

- to laugh quietly to oneself

I was laughing up my sleeve when I learned that my friend would have to clean the bathroom at work.

off-the-cuff

- without preparation

Our boss made a great off-the-cuff speech at the party last night.

roll up one`s sleeves

- to get ready for a hard job, to prepare to work hard or seriously

"Let`s roll up our sleeves and begin to work so that we can finish early."

speak off the cuff

- to speak in public without preparation

My father plans to speak off the cuff at his retirement party tonight.

wear one`s heart on one`s sleeve

- to show one`s feelings openly

The girl is wearing her heart on her sleeve and everybody knows that she is having problems with her boyfriend.



Idiom Quizzes - Clothes

    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. The boy always comes to help his friends (very promptly) which is why everybody likes him.

    (a) dressed to kill (b) below the belt (c) under his belt (d) at the drop of a hat



  2. It is time that we (make a big effort) and try to get this job done.

    (a) fill our shoes (b) keep our shirt on (c) buckle down (d) tighten our belts



  3. The train was (full and very crowded) this morning.

    (a) off-the-cuff (b) bursting at the seams (c) decked out (d) flying by the seat of its pants



  4. The woman was (dressed) in her best clothes when I saw her at the theater last night.

    (a) decked out (b) coming into fashion (c) filling her shoes (d) on a shoestring



  5. The fact that my friend is the new class president is (something that he should be proud of).

    (a) on his coat-tails (b) a feather in his cap (c) talking through his hat (d) up his sleeve



  6. Our boss always (shows his feelings openly) and everyone knows his problems.

    (a) wears his heart on his sleeve (b) wears the pants in his family (c) pulls up his socks (d) loses his shirt



  7. Now that I have some job experience (in my possession) I will be able to look for a better job.

    (a) below the belt (b) burning a hole in my pocket (c) up my sleeve (d) under my belt



  8. The man is a (very formal person) and nobody likes to invite him to a party.

    (a) wolf in sheep`s clothing (b) fine-tooth comb (c) stuffed shirt (d) bee in his bonnet



  9. The student will have to (make a greater effort) if he wants to pass his exams.

    (a) pull up his socks (b) air his dirty linen in public (c) handle himself with kid gloves (d) put on his thinking cap



  10. "You should try and (calm down). It is not good to become angry."

    (a) roll up your sleeves (b) wear your heart on your sleeve (c) lose your shirt (d) keep your shirt on



  11. The new supervisor has a reputation for being very mean so you will have to (treat her very gently).

    (a) fly by the seat of your pants (b) handle her with kid gloves (c) fit like a glove (d) fill her shoes



  12. It will be very difficult to (take his place) as he is one of the best workers in our company.

    (a) die with his boots on (b) keep it under his hat (c) fill his shoes (d) pull up his socks



  13. "I do not want anyone to know when I will change jobs so could you please (keep it secret)."

    (a) keep it under your hat (b) roll up your sleeves (c) put the shoe on the other foot (d) keep your shirt on



  14. My friend used to complain about having no money but now (the opposite is true) and now I have no money.

    (a) if the shoe fits wear it (b) you bet your boots (c) the shoe is on the other foot (d) at the drop of a hat



  15. You really have to (respect the man). He always works hard and never misses a day of work.

    (a) handle the man with kid gloves (b) burn a hole in the man's pocket (c) talk through the man's hat (d) take your hat off to the man



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