THE IDIOM CONNECTION
- an ugly or plain child who grows up to be attractiveThe girl was an ugly duckling when she was a child but now she is very beautiful.
unaccustomed to (someone or something)
- not used to someone or somethingThe man was unaccustomed to waking up early in the morning.
- love that is not returned, one-way loveThe woman was in love with the president of her company but it was unrequited love. He did not love her.
under a cloud
- depressed, sadThe woman has been under a cloud of depression since her cat died.
under a cloud (of suspicion)
- not trusted, suspected of doing something wrongThe politician is under a cloud of suspicion over the possibility of taking bribes.
- arrested by the police before being charged with a crimeThe three men were under arrest for robbing a bank.
- being shot at or attacked physically, being attacked verballyThe company president is under attack because of the scandal.
The soldiers were under attack during the battle.
under certain circumstances
- depending on or influenced by specific circumstancesUnder certain circumstances the children can practice in the indoor stadium.
under certain conditions
- depending on or influenced by specific conditionsThe mountain road is closed under certain conditions.
under (close) scrutiny
- being watched or examined closelyThe business owner was under scrutiny after the accounting scandal.
The results of the election are under close scrutiny.
- being built or repairedThe hotel was still under construction, two years after it began.
- not out of control, manageableThe fire was under control after the fire department arrived.
- hidden, concealedThe police officer was under cover during the robbery.
- being shot at or attacked physically, being attacked verballyThe soldiers were under fire during the battle.
The owner of the company is under fire for not paying his employees a fair salary.
- having taken a formal oath (solemn promise)The man was under oath when he spoke before the judge.
under one`s belt
- something you have learned or experienced or mastered or achievedWhen my friend has more experience as a cook under his belt he will look for a new job.
under one`s belt
- in one`s stomachAfter I had a big breakfast under my belt I was ready for work.
under one`s breath
- in a whisper, with a low voiceThe man was talking under his breath in the movie theater and somebody complained.
under one`s nose
- within sight of someone, easily seen or foundMy father found his driver`s license right under his nose where he had left it.
under one`s own steam
- by one`s own efforts, without helpThe man was able to go home under his own steam even though he was feeling very sick.
under one`s thumb
- obedient to someone, controlled by someoneThe man is only an assistant salesman but he has his boss under his thumb.
under one`s wing
- under the care or protection of (someone)Our supervisor took the new employee under his wing to help him in the new job.
- caused by law or rules to follow a certain course of actionThe soldier said that he was under orders to shoot the rifle.
- experiencing something that causes stress or anxietyThe boy's father is always under pressure at work.
under (someone's) feet
- to annoy or interrupt someone when he or she is workingThe children were under their mother's feet while she was cooking dinner.
under the circumstances
- because of the circumstancesThe girl was very sick and under the circumstances did not have to take the exam.
under the counter
- secretly bought or soldThe new drug is being sold under the counter although the government has not approved it.
under the gun
- under pressure to do something or meet a deadline, in a stressful situation that requires quick actionI have been under the gun all week to finish my essay.
The company is under the gun to finish the project.
under the hammer
- for sale at an auctionThe painting went under the hammer and it sold for a very high price.
under the influence of (someone or something)
- experiencing the effects of alcohol or drugs or a controlling power or personThe driver was under the influence of alcohol when he hit the young child.
The woman is under the influence of her boss.
under the sun
- anywhere on earth, everywhereWe looked for my wallet everywhere under the sun.
under the table
- in secret and usually illegalThe businessman paid some money under the table in order to get his product imported into the country.
under the weather
- feeling ill (but not seriously ill)I am feeling under the weather so I am going to bed early tonight.
under the wire
- just barely in timeWe sent in our payment for the school fees just under the wire.
- not allowed to be seen until the right time, in secrecyThe new car was still under wraps when the car show started.
- absurdly early or inconvenientWe got up at an unearthly hour this morning so we could go camping.
- an area of knowledge unknown to the speakerTrying to pilot an airplane was unfamiliar territory for the flight attendant.
- a person or thing which nobody knows much aboutThe new mayor is an unknown quantity and nobody knows what to expect.
an unsung hero
- a hero who has received no praise or recognition for somethingThe young player is the unsung hero of the team's victory.
The firefighters were the unsung heroes of the flood where many people died.
until all hours (of the day or night)
- until very lateWe stayed up until all hours playing cards.
until hell freezes over
- foreverMy friend said that he would not talk to his girlfriend again until hell freezes over.
until the cows come home
- until very lateIt is my birthday today and I plan to party until the cows come home tonight.
up a blind alley
- on a route that leads nowhere, at a dead endThe police were up a blind alley in their search for evidence of the crime.
up against (someone or something)
- having trouble with someone or somethingThe student came up against many problems when he went to university.
up against (something)
- close to somethingThe ladder was standing up against the tree in the yard.
up and about
- healthy and moving around, not sick in bedMy uncle has been up and about for a couple of days since he left the hospital.
up and around
- out of bed and moving around, moving from one place to anotherI was up and around before 6:00 AM this morning.
up and at 'em
- active and busy, up and at themWe will be up and at 'em very early tomorrow morning.
up and away
- up into the air and into flightMy parents got on the airplane and were quickly up and away.
- newThe woman is an up-and-coming singer.
up for (something)
- to be enthusiastic about somethingThe entire school was up for the final football game of the season.
up for grabs
- available for anyoneThe new championship of the city is up for grabs.
- honest, correctThe man was very up front when giving me the information about the new office.
up in arms
- equipped with guns or weapons and ready to fightThe villagers were up in arms and trying to fight against the government.
up in arms
- very angryThe teachers were up in arms about the proposal to change their contract.
up in the air (about something)
- not settled, undecidedWhether or not I will be able to go to London is still up in the air.
up in years
- old, elderlyAlthough my grandparents are up in years they still have much energy.
up one`s alley
- to be the type of thing that you are interested in or that you enjoy doing or that you are good at doingComputers are up his alley so I am sure that he can fix your computer.
Tennis is up his alley so I am sure that he will play with you.
up one`s sleeve
- kept secretly for the right time or for a time that it is neededMy friend has something up his sleeve and will be able to find a job when he needs one.
up the creek
- in troubleThe woman is up the creek now that she has lost her passport.
up the creek with no paddle
- in trouble and unable to do anything about itI think that we are up the creek with no paddle now that our car has no gasoline.
up the river with no paddle
- in trouble and unable to do anything about itWe were up the river with no paddle when we ran out of money on our vacation.
up to (a certain amount or number)
- until, as far as a certain amount or number, approaching a certain amount or numberThere were probably up to thirty people at the meeting.
up to (a certain time)
- until, as far as a certain time, approaching a certain timeUp to last week I had never been inside a bowling alley.
up to a point
- partly, to some extentI like my neighbor but only up to a point.
- modern, the latest standards of fashionThe kitchen in our apartment is not up-to-date at all.
up to here with (someone or something)
- sick of some continual bad or irritating behaviorI have had it up to here with his coming late to work.
up to it
- capable or fit for somethingIf he is up to it we can let him drive the truck to the new office.
up to no good
- doing something badThe boys were up to no good after school.
up to one's chin
- very busy with something, deeply involved in somethingThe mayor has been up to his chin in the project to build a new convention center.
up to one`s ears in work
- have a lot of work to doI would like to go with you but I am up to my ears in work at the moment.
up to par
- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or qualityThe man's work was not up to par and he was asked to leave his job.
up to scratch
- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or qualityThe carpenter's job was not up to scratch so we fired him.
up to snuff
- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or qualityWhen I get my computer skills up to snuff I will look for a job to use them.
up to (someone) to decide (something)
- to be responsible to choose or decide somethingIt is up to the manager to decide when the meeting will start.
up to (someone) to do (something)
- to be responsible to do somethingIt is up to the manager to clean the apartment lobby.
up to (something)
- to be occupied in or planning some activity that is often badI do not know what the boy was up to last night but it was probably something bad.
up to (somewhere)
- as far as, as deep or as high asThe water in the swimming pool came up to my waist.
up to the job
- capable or fit for somethingIf the new boy is up to the job we will let him do more.
up to the mark
- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or qualityThe work was not up to the mark and the company would not pay for it.
- the very latest or most recentWe always try to get an up-to-the-minute weather report before we go skiing.
- untilI was in the library up until midnight last night.
upon one's head
- to be one's own responsibilityThe responsibility for the event was put upon my head.
- rich and famous people, the highest class of peopleThe private club was full of the upper crust of the city.
- a controlling power, an advantageThe union members have the upper hand in their negotiations with the company.
ups and downs
- good fortune and bad fortune, good times and bad times, difficultiesMy cousin is having a few ups and downs but generally he is doing well.
upset the applecart
- to ruin or spoil a plan or idea"Try not to upset the applecart as we have spent a lot of time working on this project."
upshot of (something)
- the result or outcome of somethingThe upshot of the meeting was that we would no longer continue to keep the store open.
- with the upper side turned toward the lower sideThe boat was upside down in the water.
- to be worried or irritated or anxiousMy sister is very uptight because of her exams.
use every trick in the book
- to use every method possibleThe apartment manager used every trick in the book to force the young family to leave.
use one`s head/bean/noodle/noggin
- to think carefully about something"You should use your head a little more and try not to make the same mistake again."
use some elbow grease
- to use some effortWe used a lot of elbow grease to clean the oven.
use (someone or something) as an excuse
- to blame someone or something for somethingMy friend used his busy schedule as an excuse not to help us.
use strong language
- to use abusive or forceful languageThe teacher used very strong language to make the children behave.
- to use something until nothing is left, to spend or consume something completelyI used up all of the paper in the copy machine this morning.
- formerly did something, had the habit of doing somethingWe used to live in a house but now we live in an apartment.
used to (something)
- to be accustomed to somethingMy friend is not used to living in such a big city.