THE IDIOM CONNECTION
- to go to bed, to go to sleepI sacked out as soon as I arrived home last evening.
a sacred cow
- something that is never criticized even if it sometimes deserves to beThe national park system is a sacred cow of the government and is never criticized by anyone.
sadder but wiser
- unhappy about something but having learned something from the experienceThe man was sadder but wiser after he learned that his wallet had been stolen.
saddle (someone) with (something)
- to give someone something undesirable or difficult to deal withI try not to saddle my friend with my financial problems.
safe and sound
- to be safe or healthyWe arrived at our destination safe and sound after a long journey.
a safe bet
- something that is almost one hundred percent certainIt is a safe bet that our boss will not come to work today.
(to be on the) safe side
- to take no chancesIt may rain so to be on the safe side I think that I will bring my umbrella.
safety in numbers
- to feel safe by being surrounded by a large number of peopleThere was safety in numbers when the students went to complain about their new teacher.
- very good and wise adviceMy friend asked me for my sage advice regarding his problems.
sail into (someone)
- to scold or criticize someone very hard, to attack someoneWhen I entered the office my supervisor sailed into me for being late.
sail right through (something)
- to finish something quickly and easilyI was able to sail right through the material for my final exam.
sail under false colors
- to pretend to be something that one is notThe politician was sailing under false colors when he appealed to the citizens for votes.
salt away money
- to save moneyMy friend has salted away much money from her new job.
salt of the earth
- basically and fundamentally good simple peopleThe members of our club are the salt of the earth and are fun to be with.
same as (someone or something)
- to be identical to someone or somethingMy sister is the same as the girl who lives down the block.
- Me too! I agree!"Same here," I replied when someone said that they were having problems with their Internet provider.
same old story
- something that occurs in the same way as beforeIt is the same old story with my friend. He borrows money but he never wants to pay it back.
same to you
- the same comment applies to you"The same to you," the boy said when his friend said that he was stupid.
sands of time
- the accumulated tiny amounts of time (like the sand in an hourglass)The sands of time have done much to change the woman's feelings about her sister.
- to preserve one`s good reputation or dignity when something has happened to hurt itOur boss is responsible for many problems in our company. He wants to quit before he is fired so that he can save face.
save one`s breath
- to remain silent because talking will do no goodYou should save your breath and not talk to that woman because she will not believe you anyway.
save one`s neck/skin
- to save oneself from danger or troubleThe man left the scene of the fire quickly in order to save his neck.
save (something) for a rainy day
- to save something (eg. money) for the futureI plan to save some money for a rainy day.
save the day
- to bring about victory or success (when defeat is likely)The football player saved the day for his team when he played his best game of the season.
save up for (something)
- to save money in order to buy somethingMy friend is saving up for a new digital camera.
saved by the bell
- to be rescued from a difficult situation by something that brings the situation to a sudden endI was saved by the bell and do not have to give my presentation until tomorrow.
- a redeeming quality - especially a quality that compensates for one's shortcomingsThe man's saving grace was his musical ability. His personality was terrible.
say a mouthful
- to say something of great importance or meaning or length"You certainly said a mouthful," I said when my friend began to tell me about his complaint.
- to say a prayer of thanks before or after a mealThe bride's father wanted to say grace before the wedding banquet.
say I do
- to get married (during a wedding ceremony it is common to say "I do" when you agree to marry your partner)The man was very happy to say "I do," at the wedding ceremony.
say one`s piece
- to say openly what one thinksI said my piece at the meeting and then quietly left.
say (something) in a roundabout way
- to say something indirectlyI said what I wanted to say in a roundabout way in order to make my point.
say (something) to (someone's) face
- to say something (often unpleasant) directly to someoneMy supervisor always complains about me but she never says anything to my face.
say (something) under one's breath
- to say something so softly that almost nobody can hear itThe woman said something under her breath but I could not understand it.
say the word
- to give a sign, to show a wish"Just say the word and I will come and meet you at the airport."
- to surrender, to give inThe little boy was forced to say uncle and do what the older boy wanted.
scale (something) down
- to make something smallerThe government decided to scale down the plans for the sports stadium.
scare (someone) out of his or her wits
- to frighten someone very muchThe dog scared the little boy out of his wits.
scare (someone) silly
- to frighten someone very muchThe mouse scared the girl silly.
scare (someone) stiff
- to scare someone severelyThe little boy was scared stiff after he watched the horror movie.
scare the (living) daylights out of (someone)
- to frighten someone very muchFalling off the bicycle scared the daylights out of the little girl.
The movie scared the living daylights out of me.
scare the pants off (someone)
- to frighten someone very badlyThe big dog scared the pants off the little boy.
scare up (somebody or something) or scare (somebody or something) up
- to find someone or something, to gather something with some effortWe were able to scare up some sleeping bags so that we could go camping.
- to be frightened very muchI was scared stiff during the horror movie.
scatter (something) around
- to carelessly put something in different placesMy papers are always scattered around my house and I am never able to find them.
school of hard knocks
- the ordinary experiences of lifeThe man learned about life in the school of hard knocks.
school of thought
- a particular philosophyThere are many schools of thought about how the government should proceed with its new transportation plan.
score an own goal
- to earn a point for the opposing team by scoring in your own net, to unintentially harm your own interestsOur team scored an own goal and lost the game.
The man scored an own goal when he quit his job with no plans for doing something else.
score points with (someone)
- to gain the favor of someoneThe salesman always worked extra hours in order to score points with his boss.
scout around for (someone or something)
- to search or look for someone or somethingThe company is scouting around for a new warehouse for their products.
scrape the bottom of the barrel
- to take whatever is left after the best has been takenThe company is scraping the bottom of the barrel to look for new employees.
scrape (something) together or scrape together (something)
- to gather small amounts of money or something (usually with some difficulty) for some purposeWe were able to scrape together enough money to go on a holiday.
scrape (something) up or scrape up (something)
- to find or gather something with some effortMy friend scraped up some money and came to visit me during the summer.
scratch around for (something)
- to look for somethingThe woman was scratching around for some money to buy some food.
scratch (someone`s) back
- to do something for someone in the hope that they will do something for you"You scratch my back and I`ll scratch yours," the customer said when we talked about the new sales contract.
scratch the surface (of something)
- to only begin to do or learn somethingMy friend likes to listen to classical music but she is only beginning to scratch the surface of what is available.
scream bloody murder
- to complain bitterly about somethingThe woman screamed bloody murder when someone took her parking place.
- to loaf about, to pass time without doing anythingI screwed around all morning and did not get anything done.
screw up (someone or something) or screw (someone or something) up
- to cause trouble for someone or something, to make a mess of somethingMy travel agent screwed up my travel schedule and I missed my flight.
screw up one's courage
- to build up one's courage for somethingI screwed up my courage and asked my supervisor to transfer me to a different department.
scrimp and save
- to be very thrifty, to save money for somethingI have been scrimping and saving in order to buy a new computer.
- to move up or down through the text on a computer screenI scrolled down to read the rest of the online story.
scrounge around for (something)
- to look/search in many places for somethingWe did not have enough wood for the fence so we had to scrounge around to find some more.
seamy side of life
- the most unpleasant or roughest aspect of lifeThe policeman learned much about the seamy side of life during his many years of work.
search high and low for (someone or something)
- to look carefully everywhere for someone or somethingI have been searching high and low for my address book.
- I don`t know., How should I know?"Search me," my friend said when I asked him what had happened to his car.
search one`s soul
- to study and think about one`s reasons and actions to see if one has been fair and honestI have been searching my soul to see if I could have prevented the car crash.
second a motion
- to formally agree with a proposal in a meetingI seconded the motion to start one hour early every morning during the summer.
- to try to guess what someone else intends to do or would have done in a situationYou should never try to second-guess the actions of the firefighters in a dangerous situation.
- not new, used by someone elseWe went to a second-hand bookstore to look for the books.
second nature to (someone)
- to be easy and natural for someonePlaying a musical instrument is second nature to my friend.
- to be not of the best qualityThe performance of the school choir was second-rate.
a second thought
- a thought that one has after thinking about something againI gave it a second thought and decided not to quit the class.
second to none
- to be better than everything elseThe performance by the opera singer was second to none.
- energy that is regained after being tiredAfter we got our second wind we continued our hike up the mountain.
security against (something)
- something that keeps something safe, protection against somethingThe money in the bank is my security against losing my job in the future.
- something that one holds onto for reassurance or comfort (like a child and a blanket)The boy uses his computer as a security blanket so that he does not have to meet new people.
see a man about a dog
- to leave for some unspecified purpose (often to go to the restroom)I drank several cups of coffee and I soon had to stop my car to see a man about a dog.
see about (something)
- to check into somethingI am going to see about getting the book before next week.
- to see two of everything instead of oneI began to see double after I hit my head on the edge of the fence.
see eye to eye (with someone)
- to agree with someoneI do not always see eye to eye with my friend.
see fit to (do something)
- to decide to do somethingI hope that my company sees fit to spend more time training its employees.
see no objection to (something)
- to not have any objection to somethingI see no objection to my friend coming to the meeting with me.
see one`s way clear to (do something)
- to feel able to do something"When you see your way clear to begin the job could you please come and tell me."
- to become angryMy friend saw red last night when I told him about the broken DVD player.
- to do military duty in an actual warThe man saw service in the war.
see (someone or something) as (something)
- to consider someone to be somethingMy friend sees me as an expert in financial matters although I am not.
see (someone) home
- to accompany someone homeI saw my cousin home after her visit last evening.
see (someone) off or see off (someone)
- to go with someone to their point of departureI went to the airport to see my mother off.
see (someone) out or see out (someone)
- to go with someone out of a room or houseI went to the door to see our guests out.
see (someone) to (somewhere)
- to escort someone to a place safelyI saw my friend to the door when he decided to go home.
see (something) out or see out (something)
- to finish something, to not quit doing somethingI decided to stay with my company in order to see out the restructuring process.
see (something) through
- to do something until it is completedI want to stay and see the building project through.
- to think that one is seeing stars as a result of being hit on the headWhen I was hit by the opposing player I fell to the ground and began to see stars.
see the color of (someone's) money
- to verify that someone has (enough) moneyI did not give my friend a ticket for the game until I saw the color of his money.
see the handwriting on the wall
- to know that something is certain to happenWe saw the handwriting on the wall and we knew that our company was going to go bankrupt.
see the last of (someone or something)
- to see someone or something for the last timeI was very happy to see the last of my friend.
see the light
- to realize that one has been wrongI finally saw the light and began to work in the same manner as everyone else.
see the light at the end of the tunnel
- to foresee an end to something such as a problem or a taskI could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I knew that I would finish the work soon.
see the light of day
- to be born, to beginI do not believe that his plans to build a new house will ever see the light of day.
see the sights
- to see the important things in a placeWe stopped for three days in the city so that we could see the sights.
see the world through rose-colored glasses
- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimisticShe is unrealistic and always sees the world through rose-colored glasses.
- to imagine that one sees something that is not thereThe boy is always daydreaming and imagines that he is seeing things.
see things/everything through rose-colored glasses
- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimisticThe girl is very nice although she always sees everything through rose-colored glasses.
see through (someone or something)
- to understand someone`s true character or motivation, to understand the real reason for somethingI could see through the supervisor's attempt to fire the woman from her job.
see to it (that something is done)
- to take the responsibility to do something, to make sure that something is done"Will you please see to it that the garbage is taken out in the morning."
see to (someone or something)
- to take care of someone or somethingI will see to renting a car tomorrow.
see which way the wind is blowing
- to determine what is the most suitable thing to doI want to see which way the wind is blowing before I decide to quit my job.
seeing is believing
- one must believe something that one seesSeeing is believing and I did not believe the size of the house until I actually saw it.
- to be dating someone on a regular basisThe woman was not seeing anyone when she met the man at the party.
seize an opportunity
- to take advantage of an opportunityI seized the opportunity to take the extra class when I heard about it.
seize upon (something)
- to take hold of something and make an issue of itThe media seized upon the mistake of the politician.
sell like hotcakes
- to sell quickly, to sell rapidlyThe tickets for the concert were selling like hotcakes when I called this morning.
sell out (someone or something) or sell (someone or something) out
- to be disloyal, to betray someone or somethingThe man does not want to sell out his moral values.
sell (someone) a bill of goods
- to deceive someone, to get someone to believe something that is not trueI believe that the salesman sold me a bill of goods and the product does not have much value.
sell (someone) on (something - a plan or idea)
- to convince someone that something is good or beneficialI could not sell my friend on the idea to buy a new computer.
sell (someone) short
- to underestimate someoneMy friend is selling himself short when he thinks that he will not be able to find a good job.
sell (something) out or sell out (something)
- to sell all of somethingThey sold out the concert in every city that it went to.
sell (something) for a song
- to sell something very cheaplyThey sold the furniture for a song.
sell (something) off or sell off (something)
- to sell much or all of somethingThe computer company decided to sell off some of their real estate business.
sell (something) on credit
- to sell something now and let the purchaser pay for it laterThe store sold the stereo system on credit.
- a situation where there are more buyers of a product/service than sellers so the sellers have an advantageIt was a seller's market for houses and the houses were increasing in value.
send away for (something)
- to write a letter asking for somethingI sent away for some information but it has not arrived yet.
send (someone) about his or her business
- to send someone away (in an unfriendly manner)I sent the man about his business when he interrupted my work last evening.
send (someone) off or send off (someone)
- to participate in saying good-bye to someone who is leavingWe went to the airport to send off the company president.
send (someone) packing
- to tell someone to leave, to dismiss someoneThe company sent the man packing because of his bad work performance.
send (someone) to the showers
- to send a player out of the game and off the field/court etc.The coach decided to send the player to the showers after his poor performance in the game.
send (someone) up or send up (someone)
- to sentence someone to prisonThe judge sent the man up for seven years for robbing a bank.
send (something) C.O.D.
- to send merchandise to someone who will pay for it when it is deliveredThe company sent the computer printer C.O.D.
send up a trial balloon
- to suggest something and see how people react to itThe company sent up a trial balloon to see how people would react to their new product.
separate but equal
- to be segregated but of equal value or qualityThe teaching staff and the administration were separate but equal regarding school decisions.
separate the men from the boys
- to separate competent people from less competent peopleSome people say that joining the military is a good way to separate the men from the boys.
serve as a guinea pig
- to allow some kind of test to be performed on someoneThe students served as a guinea pig for the school board's plan to change the school curriculum.
serve notice on (someone)
- to announce something to someoneWe served notice on the apartment manager that we would leave our apartment at the end of the month.
serve (someone`s) purpose
- to be useful to someone for a certain needThe small screwdriver should serve my purpose until I find the correct size.
serve (someone) right
- to get the punishment or results that one deservesMy friend never studies at all so it serves him right to fail his exam.
- to spend time in jailThe man served time when he was young but now he is a good citizen.
set a date
- to decide on a date for a weddingAfter thinking about marriage for a long time, the couple decided to set a date.
set a precedent
- to establish a pattern, to set a policy that must be followed in future casesThe legal case set a precedent that will be followed for many years in the future.
set a trap
- to prepare a trap to catch an animal or a person who is doing something wrong or illegalThe conservation officers set a trap to try and catch the bear.
set about to (do something or go somewhere)
- to begin or start something, to prepare to go somewhereWe set about to prepare for our move to a bigger building.
set back (someone or something) or set (someone or something) back
- to cause someone or something to get behind schedule, to slow down someone or somethingThe heavy rain set back the efforts of the farmers to plant their crops.
set eyes on (someone or something)
- to see someone or something for the first timeI do not know if my friend is here or not. I have not set eyes on her since yesterday.
set fire to (something)
- to make something burnThe workers set fire to the building by accident.
set foot (somewhere)
- to step or go somewhereI have never set foot in that restaurant and I never will in the future.
set forth (something)
- to explain something exactly or clearlyThe manager carefully set forth the terms of the rental contract.
set forth (somewhere)
- to start to go somewhere, to begin a tripWe set forth on our holiday at 7:00 this morning.
set great store on (someone or something)
- to like or value someone or somethingOur company sets great store on their ability to attract good people.
- to begin and probably continue (used for a weather or mental condition)The rain has set in and it looks like it will not stop.
A mild depression has set in for my neighbor
set in one's ways
- to be inflexibleMy grandfather is set in his ways and he will not change his habits.
set one`s heart on (something)
- to want something very muchI set my heart on a nice holiday this winter although I have no money.
set one`s mind at rest
- to free oneself from worry, to stop worryingI told my father the reason that we cannot come in order to set his mind at rest.
set one's sights on (something)
- to select something as one's goalThe local politician has set his sights on being elected to a higher office.
set one's teeth on edge
- to be unpleasant and to cause an uncomfortable feelingThe idea that we would have to move our office immediately set my teeth on edge.
set out (somewhere)
- to leave on a journeyMarco Polo set out for China many years ago.
set out to (do something)
- to decide and begin to try to do something, to attempt to do somethingMy friend set out to learn Spanish when he went to Mexico.
- to start sailing, to begin a sea voyageThe three women set sail for Hawaii in a small sailboat.
set (someone) back or set back (someone)
- to cost someone"How much did your new suit set you back?"
set (someone) back on his or her heels
- to surprise/shock/overwhelm someoneThe announcement by the principal set the teachers back on their heels.
set (someone or something) free
- to release someone or somethingThe conservation officers went to the mountains and set the bear free.
set (someone or something) loose
- to set someone or something free, to release someone or something that you are holdingThe wildlife department decided to set the bear loose.
set (someone or something) straight
- to explain something to someoneThe police officer set the woman straight about the driving laws.
set (someone's) teeth on edge
- to irritate someoneThe constant noise from the stereo next door set my teeth on edge.
set (someone) up in business or set up (someone) in business
- to help establish someone in businessMy father helped to set my sister's husband up in business.
set (something) aside for (someone or something)
- to save or reserve something for a special purposeWe set some money aside for our next holiday.
set (something) off or set off (something)
- to decorate something through contrast, to balance something by differenceWe painted the door red in order to set off the light colors of the walls.
set (something) off or set off (something)
- to cause something to explodeThe fire set off a large explosion on the ship.
set (something) right
- to correct something, to make something more fairThe man made an effort to set things right between himself and his brother.
set (something) to music
- to write a piece of music that is related to some written materialThe composer has worked hard to set many great stories to music.
set the pace
- to decide on a rate of speed to do something that others will followThe manager of the factory sets the pace for his employees.
set the stage for (something)
- to prepare for somethingThe win by our team set the stage for the final championship game next month.
set the table
- to place plates/glasses/napkins on the table before a mealI set the table while my mother was cooking dinner.
set the world on fire
- to do something outstanding, to do something that makes one famousThe author has not been able to set the world on fire with his writing but he is trying very hard.
set tongues wagging
- to cause people to start gossipingThe actions of the supervisor set tongues wagging in our office.
- to arrange type for printingThe small printing company worked all night to set type for the local paper.
set up (someone) or set (someone) up
- to put someone in a position to be manipulated or cheatedI do not believe that I lost the money honestly. I believe that someone set me up.
set up (something) or set (something) up
- to establish something, to provide the money for somethingThe newspaper company provided the money to set up the travel magazine.
The company set up a new department to test new products.
set up (something) or set (something) up
- to make something ready to use by putting the parts togetherAfter we set up the gas barbecue we were able to cook dinner.
set up shop (somewhere)
- to open a businessThe fire alarm company decided to set up shop in our city.
set upon (someone or something)
- to attack someone or something violentlyThe three young boys set upon the man on the city bus.
settle a score with (someone)
- to retaliate against someone for a past wrongMy boss is trying to settle a score with someone for something that happened several years ago.
- to calm downThe baby finally settled down and began to sleep.
- to begin to live a quiet and stable life (often used after getting married or getting a job)My friend settled down and started a family after he finished university.
settle for (something)
- to be satisfied with less than you want, to agree to accept something as a second choiceI settled for less than I wanted but I am happy with my new contract at work.
settle on (something)
- to decide on somethingWe settled on the fish dinner at the restaurant.
settle (one's) affairs
- to deal with one's business matters, to manage one's affairsIt was very difficult for my friend to settle his affairs after his illness.
settle (something) out of court
- to settle a disagreement without having to go through a court of justiceThe company was able to settle their lawsuit out of court.
settle up with (someone)
- to pay someone what one owes themI settled up with my friend before he left to work overseas.
- an arrangement, the details of a situationMy uncle has a very nice setup at his office.
- a state of intense delightThe singer has been in seventh heaven since she won the music award.
sever ties with (someone)
- to end a relationship or agreement with someone or somethingOur company decided to sever ties with the small advertising company.
sew (something) up or sew up (something)
- to complete or secure somethingThe candidate for the nomination sewed up his victory last week.
shack up with (someone)
- to live with someone without marrying him or herWhen my sister was younger she shacked up with her boyfriend for two years.
shades of (someone or something)
- a reminder of someone or somethingThe festival contained shades of the large festivals of many years ago.
shadow of oneself/itself
- someone or something that is not as strong or healthy as beforeThe professional boxer was a shadow of his former self.
shake a leg
- to go fast, to hurry"Please try and shake a leg. We are already late for the concert."
shake (hands) on (something)
- to shake the hand of someone as a sign of agreement about somethingI shook hands on the agreement with my boss.
shake hands with (someone)
- to shake the hand of someone to greet themI shook hands with my neighbor when I first met him.
shake in one's boots
- to be afraid, to shake from fearThe little boy was shaking in his boots when the large dog approached him.
shake off an illness or shake an illness off
- to become well or healthy againMy friend is unable to shake off her illness and cannot come to the party.
shake off (someone or something) or shake (someone or something) off
- to get rid of someone or something that is bothering youI was able to shake off my cold after a weekend of resting in bed.
shake (someone) down or shake down (someone)
- to get money by threatening someoneThe gangsters shook the shop owner down to get some money.
shake up (someone) or shake (someone) up
- to shock or upset someoneThe change in policies shook up many people in the company.
shake up (something)
- to reorganize somethingThe president decided to shake up the company in order to bring new energy into the organization.
- to be bothered or disturbedI was shaken up after I heard about the fire at our apartment building.
- to improve one's behavior or performance or physical shapeThe man has begun to shape up and is doing his job much better.
shape up or ship out
- to either improve one's performance or leaveThe new employee was told to shape up or ship out when his performance was not equal to the other members of the staff.
share and share alike
- to have or get equal shares of somethingWe share and share alike when we are on a camping trip.
share (someone's) pain
- to understand and sympathize with someone's pain or discomfortI tried hard to share my friend's pain after his father died.
share (someone's) sorrow
- to grieve as someone else grievesThe neighbors shared the man's sorrow after he lost his house in a fire.
a sharp tongue
- a way of talking or speaking to others that is unkind or bad or criticalThe woman has a sharp tongue and she says very unkind things to other people.
shed crocodile tears
- to pretend that one is cryingThe man pretended to apologize for his actions but he was only shedding crocodile tears.
shed light on (something)
- to make something clearer or easier to understandThe speech helped to shed light on the political scandal.
shell out money
- to pay moneyI shelled out much money for the new stereo.
shine up to (someone)
- to try to please someone, to try to make friends with someoneThe man is always shining up to his boss in the hopes of getting an increase in salary.
shipping and handling
- the costs of handling a product and transporting itThe cost of shipping and handling for some goods that are bought over the Internet are very high.
ships that pass in the night
- people who meet briefly by chance but are unlikely to meet againWe were like two ships that pass in the night and I do not think that I will ever see that person again.
shirk one's duty
- to neglect one's job or taskThe guard was shirking his duty when he spent much of the evening playing cards.
the shoe is on the other foot
- the opposite is true, someone's place or situation is changed into someone else's place or situationMy friend always has problems at school but now the shoe is on the other foot and I am the one who is having problems.
- someone or something that is expected to win, a sure winnerThe university president is a shoo-in to win another term in office.
- to be upset, to be worriedOur secretary was shook up after the accident and has not been back to work since.
shoot fish in a barrel
- something that is like shooting fish in a barrel is something that is very very easyThe contest was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was very easy to win a prize.
shoot for (something)
- to attempt to do something, to aim toward a goalI was shooting for the local spelling championship before I could advance to a higher level.
shoot from the hip
- to speak directly and frankly, to fire a gun that is at one's sideThe man often shoots from the hip and gets into trouble over what he says.
shoot one's mouth off
- to boast or talk too muchThe boy was shooting his mouth off about his sports ability.
shoot one`s wad
- to spend all of one`s money, to say everything that is on one`s mindMy friend shot his wad at a casino during his vacation.
shoot oneself in the foot
- to make a mistake or a stupid decision that makes a situation worseThe man shot himself in the foot when he refused to work extra to help his boss with the new project.
shoot out (something)
- to stick or throw something outwardThe man shot out his foot from under the table and made his friend fall down.
- to act fairly, to deal honestly with othersThe salesman always shoots straight when he is dealing with his customers.
shoot the breeze/bull
- to talk idlyI met my friend at the supermarket and we decided to shoot the breeze for a few minutes.
shoot the works
- to spare no expense or effort to do somethingThey are planning to shoot the works with the victory celebration for the Olympic athletes.
- to grow quicklyThe boy seemed to shoot up quickly during the summer.
- to rise suddenlyThe flames shot up over the top of the building.
shoot up (drugs)
- to take drugs by injecting themWe saw someone shooting up heroin in the alley.
shoot up (someone or something)
- to shoot at someone or something recklesslyIn many western movies the outlaws come into town and shoot up everything.
shop around for (something)
- to go to various stores to look for somethingWe shopped around for a month before we bought a new stereo system.
shore (something) up or shore up (something)
- to add support to something which is weakIt was necessary to shore up the house after the mud slide.
short and sweet
- brief and pleasantMy visit with my parents was short and sweet.
the short end (of the stick)
- unfair or unequal treatmentThe man always gets the short end of the stick when he is at work.
short for (something)
- something that is a shortened form of a word or phraseThe woman's nickname is short for her full name.
short of (something)
- to not have enough of somethingWe are short of sugar so I will buy some when I am at the store.
short on (something)
- to be lacking in somethingThe man is short on patience and is often angry.
- rude treatmentThe woman received short shrift from her supervisor when she asked for a holiday.
a shot in the arm
- something inspiring or encouraging, a boost of energyMy job search got a shot in the arm when the company president called me for an interview.
a shot in the dark
- an attempt at something without much hope or chance of succeedingThe attempt to find the small boy was a shot in the dark.
shot through with (something)
- containing somethingThe drink was shot through with some chemicals which I did not know.
- a forced weddingThe young couple were forced into a shotgun wedding by the girl's father.
shoulder the blame
- to accept that you are responsible for a problem or for something that is badThe company manager must shoulder the blame for the problems in his department.
The coach will shoulder the blame for the team's poor performance this season.
shoulder to shoulder
- side by side, with a shared purposeThe firefighters worked shoulder to shoulder to help prevent the house from burning.
- to start, to leave"I think that it is time for us to shove off. It is almost midnight."
shove one's way (somewhere)
- to make a path through a crowd by pushingWe shoved our way into the department store for the big sale.
shove (something) down (someone`s) throat
- to force someone to do or agree to something that they do not like or do not want to doI do not like my supervisor because he is always trying to shove his ideas down my throat.
- to present something interesting to a class (in elementary school)The little boy took a starfish from the ocean to his school for show-and-tell.
show good faith
- to demonstrate good intentions or good willThe man did not show good faith when he asked for extra money after he left his company.
a show of hands
- a display of raised hands in a group to vote on somethingThe teacher asked for a show of hands to see who wanted to do a presentation.
- to try to attract attention, to display somethingMy friend likes to show off his new clothes.
- a person who brags a lotThe girl is a show-off and is always trying to impress other people.
show one`s cards/hand
- to disclose one`s plansThe buyer will not show us his cards so we do not know what he wants.
show one`s (true) colors
- to show what one is really like or is thinkingMy friend is showing his true colors when he refuses to help me when I need help.
show one's teeth
- to show one's anger or strength in order to warn someone not to argue or fight with youOur supervisor showed his teeth when I began to argue with him about my job.
show signs of (something)
- to show hints or indications of somethingThe man showed no signs of life after the accident.
show (someone) the door
- to ask someone to go awayWhen the man started yelling in the restaurant the manager quickly showed him the door.
show (someone) the ropes
- to tell or show someone how to do somethingThe experienced carpenter made a great effort to show the new trainee the ropes.
show (someone) to his or her seat
- to direct someone to a place to sitThe usher showed the man to his seat.
show (someone) up or show up (someone)
- to do better than another person while others can see youThe girl always shows her friend up by doing all of her schoolwork quickly.
show (something) to good advantage
- to make something look good, to make something stand outThe new paint helped to show the house to good advantage.
- to appear, to arrive, to be present"What time did your friend show up for the party?"
- to become easy to seeAfter we cleaned the vase the design began to show up.
shrug (something) off or shrug off (something)
- to not be bothered or hurt by something, to disregard somethingThe girl says mean things but we always shrug off her comments.
- to be apart, to be separated from someone or somethingThe small town is shut off from the other small towns in the valley.
shut out (a team)
- to prevent the opposition team from scoring during a gameOur national soccer team shut out the other team last night.
shut (something) off or shut off (something)
- to make something like water or electricity stopWe always shut off the gas when we leave the house.
shut (something) up or shut up (something)
- to close the doors and windows of a building for a period of timeWe decided to shut up our cottage for the winter.
shut the door on (someone)
- to close the door to keep someone outThe teacher always shuts the door on students who come late for her class.
shut the door on (something)
- to terminate/exclude/obstruct somethingThe bad behavior of the employees shut the door on any future parties at the company.
- to stop talking"Please shut up and let someone else speak."
shut up (someone or something) or shut (someone or something) up
- to confine someone or somethingWe always shut up our dog in the house when the postal worker comes.
Shut your mouth!
- Please be quiet and close your mouth!"Shut your mouth," the woman said to the man talking loudly in the library.
shuttle from place to place
- to move from place to placeThe athletes shuttled from place to place during the sports event.
The volunteer drivers shuttled the athletes from place to place during the sports event.
shy away from (someone or something)
- to avoid someone or somethingRecently my doctor has shied away from giving me advice about my eating habits.
sick and tired of (someone or something)
- to dislike someone or something, to be annoyed with someone or somethingI am sick and tired of my friend's complaining.
sick in bed
- to remain in bed while you are sickMy father was sick in bed for three days last week.
sick of (someone or something)
- to be bored with someone or something, to dislike someone or somethingI think that the clerk is sick of working late every day.
side against (someone)
- to choose sides against someoneMy friend always sides against me when I am involved in an argument with someone.
side with (someone)
- to favor or support someone's position in a disputeThe mother always sides with her daughter when the daughter has an argument.
a sight for sore eyes
- a welcome sightThe man was a sight for sore eyes when he returned to work after a long holiday.
- before seeing a thing or a personMy friend bought the car sight unseen and now he is having trouble with it.
sign on the dotted line
- to place one's signature on a contract or other important paperThe sales manager gave me the contract and asked me to sign on the dotted line.
sign on with (someone)
- to sign an agreement to work with or for someoneMy cousin has signed on with one of the largest companies in the world.
sign one's own death warrant
- to do something knowingly that will probably result in severe troubleOur secretary signed her own death warrant when she came to work late three times last week.
sign (something) over
- to give something legally to someone by signing one`s nameThe man signed over his car to his son on his 21st birthday.
sign up for (something)
- to promise to do something by signing one`s name, to join somethingMy friend recently decided to sign up for tennis lessons.
signal to (someone) to do (something)
- to give someone an instruction by using a signalI signaled to our coach to take me out of the game.
signed, sealed and delivered
- formally and officially signedThe contract to buy the house was signed, sealed and delivered when I delivered it to the real estate agent.
the silence is deafening
- the silence is so great that one becomes uncomfortable, the silence is so great that it suggests the disapproval of somethingThe silence was deafening at the meeting when nobody stood up to challenge the speaker for his extreme remarks.
silence is golden
- sometimes it is better to say nothingThe man believes that silence is golden and he is very careful what he says.
- the time of the year (late summer) when there is no important news and news reporters focus on unimportant thingsIt was the end of summer and it was now the silly season for the news media.
- to become calm or quietHe was very angry after the meeting but now he has begun to simmer down.
since time immemorial
- since a very long time agoSince time immemorial people have been coming to the hot springs to bathe in the water.
sing (someone's) praises
- to praise someone highly and enthusiasticallyMy supervisor always sings my praises when he introduces me to someone.
sing a different tune
- to contradict one's previous ideas, to change one's attitudeUsually the man does not care if he disturbs his neighbors at midnight but now that he must get up early in the morning he is singing a different tune.
- to penetrate, to become understoodIt will take time for the comments of our boss to sink in.
sink into despair
- to grieve or to become depressedThe woman sank into despair when she learned that she had lost her job.
sink one`s teeth into (something)
- to begin to work seriously on a project or problemThe problem is difficult and is very hard to sink your teeth into.
sink or swim
- to fail or succeed by one's own effortsMy cousin will have to sink or swim when he begins his new job.
sit around (somewhere)
- to sit somewhere and relax and do nothingI spent the morning sitting around my apartment.
sit at (someone's) feet
- to admire someone greatly, to be taught by someoneI would love to sit at the feet of the famous painter.
- to be located a distance away from a streetThe large mansion sits back three hundred meters from the street.
- to relax or rest, to take a breakWe decided to sit back for the day and not do anything.
sit back and let (something) happen
- to relax and not interfere in somethingI did not want to sit back and let things happen so I began to make some phone calls about my situation.
sit bolt upright
- to sit up straightI sat bolt upright when I heard the news about my cousin.
sit idly by
- to sit and watch something while others work, to ignore a situation that calls for helpThe man sat idly by while the others worked hard.
- a political demonstration where students or workers refuse to leave their classroom or job siteThe students had a sit-in to demand lower tuition fees.
sit in for (someone)
- to take someone else's place in some activityI asked my friend to sit in for me at my volunteer job at the community center.
sit in on (something)
- to attend or participate in a meeting or similar gatheringOur boss sat in on our meeting so that he could learn what was happening.
sit on (something)
- to be a member of a jury or boardThe former politician sits on the board of many corporations.
sit on its hands
- an audience refuses to applaudThe audience sat on its hands after the terrible performance by the singer.
sit on one's hands
- to do nothing, to fail to helpThe manager sat on her hands and refused to do anything about the complaints that she had received.
sit on (something)
- to hold someone or something back, to delay somethingI am going to sit on my job application until I am sure that I want to apply for the new job.
sit on the fence
- to not support any side in a dispute, to not decide something, to not support somethingMost of the politicians are sitting on the fence about the new subway proposal.
sit on the sidelines
- to be in a situation in which you are not actively involved in somethingThe young player was forced to sit on the sidelines during the game.
- to be unacceptable (usually used in the negative or as a question)The idea seemed good at first but now it does not sit right with the other members of the staff.
sit (something) out or sit out (something)
- to not participate in something, to wait until something is overI am planning to sit the meeting out as I am very tired today.
sit through (something)
- to witness or endure all of somethingI had to sit through a very boring lecture yesterday.
- to wait patiently for something"Please sit tight for a few minutes while I go and get a police officer."
sit up and take notice
- to become alert and pay attentionThe loud bang made everybody sit up and take notice.
sit up with (someone)
- to stay with someone (a sick person) during the nightMy mother had to sit up all night because my younger sister was very sick.
sit well with (someone)
- to please someoneMy decision to leave early for the weekend did not sit well with the other members of the staff.
a sitting duck
- a non-moving target that is easily hit by a hunterThe hunter shot the sitting duck easily.
a sitting duck
- an unsuspecting person who is easily fooled - as if he or she were waiting to be attackedThe woman was a sitting duck for the thief when she sat on the bench next to her purse.
sitting on top of the world
- to be in a very good position or to be in an advantageous position, to be feeling very good or happyI was sitting on top of the world after I heard about the new job offer.
- to be in a favorable situationMy uncle is sitting pretty with his new job and high salary.
a sitting target
- someone who is in a position that can be easily attackedThe manager was a sitting target for criticism by the staff.
six feet under
- dead (buried six feet under the ground in a grave)The criminal is a bad person and if he does not change, he will soon be six feet under.
six of one or half-a-dozen of the other
- to be the same, to have no difference between two thingsIt was six of one or half-a-dozen of the other if we should take the train or the airplane. They both arrived at the same time and cost the same.
at sixes and sevens
- to be in confusion or disagreementEverybody has been at sixes and sevens since they opened the new school.
- a power to know or feel things other than by sight/hearing/smell/taste/touchMy friend seems to have a sixth sense and he knows many things that nobody else knows.
the size of it
- the way something is"That`s about the size of it," I said as I told my friend about the accident.
size up (someone or something)
- to try to form an opinion of someone, to assess a situationIt took me some time to size up the candidate before deciding to offer him a job.
skate on thin ice
- to risk danger or disapproval about somethingMy friend is skating on thin ice and he may be fired from his job.
skeleton in one`s closet
- a secret that someone does not want to talk aboutThe politician has a skeleton in his closet that he does not want to talk about.
- a poor area of a city where many people have no money or job or good housingThe skid row area of our city is a place where few tourists want to go.
skin and bones
- very skinnyThe cat which we found in the empty house was skin and bones.
- only on the surface, having no deep or honest meaningAlthough beauty may be only skin-deep many people care about it very much.
by the skin of one`s teeth
- barelyWe arrived on time for the train by the skin of our teeth.
no skin off one`s nose
- of no concern or trouble or interest to someoneIt is no skin off my nose whether or not she comes to the party.
skin (someone) alive
- to scold someone angrily, to spank or beat someoneThe woman told her son that if he was late for dinner she would skin him alive.
- to run away and not come to trial and therefore give up the money (bail) that you have paid the court to guarantee that you appearThe man skipped bail and went to another city before he was arrested again.
- to forget about something"Skip it," I said when my friend forgot to bring me the phone number many times.
skip out on (someone or something)
- to sneak away from someone or some eventI decided to skip out on the meeting and go to a movie.
- to jump over a rope that is held by two people and which goes over your head and under your feetThe children spent the morning skipping rope.
skirt the issue
- to avoid the topicMy boss likes to skirt the issue if I try to discuss my salary.
sky is the limit
- there is no limit to the success that can be achieved or the money that can be spent or madeThe sky is the limit for my friend and his new job.
- to reduce something gradually, to become less active, to become lazyRecently, I have begun to slack off in my effort to find a new job.
- a sure thing, a dramatic forceful dunk shot in basketballIt is a slam dunk that I will pass my examination.
a slap in the face
- an insultNot getting a promotion was a slap in the face for the sales manager.
slap (someone or something) down or slap down (someone or something)
- to rebuke or reject someone or somethingMy boss slapped my proposal down soon after the meeting started.
slap (something) together or slap together (something)
- to make something in a hurry and without careWe slapped together a picnic table for the company picnic.
- to reduce prices significantlyThe store is slashing prices on the new computers.
(one's) slate is clean
- someone has a record that shows no bad behavior or other problems from the pastThe man's slate is clean and he is doing very well with his life.
slated for (something)
- to be scheduled for somethingThe building is slated for demolition at the end of the year.
a slave to (someone or something)
- someone who is under the control of someone or somethingMy mother is a slave to her desire to watch soap operas on television.
not sleep a wink
- to not get any sleep (used in the negative)I did not sleep a wink last night.
- to oversleep, to sleep late in the morningI was very tired so I decided to sleep in this morning.
sleep like a baby
- to sleep very soundlyI slept like a baby last night.
sleep like a log
- to sleep very soundlyI slept like a log last night.
sleep on (something)
- to think about something, to consider something, to decide something later"I will sleep on the proposal tonight and I will give you an answer tomorrow."
sleep (something) off or sleep off (something)
- to sleep while the effects of liquor or drugs go awayWe spent the evening in a nightclub and I had to spend much of the next day sleeping it off.
sleep with (someone)
- to share a bed with someoneThe little girl always sleeps with her mother when they go on a holiday.
sleight of hand
- a skill in performing magic or card tricks or similar things - sometimes used to cheat at cards, the skill or attempt to hide the truth about something in order to deceive someoneThe card player tried to use sleight of hand to win the card game.
The magician used sleight of hand to do some amazing tricks.
The local government is using sleight of hand with the numbers to try and trick the citizens about the financial situation.
The company is losing money but the managers are using sleight of hand to make the company look successful.
slice of the cake
- a share of somethingThe city tax office wants a slice of the cake in our new business.
- to go away or escape quietly or secretlyI slipped away after my class to get something to eat.
a slip of the tongue
- something that is said at the wrong time and is not what you want to sayThe clerk's comment to the customer was a slip of the tongue.
- to go away or escape quietly or secretlyI slipped off after the lecture and went home.
slip one`s mind
- to be forgotten"I am very sorry that I did not meet you last night but our appointment slipped my mind."
- to go away, to leave quietly or secretlyI slipped out for a few minutes to buy some milk.
- to allow a piece of (secret) information to be revealedIt slipped out that the government is planning to close the large downtown hospital.
slip through (someone's) fingers
- to get away from someoneMy friend had a very good opportunity but it slipped through his fingers because of his lack of action.
- to make a mistakeI slipped up when I said that I would not go to the meeting next week.
slow as molasses in January
- very slowThe little girl is as slow as molasses in January and she never gets her work done on time.
- to go more slowly than usual, to cause something to reduce speedYou should slow down when you are driving on a wet road.
- a type of work action where you do not come to a complete stop like you do during a work strikeThe workers had a slow-down at the post office last year.
- the slow rate of speed and the difficulty to do somethingIt was slow going as I studied for my mathematics test.
slow on the draw
- to be slow in drawing a gun or in doing somethingThe man is slow on the draw and never takes advantage of opportunities.
slow on the uptake
- to be slow to figure something outThe new employee is slow on the uptake and we must explain everything to him at least two times.
- to become slow or slowerThe traffic slowed up because the bridge was closed.
slower and slower
- to become slow and then become even slowerThe speed of the train was becoming slower and slower as it reached the city.
slowly but surely
- slowly and deliberatelySlowly but surely we are preparing for our holiday next month.
sly as a fox
- to be smart and cleverThe storeowner is as sly as a fox and you can never make a good deal with him.
smack dab in the middle
- right in the middleThere was a small hole smack dab in the middle of the plastic swimming pool.
smack into (someone or something)
- to collide or hit someone or somethingThe car smacked into the car in front of it.
- someone or something of little importance, young childrenThe police are trying to catch the major criminals in the gang. They are not interested in the small fry.
small hours (of the night/morning)
- the hours immediately after midnightMy father likes to read the newspaper in the small hours of the night.
- the part of a document that you cannot easily notice because of the small size of the print but which often contains very important informationI always read the small print before I sign a sales contract.
- informal conversationThere was much small talk at the party before the guests could eat.
- small, on a small scaleThe man is a small-time criminal and is often involved in some kind of trouble.
- a person who is annoying because they always have an answer or seem to know everythingThe boy is a smarty pants and he acts like he knows everything.
- a very successful performance/song/play/movieAvatar was a smash hit.
smear campaign (against someone)
- a campaign (of rumors) aimed at damaging someone's reputationThere was a smear campaign against the mayor of the city.
smell a rat
- to become suspiciousI do not know what my colleague is doing but something seems strange. I think that I smell a rat.
smile on (someone or something)
- to be favorable to someone or somethingThe weather is smiling on the farmers in our area.
smoke and mirrors
- deception and confusionThe accounting department used a system of smoke and mirrors to hide their illegal activities.
smoke (someone or something) out or smoke out (someone or something)
- to force someone or something out with smokeWe smoked the rats out of their nests with the smoke.
smoke (something) out or smoke out (something)
- to find out the facts about somethingWe finally were able to smoke out the reason why our boss left the company.
smooth (something) over or smooth over (something)
- to make something better or more pleasantWe tried to smooth over the problems between our supervisor and the sales staff.
- something is going well and is having no problemsAfter we left the city it was smooth sailing on the highway until we got to our destination.
- a very slow movement forwardThe cars on the highway were moving at a snail`s pace.
snake in the grass
- an enemy who pretends to be a friend"You should be careful of that woman. Although she seems very nice she is like a snake in the grass."
- an easy taskThe exam was a snap and I am sure that I did very well.
snap at (someone)
- to speak sharply or angrily to someoneOur supervisor often snaps at the people who he works with.
- a decision that is taken quickly and often in response to an urgent situationThe woman made a snap decision to go home and visit her sick mother.
snap out of (something)
- to return to a normal stateThe man finally snapped out of his depression and was able to return to work.
snap (something) up or snap up (something)
- to take/buy/accept something eagerlyThe concert tickets were snapped up in three hours.
(not to be) sneezed at
- to be worth having, (not) to be considered unimportant (used in the negative)The new computer system is not to be sneezed at.
"Do you think that the new offer is something to sneeze at?"
sniff out (someone or something) or sniff (someone or something) out
- to locate someone or somethingThe police dog worked hard to sniff out the bank robber.
a snow job
- insincere or exaggerated talk designed to gain the favor of someoneHis presentation at the meeting was a snow job.
a snow job
- technical vocabulary that makes you seem like an expert in a fieldThe salesman tried to give us a snow job when he talked about the new machine.
snow (someone) under
- to give so much work or something that it cannot be dealt withThe extra homework snowed me under during the last week.
(not a) snowball`s chance in hell
- no chance at all (used in the negative or interrogative or conditional)We do not have a snowball`s chance in hell of winning the game tomorrow.
"Do you really think that you have a snowball's chance in hell to win the championship?"
If I thought that I had a snowball's chance in hell to get the job I would apply for it.
- a person that you do not likeI do not like that so-and-so. His personality really bothers me.
- until nowSo far, no one has entered the speech contest at the television station.
so far, so good
- until now things have gone well"So far, so good," she replied when we asked her how her new job was going.
so help me
- I promise, I swear"So help me, if you do not pay me back my money I will phone your company."
- goodbye"So long, I will see you next week."
so mad that one could scream
- very madI was so mad that I could scream when the travel agent made a mistake with my airline ticket.
- a large quantity of somethingThere was so much rain in the spring that our garden did not grow well.
so much for (someone or something)
- that is the last that you will see of someone or somethingSo much for going on a holiday this summer. I do not have any money.
so much the better
- all to the better"So much the better, if extra people help us then we can get the work done quickly."
so quiet you can hear a pin drop
- very quietIt was so quiet you could hear a pin drop when the woman stood up to speak about her cancer operation.
- not good and not badI was feeling so-so and decided not to go to a movie tonight.
- early, before the regular timeI did not expect the dinner to end so soon. It was still very early.
so still you can hear a pin drop
- very quietThe room was so still you could hear a pin drop.
so to speak
- as one might or could say, this is one way to say somethingWe had a good time at the restaurant, so to speak, although the service was not very good.
soak (something) up or soak up (something)
- to take something into oneself like a sponge absorbs waterMy friend was able to soak up much knowledge when he went to the film seminar.
soaked to the skin
- one's clothing is wet right through to the skinWe were soaked to the skin when we got home from the picnic.
- a story that makes one feel pity or sorrowMy sister told me a sob story about how she had lost her job.
sock it to (someone)
- to do everything that one is capable of doingThe president socked it to the audience during his speech at the convention.
sock (something) away or sock away (something)
- to store something in a safe place, to save somethingI have been socking money away for my holidays.
soft spot for (someone or something)
- a feeling of affection toward a person or thingMy mother has a soft spot for the elderly lady in her apartment building.
soften up (someone) or soften (someone) up
- to weaken one's oppositionThe boxer tried hard to soften up his opponent.
soil one's diapers
- a baby fills his or her diapersThe baby soiled his diapers on the airplane trip.
- a product or ticket is completely sold from a store or eventAll of the latest DVD's are sold out at the moment.
solid as a rock
- very solid or dependableThe small bank in our city is as solid as a rock and is a very stabe organization.
somebody up there loves/hates me
- an unseen power in heaven has been favorable/unfavorable to you"Somebody up there loves me," the man said when he found the money on the side of the road.
something about (someone or something)
- something strange/special/curious about someone or somethingThere is something about the woman that is very strange.
- to be so good as to be beyond description, to be something entirely differentThe movie was something else. It was the best movie that I have seen in many years.
something else again
- to be something that is very differentWorking all day on Saturday is okay but working all day on Sunday is something else again.
something of the sort
- something of the kind just mentionedI do not know exactly what the man said but it was about his job or something of the sort.
something or other
- one thing or anotherMy friend said something or other about his car but I am not sure exactly what he said.
something to that effect
- something similar to what was just saidThe apartment manager said that we could not bring a bicycle into the apartment lobby or something to that effect.
- something is happeningI do not know what the children are doing but I think that something's up.
somewhere in the neighborhood of (an amount of money or something)
- approximately a particular measurement or amountThere were somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty people at the meeting.
son of a bitch
- a horrible person, a difficult taskI wish that that son of a bitch would stop using my camera without asking me.
son of a gun
- something difficult and unpleasant"This is a son of a gun. I cannot fix it at all."
son of a sea biscuit
- an expression that is used as a polite replacement for son of a bitch"Son of a sea biscuit," the man said when he hit his hand with a hammer.
a song and dance
- an excuseMy friend gave me a song and dance about being busy but I did not believe him.
sooner or later
- eventually"Sooner or later you must give me my money so you should do it now."
- a person who gets angry when he or she losesThe man is a sore loser when he does not win a game of tennis.
sort of (something)
- to be almost something, to be similar to something, to be not quite something"Did you finish cleaning the kitchen?"
"I sort of finished, but not really."
sort out (something) or sort (something) out
- to clear up some confusion, to straighten out somethingOur accountant is working hard to sort out the money problems.
sound as if
- to seem as if something were so from what has been saidIt sounds as if my friend is planning to look for a new job.
sound like a broken record
- to say the same thing over and over againThe boy's mother sounds like a broken record when she tells him to clean his room.
sound like (something)
- to seem like somethingIt sounds like the stores are going to close early on Saturday because of the holiday.
sound off about (something)
- to tell what one knows or thinks in a loud voiceMy friend often sounds off about why he does not like his job.
sound (someone) out or sound out (someone)
- to try to find out how a person feels about something by asking him or her questionsThe man is sounding out his wife to see if she wants to move to a new house.
soup (something) up or soup up (something)
- to change and add something to make something more powerful or faster (usually a car)My friend souped up his car when he was a teenager.
sow one's wild oats
- to do wild and foolish things in one's youthThe man sowed his wild oats when he was a young man.
- to be confused or incoherent, to resemble someone who is using drugs, to be daydreamingThe boy was totally spaced out when the teacher asked him a question about his homework.
spare (someone) from (something)
- to exempt someone from having to listen to or express somethingI wish that our teacher would spare us from her speeches about her difficult childhood.
speak for itself/themselves
- to not need explainingThe actions of the men speak for themselves and there is no point talking about it.
speak for (something)
- to make a request for something, to ask for somethingI spoke for the comfortable chair as soon as I entered the room.
speak highly of (someone or something)
- to say good things about someone or somethingEverybody speaks highly of the new principal of our school.
speak ill of (someone)
- to say something bad about someoneI wish that my friend would not speak ill of the other people in our class.
speak of the devil (and he appears)
- to appear just when someone is talking about you"Speak of the devil and he appears," I said as our colleague who we were talking about walked in the door.
speak off the cuff
- to speak in public without preparationMy father plans to speak off the cuff at his retirement party tonight.
speak one`s mind
- to say openly what one thinksI think that it is time for me to speak my mind and talk about my complaints about our company.
speak one`s piece
- to say openly what one thinksThe man spoke his piece and then sat down.
speak out about (something)
- to speak in favor of or in support of something, to talk freely and without fear about somethingMy boss spoke out about the lack of computers.
speak out of turn
- to say something at the wrong time, to say something that you should not sayThe student spoke out of turn when the teacher was asking the class questions.
speak the same language (as someone)
- to have similar ideas or tastes or opinions as someone elseI think that I speak the same language as the new supervisor in our company.
- to speak in a loud or clear voice, to speak without fear or hesitationI asked our teacher to speak up because I could not hear him.
speak up for (someone or something)
- to speak in favor of someone or somethingThe politician is always willing to speak up for the poorest people in the city.
speak with a forked tongue
- to tell liesThe man speaks with a forked tongue and nobody trusts him.
spell (something) out or spell out (something)
- to explain something in very simple words, to explain something very clearlyI spelled out the conditions for renting the house very clearly.
- to signify future trouble, to mean troubleThe problems that we are having with our furnace spell trouble for the coming cold season.
spick-and-span or spic-and-span
- very clean, very neatThe house was spick-and-span when we returned from our holiday.
spill the beans
- to tell a secretMy friend promised not to spill the beans about my plans to get married.
spin a yarn
- to tell a tale or storyI like my new neighbor because he always likes to spin a yarn.
spin one's wheels
- to be in motion but to make no progressI was spinning my wheels all week but I did not get much done.
spin (something) off or spin off (something)
- to create something as a by-product of something elseThe company plans to spin off some new products from their original invention.
spirit of the law
- something as it is meant to be and not as it is stated exactly, what the people who made the law wanted to achieveThe judge tried to follow the spirit of the law and not only as it was written.
spit up (something) or spit (something) up
- to throw something up, to vomit somethingThe dog spit up the button that he had swallowed.
spitting image of (someone)
- the exact resemblance to someoneMy cousin is the spitting image of his father.
- to disagree or argue about something that is not important, to make unnecessary distinctions about somethingThe manager makes many good points but he has a tendency to split hairs and waste our time.
split one's sides (with laughter)
- to laugh so hard that one's sides almost splitI split my sides with laughter when the woman began to tell jokes.
split (some people) up or split up (some people)
- to separate two or more people from one anotherThe teacher had to split the two boys up because they were fighting.
split (something) fifty-fifty
- to divide something into two equal partsI decided to split the prize fifty-fifty with my friend.
split the difference
- to settle a money disagreement by dividing the difference into two amountsWe had to pay extra money for the rental car so we decided to split the difference and each pay half.
a split ticket
- a voting ticket with candidates from more than one political partyMy friend usually votes for a split ticket when he votes and never votes for only one political party.
- to end a relationshipThe girl and her boyfriend decided to split up after being together for seven years.
splurge on (something)
- to spend a lot of money on somethingThe boy splurged on a beautiful present for his girlfriend.
- to be taken or reservedAll of the tickets to the concert are spoken for.
- to startle or surprise someoneThe loud thunder and lightning spooked the horse.
- to make something very easy for someoneHe is a very strict teacher and never likes to spoon-feed his students.
- a reasonably good chanceThe man does not have a sporting chance of winning the competition.
spotlight (someone or something)
- to put special focus or attention on a person or a thingThe computer problem helped to spotlight our need to buy a new computer.
spout off about (someone or something)
- to talk too much about someone or somethingThe woman is always spouting off about her problems.
spread like wildfire
- to spread very rapidly, to quickly affect and become known by many peopleThe panic over the bad drinking water spread like wildfire through the city.
The bad news spread like wildfire throughout the company.
spread oneself too thin
- to try to do too many things at one timeMy sister has been spreading herself too thin lately and is not accomplishing very much of anything.
no spring chicken
- a young person (used with a negative)My aunt is no spring chicken. She is almost 96-years old.
spring for (something)
- to buy something, to pay for somethingI will spring for a new camera before I go on my vacation.
spring (something) on (someone)
- to suddenly tell or ask someone something when he or she does not expect it, to suddenly surprise someone with somethingI wish that my friend would not suddenly spring his crazy ideas on me.
Our teacher may spring a test on us today.
spring to mind
- to come quickly to your mind, to appear suddenly in your mind, to be rememberedNothing sprang to mind when the teacher asked me for an example of today's topic.
I asked my friend what springs to mind when he thinks about the new topic.
- to suddenly come to existMany new restaurants are beginning to spring up in the downtown area.
spruce (someone or something) up or spruce up (someone or something)
- to improve the appearance of someone or something, to tidy up or renew someone or somethingWe spruced up the community center for the holidays.
(on the) spur of the moment
- suddenlyWe decided to go to Hong Kong on the spur of the moment.
square accounts with (someone)
- to settle one's financial accounts with someone, to get even with someoneI went to the store to square accounts with the manager.
square away (something) or square (something) away
- to put something away, to put something in order, to take care of something"Have you squared away your plans for your holidays yet?"
a square deal
- a fair and honest transactionI always receive a square deal when I do business with the local shops in my area.
a square meal
- a nourishing or filling mealWe ate our first square meal in many days when we visited my grandparents.
- to get ready for an argument or fightThe two candidates squared off to debate the important issues of the election.
- the beginningWe had to go back to square one and start the project over.
a square peg in a round hole
- a person who does not fit into a job or positionMy friend was like a square peg in a round hole when he tried to do the job of an accountant.
square things up with (someone)
- to pay someone what one owes him or herI squared things up with my friend and gave him the money that I owed him.
square up to (someone or something)
- to face someone or something bravelyThe young man was forced to square up to the mistake that he had made.
squawk about (something)
- to complain about somethingPeople are always squawking about the bad service in the new restaurant.
squeak by (someone or something)
- to just barely exceed or pass someone or somethingI was able to squeak by the deadline and submit my scholarship application on time.
squirrel (something) away or squirrel away (something)
- to hide or store somethingWe tried to squirrel away some money for our holiday.
stab (someone) in the back
- to betray someoneI dislike that man because he tried to stab me in the back.
stack the cards/deck for or against (someone or something)
- to arrange things unfairly for or against someone or somethingThe company is stacking the cards against some small sellers because of their strict standards.
stack up (something) or stack (something) up
- to make a stack of thingsI stacked up the magazines to give to the flea market.
stake a claim to (something)
- to make a claim for somethingEverybody in our class tried to stake a claim to the free cell phones.
stall off (someone or something) or stall (someone or something) off
- to put off or delay someone or somethingI believe that I will be able to stall off the meeting for several hours.
stamp out (something) or stamp (something) out
- to destroy something completely, to make something disappearThe government is trying to stamp out smoking among teenagers.
one's stamping grounds
- a place where a person spends much of his or her timeMy cousin went back to his old stamping grounds which he remembered as a teenager.
(cannot) stand (someone or something)
- to be unable to tolerate someone or something, to dislike someone or something (usually used in the negative)My friend cannot stand the other people in her class.
stand a chance of (doing something)
- to have a possibility of doing somethingOur team stands a chance of winning the championship this year.
- to be dismissed or to end (used for a meeting)"This meeting now stands adjourned."
stand behind (someone or something)
- to endorse or support someone or somethingThe company will always stand behind their products.
- to be near, to be waiting to do something when you are neededThere is a doctor standing by in case there is a medical emergency.
stand by (someone)
- to follow or keep one`s promise to someone, to be loyal to or support someoneThe woman always stands by her husband when he has a problem.
stand clear of (something)
- to keep away from something"Please stand clear of the door while we are moving the piano."
- to admit that one has been wrongI was forced to stand corrected when I made a mistake about the time of the train.
stand for (something)
- to signify or mean somethingI do not know what the letters stand for so I cannot write the full name of the company.
stand for (something)
- to speak in favor of something, to show that one supports somethingAll of the candidates stand for a platform of law and order.
(not) stand for (something)
- to not allow something to happen, to not permit something, to not tolerate somethingOur teacher will not stand for students coming to his class late.
stand in awe of (someone or something)
- to look upon someone or something with wonder, to feel respect for someone or somethingEverybody stands in awe of the football coach.
stand in for (someone)
- to be a substitute for someoneThe new actor stood in for the famous actor who was sick.
stand in (someone's) way
- to be a barrier to someone's desires or intentionsThe woman did not want anyone to stand in her way of getting a promotion.
stand off from (someone or something)
- to stay at a distance from someone or something, to stay apart from someone or somethingThe girl always stands off from the other students in her class.
stand off (someone or something)
- to keep someone or something from winningWe were able to stand off the other team and win the tournament.
stand on ceremony
- to be formal"You do not need to stand on ceremony. You can relax."
stand on one`s own two feet
- to be independentMy friend learned to stand on his own two feet when he was very young.
stand one`s ground
- to maintain and defend one`s positionOur supervisor stood his ground over his decision to fire the employee.
- to be more noticeable than those around youThe man likes to wear clothes that let him stand out from the crowd.
stand over (someone or something)
- to watch someone or something closely, to keep checking someone or something all the timeThe father stood over his son to make sure that he was studying for his final exams.
- to not change, to be satisfied with thingsWe should stand pat and not do anything to cause problems with the negotiations.
stand (someone) in good stead with (someone or something)
- to be an advantage to someoneWorking hard will stand you in good stead with your company.
stand still for (something)
- to tolerate or endure something, to not move for somethingThe little boy refused to stand still for his medical examination.
stand to reason
- to make sense, to be logicalIt stands to reason that the new employee will work hard if his effort is rewarded.
- to be strong enough to use for a long timeThe new carpet should stand up for a long time.
stand up (someone) or stand (someone) up
- to fail to keep an appointment or date with someone (usually used for a date with a boyfriend or girlfriend)The boy stood up the girl last Saturday and now she will not talk to him.
stand up and be counted
- to be willing to say what one thinks in publicThe union members wanted to stand up and be counted before management took away their benefits.
stand up for (someone or something)
- to defend against attack, to fight for someone or somethingThe citizens of the town were ready to stand up for their rights.
stand up to (someone)
- to be brave in confronting someoneThe man stood up to his boss during the meeting.
a standing joke
- something that regularly and over time causes amusement when it is mentionedIt was a standing joke around our office that our boss was a very bad golfer.
stark raving mad
- to be completely crazyThe woman who lives next door is stark raving mad.
stars in one`s eyes
- to have an appearance or feeling of very great happinessThe woman had stars in her eyes when she saw the beautiful ring that her boyfriend gave her.
start from scratch
- to start from the beginningI lost all of my notes so I had to start from scratch with the project.
start from square one
- to start from the very beginningWe will have to start from square one with our plans for the new project.
start in as (something)
- to begin a career as somethingThe man started in as a mailroom clerk but soon he had more important jobs in the company.
start off on the wrong foot with (someone or something)
- to make a bad start to a relationship with a person or organizationI started off on the wrong foot with my boss and now we do not have a good relationship.
The man started off on the wrong foot with his company and he has many problems now.
start off with a clean slate
- to begin something freshI started off with a clean slate when I began the new project in our company.
start out as (something)
- to start one's career as somethingThe president of our company started out as a mailroom clerk when he was young.
start over with a clean slate
- to ignore the past and start over againThe young man broke the law several times but he was able to start over with a clean slate when the judge decided that he would probably not do anything bad in the future.
start the ball rolling
- to begin to do somethingMy uncle started the ball rolling on his plans to build a new house.
start up (something) or start (something) up
- to begin operating something, to begin to play or do somethingMy uncle started up a small business when he was 20-years old.
stay away from (someone or something)
- to avoid someone or something, to stay at a distance from someone or somethingMy uncle is staying away from salty foods these days.
- to remain at home, to not go outWe plan to stay in this evening.
stay in touch with (someone)
- to talk or write to someone, to maintain contact with someoneI want to stay in touch with my friends from high school.
- to stay in one place, to not leaveWe decided to stay put for our holidays rather than go away.
- to not go to bed, to remain awakeMy friend likes to stay up late every night.
steal a base
- to sneak from one base to another in baseballThe player was easily able to steal a base during the baseball game.
steal a march on (someone)
- to get an advantage over someone without being noticedI was able to steal a march on my colleague when he was away on vacation.
steal (someone's) heart
- to cause someone to fall in love with youThe woman stole the heart of the man who she was working with.
steal (someone`s) thunder
- to do or say something that another person had planned to do or sayMy colleague stole my thunder when he announced that he was leaving the company before I will.
steal the show
- to do so well in a performance that you get most of the attentionThe young musician stole the show at the music festival.
steal the spotlight
- to do so well in a performance that you get most of the attentionThe singer always steals the spotlight when she sings.
- to be angryI was steamed up over the fact that my friend lost the keys to my apartment.
- to be very angryThe woman was steaming mad when the customer service representative was rude to her on the telephone.
steer clear of (someone or something)
- to avoid someone or somethingI have been steering clear of my friend since our fight.
- to originate from, to be caused byThe accident stems from the bad condition of the machine.
- graduallyMy grandfather is learning how to use a computer step-by-step.
step down from (a job/position)
- to leave an important job or positionMy father recently stepped down from his job as president of his company.
- to become involved or concerned with something, to enter a place for a brief timeThe teacher had to step in and stop the fight between the two children.
step into (someone's) shoes
- to take over a job or other role from someoneI will have to step into my supervisor's shoes while he is away on vacation.
step into the breach
- to move into a space or vacancyThe woman stepped into the breach and helped the other teachers while several people were sick.
step on it
- to go faster, to hurry"Please step on it," the man yelled as the taxi took him to the airport.
step on (someone`s) toes
- to do something that interferes with or offends someone elseThe man is careful that he does not step on anybody's toes at his company.
step on the gas
- to go faster, to hurryI had to step on the gas in order to get to work on time.
- to leave home or work for a short timeI stepped out of the office to buy a newspaper.
step out of line
- to misbehave, to do something offensive or wrongWhen the children step out of line their teacher becomes very angry.
step right up
- to move forward toward someone or somethingThe clerk told me to step right up when I was waiting to order some food.
step up (something)
- to make something go faster, to increase somethingRecently, we stepped up our effort to hire some new computer programmers for our company.
step up (to something)
- to rise to a higher or more important position, to be promotedMy boss stepped up to the position of manager after the old manager was fired.
step up to the plate
- to accept a challenge, to prepare to do a task, to move near homeplate in baseball in order to prepare to hit the ball when it is thrown/pitchedMy friend stepped up to the plate and helped us complete the project.
The batter stepped up to the plate and waited for the pitch.
stew in one`s own juice
- to suffer from something that one has caused to happen to himself or herselfThe man is stewing in his own juice after he got into trouble for being late.
- to stay or wait nearby for somethingWe decided to stick around after the game and talk.
stick by/with (someone or something)
- to support someone or somethingThe woman always sticks by her friends when they are in trouble.
I stuck with my friend during his troubles.
- a person who is old-fashioned or does not want to join with others and do somethingThe girl is a stick-in-the-mud and will never join in any of the activities at a party.
stick it to (someone)
- to cheat someone, to take unfair advantage of someoneThe car salesman tried to stick it to the customer.
stick one`s neck out for (someone or something)
- to take risks in order to support someoneThe man never sticks his neck out for anyone at his job and he has no friends.
stick out like a sore thumb
- to be obvious and visibleThe woman sticks out like a sore thumb when she wears her red hat.
stick (someone) with (something)
- to leave someone with an unpleasant taskMy friend always sticks me with paying the bill when we go to a restaurant.
stick (something) out or stick out (something)
- to endure or continue somethingMy friend does not like her new job but she plans to stick it out until she saves somes money.
stick (something) up or stick up (something)
- to attach something to a wall or postI plan to stick the poster up on our kitchen wall.
stick to a story
- to remain faithful to the facts of a storyThe two boys stuck to their story about how they found the money.
stick to one`s guns
- to defend an action or opinion despite an unfavorable reactionOur boss is sticking to his guns on his decision to fire the store manager.
stick to one's ribs
- to last a long time and give one strength (used for food)The food at the restaurant is wonderful and it sticks to our ribs.
stick to (something)
- to never change or abandon something, to keep somethingThe man tried to stick to his opinions during the discussion.
stick to the facts
- to remain faithful to the facts about something"Please stick to the facts when you tell the story to the police."
- to remain together as a groupThe children like to stick together when they go to the beach.
- to point upThe boy's hair was sticking up in the back.
stick up (someone or something) or stick (someone or something) up
- to rob someone or something with a gun or other weaponA man with a gun tried to stick up the small store.
stick up for (someone or something)
- to defend or help or support someoneMy boss always sticks up for the younger workers at our company.
stick with (something)
- to continue doing something, to not quit somethingThe boy has been able to stick with his trumpet lessons since he was a child.
- fingers that steal things that one sees and wantsThe young boy has sticky fingers. You must watch him all the time.
stink to high heaven
- to smell very badThe kitchen garbage was stinking to high heaven in the hot sun.
stir (someone or something) up or stir up (someone or something)
- to make someone angry or excited, to cause troubleThe man`s angry words stirred up the crowd and made everybody angry.
stir up a hornet`s nest
- to make many people angry or dislike something, to provoke your criticsThe man stirred up a hornet`s nest when he began to complain about the bonus system at his company.
stock up on (something)
- to gather a supply of somethingWe are trying to stock up on food before the holiday.
- having no moneyI was stone-broke after I came back from my holiday.
stone's throw away from (something)
- to be very close to somethingThe new store is a stone's throw away from the large supermarket.
stoop to (doing something)
- to do something that is beneath oneI do not plan to stoop to asking my friend for money.
- stopping and going repeatedlyThe traffic is always stop-and-go during the morning rush hour.
stop at nothing (to do something)
- to do everything possible to accomplish somethingMy friend will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
stop by (somewhere)
- to visit or pass by somewhere"Why don`t you stop by my house on your way home?"
- to stop very quickly or with great forceThe man stopped dead when he saw the bear in the middle of the road.
stop in one`s tracks
- to stop very quickly or with great forceThe horse was forced to stop in its tracks at the electric fence.
stop, look, and listen
- to be careful at street corners to stop and then look and listen for other cars.We taught the children to stop, look, and listen when they cross the street.
stop off (somewhere)
- to stop at a place for a short time while going somewhereWe decided to stop off at the fish store before we went home.
stop over (somewhere)
- to stay at a place overnight or for a short time while on a tripThe airplane had to stop over in Alaska because one of the passengers had a heart attack.
stop short of (doing something)
- to not go as far as to do somethingWe stopped short of asking the secretary to leave although she continued to make mistakes with her work.
a storm is brewing
- there is going to be troubleA storm is brewing between the two government departments over the tax issue.
the straight and narrow
- a good and honest and moral path through life, following the rulesThe man kept to the straight and narrow and was respected by everybody around him.
The boy was always in trouble and could not keep to the straight and narrow.
straight from the horse`s mouth
- directly from the person involvedI heard about my friend`s wedding straight from the horse`s mouth.
straight from the shoulder
- a direct and honest way of speakingMy friend always speaks straight from the shoulder.
- directly and in a way that hides nothing, plainlyThe man was told straight out that his work was not satisfactory.
straighten out (someone or something) or straighten (someone or something) out
- to cause someone's bad behavior to improve, to organize or fix something that is in confusion or disorderI went to the bank to straighten out the problem with my credit card.
straighten (something) up or straighten up (something)
- to put something in order, to clean and make something neatWe had to straighten up the house before inviting my parents for dinner.
a stranger to (someone or something or somewhere)
- someone who is new and unknown to a person/place/thingThe man is a stranger to computers and does not know anything about them.
strapped for cash
- to have little or no money available for somethingI am strapped for cash so I will not be able to go away this summer.
a straw in the wind
- a small sign of what may happen in the futureWhen the company began to reduce expenses it was a straw in the wind as to what would happen in the future.
straw that breaks the camel`s back
- a small problem which follows other problems and which makes you lose patience and be unable to continue as beforeWhen the receptionist lost the key to the office for the third time it was the straw that broke the camel`s back and we decided to fire her.
stretch one's imagination
- to think about things that you have not thought about before, to think about things in a new wayThe movie was very interesting and it stretched our imagination.
Our teacher always stretches our imagination.
stretch one's legs
- to walk around after sitting down or lying down for a period of timeWe stopped to stretch our legs after driving for several hours.
stretch the point
- to interpret a point very flexibly, to exaggerate somethingIt is stretching the point to think that the new company policy will let us take a two-hour lunch break.
stretch the truth
- to exaggerateI stretched the truth a little when I told my friend about my job experience.
strictly on the level
- honest, dependable, open and fairThe salespeople that I deal with are always strictly on the level.
strictly on the up-and-up
- honest, fair and straightI only plan to do business with my friend if everything is strictly on the up-and-up.
strike a balance (between two or more things)
- to find a satisfactory compromise between two extremesMy father works hard to strike a balance between his family and his job.
strike a bargain
- to make an agreement about somethingI was able to strike a bargain with my neighbor to buy his car.
strike a chord with (someone)
- to remind someone of something, to be familiar to someone, to evoke a reaction/response/emotionThe song on the radio struck a chord with me and reminded me of my university days.
The name does not strike a chord with me.
strike a happy medium
- to find a compromise positionThe manager always tries to strike a happy medium between being professional and being friendly to the staff.
strike a match
- to light a matchI struck a match and tried to start the fire.
strike a pose
- to position oneself in a certain posture or poseThe model was asked to strike a pose for the photographer.
strike a sour note
- to signify something unpleasantThe statements of the speaker struck a sour note with many members of the audience.
strike it rich
- to suddenly become rich or successfulThe man struck it rich when he got a job at the computer company and was able to buy some stock very cheap.
- in baseball a player is "out" after three strikesThe baseball player did not strike out at all during the game.
- to failWe struck out in our attempt to build a new cafeteria in our building.
strike out at (someone or something)
- to hit at or attack someone or somethingThe boy struck out at his friend in the playground.
strike (someone) as funny
- to seem funny to someoneThe comments of my teacher often strike me as funny.
strike (someone) as (something)
- to affect someone a certain wayIt strikes me as a little silly that the man is planning to buy a new motorcycle.
strike (someone's) fancy
- to appeal to someoneIt did not strike my fancy to go to a restaurant last evening.
strike the right note
- to do something suitable or pleasingI believe that my presentation struck the right note at the meeting last night.
strike up a conversation with (someone)
- to start a conversation with someoneI decided not to strike up a conversation with the man at the bus station.
strike up a friendship with (someone)
- to become friends with someoneMy neighbor finds it easy to strike up a friendship with new people.
strike while the iron is hot
- to take advantage of an opportunityI wanted to strike while the iron was hot so I quickly applied for the job.
string along with (someone)
- to accompany someoneI decided to string along with my friends when they went to the movie.
string (someone) along or string along (someone)
- to deceive or fool someoneThe man tried to string me along with a story about his sick mother.
string (something) out or string out (something)
- to extend something over a great distance or over a long period of timeThe soccer games were strung out over a period of four weeks.
- special conditions or restrictionsMy friend was able to borrow the money for the furniture with no strings attached.
There were several strings attached to the offer.
a stroke of luck
- a bit of luckIt was a stroke of luck that I was able to get a plane reservation to visit my family.
struggle to the death
- a bitter struggle either to success or failureThe lion and the tiger were engaged in a struggle to the death.
stuck in a rut
- to be in an established way of living that never changes (although you may want it to change)My neighbor is stuck in a rut and would like to change jobs.
stuck in traffic
- to be caught in a traffic jamWe were stuck in traffic for about one hour this morning.
stuck on (someone)
- to be very much in love with someone, to be crazy about someoneMy niece has been stuck on the boy next door for several years now.
stuck on (something)
- to be locked into an idea or cause or purposeThe man is stuck on the idea of going to a hot place for his vacation.
- to act as if other people are not as good as you are, to be conceitedWe do not like the woman because she is stuck up and thinks that she is better than the rest of us.
stuck with (someone or something)
- to be burdened with someone or somethingWhen my sister went to the doctor I was stuck with looking after her dog.
stuff and nonsense
- nonsenseThe ideas of the professor are all stuff and nonsense.
stuff the ballot box
- to put false ballots into a ballot box during an electionThe man was arrested because he was stuffing the ballot box during the election.
a stuffed shirt
- a person who is too rigid or too formalThe man is a stuffed shirt and I never feel comfortable when I talk with him.
stumble across/into (someone)
- to meet someone accidentallyI stumbled into my friend when I was shopping yesterday.
stumble across/upon (someone or something)
- to find someone or something by accident or in an unplanned mannerI stumbled across a very nice restaurant last weekend.
I stumbled across a good carpenter yesterday.
stumble into (somewhere)
- to enter a place by stumblingI stumbled into my bedroom and went to bed.
- something that prevents or obstructs progressThe salary issue was a stumbling block in the negotiations between the company and the union.
subject to (something)
- depending on something, likely to have somethingThe purchase of the house was subject to several conditions.
subject to (something)
- open or exposed to some unfortunate or undesirable thing
The new school policy was subject to much criticism.
The airport passengers were subject to a second search by the security staff.
subscribe to (something)
- to regularly receive a magazine or something similar, to give support or consent to somethingI subscribe to several magazines but I do not have time to read them.
I do not subscribe to our teacher's ideas about many topics.
such and such
- someone or something whose name has been forgottenMy friend is always trying to borrow such and such from me but I always say no.
- of a particular kind, for exampleI need various tools such as a hammer and a saw in order to complete the job.
such as it is
- in the less-than-perfect condition in which one finds somethingI received the old car such as it is but it is not worth very much.
suck (someone) in or suck in (someone)
- to deceive someoneThe man always sucks me in with his long and strange stories.
- a list of people who can be easily persuaded to buy somethingThe salesman used a sucker list to try and sell his new product.
- a rich older man who gives money to a younger woman for her companionshipThe woman went on a winter holiday with her sugar daddy.
- to make something that is unpleasant seem more pleasant, to coat something with sugarThe government tried to sugarcoat the new policy but nobody was happy with it.
suggestive of (something)
- to be reminiscent of somethingThe movie was suggestive of a time that disappeared many years ago.
- to do something one's own way to please oneselfI was able to do everything to suit myself while I stayed with my uncle.
suit (someone) to a T
- to be very appropriate for someoneMy new job suits me to a T.
sum and substance
- a summary, the gist of somethingThe sum and substance of what the speaker said was very interesting.
sum (something) up or sum up (something)
- to put something into a few words, to summarize somethingThe speaker summed up his presentation and asked the audience for questions.
- eggs that are fried on one side onlyWe asked for our eggs to be fried sunny-side up at the restaurant.
supply and demand
- the availability of something compared to the need or demand for somethingThe supply and demand for used sporting equipment is always very tight.
supposed to do (something)
- to be expected or intend to do somethingI was supposed to meet my friend but I forgot.
a sure thing
- something that is sure to happen, something about which there is no doubtMy promotion to manager is a sure thing according to the company president.
- of course, certainly"Sure thing, I will be happy to help you move next Saturday."
survival of the fittest
- the idea that the most able or fit will surviveIt is the survival of the fittest in the jungle.
susceptable to (something)
- to be easily persuaded, to be easily influenced, to likely to become sickThe young boy is very susceptable to the influence of the older boys around him.
The girl is susceptable to often getting a sore throat.
swallow one`s pride
- to bring one`s pride under control, to become humbleI had to swallow my pride and ask my father for some money.
swallow (something) hook, line, and sinker
- to believe something completely when someone is trying to deceive youI swallowed the story hook, line, and sinker about how my friend lost his car keys.
swamped with (something)
- to be overwhelmed with something"I am swamped with work and cannot meet you tonight."
- a final appearanceThe manager was a big hit during his swan song at the company last week.
swear by (something)
- to have complete confidence in something, to be sure of somethingMy father swears by the walk that he takes every morning.
swear off (something)
- to decide to give up something that you are in the habit of usingMy friend plans to swear off tobacco.
swear on a stack of Bibles
- to promise solemnly that what one is about to say is trueThe man swore on a stack of Bibles that he did not take any money from the cash register.
swear on (something)
- to use something as the reason or authority that what you are saying is the truthThe accused criminal was asked to swear on a religious text at the trial to make sure that he was telling the truth.
swear (someone) in or swear in (someone)
- to have a person promise to do his or her duty as a member of an organization or in a formal position.The new mayor of the city was sworn in at a large ceremony last evening.
- to be nervous, to be very worriedI was sweating bullets during the job interview.
sweat (something) out or sweat out (something)
- to wait anxiously for something, to worry about somethingI spent the day sweating out whether or not I would get the job.
sweep out of (somewhere)
- to leave somewhere in a dramatic wayThe actress swept out of the room when her performance finished.
sweep (someone) off his or her feet
- to overwhelm someone (with love etc.), to knock someone downThe woman was swept off her feet when she met the young man at the party.
The large wave swept the man off his feet at the seashore.
sweep (something) under the rug/carpet
- to hide dirt by brushing it under a rug or carpet, to try to hide a problem or keep a problem secret instead of dealing with itThe company has several problems which they are trying to sweep under the carpet.
The woman never deals with her problems. She always sweeps them under the carpet.
sweep through (somewhere)
- to move through a place quickly and with much energyThe actress always sweeps through the room when she arrives for a meeting.
sweet and sour
- a combination of sweet and sour tastes (found in many Chinese dishes)The dish had a sweet and sour taste that was very delicious.
- affectionate but unimportant words that you say to someone you loveThe boy in the movie whispered sweet nothings to his girlfriend.
sweet on (someone)
- to be in love with someone, to be very fond of someoneThe boy was sweet on the girl next door when he was a child.
sweeten the deal
- to offer something during a negotiation that is attractive to the other sideWe sweetened the deal during the negotiations in order to win the new contract.
- to praise or flatter someone to get what you wantThe little girl tried to sweet-talk her mother into buying her a present.
- darling, sweetheartThe young man always calls his girlfriend sweetie pie.
- a feeling that one is more important than one really isThe man has a swelled head since he got the new position in his company.
swift and sure
- fast and certainI made a complaint to the bank manager and I knew that the answer would come back swift and sure.
swim against the current
- to do the opposite of what most people are doingMy friend likes to swim against the current and not do what others are doing.
swim against the tide
- to do the opposite of what most people are doingOur company often swims against the tide in the way that they market products.
swing into action
- to quickly begin doing somethingWe must swing into action and finish the project.
The members of the football team swung into action and cleaned the room after the party.
- to make something happenI do not know if I can swing buying an expensive present for my girlfriend.
- to suddenly change what you are doingThe sports announcer suddenly switched gears and began to talk about something else.
The company will have to switch gears soon as it is not doing well now.
- to be in tune with the latest fads or ideas or fashionsMy aunt is switched on and knows everything about many recent movies.