THE IDIOM CONNECTION
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.
- a man who some women find very charming and attractive
The man in the movie was a lady killer and women loved him.
- 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.
- relaxed, not worried by things
Our teacher is very laid-back about most things in our classroom.
- to be confined to bed, to be unfit for work
My friend has been laid up for a few days because of a cold.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- a final effort
The government made a last-ditch effort to prevent a strike by the teachers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(not) lay a finger/hand on (someone)
- to not touch someone, to not do something to someoneThe 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 audienceThe performance by the magician was terrible. He laid an egg with the audience.
lay away (something) or lay (something) away
- to save somethingThe couple are trying to lay away some money for their holiday next year.
lay down one's arms
- to stop fighting, to surrenderThe 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 somethingThe 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 influenceThe 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 somethingI have never laid eyes on a more beautiful dog in my life.
lay hold of (something)
- to get possession of somethingIf 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 useThe farmer is trying to lay in as much food as possible before winter comes.
lay/light into (someone)
- to attack someone with wordsWhen 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 enthusiasmI laid into the steak as soon as the waiter brought it to the table.
lay it on thick
- to praise someone too muchMy friend began to lay it on thick when I told him about my new job.
- to hide, to keep out of sight for a period of timeThe 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 organizationWe 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 aloneThe 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 workersSix 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 somethingThe 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 someoneThe 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 somethingIf 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 moneyMy friend will have to lay out much money for his new apartment.
lay out (something) or lay (something) out
- to plan somethingWe will lay out our plan for the new building at the next meeting.
- to arrive somewhere and wait some time before continuing on a journeyWe will have to lay over in London for nine hours before we continue on our trip.
lay (someone) to rest
- to bury someoneWe laid my uncle to rest in a quiet ceremony last night.
lay (something) on (someone)
- to direct blame or guilt for something on someoneThe company tried to lay the blame for the computer problems on the manager.
lay (something) on the line
- to speak directly and firmly about somethingThe 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 discussionI 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 itWe 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 somethingWe 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 successThe 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 garageThe 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 somethingWe 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 somethingThe army laid waste to the enemy territory.
- 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 paidI decided to buy the television set on the department store`s layaway plan.
lead a dog`s life
- to live a hard life, to work hard and be treated unkindlyMy friend has been leading a dog`s life since he started his new job.
- to begin, to start, to openThe 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 wantThe man is not very aggressive and lets his boss lead him by the nose.
lead (someone) down the garden path
- to deceive someoneThe young woman was leading her boyfriend down the garden path when she promised to marry him.
lead (someone) on
- to deceive someone, to mislead someoneThe salesman tried to lead me on about the new product.
lead (someone) on a merry chase
- to lead someone on a chase with no purposeThe criminal led the police on a merry chase before they arrested him.
lead (someone) to believe (something)
- to imply something to someoneThe salesman led me to believe that he could deliver the product next week.
lead (someone) to (do something)
- to cause someone to do somethingThe 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 lifeMy 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 someoneI had to lead the way because nobody knew where the new office was located.
- the time that is available to prepare for somethingThere was not much lead time to prepare for the advertising campaign.
lead up to (something)
- to prepare the way for somethingThe concerts in the park were leading up to the music festival.
- a question that suggests the kind of answer that you want to hearThe 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 detailI leafed through several magazines in the doctor's office.
leak out (something) or leak (something) out
- to disclose special or secret information to the pressSomebody 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 somethingThe 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 someoneMy cousin leaned over backwards to help my father when he was sick.
lean toward (doing something)
- to tend toward doing somethingAt 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 factsOur teacher leaped to conclusions when she accused the boy of breaking the window.
learn (something) by heart
- to memorize somethingI learned my library card number by heart.
learn (something) by rote
- to memorize something without thinking about what is being learnedThe children learned the material by rote but they did not really understand it.
learn (something) from the bottom up
- to learn something from the beginningThe 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 experienceThe 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 jobThe man is a new employee and is still learning the ropes.
learn to live with (something)
- to learn to adapt to something unpleasant or painfulMy mother and father must learn to live with not having a supermarket close to them.
least of all
- the least, of smallest importanceI do not like any of the choices offered, least of all the one that we were forced to choose.
leave a bad taste in one`s mouth
- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someoneThe way that the company treated the workers left a bad taste in our mouth.
leave a lot to be desired
- to be inadequateThe 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 possibleThe 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 happenThe 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 somethingThe 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 ridiculeThe 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 minuteThe man was very nervous and decided to leave his girlfriend at the altar.
leave (someone or something) behind
- to leave someone or something somewhereI left my coat behind at the restaurant.
leave (someone) flat
- to fail to entertain or stimulate someone, to leave someone with no moneyMy attempt at making a joke left everyone in the room flat.
leave (someone) for dead
- to abandon someone as being deadThe 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 elseThe 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 positionThe 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 somethingMy 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 somethingI left the planning for the barbecue in my father's hands.
leave (someone) in peace
- to stop bothering someoneThe 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 someoneMy coworker left me in the lurch when he did not help me as he had promised.
leave (someone) out in the cold
- to exclude someoneWe 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 unsettledWhether 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 operatingI always leave the lights on when I am working in the house.
leave (something) open
- to leave a date or time unscheduledI will leave next Wednesday open so that I can meet my friend for lunch.
leave (something) out or leave out (something)
- to omit somethingMy 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 somethingI will leave the travel arrangements to my friend.
leave (something) up to (someone)
- to give the choice or decision about something to someoneWe 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 someoneI left word with my father to ask my mother to phone me tonight.
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.
- an ambiguous compliment interpreted as offensiveThe man gave the girl a left-handed compliment when he said that her dyed hair looked nice.
- someone who performs messenger services, an errand boyMy 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 claimsThe woman does not have a leg to stand on with her excuses for not finishing her 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 someoneI 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 somethingThe music of the orchestra helped to lend color to the dance performance.
lend (oneself/itself) to (something)
- to be adaptable to somethingThe small hall does not lend itself to having a good musical performance.
lend (someone) a hand
- to give someone some helpI asked my friend to lend me a hand to move the furniture.
lend (something) to (something)
- to make something important, to make something believableThe 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 qualitiesThe 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 pleasedMy father was less than pleased when I returned his car late last night.
lesser (of the two)
- the smaller one of the twoWe 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 thingsThe voters had to choose the lesser of two evils when they voted for one of the two candidates for mayor.
let alone (something)
- to not mention something, to say nothing of somethingI 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 naturallyEverybody 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 longerThe woman wanted to let down her dress because it was too short.
let go of (something)
- to release somethingI let go of my suitcase and it fell off the luggage rack.
let go with (something)
- to shout something outThe 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 somethingThe 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 restraintsI 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 activityThe 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."
- to try to make people believe something, to pretend somethingThe 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 constrainedI went to the party and let myself go for the evening.
let oneself go
- to not take care of oneselfThe 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 littleWe 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 soundThe 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 practiceThe teacher let out the students because of the bad weather.
let out (something) or let (something) out
- to make clothes bigger or looserI 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 escapeI 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 somethingThe 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 someoneThe 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 goodI 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 someoneThe company will let several hundred workers go in order to become profitable again.
let (someone) have it
- to hit someone hard, to scold someone angrilyOne man let another man have it when they had a fight on the bus.
let (someone) have it with both barrels
- to attack someone verballyThe 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 secretWe 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 transportationThe train stopped at a small town and let the young woman off.
let (someone) off (easy)
- to release someone with little or no punishmentThe 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 promiseMy 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 somethingThe 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 somethingThe girl is letting her appearance go since she lost her job.
let (something) go
- to allow something to pass, to do nothing about somethingAlthough 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 heldWe 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 somethingThe children let off many firecrackers during the festival.
let (something) pass
- to let something go unnoticed or unchallengedI 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 itWe should forget about the recent problems at work and let the matter ride.
let (something) slide
- to neglect a duty, to ignore a situationRecently, I have been very busy and I have let my work slide.
let (something) slide by
- to forget or miss an important time or dateI let my girlfriend's birthday slide by without noticing it.
let (something) slip by
- to forget or miss an important time or dateWe let my parent's wedding anniversary slip by without doing anything.
let (something) slip (out)
- to tell a secret by accidentI 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 somethingMy 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 actionsI 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 timeMy 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 doRecently, I have let things slide and my apartment is very messy.
- to become less or weaker, to become slower or stopThe 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 somethingThe 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 areI decided to let well enough alone and not ask my supervisor for extra time off.
letter of the law
- the literal interpretation or the words of a law but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the lawThe lawyer always likes to follow the letter of the law.
level (something) at (someone)
- to direct something (a remark or criticism) at someoneMy 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 successThe two companies had a level playing field when they applied for the contract.
level with (someone)
- to be honest with someoneI tried to level with my friend and tell her what I thought about her new hairstyle.
- sensible, practical, showing good judgementThe woman who works with me is very levelheaded.
license to (do something)
- the permission or right or chance to do somethingWhen 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 somethingThe 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 disappointmentThe 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 someoneOur 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 effectivelyWe are working hard to lick the failing business into shape.
lie/lay down on the job
- to do a job poorly or not at allThe workers decided to lie down on the job and nothing was finished when the supervisor arrived.
- 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 someoneThe police decided to lie in wait for the bank robbers to appear at the bank.
- 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 mannerThe man's story was impossible to believe. He was lying through his teeth.
life of Riley
- an easy life of luxury, a pleasant lifeMy 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 excitingMy friend is the life of the party and everybody loves to see her.
(not) lift a finger
- to not do anything to help anyoneThe 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 anyoneMy neighbor would not lift a hand to help me move.
light into (someone)
- to scold someoneThe woman lit into her child when he came home from school late.
light into (something)
- to devour or eat somethingWhen we arrived home we wanted to light into our dinner immediately.
light on one's feet
- to be able to move quickly and gracefullyThe boxer is light on his feet and he wins many boxing matches.
light out (for somewhere)
- to depart quickly for somewhereWe woke up early and prepared to light out for our first day of adventure.
- to suddenly look pleased and happyWhen I told my cousin about our holiday plans his face lit up.
like a bat out of hell
- with great speed and forceThe boy left the theater like a bat out of hell.
like a bolt out of the blue
- suddenly and without warningIt was like a bolt out of the blue when my father said that he will change jobs.
like a bump on a log
- unresponsiveThe 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 somewhereI 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 energyWe worked like a house on fire in order to finish our work before our vacation.
like a sitting duck
- unsuspecting and unawareThe 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 busyThe 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 someoneThe news of the singer's death hit me like a ton of bricks.
like an open book
- someone or something that is easy to understandOur boss is like an open book and it is easy to know what he is thinking about.
- very fast, with great energyThe 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 fastThe horse ran out of the barn like greased lightning.
- with much effort and energy, never, not permissableI 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 itI 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 situationOur 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 searchLooking for my house keys at the beach was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
- very fast, with great energyI worked like mad but I was unable to finish the project before noon.
like nothing on earth
- very unusualThe 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 familyMy 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 doIt 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 easyThe 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 peopleMy friend likes to hear herself talk and it is very tiring to be around her.
like two peas in a pod
- very close or intimateMy 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 opinionMy 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 aboutI 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 somethingWe 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 wayThe local politician was lining his own pockets and did not win another election.
- to take places in a line or formation, to stand one behind anotherWe 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 companionWe 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 somethingWe were unable to line up a speaker for our meeting.
line up (something with something)
- to adjust two things correctlyThe carpenter lined up the two pieces of wood before he nailed them together.
lion's share (of something)
- the biggest part or share of somethingI plan to give the lion's share of my DVD collection to my friend.
(one's) lips are sealed
- someone will not tell a secretMy lips are sealed and I will not tell anybody the secret.
- support shown by words only and not by actionThe 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 argumentThe woman would not listen to reason when she complained about the coat that she had bought.
- 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 sourceA little bird told me that I would get a nice present from my boyfriend next week.
a little bit
- a small amountI only had a little bit of time so I could not talk to my mother.
little by little
- graduallyThe 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 organizationThe 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 styleMy 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 experienceI 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 preferencesOur 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 affordThe couple have been living beyond their means and they are now in serious financial difficulty.
live by one's wits
- to survive by being cleverThe 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 itOur 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 futureThe 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 circumstancesThe 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 eventIt 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 comfortablyMy friend has been living high on the hog since he won the money in the lottery.
- to live at the place where one worksThe 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 lifeThe 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 timeThe 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 foodThe 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 suggestMy 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 suitcaseI 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 somethingIt was difficult for the woman to live down the shame of stealing money from her job.
live through (something)
- to endure somethingThe 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 bargainThe 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 expectationsThe 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 hasThe young couple work hard to live within their means.
liven up (something) or liven (something) up
- to energize something, to make something more activeMy friend arrived at the party and he soon livened things up.
the living end
- great, fantastic, the ultimateMy sister said that her new boyfriend was the living end.
- to have lots of moneyMy 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 actionsThe large company seemed to load the dice against the small contracting firm.
lock horns with (someone)
- to get into an argument with someoneI 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 timeWe locked in the mortgage of our house for five years because the interest rates were low.
lock, stock, and barrel
- everythingThe 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 lateTrying 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 successThe 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 somethingI phoned my friend and he told me the long and the short of why he got fired.
- a sad look, a disappointed lookOur boss had a long face when he came into work this morning.
a long haul
- a long distance or tripThe 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 doneMy cousin has decided to stay here for the long haul and will not return to his home.
long in the tooth
- oldThe 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 succeedIt was a long shot that my friend would get the job so he was very happy when he did get it.
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 someoneMy friend has been looking after her mother since her mother's recent illness.
look at (someone) cross-eyed
- to look at someone provocativelyThe 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 optimisticI 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 reminisceThe 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 superiorityMy 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 somethingThe 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 somethingThe woman has been looking for her credit card all morning.
look for (something to happen)
- to think or expect that something is likely to happenThey are looking for our manager to become the next sales director of the company.
look for trouble
- to do something that may cause troubleThe young men spend every Saturday evening looking for trouble.
look forward to (something)
- to anticipate something with pleasureWe 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 somethingWe 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 somethingThey 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 happyMy uncle looked like a million dollars when I saw him at the party last weekend.
look like death warmed over
- to look very illThe elderly man looked like death warmed over when he went to the hospital.
look like (something)
- to predict somethingIt looks like rain this evening.
look like something the cat dragged in
- to look very shabby or worn or dirtyMy 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 successThe boy looked like the cat that ate the canary when he won the race.
- to watch, to observe, to be a spectatorMany people looked on as the fire burned in the building.
look on (someone) as (something)
- to view or think of someone as somethingEverybody in our neighborhood looks on my neighbor as someone to talk to if they have a problem.
- 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 somethingOur 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 directlyI looked the man in the eye when I asked him to move his car out of my way.
look the other way
- to ignore somethingOur 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 eyesI looked through my desk for my house keys.
look through (something)
- to see through something like a windowI looked through the window at the beautiful sunset.
look to (someone)
- to depend on someone, to go to someone for helpMy friend looks to his mother for help when he has a problem.
look to (something)
- to attend to something, to take care of somethingThe woman is a wonderful nurse and spends much time looking to the needs of her patients.
look to (something)
- to expect or hope for somethingThe 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 someoneWhen 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 bookI 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 someoneI look up to the president of our company and would like to copy him.
- to appear promising or optimistic, to be improvingThings are looking up in the job market recently.
loom large (on the horizon)
- to be coming as a possible problem or danger or threatA large increase in transportation costs is looming large on the horizon.
- details that are not settled, things that are not finishedI 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 sayI 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 someoneThe supervisor likes to lord it over the other members of the staff.
- to be embarrassed or ashamed by an error or failure, to lose dignityOur boss lost face when his employees decided not to support him during the meeting.
- to go backward, to become weaker, to not improveThe government has been losing ground in the fight against inflation.
- to become discouragedThe girl has begun to lose heart in her effort to learn the piano.
lose one's cool
- to lose one's temper, to become angryThe saleswoman lost her cool during a meeting with the chief supplier.
lose one's grip
- to lose a secure grasp or hold of somethingThe rock climber lost his grip and fell off the side of the cliff.
lose one's grip
- to lose control of a situationI 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-controlThe 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 irrationallyThe man seems to have lost his marbles and does not make any sense at all.
lose one`s shirt
- to lose a lot of moneyI think that the man is going to lose his shirt on the new business venture.
lose one`s temper
- to become angryThe 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 somethingI 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 aboutI lost my train of thought when I was talking on the telephone to my friend.
lose one`s way
- to become lostThe first time that my aunt went to London she lost her way.
lose oneself (in something)
- to become deeply involved in somethingThe 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 somethingI 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 contestOur 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 sleepI have been losing sleep over my recent problems at work.
lose touch with (someone)
- to fail to keep in contact or communication with someoneI 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 somethingI have lost track of my friends from high school.
- to decrease one's weightI want to lose weight so I have stopped eating sweets.
- a place that handles lost items that other people findI went to the lost-and-found department at the train station to look for my umbrella.
lost and gone forever
- permanently lostMy father's pocket knife is lost and gone forever and we will never see it again.
a lost cause
- a hopeless matterTrying to change the work habits of our secretary is a lost cause. She will never change.
lost in thought
- to be busy thinkingI was lost in thought when my friend phoned last night.
lost on (someone)
- to be wasted or have no effect on someoneMy attempt at telling a joke was lost on my former girlfriend.
loud and clear
- clear and distinctI could hear the announcement loud and clear.
- a noisy talker, a boastful or foolish talkerThe 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 somethingThe 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 abundanceThe 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 itWhen 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 peopleThe 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.
- a hidden road or walkway where lovers walk or park their cars in the eveningAfter the movie we drove to the local lover`s lane.
low man on the totem pole
- the least important personI am the low man on the totem pole in our company and I have no power.
- the inside facts of a matter, the total truthI 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 forMy 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 softlyThe 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 behaviorI do not want to lower myself to the same level as the terrible supervisor.
lower the boom on (someone)
- to scold or punish someone severelyOur teacher lowered the boom on the students who were late with their homework.
- to suddenly get lucky even though it looks like you will not succeedI 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 lifeYou 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 excitementIt 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 themThe 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 asleepThe mother spent a long time trying to lull her young baby to sleep.
- the more extreme members of a groupA small lunatic fringe of protesters caused many problems at the convention.