THE IDIOM CONNECTION
table a discussion
- to postpone a discussion until a later time
We tabled the discussion about the salary issue until the next meeting.
table a motion
- to postpone the discussion of something during a meeting
We tabled a motion to discuss the safety issue at another time.
tackle a problem
- to attack a problem with much effort (from American football where one player tackles another player)
All of the members of the sales team gathered to tackle the problem of decreasing sales.
tag along with (someone)
- to go somewhere with someone, to follow along with someone
The little boy tagged along with his older brother when they went to the beach.
tail between one`s legs
- feeling ashamed or beaten
The salesman resigned from his company with his tail between his legs after he told a lie about his expense account.
tail wagging the dog
- a situation where a small part of something controls the larger part
The tail is wagging the dog and the receptionist controls everything in the office.
take a backseat to (someone or something)
- to accept a poorer or lower position than someone, to be second to someone or somethingI had to take a backseat to my boss when we went on the business trip.
take a bath
- to batheThe boy always takes a bath in the evening.
take a bath (on something)
- to lose much money on something, to be ruined financiallyMy aunt took a bath on the stock market last year and she is afraid to buy stocks now.
take a beating
- to lose moneyMy father took a beating when he sold his car.
take a big bite out of one's paycheck
- to decrease one's paycheck because of some kind of deductionThe new tax has begun to take a big bite out of my paycheck.
take a bow
- to bow and receive credit for a good performanceThe violinist stopped to take a bow before she went backstage with the orchestra.
take a break
- to have a short rest period in one's workI stopped to take a break after working all morning.
take a chance
- to try something where failure is possibleI will take a chance and visit my friend without phoning first.
take a course in (something)
- to enroll in a class to study or learn somethingI am planning to take a course in photography next year.
take a crack at (something)
- to try or attempt to do something"Have you decided to take a crack at writing the entrance examination?"
take a dig at (someone)
- to criticize someone, to say something that will irritate someoneThe man is always taking a dig at his wife.
take a dim view of (something)
- to be against something, to disapprove of somethingOur company takes a dim view of people who do not wear a suit and tie.
take a fancy to (someone or something)
- to develop a fondness or a preference for someone or somethingThe woman took a fancy to her new coworker.
take a gander at (someone or something)
- to examine someone or something, to take a look at someone or somethingI asked the car mechanic to take a gander at the steering system on my car.
take a hand in (something)
- to help plan or do somethingThe man is always ready to take a hand in any work that needs to be done.
take a hard line (with someone)
- to be firm with someone, to have a firm policy for dealing with someoneThe company takes a hard line with people who come to work late.
take a hint
- to understand what is hinted at and behave accordinglyThe man is unable to take a hint and does not notice when people want him to leave.
take a leaf out of (someone's) book
- to behave or do something in the way that someone else wouldWe plan to take a leaf out of our competitor's book and advertise our product on the Internet.
take a letter
- to write down the words that someone says and later type them into a letterThe secretary often has to take a letter for her boss.
take a leak
- to urinateThe man stopped at the side of the road to take a leak.
take a liking to (someone or something)
- to develop a fondness or a preference for someone or somethingI took a liking to my new neighbor immediately.
take a load off one's feet
- to sit down and relaxI sat down in order to take a load off my feet.
take a look at (someone or something)
- to examine (usually briefly) someone or somethingI will take a look at the problem with the computer tomorrow.
take a look for (someone or something)
- to look for someone or somethingTomorrow, I will take a look for the pen which I lost.
take a nap
- to have a brief period of sleepI want to take a nap before I visit my parents.
take a new turn
- to begin a new course or directionThe campaign to clean up the river took a new turn when the electric company joined the campaign.
take a pay cut
- to accept a decrease in one's salaryThe workers in the factory were asked to take a pay cut.
take a potshot at (someone or something)
- to criticize someone or somethingThe mayor of the city decided to take a potshot at his opponent in the election.
take a powder
- to leave quickly, to run awayI took a powder immediately after the meeting.
take a punch at (someone)
- to strike someone with one's fistThe man in the restaurant suddenly took a punch at the waiter.
take a rain check
- to get a promise to repeat an invitation at a later dateI was invited to dinner by my friend but I took a raincheck because I was too tired.
take a risk
- to try something where failure is possibleWe will take a risk and go to the popular restaurant without a reservation.
take a shine to (someone)
- to have or show a quick liking for someoneOur daughter took a shine to her new teacher immediately.
take a shot at (something or doing something)
- to try to do somethingI plan to take a shot at golfing when I am on vacation.
take a sick day
- to be absent from work and still receive payI did not feel well yesterday so I decided to take a sick day.
take a shower
- to showerI usually take a shower when I get home from work.
take a spill
- to fall, to tip overThe little boy took a spill when he was learning how to ride his bicycle.
take a stab at (something or doing something)
- to try to do somethingI took a stab at the math problem but I could not solve it.
take a stand on (something)
- to declare firmly that one is for or against somethingThe politician was forced to take a stand on the tax issue.
take a toll on (someone or something)
- to damage or hurt someone or something by using it too much or by hard livingThe stress and long hours at work are beginning to take a toll on my friend.
take a trip
- to go for a journeyWe plan to take a trip to Italy in November.
take a turn for the better
- to begin to improve or get wellThe medical condition of my uncle has recently taken a turn for the better.
take a turn for the worse
- to start to get worseThe condition of the patient suddenly took a turn for the worse.
take a vacation
- to go somewhere for a vacationI have much stress at work so I want to take a vacation next month.
take a walk/stroll/hike
- to go for a walk or stroll or hikeThe man likes to take a walk every morning.
take a whack at (someone)
- to hit someoneThe man on the bus suddenly took a whack at the man sitting beside him.
take a whack at (something)
- to try somethingI took a whack at fixing the car but I was unsuccessful.
take action on (something)
- to deal with somethingThe city is finally going to take action on the homeless problem.
take advantage of (someone or something)
- to use someone or something for one`s own benefitWe took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to the beach.
take after (someone)
- to resemble or act like someone (usually a parent or relative)The boy is tall and handsome like his father and takes after him in many other ways as well.
take aim at (someone or something)
- to aim a gun/camera/policy at someone or something, to focus one's attention at someone or somethingThe police plan to take aim at people who do not stop at stop signs.
take an interest in (something)
- to develop an interest in somethingRecently, my cousin has taken an interest in fishing.
take an oath
- to make an oath, to swear to somethingI had to take an oath before I could answer questions at the public hearing.
take apart (something) or take (something) apart
- to separate the parts of something, to disassemble somethingI took apart the watch easily but it never worked again.
- to make a record of persons attending somethingOur teacher always takes attendance when we arrive in the morning.
take back (something) or take (something) back
- to admit to making a wrong statementThe man was asked to take back what he had said about his boss.
take back (something) or take (something) back
- to return a bought or borrowed item to the place where you got itI need to take back some books to the library.
take care of (someone or something)
- to look after or give attention to someone or somethingYou should take care of your health or you will become sick.
take care of (something)
- to deal with something, to do what is necessary to accomplish something"Could you please take care of these letters while I make some phone calls."
take charge of (someone or something)
- to take control of someone or somethingThe new supervisor quickly took charge of the staff in the fast food restaurant.
take down (something) or take (something) down
- to write or record something that is said at a meeting/lecture/discussionI took down many notes during the lecture last week.
take down (something) or take (something) down
- to take something apart, to pull something to piecesWe took down our tent when it began to rain.
take down (something) or take (something) down
- to remove something from an elevated placeI took down the picture in order to change the frame.
- to become legally operative, to beginThe new traffic laws took effect early last month.
take exception to (something)
- to speak against something, to find fault with something, to be angered by somethingThe man took exception to the fact that everyone was able to play golf well except him.
take first place
- to win something, to be the most importantThe boy took first place in the contest.
- to take a five-minute rest periodWe decided to take five before continuing with our work.
take great pains to do (something)
- to make a great effort to do somethingThe painters took great pains not to spill any paint on the carpet.
- to be encouraged, to feel brave and want to try somethingI took heart from my previous failure and decided to try again.
- to be cautiousIt is best to take heed when you are crossing the street.
take hold of (someone or something)
- to get in control of someone or somethingSomething seemed to take hold of the man and he began to act very strange.
take hold of (something)
- to grasp something, to grip something with the handsI took hold of the strap when I entered the train.
- to become sickThe woman took ill during her holiday and spent most of the time in her hotel.
take in money or take money in
- to receive or get moneyWe were able to take in a lot of money at the charity auction.
take in (someone) or take (someone) in
- to let someone come in, to admit someoneThe farmer took the couple in for the night after their car stopped working.
take in (someone) or take (someone) in
- to decieve someone, to fool someoneThe bad lawyer took in many people and took much of their money.
take in (someone) or take (someone) in
- to take someone to a police station for processingThe police took the man in for questioning.
take in (something) or take (something) in
- to go and see or visit somethingWe decided to take in a movie last night.
take in (something) or take (something) in
- to make something smallerThe tailor took in the waist of my suit pants and now they fit much better.
take in (something) or take (something) in
- to grasp something with the mindThe course was very difficult but I tried to take in as much as possible.
- to make an inventory list, to count the goods in a store or warehouseWe stayed late at our store to take inventory.
take issue with (someone about something)
- to argue strongly with someone about something, to dispute strongly with someone about somethingI decided to take issue with my supervisor when he began to change my schedule.
I took issue with something that my friend said and we had a big fight.
- to endure trouble or criticism or abuseMy friend is quite sensitive and cannot take it when I make a joke about him.
- to get an idea or impression, to understand something from what is said or done"I take it that you are not going to come to the graduation ceremony next week."
take it away
- to start up a performance"Let's take it away and get the music started."
take it easy
- to relaxI have been working hard recently. Now I will take it easy for a few days.
take it easy on (someone or something)
- to be gentle, to use less of something rather than moreI tried to take it easy on the sugar when I was making the fruit punch.
take it on the chin
- to be badly beaten or hurt, to accept trouble calmlyOur team took it on the chin at the baseball tournament last week.
take it or leave it
- to accept something or forget itThe customer was told to take it or leave it when he began to complain about the product.
take it out on (someone or something)
- to be unpleasant or unkind to someone because one is angry or upsetThe man has much stress at work but he is careful not to take it out on his friends or family.
take it slow
- to move or go slowlyI always take it slow when I am driving at night.
take it upon oneself (to do something)
- to undertake to do something, to make something one's responsibilityI decided to take it upon myself to fix the broken window in our apartment.
take its toll
- to cause loss or damageMy father's new job and the long hours have begun to take its toll on his health.
take kindly to (someone or something)
- to be pleased by someone or something, to be agreeable to someone or somethingThe man does not take kindly to people telling him how to run his business.
take leave of one's senses
- to become irrationalI think that my neighbor has taken leave of his senses. He has been acting very strange lately.
take liberties with (someone or something)
- to use or abuse someone or somethingThe girl is taking liberties with her friend by always borrowing her car.
- to go on one's lunch breakI plan to take lunch early today.
take no prisoners
- to be extremely determined to get what you want without caring about othersThe salesman takes no prisoners when he is trying to make an important sale.
The company is very aggressive and they take no prisoners when they enter a new market.
take no stock in (something)
- to pay no attention to somethingI usually take no stock in what my neighbor says.
take note of (something)
- to observe and remember somethingThe police are taking note of people who do any illegal business.
take notice of (something)
- to observe somethingThe city workers take notice of the businesses which do not follow the local garbage regulations.
- to depart suddenly or quickly, to run awayWe decided to take off when the concert ended.
- to leave (used for an airplane)The flight took off right on time.
take off after (someone or something)
- to begin to chase someone or somethingThe fox took off after the rabbit which jumped out of the hole.
take off clothes or shoes etc.
- to remove clothes or shoes etc."Please take off your shoes before you enter our house."
take off one's hat to (someone)
- to offer praise for someone's good accomplishmentsYou have to take off your hat to the person who organized the sporting event.
take off some time or take some time off
- to be absent from workI was sick and I had to take off a week from work.
take off weight or take weight off
- to decrease one's weightMy friend is trying to take off weight with her new diet.
take offense at (someone or something)
- to become resentful of someone or somethingThe audience took offense at the remarks by the comedian.
- to begin serving as an elected or appointed officialThe new mayor of the city is expected to take office next week.
take on (someone) or take (someone) on
- to give a job to someone, to hire or employ someoneThe factory took on fifty new employees last month.
take on (something) or take (something) on
- to begin to do something, to commit oneself to somethingRecently, my father has begun to take on too many things at work and he has become very tired.
I took on the extra work to make some more money.
take on (something) or take (something) on
- to load (something)The ship took on most of its cargo last week.
take on the look or appearance of (something)
- to begin to have the look of somethingMy friend has begun to take on the look of a university professor although he has only been working at the university for a short time.
take on too much or take too much on
- to undertake to do too much work or too many tasksMy aunt is taking on too much and is very tired recently.
take one's cue from (someone)
- to use another's behavior or reactions as a guide to one's ownThe musicians took their cue from the conductor when the orchestra performed the musical piece.
take one`s hat off to (someone)
- to admire/respect/praise someoneYou have to take your hat off to our boss. He has built his company from almost nothing.
take one's leave of (someone)
- to say goodbye to someone and leave (a formal old-fashioned expression)The Princess took her leave of the Queen and left the room.
take one's medicine
- to swallow one's medicineThe boy had to take his medicine before he went to bed.
take one's own life
- to kill oneself, to commit suicideThe young man took his own life several weeks ago.
take one`s own medicine
- to accept the punishment that one deserves for something without complainingThe man likes to criticize others but he can never take his own medicine when others criticize him.
take one`s time
- to do something without hurryingMy friend took his time to return the book that he had borrowed.
take one's vows
- to get married and take your wedding vows or make your wedding promisesThe couple took their vows at the courthouse in the small town.
take out a loan
- to get a loan of moneyI had to take out a loan to buy the car.
take out (someone) or take (someone) out
- to go on a date with someoneI finally had a chance to take out the new woman from my class last week.
take out (something) or take (something) out
- to remove something from somewhere, to extract somethingThe teacher asked us to take out our books.
I took out some onions from the refridgerator.
My dentist took out my tooth.
take over (something) or take (something) over
- to take control of something, to take command of somethingA large foreign company took over our company last month.
take pains to (do something)
- to work carefully and conscientiously at somethingI took pains to write a very important email.
take part in (something)
- to participate in something"Are you planning to take part in the seminar next week?"
take pity on (someone or something)
- to feel sorry for someone or somethingI took pity on the man who was begging and I gave him some money.
- to happen, to occurThe soccer game took place on the coldest day of the year.
take precedence over (someone or something)
- to have the right to come before someone or something elseThe rights of people who do not smoke often take precedence over the rights of smokers.
take pride in (something)
- to do something with prideThe couple take pride in their beautiful house.
take responsibility for (someone or something)
- to accept responsibility for (someone or something)My friend refuses to take responsibility for his problems.
- to begin to take hold or have effectGood manners are beginning to take root in the school children.
- to progress from some general idea or plan to something with definite shape or formThe plans for our school reunion are beginnning to take shape.
- to become illThe little boy took sick early last night.
- to support one side or the other side"You should not take sides in some arguments or both sides will be angry at you."
take (someone or something) at face value
- to take someone or something as it first appears to beI took the sign at face value and drove very slowly through the construction area.
take (someone) at his or her word
- to believe what someone says and act accordinglyI decided to take the woman at her word when she invited me to the concert.
take (someone's) breath away
- to overwhelm someone with beauty or grandeurThe beauty of the mountains took my breath away.
take (someone or somewhere) by storm
- to win the favor of someone or somewhere, to become popular with a group of peopleThe new rock band took the country by storm.
take (someone) by surprise
- to startle someone, to surprise someoneThe sudden resignation of the mayor took everyone by surprise.
take (someone) down a notch/peg or two
- to reprimand or scold someone who is acting arrogant, to make someone less proud or sure of himself or herselfThe manager took the secretary down a notch or two with his criticism of her work.
take (someone) for a fool
- to assume that someone is stupidThe salesman tried to take me for a fool when he tried to sell me the old car.
take (someone) for a ride
- to play a trick on or fool someone, to take unfair advantage of someoneThe used car salesman took me for a ride. The car that I bought is not very good.
take (someone) for an idiot
- to assume that someone is stupidThe man takes me for an idiot and thinks that I do not know anything.
take (someone) for granted
- to accept someone without gratitude or as a matter of courseEverybody takes the office clerk for granted and nobody ever thanks her.
take (someone) for (someone or something)
- to mistake someone for someone or somethingThe man took the boy for a robber and called the police.
take (someone) hostage
- to kidnap or seize someone to be a hostageThe bank robbers took several people hostage during the bank robbery.
take (someone) into one's confidence
- to tell a secret to someone and trust that person to keep the secretThe bank manager took the customer into his confidence and told him about the banking problems.
take (someone's) part
- to take a side in an argumentMy friend always takes my part when I am having an argument with someone.
take (someone's) pulse
- to measure the beats of a person's pulseThe doctor took the patient's pulse when she arrived at the hospital.
take (someone or something) seriously
- to think that someone or something is importantThe principal did not take the suggestion of the teacher seriously.
take (someone) to task
- to scold someone for something that they have done wrongThe supervisor took me to task for arriving late for work.
take (someone) to the cleaners
- to take or win all of someone`s money, to cheat someoneThe salesman took the woman to the cleaners when he sold her the bad product.
The man went to the casino and was taken to the cleaners by the card dealers.
take (someone) under one`s wing/wings
- to protect and help someoneThe supervisor took the new employee under his wing and began to teach him about the company.
take (someone) up on (something)
- to take advantage of someone's offer of somethingI took my friend up on his offer to let me borrow his new car.
take (someone or something) wrong
- to misunderstand someone or somethingThe man took what I said wrong and became very angry.
- to endure somethingI find it very difficult to take the woman's constant complaining.
take (something) by storm
- to capture something by a sudden or very bold attackThe army took the town by storm and was able to capture all of the enemy soldiers.
take (something) for granted
- to assume that something is a certain way or is correct"I took it for granted that you knew him. That is why I did not introduce you."
take (something) in stride
- to accept good or bad luck and continue onThe boxer took his loss in stride and began to prepare for his next fight.
take (something) into account
- to remember and consider something"Please take into account the fact that the girl has only been studying French for a few weeks."
take (something) lying down
- to endure something unpleasant without fighting backI am very angry and will not take what he says lying down.
take (something) on faith
- to accept or believe something with little or no evidenceI took it on faith that the friend of my boss was an honest person.
take (something) on the chin
- to experience and endure a direct blow or assaultThe man always takes things on the chin and he never complains.
take (something) out on (someone or something)
- to direct one's anger or fear onto someone or somethingThe woman often takes her anger out on her husband.
take (something) personally
- to interpret a remark as if it were meant for oneself or critical of oneselfI wish that my colleague would not take everything that I say personally.
take (something) the wrong way
- to understand something as wrong or insultingThe waiter took my comments the wrong way and became angry.
take (something) to heart
- to consider something seriouslyYou should not really take what he says to heart. He is really very kind.
take (something) to one's grave
- to carry a secret with you until you dieThe woman plans to take the secret about her sister to her grave.
take (something) to the bank
- to have or do something that is a sure thing, to do or have something that you can count on no matter what happensThe business proposal is a sure thing. You can take it to the bank.
take (something) up with (someone)
- to raise and discuss a matter with someoneOur supervisor plans to take the issue of overtime up with the senior managers.
take (something) with a grain of salt
- to not take something that someone has said seriouslyYou can take everything that our teacher says with a grain of salt.
take steps to (prevent or do something)
- to begin to make plans or arrangements for something, to make preparations for somethingOur company has begun to take steps to stop people from smoking in the office building.
- to count items of merchandise or supplies that are in stock, to take inventoryThe store will be closed next week while the company is taking stock.
take stock in (something)
- to have faith in something, to believe in something (usually used in the negative)The woman took no stock in her manager's crazy ideas.
take stock of (something)
- to carefully study a situation or a number of possibilities or opportunitiesAfter taking stock of the situation the man decided to quit his company.
take that tack
- to take a course of action or do something that is different from the preceding course of actionI decided to take that tack when I realized that I was making no progress with my previous plans.
take the bitter with the sweet
- to accept the bad things together with the good thingsYou have to take the bitter with the sweet when you are an athlete.
take the bull by the horns
- to take some kind of actionMy aunt decided to take the bull by the horns and started to plan the family reunion.
take the cake
- to be the best or the worstThe woman's manners take the cake. They are very bad.
take the day off
- to choose not to go to work for one dayI decided to take the day off because I was feeling bad.
take the easy way out
- to aviod dealing directly with a problem/difficulty/situationThe boy always takes the easy way out when he has a problem.
take the edge off (something)
- to lessen or weaken or soften somethingWe had a drink of hot chocolate to take the edge off the cold weather.
take the Fifth
- to hide behind the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees any witness the right not to incriminate himself or herself while testifying at a trialThe man decided to take the Fifth rather than tell all of the facts at the trial.
take the heat off (someone or something)
- to decrease the pressure on someone or something, to reduce the amount of pressure or criticism that you have to deal withThe teacher changed the deadline for the project. That takes the heat off me and I can relax.
The top official left the government because of the scandal. This took the heat off the government.
take the high road
- to do the right thing, to act in a polite manner even if you do not want toMy friend was very rude to me but I decided to take the high road and not say anything.
The politician never criticizes his opponents. He always takes the high road.
take the initiative to (do something)
- to decide to do something although one has not been asked to do itI decided to take the initiative to organize a dinner for my friend who was leaving to go to a different university.
take the law into one's own hands
- to attempt to administer the law oneselfThe citizens took the law into their own hands when they arrested the man who had cut down the tree.
take the liberty of (doing something) or take the liberty to (do something)
- to do something without asking for permissionI sometimes take the liberty to use my friend's computer without asking him.
I took the liberty of eating some food from my friend's refridgerator.
take the plunge
- to do something decisive (such as getting married)My friend will take the plunge and get married next year.
take the rap for (someone or something)
- to receive punishment for something, to be accused and punished for something, to receive punishment in place of someone elseThe owner of the restaurant was forced to take the rap for permitting underage workers to work at night.
take the stand
- to go and sit in the witness chair in a courtroomThe star witness will take the stand in the trial tomorrow.
take the starch out of (someone)
- to make someone less arrogant, to make someone tired and weakThe criticism by the teacher took the starch out of the girl who thought that she was the best in the class.
take the trouble to (do something)
- to make an effort to do somethingMy grandmother always takes the trouble to phone us on our birthdays.
take the wind out of one's sails
- to become discouraged and lose one's enthusiasmIt took the wind out of my sails when I was told that I was not doing a good job.
take the words out of (someone`s) mouth
- to say something that someone else was going to sayThe man took the words out of my mouth when he answered the question.
take time off
- to not work for a period of timeI plan to take time off next week so that I can go to a funeral.
take to one's heels
- to run awayThe young boys took to their heels when the man came out of the building.
take to (someone or something)
- to like someone or something at first meeting, to be pleased by or attracted to someone or something, to accept someone or something quicklyThe team took to the new coach immediately and did very well during the season.
take to (something)
- to begin the work or job of something, to learn something easily, to do well at somethingThe man took to the job of administrator and was a great success.
take to the woods
- to run away and hideThe man decided to take to the woods rather than wait to talk to his angry wife.
take turns (doing something)
- to do something in turns, to do something alternately with othersWe had to take turns using the dictionary because there was only one.
take umbrage at (something)
- to feel that one has been insulted by somethingThe man took umbrage at the comments that were directed at him by his supervisor.
take up a collection
- to gather something together, to collect somethingWe decided to take up a collection in order to get money to repair the old building.
take up arms against (someone or something)
- to get ready to fight or make warThe citizens of the small country were not willing to take up arms to change their government.
take up (clothes) or take (clothes) up
- to make a skirt/dress/pants shorterI went back to the department store to ask them to take up my suit pants.
take up (something) or take (something) up
- to begin an activity or hobbyMy father has much free time and has decided to take up fishing as a hobby.
take up (something) with (someone)
- to consult with someone about somethingWe will take up the scheduling problem with our boss.
take up (space or room)
- to fill a space or room, to occupy space or roomThe old chairs are taking up space in the garage.
take up (time)
- to fill or occupy time, to waste someone's timeBuilding model airplanes takes up most of my friend's time.
take up where one left off
- to start something again in the place that one has stoppedWe will take up where we left off during the next class.
take up with (someone)
- to become a friend or companion to someoneMy cousin has taken up with a very strange group of people.
- to be unpleasantly surprised, to be suddenly puzzled or shocked or confusedI was taken aback when the woman said that she did not want to work for our company any longer.
taken for dead
- to be assumed to be deadThe men in the coal mine were taken for dead after there was no contact for several days.
talk a blue streak
- to talk very much and very rapidlyThe woman who sat behind me in the airplane talked a blue streak.
talk back to (someone)
- to answer someone rudelyThe woman is very strict and never allows her children to talk back to her.
- to talk boastfully, to bragThe man is always talking big but nobody believes what he says.
talk down to (someone)
- to use words or ideas that make you seem smarter or better than othersI do not like that woman because she always talks down to the people around her.
talk in circles
- to talk in a confusing or roundabout mannerOur boss was talking in circles for most of the meeting.
the talk of (somewhere)
- the subject of conversations somewhereThe new theater production is the talk of the city.
talk oneself out
- to talk until one can talk no moreI met my friend at the coffee shop and we talked ourselves out.
talk out (a problem)
- to discuss something until everything is agreed upon, to settle somethingWe stayed up late last night and talked out the problem.
talk over (something) or talk (something) over
- to discuss something, to consider somethingThe girl talked over the problem with her mother.
- to talk about things related to one`s workEverybody at the company gathering agreed not to talk shop during the dinner.
talk (someone) down in price
- to convince someone to lower the price of somethingI was able to talk the man down in price when I was buying the stereo.
talk (someone's) ear off
- to speak too much, to talk to someone and bore themThe man in the bank talked my ear off.
talk (someone's) head off
- to speak too much, to talk to someone and bore themMy friend always talks my head off when I meet him.
talk (someone) into (doing something)
- to persuade someone to agree to do something, to persuade someone to do somethingMy friend talked her father into lending her the family car.
talk (someone) out of (doing something)
- to persuade someone not to do something, to persuade someone to give something upI spent an hour yesterday trying to talk my friend out of quitting his job.
talk through one`s hat
- to make exaggerated or inaccurate statements about somethingThe man always talks through his hat and you never know if you can believe him or not.
- to discuss something seriously"Now you`re talking turkey. Let`s finish and go home."
talk until one is blue in the face
- to talk until one is exhaustedI talked until I was blue in the face but still my supervisor would not let me take a day off from work.
talk up (someone or something)
- to speak in favor of someone or somethingThe manager was talking up the new product during the meeting.
to be talked out
- to be tired of talking, to be unable to talk anymore after talking for a long timeI was talked out and had little to say for the rest of the dinner party.
- a very difficult task or requirementIt will be a tall order for our team to win the championship this year. They are very weak.
I have no time so it will be a tall order for me to finish my project on time.
tamper with (something)
- to attempt to alter or change somethingSomeone tampered with the lock on the storage locker room.
tan (someone`s) hide
- to give someone a beating, to spank someone hardThe boy`s mother threatened to tan his hide if he did not behave himself.
- to come to an end little by little, to become smaller toward the endThe rain began to taper off early in the afternoon.
tar and feather (someone)
- to punish someone severelyThe teacher said that she would tar and feather anyone who did not do their homework.
tar (someone) with the same brush
- to say that someone or something has the same bad qualities as someone or something elseThe newspapers tarred the president of the company with the same brush as the bad managers of the company.
The boy was tarred with the same brush as his bad friends.
task (someone) with (something)
- to give an assignment to someone, to assign a task to someoneMy friend was tasked with finishing the project before he could go home.
The students were tasked with cleaning the classroom.
a taste of (something)
- an experience of something, an example of somethingI was able to get a taste of playing tennis while I was on my holiday.
a taste of things to come
- a sample of the events that are to occur in the futureThe tax increase is a taste of things to come with the new government.
- spend freely and tax heavilyThe government has a tax-and-spend attitude that many people do not like.
teach one's grandmother to suck eggs
- to try to tell someone with more knowledge than yourself how to do somethingShowing the computer expert how to fix the computer problem was like teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.
teach (someone) a lesson
- to get even with someone for their bad behaviorI plan to teach my friend a lesson for not telephoning me to cancel our appointment.
- the teacher's favorite studentMy sister was always the teacher's pet when she was in school.
- someone who works well with others to achieve some goalThe man is a team player and works well with the other members of the staff.
team up with (someone)
- to join with someoneI teamed up with a good friend to try and raise money for the concert.
tear down (someone) or tear (someone) down
- to say bad things about someone, to criticize someoneThe audience tore down the speaker after he finished his lecture.
tear down (something) or tear (something) down
- to take something down, to destroy somethingThe city decided to tear down the building because it was unsafe.
tear into (someone or something)
- to criticize and scold someone, to attack someone or somethingThe supervisor tore into the employee for being late.
- to leave or depart in a great hurryThe boy suddenly tore off when school was over.
tear one's hair out
- to be anxious/frustrated/angryThe family members are tearing their hair out while they wait for news of their lost son.
tear up (someone) or tear (someone) up
- to cause someone much griefThe criminal activities of her son are tearing up the mother.
tear up (something) or tear (something) up
- to tear something up into small pieces, to tear something into partsThe child tore up the new telephone book.
- difficulties and problems experienced in the early stages of a project or activityOur new business is having many teething problems that we are trying to solve.
- difficulties and problems experienced in the early stages of a project or activityThere were lots of teething troubles as the school changed to the new computer system.
tell apart (two things or people) or tell (two things or people) apart
- to distinguish between two things or peopleIt is hard to tell the two sisters apart.
tell it like it is
- to be honest or sincere, to tell the truthOur boss always tells it like it is when he talks about the future of the company.
Tell it to the marines.
- I do not believe you, stop trying to fool meMy friend said that she was going to start her own business. I told her to tell it to the marines.
Tell it to Sweeney.
- I do not believe you, stop trying to fool me"Tell it to Sweeney," I said to my friend when he began talking about his plans.
tell on (someone)
- to reveal the activities or wrongdoings of someone by telling othersThe girl told on her brother for eating the cake.
tell (someone) a thing or two
- to scold someone, to express one's anger to someoneThe woman became angry and began to tell her neighbor a thing or two.
tell (someone) off or tell off (someone)
- to speak angrily or complain to someoneWe told our neighbors off after their music was too loud.
tell (someone) to his or her face
- to tell something to someone directlyI plan to tell my friend to his face about the problems that he caused.
tell (someone) where to get off
- to scold someone, to express one's anger to someoneI told the man where to get off when he complained about us for no reason.
- to report the correct time, to be able to read time from a clock or watchThe child is now learning to tell time.
a tempest in a teapot
- great excitement about something that is not very importantThe problem was a tempest in a teapot and after a few days everyone forgot about it.
- I understand you."Ten-four," the man said when his friend asked him if he could hear him.
- to be in a state of suspense or strain because of uncertaintyWe have been on tenterhooks all week while we wait for the court decision.
test market a product
- to research whether or not a product will be successful by selling it in a particular market or by choosing people to use the product for a specified period of time and receiving comments from themThe computer company will begin to test market their new computer in several cities soon.
test the water
- to check to see if a plan will be successful before proceeding with the plan (some swimmers like to test the water temperature before jumping in)The company plans to test the water before they introduce their new product.
a textbook example/case of (something)
- a very clear and usual example of a situation or event or typeThe company provided a textbook example of how to deal with the problem.
The fire was terrible but the fire department gave us a textbook case of how to stop that type of fire.
thank one's lucky stars
- to be thankful for one's good luckI thanked my lucky stars that I was not hurt in the car accident.
thankful for small blessings
- to be grateful for any small benefits or advantages that one hasI am thankful for small blessings when I think of the health of my friends and family.
thanks to (someone or something)
- owing to someone or somethingThanks to my friend, I will not have to do as much work as I had thought.
That's all she wrote.
- that is all"That's all she wrote," I said after I told my friend the story.
that will be the day
- something will probably never happen"That will be the day when you are in charge of managing the restaurant."
then and there
- right at that time and placeOur teacher told us then and there that she would not permit our behavior.
- to be dumb, to be unreasonableMy colleague is a little thick and never understands what I want to say.
- to be not easily upset or hurt, to be insensitiveThe salesman is thick-skinned and is never bothered when he loses a sale or receives criticism.
thin on top
- to be losing one's hairThe manager of our apartment building is a little thin on top.
- to be easily upset or hurt, to be too sensitiveMy friend is very thin-skinned and is easily bothered by what other people say.
think a great deal of (someone or something)
- to like or think well of someone or somethingEverybody thinks a great deal of the new company president.
think a lot of (someone or something)
- to like or think well of someone or somethingMy grandmother thinks a lot of her grandchildren.
think back on (someone or something)
- to remember and think about someone or something in one's pastWhen I think back on my school days I always remember my favorite teacher.
think better of (doing something)
- to think about something again and make a better decision regarding itI would think better of going to Europe in the winter if I go there again.
think highly of (someone or something)
- to like or think well of someone or somethingThe citizens think highly of the new top judge.
think inside the box
- to think in a traditional way using old ideas or rules or practicesMost people in our company think inside the box and there are few new ideas.
think little of (someone or something)
- to think that someone or something is not important or valuableThe woman is not very happy and she thinks little of the people she works with.
think much of (someone or something)
- to like or think well of someone or somethingEverybody thinks much of the new manager.
I do not think much of our new supervisor.
think nothing of (something)
- to not worry or be concerned about somethingMy friend thinks nothing of spending most of his money in one evening.
think on one's feet
- to be able to think and react quickly to something (often this is done under pressure)I had to think on my feet when the flood waters began to approach my house.
think out loud
- to say out loud what one is thinking"I am sorry. I was thinking out loud."
think out (something) or think (something) out
- to plan or consider something carefully until you have a solution/conclusionWe must think out where we will put our new sofa.
think outside the box
- to think freely not using old ideas or rules or practicesThe consultant told us to think outside the box if we wanted to rebuild our company.
think over (something) or think (something) over
- to consider something carefullyI carefully thought over my plans before talking to my supervisor.
think (someone or something) fit for (something)
- to believe that someone or something is suitable for somethingEverybody thinks that the man is fit for the job that he has been assigned to do.
think the world of (someone or something)
- to be very fond of someone or somethingThe woman thinks the world of the little girl who lives next door.
think twice (about something)
- to think very carefully about something"You should think twice before you quit your job."
think up (an excuse or idea)
- to invent or create an excuse or ideaOur boss has thought up many interesting ideas for our company.
- detailed questioningThe boy's mother gave him the third degree when he came home late from school.
thirst for (something)
- a craving or desire for something, to thirst or crave somethingThe woman thirsts for the life that she was previously living.
She has a thirst for her previous life.
thirsty for (something)
- to crave or desire somethingThe young boy is thirsty for knowledge.
a thorn in (someone's) side
- a constant bother or annoyance to someoneThe reporter is a thorn in the politician's side.
those three little words
- the three words "I love you"After several months of dating, the man said those three little words to his girlfriend.
thrash (something) out or thrash out (something)
- to discuss something thoroughly in order to solve any problemsWe spent the meeting thrashing out the new plan.
thread (one's way) through (something)
- to make a path for oneself through a crowded areaThe shopping mall was crowded but we were able to thread our way through the crowd of people.
three sheets to the wind
- to be unsteady from drinking too much alcohol, to be drunkI saw my neighbor walking down the street last night. He seemed to have three sheets to the wind.
thrill (someone) to death
- to please or excite someone very muchI was thrilled to death when they chose me for an important part in the play.
thrill (someone) to pieces
- to please or excite someone very muchThe music that they played at the wedding thrilled me to pieces.
through and through
- completelyI was wet through and through after walking in the heavy rain.
through hell and high water
- through all sorts of severe difficultiesI went through hell and high water to complete the report on time.
through the grapevine
- from other peopleI heard it through the grapevine that my boss will move to Paris next summer.
through the mill
- to experience a difficult situationThe man has been through the mill recently with his divorce and loss of job.
through thick and thin
- through all difficulties and troubles, through good times and bad timesThe woman's husband is always ready to help her and supports her through thick and thin.
throw a fit
- to become very angryThe boy's mother threw a fit when she heard about his problems at school.
throw a monkey wrench into the works
- to cause something that is going smoothly to stop going smoothlyMy friend threw a monkey wrench into our plans to go to the lake for the summer.
throw a party (for someone) or throw (someone) a party
- to give or hold a party for someoneWe plan to throw a party for our boss next week.
throw away a chance
- to fail to make use of a chance or opportunityMy cousin threw away a chance to get a good education when he quit school to work.
throw away an opportunity
- to fail to make use of a chance or opportunityThe man threw away the opportunity to have a good relationship with his boss because of his constant complaints.
throw away (something) or throw (something) away
- to discard something, to dispose of somethingI plan to throw away my old jacket tomorrow.
throw caution to the wind
- to become very carelessI will throw caution to the wind and tell my boss about my complaints about the company.
throw cold water on (something)
- to discourage or forbid somethingMy boss threw cold water on my plan to go to New York City on a business trip.
throw down the gauntlet
- to challenge someone to a fight or to do somethingThe government threw down the gauntlet to the opposition party and told them to stop criticizing their policies without suggesting an alternative.
throw good money after bad
- to waste additional money after already wasting money on the same thingWe were throwing good money after bad when we continued to repair our old car.
throw in one`s lot with (someone or something)
- to take part in something, to join someone or somethingWe decided to throw in our lot with the workers who were on strike.
throw in (something) or throw (something) in
- to give or add something as an additionWhen we bought our car the car dealer threw in some new tires as a bonus.
throw in the towel
- to quit, to surrender, to give upThe boxer threw in the towel about halfway through the match.
throw light on (something)
- to make something clearer or easier to understandThe speaker helped to throw light on the difficult subject.
The city government was not able to throw light on the problem with the bridge.
throw off an illness
- to recover from a sicknessI was able to throw off my cold and quickly recover.
throw off (someone) or throw (someone) off
- to mislead or confuse or fool someoneThe criminals threw off the police and ran into the subway.
throw one's hands up in despair
- to raise one's hands making a sign of giving up, to give upI threw my hands up in despair and said that I could no longer work on the project.
throw one's hands up in horror
- to be shocked, to raise one's hands in horrorThe woman threw her hands up in horror when she saw the accident.
throw one's hat into the ring
- to announce that you are running for an elected office, to enter a contest or agree to a challengeThe mayor threw his hat into the ring and decided to run for president.
throw one's voice
- to project one's voice so that it seems to be coming from some other placeThe man learned how to throw his voice when he was a teenager.
throw one`s weight around
- to use one`s influence and power in an aggressive way in order to get what you wantOur boss has been throwing his weight around since he got his promotion.
The woman likes to throw her weight around and nobody likes her.
throw oneself at (someone)
- to give oneself willingly to someone for romanceThe woman in the movie threw herself at the hero of the story.
throw oneself at (someone's) feet
- to behave in a very humble mannerThe man threw himself at his friend's feet and asked for forgiveness for the problems that he had caused.
throw oneself at/on the mercy of the court
- to plead for mercy from a judge in a courtroomThe man who robbed the bank decided to throw himself at the mercy of the court.
throw out (someone) or throw (someone) out
- to force someone to leave, to dismiss someoneThe umpire threw out the coach for arguing with him.
throw out (something) or throw (something) out
- to discard something, to get rid of somethingI plan to throw out my old desk.
throw out (something) or throw (something) out
- to refuse to consider something, to reject somethingThe judge threw the case out of court.
throw some light on (something)
- to reveal something about somethingThe investigation did not throw any light on the problem of food safety.
- to confuse someone slightlyIt threw me when I saw the new salesman.
throw (someone) a curve (ball)
- to surprise someone by doing something unexpected, to pitch a curve ball to someone in baseballThe lawyer threw the witness a curve with his very complex questions.
throw (someone) for a loop
- to confuse or shock someoneThe complaints from my colleague at work threw me for a loop.
throw (someone) for a loss
- to cause someone to be uncertain or confusedThe man's question threw me for a loss and I could not reply.
throw (someone) off (someone's) trail
- to cause someone to lose the trail (when following someone or something)The criminals were able to throw the police off their trail and they escaped easily.
throw (someone's) name around
- to impress people by saying that you know a famous or important personThe salesman often throws the names of important people around.
throw (someone) out on his or her ear
- to make someone leave a place such as an office or restaurantThe restaurant threw the man out on his ear for causing problems.
throw (someone) to the wolves
- to send someone into danger without protectionThe coach threw the boy to the wolves when he joined the older players.
throw (something) into the bargain
- to include something in a dealThe owner of the store threw some DVD's into the bargain when I purchased a DVD player.
throw (something) together or throw together (something)
- to make something in a hurry and without careWe did not have much time last night so we threw together a quick meal.
throw the baby out with the bathwater
- to reject all of something including the good because part of it is badWhen they discarded all of the computers because one was broken it was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Only one was broken.
throw the book at (someone)
- to punish someone severely for breaking a rule or the lawThe judge threw the book at the man after he was convicted of robbing a bank.
throw together (people) or throw (people) together
- to group people together by chanceWe were thrown together with a variety of people when the train stopped for six hours.
- to vomitThe man threw up two times after he got food poisoning from the seafood.
throw up one`s hands (in defeat)
- to give up trying, to admit that one cannot succeedThe professor threw up his hands and decided to let the students go home early.
throw up (something) or throw (something) up
- to erect or construct something quicklyThe construction company threw up the building very quickly.
thrust and parry
- to compete actively with someone, to enter into verbal combat with someone (this idiom comes from the sport of fencing)It was thrust and parry for the two candidates during the debate.
thumb a lift
- to hitchhikeOur car had a flat tire so I thumbed a lift to the nearest gas station.
thumb a ride
- to hitchhikeThe young man stood at the side of the road to try and thumb a ride.
thumb one`s nose at (someone or something)
- to look with disfavor or dislike at someone or somethingThe star player thumbed his nose at the fans when they began to yell at him.
thumb through (something)
- to look through a book/magazine/newspaper without reading it carefullyI thumbed through several magazines while I was waiting for the dentist.
- a short description of someone or somethingThe new book included a thumbnail sketch of the author.
thumbs down on (someone or something)
- to be opposed to someone or somethingMy boss told me to vote thumbs down on the proposal that was presented at the meeting.
thumbs up on (someone or something)
- to be in favor of someone or somethingEverybody voted thumbs up for a new holiday in the winter.
- to be very happyThe man was tickled pink to receive a prize for growing the best flowers.
tickle (someone's) fancy
- to interest someone, to make someone curiousGoing to the restaurant did not tickle my fancy so I stayed home.
tide is turning
- the tide changed from high tide to low tide or vice versa, the trend changed from one thing to another thingThe tide is turning so we will go out to the ocean in the boat later.
The tide is turning and many people are becoming angry with the city government.
tide (someone) over or tide over (someone)
- to help someone through a difficult situation, to last until someone can get more of somethingI gave my friend some money to tide him over until he gets paid.
I ate an apple to tide me over until lunch.
tie down (someone) or tie (someone) down
- to keep someone from going somewhere or doing something, to limit or restrict someone's freedom to do somethingThe project tied my father down for three months.
A family and a big mortgage tied the man down.
tie down (something) or tie (something) down
- to make something secure and unable to move by securing it with rope etc.We tied down the pieces of wood on top of the car.
tie in (something) with (something) or tie (something) in with (something)
- to connect something with something elseThe merchandise was tied in with the movie and had very good sales.
tie (someone) up in knots
- to make someone very nervous or worriedMy colleague was tied up in knots before the speech at the convention.
tie (someone's) hands
- to prevent someone from doing somethingThe court system ties the police department's hands when they try to enforce some laws.
tie the knot
- to get marriedThe couple decided to tie the knot after dating for three years.
tie up (a boat) or tie (a boat) up
- to dock a boat or shipWe tied up our boat at the pier when the storm came.
tie up (someone) or tie (someone) up
- to take all of someone's timeThe meeting tied up the manager so she was unable to answer the phone.
tie up (something) or tie (something) up
- to limit or prevent the use of somethingAll of my uncle's money is tied up in real estate investments.
tie up (traffic)
- to slow down traffic, to cause road traffic to stopThe accident tied up traffic for two hours last night.
tie up with (someone or something)
- to enter into an association or partnership with someone or somethingOur company will tie up with a company from Sweden to make the pollution equipment.
tied to one's mother's apron strings
- to be dominated or dependent on one's motherThe boy is tied to his mother's apron strings and he does not want to leave home.
- to be busyI was tied up yesterday and did not have enough time to telephone my friend.
- a difficult situationWe are in a very tight spot since the top salesman quit.
- a difficult financial situationOur company is in a tight squeeze now that sales are down from last year.
tighten one`s belt
- to economize, to spend less moneyI will have to tighten my belt until the economy improves.
tightfisted with money
- to not want to spend any moneyThe man is very tightfisted with money and he never likes to spend it.
tilt at windmills
- to fight battles with imaginary or unimportant enemies or issuesMy friend is tilting at windmills by fighting his company for no good reason.
time after time
- repeatedlyThe teacher told the student time after time to be careful with her spelling.
time and a half
- one and a half times one's regular wages that one receives for working past one's normal hoursThe supermarket workers receive time and a half when they work on Saturday.
time and again
- repeatedlyThe man was asked time and again to move his car.
time and time again
- repeatedly, over and overThe teacher told the students time and time again that they must do their homework.
- time passes very quicklyTime flies and suddenly summer was over and autumn had begun.
the time is ripe (for something)
- exactly the right time has come for somethingThe time is ripe to start teaching our child how to brush his teeth.
the time of one`s life
- a wonderful timeMy cousin had the time of her life when she went to Rome last summer.
- free time when one does not have to workI had some time off last week and I was able to do some extra reading.
- the time when a game or other event is temporarily stopped for some reasonDuring the game we took some time out to rest.
time to catch one's breath
- enough time to relax and behave normallyI did not have time to catch my breath because I was working hard all morning.
time was (when)
- at a time in the past when something happenedTime was when everybody in our town kept their doors unlocked all of the time.
a tin ear for (something)
- the inability to judge the value of music, an insensitivity to musicThe woman has a tin ear for music and she is not a good singer at all.
tip of the iceberg
- the small visible part of something much largerThe problem was the tip of the iceberg to a much larger problem.
tip (someone) off or tip off (someone)
- to warn or inform someone about somethingThe bank tipped off the police that there may be a robbery soon.
tip the balance
- to have important or decisive influence, to decide somethingThe man's ability to speak French tipped the balance in his favor to get the job at the embassy.
tip the scales at (something)
- to weigh a certain amountThe wrestler tipped the scales at over 200 kilograms.
tire (someone) out or tire out (someone)
- to make someone very tiredThe climb up the stairs tired the elderly woman out.
- very tiredMy father was tired out after working hard all day.
tit for tat
- equal treatment in return for something, something that you do to punish someone who has done something bad to you or something that you do not likeThe man has a tit-for-tat arrangement with his friend. They will both help each other when they need help.
There were several killings between the two gangs. It was always tit for tat between them.
The government policy was tit for tat to any attacks against its territory.
to a fault
- to do something so very well or to be something so good that it is almost badMy friend is honest to a fault and will not say anything unless it is the absolute truth.
to a great extent
- mainly, largelyTo a great extent, everybody in the town has been informed of the new parking regulations.
to a large extent
- mainly, largelyWe know to a large extent, how many people plan to attend the conference.
to a T
- perfectly, exactlyThe new job fits me to a T.
to and fro
- from one place to another and then back again, back and forthWe went to and fro between the two items as we tried to decide what to buy.
to be on the safe side
- to be safe, to be cautious, to be very well preparedI decided to take my umbrella to school to be on the safe side.
to be safe
- to be cautious, to be carefulI took some extra money out of the bank just to be safe and have enough money for the weekend.
to be sure
- without a doubt, certainly"To be sure it would be better to talk to the store manager rather than the clerk."
to beat the band
- very much, very fastWe were working hard to beat the band in order to finish our work early and go home.
- in addition, alsoOur hot water tank is not working and to boot our kitchen stove is also having problems.
- until the present timeTo date there is no indication that the workers will negotiate a new contract.
- to be under controlThe army brought the citizens to heel when they entered the town.
to hell and gone
- very much gone, gone to hellThe situation was already to hell and gone when the manager arrived at the office.
to no avail
- with no effect, unsuccessfulMy complaints to the company were to no avail and nothing was done.
to one's heart's content
- as much as one wantsI used the video camera to my heart's content before I had to return it to my friend.
to one`s name
- in one`s ownershipThe man is a very good dresser although he does not have a penny to his name.
- according to a buyer's specifications regarding size or color etc.I bought three suits which were made to order when I visited Hong Kong last year.
- into broken pieces or fragments, destroyed, not workingMy car fell to pieces during my recent trip.
- very much, greatlyThe man loves his little girl to pieces.
to put it mildly
- to understate something, to say something politelyTo put it mildly, the food at the restaurant was the worst that I have ever tasted.
to say nothing of (someone or something)
- to not even mention the importance of someone or somethingThe hotel itself was very expensive to say nothing of the cost of the hotel restaurant.
to say the least
- at the very least, without dwelling on the subjectTo say the least, I am tired after walking all day.
to some extent
- to some degree, partlyMy answer to the professor's question was correct to some extent but it was not what the professor wanted.
to (someone's) liking
- in a way that pleases someoneThe cook in my favorite restaurant always cooks the food exactly to my liking.
to (someone's) way of thinking
- in someone's opinionTo my way of thinking we should not spend any more money on the new project.
to speak of
- important, worth talking aboutWe did not do anything to speak of during our summer vacation.
to the best of one's ability
- as well as one is ableI always play sports to the best of my ability.
to the best of one's knowledge
- as far as one knows, from one's knowledgeTo the best of my knowledge there have been no telephone calls for me today.
to the bitter end
- to the very endWe stayed to the bitter end and watched our team lose very badly to the other team.
to the bone
- thoroughly, entirelyI became wet to the bone during the heavy rain.
to the contrary
- contrary to what has been stated or thoughtEverybody thought that the boy was bored at the dinner but to the contrary he was quite interested.
to the core
- all the way through, basicallyThe local government is corrupt to the core and everybody wants the mayor to leave office.
to the ends of the earth
- to the most remote and most inaccessible points on the earthMy professor went to the ends of the earth to find material for his university thesis.
to the extent that
- to the degree that, in so far as"To the extent that I am able, I will be happy to help you."
to the eye
- as it is seen, apparentlyTo the eye, the hotel looked very nice but when we entered it, it was not very good at all.
to the full
- very much, fullyMy father always tries to live his life to the full.
to the hilt
- to the maximum amount, completelyMy friend has been in debt to the hilt since he bought his new car.
to the last
- to the end, to the conclusionWe stayed at the party to the last and then helped clean the hall.
to the letter
- exactly, preciselyThe police officer always follows the law to the letter.
to the nth degree
- to the greatest degree possible, extremelyWe made an effort to the nth degree but we were unable to successfully complete the project.
to the tune of (an amount of money)
- to the amount or extent of an amount of moneyThe damage that he did to his car was to the tune of about $2,000.
to the wall
- into a place from which there is no escapeThe credit agency pushed the man to the wall and he finally had to declare bankruptcy.
to whom it may concern
- to the person to whom something appliesI do not know the name of the sales manager so I will address the letter, "to whom it may concern."
- namely, that is to sayThere were several important people at the dinner; to wit, the mayor, the city manager, and the chief financial officer of the city.
toe the line
- to obey the rules and do what one is expected to doThe children were forced to toe the line when the new teacher arrived.
toe the mark
- to obey the rules and do what one is expected to doEverybody on the team must toe the mark.
- in close and direct confrontation or competition with someone, in close combat with someoneThe two men went toe-to-toe in their debate.
toing and froing (about something)
- to be moving back and forth on an issue, to be changing one's mind about somethingMy father and mother have been toing and froing for several weeks about whether or not they will go to Europe for a holiday.
tone (something) down or tone down (something)
- to make something less harsh or strong, to moderate somethingThe union leader was forced to tone down his language after the strike became violent.
tongue in cheek
- jokingly, insincerely, mockingly, not really meaning somethingThe comment by our teacher was tongue in cheek and she did not mean it.
- worthy of sorrow or regretIt is too bad that the university decided to close the bookstore last year.
too big for one`s boots
- to feel more important than one really isMy friend is too big for his boots and thinks that he is very important.
too big for one`s britches
- to feel more important than one really isOur new boss is too big for his britches. He needs to change his behavior.
too clever by half
- to be very confident of your own intelligence but in a way that irritates other peopleMy friend is too clever by half. He thinks that he knows everything which is very annoying.
too close for comfort
- to be dangerously closeThe edge of the road was too close for comfort so I moved my car away from it.
too good to be true
- to be almost unbelievableThe offer was too good to be true and I did not believe that it was possible.
too many irons in the fire
- to have too many things that you are trying to doMy friend has too many irons in the fire at the moment and has no time for other things.
too much of a good thing
- to be more of a good thing than is good or usefulThe new company policy is too much of a good thing and they may change it.
too rich for (someone's) blood
- to be too expensive for someone's budgetThe piano was too rich for our blood so we did not buy it.
toot one's own horn
- to boast or praise oneselfMy friend is always tooting his own horn when he thinks that he has done something well.
tooth and nail
- fiercely, as hard as possibleThe man decided to fight tooth and nail to transfer to another department of the company.
- the person who is the boss or the top person in a group or organizationThe famous actor in the movie was the top banana in the story.
- the most important person in an organizationMy uncle is the top dog in his company.
- to be of the best or most important kindWhen my friend buys a new car he always buys a top-drawer model.
- to be excellent, to be the bestThey had a top-notch cook at the restaurant but he quit last month.
top (someone or something)
- to do or be better than someone or somethingThe young woman topped everyone in her class with her excellent science project.
top (something) off or top off (something)
- to add to the difficulty of a situationI lost my car keys and to top it off I also lost my wallet.
top (something) off (with something)
- to end or terminate something with something elseThe conference was topped off by a large dinner on the final day.
- to be upside down, to be in disarrayMy apartment was topsy-turvy so I stayed home to clean it up.
torn between (two things)
- to be troubled by a choice or dilemmaI was torn between going to the library or going to a movie.
toss a salad
- to mix the ingredients of a salad with dressingMy friend asked me to toss the salad when we were making dinner.
toss off (an answer) or toss (an answer) off
- to say something easily and quickly without thinking about it deeplyThe boy was able to easily toss off an answer to the question that the teacher asked him.
The government official tossed off an answer to the question that he was asked.
toss off (something) or toss (something) off
- to drink something rapidlyWe tossed off a couple of drinks before we went home for the evening.
toss off (something) or toss (something) off
- to throw something off of oneself or somethingI tossed off my jacket before I got into the car.
toss one's cookies
- to vomitI tossed my cookies after eating the bad food at the restaurant.
toss one's hat into the ring
- to announce that you are running for an elected office, to decide to enter a contest or agree to a challengeMy friend tossed his hat into the ring and will try and become the school president.
toss (someone) out of (somewhere)
- to force someone to leave somewhere, to dismiss someoneThe boys were tossed out of the restaurant for their bad behavior.
touch a sore spot/point
- to mention a sensitive matter that will upset someoneI touched a sore spot when I began to talk about my friend's problems at work.
touch and go
- uncertain, in a dangerous situationIt was touch and go whether the girl was going to survive after the car accident.
touch base with (someone)
- to talk to someone, to meet someone brieflyI plan to touch base with my cousin before I go to the wedding next week.
touch off (someone) or touch (someone) off
- to make someone very angryI touched off my friend when I said something that she did not like.
touch off (something) or touch (something) off
- to cause something to fire or explode by lighting the fuseThe fire at the oil refinery touched off an explosion that destroyed many tanks.
touch off (something) or touch (something) off
- to start somethingThe arrest of the labor leader touched off a riot among the workers.
touch on/upon (something)
- to speak or write briefly about somethingThe news article touched on the legal problems of the company.
touch up (something) or touch (something) up
- to paint over small imperfections of somethingI asked the repair shop to touch up several places on my car where the paint was scratched.
touch up (something) or touch (something) up
- to improve something with small additions or changesMy essay will be finished after I touch up some of the weak spots.
touched (in the head)
- crazyThe woman is touched in the head and it is difficult to know what she will do next.
touched by (someone or something)
- to be emotionally affected or moved by someone or somethingEverybody in the movie theater was touched by the performance of the dying actress.
a tough act to follow
- a good performance that is very difficult to followThe first singer was a tough act to follow and the other singers in the contest were nervous.
a tough break
- an unlucky event, a misfortuneThe singer received a tough break when he became sick immediately before the music contest.
tough it out
- to endure a difficult situationI would like to quit my job but for now I plan to tough it out.
tough row to hoe
- a difficult task to undertakeLearning written Chinese was a tough row to hoe for the university students.
- a place that is overpriced and which attracts touristsMy friend thinks that Hawaii is a tourist trap and he does not want to go there for his holiday.
a tower of strength
- a person who provides strong and reliable supportThe man has been a tower of strength to his sister since her husband died.
town and gown
- the two distinct communities of a university town - the town is the inhabitants of the town and the gown is the university communityThe relations between town and gown in the small university town were terrible.
toy with (someone)
- to tease someoneThe woman in the bank was toying with me when she began to ask me many questions.
toy with (something)
- to play or fiddle with somethingI spent the morning toying with the broken radio and trying to repair it.
track (someone or something) down or track down (someone or something)
- to search for someone or somethingI have been trying to track down an old Beatles album for many months.
trade in (something) or trade (something) in
- to exchange something old or used for something newMy friend traded in his old car for a new one.
trade on (something)
- to use a fact or a situation to one's advantageThe woman trades on her beauty and never works very hard.
train one's sights on (something)
- to have something as a goal, to direct something or oneself toward a goalThe young man is training his sights on joining the top team in the city.
- to travel with very little luggageWe always travel light when we go on a holiday.
travesty of justice
- an act of the legal system that is an insult to the system of justiceThe court trial was a travesty of justice and nobody was happy with the results.
tread on (someone`s) toes
- to do something that interferes with or offends someone elseI do not want to tread on my supervisor's toes because he is not in a good mood today.
- to pay for someone elseMy friend treated me to a dinner at a nice restaurant.
treat (someone) with kid gloves
- to treat someone very gently and carefully because you do not want to upset him or herI treat my friend with kid gloves because she is very sensitive.
trial and error
- a way of solving a problem by trying different possible solutions until you find one that worksWe worked by trial and error until we found a solution to the parking problems at our apartment building.
- an announcement or experiment with the purpose of finding out what people think about an idea or productWe sent up a trial balloon to see who would support our plan for the new product.
trials and tribulations
- problems and tests of one's courage and perseveranceMy aunt has gone through many trials and tribulations in her life.
tricks of the trade
- a smart or quick or skillful way of doing something, methods that help you to do a job better or fasterThe man knows many tricks of the trade in the publishing business.
My father plans to show me the tricks of the trade in his business.
trick (someone) into (doing something)
- to fool someone, to cheat someoneThe salesman tricked the customer into buying something that he did not need.
- tested by time and proven to be soundI know a tried-and-true method to remove stains from a carpet.
trigger off (something) or trigger (something) off
- to cause somethingThe fire triggered off an explosion in the building.
trim the fat
- to make reductions in a company or organization in order to save moneyThe company is trying hard to trim the fat in its operations.
trip the light fantastic
- to go dancing"It`s Friday night so let`s go downtown and trip the light fantastic."
- to make a mistakeThe teacher tripped up over the correct pronunciation of the man`s name.
trip up (someone) or trip (someone) up
- to cause someone to fail, to cause someone to make a mistakeThe news reporter tripped up the politician with his difficult question.
trot (something) out or trot out (something)
- to mention something without giving it much thoughtWhen I talk with my friend she often trots out some of our previous problems.
trouble one's head about (someone or something)
- to worry about someone or somethingI am not going to trouble my head about my sister's visit next week.
trouble oneself about (someone or something)
- to worry about someone or somethingI wish that my mother would not trouble herself about my problems at work.
trouble (someone) for (something)
- to ask someone to give or lend you somethingI do not like to trouble the manager for her time but sometimes I must.
trouble (someone) to (do something)
- to ask someone to do somethingI had to trouble my neighbor to look after my dog again last week.
trouble (someone) with (something)
- to bother someone with somethingI never like to trouble my teacher with my simple questions.
- a genuine feeling of romantic loveIt was true love for the young couple when they met at their company.
true to form
- exactly as expected, following the usual patternTrue to form, our teacher refused to accept our papers late.
true to one's word
- keeping one's promiseMy friend was true to his word and was waiiting for me exactly at the time that we had agreed upon.
- something that is kept back to be used to win success if other things do not workThe man's trump card was his knowledge of the sales figures that nobody else knew.
trump up (something) or trump (something) up
- to make something up, to invent false chargesThe man was arrested on trumped up charges for selling illegal software.
truth will out
- eventually the truth will become knownI know that eventually the truth will out and we will know exactly what happened at the meeting.
try for (something)
- to attempt to win something, to try to get somethingThe man plans to try for a new job in his company.
try on (something) or try (something) on
- to put clothes on to see how they fit and look"You should try on that jacket before you buy it."
try one`s hand at (something)
- to make an (inexperienced) attempt at somethingI have decided to try my hand at sailing this summer.
try one's luck at (something)
- to try to do something (where success depends on luck)I will try my luck at buying a lottery ticket although I usually never win.
try (out) one's wings
- to try to do something that one has recently become qualified to doI am planning to try out my wings with my roller blades on Saturday.
try out (something) or try (something) out
- to test somethingWe were not permitted to try out the computer before we bought it.
try out for (something)
- to attempt to join or take part in a team or a play etc.My friend has decided to try out for the football team this summer.
try (someone's) patience
- to do something annoying that may cause someone to lose patienceThe constant complaints of the customers are beginning to try the clerk's patience.
try (something) out on (someone) or try out (something) on (someone)
- to test something on someoneI plan to try out the new recipe on my friends.
tuck into (something)
- to eat something with hunger and enjoymentI tucked into the meal as soon as I sat down at the table.
- a game in which two teams pull on opposite ends of a rope and try to pull the other team over a line marked on the groundThe children played tug-of-war at the summer camp.
- a situation in which two sides try to defeat each other, a struggle over somethingThe two countries are involved in a tug-of-war over the disputed territory.
tune in to (a radio or television)
- to adjust a radio or television to pick up a certain station or signalWe were able to tune in to the basketball game while driving to work this morning.
tune in to (something)
- to pay attention to somethingThe young woman is tuned in to all of the latest fashions.
The woman works hard to tune in to her feelings.
tune out (someone or something) or tune (someone or something) out
- to ignore someone or somethingI usually tune out my friend when he talks too much.
tune up (a musical instrument) or tune (a musical instrument) up
- to adjust a musical instrument to the right soundThe orchestra tuned up their instruments before the performance.
tune up (an engine) or tune (an engine) up
- to adjust a car engine so that it will run properlyWe took our car to the garage to tune it up before we went on our holiday.
turn a blind eye to (something)
- to ignore something troublesome and pretend not to see itOur teacher usually turns a blind eye to the fact that the student often comes to school a few minutes late.
turn a deaf ear to (someone or something)
- to pretend not to hear someone or something, to refuse to hear someone or somethingThe company turned a deaf ear to the demands for more vacation time by the employees.
turn a profit
- to make a profitThe supermarket has been turning a profit since it opened.
- to move or face in the opposite directionThe man turned around to look at the person behind him.
turn down (someone or something) or turn (someone or something) down
- to refuse to accept someone or something, to reject someone or somethingThe union turned down the offer of more money from the company.
turn down (something) or turn (something) down
- to reduce the loudness or brightness or force of somethingI talked to my neighbor and asked him to turn down his stereo.
- to go to bedWe decided to turn in early last night.
turn in (someone) or turn (someone) in
- to inform on someone, to report someone for doing something wrong or illegalThe department store turned in the shoplifter to the police.
turn in (something) or turn (something) in
- to give something to someone, to hand something to someoneI turned in the wallet that I found to the police.
turn into (something)
- to change ino something, to become somethingThe boy turned into a very fine young man.
The rain caused the dirt to turn into mud.
turn of the century
- the end of one century and the beginning of anotherThere were many large celebrations at the turn of the century.
turn off (someone) or turn (someone) off
- to disgust or irritate or repel someoneThe woman's constant complaining turns me off.
turn off (something) or turn (something) off
- to shut off something, to stop something"Please turn off the lights before you go out."
turn off (somewhere)
- to leave a road or path by turning right or left onto another road or pathWhen we arrived at the small store we turned off onto the small road.
turn on a dime
- to turn quickly or in a very tight turnThe new truck is able to turn on a dime.
turn on a dime
- to change one's plans or orientationI did not take the job in the city because my life cannot turn on a dime.
turn on one`s heel
- to turn around suddenlyThe letter carrier turned on his heel when he saw the large dog.
turn on (someone)
- to suddenly become hostile to someoneMy coworker used to be my friend but he suddenly turned on me last summer.
turn on (something)
- to open or start something, to let water or electricity flow"Please turn on the radio so we can hear the evening news."
turn one`s back on (someone)
- to refuse to help someone who is in trouble or is in needThe girl turned her back on her friend when her friend asked for help.
turn one`s stomach
- to make one feel sickThe moving car turned my stomach.
- to be shown to be something, to prove to be trueIt turned out that more people came to the party than we expected.
- to become or resultThe cake turned out well.
The boy turned out well when he was an adult.
- to see or do somethingOver 50,000 people turned out for the concert.
turn out (a light)
- to make a light go outI always turn out the light if I do not need it.
turn out all right
- to end satisfactorilyEverything at the party turned out all right.
turn out fine
- to end satisfactorilyWe thought that the weather would be terrible but it turned out fine.
turn out good
- to end satisfactorilyThe cake turned out good. It was delicious.
turn out (someone) or turn (someone) out
- to make someone leave or go awayThe man decided to turn his son out of the house when he refused to get a job.
turn out (something) or turn (something) out
- to turn something inside out, to empty somethingThe man turned out his pockets when he was looking for his car keys.
turn out (something) or turn (something) out
- to make or produce a product or somethingThe car company turns out 8,000 cars every week.
- to roll overThe boat turned over during the storm.
- to sellWe were able to turn over most of our stock of fans during the summer.
- to start (used for a motor)It was very cold and the motor would not turn over.
turn over a new leaf
- to make a fresh startI will turn over a new leaf and begin to practice the piano every day.
turn over (an engine)
- to start an engine or motorIt was very cold in the morning so the car engine would not turn over easily.
turn over in one`s grave
- to be so angry that one does not rest quietly in one`s graveMy grandmother would turn over in her grave if she knew that I was not working.
turn over (something) to (someone) or turn (something) over to (someone)
- to give something to someone for his or her use or careI turned over my apartment keys to the landlord when I went away for a month.
turn (someone) on or turn on (someone)
- to excite a person, an idea or person or something begins to interest someoneThe idea of going to Spain for the summer turns my friend on.
turn (something) on its ear
- to change some activity in a surprising and exciting wayThe new manager turned the office on its ear when he began to work in our department.
turn (something) to good account
- to make good use of a situation or experienceWe were able to turn our experience with the income tax office to good account when we began to look at our business practices.
turn (something) to one's advantage
- to make an advantage for oneself out of somethingThe man was able to turn his previous job experience to his advantage in his new job.
- to run away from trouble or dangerThe young boys turned tail when the farmer began to chase them from the field.
turn the clock back
- to return to an earlier periodThe politician wanted to turn the clock back to an earlier time but everyone knew it was impossible.
turn the heat up on (someone)
- to increase the pressure on someone to do somethingThe police are turning the heat up on the members of the criminal gang.
turn the other cheek
- to let someone do something to you and not try to get revenge or become angryThe man decided to turn the other cheek when someone tried to fight with him in the restaurant.
turn the tables on (someone)
- to reverse the situation for someoneThe opposing team was able to turn the tables and win the game.
turn the tide
- to change a situation or people's opinions to the opposite of what they were beforeAt the beginning of the game we were losing but we turned the tide and won the game.
The political party was able to turn the tide and win the election.
turn the trick
- to bring about the result that one wants, to succeed in what one plans to do"That will turn the trick," I said as my friend found the correct tool to fix the kitchen sink.
turn thumbs down on (someone or something)
- to disapprove or reject someone or something, to say no to someone or somethingMy supervisor turned thumbs down on my desire to have a more flexible schedule.
turn to (someone or something)
- to go to someone or something for helpWe turned to my wife`s parents for advice about buying a house.
- to appear suddenlyThe girls turned up when the party was almost over.
- to be found, to be discoveredMy wallet turned up in my jacket exactly where I had left it.
turn up one`s nose at (something)
- to refuse something because it is not good enoughMy friend turned up his nose at the job offer in another department of his company.
twiddle one`s thumbs
- to not be busy, to not be workingWe twiddled our thumbs all morning and did not get any work done.
twist (someone`s) arm
- to force or threaten someone to make them do somethingMy friend did not have to twist my arm to get me to go to the movie. I wanted to go anyway.
twist (someone) around one`s (little) finger
- to have complete control over someone and be able to make them do what you wantThe woman is able to twist her supervisor around her little finger. She gets whatever she wants at work.
twist (someone's) words around
- to restate someone's words inaccurately when quoting him or herThe supervisor twisted my words around when he repeated my complaint to the manager.
- twenty-five cents, a quarter of a dollarI bought several used books for two bits each.
two bricks shy of a load
- someone who is not very smart or cleverThe young man is two bricks shy of a load and is very difficult to talk to.
two by two
- one person beside or next to another personThe children walked into the classroom two by two.
- something not important, something very smallAlthough my friend's stereo works well I would not give him two cents for it.
two cents worth
- an opinion (that is not asked for)My friend is always talking and I never have a chance to put in my two cents worth.
- disloyal, untrustworthyI think that our supervisor is two-faced and cannot be trusted.
two of a kind
- people or things of the same type, similar in character or attitude etc.The young girls are two of a kind and they do almost everything together.
two strikes against (someone)
- to do two things that are wrong or bad and have only one more thing to do to cause you serious trouble ( from baseball where a batter is finished after three strikes)The young boy already had two strikes against him when he went to hear the judge's decision about his crime.
- to cheat or betray one's spouse or partner by dating someone elseThe woman in the movie was two-timing her husband.