L Idioms and Quizzes
L 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
L 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
L 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
L 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
labor of love
- something done for personal pleasure and not for money
The man's painting is a labor of love and he does not expect to make any money from it.
lace into (someone)
- to attack or scold someone
The mother laced into her son when he came home late from the movie.
lace into (something)
- to eat food, to devour food
We laced into our dinner when we got home.
- a man who some women find very charming and attractive
The man in the movie was a lady killer and women loved him.
- a man who is popular with women
Our boss is a lady`s man and he always seems to have a woman interested in him.
- relaxed, not worried by things
Our teacher is very laid-back about most things in our classroom.
- to be confined to bed, to be unfit for work
My friend has been laid up for a few days because of a cold.
- a dreamlike mental state, a dreamworld, a land where impossible things may happen, La-La Land is a nickname for Los Angeles, California
I tried to talk to my friend but she was in la-la land.
The man is not practical about anything and is somewhere off in la-la land.
The woman wants to be successful in La-La Land.
- a public official who has a short time left to serve in office and therefore has less power than before
The mayor is a lame-duck leader so it is difficult for him to accomplish some things.
land a job
- to obtain a job
My best friend landed a very good job last month.
land an account
- to acquire an account
The salesman landed a large account on his first day of work.
land of Nod
I entered the land of Nod as soon as my head hit the pillow.
land on both feet
- to come out of a bad situation successfully
The man landed on both feet after his business went bankrupt.
land on one`s feet
- to come out of a bad situation successfully
My friend always manages to land on his feet no matter how difficult the situation is.
land up (somewhere or in some situation)
- to arrive at a final point, to finally be or do something
We landed up in a small town when we got lost driving.
- a very big victory (usually in an election)
My favorite candidate won a landslide victory in the election.
lap up (something) or lap (something) up
- to eat or drink something with the tongue (as a dog or cat would)
The dog lapped up the milk that his owner gave him.
lap up (something) or lap (something) up
- to eagerly take in or accept some information or praise
The man lapped up the praise that his boss gave him for the recently completed project.
lapse into a coma
- to go into a coma
The woman lapsed into a coma soon after the accident.
larger than life
- to be more impressive or important than the average person
All of the actors in the new movie are larger than life.
The businessman is known by everyone in the city and is totally larger than life.
The new player is more than a good athlete. He is larger than life in everything that he does.
lash out (at someone)
- to attack someone with words
They were walking along the beach when the girl suddenly lashed out in anger at her boyfriend.
lash out (at someone)
- to suddenly try to hit someone
The boy suddenly lashed out and hit the boy who was sitting beside him.
last but not least
- in the last place but not the least important
Last but not least the boy went to the front of the class to receive his report card.
- a final effort
The government made a last-ditch effort to prevent a strike by the teachers.
- the most unlikely person to do something or to be seen somewhere
My friend is the last person that you would expect to see in a French restaurant.
- the last insult or mistake or problem that one can endure and which then causes some reaction
The fourth time that the girl came to work late was the last straw and we finally fired her.
last will and testament
- the latest version of one's will
After my grandfather's funeral my uncle read out his last will and testament.
- the last remark in an argument, the final say in deciding something
The woman always expects to have the last word when she and her husband go shopping together.
late in life
- when one is older
Some very great painters never started painting until late in life.
late in the day
- far along in a project or activity
We received a new marketing plan but it was late in the day and we could not change our plans.
laugh all the way to the bank
- to make money in a way that other people think is impossible
I was laughing all the way to the bank with the money that I made from selling drinks at the sports stadium.
laugh off (something) or laugh (something) off
- to not take something seriously
The man laughed off the attempt by his boss to make him come to work early.
laugh out of the other side of one's mouth
- to change from being happy to being sad
My friend was laughing out of the other side of his mouth when he received a speeding ticket for driving too fast.
laugh (something) out of court
- to dismiss a legal case as being ridiculous
They laughed the case out of court when the woman tried to sue the dog's owner after the dog ate her flowers.
laugh up one's sleeve
- to laugh quietly to oneself
I was laughing up my sleeve when I learned that my friend would have to clean the bathroom at work.
launch a product
- to introduce a new product to consumers
The company will launch their new product next month.
launch forth (on something)
- to start out on something
Our boss launched forth on a long criticism of how we are doing our jobs.
a law unto oneself
- someone who makes one's own laws or rules
The city council member was a law unto herself until she had to quit because of a scandal.
(not) lay a finger/hand on (someone)
- to not touch someone, to not do something to someone
The man was told by the police to not lay a finger on his wife again.
lay an egg
- to fail to win the interest or favor of an audience
The performance by the magician was terrible. He laid an egg with the audience.
lay away (something) or lay (something) away
- to save something
The couple are trying to lay away some money for their holiday next year.
lay down one's arms
- to stop fighting, to surrender
The soldiers had to lay down their arms and stop fighting.
lay down one's life (for someone or something)
- to sacrifice one's life for someone or something
The young man laid down his life trying to protect the property of his company.
lay down the law
- to tell someone what to do by using your power or influence
The new manager plans to lay down the law to the workers regarding long lunch breaks.
lay eyes on (someone or something)
- to see someone or something
I have never laid eyes on a more beautiful dog in my life.
lay hold of (something)
- to get possession of something
If I can lay hold of some tools I will help you fix your toilet.
lay in (something) or lay (something) in
- to store up a supply of something, to get and store something for future use
The farmer is trying to lay in as much food as possible before winter comes.
lay/light into (someone)
- to attack someone with words
When I got to work this morning my boss laid/lit into me about my poor sales performance last month.
lay/light into (something)
- to do or eat something with much energy and enthusiasm
I laid into the steak as soon as the waiter brought it to the table.
lay it on thick
- to praise someone too much
My friend began to lay it on thick when I told him about my new job.
- to hide, to keep out of sight for a period of time
The man decided to lay low until his friend forgot that he had damaged his car.
lay of the land
- the features of an area of land or of an organization
We checked the lay of the land before we put up our tent at the camping site.
lay off (someone) or lay (someone) off
- to stop bothering someone, to leave someone alone
The teacher told the students to lay off the new student.
lay off (something) or lay (something) off
- to stop using or taking something bad (alcohol or drugs or chocolate or cigarettes)
I was told by my doctor to lay off smoking or I will be sick in the future.
lay off (workers/staff) or lay (workers/staff) off
- to reduce the number of workers
Six hundred workers at the automobile factory were recently laid off.
lay one`s cards on the table
- to let someone know one`s position and feelings openly, to deal honestly with something
The employee decided to lay his cards on the table and tell his boss about the job offer from the other company.
lay one's hands on (someone)
- to do violence to someone, to harm or hurt someone
The man said that if he ever lays hands on the person who stole his car he will take him to the police.
lay one's hands on (something)
- to find something, to acquire something
If I can lay my hands on a laptop computer, I will give the presentation tonight.
lay out (money) or lay (money) out
- to spend or pay some money
My friend will have to lay out much money for his new apartment.
lay out (something) or lay (something) out
- to plan something
We will lay out our plan for the new building at the next meeting.
- to arrive somewhere and wait some time before continuing on a journey
We will have to lay over in London for nine hours before we continue on our trip.
lay (someone) to rest
- to bury someone
We laid my uncle to rest in a quiet ceremony last night.
lay (something) on (someone)
- to direct blame or guilt for something on someone
The company tried to lay the blame for the computer problems on the manager.
lay (something) on the line
- to speak directly and firmly about something
The librarian had to lay it on the line and tell everyone not to bring drinks into the library.
lay (something) on the table
- to present a matter for discussion
I decided not to lay the matter about our salary on the table during the meeting.
lay (something) to rest
- to put an end to a rumor, to finish dealing with a problem and forget about it
We want to lay to rest the rumors about the financial problems in the company.
lay the blame on (someone or something)
- to blame someone or something
We laid the blame on my friend for making us late for the concert.
lay the groundwork for (something)
- to build the foundation or basis of something, to do the basic work that will lead to future success
The new training program will lay the groundwork for the future success of the company.
lay up (a vessel) or lay (a vessel) up
- to take a vessel out of active service, to put a boat in a boat dock or a garage
The weather was getting cold so we decided to lay up our boat for the winter.
lay up (something) or lay (something) up
- to collect a supply of something, to save something for future use, to store something
We are planning to lay up some canned fruit for the winter.
lay waste (to something) or lay (something) to waste
- to destroy and leave something in ruins, to wreck something
The army laid waste to the enemy territory.
- a plan in which someone pays part of some money that is owed and then pays the rest later and the store keeps the item until the full price has been paid
I decided to buy the television set on the department store`s layaway plan.
lead a dog`s life
- to live a hard life, to work hard and be treated unkindly
My friend has been leading a dog`s life since he started his new job.
- to begin, to start, to open
The golfer was the first to lead off in the tournament.
lead (someone) by the nose
- to have full control of someone, to make or persuade someone to do what you want
The man is not very aggressive and lets his boss lead him by the nose.
lead (someone) down the garden path
- to deceive someone
The young woman was leading her boyfriend down the garden path when she promised to marry him.
lead (someone) on
- to deceive someone, to mislead someone
The salesman tried to lead me on about the new product.
lead (someone) on a merry chase
- to lead someone on a chase with no purpose
The criminal led the police on a merry chase before they arrested him.
lead (someone) to believe (something)
- to imply something to someone
The salesman led me to believe that he could deliver the product next week.
lead (someone) to (do something)
- to cause someone to do something
The screams from the house led the police to believe that something terrible had happened.
lead/live the life of Riley
- to live an easy life of luxury, to live a pleasant life
My father has been leading the life of Riley since he retired from his job.
lead the way
- to go first and show others how to go somewhere, to guide someone
I had to lead the way because nobody knew where the new office was located.
- the time that is available to prepare for something
There was not much lead time to prepare for the advertising campaign.
lead up to (something)
- to prepare the way for something
The concerts in the park were leading up to the music festival.
- a question that suggests the kind of answer that you want to hear
The lawyer asked the man a leading question when he asked him about the money. The man did not know anything about the money.
leaf through (something)
- to look through a book or magazine or newspaper without reading it in detail
I leafed through several magazines in the doctor's office.
leak out (something) or leak (something) out
- to disclose special or secret information to the press
Somebody leaked out the information about the illegal donations to the press.
lean on (someone)
- to pressure someone by blackmail or threats of physical violence in order to make him or her do something
The gang tried to lean on the small shop owner to get him to sell his property.
lean over backwards to (do something or help someone)
- to do everything possible to do something or help someone
My cousin leaned over backwards to help my father when he was sick.
lean toward (doing something)
- to tend toward doing something
At the moment, we are leaning toward buying a laptop computer rather than a desktop computer.
leap to conclusions
- to decide something or reach a conclusion without having all the facts
Our teacher leaped to conclusions when she accused the boy of breaking the window.
leapfrog (over someone or something)
- to pass someone or something, to ignore something (leapfrog is a children's game where one child bends over and another child jumps over his or her back - to play leapfrog)
The new candidate was able to leapfrog over the other candidates and get the job.
Our team leapfrogged from third place to first place in the team standings.
The small computer company was able to leapfrog over many bigger companies to become the biggest in the city.
I leapfrogged over some of the questions on the test.
The children like to play leapfrog.
learn (something) by heart
- to memorize something
I learned my library card number by heart.
learn (something) by rote
- to memorize something without thinking about what is being learned
The children learned the material by rote but they did not really understand it.
learn (something) from the bottom up
- to learn something from the beginning
The young man learned about the company from the bottom up before his father retired.
learn (something) the hard way
- to learn something that is difficult or unpleasant by one's own experience
The young man learned things the hard way when he went to jail for stealing the computer.
learn the ropes
- to learn how to do a job
The man is a new employee and is still learning the ropes.
learn to live with (something)
- to learn to adapt to something unpleasant or painful
My mother and father must learn to live with not having a supermarket close to them.
least of all
- the least, of smallest importance
I do not like any of the choices offered, least of all the one that we were forced to choose.
leave a bad taste in one`s mouth
- to leave a bad feeling or memory with someone
The way that the company treated the workers left a bad taste in our mouth.
leave a lot to be desired
- to be inadequate
The job performance of the new employee leaves a lot to be desired.
leave no stone unturned
- to try in every way to do something, to do everything possible
The police left no stone unturned when they were looking for the lost girl.
leave one to one's fate
- to abandon someone to whatever may happen
The tour was suddenly canceled and we were left to our fate in getting our money refunded.
leave one's mark on (someone or something)
- to affect the behavior and performance of another person or of something
The company president left his mark on the company for many years after he retired.
leave oneself wide open for (something)
- to fail to protect oneself from criticism or ridicule
The actions of the manager left him wide open for criticism from everybody in the company.
leave (someone) alone
- to not disturb someone
"Please leave me alone so I can finish this essay."
leave (someone) at the altar
- to decide not to marry someone at the last minute
The man was very nervous and decided to leave his girlfriend at the altar.
leave (someone or something) behind
- to leave someone or something somewhere
I left my coat behind at the restaurant.
leave (someone) flat
- to fail to entertain or stimulate someone, to leave someone with no money
My attempt at making a joke left everyone in the room flat.
leave (someone) for dead
- to abandon someone as being dead
The hiker was left for dead when the rescue group could not find him.
leave (someone) for (someone else)
- to end a relationship with your partner and start a relationship with someone else
The man left his wife for his secretary but soon
discovered that his life was worse than before.
leave (someone) high and dry
- to leave someone in a difficult position
The employees were left high and dry when the company went out of business.
leave (someone) holding the bag
- to leave someone to take the blame for something
My friend left me holding the bag when he left the accident.
leave (someone or something) in (someone's) hands
- to give someone control of or responsibility for someone or something
I left the planning for the barbecue in my father's hands.
leave (someone) in peace
- to stop bothering someone
The woman was happy when her family left her in peace for several hours.
leave (someone) in the lurch
- to desert or leave someone alone and in trouble, to refuse to help or support someone
My coworker left me in the lurch when he did not help me as he had promised.
leave (someone) out in the cold
- to exclude someone
We made an effort not to leave my friend out in the cold when we were planning the birthday party.
leave (something) hanging (in the air)
- to leave something undecided or unsettled
Whether or not our boss will leave next year was left hanging in the air at the end of the meeting.
leave (something) on or leave on (something)
- to leave something running or operating
I always leave the lights on when I am working in the house.
leave (something) open
- to leave a date or time unscheduled
I will leave next Wednesday open so that I can meet my friend for lunch.
leave (something) out or leave out (something)
- to omit something
My friend told me about the accident but he left out some of the main points.
leave (something) to (someone)
- to make someone responsible for something, to leave someone in charge of something
I will leave the travel arrangements to my friend.
leave (something) up to (someone)
- to give the choice or decision about something to someone
We will leave the decision about the birthday party up to my friend.
leave well enough alone
- to be satisfied with something the way that it is
"You should leave well enough alone and be happy with your work schedule the way it is."
leave word with (someone)
- to leave a message with someone
I left word with my father to ask my mother to phone me tonight.
left at the gate
- to be abandoned (a horse that does not leave the starting gate during a race is said to be left at the gate)
Everyone at my office went to lunch without me. I was left at the gate.
- an ambiguous compliment interpreted as offensive
The man gave the girl a left-handed compliment when he said that her dyed hair looked nice.
- someone who performs messenger services, an errand boy
My friend is working as a leg man for the motion picture company.
(not have a) leg to stand on
- to not have a firm foundation of facts, to not have the facts to support one`s claims
The woman does not have a leg to stand on with her excuses for not finishing her work.
- routine work (that often involves walking)
I was forced to do all of the leg work to prepare for the meeting.
lend an ear (to someone)
- to listen to someone
I was asked to lend an ear to my friend so he could tell me about his problems.
lend color to (something)
- to provide an interesting accompaniment for something
The music of the orchestra helped to lend color to the dance performance.
lend (oneself/itself) to (something)
- to be adaptable to something
The small hall does not lend itself to having a good musical performance.
lend (someone) a hand
- to give someone some help
I asked my friend to lend me a hand to move the furniture.
lend (something) to (something)
- to make something important, to make something believable
The new research lends significance to the new theory.
a leopard can't change its spots
- you cannot change someone's basic human nature or bad qualities
The manager wrote a letter of apology to the customer but a leopard can't change its spots. The manager has not changed and the letter does not mean anything.
less than pleased
- not pleased
My father was less than pleased when I returned his car late last night.
lesser (of the two)
- the smaller one of the two
We chose the lesser of the two cars when we went to the car rental agency.
lesser of two evils
- the less bad thing of two bad things
The voters had to choose the lesser of two evils when they voted for one of the two candidates for mayor.
let alone (something)
- to not mention something, to say nothing of something
I do not have enough money to go to a movie let alone go on a holiday.
let bygones be bygones
- forget about unpleasant things or problems that happened in the past
"We need to let bygones be bygones and forget about our past differences."
let down one`s hair
- to relax, to act freely and naturally
Everybody at the party let down their hair and had a good time.
let down (something) or let (something) down
- to lengthen something, to make something longer
The woman wanted to let down her dress because it was too short.
let go of (something)
- to release something
I let go of my suitcase and it fell off the luggage rack.
let go with (something)
- to shout something out
The child let go with a loud scream when he saw the dog.
let it all hang out
- to let the truth be known, to be open about something
The girl decided to let it all hang out. She told her friend about her problems with her boyfriend.
let it go/lay
- to forget about something, to leave something alone
"You should let it go and stop worrying about what the woman did to you last year."
let it rip
- to let something go at full speed, to take off all restraints
I let it rip when I got on the motorcycle.
let off steam
- to get rid of your extra energy or strong feelings by doing some activity
The man was angry at first but now he has let off steam and has calmed down.
let on (something)
- to reveal something, to inform about something
"Please don`t let on that you saw me at the movie last night."
- to try to make people believe something, to pretend something
The man tried to let on that he did not want the job but actually he did.
let one's emotions show
- to be emotional (where it is not appropriate)
The mayor let his emotions show when his plan for the new stadium was defeated by the city council.
let oneself go
- to become less constrained
I went to the party and let myself go for the evening.
let oneself go
- to not take care of oneself
The woman has been letting herself go recently and does not even bother to comb her hair regularly
let out a rope
- to allow a rope to slip out little by little
We let out the rope as the boat left the shore.
let out (some kind of sound) or let (some kind of sound) out
- to make some kind of noise or sound
The girl let out a strange sound before running out of the house.
let out (someone) or let (someone) out
- to dismiss someone from a class or practice
The teacher let out the students because of the bad weather.
let out (something) or let (something) out
- to make clothes bigger or looser
I went to the tailor to ask him to let out my sports jacket.
let out (something) or let (something) out
- to allow something to go out or escape
I let out our dog this morning and he has not come home yet.
let out (something) or let (something) out
- to allow something to be known, to tell something
The company let out the details of the restructuring plan yesterday but we have not had time to talk about them yet.
let sleeping dogs lie
- to not make trouble if you do not have to
"You should let sleeping dogs lie and not begin to talk about past problems."
let (someone) down or let down (someone)
- to fail to do as well as expected, to disappoint someone
The boy let his parents down when he failed the university entrance exams.
let (someone) down easy
- to tell someone some disappointing news in a way that makes them feel good
I will talk to the secretary tomorrow and let her down easy about her not getting the promotion.
let (someone) go
- to discharge someone from a job, to fire someone
The company will let several hundred workers go in order to become profitable again.
let (someone) have it
- to hit someone hard, to scold someone angrily
One man let another man have it when they had a fight on the bus.
let (someone) have it with both barrels
- to attack someone verbally
The woman let her husband have it with both barrels when he came home late from work without phoning.
let (someone) in on (something)
- to tell someone a secret
We let our friend in on our plan to sell our apartment and buy a house.
let (someone) know (about something)
- to tell or inform someone about something
"Let me know when you are ready to go to the movie."
let (someone) off
- to permit someone to leave a car or train or boat or plane or other transportation
The train stopped at a small town and let the young woman off.
let (someone) off (easy)
- to release someone with little or no punishment
The judge let the man off easy because the man was sincere in his apology for his crime.
let (someone) off the hook
- to excuse someone from a penalty or a promise
My boss let me off the hook and I did not have to stay after work and help clean the office.
let (someone) walk away with (something)
- to let someone have something
The store let me walk away with the new computer for a very cheap price.
let (something) go
- to pay no attention to something, to neglect something
The girl is letting her appearance go since she lost her job.
let (something) go
- to allow something to pass, to do nothing about something
Although I was angry at my friend's remark I decided to let it go.
let (something) loose
- to set something free, to release something being held
We decided to let the injured bird loose in the park.
let (something) off or let off (something)
- to discharge a gun, to explode something, to release something
The children let off many firecrackers during the festival.
let (something) pass
- to let something go unnoticed or unchallenged
I did not like what my friend said to me but I decided to let it pass.
let (something) ride
- to continue a situation without changing it
We should forget about the recent problems at work and let the matter ride.
let (something) slide
- to neglect a duty, to ignore a situation
Recently, I have been very busy and I have let my work slide.
let (something) slide by
- to forget or miss an important time or date
I let my girlfriend's birthday slide by without noticing it.
let (something) slip by
- to forget or miss an important time or date
We let my parent's wedding anniversary slip by without doing anything.
let (something) slip (out)
- to tell a secret by accident
I let the date of the wedding slip out by mistake at the dinner party.
let the cat out of the bag
- to reveal a secret
"Don`t let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party for our boss."
let the chance slip by
- to lose the opportunity for something
My coworker let the chance slip by to take a class about computers.
let the chips fall where they may
- to not worry about the results of your actions
I will not worry about whether the company will go bankrupt or not. I will let the chips fall where they may.
(not) let the grass grow under one`s feet
- to be idle, to be lazy, to waste time
My friend is never content to let the grass grow under his feet. He is always busy.
let things slide
- to ignore the things that one is supposed to do
Recently, I have let things slide and my apartment is very messy.
- to become less or weaker, to become slower or stop
The rain let up around noon so we were able to go back outside.
let up on (someone or something)
- to stop working too hard, to take the pressure off someone or something
The man was told by his doctor to let up on his work schedule or he would become sick.
let well enough alone
- to leave things as they are
I decided to let well enough alone and not ask my supervisor for extra time off.
letter of the law
- the literal interpretation or the words of a law but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the law
The lawyer always likes to follow the letter of the law.
level (something) at (someone)
- to direct something (a remark or criticism) at someone
My friend began to level criticism at her boss for some of the things that she thought were wrong in the company.
level playing field
- a situation where everyone has an equal chance of success
The two companies had a level playing field when they applied for the contract.
level with (someone)
- to be honest with someone
I tried to level with my friend and tell her what I thought about her new hairstyle.
- sensible, practical, showing good judgement
The woman who works with me is very levelheaded.
license to (do something)
- the permission or right or chance to do something
When my uncle got the contract to sell food at the stadium it was a license to print money.
lick of work
- not even a small amount of work (usually used in the negative)
The children did not do a lick of work when the teacher was away.
lick one's chops
- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something (by licking one's lips)
The salesman began to lick his chops when he saw the potential customers at the convention.
lick one's lips
- to show one's eagerness for something or to do something or to eat something
The little boy began to lick his lips when he saw the candy in the window.
lick one's wounds
- to think about and reflect on something that has embarrassed you or caused you loss or disappointment
The politician went for a holiday in order to lick his wounds after he lost the election.
lick (someone's) boots
- to behave in a servile manner toward someone
Our boss wants everybody to lick his boots. That is why nobody likes him.
lick (something) into shape
- to transform or change something that is failing into something that works effectively
We are working hard to lick the failing business into shape.
lie/lay down on the job
- to do a job poorly or not at all
The workers decided to lie down on the job and nothing was finished when the supervisor arrived.
- to remain unused (a field or land lies fallow)
The farmer let the field lie fallow for one growing season.
lie in state
- to lie in a state of honor after death in an open coffin so that the public can see his or her body (usually used for a famous political leader)
The President lay in state after his death.
lie in wait
- to watch from hiding in order to attack or surprise someone
The police decided to lie in wait for the bank robbers to appear at the bank.
- to stay quietly out of sight, to try not to attract attention
"Our boss is angry so I think that you should lie low until he calms down."
lie through one's teeth
- to lie in a bold manner
The man's story was impossible to believe. He was lying through his teeth.
life of Riley
- an easy life of luxury, a pleasant life
My father has been living the life of Riley since he retired from his job last year.
life of the party
- a person who is lively and helps make a party fun and exciting
My friend is the life of the party and everybody loves to see her.
(not) lift a finger
- to not do anything to help anyone
The man is a nice person but he will not lift a finger to help anyone else.
(not) lift a hand
- to not do anything to help anyone
My neighbor would not lift a hand to help me move.
light into (someone)
- to scold someone
The woman lit into her child when he came home from school late.
light into (something)
- to devour or eat something
When we arrived home we wanted to light into our dinner immediately.
light on one's feet
- to be able to move quickly and gracefully
The boxer is light on his feet and he wins many boxing matches.
light out (for somewhere)
- to depart quickly for somewhere
We woke up early and prepared to light out for our first day of adventure.
- to suddenly look pleased and happy
When I told my cousin about our holiday plans his face lit up.
like a bat out of hell
- with great speed and force
The boy left the theater like a bat out of hell.
like a bolt out of the blue
- suddenly and without warning
It was like a bolt out of the blue when my father said that he will change jobs.
like a bump on a log
The boy was sitting at his desk like a bump on a log.
like a fish out of water
- appearing to be completely out of place somewhere
I was like a fish out of water when I went to the party at the expensive restaurant.
like a house on fire
- rapidly and with much energy
We worked like a house on fire in order to finish our work before our vacation.
like a sitting duck
- unsuspecting and unaware
The robber was like a sitting duck when the police arrested him as he waited for his partner to leave the bank.
like a three-ring circus
- chaotic or exciting or busy
The shopping center was like a three-ring circus when we went shopping on Saturday afternoon.
like a ton of bricks
- strongly or forcefully, a surprise to someone
The news of the singer's death hit me like a ton of bricks.
like an open book
- someone or something that is easy to understand
Our boss is like an open book and it is easy to know what he is thinking about.
- very fast, with great energy
The boy was running like crazy but still he could not catch his friend.
like father, like son
- a son usually acts like his father
"Like father, like son," the man said as he watched the boy playing baseball exactly like his father.
like greased lightning
- very fast
The horse ran out of the barn like greased lightning.
- with much effort and energy, never, not permissable
I had to run like hell this morning in order to catch the bus for work.
"Like hell, I am going to lend my friend more money."
like it or lump it
- to either accept something or forget about it
I offered the woman a fair price for the TV and told her that she could either like it or lump it.
Like it's such a big deal!
- It really isn't so important
"Like it's such a big deal!" the boy said when he told his friend about the lost book.
like lambs to the slaughter
- quietly doing something without realizing the danger or difficulties of the situation
Our basketball team went like lambs to the slaughter to meet the best team in the city.
like looking for a needle in a haystack
- engaged in a hopeless search
Looking for my house keys at the beach was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
- very fast, with great energy
I worked like mad but I was unable to finish the project before noon.
like nothing on earth
- very unusual
The performance by our neighbor was like nothing on earth and surprised everyone who saw it.
like one of the family
- like someone is a member of your family
My sister's friend is like one of the family and we invite her to come with us wherever we go.
like pulling teeth
- very difficult to do
It was like pulling teeth to try and get the boy to explain why he was crying.
like shooting fish in a barrel
- very easy, super easy, ridiculously easy
The contest was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was very easy to win a prize.
like the cut of (someone's) jib
- to like someone (a jib is a type of sail that is found on some sailboats)
I like to work with the new accountant. I like the cut of his jib.
like to hear oneself talk
- to enjoy talking rather than listening to other people
My friend likes to hear herself talk and it is very tiring to be around her.
like two peas in a pod
- very close or intimate
My two friends from school are like two peas in a pod and are always together.
like water off a duck`s back
- without effect, without changing one`s feelings or opinion
My boss always criticizes my friend but he ignores it and the criticism is like water off a duck`s back.
the likes of (someone)
- someone like the person who you are talking about
I do not enjoy spending time with the likes of my neighbor.
line of least resistance
- the easiest (but not always the best) way to do something
We took the line of least resistance and moved out of our apartment rather than have problems with the manager.
line one's own pockets
- to make money for oneself in a dishonest way
The local politician was lining his own pockets and did not win another election.
- to take places in a line or formation, to stand one behind another
We had to line up in front of the movie theater for over one hour.
line up (someone with someone)
- to supply a person with a date or companion
We tried to line up my friend's sister with our friend but we were not successful.
line up (someone for something)
- to arrange or schedule someone for something
We were unable to line up a speaker for our meeting.
line up (something with something)
- to adjust two things correctly
The carpenter lined up the two pieces of wood before he nailed them together.
lion's share (of something)
- the biggest part or share of something
I plan to give the lion's share of my DVD collection to my friend.
(one's) lips are sealed
- someone will not tell a secret
My lips are sealed and I will not tell anybody the secret.
- support shown by words only and not by action
The company paid lip service to the proposal but I do not think that they really support it.
listen to reason
- to yield to a reasonable argument
The woman would not listen to reason when she complained about the coat that she had bought.
- a test that uses one single indicator to help make a decision (the scientific meaning of a litmus test is a test for basic chemical properties that uses litmus paper)
The new sales policy was a litmus test for how the new manager would manage the department.
a little bird told me
- something is learned from a mysterious or secret source
A little bird told me that I would get a nice present from my boyfriend next week.
a little bit
- a small amount
I only had a little bit of time so I could not talk to my mother.
little by little
The man broke his leg while he was skiing but little by little it is getting better.
little frog in a big pond
- an unimportant person in a large group or organization
The manager transferred to the head office but now he is a little frog in a big pond and nobody knows him.
little pitchers have big ears
- little children often overhear things that they are not supposed to hear
"Little pitchers have big ears," the woman said when she saw her daughter listening as she talked to her husband.
live a life of (something)
- to have a life of a certain quality or style
My friend has been living a life of luxury since he won much money in the lottery.
live and learn
- to increase one's knowledge by experience
I will have to live and learn and try not to eat so much food.
live and let live
- to not interfere with other people's business or preferences
Our neighbor believes that one should live and let live and she never criticizes other people.
live beyond one's means
- to spend more money than one can afford
The couple have been living beyond their means and they are now in serious financial difficulty.
live by one's wits
- to survive by being clever
The boy lives by his wits and never has any problems in his life.
a live dog is better than a dead lion
- it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero (this is from Ecclesiastes in the Bible)
A live dog is better than a dead lion and I told my friend not to get into a fight with the angry man in the restaurant.
live down (something)
- to remove blame or distrust by good conduct, to cause something to be forgiven by not repeating it
Our supervisor is trying to live down his reputation of being a difficult person to work for.
live for (someone or something)
- to have someone or something as the most important thing in your life
The woman lives for her job and is always working.
The young man lives for movies. He loves them.
The grandmother lives for her children and grandchildren.
live for the moment
- to live without planning for the future
The young man lives for the moment and has no money saved for the future.
live from hand to mouth
- to live on little money and in poor circumstances
The man is an artist and must live from hand to mouth because he has no money.
live happily ever after
- to live in happiness after a specific event
It was a very beautiful movie and in the end everybody lived happily ever after.
live high on/off the hog
- to live very luxuriously or comfortably
My friend has been living high on the hog since he won the money in the lottery.
- to live at the place where one works
The young woman got a job where she could live in with a family with three children.
live in an ivory tower
- to be unaware of the realities of everyday life
The university professor lives in an ivory tower and does not seem to understand what is going on in the world.
live it up
- to spend money freely, to have a good time
The man likes to live it up every weekend when he gets paid.
live off the fat of the land
- to grow and eat one's own food
The early pioneers went to the mountain valley and were able to live off the fat of the land.
live on borrowed time
- to continue to live or operate longer than circumstances would suggest
My old car has been living on borrowed time for a long time now.
live out of a suitcase
- to stay away from your home while travelling with only the belongings in your suitcase
I dislike my job because I am often away from home and I must live out of a suitcase.
live (something) down or live down (something)
- to overcome the shame or embarrassment of something
It was difficult for the woman to live down the shame of stealing money from her job.
live through (something)
- to endure something
The people in the town lived through one of the worst disasters in many years.
live under a cloud of suspicion
- to be viewed with distrust, to not be trusted
The man has been living under a cloud of suspicion since the crime occurred.
Many people in the small business are living under a cloud of suspicion since the money was stolen.
Since the emails were leaked, many people are living under a cloud of suspicion.
live up to one's end of the bargain
- to do as you promised in a bargain
The young boy did not live up to his end of the bargain when he made no effort to finish his homework before watching television.
live up to (something)
- to act according to something, to fulfill expectations
The man is trying to live up to his reputation as a smart businessman.
live within one's means
- to spend no more money than one has
The young couple work hard to live within their means.
liven up (something) or liven (something) up
- to energize something, to make something more active
My friend arrived at the party and he soon livened things up.
the living end
- great, fantastic, the ultimate
My sister said that her new boyfriend was the living end.
- to have lots of money
My new boss is loaded.
load the dice
- to make an outcome highly probable, to predetermine a result, to put someone at a disadvantage through some prior actions
The large company seemed to load the dice against the small contracting firm.
lock horns with (someone)
- to get into an argument with someone
I locked horns with a woman who I work with when we had an argument last week.
lock (something) in or lock in (something)
- to make something (such as a rate of interest at a bank) permanent over a period of time
We locked in the mortgage of our house for five years because the interest rates were low.
lock, stock, and barrel
The small corner store went out of business and sold everything lock, stock, and barrel.
lock the barn door after the horse is stolen/gone
- to try to make something safe after it is too late
Trying to prevent a basement flood after the rains have started is like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen.
lock (something) up or lock up (something)
- to be assured of success
The candidate has already locked up the nomination for the next election.
long and the short of it
- all the facts, the whole story, a brief summing up of something
I phoned my friend and he told me the long and the short of why he got fired.
- a sad look, a disappointed look
Our boss had a long face when he came into work this morning.
a long haul
- a long distance or trip
The man is a long-haul truck driver and he is always out of town working.
the long haul
- a long period of time during which work continues or something is done
My cousin has decided to stay here for the long haul and will not return to his home.
long in the tooth
The man was feeling long in the tooth and he did not have much energy.
a long shot
- a bet or other risk taken though not likely to succeed
It was a long shot that my friend would get the job so he was very happy when he did get it.
a long time coming
- expected for a long time, happening after a long time has passed
It has been a long time coming but the couple will marry later this year.
It has been a long time coming but the company finally fired the bad employee.
look a gift horse in the mouth
- to complain if a gift is not perfect
"Even if you don`t like the present from your company you shouldn`t complain. Remember, don`t look a gift horse in the mouth."
look after (someone)
- to take care of someone, to watch someone, to supervise someone, to protect someone
My friend has been looking after her mother since her mother's recent illness.
look at (someone) cross-eyed
- to look at someone provocatively
The man in the bus looked at the other man cross-eyed and they seemed like they were going to have a fight.
look at the world through rose-colored glasses
- to see only the good things about something, to be too optimistic
I told my friend to be realistic and not to always look at the world through rose-colored glasses.
look back on (something)
- to remember something from one's past, to reminisce
The man looked back on his trip to India with many good memories.
look down on (someone or something)
- to regard someone or something with contempt or a feeling of superiority
My cousin looks down on the activities and life of small towns.
look down one`s nose at (someone or something)
- to show your dislike of someone or something
The boy always looks down his nose at the other members of his class.
look for (something)
- to try to find something, to hunt or search for something
The woman has been looking for her credit card all morning.
look for (something to happen)
- to think or expect that something is likely to happen
They are looking for our manager to become the next sales director of the company.
look for trouble
- to do something that may cause trouble
The young men spend every Saturday evening looking for trouble.
look forward to (something)
- to anticipate something with pleasure
We have been looking forward to the concert for a long time.
look good on paper
- to appear to be a good plan (but in actual practice it may not be a good plan)
My supervisor's plan looks good on paper but in reality I do not think that it will be successful.
look high and low for (someone or something)
- to look carefully in every possible place for someone or something
We looked high and low for my grandmother's hearing aide but we could not find it.
look in on (someone)
- to go to see someone, to make a short visit to someone, to make a call on someone to see if he or she is doing well
"Could you please look in on the baby and see if she is sleeping."
look into (something)
- to investigate or check something
They have been looking into the cause of the accident for many months.
look like a million dollars
- to look well and prosperous, to appear healthy and happy
My uncle looked like a million dollars when I saw him at the party last weekend.
look like death warmed over
- to look very ill
The elderly man looked like death warmed over when he went to the hospital.
look like (something)
- to predict something
It looks like rain this evening.
look like something the cat dragged in
- to look very shabby or worn or dirty
My friend looked like something the cat dragged in when he arrived home from work last night.
look like the cat that ate/swallowed the canary
- to seem very self-satisified, to look like you have just had some kind of success
The boy looked like the cat that ate the canary when he won the race.
- to watch, to observe, to be a spectator
Many people looked on as the fire burned in the building.
look on (someone) as (something)
- to view or think of someone as something
Everybody in our neighborhood looks on my neighbor as someone to talk to if they have a problem.
- to take care, to be careful, to be on guard
"Look out! There is a large truck coming down the highway."
look out for (someone)
- to provide protection and care for someone
"Please look out for my sister when she visits you this summer."
look out for (someone or something)
- to be alert or watchful for someone or something, to keep looking for someone or something
"Could you please look out for any old vinyl records that you may find."
look out on (something)
- to face something, to overlook something
Our hotel room looked out on a beautiful garden.
look over (something) or look (something) over
- to inspect or survey or examine something
"Please take some time to look over these documents before you sign them."
look (someone) in the eye/face
- to face someone directly
I looked the man in the eye when I asked him to move his car out of my way.
look the other way
- to ignore something
Our boss always looks the other way when his staff are one or two minutes late.
look through (something)
- to search through something, to examine something with one's eyes
I looked through my desk for my house keys.
look through (something)
- to see through something like a window
I looked through the window at the beautiful sunset.
look to (someone)
- to depend on someone, to go to someone for help
My friend looks to his mother for help when he has a problem.
look to (something)
- to attend to something, to take care of something
The woman is a wonderful nurse and spends much time looking to the needs of her patients.
look to (something)
- to expect or hope for something
The company looks to make much money with their new product.
The player looks to become a big star with his new team.
look up (someone) or look (someone) up
- to seek and find someone
When I was in New York City I looked up my friend from university.
look up (something) or look (something) up
- to search for something in a dictionary or other book
I will look up my friend's name in the telephone book.
I looked the word up in the dictionary.
look up to (someone)
- to think of someone as a good example to copy, to respect someone
I look up to the president of our company and would like to copy him.
- to appear promising or optimistic, to be improving
Things are looking up in the job market recently.
loom large (on the horizon)
- to be coming as a possible problem or danger or threat
A large increase in transportation costs is looming large on the horizon.
- details that are not settled, things that are not finished
I have many loose ends to deal with before I go on my holidays.
loosen (someone's) tongue
- to make someone relax and say something that they normally would not say
I went to the coffee shop with my friend where I tried to loosen his tongue.
lord it over (someone)
- to act as the superior and master of someone, to be bossy over someone
The supervisor likes to lord it over the other members of the staff.
- to be embarrassed or ashamed by an error or failure, to lose dignity
Our boss lost face when his employees decided not to support him during the meeting.
- to go backward, to become weaker, to not improve
The government has been losing ground in the fight against inflation.
- to become discouraged
The girl has begun to lose heart in her effort to learn the piano.
lose one's cool
- to lose one's temper, to become angry
The saleswoman lost her cool during a meeting with the chief supplier.
lose one's grip
- to lose a secure grasp or hold of something
The rock climber lost his grip and fell off the side of the cliff.
lose one's grip
- to lose control of a situation
I think that our boss is losing his grip in his ability to control the workplace.
lose one's head (over someone or something)
- to become confused or overexcited about someone or something, to lose one's self-control
The young woman lost her head when she discovered that she had won the swimming competition.
The teenager is in love and seems to have lost his head.
lose one`s marbles
- to go crazy or act irrationally
The man seems to have lost his marbles and does not make any sense at all.
lose one`s shirt
- to lose a lot of money
I think that the man is going to lose his shirt on the new business venture.
lose one`s temper
- to become angry
The mother lost her temper when the child broke the expensive dish.
lose one's touch (with someone or something)
- to lose one's ability to handle someone or something
I think that the horse trainer is losing her touch with the horses that she is training.
lose one's train of thought
- to forget what one was talking or thinking about
I lost my train of thought when I was talking on the telephone to my friend.
lose one`s way
- to become lost
The first time that my aunt went to London she lost her way.
lose oneself (in something)
- to become deeply involved in something
The violin player loses herself in her music when she is giving a concert.
lose out on (something)
- to fail to get or take part in something
I lost out on a chance to go to Mexico City because I was too busy with other things.
lose out to (someone or something)
- to fail to win, to miss first place in a contest
Our team lost out to the other team in the soccer tournament.
lose sight of (something)
- to forget something, to fail to see something
"Don't lose sight of the reason that you are planning to take the class."
lose sleep over (someone or something)
- to worry about someone or something so that you cannot sleep
I have been losing sleep over my recent problems at work.
lose touch with (someone)
- to fail to keep in contact or communication with someone
I lost touch with the people who I worked with at my summer job.
lose track of (someone or something)
- to lose contact with someone or something
I have lost track of my friends from high school.
- to decrease one's weight
I want to lose weight so I have stopped eating sweets.
- a place that handles lost items that other people find
I went to the lost-and-found department at the train station to look for my umbrella.
lost and gone forever
- permanently lost
My father's pocket knife is lost and gone forever and we will never see it again.
a lost cause
- a hopeless matter
Trying to change the work habits of our secretary is a lost cause. She will never change.
lost in thought
- to be busy thinking
I was lost in thought when my friend phoned last night.
lost on (someone)
- to be wasted or have no effect on someone
My attempt at telling a joke was lost on my former girlfriend.
loud and clear
- clear and distinct
I could hear the announcement loud and clear.
- a noisy talker, a boastful or foolish talker
The man is a loudmouth and nobody likes him.
louse up (something) or louse (something) up
- to throw something into confusion, to make a mess of something, to spoil something
The woman loused up her job interview and has no chance to get the job now.
lousy with (something)
- something has many or much of something, something is in abundance
The hotel room was lousy with cockroaches.
love at first sight
- to fall in love with someone or something the first time that you see him or her or it
When I saw the woman at the party, it was love at first sight and I knew that I wanted to meet her.
The woman loved the house. It was love at first sight.
love to hear oneself talk
- to enjoy talking rather than listening to other people
The man loves to hear himself talk and many people do not like him.
lovely weather for ducks
- rainy weather
"Lovely weather for ducks," I said when I met my neighbor walking in the rain.
- a hidden road or walkway where lovers walk or park their cars in the evening
After the movie we drove to the local lover`s lane.
low man on the totem pole
- the least important person
I am the low man on the totem pole in our company and I have no power.
- the inside facts of a matter, the total truth
I met with the speaker after the presentation and he gave me the lowdown on the new computer system.
lower one's sights
- to set one's goals lower than they were, to accept something that is less than you were hoping for
My cousin did not graduate from university and will now have to lower his sights when he begins to look for a job.
lower one's voice
- to speak more softly
The usher in the movie theater asked me to lower my voice.
lower oneself to (some level)
- to bring oneself down to a lower level of behavior
I do not want to lower myself to the same level as the terrible supervisor.
lower the boom on (someone)
- to scold or punish someone severely
Our teacher lowered the boom on the students who were late with their homework.
- to suddenly get lucky even though it looks like you will not succeed
I lucked out with the concert tickets and was able to buy four of them.
one's lucky stars
- a certain star or planet which is thought to bring a person good luck and success in life
You can count your lucky stars that you do not have to work on a rainy day like today.
lull before the storm
- a quiet period just before a period of great activity or excitement
It was the lull before the storm when the school principal began to tell the students about the new policy.
lull (someone) into a false sense of security
- to make someone believe that all is well before attacking them
The residents of the small community were lulled into a false sense of security when there were no crimes for several years.
lull (someone) to sleep
- to cause someone to fall asleep
The mother spent a long time trying to lull her young baby to sleep.
- the more extreme members of a group
A small lunatic fringe of protesters caused many problems at the convention.