D Idioms and Quizzes
D Idiom Quiz #1
Quiz 1 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
D Idiom Quiz #2
Quiz 2 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
D Idiom Quiz #3
Quiz 3 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
D Idiom Quiz #4
Quiz 4 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
D Idiom Quiz #5
Quiz 5 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
- the everyday work routine
My father is tired of the daily grind and will retire soon.
dance to a different tune
- to change one's behavior or attitude
Our boss began dancing to a different tune when the head salesman decided to quit.
dance with death
- to do something that is very risky
The teenagers were dancing with death when they began to race their cars.
dare (someone) to do (something)
- to challenge someone to do something
The little boy dared his friend to throw a rock at the window.
- a political candidate who is little known to the general public
The woman candidate was a dark horse but she won the election easily.
darken (someone's) door
- to visit someone or somewhere
The man has never darkened the door of the library in his town.
- to leave quickly
We dashed off as soon as the concert ended.
dash off (something) or dash (something) off
- to write or finish something quickly
I plan to dash off a letter before I go to work.
date back to (a previous time)
- to be made or begun at a particular time in the past
The old building dates back to 1850.
- to go on a date with someone, to have a date with someone
My sister has been dating her boyfriend for two years.
Davy Jone's locker
- the bottom of the sea (as a grave)
When the boat sank, all of the crew members went to Davy Jone's locker.
dawn on (someone)
- to become clear or known to someone (often suddenly), to become obvious to someone
It finally dawned on me why my friend was angry.
After using the computer for several hours, it suddenly dawned on me the reason that it was very slow.
day after day
Day after day, the woman goes to the school to meet her child.
day and night
- all of the time
We worked day and night to finish the project before the end of the month.
day in and day out
- regularly, all of the time
My father goes to a small restaurant for lunch day in and day out and he never gets tired of it.
- daily, everyday
The president was not involved in the day-to-day running of the university.
- the extreme overcharging of money for something
The amount of money which the gas station charged for the gasoline was daylight robbery.
- several days in a row
There were concerts at the auditorium for six days running.
- to be directly ahead
There was a truck dead ahead so we put on the car brakes.
dead as a doornail
- to be very dead
The man was as dead as a doornail after the car accident.
- the exact middle
I easily hit the target dead center.
- a person or a thing in a hopeless situation
The man is a dead duck and has no hope of regaining his former position.
- the end of a road, an impasse
The negotiations between the players and the owners have reached a dead end.
dead in one's tracks
- to be stopped exactly where someone or something is at the moment
The police stopped the robber dead in his tracks.
- a piece of mail that cannot be delivered or returned to the sender
The letter with no return address went back to the post office as a dead letter.
- a total loss
The money that I gave to my friend is a dead loss and none of it will be returned.
dead of night
- the middle of the night
The man works very hard and often comes home in the dead of night.
Luckily, my phone never rings in the dead of night.
dead on one's feet
- to be exhausted
I was dead on my feet after working all day in my garden.
dead set against (someone or something)
- to be completely opposed to someone or something
The parents are dead set against their son's plans.
Everybody in our company is dead set against promoting the sales manager.
Most people in the town are dead set against building the new highway.
- to be very tired, to be exhausted
I was dead tired so I went to bed when I got home.
dead to the world
- to be sleeping soundly
The little boy was dead to the world when his father looked into the bedroom.
- to be totally wrong
I was dead wrong in my calculations to build the table.
- a person who never pays his debts
There is a new government policy to penalize deadbeat fathers.
- an expressionless or emotionless face
My friend had a deadpan expression when he told us the story.
deaf and dumb
- to be unable to hear or speak
The man was deaf and dumb and could not communicate with the woman on the train.
deal in (something)
- to buy and sell something
The man has been dealing in antiques for many years.
deal with (someone)
- to act in a specific way toward someone, to do business with someone
The company is planning to deal with the late employee soon.
deal with (something)
- to be concerned with something, to take action about something
We will deal with the boxes tomorrow.
decide in favor of (someone or something)
- to determine the winner of something, to decide who is right
The city decided in favor of building a new bridge over the river.
- to be dressed in fancy clothes
My sister was decked out in her best clothes for the party.
deem it to be necessary
- to believe that something is necessary
The judge deemed it to be necessary to postpone the trial for a week.
- to throw away something, to dispose of something
I decided to deep-six my videos as I did not want them any longer.
- serious trouble or difficulty
The boy will be in deep water if he does not tell us where he spent the money.
deliver the goods
- to do a good or successful job of something
He is the best manager that we have. He knows how to deliver the goods.
desert a sinking ship
- to leave a situation or place that will probably fail
Many employees decided to desert a sinking ship when their company began to have problems.
The company management is terrible so many people want to desert a sinking ship and leave.
The team owners are not good so many players and staff are deserting a sinking ship.
devil of a job
- a very difficult job
Everybody thought that unloading the truck was a devil of a job.
- an unworried attitude, an attitude where one does not care what happens
The man has a devil-may-care attitude to his job and nothing bothers him.
devote (something) to (something)
- to make much effort for something, to dedicate oneself to something
The man devoted much energy to the new project.
diamond in the rough
- a good person or thing that is hidden by a rough exterior
The man is a diamond in the rough and a very gentle person.
die a natural death
- to die by disease or of old age and not by an accident or by violence
My grandfather was very old and he died a natural death.
- to gradually get lower and then disappear (often said about noise)
The noise of the airplane slowly died away.
- to come slowly to an end, to grow weaker
When the sound of the music died down we were able to go to sleep.
die in one's boots
- to die fighting
The soldiers died in their boots after fighting very hard.
the die is cast
- something has been decided and you cannot change the decision
The die is cast and now that we have sold our house we must move.
- to laugh very loud and hard
We almost died laughing when we saw the movie.
- to die one after another until the number is small
The house plants began to die off soon after we moved to a new apartment.
- to die or disappear slowly until gone, to not exist anymore
The campfire slowly died out and we went to bed.
Dinosaurs died out many years ago.
- to begin eating
"Let`s dig in and eat before the food gets cold!"
dig in one's heels or dig one's heels in
- to refuse to change one's course of action or opinion
Our boss dug in his heels and refused to give us time off.
dig one's own grave
- to be responsible for one's own problems
The woman dug her own grave when she fought with her boss. Now she has problems at work.
The young man would not study and now he has dug his own grave and will fail.
The man dug his own grave at his company because of his bad work habits.
dig (someone or something) up or dig up (someone or something)
- to make an effort to find someone or something
I had to dig up some blankets for my friend when he stayed at our house.
We need to dig someone up to help fix our computer.
dig (something) out or dig out (something)
- to locate something
I must dig out last year's income tax forms to look at.
I will dig out some clothes for the summer weather.
dig up some dirt on (someone) or dig some dirt up on (someone)
- to look for unpleasant or embarrassing information about someone
The reporter is trying to dig up some dirt on the politician.
a dime a dozen
- common, easy to get and of little value
Used books are a dime a dozen and it is difficult to sell them.
dip into (something)
- to borrow from a supply of something
We had to dip into our savings to get enough money for a holiday.
dip one's toe in the water
- to slowly start to do something new in order to see if you like it or if other people will approve of it
I am doing some volunteer work at the hospital in order to dip my toe in the water and see if I like the medical field.
- to be extremely cheap
The denim jackets were dirt cheap so I decided to buy one.
a dirty look
- a look that shows dislike or disapproval
The boy's mother gave the boy a dirty look when he entered the kitchen.
- unpleasant or uninteresting work
I refused to do the dirty work for my friend.
dish out (criticism)
- to criticize someone roughly, to treat someone roughly
Our supervisor likes to dish out criticism to others but he does not like to hear criticism about himself.
dish out (food)
- to serve food from a large bowl or plate
I began to dish out the food when the guests arrived.
dispose of (something)
- to discard something, to destroy something, to get rid of something
We must dispose of our old sofa before we buy a new one.
dive in headfirst
- to do something impulsively without thinking about the consequences
The man likes to dive in headfirst with anything that he does.
dive right into (something)
- to begin to do something without hesitating (some swimmers like to dive right in without checking the temperature of the water)
Many of the students decided to dive right into their studies when university started.
divide and conquer
- to split an opposing side into two groups so that you can win against them
The government was trying to divide and conquer the opposition parties.
divide (something) fifty-fifty
- to divide something into two equal parts
We divided the money that we won fifty-fifty.
do a double take
- to look again in surprise at someone or something
The girl did a double take when she saw her old boyfriend with another girl.
do a job on (someone or something)
- to harm or damage someone or something
We really did a job on the bookcase that we were trying to move.
do a land-office business
- to do much business in a short time
The children are doing a land-office business by selling the cold drinks next to the stadium.
do a number on (someone or something)
- to hurt or damage someone or something
The students did a number on the spectator stands during the soccer game.
do a snow job on (someone)
- to deceive or confuse someone
The salesman tried to do a snow job on me but I did not believe him.
do an about-face
- to suddenly reverse one's opinion
We did an about-face on our decision to permit drinking coffee in the library.
do away with (something)
- to end something, to remove something
The company will do away with their policy of working on weekends.
The government will do away with the tax very soon.
The university will do away with some of their entry requirements next year.
do credit to (someone)
- to add to someone's reputation
The woman's graduation thesis did credit to her hard work and patience.
do in (someone) or do (someone) in
- to make someone tired, to exhaust someone
I was done in after I finished the marathon.
do in (something) or do (something) in
- to ruin or destroy something
The boy quickly did in the new shoes that he had received for his birthday.
do justice to (something)
- to do something well, to represent something accurately
The painting of my grandfather does not do justice to his extremely good looks.
- to meet someone for lunch
I plan to do lunch with my friend tomorrow.
do one`s best
- to try to do something as well as one can
I tried to do my best on the exam.
do one`s bit
- to make a useful contribution to something
Our teacher did his bit to help plan for the party.
do one's duty
- to do one's job or what is expected of one
The guard was doing his duty when he began to ask the customer questions.
do one's level best
- to make one's best effort
The girl is doing her level best to get high grades at high school.
The company did their level best to fix the bad product.
do one`s part
- to make a useful contribution to something
Everybody had to do their part to make the meeting a success.
do one`s thing
- to do what one wants to do and enjoys doing
My friend enjoys doing his thing when and where he chooses.
do or die
- to make a great effort
It was do or die for the man when he started his new job.
do over (something) or do (something) over
- to repeat something, to do something again
The teacher made me do my homework over.
do (someone) good
- to be good or beneficial for someone
It will do my friend good to go on a holiday.
do (someone) out of (something)
- to cheat someone out of something
The man was worried that the company would do him out of the bonus that he was expecting.
do (someone's) bidding
- to do what someone else wants
The principal was able to get the head teacher to do his bidding with the other teachers.
do something rash
- to take drastic action (usually without thinking)
My friend is extremely angry and she may do something rash.
do (something) by the book
- to follow the rules of something exactly
Our boss likes to do everything by the book.
do (something) like it is going out of fashion/style
- to use/buy/eat much or too much of something
My friend is spending money like it is going out of fashion.
do the dishes
- to wash and dry some dishes
We did the dishes soon after eating dinner.
do the honors
- to perform the duty of a host (when serving a drink etc.)
"Would you like to do the honors and pour everybody a drink?"
do the trick
- to work well, to achieve a good or desired result
I think that the new piece of equipment should do the trick and solve our problem.
- to spend time in prison
The man was doing time when we first heard about him.
do up (something) or do (something) up
- to fasten/zip/button an item of clothing
It is cold so I think that I will do up my jacket.
The mother told her child to do up his shirt.
The woman had to do up her dress at the back.
do with (someone or something)
- to be acquainted or involved or associated with someone or something
"I do not know what that incident was to do with."
(can/could) do with (something)
- to benefit from (something)
I have been working hard all day so now I could do with a cold drink.
do without (something)
- to manage without something
We will have to do without sugar because there is none left.
- to produce excellent results
Doing some exercise will do wonders for your health.
dog and pony show
- a display or demonstration used to gain approval for something
The politician put on a dog and pony show to make people forget about the scandal.
dog days of summer
- the hot period of summer when people and things slow down, a period of inactivity
It was during the dog days of summer and nobody at our office wanted to work hard.
- to be ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what you want
It is a dog-eat-dog world in the advertising and public relations business.
dog in the manger
- one who prevents others from enjoying what one has no use for oneself (from Aesops Fables)
The girl was a dog in the manger. She cancelled the dinner because she could not attend.
doll (oneself) up or doll up (oneself)
- to dress in fancy clothes
The woman was all dolled up for the party at the downtown hotel.
dollar for dollar
- considering the cost
Dollar for dollar, going to the resort for a holiday is a good deal.
don sackcloth and ashes
- to behave in a way that shows that you are very sorry for something that you have done wrong - in ancient Biblical times people wore very uncomfortable sackcloth (cloth for sacks) for mourning and also to repent for something that they did wrong
The man was asked to don sackcloth and ashes to repent for his terrible mistake.
- to be ruined or defeated or dying
I think that our team is done for this season.
- to be tired, to be exhausted
I was done in so I went to bed early.
done to a T
- to be cooked just right
The steaks were done to a T and everybody was very happy with them.
done to a turn
- to be cooked just right
Everything was done to a turn at the party.
done with (something)
- to be finished using something
I was done with the computer so I let my sister use it.
don't saw sawdust
- do not worry about the past because the past is finished
My friend always worries about things that happened in the past so I have to remind her not to saw sawdust.
Don't saw sawdust. The past is finished so don't always think about it.
doomed to failure
- to be certain to fail
The policy of the school was doomed to failure because nobody would support it.
a dose of one's own medicine
- the same kind of treatment that one gives to other people
The man got a dose of his own medicine when his boss began to treat him the same way that he treated others.
- to turn back from where you are going or where you have been
We decided to double back from the arena and return home.
- to check something again to be sure that it is correct
I double-checked the price of the airplane ticket.
- to deceive someone, to promise one thing and then do another
The man tried to double-cross his partner.
- a date where two couples go on a date and do something together
It was fun to go on the double date even though
everybody wanted to do something different.
- two games (usually baseball) that are played one after the other and are played in front of the same crowd
We were tired after watching a double-header last night.
- talk or words that appear to mean something but do not
The speaker gave the audience much double-talk and nobody knew what he wanted to say.
- two times one's regular wages for working beyond one's normal hours
The man worked on the national holiday and received double time for his work.
- to share a room with someone
Everybody had to double up when they went to the convention.
a doubting Thomas
- someone who needs strong proof to believe something
My friend is a doubting Thomas and you must tell him many times before he will believe something.
down and dirty
- unfair or nasty or sneaky
The team decided to get down and dirty in order to try and win the tournament.
down and out
- to have no money
My friend has been down and out before but usually he can find a job.
- to be shabby, to be poorly dressed
The man looked down-at-the-heels after he was fired from his job.
down for the count
- to be finished for now
The boxer was down for the count but everybody expected him to stand up and fight again.
down in the dumps
- to be unhappy
The girl has been down in the dumps since her boyfriend moved away.
down in the mouth
- depressed and unhappy
My friend looked down in the mouth after he finished work today.
down on one's luck
- to be unlucky, to have no money
The man is down on his luck and does not have a place to live.
The artist has been down on his luck since he moved to a new city.
The movie is about a young woman who is down on her luck.
down on (someone)
- to be critical of someone, to be angry at someone
The girl is down on her friend but I do not know the reason.
down 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 doing
Computers are down his alley so I am sure that he will be interested in the job.
Tennis is down his alley so I am sure that he will play with you.
down the drain
- to be wasted or lost
My uncle is throwing money down the drain when he goes to the horse races.
down the hatch
- swallowed, down one's throat
The cough medicine went down the hatch of the little boy.
down the line
- straight ahead, in the future
There will be many changes in our company down the line.
down the tubes
- to be ruined or wasted
Our plans went down the tubes after my friend refused to join us.
down to earth
- to be sensible and practical
My mother is very down to earth.
down to the last detail
- considering all of the details
We fixed up everything on the boat, down to the last detail.
down to the wire
- at the very last moment, very close to the time when something is due (from the wire at the end of a horse race)
The election went down to the wire but the candidate was re-elected to another term in office.
We went down to the wire but we were able to finish the project on time.
down with (an illness)
- to be ill, to be sick at home
My sister was down with a cold so she could not go out for a few days.
drag in (someone or something) or drag (someone or something) in
- to insist on bringing someone or something into a discussion
The employee always drags in his personal problems when we talk about his job performance.
- to pass very slowly, to make something longer
The speech was dragging on so we decided to leave early.
a drag on (someone)
- a burden to someone
The problems at work were a drag on my friend and he became sick because of them.
drag one`s feet/heels
- to act slowly or reluctantly
The man is dragging his heels about whether or not to take the job.
draw a blank
- to get no response to something, to get a negative result
The manager drew a blank when he went to the head office to get information about the merger.
draw a line betwen two things
- to separate two things
We must draw a line between using the Internet for work and using it for personal use.
- to make a wound that bleeds, to anger someone
The politician was very careful not to draw blood during the debate.
- to receive criticism for something
The government began to draw fire when they announced changes to the health care system.
- to be a target, to attract or provoke shooting
The soldiers drew fire when they entered the small village.
draw in one`s horns
- to spend less money
The company is not doing well so everybody must draw in their horns.
- to appear interesting and attract someone's attention
The singers drew much interest when they performed at the festival.
- to earn interest when money is deposited in a bank
The money that we put in the bank draws interest every month.
- to choose from a group of straws or things to decide who will do something
We decided to draw lots to see who would wash the dishes.
draw (someone) out or draw out (someone)
- to make a person talk or tell something
The girl was very quiet but we were able to draw her out and she began talking.
draw (something) from (something)
- to obtain something from something, to get something from something
The man draws much pleasure from his hobby of painting.
draw the line (at something)
- to set a limit for something, to refuse to consider something
We have to draw the line somewhere to limit the costs of the party.
draw to a close
- to end
The tournament was drawing to a close and everybody was going back home.
draw up (something) or draw (something) up
- to put something in writing, to prepare documents or legal papers
They were able to draw up the contract while we were waiting.
dredge up (something) or dredge (something) up
- to uncover something unpleasant and remind people about it
The newspaper is always trying to dredge up bad things about the government.
dress (someone) down or dress down (someone)
- to scold someone
The supervisor took the clerk into her office to dress her down.
- to put on one`s best clothes
I decided to dress up for dinner at the restaurant.
dressed to kill
- to wear one`s finest clothes
The woman was dressed to kill when I saw her at the concert last week.
dressed to the nines/teeth
- to be dressed elegantly
The movie stars were dressed to the nines during the awards ceremony.
- to slowly move away from something, to slowly become distant from someone
The two boats began to drift apart.
The woman is drifting apart from her high school friends.
- to slowly move into a place
The fans are beginning to drift into the stadium.
The boat is beginning to drift in from the ocean.
The fog drifted into the town.
- to slowly move out of a place
The boat slowly drifted out to sea.
The students slowly drifted out of the classroom.
drive a hard bargain
- to conclude a bargain without making any concessions
Although the man drives a hard bargain, I like doing business with him.
drive at (something)
- to intend or mean to say something
I do not know what the man was driving at in his speech.
drive (someone) up a wall
- to irritate or annoy someone greatly
My neighbor's constant complaining is driving me up a wall.
drive (something) home or drive home (something)
- to make something clearly understood
The high price of gasoline drove home the necessity of driving less.
drive up (a price)
- to make the price of something increase
The cold weather is driving up the price of heating oil.
drive up to (someone or something)
- to approach someone or something
The car drove up to the bank.
driving force behind (someone or something)
- the motivating force behind someone or something
The potato farmers were the driving force behind the efforts to get people to eat more potatoes.
drop a bombshell
- to announce some shocking news
The government dropped a bombshell when they announced that they were going to close the hospital.
drop a hint
- to casually make a hint or suggestion about something
The clerk dropped a hint that he wanted to transfer to a new department.
- to come for a visit
My friend plans to drop around for a visit tomorrow.
- to move or step backwards, to retreat
During the hike my foot began to get sore so I decided to drop back and rest for awhile.
- to visit someone
My uncle dropped by after work for a visit.
drop by the wayside
- to give up or fail before the finish of something
Many runners dropped by the wayside during the marathon.
- to die suddenly
The bus driver dropped dead while driving the bus.
- Go away!, to stop bothering someone
I told my brother to drop dead when he came into my room and now he is angry at me.
- to stop doing what you are doing
When the fire alarm rang we dropped everything and went outside.
drop in (on someone)
- to make a short or unplanned visit to someone
I want to drop in on my friend after I finish work.
drop in one's tracks
- to collapse from exhaustion
The runner dropped in his tracks during the race.
drop in the bucket
- a small amount
The money that my friend repaid me was a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes me.
- to mention the names of famous people as if they were your friends
Nobody likes the girl because she is always dropping names when she meets her friends.
drop off (to sleep)
- to fall asleep
I dropped off to sleep while I was watching television.
drop off (someone or something) or drop (someone or something) off
- to take someone or something to a certain location
I dropped off my friend at the airport.
I dropped off the book at my friend's house.
drop out of (something)
- to quit school or a course of some kind
The boy dropped out of the class after three months.
drop (someone) a line
- to write or mail a note or letter to someone
My friend promised that she will drop me a line when she gets to Singapore.
drop the ball
- to make an error or mistake, to handle things badly
The government dropped the ball with its decision to expand the airport runway
without consulting the local residents.
drop the price (of something)
- to lower the price of something
The computer company will drop the price of computers next month.
drop the subject
- to stop talking about something
My friend was getting angry while we were talking about money so I decided to drop the subject.
drown one`s sorrows
- to drink alcohol or do something to forget one`s problems
The man is drowning his sorrows with a drink.
drown (someone) out or drown out (someone)
- to make so much noise that it is impossible to hear someone
The cheering fans drowned out the team captain.
drowning in (something)
- to be submerged in something, to be overwhelmed with something
The man is drowning in debt and has no money.
I am drowning in work this week.
drum up (something) or drum (something) up
- to encourage something by making an effort
The company was able to drum up a lot of business during the summer.
drum (something) into (someone's) head
- to make someone learn something by force
The teacher worked hard to drum the formulas into the heads of the students.
- to lose moisture gradually
The beach towel dried out quickly.
- a rehearsal for something, a practice session
The marriage ceremony was on Saturday so we had a dry run on Thursday night.
- to become dry, to be depleted
The river began to dry up early in the summer.
The money for the project has dried up.
- easy, effortless
a) "How was the test last week?"
b) "It was duck soup - no problem at all."
- a stupid gullible person
He is a dumb bunny and you never know what he will do next.
- to end a relationship by telling someone that you do not want to see him or her again
The woman dumped her boyfriend after they had a big fight.
dump (something) on (someone)
- to give a large or excessive amount of something to someone
Our teacher dumped much homework on us yesterday.
- an auction where you start off with a high price and then reduce it
They always sell the flowers at a Dutch auction at the downtown market.
- unusual or artificial courage (often because of alcohol)
The man was full of Dutch courage when he began to criticize his boss.
- a meal or movie etc. where each person pays his or her own way, to contribute equally to something
When the boy goes out with his girlfriend it is always a Dutch treat as he does not have much money.
- someone who gives you advice like a parent or relative would
My friend is like a Dutch uncle and he is always giving me advice about how I should act.
duty bound (to do something)
- to be forced by duty or honor to do something
I was duty bound to talk to my friend about the money that I had lost.
dwell on (something)
- to think or talk about something all the time
I wish that my friend would not dwell on his personal problems.
- permanent, stubborn
The man is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and will never change.
dying to (do something or go somewhere)
- to be very anxious to do something or go somewhere
I am dying to go and visit my friend in the country.