THE IDIOM CONNECTION
had best (do something)
- should do something, ought to do somethingI had best go home soon as I want to get up early tomorrow morning.
had better (do something)
- should do something, ought to do somethingI had better go now or I will be late for class.
hail from (somewhere)
- to originally come from somewhereMy father hails from a small farming community.
the hair of the dog that bit you
- a drink of alcohol taken when one is recovering from drinking too muchMy friend started the day with the hair of the dog that bit him.
(one's) hair stands on end
- to be frightened or afraid of somethingMy hair stood on end when I saw the scene of the automobile accident.
hale and hearty
- to be in very good health, to be well and strongMy uncle is hale and hearty and he never gets sick.
- an idea or plan that is not thought about carefully or not studied carefullyI do not really like my friend's half-baked ideas.
- not enthusiastic, not interestedThe woman made a halfhearted attempt to find a new job.
half the battle
- a large part of the workWriting the letters will be half the battle. We can finish the rest of the work later.
halfhearted about (someone or something)
- to be unenthusiastic about someone or somethingI was halfhearted about joining the hiking group.
ham it up
- to do something silly or try to exaggerate something in a funny wayI was hamming it up with my friend in front of the principal's office.
hammer away at (someone or something)
- to be persistent in trying to do somethingI will hammer away at my final essay for university this weekend.
hammer out a deal or hammer a deal out
- to make a deal or agreement by discussion and debateWe worked hard to hammer out a deal with our company about our holiday schedule.
hammer out (something) or hammer (something) out
- to make an agreement or plan by discussion and debateThe union and managers were able to hammer out an agreement before midnight last night.
hammer (something) home or hammer home (something)
- to try hard to make someone understand somethingThe speaker tried to hammer home the importance of treating the customers with respect.
hand down a decision
- to announce a legal decisionThe judge handed down his decision early in the afternoon.
hand down (something) or hand (something) down
- to arrange to give something to someone after your deathMy grandmother handed down her silver jewellery to my mother.
hand in glove with (someone)
- very close with someoneThe supervisor and manager work hand in glove to create a positive atmosphere in the company.
hand in hand
- holding hands, working together as a teamI walked to the movie hand in hand with my girlfriend.
We worked hand in hand to finish the project.
hand in (something) or hand (something) in
- to give something to someone, to hand something to someoneI went to the company early to hand in my job application.
hand it to (someone)
- to give credit or praise to someoneYou have to hand it to our manager for working hard and being successful with his business.
- something given away after another person does not need it (especially clothes)The girl was very poor when she was a child and always wore hand-me-down clothes.
- a gift (usually from the government)The government recently stopped giving hand-outs to the downtown businesses.
- a sheet of paper given to students in a class or to people who attend a meeting or lectureEveryone at the meeting was given a hand-out on how to invest money.
hand out (something) or hand (something) out
- to distribute something, to give something of the same kind to several peopleThe teacher did not hand out the tests until everybody in the class stopped talking.
hand over fist
- quicklyOur new company is making money hand over fist.
hand over (someone or something) to (someone)
- to give control or possession of something to someone, to give something to another personThe criminals were forced to hand over the stolen money to the police.
hand (something) down to (someone) or hand down (something) to (someone)
- to give something to a younger personThe girl always handed her old clothes down to her younger sister.
hand (something) to (someone) on a silver platter
- to give a person something that has not been earnedThe father handed a job to his son on a silver platter and the boy never made any effort at all.
- fighting with one's hands without weaponsThe two soldiers were doing hand-to-hand combat.
- only enough money for basic livingThe man was living a hand-to-mouth existence until he was able to find a job.
(one's) hands are tied
- one is unable to helpMy hands were tied and I could not help my friend.
- easy, unopposedOur team won the game hands down over the other team.
- left alone, without interferingThe government decided to take a hands-off approach with the teachers during the strike.
handle (someone) with kid gloves
- to handle someone very gently and carefully because you do not want to upset him or herYou must handle the new employee with kid gloves because he is very sensitive.
the handwriting is on the wall
- something bad or significant will happenThe handwriting is on the wall. Business conditions are bad so nobody will get a bonus this year.
- can easily fix thingsThe man is very handy around the house and is always fixing or building something.
hang a left
- to turn to the leftWe must hang a left at the end of the block.
hang a right
- to turn to the rightWe decided to hang a right when we came to the main street.
- to pass time or stay someplace without any real purpose or aimI spent the weekend hanging around with my friends.
- to stay some distance behind someone or away from someone, to hesitate or be unwilling to do somethingThe man always hangs back when his boss asks for volunteers.
hang by a thread/hair
- to be in doubt, to depend on a very small thingThe outcome of the election was hanging by a thread until late at night.
hang in the balance
- to have two equally possible results, to be uncertainBuilding the new school hangs in the balance after the recent election.
hang in (there)
- to persevere, to not give up"You should hang in there and not quit your job even if you hate the supervisor."
- a rather old expression used to express annoyance or disappointment"Hang it," the man said when he hit his finger with the hammer.
- to relax, to remain calmI want to stay home this weekend and hang loose.
- to continueAlthough conditions were very bad the man decided to hang on and fight to keep his business going.
- to wait, to continue listening on the telephone"Hang on for a minute while I go and get a pen."
hang on (someone's) coattails
- to have one's fortune or success depend on another personThe man is hanging on the coattails of his successful boss.
hang on (someone's) every word or hang on every word of (someone)
- to listen with complete attention to everything someone saysThe audience hung on every word of the speaker.
hang on to (something)
- to hold something tightly, to keep something firmly"Please hang on to your hat or the wind will blow it off."
hang one on
- to get drunkThe man hung one on last night after he heard about his promotion.
hang one's hat (somewhere)
- to live or take up residence somewhereI want to move and hang my hat in a small town somewhere.
hang out one`s shingle
- to notify the public of the opening of an office - especially an office of a doctor or lawyer or other professionalThe man will hang out his shingle now that he has graduated from law school.
hang out (somewhere)
- to spend one`s time with no great purpose, to spend leisure time with friendsThe boys like to hang out at the shopping center on Saturdays.
hang out with (someone)
- to spend time with someone with no great purpose, to spend leisure time with friendsRecently, my friend has been hanging out with a group of people who are a bad influence on him.
hang (someone) in effigy
- to hang a dummy of a hated personThe demonstrators hung the dishonest politician in effigy.
- to stick to one's positionI decided to hang tough and stop negotiating with the lawyer.
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.
hang up (something) or hang (something) up
- to place something on a hook or peg or hangarEveryone was asked to hang up their jackets before they entered the room.
hang up the telephone
- to place a telephone receiver back on the telephone and end the callI hung up the telephone and left home to go to work.
hang up the telephone on (someone)
- to end a telephone conversation suddenly and with no explanationMy friend became angry and hung up the telephone on me.
The man often becomes angry and hangs up the telephone on his friends.
- a delay in some processThere was a hang-up in the construction of the office tower because of the fire.
- an inhibition, a neurotic reaction to some life situationThe girl has a serious hang-up about the dark and is afraid to go out at night.
happen upon (someone or something)
- to meet someone or find something unexpectedlyI happened upon a very valuable book when I was cleaning up my grandfather's house.
- a time in bars or restaurants when drinks are served at a discountWe stopped at a restaurant during happy hour and had a drink.
a hard-and-fast rule
- a rule that cannot be altered to fit special casesThere is no hard-and-fast rule that says you cannot use a cell phone on the bus.
as hard as nails
- physically very fit and strong, roughThe man is as hard as nails and is not a good person to have an argument with.
- specific facts which can be provedWe tried hard to learn the hard facts about the new product.
- angry or bitter feelingsI do not have any hard feelings toward my boss even though he fired me.
- not weak or soft, stubborn - especially in a fight or contest or negotiationsThe company had a hard-nosed attitude while bargaining with the union.
a hard nut to crack
- a person or thing not easily understood or influencedOur boss is a hard nut to crack and he is not close to many people.
hard of hearing
- unable to hear wellThe man is hard of hearing so you must speak loudly when you talk to him.
hard on (someone or something)
- to treat someone or something roughlyThe boy is very hard on shoes.
hard on (someone's) heels
- to be following someone very closelyThe police officer was hard on the criminal's heels.
- burdened with urgent business"I am hard-pressed for time. Can we meet later?"
a hard sell
- an attitude where you pressure someone to buy somethingThe car dealer gave me a hard sell on the car so I went to another dealer.
hard to call
- to be hard to determineThe election was hard to call until the last moment.
- to be short of moneyI am hard up for money and I cannot go to the movie.
a harebrained idea
- a foolish/silly/stupid ideaThe man is always telling us about his harebrained ideas.
I am tired of listening to my friend's harebrained ideas.
harken back to (something)
- to have started out as somethingThe new building harkens back to a style that appeared over 100 years ago.
harp on (something)
- to talk repeatedly and tediously about somethingMy friend has been harping on his lack of money for several weeks now.
hash (something) over or hash over (something)
- to discuss something in great detailThe teachers stayed after school to hash over the new class schedule.
- a bothersome thingIt is a hassle to have to report to my boss two times a day.
a hatchet man
- a politician whose job it is to say negative things about the opposition, a person in a company who must fire extra workers or cut other expensesThe manager is acting as a hatchet man for the company president.
hate (someone`s) guts
- to feel a very strong dislike for someoneI hate my neighbors guts after she caused me many problems.
haul (someone) in or haul in (someone)
- to take someone to the police station, to arrest someoneThe police hauled the man in because he was drinking while driving.
have a ball
- to have a good timeMy friend had a ball at the party last night.
have a bee in one's bonnet
- to have an idea or thought that stays in one's mindMy sister has a bee in her bonnet about going to Mexico to live.
have a big mouth
- to be a person who gossips or tells secretsMy friend has a big mouth so I do not like to tell him any secrets.
have a blowout
- to have a big wild party or saleThe university students had a blowout on their graduation day.
have a blowout
- to have a burst tire on a car or truckOur car had a blowout on the road to the mountain.
have a bone to pick with (someone)
- to have a disagreement or problem that you want to discuss with someone, to want to talk to someone about something that he or she has done that has annoyed youI have a bone to pick with my friend. She was one hour late for our appointment yesterday.
have a brush with (something)
- to have a brief experience with something (law, death etc.)I had a brush with the law when my car was stopped for speeding.
have a card up one's sleeve
- to have a reserve plan or a secret advantageThe man had a card up his sleeve when he went to the bank to ask for more money for his business.
have a case (against someone)
- to have much evidence that can be used against someoneThe police have a case against the man who is selling the stolen cars.
have a change of heart
- to change one's attitude or decision (usually from negative to positive)I had a change of heart and will let my friend use my car tomorrow.
have a chip on one's shoulder
- to seem to want to start a conflict or quarrelOur neighbor has a chip on his shoulder and is always trying to start a fight.
have a clean slate
- to have a record that shows no bad behavior or other problems from the pastThe man had many problems in the past. However, he now has a clean slate and is trying very hard to advance in his company.
have a clear conscience
- to be free of guiltI have a clear conscience and I am not worried that I did anything wrong.
have a close call/shave
- to almost be involved in an accident or incident (but the accident or incident does not happen)I had a close call this morning when I was almost hit by a car.
(not) have a clue (about something)
- (not) know anything about somethingI do not have a clue who took my laptop computer.
have a crack at (something)
- to try something, to take a turn at trying to do somethingThe problem is very difficult but I will take a crack at solving it tomorrow.
have a crush on (someone)
- to have strong feelings of love for someone (often for a short time and with no results)The girl has a crush on a boy in her class.
have a familiar ring
- to sound familiarThe complaints of our supervisor have a familiar ring and we have heard them before.
have a feeling about (something)
- to have an intuition about somethingI have a feeling about the new man in our company that is not good.
have a field day
- to have a chance to do much of something that you want - especially the chance to criticize someoneThe media had a field day with the scandal in the city government.
have a finger in the pie
- to be involved in somethingThe man has his finger in the pie of many businesses.
have a fit
- to become upsetThe woman had a fit when she saw what her son had done to her car.
have a foot in both camps
- to support each of two opposing groups of people, to have an interest in two opposing groups of peopleThe new mayor has a foot in both camps of the development dispute.
have a frog in one's throat
- to have a feeling of a hoarse throat, to be unable to speakI had a frog in my throat and could not speak easily in front of the class.
have a go at (something)
- to try to do somethingI decided to have a go at applying for the job after my boss told me about it.
have a good command of (something)
- to know something wellThe girls have a good command of French.
have a good head on one`s shoulders
- to be smart or sensibleThe new salesman has a good head on his shoulders.
have a good mind to (do something)
- to be tempted to do somethingI have a good mind to tell my friend that I will not lend him any money.
have a good thing going
- to be involved in something that is successful and gives you benefitsI have a good thing going with my company and my schedule is very good.
have a good time
- to enjoy oneselfI had a good time at the party.
have a green thumb
- to be able to grow plants wellMy sister has a green thumb and has a beautiful garden.
have a hand in (something)
- to be partly responsible for somethingI think that the woman had a hand in getting her friend fired from her job.
have a handle on (something)
- to have control or an understanding of somethingI finally have a handle on my work and it is going very well.
have a head for (something)
- to have the mental capacity for somethingMy father has a head for numbers and is very good at mathematics.
have a heart
- to be generous and forgivingThe woman does not have a heart and nobody likes her.
have a heart of gold
- to be generous or sincere or friendlyThe woman has a heart of gold and is always willing to help her friends.
have a heart of stone
- to be cold and unfriendlyThe man has a heart of stone and he will never help anybody.
have a heart-to-heart talk (with someone)
- to have a sincere and intimate talk with someoneI had a heart-to-heart talk with my sister about my girlfriend.
have a hold on (someone)
- to have a strong and secure influence on someoneThe coach has a hold on the members of the team.
have a hollow leg
- to be able to eat or drink a lotI think that my friend has a hollow leg. He never stops eating.
have a hunch about (something)
- to have a feeling that something will or should happenI have a hunch that my friend will not come to meet me.
have a keen interest in (someone or something)
- to be very interested in someone or somethingI have always had a keen interest in hiking and camping.
have a lead foot
- to drive too fastMy friend has a lead foot and he has received many speeding tickets.
(not) have a leg to stand on
- to have no support for your position or opinion, to have no excuse or evidence for somethingThe criminal does not have a leg to stand on in his defense.
have a leg up on (someone)
- to have an advantage in your job or education because someone gives you help or moneyThe boy went to summer school which should give him a leg up on the other students in his class.
have a lot going (for one)
- to have many things working to one's benefitThe woman has a lot going for her and should do well at her job.
have a lot of promise
- to have a good future aheadThe young race horse has a lot of promise and should be a winner in the future.
have a lot on one's mind
- to have many things to worry aboutThe young woman has a lot on her mind with her new job and her new boyfriend.
have a lot on one's plate
- to have many things to do or deal with, to be busy with many different activitiesThe young woman has a lot on her plate at the moment and is very busy.
have a mind like a steel trap
- to have a very sharp and agile mindThe man has a mind like a steel trap and can remember most things easily.
have a mind to (do something)
- to be tempted to do something, to be inclined to do somethingI have a mind to tell my friend that I will not lend him any more money.
have a near miss
- to nearly crash or collide with somethingThe two trucks had a near miss on the highway this morning.
have a nose for (something)
- to have a talent for finding somethingOur supervisor has a nose for finding ways to save money in our company.
have a notion to (do something)
- to feel tempted or inclined to do somethingI had a notion to go to the beach so I went to the beach.
have a one-track mind
- to think only about one thingMy friend has a one-track mind and he is only interested in making money.
have a passion for (something)
- to have a strong feeling of need or love for somethingThe student wants to become a teacher because he has a passion for teaching children.
have a pick-me-up
- to eat or drink something stimulatingThe carpenter bought a protein drink as a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon.
have a price on one's head
- to be wanted by the police who will pay money for one's captureThe man has a price on his head and is wanted by the police all over the country.
have a rough time (of it)
- to experience a difficult periodMy friend had a rough time of it when he was forced to leave his job.
have a run-in with (someone)
- to have an unpleasant encounter with someoneI had a run-in with my boss that made us both feel bad.
have a run of bad luck
- to have a period of bad luckMy uncle had a run of bad luck and he lost his business as well as his house.
have a say in (something)
- to have a part or role in making a decisionThe union wanted to have a say in how the company was managed.
have a score to settle with (someone)
- to have a problem to solve with someoneI have a score to settle with the soccer coach which I want to talk about.
have a scrape with (someone or something)
- to come into contact with someone or somethingI had a scrape with my coworker and I must be very careful of what I say now.
have a screw loose
- to act in a strange way, to be foolish, to be crazyThe man is very strange. I think that he has a screw loose somewhere.
(not) have a snowball's chance in hell
- to have no chance at allOur team did not have a snowball's chance in hell to win the tournament.
have a soft spot in one's heart for (someone or something)
- to be fond of someone or somethingMy grandmother has a soft spot in her heart for her youngest son.
have a sweet tooth
- to have a desire to eat sweet foodsThe girl has a sweet tooth and loves to eat chocolate.
have a taste for (something)
- to have a desire for a particular food or drink or experienceRecently, my friend has a taste for very loud music.
have a thing for (someone)
- to be attracted to someone, to be interested in someoneThe girl has a thing for the new boy in her class.
have a thing going with (someone)
- to have a romantic relationship with someoneI think that the secretary has a thing going with one of the salesmen.
have a tiger by the tail
- to have a task or situation that you are not prepared for or which is a bigger challenge that you expectedThe politician had a tiger by the tail as he tried to manage the large problem.
have a time
- to have trouble, to have a hard timeMy friend really had a time last night when her car stopped working.
have a time
- to have a good time, to have funWe really had a time at the party last night.
have a trick up one`s sleeve
- to have a secret advantage or strategy to use when the time is rightThe salesman always has a trick up his sleeve when he wants to sell something.
have a try at (something)
- to try something, to take a turn at trying to do somethingI want to have a try at scuba diving.
have a vested interest in (something)
- to have a personal interest (often financial) in somethingThe mayor of the city has a vested interest in building the new stadium.
have a voice in (something)
- to have a part or role in making a decisionThe citizens were angry because they had no voice in the government policy changes.
have a way with (someone or something)
- to be able to lead or persuade or influence othersThe little girl has a way with horses. They are very gentle when she is around.
have a weakness for (someone or something)
- to be unable to resist someone or somethingThe girl has a weakness for chocolate and is always eating it.
have a whale of a time
- to have a very exciting timeEverybody had a whale of a time at the school picnic.
have a word with (someone)
- to talk briefly with someoneI will have a word with my boss before he goes home tonight.
have an accident
- to experience something that was not intendedI had an accident on my way to work this morning.
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)I have an ace up my sleeve which should help me when I meet my boss tomorrow.
have an ax to grind (with someone)
- to have something to complain aboutMy coworker has an ax to grind with our boss and he is always complaining.
have an ear for (something)
- to have the ability to learn music or languagesMy cousin has an ear for music and is a very good musician.
have an edge on/over (someone or something)
- to have an advantage over someone or somethingOur team has an edge over the other teams to win the high school football championship.
The boy has an edge on the others to win the spelling contest.
have an eye for (something)
- to have good taste in something, to be able to judge something correctlyThe girl has an eye for nice furniture and her apartment is absolutely beautiful.
have an in with (someone)
- to have a way to request a special favor from someoneThe woman has an in with her boss and can easily get time off.
have an itch to (do something)
- to have a desire to do somethingI have an itch to go fishing this summer.
have an open mind
- to be mentally flexibleOur boss has an open mind and is happy to hear new ideas.
have an out
- to have an excuseThe teacher asked me to do my presentation tomorrow but I have an out and do not have to do it. I will go to the doctor tomorrow
(not) have anything to do with someone
- to (not) want to be a friend or work with or do business with someoneMy father will not have anything to do with the salesman after the salesman sold him the faulty car.
- to reach a position of power or authority or prominenceThe manager thought that she had arrived when she was given a beautiful corner office.
have bearing on (something)
- to affect or influence somethingThe decision will have much bearing on the way that the company is managed.
have been around
- to have been to many places and done many things, to be experiencedMy brother has been around and has been overseas many times.
have been had
- to have been cheated or dealt with badlyI felt that I had been had when the salesman sold me the bad product.
have been through the mill
- to have become exhausted or badly treatedThe students have been through the mill and want to relax after the final exams.
have been to hell and back
- to have survived a great deal of troubleI thought that I had been to hell and back after I lost my job and could not find a new one.
have clean hands
- to be guiltlessI had clean hands and I did not need to worry about the company scandal.
have cold feet
- to be afraid and hesitant about something at the last minuteI think that my friend has cold feet and will not go traveling with me.
have come a long way
- to have accomplished muchThe woman has come a long way since she lost her house and her apartment.
have contact with (someone)
- to communicate with someoneThe government has had no contact with the kidnappers for several weeks.
have designs on (someone or something)
- to have plans for someone or somethingThe city has designs on the land that the railway used to occupy.
have dibs on (something)
- to demand a share of something, to be in line to use somethingI have dibs on the computer and would like to use it as soon as possible.
have egg on one`s face
- to be embarrassedThe man has egg on his face after discovering his mistake.
have elbow room
- to have enough spaceWe have lots of elbow room in our new house.
have eyes bigger than one's stomach
- to a desire for more food than one can eatI had eyes bigger than my stomach when I took too much food at the buffet.
have eyes in the back of one's head
- to be able to sense what is going on where you cannot seeThe man has eyes in the back of his head and knows everything that is going on.
have eyes only for (someone or something)
- to give all of one`s attention to someone or something, to be interested only in someone or somethingThe girl has eyes only for her boyfriend.
have feet of clay
- to have a character defectThe candidate has feet of clay and is being criticized by her opponents.
have foot-in-mouth disease
- to embarrass oneself through a silly mistakeThe man has foot-in-mouth disease and is always saying stupid things.
have good contacts
- to know people who can help you get a job or do some kind of businessThe salesman has good contacts and always sells many products.
have got (something)
- to have something, to possess somethingMy friend has got a new car.
I have got a cold.
have got to
- mustI have got to go to see my parents this evening.
have growing pains
- to have difficulties in the growth of a child or organization etc.The new company is having growing pains as it tries to meet the big demand for its services.
have had enough
- to have had as much as you need of somethingI have had enough sun today so I will go home soon.
have had it up to here with (someone or something)
- to have reached the end of one's endurance or tolerance of someone or somethingThe teacher has had it up to here with the bad behavior of the students.
have had it with (someone or something)
- to be unable to tolerate someone or something anymoreI have had it with the girl's constant complaining.
have had its day
- to be no longer useful or successfulMy suitcase has had its day and I must buy a new one.
have half a mind to (do something)
- to feel tempted or inclined to do somethingI have half a mind to go and offer my resignation to the company president.
have in mind
- to intend, to plan"What do you have in mind for your wife`s birthday?"
- to hear or get news, to understandI have it that the new company president will be coming to see us next week.
- to claim, to sayRumor has it that three of the supervisors will be leaving next week.
- to allow (usually used with will or would)We want to have a party at our office next month but our boss will not have it.
- to get or find the answer, to understandI think that I finally have it. The reason the woman is leaving is because she is going to have a baby.
have it all over (someone or something)
- to be much better than someone or somethingMy new bicycle has it all over my old one.
have it both ways
- to do two things, to have two things"You can`t have it both ways. You must choose one or the other."
have it coming (to someone)
- to deserve punishmentThe man has it coming after causing many problems in his company.
have it in for (someone)
- to show ill will to someone, to dislike someoneI have been having problems at work recently. I think that the new supervisor has it in for me.
have it made
- to be successful, to have everythingMy friend has it made with his new job.
have it out with (someone)
- to argue or fight with someoneI had it out with my friend yesterday over the problem with the money.
have jet lag
- to be tired because you have travelled a long distance in an airplane and have crossed many time zones so your body cannot adjustI had jet lag for several days after my long trip.
- (an idea or plan or topic) is likely to succeed or to continueThe news story has legs. People will be talking about it for a long time.
have mixed feelings about (someone or something)
- to be uncertain about someone or somethingI have mixed feelings about taking the new job.
have money to burn
- to have lots of moneyThe man has money to burn and is always buying something new.
have never had it so good
- to have never been in such a good situationWe have never had it so good since the new supervisor came to our department.
have no business (doing something)
- to be wrong to do somethingThe manager has no business asking us about our private business.
have none of (something)
- to not tolerate or endure somethingOur teacher will have none of our talking loudly in the class.
have nothing on (someone or something)
- to have no information or evidence about someone or somethingThe police have nothing on the man so they cannot arrest him.
have nothing to do with (someone or something)
- to not be involved with someone or somethingMy aunt will have nothing to do with the other members of her family.
have nothing/none to spare
- to not have extra of somethingWe have none to spare so we are unable to give any books to the hospital.
have on (something) or have (something) on
- to be wearing something"What did the woman have on when you saw her?"
have one foot in the grave
- to be near death (usually because of old age or illness)My uncle is very sick and has one foot in the grave.
have one for the road
- to have a drink before leavingWe decided to have one for the road before we walked to the train station to go home.
have one`s ass in a sling
- to be in an uncomfortable predicament, to be at a disadvantageThe man has his ass in a sling now that he has quit his job and cannot find another one.
have one's back against/to the wall
- to be in a defensive or difficult positionThe boy has his back to the wall and must pass his exams or leave school.
have one's cake and eat it too
- to have something both waysThe union wants to have their cake and eat it too and will not give up anything during the bad economic times.
have one's druthers
- to get one's choiceIf I had my druthers, I would not go to the meeting this evening.
have one's ear to the ground
- to listen carefully for advice or advance warning of somethingOur teacher always has his ear to the ground to look for possible trouble at school.
have one`s eye on (something)
- to have a wish or aim for something, to look or think about somethingI want to buy a present for my girlfriend and I have my eye on a dress that I saw at the department store last week.
have one's feet (planted firmly) on the ground
- to have sensible ideas, to have an understanding of what can be done in a certain situationThe new manager seems to have his feet on the ground and should have a sensible solution to our problems.
The man has his feet planted firmly on the ground and is very sensible.
have one's finger in too many pies
- to be involved in too many thingsThe woman has her finger in too many pies and is unable to do her work well.
have one's hand in the till
- to be stealing money from a company or organizationThe man had his hand in the till for many years before he was caught.
have one's hands full with (someone or something)
- to be totally occupied with someone or somethingThe mother has her hands full with the two young children.
have one's hands tied
- to be prevented from doing somethingI had my hands tied and was unable to help my friend.
have one's head in the clouds
- to be unaware of what is going onThe boy has his head in the clouds and does not think about what is going on around him.
have one's heart go out to (someone)
- to have compassion for someoneWe had our heart go out to the woman who lost her child in the fire.
have one's heart in the right place
- to have good intentions (even if the results may be bad)The woman has her heart in the right place and is always ready to help if she can.
have one's heart set against (something)
- to be totally against somethingMy father has his heart set against my trip to Europe.
have one`s heart set on (something)
- to want something very muchThe child has his heart set on getting a new bicycle for his birthday.
have one's job on the line
- to be facing the possibility of losing one's jobThe salesman had his job on the line after his bad sales results.
have one's nose in a book
- to be reading a bookThe boy loves reading and always has his nose in a book.
have one`s nose in (something)
- to have unwelcome interest in something, to have impolite curiosity about somethingThe man often has his nose in other people`s private business where it does not belong.
have one's nose in the air
- to be conceited or aloofThe girl has her nose in the air and is unfriendly to the other members of her class.
have one's way
- to be able to do what you want or have what you wantThe little boy always has his way.
have one's work cut out for one
- to have a large and difficult task to doWe had our work cut out for us when we began to paint the house.
have oneself (something)
- to use or consume somethingI decided to have myself a drink before leaving for the movie.
have other fish to fry
- to have other things to do, to have more important things to doI have other fish to fry and I do not want to get involved with the small problems in my company.
have pull with (someone)
- to have influence with someoneMy friend has pull with his boss and often goes home early.
have rocks in one`s head
- to be stupid, to not have good judgementThe girl has rocks in her head. She should never have bought that old car.
have second thoughts about (someone or something)
- to have doubts about someone or somethingRecently, I am having second thoughts about buying a new motorcycle.
have seen better days
- to be worn out or well-usedMy bicycle has seen better days and soon I will need to buy a new one.
have some dirt on (someone)
- to have some information that could hurt someone's reputation or careerThe reporter has some dirt on the political leader.
have (someone) in one's pocket
- to have control over someoneThe large union has the city mayor in their pocket.
have (someone or something) in tow
- to lead or pull or tow someone or somethingThe boy had his brother in tow as he walked down the street.
have (someone) over
- to invite someone to your houseWe plan to have my parents over when we settle into our new house.
have (someone) over a barrel
- to have someone in a helpless or trapped positionWe have the other company over a barrel and we should be able to win the contract easily.
have (someone's) blood on one's hands
- to be responsible for someone's deathThe army general has the citizen's blood on his hands.
have (someone's) hide
- to scold or punish someoneThe mother promised to have her son's hide if he did not behave.
have (something) against (someone or something)
- to dislike someone or somethingI do not know why but my teacher seems to have something against me.
have (something) at one's fingertips
- to have something within reachI did not have a pen at my fingertips so I could not write down the address.
have (something) coming to (someone)
- to deserve punishment for somethingThe girl has the punishment coming to her because of what she did.
have (something) down pat
- to have learned or memorized something perfectlyI have the dance routine down pat.
have (something) going for one
- to have ability or talent or good looksThe woman has a lot going for her and I am sure that she will get the new job.
have (something) hanging over one's head
- to have something worrying oneI want to finish my final essay so that I do not have it hanging over my head.
have (something) in common with (someone or something)
- to resemble someone else in specific ways, to have similar interests to someoneI have much in common with a girl in my class.
have (something) in mind
- to be thinking about something, to be considering something, to have a plan or idea in one's mindI do not know what my friend has in mind so I will ask him later.
have (something) in stock
- to have goods available to sellThe store does not have any DVD players in stock.
have (something) in store for (someone)
- to have something planned for someoneI do not know what my boss has in store for me.
have (something) on
- to have plans for a particular timeI have something on this afternoon so I cannot go to the park.
have (something) on file
- to have or keep a written record of somethingI have the report on file on my computer.
have (something) on one's mind
- to worry about something, to think constantly about somethingThe man has several serious problems on his mind.
have (something) on (someone)
- to have information or proof that someone did something wrongI think that the police have something on the man and that is why he is afraid.
have (something) on the ball
- to be smart or clever or skilledThe woman has a lot on the ball. She should do well in her new job.
have (something) on the brain
- to be obsessed with somethingMy sister has tennis on the brain and she is always talking about it.
have (something) on the tip of one's tongue
- to be almost able to remember a specific fact such as a name or placeI have the actor's name on the tip of my tongue but I cannot remember it.
have (something) stuck in one's craw
- to have something irritate or displease someoneThe man's complaint stuck in my craw for several weeks before I forgot it.
have (something) to do with (something)
- to be about something, to be on the subject of something, to be related to something"The book has something to do with cooking but I am not sure if you will like it."
That problem has nothing to do with me.
have (something) to spare
- to have more than enough of somethingWe have extra blankets to spare so we gave some to our neighbors.
have (something) up one`s sleeve
- to have something kept secretly ready for a good time to use itI am not too worried about the meeting as I have something up my sleeve if there are any problems.
have sticky fingers
- to steal thingsThe waiter was fired from the restaurant because he has sticky fingers.
have the best of both worlds
- to be able to enjoy two different opportunitiesThe man has the best of both worlds and can enjoy the outdoors and nature while he is working at his job.
have the courage of one's convictions
- to have enough courage and determination to work to achieve one's goalsThe man has the courage of his convictions and will only do what he feels is right.
have the devil to pay
- to have a great deal of troubleI will have the devil to pay if I do not return home early.
have the feel of (something)
- to have learned how something feels, to be accustomed to somethingWhen I had the feel of the airplane, the instructor let me fly it.
have the floor
- to have permission to speak in a meetingThe president had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting.
have the gall to (do something)
- to be arrogant enough to do somethingThe woman had the gall to ask me to be quiet after she had been talking loudly for an hour.
have the gift of the gab
- to be able to talk and use language easilyMy sister has the gift of the gab and can talk to others easily.
have the inside track
- to have an advantage (if you have the inside track while running in a race you have an advantage)I had the inside track when I applied for the job at the bank.
have the last laugh
- to make someone seem foolish for laughing at you firstI had the last laugh when I went home early while everyone else had to work late.
have the makings of (something)
- to possess the qualities that are needed for somethingThe new soccer player has the makings of a great star.
have the Midas touch
- to have the ability to make money easilyMy uncle has the Midas touch and he can make money easily.
have the presence of mind to (do something)
- to have the calmness and ability to act sensibly in a difficult situationMy aunt had the presence of mind to write a will before she passed away.
have the right to do something
- to have the freedom to do somethingThe apartment manager does not have the right to tell the tenants when they must leave the building.
have the right-of-way
- to have the right to go before another car or turn before another car turnsThe small car had the right-of-way but it was hit by the large truck anyway.
have the time of one's life
- to have a very good timeWe had the time of our life at the party last night.
have the wherewithal to (do something)
- to have the money or energy to do somethingThe man does not have the wherewithal to go to court and fight his case.
have them rolling in the aisles
- to make an audience laugh a lotThe speaker had them rolling in the aisles when he gave his speech.
have time off
- to have free time, to not have to workI have time off next week so I will meet my friend.
have to (do something)
- to be obliged or forced to do somethingI have to leave at 4:00 or I will be late for my appointment.
have to live with (something)
- to have to endure somethingAlthough the house is very cold we will have to live with it.
have too many irons in the fire
- to be doing too many things at onceI have too many irons in the fire at the moment and I am very tired.
have turned the corner
- to have passed a critical point in a processI think that we have turned the corner and that our business will improve soon.
have two left feet
- to move in a very awkward way when you danceThe man has two left feet and he is a very bad dancer.
have two strikes against (one)
- to do two things that are wrong or bad and have only one more thing to do to cause you serious trouble, to be in a difficult situation ( from baseball where a batter is finished after three strikes)The young boy already had two strikes against him when he went to hear the judge's decision about his crime.
have what it takes
- to have the ability or courage to do somethingI do not believe that my friend has what it takes to be a good teacher.
- broken or confused, unrealistic or crazyThe man had a haywire idea to change jobs in his company.
hazard a guess
- to make a guessI would not want to hazard a guess as to the age of the woman.
hazard an opinion
- to give an opinionI will not hazard an opinion about the new company policy.
head above water
- out of difficulty, clear of troubleAlthough the man works very hard he is not able to keep his head above water financially.
head and shoulders above (someone or something)
- to be clearly superior to someone or somethingI believe that our team is head and shoulders above the other teams in the league.
head for (someone/something/somewhere)
- to aim for someone/something/somewhere, to move toward someone/something/somewhereThe tropical storm is heading for the large island.
The dog in the park was heading for the woman.
- to search for qualified individuals to fill certain positionsThe head-hunting company has phoned me several times about changing jobs.
head off (someone) or head (someone) off
- to get in front of someone and stop him or her, to turn someone backIn the movie the soldiers tried to head off the gang at the mountain pass.
head off (something) or head (something) off
- to stop something , to prevent somethingThe company was able to head off a strike by the union at the last minute.
- front end to front end, with the front facing somethingThere was a serious head-on crash on the highway last night.
- in a way that is exactly opposite, opposed to someone in an argument or fightWe will deal with our opponents in a head-on manner in order to win the fight.
- to leave, to startIt is time that we head out for the movie or we will be late.
head over heels
- upside down, head firstThe boy fell head over heels when his bicycle hit the wall.
head over heels in love with (someone)
- to be very much in love with someone, to be completely in love with someoneThe man is head over heels in love with someone in his company.
a head shrinker
- a psychiatristThe criminal had to see a head shrinker after the judge sentenced him to life in prison.
a head start
- an early start to somethingWe left early in order to get a head start on the trip.
head up (something) or head (something) up
- to be at the head of a group, to be a leader of somethingThe company president headed up a group of people going overseas to promote trade.
heads or tails
- the face of a coin or the opposite side of the coinWe decided who would go first in the game by throwing heads or tails with a coin.
heads will roll
- somebody will get into severe troubleHeads will roll because of the problems with the new employee.
hear a peep out of (someone)
- to hear the smallest sound from someoneWe did not hear a peep out of the children who were playing in the other room.
hear from (someone)
- to receive a letter or phone call or news from someoneI have not heard from my university roommate for over one year.
hear of (someone or something)
- to know about someone or something, to be familiar with someone or somethingI have never heard of the singer.
(not) hear of (something)
- to not tolerate or permit somethingI will not hear of my aunt staying in a hotel when she visits us.
hear (someone) out or hear out (someone)
- to listen to everything that someone has to sayWe went to the meeting to hear the manager out about the new building.
hear (something) through the grapevine
- to hear a rumor that has been passed on from one person to another personI heard it through the grapevine that our company will get a new president.
heart and soul
- all of one's energy, all of one's effortsMy friend is putting his heart and soul into his new job.
heart goes out to (someone)
- one feels sympathy for someoneMy heart goes out to the victims of the railway accident.
heart is in the right place
- kindhearted or sympathetic, having good intentionsThe man sometimes makes mistakes but his heart is in the right place.
heart is set on (something)
- one desires and expects somethingThe boy's heart is set on getting a dog for his birthday.
heart of gold
- a kind and generous and forgiving personalityMy grandmother has a heart of gold and everyone loves her.
heart of stone
- someone with a cold nature with no pity or warmthThe woman has a heart of stone and is not interested in how other people feel.
heart skips/misses a beat
- startled or excited from surprise or joy or frightMy heart skipped a beat when the truck almost hit us last night.
heart stands still
- frightened or worriedMy heart stood still when I heard the story about the little boy and the fire.
- honest or intimateThe couple had a heart-to-heart talk before they decided to get married.
- difficult to doMoving the furniture was heavy going and we became tired quickly.
a heavy heart
- a feeling of sadness or unhappinessThe man has a heavy heart now that his wife has died.
hedge in (something) or hedge (something) in
- to keep something from getting out or moving freely, to block something inMy car was hedged in by the other cars and I was unable to move it this morning.
hedge one's bets
- to reduce one's loss on something by counterbalancing the loss in some wayWe will hedge our bets and go to a movie if the weather is not good enough for a picnic.
hell and high water
- troubles or difficulties of some kindThe relief workers went through hell and high water in order to get the food to the flood victims.
hell-bent for leather
- behaving recklessly, riding a horse recklesslyThe boys went hell-bent-for-leather down the path to the beach.
hell on earth
- a very unpleasant situationThe hot weather made the small town like hell on earth.
- a bad-tempered or nagging or crabby personThe woman is hell-on-wheels in the morning so you should be careful of her.
help oneself to (something)
- to take whatever one wants or needsWe went to the buffet table and helped ourselves to the food.
help out with (something)
- to assist someone to do somethingI helped out with carrying the luggage of the tour members.
- in a confusing group, in disorderWhen we arrived at work we found the files scattered helter-skelter over the desk.
hem and haw
- to avoid giving a clear answer, to be evasive in speechThe man hemmed and hawed when I asked him if he knew where the missing money was.
hem (someone or something) in or hem in (someone or something)
- to trap or enclose someone or somethingWe went to the football game but we felt hemmed in by all of the people.
here and now
- immediatelyI plan to do the work here and now.
here and there
- in various places, to various placesWe went here and there during our holidays.
- ready to do something while hoping for the best results"Here goes. I am going to go and ask that girl for a date right now."
Here goes nothing.
- ready to do something but think that it will probably be a waste of time and will probably fail"Here goes nothing. I have already asked the bank to lend me some money and they always says no but I will try again."
here, there and everywhere
- everywhereThe mice were here, there and everywhere in the old house.
hide one`s head in the sand
- to refuse to see something, to know something but not want to deal with itThe employee hates to talk about important matters and hides his head in the sand when I try to talk to him.
hide one's face in shame
- to cover one's face because of shame or embarrassmentThe man wanted to hide his face in shame after he lost his job.
high and dry
- stranded, abandonedThey left the manager high and dry when they moved the company headquarters to Europe.
high and low
- everywhereI looked high and low for my watch but I could not find it.
- arrogantThe supervisor always acts high-and-mighty in front of his employees.
(in) high gear
- at top speed, at full activityThe preparations for the wedding have been in high gear all week.
- bossy, dictatorial, depending on force rather than what is rightMy supervisor always takes a high-handed approach when dealing with the employees.
- a luxurious existenceThe couple have been living the high life since they moved to Las Vegas.
high man on the totem pole
- the top person of an organizationMy father is the high man on the totem pole in his company and has a very good job.
high on (something)
- intoxicated with a drug, enthusuastic about somethingThe young man was high on something when the police arrested him.
The woman is high on her diving experience.
- the ocean (away from the coast)The crew of the ship spent three months on the high seas before going to shore for a visit.
in high spirits
- to have much energy, to be cheerfulThe students are in high spirits since their team won the tournament.
- something should already have happened, it is already time that something should have been doneIt is high time that the boy should start studying for his test.
hightail it out of (somewhere)
- to run away from somewhere, to leave a place quicklyWe decided to hightail it out of the restaurant and go home.
- an extremely high price for somethingThe price that we had to pay for the theater tickets was highway robbery.
hinge on (something)
- to depend on somethingWhether or not I can enter the university hinges on my final exam score.
hire out (someone) or hire (someone) out
- to provide one's services for moneyThe man decided to hire himself out as a model while he was going to school.
hire out (something) or hire (something) out
- to rent something to someoneWe hired out our boat last summer because we were too busy to use it.
hit a home run
- to reach a big goal, to hit a baseball so far that the batter can run around all of the bases and score a runWe hit a home run when we won the big contract.
My favorite baseball player hit a home run last night.
hit a plateau
- to reach a certain level of activity or sales and then stopThe performance of the basketball team hit a plateau and then began to decline.
hit a snag
- to run into a problemThe negotiations to end the teachers' strike hit a snag last night.
- unplanned, uncontrolled, aimless, carelessWe are looking for a new apartment but it is hit-and-miss whether we can find a good one or not.
- an accident where the driver of the car that hits someone drives away without stoppingMy sister was involved in a hit-and-run accident last Sunday afternoon.
- striking suddenly and leaving quicklyThe army made a hit-and-run attack on the enemy soldiers.
- to be at the very lowest, to not be able to go any lowerThe economy hit bottom last year but it is finally starting to improve.
hit close to home
- to affect one personallyThe strike by the trash collectors hit close to home when we had no place to put our garbage.
- to make sense, to make an impression on someoneThe amount of damage from the storm hit home when we saw the houses on the beach.
hit it off (with someone)
- to have a good relationship with someone from the first time that you meet that person - it can be used for any two people who meet and have a good relationshipI hit it off with a woman in my photography class and we have been dating for several months now.
The two salespeople hit it off and have a very good working relationship now.
hit on/upon (something)
- to think of something by chanceWe hit upon the idea of going to the lake for our holiday after our airline reservations were cancelled.
hit out at (someone or something)
- to criticize someone or something strongly, to make a verbal attack against someone or somethingThe president of the company hit out at the people who were criticizing him.
The city official hit out at the opposition leader.
- a list of songs arranged in order of popularityWe listened to all the songs on the hit parade last night.
hit pay dirt
- to discover something of valueThe men hit pay dirt when they discovered oil in the farmer's field.
hit (someone) below the belt
- to do something unfair or unsporting to someoneThe lawyer was hitting below the belt when he asked the woman many personal questions.
hit (someone) hard
- to affect someone stronglyThe death of the woman's father hit her very hard.
hit (someone) like a ton of bricks
- to surprise or shock someoneWhen the company went out of business it hit everyone like a ton of bricks.
hit (someone) right between the eyes
- to make a strong impression on someone, to surprise someoneThe singer's incredible performance really hit me between the eyes.
hit (someone) up for (something)
- to ask someone for somethingMy friend tried to hit me up for some money but I said no.
hit the books
- to study or prepare for classI stayed home all weekend and hit the books.
hit the bottle
- to drink alcohol heavily and regularlyThe woman started to hit the bottle soon after her divorce.
hit the bricks
- to start walking, to go out into the streets (on strike)The post office workers hit the bricks and went on strike.
hit the bull`s-eye
- to go to the most important part of a matter, to reach the main questionThe woman hit the bull`s-eye when she talked about the importance of decreasing costs.
hit the ceiling
- to get angryHis wife is going to hit the ceiling when she sees the bill for the car repair.
hit the deck
- to get up from bed, to start working"Let`s hit the deck and get this work done before supper."
hit the dirt
- to fall on the ground and protect oneself under gunfireWe were told to hit the dirt during the bank robbery.
hit the hay
- to go to bedI decided to hit the hay early last night because I was very tired.
hit the high spots
- to consider or mention only the more important parts of somethingOur boss only had time to hit the high spots in his report but still it was very interesting.
hit the jackpot
- to be very lucky or successfulMy friend hit the jackpot when she bought a lottery ticket last week.
hit the nail on the head
- to find the exact answer, to make a correct guessThe accountant hit the nail on the head when he described the bank`s problems.
The student hit the nail on the head when he answered the question correctly.
hit the pavement
- to travel on foot, to begin to travel someplace in a carWe will hit the pavement tomorrow and begin our holiday by car.
I plan to hit the pavement tomorrow and begin to look for a new job.
hit the road
- to leaveWe should hit the road early tomorrow morning if we want to reach the seashore before evening.
hit the roof
- to become very angry, to go into a rageThe father hit the roof when he discovered that his son had wrecked the family car.
hit the sack
- to go to bedI am a little tired so I think that I will hit the sack now.
hit the sauce
- to drink alcohol heavily and regularlyMy neighbor has been hitting the sauce recently although he says that he does not drink.
hit the skids
- to decline, to decrease in valueThe prices of houses hit the skids recently in our city.
hit the spot
- to refresh you or satisfy youDrinking the lemonade after the baseball game hit the spot.
hitch a ride
- to ask for a ride from a passing motorist by putting your thumb in the air, to get a ride from a passing motoristWe had no gas so I had to hitch a ride to a gas station.
hitch one`s wagon to a star
- to aim high, to follow a great ambition or purposeThe man wants to hitch his wagon to a star and pursue his dreams of becoming an actor.
hither and thither
- in one direction and then in another, here and thereThe man looked hither and thither when he discovered that he had lost his wallet.
hive of activity
- a place where things are very busyThe school was a hive of activity during the school festival.
- the choice between taking what is offered or getting nothing at all (Hobson owned a stable in the 17th century in England and always offered his customers the horse nearest the door)The customer's were given Hobson's choice. They could buy a car of any color but only if it was black
hold a candle to (someone or something)
- to be in the same class or level as someone or something (usually used with a negative)The new restaurant cannot hold a candle to the one that I usually go to.
hold a grudge against (someone)
- to not forgive someone for something, to continue to be angry at someone for something that happened in the pastThe employee has been holding a grudge against the company manager for many years.
hold a meeting
- to meet, to have a meetingThe apartment owners decided to hold a meeting last week.
hold all the aces
- to have the best chance of winning, to have full controlI think that I hold all the aces in my dispute with the company.
hold all the trump cards
- to have the best chance of winning, to have full controlIt will be difficult to do well in the negotiations with my opponent holding all the trump cards.
- to stay back or away, to show unwillingness to do somethingOur boss always holds back during meetings and never says anything.
hold back (someone) or hold (someone) back
- to prevent someone from doing somethingThe police officers tried to hold back the angry woman.
- to act like a king or queen among his or her subjectsOur manager always acts like he is holding court when I see him in his office.
hold down a job
- to have and keep a jobThe man has a serious drinking problem and is unable to hold down a job.
hold down (someone or something)
- to keep control of someone or somethingThe government was able to hold down the rate of inflation for many years.
- to stop firing a weaponThe soldiers were told by their captain to hold fire.
hold forth (something)
- to offer something, to propose somethingThe company held forth a proposal to give the employees a bonus in the summer.
hold forth on/about (something)
- to speak in public, to talk about somethingMy boss was holding forth about taxes last night when I saw him in his office.
- to continue, to endure, to lastThe demand for air conditioners held good during July but decreased rapidly in August.
hold off (someone) or hold (someone) off
- to keep someone away by forceThe man was able to hold off the police for several hours before he was arrested.
hold off (something) or hold (something) off
- to delay something, to not begin somethingThey will hold off the concert until next week.
- to wait, to wait and not hang up the phoneI asked my friend to hold on while I looked for my address book.
- Wait a minute, Stop, to wait"Hold on! I forgot to lock the window."
"Please hold on for a moment while I answer the telephone."
hold on to (someone or something)
- to continue to hold or keep something, to hold someone or something tightlyYou should hold on to your bag when you are in the bus or someone may steal it.
hold one`s breath
- to stop breathing for a moment when you are excited or nervousI stopped to hold my breath while I was waiting for the announcement of the winning ticket.
hold one's end of the bargain up
- to do what you have agreed to doThe students did not hold their end of the bargain up when they did not do their homework.
hold one`s fire
- to keep back arguments or facts, to keep from telling somethingI will hold my fire during today's meeting and wait until next week.
hold one's head up
- to keep one's dignity and prideThe basketball players were able to hold their heads up even though they lost the tournament.
hold one`s horses
- to stop and wait patiently"Hold your horses for a minute while I return to get my wallet."
hold one`s own (in an argument)
- to be able to defend one`s position in an argumentAlthough the woman's boss is very aggressive she is able to hold her own in any dispute with him.
hold one`s peace
- to be silent and not speak against someone or something"Please try and hold your peace during the meeting as it will be bad if we have a confrontation."
hold one`s tongue
- to be silent, to not talk"Please hold your tongue," the teacher said to the young boy.
- to endure, to persist in one's effortsThe team was weak and could not hold out against the stronger team.
- someone who refuses to give something upThe man was the last hold-out in our effort to make everyone wear a necktie to work.
hold out for (something)
- to refuse to give up, to insist on getting somethingThe basketball player is holding out for a large salary increase.
hold out on (someone)
- to refuse to give something to someone, to refuse to agreeThe players are holding out on the owners and will not sign the new contract.
hold out (one's hand)
- to reach out one's hand, to extend one's handThe girl held out her hand to help her mother climb up the stairs.
hold out the olive branch to (someone)
- to offer to end a dispute with someoneThe company decided to hold out the olive branch to the workers who were on strike.
hold over (something) or hold (something) over
- to extend the engagement of something (like a play or other type of show or performance)The movie will be held over for another week.
hold (someone or something) at bay
- to keep someone or something at a distance (especially someone or something that is harmful or unpleasant), to control something in order to keep it from harming youThe city is trying to hold the pollution problem at bay.
The policeman was able to hold the attacker at bay.
hold (someone) down or hold down (someone)
- to try to keep someone from succeedingThe president of the company is trying to hold down the manager so he does not challenge his position.
hold (someone) hostage
- to keep someone as a hostageThe bank robbers were holding the woman hostage.
hold (someone) in high regard
- to have very great respect for someoneThe students hold the principal in high regard.
hold (someone's) attention
- to keep someone interestedThe man standing on the bridge held everyone's attention for over an hour.
hold (something) against (someone)
- to blame something on someoneMy friend forgot to give me my money but I do not hold it against him as he is a nice person.
hold (something) back or hold back (something)
- to keep information or something to or for oneselfOur boss is holding back the information about the new computer system.
- to not move"Please hold still while I fix your jacket zipper."
hold the fort
- to cope in an emergency, to act as a temporary substituteThe assistant has been holding the fort at his company while his boss is on vacation.
hold the line at (something)
- to not yield to pressure, to limit somethingOur company is holding the line on any salary increases.
hold the reins
- to be the most influential personThe manager has been holding the reins in his company for many years.
- to be true, to continue to be correct or trueIt usually hold's true that the students who always come late get the lowest marks.
- to remain good, to not become worseSales during the first six months of the year are holding up very well compared to last year.
- to prove to be trueThe woman's story held up during the questioning by the police.
- a robberyI was involved in a hold-up when I was in the supermarket last weekend.
hold up (one's spirits)
- to maintain one`s courage or spiritsMy friend's spirits are holding up quite well even though she does not have a job now.
hold up (someone) or hold (someone) up
- to rob someone with a gun or knife or similar weaponThe criminal was able to hold up three people before he was caught.
hold up (someone or something) or hold (someone or something) up
- to stop or delay someone or somethingThe accident held up traffic for over three hours at the border crossing.
hold up (someone or something) as an example of (something) or hold (someone or something) up as an example of (something)
- to point to someone or something as a good exampleThe teacher held up the student as an example of a good hardworking person.
hold up (something) or hold (something) up
- to lift something, to raise somethingThe students usually hold up their hands when they have a question.
hold up (something) or hold (something) up
- to support something , to carry somethingThe main beams in the house hold up the total weight of the house.
- to be a sound ideaThe proposal for a new work scheduling system does not hold water.
hole in one
- a shot in golf that finishes in the hole with one shotThe boy was very lucky and got a hole in one in his first season of golf.
hole in the wall
- a small place to live or work or visit, a small hidden (often inferior) placeWe went for a drink at a hole in the wall near the university last night.
hole up (somewhere)
- to hide somewhereI passed the weekend holed up in my bedroom with a good book.
- better than others in goodness or character etc.I do not like my coworker because he takes a holier-than-thou attitude toward everyone else.
- used to express strong feelings of astonishment or pleasure or anger"Holy cats, the water is rising over the river bank."
- used to express strong feelings of astonishment or pleasure or anger"Holy cow! There are over one hundred people standing in front of our house."
- used to express strong feelings of astonishment or pleasure or anger"Holy mackerel," cried the little boy when he saw the new bicycle that he got for his birthday present.
- used to express strong feelings of astonishment or pleasure or anger"Holy Moses! It is already noon and I haven`t even started work yet."
a holy terror
- a very disobedient or unruly childThe little boy is a holy terror and his parents do not like to take him anywhere.
- to be sure of attaining one's goalThe traffic was terrible but we were home free after we left the city.
the honeymoon is over
- the initial period of friendship and cooperation between two groups or two people is overThe honeymoon was over for the new President after several months.
- a cheap night-club or dance hallWe went to a honky-tonk in the small town where we stopped last night.
honor a check
- to accept someone's personal checkThe store refused to honor the check that I tried to give them.
hook, line and sinker
- without question or doubt, completelyThe girl fell in love with her new boyfriend hook, line and sinker.
hook up (something) or hook (something) up
- to connect or fit something togetherAfter we moved into our new apartment we had to hook up the phone.
- a connectionThe new hook-up for the computer is not working very well.
hooked on (something)
- to be addicted to a drug or something similar, to be enthusiastic about somethingThe man has been hooked on drugs since he was a teenager.
a hop, skip and a jump
- a short distanceThe hospital was a hop, skip and a jump from our new apartment.
hop to it
- to get started, to start a jobWe must hop to it and try to finish this job before dinner.
hope against hope
- to continue to hope when things look very badThe rescue team hoped against hope that the lost hikers would be found alive.
hopeless at (doing something)
- to be incapable of doing something wellMy sister is hopeless at mathematics.
hopped up on (something)
- to be high on a drug or on alcoholThe man who robbed the store was hopped up on some kind of drug.
horn in on (someone)
- to come in without an invitation or welcome, to interfereThe man horned in on our conversation although he knows that we do not like him.
- to play around, to join in rough teasing with othersThe children were horsing around in the school yard when the bell rang for class.
a horse of a different color
- another matter entirely, something else, something that is different than the subject that is being discussedWe should not be talking about that issue now. It is a horse of a different color.
- good judgement, wisdom in making decisionsOur boss has good horse sense so you can expect him to make an intelligent decision.
- to make a business agreement after hard negotiationsWe had to horse trade but we were finally able to reach an agreement to buy the antique car.
- nonsense, exaggerated talkMy coworker is full of hot air and you cannot trust what he says.
hot and bothered
- excited and worried, displeasedI do not know what is wrong with our teacher but she is hot and bothered about something.
hot and heavy
- serious passion or emotionsThe love scenes in the movie were hot and heavy.
hot on (someone or something)
- to be enthusiastic about someone or somethingRecently, my friend is hot on some kinds of classical music.
a hot potato
- a situation or issue that is likely to cause trouble to the person who is handling itThe issue of part-time workers is a hot potato that we must deal with.
a hot rod
- an automobile that is changed so that it can go very fastMy friend has always loved cars and was a member of a hot rod club when he was a teenager.
hot under the collar
- to be very angryOur boss is hot under the collar today because three of the staff came late.
in hot water
- in troubleThe man has been in hot water at work since he took a week off with no excuse.
a house of cards
- something badly put together that can be easily knocked down, a poorly made plan or actionThe peace agreement between the two countries was like a house of cards and fell apart as soon as a minor problem occurred.
- will you have something or will you agree to something?"How about some coffee before we go to work?"
- what is your feeling or thought or desire about something?"I know that my neighbor is not interested in the job but how about one of her friends?"
- why?"How come you don`t telephone her if you want to talk to her?"
- how is it so?"I know that you think the answer is wrong but how so?"
- what did you say?"How`s that? I couldn`t hear you because the radio was too loud."
a hue and cry
- an excited protest or alarm or outcryThe bank raised a hue and cry when we did not notify them about our financial problems.
huff and puff
- to breathe very hardI was huffing and puffing after I walked up several floors in our apartment building.
hung up on (someone or something)
- to be obsessed or devoted to someone or somethingMy friend is hung up on one of his colleagues at work.
hunger for (something)
- to have a strong desire for somethingThe men were hungering for adventure when they began their tour of Africa.
hungry for (something)
- to desire somethingI was hungry for new music so I bought some new CDs.
hunt high and low for (someone or something)
- to carefully look everywhere for someone or somethingI have been hunting high and low for my house keys but I cannot find them.
hurl an insult (at someone)
- to direct or make an insult to someoneThe young boys attempted to hurl an insult at the older boy.
- something kept secret or hidden"Why the big hush-hush? Is there some kind of a secret."
- money paid to persuade someone to be silent about somethingThe politician was arrested for trying to pay hush money to a victim of the scandal.
- to be quiet, to stop talking or crying or making noiseThe mother told her child to hush up when they were in the department store.
hush up (someone) or hush (someone) up
- to make someone be quietThe mother tried to hush up her children.
hush up (something) or hush (something) up
- to keep news of something from getting out, to prevent people from knowing about somethingThe government tried to hush up the bad economic news but the media soon discovered the facts.
hustle and bustle
- a large amount of activity and work that is usually done in a noisy and busy placeThere is much hustle and bustle downtown every Saturday morning.
to hype (something) up or to hype up (something)
- to overpraise something, to promote something in a dramatic wayThe company is trying hard to hype up their new product.
My friend is always hyping his plans up to his friends.
(to be) hyped-up
- to have an excess of energy, to be excitedMy aunt has been hyped up all morning because she will go to Italy for a holiday.
The children are hyped up about something today.