The Idiom Connection Idioms and Quizzes




THE IDIOM CONNECTION



Idioms


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L Idioms



labor of love

- something done for personal pleasure and not for money

The man's painting is a labor of love and he does not expect to make any money from it.

lace into (someone)

- to attack or scold someone

The mother laced into her son when he came home late from the movie.

lace into (something)

- to eat food, to devour food

We laced into our dinner when we got home.

lady killer

- a man who some women find very charming and attractive

The man in the movie was a lady killer and women loved him.

lady`s man

- a man who is popular with women

Our boss is a lady`s man and he always seems to have a woman interested in him.

laid-back

- relaxed, not worried by things

Our teacher is very laid-back about most things in our classroom.

laid up

- to be confined to bed, to be unfit for work

My friend has been laid up for a few days because of a cold.

la-la land

- a dreamlike mental state, a dreamworld, a land where impossible things may happen, La-La Land is a nickname for Los Angeles, California

I tried to talk to my friend but she was in la-la land.
The man is not practical about anything and is somewhere off in la-la land.
The woman wants to be successful in La-La Land.

lame duck

- a public official who has a short time left to serve in office and therefore has less power than before

The mayor is a lame-duck leader so it is difficult for him to accomplish some things.

land a job

- to obtain a job

My best friend landed a very good job last month.

land an account

- to acquire an account

The salesman landed a large account on his first day of work.

land of Nod

- sleep

I entered the land of Nod as soon as my head hit the pillow.

land on both feet

- to come out of a bad situation successfully

The man landed on both feet after his business went bankrupt.

land on one`s feet

- to come out of a bad situation successfully

My friend always manages to land on his feet no matter how difficult the situation is.

land up (somewhere or in some situation)

- to arrive at a final point, to finally be or do something

We landed up in a small town when we got lost driving.

landslide victory

- a very big victory (usually in an election)

My favorite candidate won a landslide victory in the election.

lap up (something) or lap (something) up

- to eat or drink something with the tongue (as a dog or cat would)

The dog lapped up the milk that his owner gave him.

lap up (something) or lap (something) up

- to eagerly take in or accept some information or praise

The man lapped up the praise that his boss gave him for the recently completed project.

lapse into a coma

- to go into a coma

The woman lapsed into a coma soon after the accident.

lash out (at someone)

- to attack someone with words

They were walking along the beach when the girl suddenly lashed out in anger at her boyfriend.

lash out (at someone)

- to suddenly try to hit someone

The boy suddenly lashed out and hit the boy who was sitting beside him.

last but not least

- in the last place but not the least important

Last but not least the boy went to the front of the class to receive his report card.

last-ditch effort

- a final effort

The government made a last-ditch effort to prevent a strike by the teachers.

last person

- the most unlikely person to do something or to be seen somewhere

My friend is the last person that you would expect to see in a French restaurant.

last straw

- the last insult or mistake or problem that one can endure and which then causes some reaction

The fourth time that the girl came to work late was the last straw and we finally fired her.

last will and testament

- the latest version of one's will

After my grandfather's funeral my uncle read out his last will and testament.

last word

- the last remark in an argument, the final say in deciding something

The woman always expects to have the last word when she and her husband go shopping together.

late in life

- when one is older

Some very great painters never started painting until late in life.

late in the day

- far along in a project or activity

We received a new marketing plan but it was late in the day and we could not change our plans.

laugh all the way to the bank

- to make money in a way that other people think is impossible

I was laughing all the way to the bank with the money that I made from selling drinks at the sports stadium.

laugh off (something) or laugh (something) off

- to not take something seriously

The man laughed off the attempt by his boss to make him come to work early.

laugh out of the other side of one's mouth

- to change from being happy to being sad

My friend was laughing out of the other side of his mouth when he received a speeding ticket for driving too fast.

laugh (something) out of court

- to dismiss a legal case as being ridiculous

They laughed the case out of court when the woman tried to sue the dog's owner after the dog ate her flowers.

laugh up one's sleeve

- to laugh quietly to oneself

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

launch a product

- to introduce a new product to consumers

The company will launch their new product next month.

launch forth (on something)

- to start out on something

Our boss launched forth on a long criticism of how we are doing our jobs.

a law unto oneself

- someone who makes one's own laws or rules

The city council member was a law unto herself until she had to quit because of a scandal.

Lay Idioms

(not) lay a finger/hand on (someone)

- to not touch someone, to not do something to someone

The man was told by the police to not lay a finger on his wife again.

lay an egg

- to fail to win the interest or favor of an audience

The performance by the magician was terrible. He laid an egg with the audience.

lay away (something) or lay (something) away

- to save something

The couple are trying to lay away some money for their holiday next year.

lay down one's arms

- to stop fighting, to surrender

The soldiers had to lay down their arms and stop fighting.

lay down one's life (for someone or something)

- to sacrifice one's life for someone or something

The young man laid down his life trying to protect the property of his company.

lay down the law

- to tell someone what to do by using your power or influence

The new manager plans to lay down the law to the workers regarding long lunch breaks.

lay eyes on (someone or something)

- to see someone or something

I have never laid eyes on a more beautiful dog in my life.

lay hold of (something)

- to get possession of something

If I can lay hold of some tools I will help you fix your toilet.

lay in (something) or lay (something) in

- to store up a supply of something, to get and store something for future use

The farmer is trying to lay in as much food as possible before winter comes.

lay/light into (someone)

- to attack someone with words

When I got to work this morning my boss laid/lit into me about my poor sales performance last month.

lay/light into (something)

- to do or eat something with much energy and enthusiasm

I laid into the steak as soon as the waiter brought it to the table.

lay it on thick

- to praise someone too much

My friend began to lay it on thick when I told him about my new job.

lay low

- to hide, to keep out of sight for a period of time

The man decided to lay low until his friend forgot that he had damaged his car.

lay of the land

- the features of an area of land or of an organization

We checked the lay of the land before we put up our tent at the camping site.

lay off (someone) or lay (someone) off

- to stop bothering someone, to leave someone alone

The teacher told the students to lay off the new student.

lay off (something) or lay (something) off

- to stop using or taking something bad (alcohol or drugs or chocolate or cigarettes)

I was told by my doctor to lay off smoking or I will be sick in the future.

lay off (workers/staff) or lay (workers/staff) off

- to reduce the number of workers

Six hundred workers at the automobile factory were recently laid off.

lay one`s cards on the table

- to let someone know one`s position and feelings openly, to deal honestly with something

The employee decided to lay his cards on the table and tell his boss about the job offer from the other company.

lay one's hands on (someone)

- to do violence to someone, to harm or hurt someone

The man said that if he ever lays hands on the person who stole his car he will take him to the police.

lay one's hands on (something)

- to find something, to acquire something

If I can lay my hands on a laptop computer, I will give the presentation tonight.

lay out (money) or lay (money) out

- to spend or pay some money

My friend will have to lay out much money for his new apartment.

lay out (something) or lay (something) out

- to plan something

We will lay out our plan for the new building at the next meeting.

lay over

- to arrive somewhere and wait some time before continuing on a journey

We will have to lay over in London for nine hours before we continue on our trip.

lay (someone) to rest

- to bury someone

We laid my uncle to rest in a quiet ceremony last night.

lay (something) on (someone)

- to direct blame or guilt for something on someone

The company tried to lay the blame for the computer problems on the manager.

lay (something) on the line

- to speak directly and firmly about something

The librarian had to lay it on the line and tell everyone not to bring drinks into the library.

lay (something) on the table

- to present a matter for discussion

I decided not to lay the matter about our salary on the table during the meeting.

lay (something) to rest

- to put an end to a rumor, to finish dealing with a problem and forget about it

We want to lay to rest the rumors about the financial problems in the company.

lay the blame on (someone or something)

- to blame someone or something

We laid the blame on my friend for making us late for the concert.

lay the groundwork for (something)

- to build the foundation or basis of something, to do the basic work that will lead to future success

The new training program will lay the groundwork for the future success of the company.

lay up (a vessel) or lay (a vessel) up

- to take a vessel out of active service, to put a boat in a boat dock or a garage

The weather was getting cold so we decided to lay up our boat for the winter.

lay up (something) or lay (something) up

- to collect a supply of something, to save something for future use, to store something

We are planning to lay up some canned fruit for the winter.

lay waste (to something) or lay (something) to waste

- to destroy and leave something in ruins, to wreck something

The army laid waste to the enemy territory.

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layaway plan

- a plan in which someone pays part of some money that is owed and then pays the rest later and the store keeps the item until the full price has been paid

I decided to buy the television set on the department store`s layaway plan.

Lead Idioms

lead a dog`s life

- to live a hard life, to work hard and be treated unkindly

My friend has been leading a dog`s life since he started his new job.

lead off

- to begin, to start, to open

The golfer was the first to lead off in the tournament.

lead (someone) by the nose

- to have full control of someone, to make or persuade someone to do what you want

The man is not very aggressive and lets his boss lead him by the nose.

lead (someone) down the garden path

- to deceive someone

The young woman was leading her boyfriend down the garden path when she promised to marry him.

lead (someone) on

- to deceive someone, to mislead someone

The salesman tried to lead me on about the new product.

lead (someone) on a merry chase

- to lead someone on a chase with no purpose

The criminal led the police on a merry chase before they arrested him.

lead (someone) to believe (something)

- to imply something to someone

The salesman led me to believe that he could deliver the product next week.

lead (someone) to (do something)

- to cause someone to do something

The screams from the house led the police to believe that something terrible had happened.

lead/live the life of Riley

- to live an easy life of luxury, to live a pleasant life

My father has been leading the life of Riley since he retired from his job.

lead the way

- to go first and show others how to go somewhere, to guide someone

I had to lead the way because nobody knew where the new office was located.

lead time

- the time that is available to prepare for something

There was not much lead time to prepare for the advertising campaign.

lead up to (something)

- to prepare the way for something

The concerts in the park were leading up to the music festival.

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leading question

- a question that suggests the kind of answer that you want to hear

The lawyer asked the man a leading question when he asked him about the money. The man did not know anything about the money.

leaf through (something)

- to look through a book or magazine or newspaper without reading it in detail

I leafed through several magazines in the doctor's office.

leak out (something) or leak (something) out

- to disclose special or secret information to the press

Somebody leaked out the information about the illegal donations to the press.

lean on (someone)

- to pressure someone by blackmail or threats of physical violence in order to make him or her do something

The gang tried to lean on the small shop owner to get him to sell his property.

lean over backwards to (do something or help someone)

- to do everything possible to do something or help someone

My cousin leaned over backwards to help my father when he was sick.

lean toward (doing something)

- to tend toward doing something

At the moment, we are leaning toward buying a laptop computer rather than a desktop computer.

leap to conclusions

- to decide something or reach a conclusion without having all the facts

Our teacher leaped to conclusions when she accused the boy of breaking the window.

learn (something) by heart

- to memorize something

I learned my library card number by heart.

learn (something) by rote

- to memorize something without thinking about what is being learned

The children learned the material by rote but they did not really understand it.

learn (something) from the bottom up

- to learn something from the beginning

The young man learned about the company from the bottom up before his father retired.

learn (something) the hard way

- to learn something that is difficult or unpleasant by one's own experience

The young man learned things the hard way when he went to jail for stealing the computer.

learn the ropes

- to learn how to do a job

The man is a new employee and is still learning the ropes.

learn to live with (something)

- to learn to adapt to something unpleasant or painful

My mother and father must learn to live with not having a supermarket close to them.

least of all

- the least, of smallest importance

I do not like any of the choices offered, least of all the one that we were forced to choose.

Leave Idioms

leave a bad taste in one`s mouth

- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someone

The way that the company treated the workers left a bad taste in our mouth.

leave a lot to be desired

- to be inadequate

The job performance of the new employee leaves a lot to be desired.

leave no stone unturned

- to try in every way to do something, to do everything possible

The police left no stone unturned when they were looking for the lost girl.

leave one to one's fate

- to abandon someone to whatever may happen

The tour was suddenly canceled and we were left to our fate in getting our money refunded.

leave one's mark on (someone or something)

- to affect the behavior and performance of another person or of something

The company president left his mark on the company for many years after he retired.

leave oneself wide open for (something)

- to fail to protect oneself from criticism or ridicule

The actions of the manager left him wide open for criticism from everybody in the company.

leave (someone) alone

- to not disturb someone

"Please leave me alone so I can finish this essay."

leave (someone) at the altar

- to decide not to marry someone at the last minute

The man was very nervous and decided to leave his girlfriend at the altar.

leave (someone or something) behind

- to leave someone or something somewhere

I left my coat behind at the restaurant.

leave (someone) flat

- to fail to entertain or stimulate someone, to leave someone with no money

My attempt at making a joke left everyone in the room flat.

leave (someone) for dead

- to abandon someone as being dead

The hiker was left for dead when the rescue group could not find him.

leave (someone) for (someone else)

- to end a relationship with your partner and start a relationship with someone else

The man left his wife for his secretary but soon discovered that his life was worse than before.

leave (someone) high and dry

- to leave someone in a difficult position

The employees were left high and dry when the company went out of business.

leave (someone) holding the bag

- to leave someone to take the blame for something

My friend left me holding the bag when he left the accident.

leave (someone or something) in (someone's) hands

- to give someone control of or responsibility for someone or something

I left the planning for the barbecue in my father's hands.

leave (someone) in peace

- to stop bothering someone

The woman was happy when her family left her in peace for several hours.

leave (someone) in the lurch

- to desert or leave someone alone and in trouble, to refuse to help or support someone

My coworker left me in the lurch when he did not help me as he had promised.

leave (someone) out in the cold

- to exclude someone

We made an effort not to leave my friend out in the cold when we were planning the birthday party.

leave (something) hanging (in the air)

- to leave something undecided or unsettled

Whether or not our boss will leave next year was left hanging in the air at the end of the meeting.

leave (something) on or leave on (something)

- to leave something running or operating

I always leave the lights on when I am working in the house.

leave (something) open

- to leave a date or time unscheduled

I will leave next Wednesday open so that I can meet my friend for lunch.

leave (something) out or leave out (something)

- to omit something

My friend told me about the accident but he left out some of the main points.

leave (something) to (someone)

- to make someone responsible for something, to leave someone in charge of something

I will leave the travel arrangements to my friend.

leave (something) up to (someone)

- to give the choice or decision about something to someone

We will leave the decision about the birthday party up to my friend.

leave well enough alone

- to be satisfied with something the way that it is

"You should leave well enough alone and be happy with your work schedule the way it is."

leave word with (someone)

- to leave a message with someone

I left word with my father to ask my mother to phone me tonight.

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left at the gate

- to be abandoned (a horse that does not leave the starting gate during a race is said to be left at the gate)

Everyone at my office went to lunch without me. I was left at the gate.

left-handed compliment

- an ambiguous compliment interpreted as offensive

The man gave the girl a left-handed compliment when he said that her dyed hair looked nice.

leg man

- someone who performs messenger services, an errand boy

My friend is working as a leg man for the motion picture company.

(not have a) leg to stand on

- to not have a firm foundation of facts, to not have the facts to support one`s claims

The woman does not have a leg to stand on with her excuses for not finishing her work.

leg work

- routine work (that often involves walking)

I was forced to do all of the leg work to prepare for the meeting.

lend an ear (to someone)

- to listen to someone

I was asked to lend an ear to my friend so he could tell me about his problems.

lend color to (something)

- to provide an interesting accompaniment for something

The music of the orchestra helped to lend color to the dance performance.

lend (oneself/itself) to (something)

- to be adaptable to something

The small hall does not lend itself to having a good musical performance.

lend (someone) a hand

- to give someone some help

I asked my friend to lend me a hand to move the furniture.

lend (something) to (something)

- to make something important, to make something believable

The new research lends significance to the new theory.

a leopard can't change its spots

- you cannot change someone's basic human nature or bad qualities

The manager wrote a letter of apology to the customer but a leopard can't change its spots. The manager has not changed and the letter does not mean anything.

less than pleased

- not pleased

My father was less than pleased when I returned his car late last night.

lesser (of the two)

- the smaller one of the two

We chose the lesser of the two cars when we went to the car rental agency.

lesser of two evils

- the less bad thing of two bad things

The voters had to choose the lesser of two evils when they voted for one of the two candidates for mayor.

Let Idioms

let alone (something)

- to not mention something, to say nothing of something

I do not have enough money to go to a movie let alone go on a holiday.

let bygones be bygones

- forget about unpleasant things or problems that happened in the past

"We need to let bygones be bygones and forget about our past differences."

let down one`s hair

- to relax, to act freely and naturally

Everybody at the party let down their hair and had a good time.

let down (something) or let (something) down

- to lengthen something, to make something longer

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

let go of (something)

- to release something

I let go of my suitcase and it fell off the luggage rack.

let go with (something)

- to shout something out

The child let go with a loud scream when he saw the dog.

let it all hang out

- to let the truth be known, to be open about something

The girl decided to let it all hang out. She told her friend about her problems with her boyfriend.

let it go/lay

- to forget about something, to leave something alone

"You should let it go and stop worrying about what the woman did to you last year."

let it rip

- to let something go at full speed, to take off all restraints

I let it rip when I got on the motorcycle.

let off steam

- to get rid of your extra energy or strong feelings by doing some activity

The man was angry at first but now he has let off steam and has calmed down.

let on (something)

- to reveal something, to inform about something

"Please don`t let on that you saw me at the movie last night."

let on

- to try to make people believe something, to pretend something

The man tried to let on that he did not want the job but actually he did.

let one's emotions show

- to be emotional (where it is not appropriate)

The mayor let his emotions show when his plan for the new stadium was defeated by the city council.

let oneself go

- to become less constrained

I went to the party and let myself go for the evening.

let oneself go

- to not take care of oneself

The woman has been letting herself go recently and does not even bother to comb her hair regularly

let out a rope

- to allow a rope to slip out little by little

We let out the rope as the boat left the shore.

let out (some kind of sound) or let (some kind of sound) out

- to make some kind of noise or sound

The girl let out a strange sound before running out of the house.

let out (someone) or let (someone) out

- to dismiss someone from a class or practice

The teacher let out the students because of the bad weather.

let out (something) or let (something) out

- to make clothes bigger or looser

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

let out (something) or let (something) out

- to allow something to go out or escape

I let out our dog this morning and he has not come home yet.

let out (something) or let (something) out

- to allow something to be known, to tell something

The company let out the details of the restructuring plan yesterday but we have not had time to talk about them yet.

let sleeping dogs lie

- to not make trouble if you do not have to

"You should let sleeping dogs lie and not begin to talk about past problems."

let (someone) down or let down (someone)

- to fail to do as well as expected, to disappoint someone

The boy let his parents down when he failed the university entrance exams.

let (someone) down easy

- to tell someone some disappointing news in a way that makes them feel good

I will talk to the secretary tomorrow and let her down easy about her not getting the promotion.

let (someone) go

- to discharge someone from a job, to fire someone

The company will let several hundred workers go in order to become profitable again.

let (someone) have it

- to hit someone hard, to scold someone angrily

One man let another man have it when they had a fight on the bus.

let (someone) have it with both barrels

- to attack someone verbally

The woman let her husband have it with both barrels when he came home late from work without phoning.

let (someone) in on (something)

- to tell someone a secret

We let our friend in on our plan to sell our apartment and buy a house.

let (someone) know (about something)

- to tell or inform someone about something

"Let me know when you are ready to go to the movie."

let (someone) off

- to permit someone to leave a car or train or boat or plane or other transportation

The train stopped at a small town and let the young woman off.

let (someone) off (easy)

- to release someone with little or no punishment

The judge let the man off easy because the man was sincere in his apology for his crime.

let (someone) off the hook

- to excuse someone from a penalty or a promise

My boss let me off the hook and I did not have to stay after work and help clean the office.

let (someone) walk away with (something)

- to let someone have something

The store let me walk away with the new computer for a very cheap price.

let (something) go

- to pay no attention to something, to neglect something

The girl is letting her appearance go since she lost her job.

let (something) go

- to allow something to pass, to do nothing about something

Although I was angry at my friend's remark I decided to let it go.

let (something) loose

- to set something free, to release something being held

We decided to let the injured bird loose in the park.

let (something) off or let off (something)

- to discharge a gun, to explode something, to release something

The children let off many firecrackers during the festival.

let (something) pass

- to let something go unnoticed or unchallenged

I did not like what my friend said to me but I decided to let it pass.

let (something) ride

- to continue a situation without changing it

We should forget about the recent problems at work and let the matter ride.

let (something) slide

- to neglect a duty, to ignore a situation

Recently, I have been very busy and I have let my work slide.

let (something) slide by

- to forget or miss an important time or date

I let my girlfriend's birthday slide by without noticing it.

let (something) slip by

- to forget or miss an important time or date

We let my parent's wedding anniversary slip by without doing anything.

let (something) slip (out)

- to tell a secret by accident

I let the date of the wedding slip out by mistake at the dinner party.

let the cat out of the bag

- to reveal a secret

"Don`t let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party for our boss."

let the chance slip by

- to lose the opportunity for something

My coworker let the chance slip by to take a class about computers.

let the chips fall where they may

- to not worry about the results of your actions

I will not worry about whether the company will go bankrupt or not. I will let the chips fall where they may.

(not) let the grass grow under one`s feet

- to be idle, to be lazy, to waste time

My friend is never content to let the grass grow under his feet. He is always busy.

let things slide

- to ignore the things that one is supposed to do

Recently, I have let things slide and my apartment is very messy.

let up

- to become less or weaker, to become slower or stop

The rain let up around noon so we were able to go back outside.

let up on (someone or something)

- to stop working too hard, to take the pressure off someone or something

The man was told by his doctor to let up on his work schedule or he would become sick.

let well enough alone

- to leave things as they are

I decided to let well enough alone and not ask my supervisor for extra time off.

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letter of the law

- the literal interpretation or the words of a law but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the law

The lawyer always likes to follow the letter of the law.

level (something) at (someone)

- to direct something (a remark or criticism) at someone

My friend began to level criticism at her boss for some of the things that she thought were wrong in the company.

level playing field

- a situation where everyone has an equal chance of success

The two companies had a level playing field when they applied for the contract.

level with (someone)

- to be honest with someone

I tried to level with my friend and tell her what I thought about her new hairstyle.

levelheaded

- sensible, practical, showing good judgement

The woman who works with me is very levelheaded.

license to (do something)

- the permission or right or chance to do something

When my uncle got the contract to sell food at the stadium it was a license to print money.

lick of work

- not even a small amount of work (usually used in the negative)

The children did not do a lick of work when the teacher was away.

lick one's chops

- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something (by licking one's lips)

The salesman began to lick his chops when he saw the potential customers at the convention.

lick one's lips

- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something

The little boy began to lick his lips when he saw the candy in the window.

lick one's wounds

- to think about and reflect on something that has embarrassed you or caused you loss or disappointment

The politician went for a holiday in order to lick his wounds after he lost the election.

lick (someone's) boots

- to behave in a servile manner toward someone

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

lick (something) into shape

- to transform or change something that is failing into something that works effectively

We are working hard to lick the failing business into shape.

lie/lay down on the job

- to do a job poorly or not at all

The workers decided to lie down on the job and nothing was finished when the supervisor arrived.

lie fallow

- to remain unused (a field or land lies fallow)

The farmer let the field lie fallow for one growing season.

lie in state

- to lie in a state of honor after death in an open coffin so that the public can see his or her body (usually used for a famous political leader)

The President lay in state after his death.

lie in wait

- to watch from hiding in order to attack or surprise someone

The police decided to lie in wait for the bank robbers to appear at the bank.

lie low

- to stay quietly out of sight, to try not to attract attention

"Our boss is angry so I think that you should lie low until he calms down."

lie through one's teeth

- to lie in a bold manner

The man's story was impossible to believe. He was lying through his teeth.

life of Riley

- an easy life of luxury, a pleasant life

My father has been living the life of Riley since he retired from his job last year.

life of the party

- a person who is lively and helps make a party fun and exciting

My friend is the life of the party and everybody loves to see her.

(not) lift a finger

- to not do anything to help anyone

The man is a nice person but he will not lift a finger to help anyone else.

(not) lift a hand

- to not do anything to help anyone

My neighbor would not lift a hand to help me move.

light into (someone)

- to scold someone

The woman lit into her child when he came home from school late.

light into (something)

- to devour or eat something

When we arrived home we wanted to light into our dinner immediately.

light on one's feet

- to be able to move quickly and gracefully

The boxer is light on his feet and he wins many boxing matches.

light out (for somewhere)

- to depart quickly for somewhere

We woke up early and prepared to light out for our first day of adventure.

light up

- to suddenly look pleased and happy

When I told my cousin about our holiday plans his face lit up.

Like Idioms

like a bat out of hell

- with great speed and force

The boy left the theater like a bat out of hell.

like a bolt out of the blue

- suddenly and without warning

It was like a bolt out of the blue when my father said that he will change jobs.

like a bump on a log

- unresponsive

The boy was sitting at his desk like a bump on a log.

like a fish out of water

- appearing to be completely out of place somewhere

I was like a fish out of water when I went to the party at the expensive restaurant.

like a house on fire

- rapidly and with much energy

We worked like a house on fire in order to finish our work before our vacation.

like a sitting duck

- unsuspecting and unaware

The robber was like a sitting duck when the police arrested him as he waited for his partner to leave the bank.

like a three-ring circus

- chaotic or exciting or busy

The shopping center was like a three-ring circus when we went shopping on Saturday afternoon.

like a ton of bricks

- strongly or forcefully, a surprise to someone

The news of the singer's death hit me like a ton of bricks.

like an open book

- someone or something that is easy to understand

Our boss is like an open book and it is easy to know what he is thinking about.

like crazy

- very fast, with great energy

The boy was running like crazy but still he could not catch his friend.

like father, like son

- a son usually acts like his father

"Like father, like son," the man said as he watched the boy playing baseball exactly like his father.

like greased lightning

- very fast

The horse ran out of the barn like greased lightning.

like hell

- with much effort and energy, never, not permissable

I had to run like hell this morning in order to catch the bus for work.
"Like hell, I am going to lend my friend more money."

like it or lump it

- to either accept something or forget about it

I offered the woman a fair price for the TV and told her that she could either like it or lump it.

Like it's such a big deal!

- It really isn't so important

"Like it's such a big deal!" the boy said when he told his friend about the lost book.

like lambs to the slaughter

- quietly doing something without realizing the danger or difficulties of the situation

Our basketball team went like lambs to the slaughter to meet the best team in the city.

like looking for a needle in a haystack

- engaged in a hopeless search

Looking for my house keys at the beach was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

like mad

- very fast, with great energy

I worked like mad but I was unable to finish the project before noon.

like nothing on earth

- very unusual

The performance by our neighbor was like nothing on earth and surprised everyone who saw it.

like one of the family

- like someone is a member of your family

My sister's friend is like one of the family and we invite her to come with us wherever we go.

like pulling teeth

- very difficult to do

It was like pulling teeth to try and get the boy to explain why he was crying.

like shooting fish in a barrel

- very easy, super easy, ridiculously easy

The contest was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was very easy to win a prize.

like the cut of (someone's) jib

- to like someone (a jib is a type of sail that is found on some sailboats)

I like to work with the new accountant. I like the cut of his jib.

like to hear oneself talk

- to enjoy talking rather than listening to other people

My friend likes to hear herself talk and it is very tiring to be around her.

like two peas in a pod

- very close or intimate

My two friends from school are like two peas in a pod and are always together.

like water off a duck`s back

- without effect, without changing one`s feelings or opinion

My boss always criticizes my friend but he ignores it and the criticism is like water off a duck`s back.

the likes of (someone)

- someone like the person who you are talking about

I do not enjoy spending time with the likes of my neighbor.

.


line of least resistance

- the easiest (but not always the best) way to do something

We took the line of least resistance and moved out of our apartment rather than have problems with the manager.

line one's own pockets

- to make money for oneself in a dishonest way

The local politician was lining his own pockets and did not win another election.

line up

- to take places in a line or formation, to stand one behind another

We had to line up in front of the movie theater for over one hour.

line up (someone with someone)

- to supply a person with a date or companion

We tried to line up my friend's sister with our friend but we were not successful.

line up (someone for something)

- to arrange or schedule someone for something

We were unable to line up a speaker for our meeting.

line up (something with something)

- to adjust two things correctly

The carpenter lined up the two pieces of wood before he nailed them together.

lion's share (of something)

- the biggest part or share of something

I plan to give the lion's share of my DVD collection to my friend.

(one's) lips are sealed

- someone will not tell a secret

My lips are sealed and I will not tell anybody the secret.

lip service

- support shown by words only and not by action

The company paid lip service to the proposal but I do not think that they really support it.

listen to reason

- to yield to a reasonable argument

The woman would not listen to reason when she complained about the coat that she had bought.

litmus test

- a test that uses one single indicator to help make a decision (the scientific meaning of a litmus test is a test for basic chemical properties that uses litmus paper)

The new sales policy was a litmus test for how the new manager would manage the department.

a little bird told me

- something is learned from a mysterious or secret source

A little bird told me that I would get a nice present from my boyfriend next week.

a little bit

- a small amount

I only had a little bit of time so I could not talk to my mother.

little by little

- gradually

The man broke his leg while he was skiing but little by little it is getting better.

little frog in a big pond

- an unimportant person in a large group or organization

The manager transferred to the head office but now he is a little frog in a big pond and nobody knows him.

little pitchers have big ears

- little children often overhear things that they are not supposed to hear

"Little pitchers have big ears," the woman said when she saw her daughter listening as she talked to her husband.

live a life of (something)

- to have a life of a certain quality or style

My friend has been living a life of luxury since he won much money in the lottery.

live and learn

- to increase one's knowledge by experience

I will have to live and learn and try not to eat so much food.

live and let live

- to not interfere with other people's business or preferences

Our neighbor believes that one should live and let live and she never criticizes other people.

live beyond one's means

- to spend more money than one can afford

The couple have been living beyond their means and they are now in serious financial difficulty.

live by one's wits

- to survive by being clever

The boy lives by his wits and never has any problems in his life.

a live dog is better than a dead lion

- it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero (this is from Ecclesiastes in the Bible)

A live dog is better than a dead lion and I told my friend not to get into a fight with the angry man in the restaurant.

live down (something)

- to remove blame or distrust by good conduct, to cause something to be forgiven by not repeating it

Our supervisor is trying to live down his reputation of being a difficult person to work for.

live for the moment

- to live without planning for the future

The young man lives for the moment and has no money saved for the future.

live from hand to mouth

- to live on little money and in poor circumstances

The man is an artist and must live from hand to mouth because he has no money.

live happily ever after

- to live in happiness after a specific event

It was a very beautiful movie and in the end everybody lived happily ever after.

live high on/off the hog

- to live very luxuriously or comfortably

My friend has been living high on the hog since he won the money in the lottery.

live in

- to live at the place where one works

The young woman got a job where she could live in with a family with three children.

live in an ivory tower

- to be unaware of the realities of everyday life

The university professor lives in an ivory tower and does not seem to understand what is going on in the world.

live it up

- to spend money freely, to have a good time

The man likes to live it up every weekend when he gets paid.

live off the fat of the land

- to grow and eat one's own food

The early pioneers went to the mountain valley and were able to live off the fat of the land.

live on borrowed time

- to continue to live or operate longer than circumstances would suggest

My old car has been living on borrowed time for a long time now.

live out of a suitcase

- to stay away from your home while travelling with only the belongings in your suitcase

I dislike my job because I am often away from home and I must live out of a suitcase.

live (something) down or live down (something)

- to overcome the shame or embarrassment of something

It was difficult for the woman to live down the shame of stealing money from her job.

live through (something)

- to endure something

The people in the town lived through one of the worst disasters in many years.

live up to one's end of the bargain

- to do as you promised in a bargain

The young boy did not live up to his end of the bargain when he made no effort to finish his homework before watching television.

live up to (something)

- to act according to something, to fulfill expectations

The man is trying to live up to his reputation as a smart businessman.

live within one's means

- to spend no more money than one has

The young couple work hard to live within their means.

liven up (something) or liven (something) up

- to energize something, to make something more active

My friend arrived at the party and he soon livened things up.

the living end

- great, fantastic, the ultimate

My sister said that her new boyfriend was the living end.

loaded

- to have lots of money

My new boss is loaded.

load the dice

- to make an outcome highly probable, to predetermine a result, to put someone at a disadvantage through some prior actions

The large company seemed to load the dice against the small contracting firm.

lock horns with (someone)

- to get into an argument with someone

I locked horns with a woman who I work with when we had an argument last week.

lock (something) in or lock in (something)

- to make something (such as a rate of interest at a bank) permanent over a period of time

We locked in the mortgage of our house for five years because the interest rates were low.

lock, stock, and barrel

- everything

The small corner store went out of business and sold everything lock, stock, and barrel.

lock the barn door after the horse is stolen/gone

- to try to make something safe after it is too late

Trying to prevent a basement flood after the rains have started is like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen.

lock (something) up or lock up (something)

- to be assured of success

The candidate has already locked up the nomination for the next election.

long and the short of it

- all the facts, the whole story, a brief summing up of something

I phoned my friend and he told me the long and the short of why he got fired.

long face

- a sad look, a disappointed look

Our boss had a long face when he came into work this morning.

a long haul

- a long distance or trip

The man is a long-haul truck driver and he is always out of town working.

the long haul

- a long period of time during which work continues or something is done

My cousin has decided to stay here for the long haul and will not return to his home.

long in the tooth

- old

The man was feeling long in the tooth and he did not have much energy.

a long shot

- a bet or other risk taken though not likely to succeed

It was a long shot that my friend would get the job so he was very happy when he did get it.

Look Idioms

look a gift horse in the mouth

- to complain if a gift is not perfect

"Even if you don`t like the present from your company you shouldn`t complain. Remember, don`t look a gift horse in the mouth."

look after (someone)

- to take care of someone, to watch someone, to supervise someone, to protect someone

My friend has been looking after her mother since her mother's recent illness.

look at (someone) cross-eyed

- to look at someone provocatively

The man in the bus looked at the other man cross-eyed and they seemed like they were going to have a fight.

look at the world through rose-colored glasses

- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic

I told my friend to be realistic and not to always look at the world through rose-colored glasses.

look back on (something)

- to remember something from one's past, to reminisce

The man looked back on his trip to India with many good memories.

look down on (someone or something)

- to regard someone or something with contempt or a feeling of superiority

My cousin looks down on the activities and life of small towns.

look down one`s nose at (someone or something)

- to show your dislike of someone or something

The boy always looks down his nose at the other members of his class.

look for (something)

- to try to find something, to hunt or search for something

The woman has been looking for her credit card all morning.

look for (something to happen)

- to think or expect that something is likely to happen

They are looking for our manager to become the next sales director of the company.

look for trouble

- to do something that may cause trouble

The young men spend every Saturday evening looking for trouble.

look forward to (something)

- to anticipate something with pleasure

We have been looking forward to the concert for a long time.

look good on paper

- to appear to be a good plan (but in actual practice it may not be a good plan)

My supervisor's plan looks good on paper but in reality I do not think that it will be successful.

look high and low for (someone or something)

- to look carefully in every possible place for someone or something

We looked high and low for my grandmother's hearing aide but we could not find it.

look in on (someone)

- to go to see someone, to make a short visit to someone, to make a call on someone to see if he or she is doing well

"Could you please look in on the baby and see if she is sleeping."

look into (something)

- to investigate or check something

They have been looking into the cause of the accident for many months.

look like a million dollars

- to look well and prosperous, to appear healthy and happy

My uncle looked like a million dollars when I saw him at the party last weekend.

look like death warmed over

- to look very ill

The elderly man looked like death warmed over when he went to the hospital.

look like (something)

- to predict something

It looks like rain this evening.

look like something the cat dragged in

- to look very shabby or worn or dirty

My friend looked like something the cat dragged in when he arrived home from work last night.

look like the cat that ate/swallowed the canary

- to seem very self-satisified, to look like you have just had some kind of success

The boy looked like the cat that ate the canary when he won the race.

look on

- to watch, to observe, to be a spectator

Many people looked on as the fire burned in the building.

look on (someone) as (something)

- to view or think of someone as something

Everybody in our neighborhood looks on my neighbor as someone to talk to if they have a problem.

look out

- to take care, to be careful, to be on guard

"Look out! There is a large truck coming down the highway."

look out for (someone)

- to provide protection and care for someone

"Please look out for my sister when she visits you this summer."

look out for (someone or something)

- to be alert or watchful for someone or something, to keep looking for someone or something

"Could you please look out for any old vinyl records that you may find."

look out on (something)

- to face something, to overlook something

Our hotel room looked out on a beautiful garden.

look over (something) or look (something) over

- to inspect or survey or examine something

"Please take some time to look over these documents before you sign them."

look (someone) in the eye/face

- to face someone directly

I looked the man in the eye when I asked him to move his car out of my way.

look the other way

- to ignore something

Our boss always looks the other way when his staff are one or two minutes late.

look through (something)

- to search through something, to examine something with one's eyes

I looked through my desk for my house keys.

look through (something)

- to see through something like a window

I looked through the window at the beautiful sunset.

look to (someone)

- to depend on someone, to go to someone for help

My friend looks to his mother for help when he has a problem.

look to (something)

- to attend to something, to take care of something

The woman is a wonderful nurse and spends much time looking to the needs of her patients.

look to (something)

- to expect or hope for something

The company looks to make much money with their new product.
The player looks to become a big star with his new team.

look up (someone) or look (someone) up

- to seek and find someone

When I was in New York City I looked up my friend from university.

look up (something) or look (something) up

- to search for something in a dictionary or other book

I will look up my friend's name in the telephone book.
I looked the word up in the dictionary.

look up to (someone)

- to think of someone as a good example to copy, to respect someone

I look up to the president of our company and would like to copy him.

looking up

- to appear promising or optimistic, to be improving

Things are looking up in the job market recently.

.


loom large (on the horizon)

- to be coming as a possible problem or danger or threat

A large increase in transportation costs is looming large on the horizon.

loose ends

- details that are not settled, things that are not finished

I have many loose ends to deal with before I go on my holidays.

loosen (someone's) tongue

- to make someone relax and say something that they normally would not say

I went to the coffee shop with my friend where I tried to loosen his tongue.

lord it over (someone)

- to act as the superior and master of someone, to be bossy over someone

The supervisor likes to lord it over the other members of the staff.

Lose Idioms

lose face

- to be embarrassed or ashamed by an error or failure, to lose dignity

Our boss lost face when his employees decided not to support him during the meeting.

lose ground

- to go backward, to become weaker, to not improve

The government has been losing ground in the fight against inflation.

lose heart

- to become discouraged

The girl has begun to lose heart in her effort to learn the piano.

lose one's cool

- to lose one's temper, to become angry

The saleswoman lost her cool during a meeting with the chief supplier.

lose one's grip

- to lose a secure grasp or hold of something

The rock climber lost his grip and fell off the side of the cliff.

lose one's grip

- to lose control of a situation

I think that our boss is losing his grip in his ability to control the workplace.

lose one's head (over someone or something)

- to become confused or overexcited about someone or something, to lose one's self-control

The young woman lost her head when she discovered that she had won the swimming competition.
The teenager is in love and seems to have lost his head.

lose one`s marbles

- to go crazy or act irrationally

The man seems to have lost his marbles and does not make any sense at all.

lose one`s shirt

- to lose a lot of money

I think that the man is going to lose his shirt on the new business venture.

lose one`s temper

- to become angry

The mother lost her temper when the child broke the expensive dish.

lose one's touch (with someone or something)

- to lose one's ability to handle someone or something

I think that the horse trainer is losing her touch with the horses that she is training.

lose one's train of thought

- to forget what one was talking or thinking about

I lost my train of thought when I was talking on the telephone to my friend.

lose one`s way

- to become lost

The first time that my aunt went to London she lost her way.

lose oneself (in something)

- to become deeply involved in something

The violin player loses herself in her music when she is giving a concert.

lose out on (something)

- to fail to get or take part in something

I lost out on a chance to go to Mexico City because I was too busy with other things.

lose out to (someone or something)

- to fail to win, to miss first place in a contest

Our team lost out to the other team in the soccer tournament.

lose sight of (something)

- to forget something, to fail to see something

"Don't lose sight of the reason that you are planning to take the class."

lose sleep over (someone or something)

- to worry about someone or something so that you cannot sleep

I have been losing sleep over my recent problems at work.

lose touch with (someone)

- to fail to keep in contact or communication with someone

I lost touch with the people who I worked with at my summer job.

lose track of (someone or something)

- to lose contact with someone or something

I have lost track of my friends from high school.

lose weight

- to decrease one's weight

I want to lose weight so I have stopped eating sweets.

.


lost-and-found

- a place that handles lost items that other people find

I went to the lost-and-found department at the train station to look for my umbrella.

lost and gone forever

- permanently lost

My father's pocket knife is lost and gone forever and we will never see it again.

a lost cause

- a hopeless matter

Trying to change the work habits of our secretary is a lost cause. She will never change.

lost in thought

- to be busy thinking

I was lost in thought when my friend phoned last night.

lost on (someone)

- to be wasted or have no effect on someone

My attempt at telling a joke was lost on my former girlfriend.

loud and clear

- clear and distinct

I could hear the announcement loud and clear.

a loudmouth

- a noisy talker, a boastful or foolish talker

The man is a loudmouth and nobody likes him.

louse up (something) or louse (something) up

- to throw something into confusion, to make a mess of something, to spoil something

The woman loused up her job interview and has no chance to get the job now.

lousy with (something)

- something has many or much of something, something is in abundance

The hotel room was lousy with cockroaches.

love at first sight

- to fall in love with someone or something the first time that you see him or her or it

When I saw the woman at the party, it was love at first sight and I knew that I wanted to meet her.
The woman loved the house. It was love at first sight.

love to hear oneself talk

- to enjoy talking rather than listening to other people

The man loves to hear himself talk and many people do not like him.

lovely weather for ducks

- rainy weather

"Lovely weather for ducks," I said when I met my neighbor walking in the rain.

lover`s lane

- a hidden road or walkway where lovers walk or park their cars in the evening

After the movie we drove to the local lover`s lane.

low man on the totem pole

- the least important person

I am the low man on the totem pole in our company and I have no power.

the lowdown

- the inside facts of a matter, the total truth

I met with the speaker after the presentation and he gave me the lowdown on the new computer system.

lower one's sights

- to set one's goals lower than they were, to accept something that is less than you were hoping for

My cousin did not graduate from university and will now have to lower his sights when he begins to look for a job.

lower one's voice

- to speak more softly

The usher in the movie theater asked me to lower my voice.

lower oneself to (some level)

- to bring oneself down to a lower level of behavior

I do not want to lower myself to the same level as the terrible supervisor.

lower the boom on (someone)

- to scold or punish someone severely

Our teacher lowered the boom on the students who were late with their homework.

luck out

- to suddenly get lucky even though it looks like you will not succeed

I lucked out with the concert tickets and was able to buy four of them.

one's lucky stars

- a certain star or planet which is thought to bring a person good luck and success in life

You can count your lucky stars that you do not have to work on a rainy day like today.

lull before the storm

- a quiet period just before a period of great activity or excitement

It was the lull before the storm when the school principal began to tell the students about the new policy.

lull (someone) into a false sense of security

- to make someone believe that all is well before attacking them

The residents of the small community were lulled into a false sense of security when there were no crimes for several years.

lull (someone) to sleep

- to cause someone to fall asleep

The mother spent a long time trying to lull her young baby to sleep.

lunatic fringe

- the more extreme members of a group

A small lunatic fringe of protesters caused many problems at the convention.


Idiom Quizzes - L



    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. The woman is new at her job and it will take some time for her to (become accustomed to the job).

    (a) let her hair down (b) let bygones be bygones (c) learn the ropes (d) lay it on thick



  2. The man is (very wealthy) and never has to worry about looking for a job.

    (a) loaded (b) like a ton of bricks (c) losing his marbles (d) laid up



  3. I will (check) whether or not you can borrow the book.

    (a) lay down the law (b) lose sight of (c) look into (d) let on



  4. The company suffered from the recession for many months and finally had to (get rid of) some workers.

    (a) look on (b) lose sight of (c) leave out (d) lay off



  5. My boss is rather irritable and (becomes angry) easily.

    (a) loses his temper (b) lets his hair down (c) learns the ropes (d) lands on his feet



  6. The boy has been studying very hard and (gradually) his English is improving.

    (a) learning the ropes (b) losing his shirt (c) like a ton of bricks (d) little by little



  7. I have (not had contact with) my friend from high school.

    (a) lost sight of (b) lost track of (c) looked down on (d) looked after



  8. The children are (waiting excitedly) to go to Disneyland.

    (a) looking into (b) looking at the world through rose-colored glasses (c) living it up (d) looking forward



  9. My neighbor is quite forgetful and sometimes I think that he has (become a little crazy).

    (a) lost his marbles (b) let the cat out of the bag (c) let something ride (d) let bygones be bygones



  10. We (forgot to bring) the bottle opener so now we do not have anything to drink.

    (a) let go of (b) laid up (c) left behind (d) looked into



  11. The woman managed to (successfully begin a new life) after her illness.

    (a) land on her feet (b) lose track (c) look down her nose at everything (d) let someone off the hook



  12. The woman never (revealed) where she got the money.

    (a) lost track of (b) looked on (c) let on (d) let go of



  13. The man (lost all of his money) at the horse races.

    (a) lost his marbles (b) lost his shirt (c) lived out of a suitcase (d) let something ride



  14. My friends made a mistake (and revealed the plans) about the party.

    (a) let the cat out of the bag (b) left someone holding the bag (c) laid down the law (d) lost their temper



  15. The woman (became lost) on the way back from the department store.

    (a) laid someone off (b) landed on her feet (c) let her hair down (d) lost her way



  16. My friends (left me to take the blame) after the mistake at the restaurant.

    (a) laid down the law (b) left me holding the bag (c) let me know (d) let me off the hook



  17. The girl (has a low opinion of) the other members of the club.

    (a) lost her temper at (b) lost heart at (c) looks after (d) looks down her nose at



  18. "They (have a luxurious life). Where do they get their money?"

    (a) look down on everyone (b) look at the world through rose-colored glasses (c) live high off the hog (d) lay it on thick



  19. The statement made me angry but I decided to (continue without saying anything).

    (a) lose my temper (b) let it ride (c) look it over (d) live it up



  20. The company decision to transfer me hit me (very hard).

    (a) loaded (b) little by little (c) like a ton of bricks (d) left holding the bag



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