THE IDIOM CONNECTION
- the everyday work routine
My father is tired of the daily grind and will retire soon.
dance to a different tune
- to change one's behavior or attitude
Our boss began dancing to a different tune when the head salesman decided to quit.
dance with death
- to do something that is very risky
The teenagers were dancing with death when they began to race their cars.
dare (someone) to do (something)
- to challenge someone to do something
The little boy dared his friend to throw a rock at the window.
- a political candidate who is little known to the general public
The woman candidate was a dark horse but she won the election easily.
darken (someone's) door
- to visit someone or somewhere
The man has never darkened the door of the library in his town.
- to leave quickly
We dashed off as soon as the concert ended.
dash off (something) or dash (something) off
- to write or finish something quickly
I plan to dash off a letter before I go to work.
date back to (a previous time)
- to be made or begun at a particular time in the past
The old building dates back to 1850.
- to go on a date with someone, to have a date with someone
My sister has been dating her boyfriend for two years.
Davy Jone's locker
- the bottom of the sea (as a grave)
When the boat sank, all of the crew members went to Davy Jone's locker.
dawn on (someone)
- to become clear or known to someone (often suddenly), to become obvious to someone
It finally dawned on me why my friend was angry.
After using the computer for several hours, it suddenly dawned on me the reason that it was very slow.
day after day
Day after day, the woman goes to the school to meet her child.
day and night
- all of the time
We worked day and night to finish the project before the end of the month.
day in and day out
- regularly, all of the time
My father goes to a small restaurant for lunch day in and day out and he never gets tired of it.
- daily, everyday
The president was not involved in the day-to-day running of the university.
- the extreme overcharging of money for something
The amount of money which the gas station charged for the gasoline was daylight robbery.
- several days in a row
There were concerts at the auditorium for six days running.
- to be directly aheadThere was a truck dead ahead so we put on the car brakes.
dead as a doornail
- to be very deadThe man was as dead as a doornail after the car accident.
- the exact middleI easily hit the target dead center.
- a person or a thing in a hopeless situationThe man is a dead duck and has no hope of regaining his former position.
- the end of a road, an impasseThe negotiations between the players and the owners have reached a dead end.
dead in one's tracks
- to be stopped exactly where someone or something is at the momentThe police stopped the robber dead in his tracks.
- a piece of mail that cannot be delivered or returned to the senderThe letter with no return address went back to the post office as a dead letter.
- a total lossThe money that I gave to my friend is a dead loss and none of it will be returned.
dead on one's feet
- to be exhaustedI was dead on my feet after working all day in my garden.
dead set against (something)
- to be determined not to do somethingThe parents are dead set against their son going to Europe for a year.
- to be very tired, to be exhaustedI was dead tired so I went to bed when I got home.
dead to the world
- to be sleeping soundlyThe little boy was dead to the world when his father looked into the bedroom.
- to be totally wrongI was dead wrong in my calculations to build the table.
- a person who never pays his debtsThere is a new government policy to penalize deadbeat fathers.
- an expressionless or emotionless faceMy friend had a deadpan expression when he told us the story.
deaf and dumb
- to be unable to hear or speakThe man was deaf and dumb and could not communicate with the woman on the train.
deal in (something)
- to buy and sell somethingThe man has been dealing in antiques for many years.
deal with (someone)
- to act in a specific way toward someone, to do business with someoneThe company is planning to deal with the late employee soon.
deal with (something)
- to be concerned with something, to take action about somethingWe will deal with the boxes tomorrow.
decide in favor of (someone or something)
- to determine the winner of something, to decide who is rightThe city decided in favor of building a new bridge over the river.
- to be dressed in fancy clothesMy sister was decked out in her best clothes for the party.
deem it to be necessary
- to believe that something is necessaryThe judge deemed it to be necessary to postpone the trial for a week.
- to throw away something, to dispose of somethingI decided to deep-six my videos as I did not want them any longer.
- serious trouble or difficultyThe boy will be in deep water if he does not tell us where he spent the money.
deliver the goods
- to do a good or successful job of somethingHe is the best manager that we have. He knows how to deliver the goods.
desert a sinking ship
- to leave a situation or place when things become difficult or unpleasantMany employees decided to desert a sinking ship when their company began to have problems.
devil of a job
- a very difficult jobEverybody thought that unloading the truck was a devil of a job.
- an unworried attitude, an attitude where one does not care what happensThe man has a devil-may-care attitude to his job and nothing bothers him.
devote (something) to (something)
- to make much effort for something, to dedicate oneself to somethingThe man devoted much energy to the new project.
diamond in the rough
- a good person or thing that is hidden by a rough exteriorThe man is a diamond in the rough and a very gentle person.
die a natural death
- to die by disease or of old age and not by an accident or by violenceMy grandfather was very old and he died a natural death.
- to gradually get lower and then disappear (often said about noise)The noise of the airplane slowly died away.
- to come slowly to an end, to grow weakerWhen the sound of the music died down we were able to go to sleep.
die in one's boots
- to die fightingThe soldiers died in their boots after fighting very hard.
the die is cast
- something has been decided and you cannot change the decisionThe die is cast and now that we have sold our house we must move.
- to laugh very loud and hardWe almost died laughing when we saw the movie.
- to die one after another until the number is smallThe house plants began to die off soon after we moved to a new apartment.
- to die or disappear slowly until gone, to not exist anymoreThe campfire slowly died out and we went to bed.
Dinosaurs died out many years ago.
- to begin eating"Let`s dig in and eat before the food gets cold!"
dig in one's heels or dig one's heels in
- to refuse to change one's course of action or opinionOur boss dug in his heels and refused to give us time off.
dig one's own grave
- to be responsible for one's own problemsThe woman dug her own grave when she fought with her boss. Now she is having many problems at work.
dig (someone or something) up or dig up (someone or something)
- to make an effort to find someone or somethingI had to dig up some blankets for my friend when he stayed at our house.
We need to dig someone up to help fix our computer.
dig (something) out or dig out (something)
- to locate somethingI must dig out last year's income tax forms to look at.
I will dig out some clothes for the summer weather.
dig up some dirt on (someone) or dig some dirt up on (someone)
- to look for unpleasant or embarrassing information about someoneThe reporter is trying to dig up some dirt on the politician.
a dime a dozen
- common, easy to get and of little valueUsed books are a dime a dozen and it is difficult to sell them.
dip into (something)
- to borrow from a supply of somethingWe had to dip into our savings to get enough money for a holiday.
dip one's toe in the water
- to slowly start to do something new in order to see if you like it or if other people will approve of itI am doing some volunteer work at the hospital in order to dip my toe in the water and see if I like the medical field.
- to be extremely cheapThe denim jackets were dirt cheap so I decided to buy one.
a dirty look
- a look that shows dislike or disapprovalThe boy's mother gave the boy a dirty look when he entered the kitchen.
- unpleasant or uninteresting workI refused to do the dirty work for my friend.
dish out (criticism)
- to criticize someone roughly, to treat someone roughlyOur supervisor likes to dish out criticism to others but he does not like to hear criticism about himself.
dish out (food)
- to serve food from a large bowl or plateI began to dish out the food when the guests arrived.
dispose of (something)
- to discard something, to destroy something, to get rid of somethingWe must dispose of our old sofa before we buy a new one.
dive in headfirst
- to do something impulsively without thinking about the consequencesThe man likes to dive in headfirst with anything that he does.
dive right into (something)
- to begin to do something without hesitating (some swimmers like to dive right in without checking the temperature of the water)Many of the students decided to dive right into their studies when university started.
divide and conquer
- to split an opposing side into two groups so that you can win against themThe government was trying to divide and conquer the opposition parties.
divide (something) fifty-fifty
- to divide something into two equal partsWe divided the money that we won fifty-fifty.
do a double take
- to look again in surprise at someone or somethingThe girl did a double take when she saw her old boyfriend with another girl.
do a job on (someone or something)
- to harm or damage someone or somethingWe really did a job on the bookcase that we were trying to move.
do a land-office business
- to do much business in a short timeThe children are doing a land-office business by selling the cold drinks next to the stadium.
do a number on (someone or something)
- to hurt or damage someone or somethingThe students did a number on the spectator stands during the soccer game.
do a snow job on (someone)
- to deceive or confuse someoneThe salesman tried to do a snow job on me but I did not believe him.
do an about-face
- to suddenly reverse one's opinionWe did an about-face on our decision to permit drinking coffee in the library.
do away with (something)
- to stop something, to get rid of somethingThe company will do away with their policy of working one weekend a month.
do credit to (someone)
- to add to someone's reputationThe woman's graduation thesis did credit to her hard work and patience.
do in (someone) or do (someone) in
- to make someone tired, to exhaust someoneI was done in after I finished the marathon.
do in (something) or do (something) in
- to ruin or destroy somethingThe boy quickly did in the new shoes that he had received for his birthday.
do justice to (something)
- to do something well, to represent something accuratelyThe painting of my grandfather does not do justice to his extremely good looks.
- to meet someone for lunchI plan to do lunch with my friend tomorrow.
do one`s best
- to try to do something as well as one canI tried to do my best on the exam.
do one`s bit
- to make one's expected contribution to a group projectOur teacher did his bit to help plan for the party.
do one's duty
- to do one's job or what is expected of oneThe guard was doing his duty when he began to ask the customer questions.
do one`s part
- to make one's expected contribution to a group projectEverybody had to do their part to make the meeting a success.
do one`s thing
- to do what one wants to do and enjoys doingMy friend enjoys doing his thing when and where he chooses.
do or die
- to make a great effortIt was do or die for the man when he started his new job.
do over (something) or do (something) over
- to repeat something, to do something againThe teacher made me do my homework over.
do (someone) good
- to be good or beneficial for someoneIt will do my friend good to go on a holiday.
do (someone) out of (something)
- to cheat someone out of somethingThe man was worried that the company would do him out of the bonus that he was expecting.
do (someone's) bidding
- to do what someone else wantsThe principal was able to get the head teacher to do his bidding with the other teachers.
do something rash
- to take drastic action (usually without thinking)My friend is extremely angry and she may do something rash.
do (something) by the book
- to follow the rules of something exactlyOur boss likes to do everything by the book.
do (something) like it is going out of fashion/style
- to use/buy/eat much or too much of somethingMy friend is spending money like it is going out of fashion.
do the dishes
- to wash and dry some dishesWe did the dishes soon after eating dinner.
do the honors
- to perform the duty of a host (when serving a drink etc.)"Would you like to do the honors and pour everybody a drink?"
do the trick
- to work well, to achieve a good or desired resultI think that the new piece of equipment should do the trick and solve our problem.
- to spend time in prisonThe man was doing time when we first heard about him.
do with (someone or something)
- to be acquainted or involved or associated with someone or something"I do not know what that incident was to do with."
(can/could) do with (something)
- to benefit from (something)I have been working hard all day so now I could do with a cold drink.
do without (something)
- to manage without somethingWe will have to do without sugar because there is none left.
- to produce excellent resultsDoing some exercise will do wonders for your health.
dog and pony show
- a display or demonstration used to gain approval for somethingThe politician put on a dog and pony show to make people forget about the scandal.
dog days of summer
- the hot period of summer when people and things slow down, a period of inactivityIt was during the dog days of summer and nobody at our office wanted to work hard.
- to be ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what you wantIt is a dog-eat-dog world in the advertising and public relations business.
dog in the manger
- one who prevents others from enjoying what one has no use for oneself (from Aesops Fables)The girl was a dog in the manger. She cancelled the dinner because she could not attend.
doll (oneself) up or doll up (oneself)
- to dress in fancy clothesThe woman was all dolled up for the party at the downtown hotel.
dollar for dollar
- considering the costDollar for dollar, going to the resort for a holiday is a good deal.
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 did wrongThe man was asked to don sackcloth and ashes to repent for his terrible mistake.
- to be ruined or defeated or dyingI think that our team is done for this season.
- to be tired, to be exhaustedI was done in so I went to bed early.
done to a T
- to be cooked just rightThe steaks were done to a T and everybody was very happy with them.
done to a turn
- to be cooked just rightEverything was done to a turn at the party.
done with (something)
- to be finished using somethingI was done with the computer so I let my sister use it.
doomed to failure
- to be certain to failThe policy of the school was doomed to failure because nobody would support it.
a dose of one's own medicine
- the same kind of treatment that one gives to other peopleThe man got a dose of his own medicine when his boss began to treat him the same way that he treated others.
- to turn back from where you are going or where you have beenWe decided to double back from the arena and return home.
- to check something again to be sure that it is correctI double-checked the price of the airplane ticket.
- to deceive someone, to promise one thing and then do anotherThe man tried to double-cross his partner.
- a date where two couples go on a date and do something togetherIt was fun to go on the double date even though everybody wanted to do something different.
- two games (usually baseball) that are played one after the other and are played in front of the same crowdWe were tired after watching a double-header last night.
- talk or words that appear to mean something but do notThe speaker gave the audience much double-talk and nobody knew what he wanted to say.
- two times one's regular wages for working beyond one's normal hoursThe man worked on the national holiday and received double time for his work.
- to share a room with someoneEverybody had to double up when they went to the convention.
a doubting Thomas
- someone who needs strong proof to believe somethingMy friend is a doubting Thomas and you must tell him many times before he will believe something.
down and dirty
- unfair or nasty or sneakyThe team decided to get down and dirty in order to try and win the tournament.
down and out
- to have no moneyMy friend has been down and out before but usually he can find a job.
- to be shabby, to be poorly dressedThe man looked down-at-the-heels after he was fired from his job.
down for the count
- to be finished for nowThe boxer was down for the count but everybody expected him to stand up and fight again.
down in the dumps
- to be unhappyThe girl has been down in the dumps since her boyfriend moved away.
down in the mouth
- depressed and unhappyMy friend looked down in the mouth after he finished work today.
down on one's luck
- to be unlucky, to have no moneyThe man was down on his luck and did not have a place to live.
down on (someone)
- to be critical of someone, to be angry at someoneThe girl is down on her friend but I do not know the reason.
down one`s alley
- to be the type of thing that you are interested in or that you enjoy doing or that you are good at doingComputers are down his alley so I am sure that he will be interested in the job.
Tennis is down his alley so I am sure that he will play with you.
down the drain
- to be wasted or lostMy uncle is throwing money down the drain when he goes to the horse races.
down the hatch
- swallowed, down one's throatThe cough medicine went down the hatch of the little boy.
down the line
- straight ahead, in the futureThere will be many changes in our company down the line.
down the tubes
- to be ruined or wastedOur plans went down the tubes after my friend refused to join us.
down to earth
- to be sensible and practicalMy mother is very down to earth.
down to the last detail
- considering all of the detailsWe fixed up everything on the boat, down to the last detail.
down to the wire
- at the very last moment, very close to the time when something is due (from the wire at the end of a horse race)The election went down to the wire but the candidate was re-elected to another term in office.
We went down to the wire but we were able to finish the project on time.
down with (an illness)
- to be ill, to be sick at homeMy sister was down with a cold so she could not go out for a few days.
drag in (someone or something) or drag (someone or something) in
- to insist on bringing someone or something into a discussionTh employee always drags in his personal problems when we talk about his job performance.
- to pass very slowly, to make something longerThe speech was dragging on so we decided to leave early.
a drag on (someone)
- a burden to someoneThe problems at work were a drag on my friend and he became sick because of them.
drag one`s feet/heels
- to act slowly or reluctantlyThe man is dragging his heels about whether or not to take the job.
draw a blank
- to get no response to something, to get a negative resultThe manager drew a blank when he went to the head office to get information about the merger.
draw a line betwen two things
- to separate two thingsWe must draw a line between using the Internet for work and using it for personal use.
- to make a wound that bleeds, to anger someoneThe politician was very careful not to draw blood during the debate.
- to receive criticism for somethingThe government began to draw fire when they announced changes to the health care system.
- to be a target, to attract or provoke shootingThe soldiers drew fire when they entered the small village.
draw in one`s horns
- to spend less moneyThe company is not doing well so everybody must draw in their horns.
- to appear interesting and attract someone's attentionThe singers drew much interest when they performed at the festival.
- to earn interest when money is deposited in a bankThe money that we put in the bank draws interest every month.
- to choose from a group of straws or things to decide who will do somethingWe decided to draw lots to see who would wash the dishes.
draw (someone) out or draw out (someone)
- to make a person talk or tell somethingThe girl was very quiet but we were able to draw her out and she began talking.
draw (something) from (something)
- to obtain something from something, to get something from somethingThe man draws much pleasure from his hobby of painting.
draw the line (at something)
- to set a limit for something, to refuse to consider somethingWe have to draw the line somewhere to limit the costs of the party.
draw to a close
- to endThe tournament was drawing to a close and everybody was going back home.
draw up (something) or draw (something) up
- to put something in writing, to prepare documents or legal papersThey were able to draw up the contract while we were waiting.
dredge up (something) or dredge (something) up
- to uncover something unpleasant and remind people about itThe newspaper is always trying to dredge up bad things about the government.
dress (someone) down or dress down (someone)
- to scold someoneThe supervisor took the clerk into her office to dress her down.
- to put on one`s best clothesI decided to dress up for dinner at the restaurant.
dressed to kill
- to wear one`s finest clothesThe woman was dressed to kill when I saw her at the concert last week.
dressed to the nines/teeth
- to be dressed elegantlyThe movie stars were dressed to the nines during the awards ceremony.
drive a hard bargain
- to conclude a bargain without making any concessionsAlthough the man drives a hard bargain, I like doing business with him.
drive at (something)
- to intend or mean to say somethingI do not know what the man was driving at in his speech.
drive (someone) up a wall
- to irritate or annoy someone greatlyMy neighbor's constant complaining is driving me up a wall.
drive (something) home or drive home (something)
- to make something clearly understoodThe high price of gasoline drove home the necessity of driving less.
drive up (a price)
- to make the price of something increaseThe cold weather is driving up the price of heating oil.
drive up to (someone or something)
- to approach someone or somethingThe car drove up to the bank.
driving force behind (someone or something)
- the motivating force behind someone or somethingThe potato farmers were the driving force behind the efforts to get people to eat more potatoes.
drop a bombshell
- to announce some shocking newsThe government dropped a bombshell when they announced that they were going to close the hospital.
drop a hint
- to casually make a hint or suggestion about somethingThe clerk dropped a hint that he wanted to transfer to a new department.
- to come for a visitMy friend plans to drop around for a visit tomorrow.
- to move or step backwards, to retreatDuring the hike my foot began to get sore so I decided to drop back and rest for awhile.
- to visit someoneMy uncle dropped by after work for a visit.
drop by the wayside
- to give up or fail before the finish of somethingMany runners dropped by the wayside during the marathon.
- to die suddenlyThe bus driver dropped dead while driving the bus.
- Go away!, to stop bothering someoneI told my brother to drop dead when he came into my room and now he is angry at me.
- to stop doing what you are doingWhen the fire alarm rang we dropped everything and went outside.
drop in (on someone)
- to make a short or unplanned visit to someoneI want to drop in on my friend after I finish work.
drop in one's tracks
- to collapse from exhaustionThe runner dropped in his tracks during the race.
drop in the bucket
- a small amountThe money that my friend repaid me was a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes me.
- to mention the names of famous people as if they were your friendsNobody likes the girl because she is always dropping names when she meets her friends.
drop off (to sleep)
- to fall asleepI dropped off to sleep while I was watching television.
drop off (someone or something) or drop (someone or something) off
- to take someone or something to a certain locationI dropped off my friend at the airport.
I dropped off the book at my friend's house.
drop out of (something)
- to quit school or a course of some kindThe boy dropped out of the class after three months.
drop (someone) a line
- to write or mail a note or letter to someoneMy friend promised that she will drop me a line when she gets to Singapore.
drop the ball
- to make an error or mistake, to handle things badlyThe government dropped the ball with its decision to expand the airport runway without consulting the local residents.
drop the price (of something)
- to lower the price of somethingThe computer company will drop the price of computers next month.
drop the subject
- to stop talking about somethingMy friend was getting angry while we were talking about money so I decided to drop the subject.
drown one`s sorrows
- to drink alcohol or do something to forget one`s problemsThe man is drowning his sorrows with a drink.
drown (someone) out or drown out (someone)
- to make so much noise that it is impossible to hear someoneThe cheering fans drowned out the team captain.
drowning in (something)
- to be submerged in something, to be overwhelmed with somethingThe man is drowning in debt and has no money.
I am drowning in work this week.
drum up (something) or drum (something) up
- to encourage something by making an effortThe company was able to drum up a lot of business during the summer.
drum (something) into (someone's) head
- to make someone learn something by forceThe teacher worked hard to drum the formulas into the heads of the students.
- to lose moisture graduallyThe beach towel dried out quickly.
- a rehearsal for something, a practice sessionThe marriage ceremony was on Saturday so we had a dry run on Thursday night.
- to become dry, to be depletedThe river began to dry up early in the summer.
The money for the project has dried up.
- easy, effortlessa) "How was the test last week?"
b) "It was duck soup - no problem at all."
- a stupid gullible personHe is a dumb bunny and you never know what he will do next.
- to end a relationship by telling someone that you do not want to see him or her againThe woman dumped her boyfriend after they had a big fight.
dump (something) on (someone)
- to give a large or excessive amount of something to someoneOur teacher dumped much homework on us yesterday.
- an auction where you start off with a high price and then reduce itThey always sell the flowers at a Dutch auction at the downtown market.
- unusual or artificial courage (often because of alcohol)The man was full of Dutch courage when he began to criticize his boss.
- a meal or movie etc. where each person pays his or her own way, to contribute equally to somethingWhen the boy goes out with his girlfriend it is always a Dutch treat as he does not have much money.
- someone who gives you advice like a parent or relative wouldMy friend is like a Dutch uncle and he is always giving me advice about how I should act.
duty bound (to do something)
- to be forced by duty or honor to do somethingI was duty bound to talk to my friend about the money that I had lost.
dwell on (something)
- to think or talk about something all the timeI wish that my friend would not dwell on his personal problems.
- permanent, stubbornThe man is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and will never change.
dying to (do something or go somewhere)
- to be very anxious to do something or go somewhereI am dying to go and visit my friend in the country.