THE IDIOM CONNECTION
- an action that may fail but has a good chance to succeed
The company took a calculated risk when they opened a new store in a very quiet area.
call a loan
- to demand the immediate and complete payment of a debt/loanThe bank recently called the loan of the small business.
call a meeting
- to request that a meeting be heldThe board of directors will call a meeting for next week.
call a meeting to order
- to officially start a meetingThe president called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
call a spade a spade
- to speak bluntlyThe supervisor called a spade a spade when he criticized the employee for being lazy.
call for (someone)
- to come and get someone"Could you please call for me before you go to the game."
call for (someone or something)
- to require something, to need the services of someoneOur problems with the toilet call for a good plumber.
call in sick
- to phone one's workplace to tell them that you are sick and cannot workMy friend called in sick and will not work today.
call in (someone) or call (someone) in
- to ask someone for help, to call for special adviceWe called in a doctor to look at the patient.
call in (something) or call (something) in
- to collect something for payment, to withdraw something from circulationThe bank decided to call in the business loan.
call it a day
- to finish work and go homeI called it a day and decided to go home early.
call it a night
- to stop what you have been doing for the remainder of the evening, to stop what you are doing and go to bedWe worked until very late and then we called it a night.
call it even
- to cancel someone's debt or something similiar because he or she has already returned something equal in valueMy friend owed me some money. However, he helped me to fix my computer so I decided to call it even and forget about the money.
call it quits
- to stop, to finishI called it quits and went home for the day.
call of nature
- the need to go to the toiletThe driver stopped his truck to answer the call of nature.
call off (something) or call (something) off
- to cancel somethingThey called off the game because of the rain.
call off the dogs or call the dogs off
- to stop threatening or chasing or hounding someoneThe police decided to call the dogs off and stop hunting for the man.
call on (someone)
- to visit someoneI plan to call on my brother during my holidays.
call on (someone)
- to ask someone to participate in something or contribute somethingThe teacher called on me three times to answer questions in the class.
call on (someone) to speak
- to ask someone to speak, to give someone permission to speak at a meetingThe chairman called on me to speak at the meeting.
call out to (someone)
- to shout to someoneWe called out to our friend at the concert but she did not hear us.
call (someone) names
- to call a person unpleasant namesThe children began to call the new student names.
call (someone) on the carpet
- to call someone before an authority to be scolded or reprimandedThe salesman was called on the carpet by his boss for losing the big sale.
call (someone`s) bluff
- to challenge someone to prove that what they are saying is trueI decided to call the man's bluff and I asked him to show me the evidence.
call (someone or something) into question or call into question (someone or something)
- to dispute or cast doubt upon someone or somethingThe lawyer called the man's statement about his neighbor into question.
call (something) garbage
- to not believe something, to dislike somethingMy friend called my ideas garbage.
call the shots
- to be in charge, to give ordersThe vice-president is now calling the shots and is in control of the company.
call up a document
- to find a computer document and put it on a computer screenI had to call up the document as I was talking on the telephone.
call up (someone) or call (someone) up
- to telephone someoneMy friend said that he will call up his parents tomorrow night.
- to relaxThe woman calmed down after the accident.
can of worms
- a complicated situation or problemThe lawsuit opened up a can of worms for the company.
cancel (something) out or cancel out (something)
- to destroy or wipe out the effect of somethingThe overeating by the girl cancelled out the benefits of her exercise.
can't do anything about (someone or something)
- to be unable to manage or control someone or somethingI cannot do anything about the noise in our office.
can't do anything with (someone or something)
- to be unable to manage or control someone or somethingMy sister is always complaining that she can't do anything with her hair.
can`t see the forest for the trees
- to be unable to understand the whole picture of something because you are only looking at small parts of itOur boss has no understanding of most problems because he can't see the forest for the trees.
can't stand (someone or something)
- to dislike someone or something very muchMy uncle cannot stand his daughter's boyfriend.
can't stomach (someone or something)
- to dislike someone or something very muchI cannot stomach the idea of another week of work before my holiday.
cap and gown
- the academic cap and the gown that is worn during graduation ceremoniesEverybody was wearing their cap and gown for the university graduation ceremonies.
card up one`s sleeve
- a plan or argument that is kept back to be used later if neededI think that our boss has a card up his sleeve and he will help us later.
cards are stacked against (someone)
- luck is against someoneThe cards have been stacked against the young boy since he was born.
(in) care of (someone)
- (send something) to one person at the address of another personI sent the parcel to my sister in care of her friend.
carrot and stick
- a reward or a threat of punishment at the same timeThe trade negotiators took a carrot-and-stick approach to the automobile talks.
- to lose one's control or judgement because of strong feelingsI got carried away and began yelling at my friend after he lost my textbook.
carry a lot of weight with (someone or something)
- to be very influential with someone or with a group of peopleThe man's education and experience carry a lot of weight in the university.
carry a tune
- to be able to sing accurately, to have musical abilityThe girl in the music class cannot carry a tune.
carry coals to Newcastle
- to bring something of which you have much of somewhere, to duplicate something (Newcastle is a town in England where there is much coal)Bringing extra food to the farmer`s picnic was like bringing coals to Newcastle.
- to continue, to keep doing something as beforeWe were permitted to carry on with the party after we talked to our apartment manager.
- to conduct, to holdI tried hard to carry on a conversation in the noisy restaurant.
carry out (something) or carry (something) out
- to do something, to put something (a plan) into action, to accomplish somethingWe were able to carry out the move with no problems.
carry over (something) or carry (something) over
- to save something for another time or locationThe store will carry over the sale until next week.
carry the ball
- to be in charge of somethingThe vice-president was asked to carry the ball while the president was away.
carry the day
- to win or be successfulThe sales manager's fine performance carried the day for us.
carry the torch
- to show loyalty to a cause or a personThe mayor has been carrying the torch for the candidate for a long time.
carry the weight of the world on one's shoulders
- to appear to be burdened by all the problems of the worldMy aunt feels that she is working too hard and that she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.
carry through with (something)
- to put a plan into actionThe company carried through with its plan to open a new factory.
carve out a niche
- to create a speciality or product or market that nobody else hasThe company was able to carve out a niche for their product among university students.
a case in point
- an example that proves something or helps to make something clearWhat our boss said is a case in point about what I have also been saying.
a case of mistaken identity
- an incorrect identification of someoneIt was a case of mistaken identity when the police arrested the wrong person.
- a system where you pay cash for some goods and then carry or take them awayThe supermarkets in our city operate on a cash-and-carry basis.
- a good source of moneyThe new business is a cash cow and is making much money.
cash in (something) or cash (something) in
- to exchange something for moneyWe will cash in the coupons because we need some money.
cash in on (something)
- to make a lot of money at somethingThe small city cashed in on their success after the winter Olympics.
cash on the barrelhead
- to pay cash to buy somethingWe were forced to pay cash on the barrelhead for everything at the store.
cast a vote
- to vote for somethingI cast a vote in the election for a new class president.
cast a wide net
- to include many people or things when you are looking for something or trying to choose somethingWe cast a wide net when we were looking for a new employee.
They are casting a wide net to find someone to solve the problem.
cast about for (someone or something)
- to look for someone or somethingThe man has been casting about for a new job for a long time.
cast around for (someone or something)
- to look for someone or somethingWe are casting around for a new secretary in our company.
cast aspersions on (someone)
- to make insulting remarks about someoneThe woman is always casting aspersions on her colleagues at work.
cast doubts on (someone or something)
- to cause someone or something to be doubted or not believedThe first witness at the trial cast doubts on what the main witness said.
cast in the same mold
- to be very similarThe two sisters were cast in the same mold and were almost identical.
cast one's lot in with (someone)
- to join with someone and accept whatever happens - good or badThe woman cast her lot in with the new company and worked hard to make it a success.
cast one's vote
- to voteWe arrived early to cast our vote in the election.
cast pearls before swine
- to waste something good on someone who does not know its value (as you would if you put some pearls or something valuable before a pig who would not know nor appreciate the value of the pearls)The man felt that he was casting pearls before swine when he gave the beautiful dress to his daughter who did not know its true value and did not apreciate it.
Giving the woman the gold earrings was like casting pearls before swine. She did not know their value nor appreciate them.
cast the first stone
- to be the first to attack someone, to be quick to blame or criticize or punish othersI told my friend that she should look at herself and her bad points rather than cast the first stone and criticize her friend.
castles in the air
- daydreamsMy sister is always building castles in the air and is very unrealistic.
- a burglar who enters a building by climbing a wall etc.A cat burglar entered our apartment and stole our television.
cat gets one`s tongue
- one is not able to talk because of shynessThe cat got the woman's tongue and she was not able to say anything.
a cat has nine lives
- cats can survive accidents that would kill most animalsThe boy never becomes injured. He is like a cat with nine lives.
a cat in gloves catches no mice
- if you are too careful and polite you may not get what you wantA cat in gloves catches no mice and I advised my friend that he should be more aggressive at work or he will not be successful.
- a situation in which whatever decision is made the outcome will have negative consequences, a basically no-win situationIt is a catch-22 situation. If I go to work there will be problems but if I do not go to work there will also be problems.
catch a cold
- to become sick with a coldI caught a cold because of the rain and the cold weather.
- in any way possibleWe are in the middle of moving house so our meals are catch-as-catch-can.
- to begin to burnWe were very careful that the wooden house would not catch fire.
catch forty winks
- to get some sleepI was very tired so I decided to catch forty winks.
- to understand something, to learn about somethingI was finally able to catch on and understand the math problem.
- to become popularRecently, ballroom dancing has begun to catch on with many people.
catch one`s breath
- to stop to rest and regain one`s normal breathingAfter running from the station it took me a moment to catch my breath.
catch sight of (someone or something)
- to see someone or something brieflyThe police could not catch sight of the robber after the robbery.
catch some Z's
- to get some sleepI needed to catch some Z's after working hard all weekend.
catch (someone`s) eye
- to attract someone`s attentionI tried to catch my friend's eye but she did not notice me.
catch (someone) in the act of (doing something)
- to catch someone doing something illegal or privateThe police caught the politician in the act of taking money from the business owner.
catch (someone) napping
- to find someone asleep, to find someone unprepared for somethingThe boss caught the employee napping and became very angry.
catch (someone) off balance
- to surprise someone who is not preparedWe were caught off balance when we discovered that we had no business license.
catch (someone) off guard
- to catch a person at a time of carelessnessI was caught off guard when the teacher asked me about my homework.
catch (someone) red-handed
- to find someone in the middle of doing something wrongThe clerk caught the boy red-handed when he was stealing the candy.
catch up on (something)
- to do something that you have not had time to do, to learn about something (the daily news or news about old friends)I need to catch up on some of my reading this weekend.
I met my friend and we caught up on some news.
catch up with (someone or something)
- to become even with someone (in a race or in schoolwork etc.)I think that it is too late to catch up with the rest of the class.
caught in the crossfire
- to be caught between two opposing people or groups so it is difficult to remain neutralThe family was caught in the crossfire between the police and the criminals.
caught in the middle
- to be caught between two opposing people or groups so it is difficult to remain neutralI was caught in the middle when my friend and his girlfriend began to fight.
- to not have enough of something (usually money) when you need itI was caught short last month and could not pay my credit card bill.
- to be surprised and unprepared for somethingEverybody was caught unaware by the change in government policy.
cause a stir
- to cause people to become agitated and alarmed about somethingThe soccer player caused a stir when he criticized the referee.
cause eyebrows to raise
- to shock peopleI caused eyebrows to raise when I did not accept the award from my company.
cause tongues to wag
- to give people something to gossip or talk aboutThe woman caused tongues to wag when she came to the party without her husband.
cave in to (someone or something)
- to surrender one's opposition to someone or somethingThe company caved in to the union`s demand for more money.
chair a meeting
- to be in charge of a meeting (you can be the chairman or chairwoman or chairperson of a meeting), to be responsible for managing a meetingI plan to chair the meeting at our office tonight.
chalk (something) up to (something)
- to recognize something as the cause of something elseWe were able to chalk our success up to our new boat.
chalk up (something) or chalk (something) up
- to record somethingThe stock prices of the company chalked up a big increase last week.
champ at the bit
- to be ready and anxious to do somethingEverybody was champing at the bit to start taking the exam.
- to risk doing somethingWe did not want to chance driving during the storm so we stayed home.
chance upon (someone or something)
- to find someone or something by chanceI chanced upon a very interesting book during my trip.
- to suddenly change what you are doingOur teacher likes to change gears and talk about something new.
The company will have to change gears soon as it is not doing well now.
- to be transferred from one person to anotherThe pizza restaurant changed hands many times during the last several years.
change horses in midstream
- to make new plans or make big changes in an activity that has already begun, to choose a new leader in an activity that has already begunThey decided to change leaders but I told them not to change horses in midstream.
We have already started the project and it is difficult to change horses in midstream and get a new leader now.
change is in the air
- a feeling that something is going to happen or change soonThe company has a new president and everyone can feel that change is in the air.
Change is in the air now that we have a new manager.
change of heart
- a change in the way one feels about somethingThe woman had a change of heart and let her child go to the circus.
change of pace
- a temporary change in one's routineWe decided to go to the lake for a change of pace and to get away from our busy schedules.
change of scenery
- a move to a different place where things are differentMy sister and her husband have decided to move because they want a change of scenery.
change one`s mind
- to change one`s decisionMy friend changed his mind and will not go to the movie tonight.
change one`s tune
- to make a change in one`s story/statement/opinion/policyOur supervisor has changed his tune and agrees that we need to do things differently.
change the subject
- to begin talking about something differentI tried to change the subject when my friend began to talk about the money that I owed him.
in charge of (something)
- to be responsible for an activity or group of peopleOur teacher is in charge of selling tickets for the school dance.
- a cramp in one's arm or leg from straining oneself or doing too much exerciseI got a charley horse while I was running this morning.
charm the pants off (someone)
- to use very nice or charming behavior to persuade someone to do somethingI was able to charm the pants off the man in the job interview and I got the job.
cheat on (someone)
- to be unfaithful to someoneThe man began cheating on his wife which was the cause of their divorce.
check in (at an airport)
- to go to an airport and talk to an airline agent before boarding an airplaneWe arrived at the airport and checked in early.
check into (a motel/hotel)
- to register at a motel or hotelWe arrived at the hotel and then checked in.
check on (someone or something)
- to examine someone or something in order to determine the condition of it/him/herWe always check on our baby before we go to sleep.
check one's luggage
- to give your luggage to an airline agent in return for a luggage claim ticketI checked my luggage and went to wait for my flight.
check out (of a motel/hotel)
- to pay the bill at a motel or hotel and then leaveWe ate breakfast and then we checked out of the hotel.
check out (something) or check (something) out
- to investigate something, to examine somethingWe went to the apartment building to check out the new apartment.
check over (something) or check (something) over
- to look at something carefully to see if there are any problems or mistakesI checked over my essay before I gave it to the teacher.
check up on (someone or something)
- to examine someone or something in order to determine the condition of it/him/herWe must check up on my mother because she has been very sick recently.
cheek by jowl
- side by side, in close intimacyThe fans entered the stadium cheek by jowl.
- with one person's cheek pressed up against another person's cheekThe couple was dancing cheek-to-cheek.
the cheek to (do something)
- rudeness, impudenceThe woman had the cheek to tell me that she was sick and could not work today.
cheer on (someone) or cheer (someone) on
- to encourage someone who is trying to do somethingEverybody came to the stadium to cheer on the home team.
cheer (someone) up or cheer up (someone)
- to make a sad person happyWe took our friend to a nice restaurant to cheer her up.
chew out (someone) or chew (someone) out
- to scold someone roughlyThe teacher chewed out the student for talking in class.
chew the fat/rag
- to chatThe two men were chewing the fat in front of the house.
- a small amount of moneyThe man sold his car for chicken feed.
chicken out (of something)
- to stop doing something because of fearI chickened out of jumping into the lake from the high diving board.
(one's) chickens have come home to roost
- one's words or actions have come back to cause trouble for someoneThe girl's chickens have come home to roost and now she must take responsibility for her actions.
chilled to the bone
- very coldI was chilled to the bone when I came in from the rain.
- to join in a song or conversationWe were having a nice conversation until our friend chimed in and started complaining about things.
- to contribute to something, to pay jointly for somethingWe chipped in and bought our father a birthday present.
chip off the old block
- a person who looks or acts like one of his parentsThe boy is a chip off the old block and acts exactly like his father.
chip on one's shoulders
- a tendency to try to argue or get into a conflict with othersThe man has a chip on his shoulders and wants to fight with everybody.
chips are down
- the time when one faces the greatest obstaclesWhen the chips are down the boy goes to his father for help.
chisel (someone) out of (something)
- to cheat someone to get moneyMy friend tried to chisel his brother out of some money.
choke (someone) up or choke up (someone)
- to make someone cry or become overemotional and speechlessThe story of the boy's illness choked the woman up.
choke (something) off or choke off (something)
- to force something to an end or to a stopThe government was able to choke off the flow of money to the criminal gang.
- to choose from a group of people or players to be on opposing sides of a debate/fight/gameWe had to choose sides before we played the game.
circle the wagons
- to set up a defense against an enemyThe managers began to circle the wagons as the accounting scandal became worse.
claim a life
- to take the life of someoneThe accident on the freeway claimed the life of two people.
- to close one's mouth, to shut up, to stop talkingThe students clammed up when they saw the teacher.
clamp down on (someone or something)
- to become strict with someone or about somethingThe police are going to clamp down on drivers who drive too fast.
a clarion call
- a strong and clear request for people to do something, an urgent call for some kind of action (a clarion is a type of old trumpet)The government leader made a clarion call for people to help during the disaster.
The newspaper sent out a clarion call for help with the project.
The politician used his speech as a clarion call for better health care.
clean bill of health
- the assurance that an animal or person is healthyThe astronaut was given a clean bill of health before he began training.
clean out (someone) or clean (someone) out
- to rob someone of almost everything, to steal almost everything from someoneThe robber enterd the store at night and cleaned out the owners.
clean out (something) or clean (something) out
- to empty something, to tidy something by removing somethingWe spent the day trying to clean out our garage.
- a record that shows no bad behavior or other problems from the pastThe man started with a clean slate after he lost his previous job.
clean up one's act
- to improve one's performanceThe mayor will have to clean up his act if he wants to get elected again.
clear a hurdle
- to overcome an obstacle (from a hurdle in a track and field race)We finally cleared a major hurdle in our effort to get a business license to sell our products.
clear away (something) or clear (something) away
- to remove the contents of something, to take something awayThe parks department began to clear away the old trees in the field.
- clearly stated, clear and certainThe boy gave a clear-cut answer to the question.
clear of (something)
- to be not touching somethingWe checked that the ladder was clear of the electrical wires before we painted the house.
clear out (of somewhere)
- to leave, to get out (usually quickly or abruptly)We cleared out of the building when our class was finished.
clear out (something) or clear (something) out
- to clean somewhere, to remove somethingWe cleared out the room before we started to paint.
- to be an easy situationIt was clear sailing after we finished work and began our holiday.
clear (someone's) name
- to prove that someone is not guilty of somethingThe man tried very hard to clear his name regarding his past criminal activity.
clear the air
- to calm down and remove bad feelingsWe tried to clear the air after our argument.
clear the decks
- to clear away things and prepare for action, to get out of the way"Let`s clear the decks and get everyone out of the house so that we can begin work."
clear the table
- to remove the dishes and eating utensils from a tableAfter we finished eating we cleared the table.
- to become sunnyIt stopped raining and cleared up this morning.
clear up (something) or clear (something) up
- to solve or explain (a problem etc.)We cleared up the problem that we were having with our computers.
click on (something)
- to move a computer mouse or cursor to someplace on a computer screen and then click on itI clicked on the link to open the new page.
- a sports event or movie or election where the outcome is uncertain until the very endThe playoff game was a cliffhanger and the most exciting game of the year.
climb on the bandwagon
- to join a popular activity or campaignMany students climbed on the bandwagon to raise money for the school orchestra.
climb out of the gutter
- to improve one's position or situationThe man was able to climb out of the gutter and begin to solve his problems.
climb the wall
- to be so bored that you become anxious and frustratedThe woman began to climb the wall after only a few days at her new job.
- a low-class business where people are cheatedThe men went into a clip joint near the bus station and had to pay a lot of money.
clip (someone`s) wings
- to limit someone`s activities or possibilitiesThe company decided to clip the manager's wings and will take away his expense account.
- involving secercy and plottingThe spy was involved in some cloak-and-dagger operations.
close a deal
- to end a negotiation successfullyWe had to work hard but we were finally able to close the deal.
close at hand
- to be within reachThe day that the new coach will be chosen is now close at hand.
- an accident or incident that almost happens but does not happenI had a close call this morning when the truck almost hit me.
close in on (someone or something)
- to overwhelm or surround someone or somethingThe soldiers quickly closed in on the enemy position.
- uncommunicative, secretiveThe man was close-mouthed about why he quit his job.
close one's eyes to (something)
- to ignore somethingThe teacher closed her eyes to the misbehavior of the students.
- to unite and fight together, to join together to support someone or something, to join together in a causeThe political parties closed ranks to support the new law.
- an accident or incident that almost happens but does not happenI had a close shave when I almost missed my airplane flight.
close the books (on someone or something)
- to put an end to something (like closing the books in accounting records)The city closed the books on the idea of building a new stadium.
close to home
- to be close to someone`s personal feelings or wishes or interestsMy statement about the woman's work habits hit close to home and she became very quiet.
close to (someone)
- to be fond of someone and have a good relationship with him or herThe boy is very close to his grandfather.
- to become cloudyIt began to cloud up and soon started raining.
clue (someone) in or clue in (someone)
- to inform someone about somethingWe tried to clue the principal in about why the students were absent.
the coast is clear
- no danger is in sight, no one can see youWhen the coast is clear we will try to enter the building.
coat and tie
- a jacket or a sports coat and a necktieThe company asked everyone to wear a coat and tie to the company dinner.
- a story that is not trueThe boys gave us a cock-and-bull story about the tire marks in front of our house.
cog in the machine
- a small and unimportant part of a large organizationThe employees felt like they were only cogs in the machine so the atmosphere at the company was not very good.
- no comfort at allThe government offered money to the victims of the fire but it was cold comfort to those who had lost their families.
- a cold and unfeeling personThe man was a cold fish and cared little about his family.
- a sudden short period of cold weatherThe cold snap lasted for five days.
- the immediate and complete withdrawal from something on which one has become dependent (can be used for drugs such as heroin or things like tobacco)The woman stopped using drugs cold turkey.
come a cropper
- to failI think that the man will come a cropper in the chess tournament.
come a long way
- to make great progressThe manager has come a long way and has learned many things about his new company.
- to happenEverybody believes that the plans for the new community center will never come about.
come across (someone or something)
- to find something or meet someone by chanceI came across an interesting story in the newspaper last week.
- Please repeat or say that again."Come again. I did not hear you the first time."
- to brighten up and become activeThe girl suddenly came alive and began to enjoy the party.
- to make progress, to thriveThe work on our new house is coming along very well.
come apart at the seams
- to be in a bad situation and to begin to lose control, to become extremely upsetOur team is coming apart at the seams since our coach left.
The man is coming apart at the seams since he lost his job.
- to finally agree to something, to return to consciousness or wake upMy father finally came around and agreed to let me go to Europe to study.
come as no surprise
- to not be surprisingIt came as no surprise that the government decided to have an election.
come away empty-handed
- to return without anythingThe man came away empty-handed after shopping all morning.
- to return to the place where you are nowMy cousin came back from her holidays last week.
come back (into fashion)
- to become popular againRecently, bell-bottom pants have come back into fashion.
come back (to someone)
- to return to one`s memoryThe strange events of last year are slowly coming back to me.
come between (two people)
- to disrupt the relationship between (two people)The mother's constant interfering finally came between the man and his wife.
come by (something)
- to get or obtain or acquire somethingMy aunt came by much money recently and is now enjoying her life.
- to tell the truth, to confess somethingThe president of the company was forced to come clean and tell the truth about the problems.
- a lowering in status or income or influence or energyMy friend's new job is a come-down from her last one and she is not very happy.
come down hard on (someone)
- to scold or punish someone severelyThe police are coming down hard on drunk drivers now.
come down in the world
- to lose one's social positionMy father came down in the world when he decided to change jobs.
come down to earth
- to stop imagining or dreaming about thingsMy friend has finally come down to earth and is seriously looking for a job.
come down to (something)
- to be reduced to somethingThe man's decision about the job came down to how it would affect his family.
come down with (something)
- to become sick with a cold or other illnessMy mother came down with a cold and was unable to attend the dinner.
come from (somewhere)
- to originate from somewhere, to be a native of a placeSeveral of the new students come from Mexico.
come from far and wide
- to come from many different placesThe people came from far and wide to hear the new band.
come from nowhere
- to come as a surprise and with no warningThe truck came from nowhere as we were driving along the road.
come full circle
- to be completely opposite from one`s starting pointThe university has come full circle with its policy on new students.
come hell or high water
- no matter what happensCome hell or high water, I plan to go to the concert next week.
come home to (someone)
- to become apparent to someoneIt suddenly came home to the young family that their house had been destroyed in the fire.
come in a close second
- to almost be chosen first for somethingThe politician came in a close second in the election.
come in handy
- to be useful or convenientI think that the small hammer will come in handy to fix the desk.
come in high
- to charge too much for your services, to ask for a price that is too highThe salesman came in high during the negotiations and could not sell his product.
come in low
- to offer a low amount of money for a product or serviceThe company came in low with an offer for our product.
come into fashion
- to become fashionableThese days bright colors have come into fashion.
come into one`s own
- to begin to perform or work well because of good circumstancesThe basketball player has come into his own since he changed positions.
come into (some money)
- to get possession of some money, to inherit some moneyThe man came into much money which he later donated to charity.
come of age
- to be old enough to vote or marry or sign legal contracts etc.When my classmates came of age most of them started to vote.
- to be successful, to happenThe party came off without any problems and everyone was happy.
- please, hurry, go faster"Come on, I only have a few minutes before I must go."
"Come on, stop doing that."
come on board
- to begin to work somewhereThe new manager came on board last month.
come on strong
- to overwhelm others with a strong personalityThe man came on too strong during the job interview.
come on the scene
- to appear in a certain area or placeWhen the new DVD player came on the scene everybody wanted one.
come out ahead
- to improve one's situationAlthough our new car was expensive, we came out ahead because it is very cheap to operate.
come out for (someone or something)
- to announce one's support for (someone or something)The mayor recently came out for legal gambling in the city.
come out for (something)
- to appear for something, to attend somethingMany people came out for the concert in the park.
come out in the wash
- to work out all right, to turn out well in the end, to become understood eventuallyEverything came out in the wash as the students discussed their problems.
come out of left field
- to be completely unexpected, to be a surprise (from the game of baseball)The manager's new idea came out of left field and we have no idea what it means.
come out of nowhere
- to appear suddenlyThe eagle came out of nowhere and captured the small mouse.
come out of one's shell
- to become more friendly or sociableThe little boy came out of his shell and began to talk to everybody around him.
come out of the blue
- to appear suddenly (as if from the sky)My friend's idea for making money came out of the blue.
come out of the closet
- to reveal one's secret interests, to reveal that one is gayNobody was surprised when my cousin came out of the closet.
come out swinging
- to strongly defend yourself or something that you believe in, to begin to attack someone at the beginning of something (as you would do in a boxing match when you begin to fight or swing your arms to hit someone from the beginning of the match)The politician wanted to come out swinging in order to fight against his critics.
The man came out swinging in the meeting in order to defend himself.
come out with (something)
- to say something, to make something knownThe child has recently come out with many funny expressions.
- to come for a visitMy friend is going to come over for a visit tonight.
- to change sidesThe politician supports the opposition but we hope that he will soon come over to our side.
come (someone's) way
- to come to someoneA small blue car came my way while I was standing on the highway.
come through (for someone)
- to do what one is required or expected to do (often under difficult circumstances)My friend will always come through for me when I need his help.
come through (something)
- to complete a difficult activity successfully, to survive something successfullyOur town came through the big storm with no damage.
- to regain consciousnessThe woman came to a few hours after the accident.
come to a bad end
- to end in disasterThe man and his family came to a bad end when they moved to a small town.
come to a dead end
- to be unable to go any furtherWe kept driving on the dirt road until we came to a dead end.
come to a (grinding) halt
- to stop completelyThe traffic on the bridge came to a grinding halt because of the accident.
come to a head
- to come to a point where a problem must be solvedThe issue came to a head and everyone was forced to talk about the problem.
come to a pretty pass
- to develop into a bad or difficult situationThings have come to a pretty pass and nobody knows what to do about the problem.
come to a standstill
- to stopThe circus came to a standstill when the elephant escaped from his cage.
come to accept (something)
- to begin or learn to do or feel somethingAt first, I disliked the girl but recently I have come to accept her.
come to an end
- to stop, to finishWhen the story came to an end the children had fallen asleep.
come to believe (something)
- to begin or learn to believe somethingMany people have come to believe that the stadium is too old.
come to blows
- to begin to fightThe two men came to blows when they were trying to fix the car.
come to feel (something)
- to begin or learn to feel somethingI have come to feel that the girl is not suited for this job.
come to grief
- to have a bad accident or disappointmentThe man has recently come to grief because of his son`s problems with the police.
come to grips with (something)
- to struggle successfully with an idea or problemThe woman has finally come to grips with her husband`s gambling.
come to know (someone or something)
- to begin to know somethingSince I have come to know the girl, I really like her.
come to life
- to become alive or livelyThe party came to life when the host and hostess entered the room.
come to light
- to be discovered, to become knownIt has come to light that the company recently lost millions of dollars.
come to mind
- to enter into one's consciousnessNothing came to mind when I tried to remember the names of the actors.
come to naught
- to end in failureOur efforts to find a new apartment have come to naught.
come to nothing
- to end in failureAll of my efforts to help my friend find a job came to nothing.
come to one`s senses
- to begin to think clearly or act sensiblyThe man came to his senses and bought a cheap car rather than an expensive one.
come to pass
- to happen, to occurI do not know what will come to pass but now the company has many financial problems.
come to (something)
- to be equal to something, to total a number, to amount to somethingOur weekly food bill comes to much money every week.
come to terms with (someone or something)
- to reach an agreement with someone, to accept somethingWe came to terms with the bank and were able to buy the house.
come to the fore
- to come into an important place or position, to come to the frontSeveral members of the class came to the fore and took important positions in the club.
come to the point
- to start talking about the thing that is most important, to be direct
My boss always quickly comes to the point when he wants to talk to me.
The man's speech was interesting but he never really came to the point.
- to become reality, to prove to be correctThe young girl is working hard to make her dreams come true.
- to lose emotional controlThe woman came unglued when she learned that she had lost her job.
- to happen unexpectedlyI know that I will not be able to go to the party if something comes up.
come up against (someone or something)
- to encounter a difficulty or a problem or someone who may prevent you from achieving your goalI came up against a very difficult problem while I was working with my computer programmer.
come up in a conversation
- to appear in a conversation, to be mentioned in a conversationSome interesting topics came up in my conversation with my friend today.
The man's name did not come up in our conversation today.
come up in the world
- to improve one's status or situation in lifeI knew that I had come up in the world when I was invited to dinner with the president of our company.
come up smelling like roses
- to look good after a difficult or bad timeEverybody in the company looked bad except for our manager who came up smelling like roses.
come up to (someone or something)
- to approach someone or somethingThe man came up to me and asked me for directions.
come up with (something)
- to produce/find/create a thought or idea or answerWe are trying to come up with a name for the new magazine.
come what may
- no matter what might happenCome what may, I am determined to go to Spain for my holidays.
come with the territory
- to be expected under the circumstances (like something that comes with a sales territory)The fact that the man has no free time comes with the territory with his work as a news reporter.
commit (something) to memory
- to memorize somethingI worked hard to commit the names to memory.
- a friendly manner with everyoneMy neighbor has a common touch and everybody likes him a lot.
- a person who always works hard and agrees with his employeesMy uncle was a company man and was very devoted to his company.
con (someone) out of (something)
- to trick someone to give you money or something valuableThe man on the street corner tried to con the woman out of some money.
confession is good for the soul
- if you have done something wrong you will feel better if you confess or tell someone what you didConfession is good for the soul and the little boy felt better after he told his parents about his mistake.
The criminal had done many bad things. However, confession is good for the soul and he was trying to talk about his situation and improve himself.
confide in (someone)
- to tell secrets or personal information to someoneI usually confide in my friend when I have a problem.
confuse (someone or something) with (someone or something)
- to fail to distinguish between two things or peopleI always confuse our new teacher with our previous teacher.
The boy confused one word with another word.
- to fall asleep quickly and with great fatigueAfter we returned from the hike, I immediately conked out in front of the TV.
consider an offer
- to think about an offer or proposalThe man considered the offer to buy his car.
conspicuous by one's absence
- to have one's absence noticedThe teacher was conspicuous by her absence and everybody asked where she was.
contradiction in terms
- a statement that seems to have a contradictionIt was a contradiction in terms for the woman to pretend that she had no money while living in a mansion.
contrary to (someone or something)
- in spite of somethingContrary to what everybody thought, my friend had already quit his job.
control the purse strings
- to be in charge of the moneyMy mother used to control the purse strings in our family.
cook (someone`s) goose
- to destroy someone`s chances, to damage or ruin someoneThe girl cooked her goose and now has no chance of getting the new job.
cook the books
- to cheat in bookkeepingThe accountant was fired when someone discovered that he was cooking the books.
cook up a storm
- to prepare a large quantity of foodMy friend cooked up a storm for the party.
cook up (something) or cook (something) up
- to invent something, to plan or plot somethingI do not know what kind of plan the woman is cooking up but it will be interesting.
cool as a cucumber
- to be very calm and brave, to be not worried or anxiousThe woman was as cool as a cucumber when her canoe turned over in the river.
- to let one's anger become less strongWhen the basketball player began to cool down he was allowed to play again.
- to let one's anger become less strongThe teacher sent the children into the corner to cool off.
cool one`s heels
- to be kept waitingThe man was forced to cool his heels before his boss would talk to him.
cop a plea
- to plead guilty to a crime in order to get a lesser penaltyThe man was forced to cop a plea when the evidence against him became very strong.
- to avoid doing something that you were planning to doMy friend copped out from our plan to go to to the beach for the day.
copy (someone) on (something)
- to send a copy of a letter or memo or email to someoneI plan to copy my supervisor on the letter that I am writing.
- someone who copies another person`s work or actionsThe little boy was accused of being a copycat by the other children.
corner the market
- to dominate a particular market with your productThe large company has cornered the market for cell phones in our city.
cost a pretty penny
- to cost a lot of moneyMy aunt's new coat cost a pretty penny.
cost an arm and a leg
- to cost much moneyThe new motorcycle cost my brother an arm and a leg.
cough (something) up or cough up (something)
- to be forced or pressured to give someone something (often information or money)We asked our friend to cough up some money for the restaurant meal.
The man had to cough up some information for the police.
could do with (someone or something)
- to want or need someone or somethingI could do with a new computer because mine is getting old.
- to count peopleAfter the teacher finished counting noses everybody got on the bus.
count on (someone or something)
- to depend on someone or somethingYou can count on our boss to do everything right.
count one`s chickens before they`re hatched
- to assume that something will be successful before it is certain"Don`t count your chickens before they`re hatched. You are spending your money before you have a job."
count (someone) in or count in (someone)
- to include someone in somethingI know that my friends will count me in if they go to the zoo.
count (someone) out or count out (someone)
- to exclude someone from something"Please count me out of your plans to go skiing this weekend."
a course of action
- the procedures that will be followed to do somethingWe decided on a course of action before we told our boss our decision.
cover a lot of ground
- to deal with much information or facts, to travel a great distanceWe covered a lot of ground in our history class at school.
cover for (someone)
- to make excuses for someone, to cover someone's errorsI covered for my friend when she was late for work.
cover for (someone)
- to do someone else's workWe always cover for each other when someone at work is sick.
cover one`s tracks
- to hide where one has been, to hide what one has doneThe man was trying to cover his tracks but it was easy to see where he had been.
cover up (something) or cover (something) up
- to hide something wrong or badThe politician tried to cover up the facts regarding the illegal campaign funds.
cozy up to (someone)
- to try to be extra friendly to someoneI do not know what my neighbor wants but recently he has been trying to cozy up to me.
crack a book
- to open a book to studyI did not crack a book until the last week of classes.
crack a joke
- to tell a jokeThe man was much fun at the party because he was always cracking jokes.
crack a smile
- to let a smile show on one`s faceOur boss never cracked a smile during the meeting.
crack down on (someone or something)
- to enforce laws or rules strictlyThe school principal decided to crack down on people running in the halls.
crack of dawn
- daybreak, early in the morningWe got up at the crack of dawn to go fishing.
crack open a book
- to open a book to studyI did not crack open a book during the weekend.
crack the whip
- to try to make someone work hard or obey you by threatening him or herOur boss had to crack the whip in order to get the job finished before the weekend.
- to burst into laughterI cracked up when the man started talking about the incident with the taxi driver.
- an eccentric person with ideas that do not make sense to others, a crazy personThe man is a crackpot and you never know what he will do next.
cram (something) down (someone's) throat
- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not wantThe woman's boss always tries to cram company changes down her throat.
cramp one`s style
- to limit one`s talk or actionWorking in the new department is beginning to cramp my style.
crank out (something) or crank (something) out
- to produce or make somethingI was able to crank out two very good papers before the end of the year.
crash and burn
- to fail spectacularlyWe did not want to crash and burn so we were careful about how we proceeded with the project.
crash the gate
- to enter someplace without a ticket or without payingMany people did not have a ticket for the concert so they tried to crash the gate.
crazy about (someone or something)
- to be very much in love with someone, to be very enthusiastic about somethingThe girl is crazy about the boy in her university class.
The man is crazy about cars.
cream of the crop
- the best of a group, the top choiceWhen our company hires new employees we look for the cream of the crop.
create a stink
- to make a big issue out of somethingThe woman tried to create a stink when she found the bad product at the supermarket.
create an uproar
- to cause a sensation or outburstThe referees created an uproar when they asked the star player to leave the game.
- things that make people comfortableWe had no creature comforts during our trip to South America.
a credit to (someone or something)
- to be invaluable or beneficial to someone or somethingThe doctor was a credit to the hospital where he worked.
- a strong feeling of fear or disgustI get the creeps every time that I see a snake.
creep up on (someone or something)
- to crawl quietly toward someone or somethingThe thief crept up on the woman in the supermarket.
- a show of sorrow that is not realThe man said that he was very sorry but his tears were only crocodile tears.
- to appear or happen unexpectedlyI will meet my friend early next week unless something crops up that keeps me busy.
cross a bridge before one comes to it
- to think and worry about future events or problems before they happenWe should not worry about that problem now. We do not need to cross that bridge before we come to it.
cross a bridge when one comes to it
- to deal with a situation when and not before it happensI am not going to worry about losing my job now. I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
cross one`s heart and hope to die
- to promise that what you are saying is true"I promise that I will give you the money next week. Cross my heart and hope to die."
cross one`s mind
- to think of something, to occur to someoneIt crossed my mind that I will see my friend in the evening so I do not need to phone him.
cross out (something) or cross (something) out
- to eliminate something by drawing a line through itI crossed out my name from the list of volunteers.
cross swords with (someone)
- to have an argument with someoneI do not want to cross swords with my supervisor again.
cross the Rubicon
- to do something where you cannot go back (Julius Ceasar crossed the Rubicon and made a fight with the Roman Senate inevitable)The man crossed the Rubicon when he began on a course that he could not turn back from.
cross to bear/carry
- something that you must do or continue with even though you are sufferingLooking after my sister`s children is my cross to bear.
- to do mathematical calculationsOur boss is in his office crunching numbers for our company.
crux of the matter
- the central issue of a matterThe crux of the matter is that we do not have enough money to go on a holiday.
cry bloody murder
- to scream like something very serious has happenedThe woman cried bloody murder when the man tried to steal her purse.
cry out for (someone or something)
- to need someone or something badly, to lack somethingThe new room that we built cries out for new furniture.
The baby cried out for her mother.
cry over spilt milk
- to cry or complain about something that has already happened"Don`t cry over spilt milk. You can never change the past."
- to admit defeat, to admit that you have lostThe wrestler had to cry uncle when the other wrestler pinned him to the mat.
- to warn of danger that is not thereThe man is always crying wolf and now nobody believes him.
crying need for (someone or something)
- a desperate need for someone or somethingThere is a crying need for nurses in the local hospital.
a crying shame
- a very unfortunate situationIt was a crying shame that our class trip to Europe was cancelled.
cue (someone) in or cue in (someone)
- to tell someone what is going onI did not know what was happening until somebody cued me in.
cup of joe
- a cup of coffeeWe stopped at the cafe for a cup of joe.
(not one`s) cup of tea
- (not) something that one enjoysModern art is not my cup of tea so I will stay home and not go to the art gallery.
curiosity killed the cat
- being too nosy or curious may get a person into trouble"You should not worry about what your friend is doing. Remember, curiosity killed the cat."
curl up and die
- to retreat and dieI wanted to curl up and die when I saw my old boyfriend at the party.
curry favor with (someone)
- to flatter someone to get his or her help or friendshipOur boss has been working hard to curry favor with the other members of the committee.
cut a deal
- to make a business arrangement or deal with someoneThe company was able to cut a deal with their employees.
cut a fine figure
- to look good, to dress wellThe man cut a fine figure when he entered the dining room.
cut a wide swath
- to attract a lot of attentionThe man cuts a wide swath when he enters a room.
a cut above (someone or something)
- a little better than someone or somethingThe new principal is a cut above the previous one.
- to cross or go through something instead of going around itWe decided to cut across the field because we were in a hurry to get to school.
- to be previously decided, to be prearrangedThe decision was cut-and-dried and nobody asked for our opinion.
- obvious, routine, straightforwardThe instructions for the machine were cut-and-dried and very easy to understand.
cut and run
- to leave as quickly as possibleWe cut and run as soon as we finished delivering the goods.
cut back on (something)
- to use fewer or use less of somethingWe were forced to cut back on the number of people who were invited to the party.
cut both ways
- to serve both sides of an argumentWhat the man said cuts both ways and we should think carefully about it.
- to not go to classI cut class last week and went to a movie.
- to economize, to not spend moneyWe will have to cut corners in order to save money for our holiday.
cut down on (something)
- to use less of somethingRecently, the man has cut down on his smoking in order to become more healthy.
cut from the same cloth
- to share a lot of similaritiesThe two boys are cut from the same cloth and are similar in every way.
cut no ice with (someone)
- to have no influence on someoneThe girl's excuses cut no ice with her teacher or the principal.
cut off one`s nose to spite one`s face
- to make things worse for oneself because you are angry at someone elseThe man is cutting off his nose to spite his face. Taking revenge on his neighbor will only cause him more problems.
cut off (something) or cut (something) off
- to shorten something by cutting the endsThe string was too long so I cut off the end.
cut one's eyeteeth on (something)
- to have done something since one was very youngThe man cut his eyeteeth on fixing bicycles and he is now an expert.
cut one's losses
- to reduce one's lossesWe decided to cut our losses and sell our business before it lost more money.
cut one's (own) throat
- to experience certain failureThe man cut his own throat when he suddenly quit his job.
The girl cut her throat when she began to fight with her coach.
cut out for (something)
- to have a talent for something, to be suited for somethingI do not think that I am cut out for the travelling that is required for my job.
cut out (something) or cut (something) out
- to eliminate somethingMy cousin decided to cut out chocolate in order to lose weight.
cut out (something) or cut (something) out
- to remove something by cuttingI cut out the story from the newspaper.
cut out the deadwood
- to remove unproductive people from a jobThe company decided to cut out the deadwood and began to fire many people.
cut out to be (something)
- to have the ability or interest or qualifications to be somethingThe man is not cut out to be a salesman.
cut short (something) or cut (something) short
- to make something shorter, to interrupt somethingThe man had to cut short his speech.
We decided to cut short our holidays and come home early.
cut (someone) a check
- to write a check to someone, to have a computer print a check (usually used for checks from a business)We cut the man a check for the work that he had done.
cut (someone) down to size
- to criticize someone who is too confident or proud in order to make him or her feel less importantI cut my colleague down to size when I criticized what he said at the meeting.
cut (someone) in or cut in (someone)
- to give someone a share of somethingI cut my friend in on the profits from selling the computers.
cut (someone) off or cut off (someone)
- to stop someone from saying something, to disconnect someone on the phoneI tried to tell my friend about the problem but he cut me off before I could speak.
cut (someone) some slack
- to permit someone to do something that is not usually permitted, to treat someone less severely than is usualThe teacher cut the students some slack and changed the date of the test.
The boy had made a serious mistake but his father cut him some slack and did not punish him.
cut (someone) to the quick
- to hurt someone's feelings very badlyThe woman cut her friend to the quick when she criticized her new clothes.
cut the mustard
- to reach the required standard for somethingThe man does not cut the mustard and he will not be able to work here.
cut to the chase
- to get to the important matter of somethingThe lawyer cut to the chase and was able to get the information quickly.