The Idiom Connection Number Idioms and Quizzes





Number Idioms






Number Idioms


all-in-one

- combined, all the necessary features of something in one unit

Many DVD players have a recording and playing function all-in-one.

all in one breath

- spoken rapidly while one is very excited

I told my friend about the accident all in one breath.

all in one piece

- safely, without damage

The piano arrived at its destination all in one piece.

all rolled up in one

- combined in one person or thing

The man is president and vice-president all rolled up in one.

as busy as a one-armed paperhanger

- very busy

I was as busy as a one-armed paperhanger during the last two weeks.

as one

- as if a group were one person

The crowd stood as one and began to cheer during the game.

as phony as a three-dollar bill

- phony, not genuine

The woman's excuses are as phony as a three-dollar bill and I do not believe any of them.

at first

- initially, at the beginning

At first we had no plans for the weekend but later we decided to go to a movie.

at one time

- at a time in the past

At one time the man had no money but now he is very rich.

at one with (someone)

- to share the same view as others, to be in agreement with others

The members of the committee are at one with me over my decision to cancel the meeting.

at sixes and sevens

- in a state of confusion

The workers were at sixes and sevens after the company announced that it was going out of business.

at the eleventh hour

- at the last possible moment

At the eleventh hour the city and the garbage collectors settled their contract dispute.

back to square one

- back to where one started

We were forced to go back to square one in our efforts to change the name of the company.

bat a thousand

- to be extremely successful at something

Recently, I have been batting a thousand in my attempts to sell the new product.

by the dozen

- twelve at a time, in a group of twelve

The children were eating the donuts by the dozen.

by the dozens

- many, by a large number

The fans came by the dozens to see the famous athlete.

cast the first stone

- to be the first to criticize or attack someone

I told my friend that he should be careful not to cast the first stone in an argument.

catch-22

- a situation in which whatever decision is made the outcome will have negative consequences, a basically no-win situation

It is a catch-22 situation. If I go to work there will be problems but if I do not go to work there will also be problems.

catch forty winks

- to take a nap, to get some sleep

I drove all night until I was very tired so I stopped to catch forty winks.

cut both ways

- to be capable of having two opposite effects, to produce advantages and disadvantages

The decision by the company cut both ways. Some people were happy and some people were not happy.

cut two ways

- to be capable of having two opposite effects, to produce advantages and disadvantages

My decision to complain to our boss could cut two ways. He could be happy or angry with me.

deep-six (someone or something)

- to get rid of or dispose of someone or something

I decided to deep-six some of the old comics that I had collected.

a dime a dozen

- cheap and common, lots of something

Used paperback books are a dime a dozen at the used bookstore.

divide (something) fifty-fifty

- to divide something into two equal parts

We decided to divide the money that we earned fifty-fifty.

do a number on (someone or something)

- to damage or harm someone or something

The young man did a number on the car that he borrowed from his uncle.

do (someone) one better

- to do something superior to what someone else has done

I decided to do my friend one better and volunteer for three weeks rather than two weeks.

dressed to the nines

- to be dressed in one's best clothes

The woman at the concert was dressed to the nines.

eleventh-hour decision

- a decision that is made at the last possible minute

The sport's federation made an eleventh-hour decision to suspend the star player.

every once in a while

- occasionally, infrequently

Every once in a while I play tennis with my friend.

feel like a million bucks

- to feel great, to feel well and healthy

My friend looked like a million bucks when I saw him.

feel like a million dollars

- to feel great, to feel well and healthy

I feel like a million dollars today and I plan to go swimming.

(I/you/he) for one

- as one example, even if the only one

I for one, do not believe that our boss will change the company policy about new staff.

for one thing

- for one reason (among others)

"It is not possible to use the old building. For one thing, it will not pass a fire inspection."

forty winks

- a short sleep during the day

When I arrived home I lay down and had forty winks.

get (someone's) number

- to find out someone's telephone number

I plan to get the man's number from one of his friends.

get the third degree

- to be questioned in great detail about something

When the boy returned from school he got the third degree from his mother.

Give me five!

- Hit me with your hand to show that you are happy about something.

"Give me five!" I said after I scored a goal in the game.

give (someone) the third degree

- to question someone in great detail about something

The policeman gave the young boy the third degree when he saw the boy on the street.

give three cheers for (someone) or give (someone) three cheers

- to give praise or approval to someone who has done well

The crowd gave three cheers for the team after the team won the final game.

go fifty-fifty (on something)

- to divide the cost of something in half

I decided to go fifty-fifty on a new camera with my friend.

have one too many

- have too much alcohol to drink

The man had one too many so his friends would not let him drive home.

have (someone's) number

- to get the key information to be able to understand someone

"I have that man's number. He is a liar and cannot be trusted."

have two left feet

- to move in a very awkward way when you dance

The man has two left feet and he is a very bad dancer.

have two strikes against (one)

- to have a number of things that are working against you which make success more difficult (in baseball you are finished batting after three strikes)

The man already had two strikes against him when he went to apply for the job.

hole in one

- a golf ball that is hit into the hole with only one shot

The golfer got a hole in one during his first round of golf.

hundred and one

- very many

I can think of a hundred and one reasons why the new employee is not capable of doing his job.

hundred to one chance/shot

- a small chance that is not likely to bring success

My friend only has a hundred to one shot at getting the job that he has applied for.

in one ear and out the other

- ignored, not listened to or not heard

The teacher told the students about their homework but it went in one ear and out the other.

in one fell swoop

- in one incident, as one event

In one fell swoop my friend got a new car, a new job and a new girlfriend.

in round figures/numbers

- an estimated number, a number that has been rounded off to an easier or shorter number

The mechanic told us in round figures how much it will cost to fix our car.

in two minds about (something)

- to be undecided about something

My niece is in two minds about whether or not she will visit me this summer.

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

- very quickly

"Wait one minute. I will help you in two shakes of a lamb's tail."

it takes two to tango

- if a problem or an argument involve two people then both people are responsible for the problem

It takes two to tango and my friend should not blame me for all of our problems.

kill two birds with one stone

- to achieve two aims with one effort or action

If I take the course now I may be able to kill two birds with one stone and not have to take it again.

know a trick or two

- to know a special way to deal with a problem

My father knows a trick or two about making model boats.

lesser of the two

- the smaller of two things, the one with the least amount

I ordered the food and when the two plates arrived I took the lesser of the two.

lesser of two evils

- the less bad thing of two bad things

I did not want to take the job but it was the lesser of two evils because having no job was even worse.

like two peas in a pod

- very close or intimate, very similar

The two girls are like two peas in a pod and are very good friends.

look after number one

- to only look after or think about oneself

My neighbor only looks after number one and he will not help other people.

look like a million dollars

- look very good

My mother looked like a million dollars when she left the hospital.

million and one

- very many

There were a million and one things to do at the festival.

million dollar question

- an important but difficult question

The million dollar question is whether we should buy a new computer or not.

million miles away

- to not be paying attention to something, to be distracted and daydreaming about something

I was a million miles away and I did not hear anything that the teacher said.

nine-day wonder

- someone or something who briefly attracts a lot of attention

The man was a nine-day wonder and was soon forgotten by most people at his former company.

nine times out of ten

- almost always

Nine times out of ten a small computer problem can be easily fixed.

nine-to-five attitude

- an attitude towards work where you do not do anything beyond the minimum that is required of you

The man has a nine-to-five attitude and he is not doing very well as a salesperson in his company.

nine-to-five job

- a routine job in an office that involves standard office hours (usually 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM)

My father always worked at a nine-to-five job.

no two ways about (something)

- no alternative, certain

The manager said that there are no two ways about it and the worker must improve or he will be fired.

not give two hoots about (someone or something)

- to not care about someone or something

I do not give two hoots if my friend comes to visit me or not.

not one iota

- not even a tiny bit

"I do not like that man - not one iota."

not touch (someone or something) with a ten-foot pole

- to not want to be involved with someone or something under any circumstances

I would not touch the computer problem with a ten-foot pole.

a number of (things or people)

- some things, some people

A number of people complained about the food in the new restaurant.

number one

- oneself

My friend only thinks about number one and never about anybody else.

on all fours

- on one's hands and knees

The man was on all fours looking for his car keys.

on cloud nine

- very happy about something

My sister has been on cloud nine since she won the money in the contest.

on the one hand

- from one point of view or opinion

On the one hand I do not want to go to the conference but on the other hand I really must go.

once in a while

- occasionally, infrequently

We only go to the small Mexican restaurant once in a while.

one after another

- one thing or person follows another

The customers came one after another to look at the new computer operating system.

one and all

- everyone

One and all were invited to the party.

one and only

- the only person or thing, unique

Our university has the one and only medical imaging system in the country.

one and the same

- exactly the same

Doing my job at home or at the company is one and the same to me and to my company.

one at a time

- individually

The children went to the front of the classroom one at a time.

one by one

- individually, one at a time

The children entered the school building one by one.

one for the (record) books

- a record-breaking act

The athlete's performance in the race was one for the record books.

one for the road

- one last drink (usually of alcohol) before one leaves for home

We decided to stay at the party and have one for the road before taking a taxi home.

one good turn deserves another

- if someone helps you then you should help them in return

One good turn deserves another and I was happy to help my friend after he helped me.

one heck/hell of a (someone or something)

- the emphasis that someone or something is very good or very bad at something

The man is one heck of a runner and he has won many races.

one in a hundred

- one among one hundred of something

About one in a hundred of the products are defective.

one in a million

- unique, one of a very few

Our coach is one in a million. He is fantastic.

one in a thousand

- one out of one thousand

The chance of getting the job is about one in a thousand.

one jump ahead of (someone or something)

- one step in advance of someone or something

My boss is always one jump ahead of the rest of the employees.

one man's meat is another man's poison

- something that one person likes may not be liked by another person

One man's meat is another man's poison and everybody dislikes the food that my friend likes.

a one-night stand

- an activity that lasts only one night

The rock band played several one-night stands last month.

one of the boys

- an accepted member of a group

Our boss tries to be one of the boys but actually nobody likes him.

one of these days

- soon, before long, someday

One of these days they plan to open a new movie theater in our neighborhood.

one of those days

- a bad day where many things go wrong

It was one of those days and from early morning things went wrong.

one of those things

- something is unfortunate but it must be accepted

My aunt's sudden illness is one of those things and there is nothing we can do about it.

one or two

- a few, a small number

There were only one or two people at the meeting so it was postponed.

one person's trash is another person's treasure

- something that one person considers of no value may be considered valuable by somebody else

One person's trash is another person's treasure and my friend likes to buy used goods at the flea market.

one sandwich short of a picnic

- not very smart

The janitor is one sandwich short of a picnic and he makes many mistakes.

the one that got away

- a fish that you did not catch, an opportunity that you missed

My father has caught many fish but the biggest one is the one that got away.

one step ahead of (someone or something)

- one step in advance of someone or something

The police were one step ahead of the criminal gang.

one thing leads to another

- doing one thing or one event will set the stage for something else

One thing led to another and suddenly it was too late to catch the bus home.

one to a customer

- each person can receive only one of something

The items were limied to one to a customer.

one up on (someone)

- to have an advantage over someone

I am one up on my friend because he is still looking for a job while I have already found one.

one way or another

- somehow

One way or another I will phone my friend this evening.

one's days are numbered

- someone is facing death or dismissal from a job or something

The salesman has made many mistakes and his days are numbered in his job.

one's lucky number comes up

- someone is lucky or has good fortune

My lucky number finally came up and I was chosen to go to Los Angeles to represent our company at the conference.

one's number is up

- something bad will happen to someone

I think that the manager's number is up and he will soon be fired from his job.

one's opposite number

- someone who has the same position as oneself in another company or organization

I spoke with my opposite number in the other company but we could not finalize the sale.

put in one's two cent's (worth)

- to add one's comments to a discussion

I decided not to put in my two cents worth when my friends were talking about money.

put two and two together

- to make a correct guess, to figure something out from the information that you have

We were able to put two and two together and discover who was sending the unwanted messages.

quick one

- a single drink of alcohol taken before one does something else

We stopped for a quick one on the way home from work.

round off a number

- to change a number to the next higher or lower whole number

The number was 4.4972 but we rounded it off to 4.5.

seventh heaven

- a situation of great happiness

The woman has been in seventh heaven since she moved to the new department.

six feet under

- dead and buried

My uncle has been six feet under for over five years now.

six of one and half a dozen of the other

- there is little difference between two things or situations

"Whatever you do is no problem for me. It is six of one and half a dozen of the other."

sixth sense

- a power to know or feel that things are beyond the five senses of sight/hearing/smell/taste/touch

The woman has a sixth sense and she seems to know what other people are thinking.

split (something) fifty-fifty

- to split or divide something into two equal parts

We split the profits from our business fifty-fifty.

stand on one's own two feet

- to be independent and self-sufficient

The boy learned early how to stand on his own two feet.

a stitch in time saves nine

- any damage or mistake should be corrected immediately in order to prevent it from becoming worse

"You should repair your car before it becomes worse. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine."

take care of number one

- to only think about or take care of oneself

The man takes care of number one and never thinks about anyone else.

take five

- to take one brief (about five minutes) rest period

The city workers stopped to take five after working hard all morning.

tell (someone) a thing or two (about something)

- to scold someone, to become angry at someone

I plan to tell my neighbor a thing or two about his dog when I see him.

ten to one

- very likely

Ten to one our secretary will come to work late again today.

That makes two of us.

- The same thing is true for me.

a) "I do not want to go to the meeting."
b) "That makes two of us," I replied.

there is more than one way to skin a cat

- there is more than one way to do something

There is more than one way to skin a cat and my friend and I decided to solve the problem in two different ways.

think twice (before doing something)

- to consider carefully whether one should do something or not

I told my cousin to think twice before he decides to quit his job.

a thousand and one

- very many

I can think of a thousand and one reasons why I do not want to travel with my friend.

three R's

- the three basic skills in school - reading, (w)riting, (a)rithmetic

Many people believe that teaching the three R's is the most important role for schools.

three sheets to the wind

- drunk

The man walked down the street with three sheets to the wind.

two bricks shy of a load

- to be not very smart or clever

The man is two bricks shy of a load and he is very hard to deal with.

two can play that game

- you can treat another person in the same way (usually bad) as they have treated you

The employee told his boss that two can play that game and if the boss was not flexible then he would be inflexible as well.

two heads are better than one

- two people working together can achieve better results than one person working alone

Two heads are better than one when you are trying to solve a difficult problem.

two of a kind

- people or things that are of the same type or are similar in character or attitude etc.

The boys are two of a kind and they love to spend time together.

two-time (someone)

- to cheat on one's partner by seeing someone else

The couple separated when the man began to two-time his wife.

two wrongs don't make a right

- you cannot justify doing something wrong or bad just because someone else did the same thing to you

Two wrongs don't make a right and if someone does something bad you should not try and hurt them as well.

two's company, three's a crowd

- two people (usually a couple on a date) are happier when nobody else is around

My friend wanted to come with my girlfriend and myself but I told him that two's company and three's a crowd so he stayed home.

One Idioms


all-in-one

- combined, all the necessary features of something in one unit

Many DVD players have a recording and playing function all-in-one.

all in one breath

- spoken rapidly while one is very excited

I told my friend about the accident all in one breath.

all in one piece

- safely, without damage

The piano arrived at its destination all in one piece.

all rolled up in one

- combined in one person or thing

The man is president and vice-president all rolled up in one.

as busy as a one-armed paperhanger

- very busy

I was as busy as a one-armed paperhanger during the last two weeks.

as one

- as if a group were one person

The crowd stood as one and began to cheer during the game.

at one time

- at a time in the past

At one time the man had no money but now he is very rich.

at one with (someone)

- to share the same view as others, to be in agreement with others

The members of the committee are at one with me over my decision to cancel the meeting.

back to square one

- back to where one started

We were forced to go back to square one in our efforts to change the name of the company.

do (someone) one better

- to do something superior to what someone else has done

I decided to do my friend one better and volunteer for three weeks rather than two weeks.

(I/you/he) for one

- as one example, even if the only one

I for one, do not believe that our boss will change the company policy about new staff.

for one thing

- for one reason (among others)

"It is not possible to use the old building. For one thing, it will not pass a fire inspection."

have one too many

- have too much alcohol to drink

The man had one too many so his friends would not let him drive home.

hole in one

- a golf ball that is hit into the hole with only one shot

The golfer got a hole in one during his first round of golf.

hundred and one

- very many

I can think of a hundred and one reasons why the new employee is not capable of doing his job.

hundred to one chance/shot

- a small chance that is not likely to bring success

My friend only has a hundred to one shot at getting the job that he has applied for.

in one ear and out the other

- ignored, not listened to or not heard

The teacher told the students about their homework but it went in one ear and out the other.

in one fell swoop

- in one incident, as one event

In one fell swoop my friend got a new car, a new job and a new girlfriend.

kill two birds with one stone

- to achieve two aims with one effort or action

If I take the course now I may be able to kill two birds with one stone and not have to take it again.

look after number one

- to only look after or think about oneself

My neighbor only looks after number one and he will not help other people.

million and one

- very many

There were a million and one things to do at the festival.

not one iota

- not even a tiny bit

"I do not like that man - not one iota."

number one

- oneself

My friend only thinks about number one and never about anybody else.

on the one hand

- from one point of view or opinion

On the one hand I do not want to go to the conference but on the other hand I really must go.

one after another

- one thing or person follows another

The customers came one after another to look at the new computer operating system.

one and all

- everyone

One and all were invited to the party.

one and only

- the only person or thing, unique

Our university has the one and only medical imaging system in the country.

one and the same

- exactly the same

Doing my job at home or at the company is one and the same to me and to my company.

one at a time

- individually

The children went to the front of the classroom one at a time.

one by one

- individually, one at a time

The children entered the school building one by one.

one for the (record) books

- a record-breaking act

The athlete's performance in the race was one for the record books.

one for the road

- one last drink (usually of alcohol) before one leaves for home

We decided to stay at the party and have one for the road before taking a taxi home.

one good turn deserves another

- if someone helps you then you should help them in return

One good turn deserves another and I was happy to help my friend after he helped me.

one heck/hell of a (someone or something)

- the emphasis that someone or something is very good or very bad at something

The man is one heck of a runner and he has won many races.

one in a hundred

- one among one hundred of something

About one in a hundred of the products are defective.

one in a million

- unique, one of a very few

Our coach is one in a million. He is fantastic.

one in a thousand

- one out of one thousand

The chance of getting the job is about one in a thousand.

one jump ahead of (someone or something)

- one step in advance of someone or something

My boss is always one jump ahead of the rest of the employees.

one man's meat is another man's poison

- something that one person likes may not be liked by another person

One man's meat is another man's poison and everybody dislikes the food that my friend likes.

a one-night stand

- an activity that lasts only one night

The rock band played several one-night stands last month.

one of the boys

- an accepted member of a group

Our boss tries to be one of the boys but actually nobody likes him.

one of these days

- soon, before long, someday

One of these days they plan to open a new movie theater in our neighborhood.

one of those days

- a bad day where many things go wrong

It was one of those days and from early morning things went wrong.

one of those things

- something is unfortunate but it must be accepted

My aunt's sudden illness is one of those things and there is nothing we can do about it.

one or two

- a few, a small number

There were only one or two people at the meeting so it was postponed.

one person's trash is another person's treasure

- something that one person considers of no value may be considered valuable by somebody else

One person's trash is another person's treasure and my friend likes to buy used goods at the flea market.

one sandwich short of a picnic

- not very smart

The janitor is one sandwich short of a picnic and he makes many mistakes.

one step ahead of (someone or something)

- one step in advance of someone or something

The police were one step ahead of the criminal gang.

the one that got away

- a fish that you did not catch, an opportunity that you missed

My father has caught many fish but the biggest one is the one that got away.

one thing leads to another

- doing one thing or one event will set the stage for something else

One thing led to another and suddenly it was too late to catch the bus home.

one to a customer

- each person can receive only one of something

The items were limited to one to a customer.

one up on (someone)

- to have an advantage over someone

I am one up on my friend because he is still looking for a job while I have already found one.

one way or another

- somehow

One way or another I will phone my friend this evening.

quick one

- a single drink of alcohol taken before one does something else

We stopped for a quick one on the way home from work.

take care of number one

- to only think about or take care of oneself

The man takes care of number one and never thinks about anyone else.

ten to one

- very likely

Ten to one our secretary will come to work late again today.

there is more than one way to skin a cat

- there is more than one way to do something

There is more than one way to skin a cat and my friend and I decided to solve the problem in two different ways.

a thousand and one

- very many

I can think of a thousand and one reasons why I do not want to travel with my friend.

two heads are better than one

- two people working together can achieve better results than one person working alone

Two heads are better than one when you are trying to solve a difficult problem.

Two Idioms


cut two ways

- to be capable of having two opposite effects, to produce advantages and disadvantages

My decision to complain to our boss could cut two ways and cause him to be happy or angry with me.

have two left feet

- to move in a very awkward way when you dance

The man has two left feet and he is a very bad dancer.

have two strikes against (one)

- to have a number of things that are working against you which make success more difficult (in baseball you are finished batting after three strikes)

The man already had two strikes against him when he went to apply for the job.

in two minds about (something)

- to be undecided about something

My niece is in two minds about whether or not she will visit me this summer.

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

- very quickly

"Wait one minute. I will help you in two shakes of a lamb's tail."

it takes two to tango

- if a problem or an argument involve two people then both people are responsible for the problem

It takes two to tango and my friend should not blame me for all of our problems.

kill two birds with one stone

- to achieve two aims with one effort or action

If I take the course now I may be able to kill two birds with one stone and not have to take it again.

know a trick or two

- to know a special way to deal with a problem

My father knows a trick or two about making model boats.

lesser of the two

- the smaller of two things, the one with the least amount

I ordered the food and when the two plates arrived I took the lesser of the two.

lesser of two evils

- the less bad thing of two bad things

I did not want to take the job but it was the lesser of two evils because having no job was even worse.

like two peas in a pod

- very close or intimate, very similar

The two girls are like two peas in a pod and are very good friends.

no two ways about (something)

- no alternative, certain

The manager said that there are no two ways about it and the worker must improve or he will be fired.

not give two hoots about (someone or something)

- to not care about someone or something

I do not give two hoots if my friend comes to visit me or not.

one or two

- a few, a small number

There were only one or two people at the meeting so it was postponed.

put in one's two cent's (worth)

- to add one's comments to a discussion

I decided not to put in my two cents worth when my friends were talking about money.

put two and two together

- to make a correct guess, to figure something out from the information that you have

We were able to put two and two together and discover who was sending the unwanted messages.

stand on one's own two feet

- to be independent and self-sufficient

The boy learned early how to stand on his own two feet.

tell (someone) a thing or two (about something)

- to scold someone, to become angry at someone

I plan to tell my neighbor a thing or two about his dog when I see him.

That makes two of us.

- The same thing is true for me.

a) "I do not want to go to the meeting."
b) "That makes two of us," I replied.

two bricks shy of a load

- to be not very smart or clever

The man is two bricks shy of a load and he is very hard to deal with.

two can play that game

- you can treat another person in the same way (usually bad) as they have treated you

The employee told his boss that two can play that game and if the boss was not flexible then he would be inflexible as well.

two heads are better than one

- two people working together can achieve better results than one person working alone

Two heads are better than one when you are trying to solve a difficult problem.

two of a kind

- people or things that are of the same type or are similar in character or attitude etc.

The boys are two of a kind and they love to spend time together.

two-time (someone)

- to cheat on one's partner by seeing someone else

The couple separated when the man began to two-time his wife.

two wrongs don't make a right

- you cannot justify doing something wrong or bad just because someone else did the same thing to you

Two wrongs don't make a right and if someone does something bad you should not try and hurt them as well.

two's company, three's a crowd

- two people (usually a couple on a date) are happier when nobody else is around

My friend wanted to come with my girlfriend and myself but I told him that two's company and three's a crowd so he stayed home.

Three Idioms


as phony as a three-dollar bill

- phony, not genuine

The woman's excuses are as phony as a three-dollar bill and I do not believe any of them.

give three cheers for (someone) or give (someone) three cheers

- to give praise or approval to someone who has done well

The crowd gave three cheers for the team after the team won the final game.

three R's

- the three basic skills in school - reading, (w)riting, (a)rithmetic

Many people believe that teaching the three R's is the most important role for schools.

three sheets to the wind

- drunk

The man walked down the street with three sheets to the wind.

two's company, three's a crowd

- two people (usually a couple on a date) are happier when nobody else is around

My friend wanted to come with my girlfriend and myself but I told him that two's company and three's a crowd so he stayed home.

Five Idioms


Give me five!

- Hit me with your hand to show that you are happy about something.

"Give me five!" I said after I scored a goal in the game.

nine-to-five attitude

- an attitude towards work where you do not do anything beyond the minimum that is required of you

The man has a nine-to-five attitude and he is not doing very well as a salesperson in his company.

nine-to-five job

- a routine job in an office that involves standard office hours (usually 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM)

My father always worked at a nine-to-five job.

take five

- to take one brief (about five minutes) rest period

The city workers stopped to take five after working hard all morning.

Six Idioms


at sixes and sevens

- in a state of confusion

The workers were at sixes and sevens after the company announced that it was going out of business.

deep-six (someone or something)

- to get rid of or dispose of someone or something

I decided to deep-six some of the old comics that I had collected.

six feet under

- dead and buried

My uncle has been six feet under for over five years now.

six of one and half a dozen of the other

- there is little difference between two things or situations

"Whatever you do is no problem for me. It is six of one and half a dozen of the other."

Nine Idioms


dressed to the nines

- to be dressed in one's best clothes

The woman at the concert was dressed to the nines.

nine-day wonder

- someone or something who briefly attracts a lot of attention

The man was a nine-day wonder and he was soon forgotten by most people at his former company.

nine times out of ten

- almost always

Nine times out of ten a small computer problem can be easily fixed.

nine-to-five attitude

- an attitude towards work where you do not do anything beyond the minimum that is required of you

The man has a nine-to-five attitude and he is not doing very well as a salesperson in his company.

nine-to-five job

- a routine job in an office that involves standard office hours (usually 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM)

My father always worked at a nine-to-five job.

on cloud nine

- very happy about something

My sister has been on cloud nine since she won the money in the contest.

a stitch in time saves nine

- any damage or mistake should be corrected immediately in order to prevent it from becoming worse

"You should repair your car before it becomes worse. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine."

Million Idioms


feel like a million bucks

- to feel great, to feel well and healthy

My friend looked like a million bucks when I saw him.

feel like a million dollars

- to feel great, to feel well and healthy

I feel like a million dollars today and I plan to go swimming.

look like a million dollars

- look very good

My mother looked like a million dollars when she left the hospital.

million and one

- very many

There were a million and one things to do at the festival.

million dollar question

- an important but difficult question

The million dollar question is whether we should buy a new computer or not.

million miles away

- to not be paying attention to something, to be distracted and daydreaming about something

I was a million miles away and I did not hear anything that the teacher said.

one in a million

- unique, one of a very few

Our coach is one in a million. He is fantastic.

Number Idioms


do a number on (someone or something)

- to damage or harm someone or something

The young man did a number on the car that he borrowed from his uncle.

get (someone's) number

- to find out someone's telephone number

I plan to get the man's number from one of his friends.

have (someone's) number

- to get the key information to be able to understand someone

"I have that man's number. He is a liar and cannot be trusted."

in round figures/numbers

- an estimated number, a number that has been rounded off to an easier or shorter number

The mechanic told us in round figures how much it will cost to fix our car.

look after number one

- to only look after or think about oneself

My neighbor only looks after number one and he will not help other people.

a number of (things or people)

- some things, some people

A number of people complained about the food in the new restaurant.

number one

- oneself

My friend only thinks about number one and never about anybody else.

one's days are numbered

- someone is facing death or dismissal from a job or something

The salesman has made many mistakes and his days are numbered in his job.

one's lucky number comes up

- someone is lucky or has good fortune

My lucky number finally came up and I was chosen to go to Los Angeles to represent our company at the conference.

one's number is up

- something bad will happen to someone

I think that the manager's number is up and he will soon be fired from his job.

one's opposite number

- someone who has the same position as oneself in another company or organization

I spoke with my opposite number in the other company but we could not finalize the sale.

round off a number

- to change a number to the next higher or lower whole number

The number was 4.4972 but we rounded it off to 4.5.

take care of number one

- to only think about or take care of oneself

The man takes care of number one and never thinks about anyone else.

Idiom Quizzes - Numbers

    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. The company president was (dead and buried) before anyone knew that he was gone.

    (a) at sixes and sevens (b) on cloud nine (c) six feet under (d) all rolled up in one



  2. After finding many problems with the engine design we decided to (go back and start over).

    (a) know a trick or two (b) take five (c) stand on our own two feet (d) go back to square one



  3. I will return (very quickly).

    (a) in forty winks (b) all in one piece (c) one by one (d) in two shakes of a lamb's tail



  4. I was (very happy) when I won a vacation trip during the winter.

    (a) on cloud nine (b) a nine-day wonder (c) dressed to the nines (d) one for the books



  5. The girl is very selfish and is only concerned with (herself).

    (a) the three R's (b) the lesser of the two (c) number one (d) her opposite number



  6. Our teacher makes sure that we have a good knowledge of (reading, writing, and arithmetic).

    (a) six of one and half a dozen of the other (b) the three R's (c) number one (d) two of a kind



  7. Solving a difficult problem by yourself is not easy and usually (it is better to work with another person to solve the problem).

    (a) there are no two ways about it (b) two can play that game (c) two wrongs don't make a right (d) two heads are better than one



  8. I tried hard to (add my comments) during the discussion between my father and my uncle.

    (a) put in my two cents worth (b) cut both ways (c) give three cheers (d) put two and two together



  9. My friend has been (extremely successful) with all of his business ventures.

    (a) batting a thousand (b) six of one and half a dozen of the other (c) ten to one (d) like two peas in a pod



  10. The actress was (wearing her best dress) at the charity concert.

    (a) all rolled up in one (b) a stitch in time (c) at sixes and sevens (d) dressed to the nines



  11. The schedule of my boss is always changing but (almost always) he is in his office on Monday morning.

    (a) at one time (b) nine times out of ten (c) one by one (d) at the eleventh hour



  12. We talked to the employees (individually) when we learned of the serious financial problems in the company.

    (a) on all fours (b) all in one (c) one by one (d) one and the same



  13. Our supervisor is (a good member of the team) and he likes to spend time with the staff.

    (a) one of the boys (b) a quick one (c) a hundred to one shot (d) on cloud nine



  14. The new sales manager is (attracting a lot of attention) and should rise quickly in our company.

    (a) our opposite number (b) a one-night stand (c) at one with everyone (d) a nine-day wonder



  15. I stopped work for an hour in order to (have a short sleep).

    (a) look like a million dollars (b) get forty winks (c) cut both ways (d) have a stitch in time



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