P Idioms and Quizzes

P Idiom Quiz #1

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Quiz 1 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

1. Our boss never takes responsibility for his problems and always tries to (blame someone else).
a)   pad the bill
b)   pick up the tab
c)   play with fire
d)   pass the buck

2. Everybody (helped) to make the party a big success.
a)   passed the buck
b)   pitched in
c)   popped the question
d)   put in their two cents

3. The girl is always asking stupid questions and is a (bother) sometimes.
a)   put down
b)   piece of cake
c)   pat on the back
d)   pain in the neck

4. The game was (postponed) because of the bad weather.
a)   passed out
b)   pointed out
c)   put off
d)   piled up

5. The doctor deserves a (lot of praise) for his volunteer work.
a)   pain in the neck
b)   pointed remark
c)   pat on the back
d)   play on words

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #2

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Quiz 2 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

6. I had a cup of coffee in order to (increase my energy) for the afternoon meeting.
a)   perk up
b)   pound the pavement
c)   pull something off
d)   put the cart before the horse

7. The test was (very easy) and I am sure that I did well.
a)   a put down
b)   a pan out
c)   a pink slip
d)   a piece of cake

8. The man has no job so he must (economize) for the next few months.
a)   pass the buck
b)   pinch pennies
c)   play ball with someone
d)   put his finger on something

9. We decided to (sell everything) and move to a different city.
a)   patch up
b)   pay through the nose
c)   pull up stakes
d)   put our cards on the table

10. The woman has a very difficult personality and it is difficult to (endure) her.
a)   put up with
b)   play second fiddle to
c)   play up to
d)   pull the rug out from under

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #3

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Quiz 3 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

11. We do not use that company because they always (add on extra charges).
a)   put the cart before the horse
b)   pull up stakes
c)   pin someone down
d)   pad the bill

12. The rain and cold weather (lessened the enjoyment of) the celebrations.
a)   picked out
b)   pitched in
c)   ponied up
d)   put a damper on

13. I tried to (explain) that the proposal was not legal.
a)   pass the buck
b)   point out
c)   put on a brave face
d)   pull strings

14. The man's new job did not (work out well) so he returned to his old one.
a)   pan out
b)   put up a good front
c)   pay through the nose
d)   pick up the tab

15. The young couple (cheated) at the hotel and left without paying their bill.
a)   passed away
b)   passed the buck
c)   pulled a fast one
d)   picked their brains

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #4

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Quiz 4 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

16. The boys (stayed home) from school and went to the game center.
a)   painted the town red
b)   played hooky
c)   picked up the tab
d)   played ball with someone

17. Our boss (paid for everything) at the restaurant.
a)   played it by ear
b)   put in for something
c)   played second fiddle to someone
d)   picked up the tab

18. Our boss (was frank and honest) when he told us about the bankruptcy.
a)   passed the buck
b)   put his cards on the table
c)   picked our brains
d)   played on words

19. Our grandfather (died) last April.
a)   passed away
b)   panned out
c)   pitched in
d)   was praised to the skies

20. The man has been working hard to (solve) the problems with his family.
a)   pave the way for
b)   pile up
c)   pony up
d)   patch up

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #5

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Quiz 5 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

21. The man was able to (use the influence of others) in order to get the job.
a)   pass the buck
b)   pinch pennies
c)   pull strings
d)   pop the question

22. I think that the man was (lying to you) about his marriage.
a)   pulling your socks up
b)   putting you on
c)   putting your house in order
d)   putting you through the wringer

23. My friend (fainted) at the festival because of the heat.
a)   put his foot down
b)   perked up
c)   pounded the pavement
d)   passed out

24. The man received a (notice) yesterday telling him that he no longer has a job.
a)   pat on the back
b)   pink slip
c)   pointed remark
d)   piece of cake

25. I do not like to (inconvenience my friend) so I always visit after dinner.
a)   pull a fast one on my friend
b)   pull the wool over my friend's eyes
c)   put my friend out
d)   put up at a hotel

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #6

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Quiz 6 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

26. I finally (figured things out) and discovered that the woman was my teacher's wife.
a)   put two and two together
b)   put up a good front
c)   put my cards on the table
d)   poured it on thick

27. You are (inviting danger) if you criticize our supervisor at the meeting.
a)   putting the screws to someone
b)   passing the buck
c)   playing with fire
d)   pinning him down

28. I want to read the newspapers so that they do not (accumulate).
a)   pile up
b)   pick up the tab
c)   pitch in
d)   pony up

29. I (asked my girlfriend to marry me) three weeks ago.
a)   pounded the pavement with my girlfriend
b)   popped the question to my girlfriend
c)   put my foot down with my girlfriend
d)   played second fiddle to my girlfriend

30. The woman's husband is always (criticizing her) in front of his friends.
a)   paying her off
b)   playing second fiddle to her
c)   putting her down
d)   pulling his weight

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #7

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Quiz 7 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

31. Let`s (decide what to do) after we see the movie.
a)   pay attention
b)   play it by ear
c)   pin them down
d)   play our cards right

32. We had to (give a lot of money) for the new car.
a)   play up to someone
b)   pad the bill
c)   pay through the nose
d)   pick up the tab

33. The couple were (only joking with me) about the lost dog.
a)   pulling my leg
b)   playing ball with me
c)   pulling my weight
d)   putting me out

34. I am never permitted to (give my opinion) which is very frustrating.
a)   pay through the nose
b)   put in my two cents
c)   pin someone down
d)   play ball with someone

35. My friend has been (looking for a job) all year.
a)   painting the town red
b)   playing his cards right
c)   pounding the pavement
d)   pouring it on thick

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #8

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Quiz 8 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

36. The parents (objected strongly) and refused to let their son go out for the evening.
a)   played up to someone
b)   put their foot down
c)   pulled their weight
d)   put a damper on things

37. The supervisor (flattered me) during the meeting.
a)   picked up the tab
b)   poured it on thick
c)   picked my brains
d)   played it by ear

38. The girl's friends tried to (deceive her) by saying that they had gone to a movie that afternoon.
a)   pull the wool over her eyes
b)   put the cart before the horse
c)   pound the pavement
d)   play into her hands

39. The woman received some bad news but is (pretending to be happy).
a)   putting it through the wringer
b)   putting up a good front
c)   popping the question
d)   pulling something off

40. The secretary has been (flattering) her boss recently.
a)   pushing around
b)   playing up to
c)   putting a damper on
d)   pulling the rug out from under

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #9

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Quiz 9 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

41. We were able to (successfully do) the concert.
a)   pull off
b)   put up with
c)   put in for
d)   put a damper on

42. We (discussed things) and decided to go to Paris instead of London.
a)   put our heads together
b)   put someone on
c)   pulled strings
d)   pounded the pavement

43. My friend (spoiled) our plans to go to Hawaii for the seminar.
a)   pulled the rug out from under
b)   picked our brains about
c)   picked a quarrel about
d)   played with fire about

44. I have been trying to (make my friend clearly decide) about his plans.
a)   pick my friend's brains
b)   play ball with my friend
c)   pin my friend down
d)   put my friend in the picture

45. "Could you please go to the store and (get) some milk."
a)   put up with
b)   pick up
c)   put on
d)   pile up

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idiom Quiz #10

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Quiz 10 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

46. "Please (listen) to what your mother is saying."
a)   pick up
b)   perk up
c)   pay attention
d)   play it by ear

47. The man (said the wrong thing) last night at the party.
a)   popped the question
b)   pulled the rug out from someone
c)   painted the town red
d)   put his foot in his mouth

48. It is very difficult to (fool the girl).
a)   pay through the nose with the girl
b)   play the girl's cards right
c)   pull the girl's socks up
d)   put something over on the girl

49. I have not been able to (precisely determine) the cause of the problem.
a)   pull your leg about
b)   put my finger on
c)   put our heads together about
d)   put two and two together about

50. Our boss is inconsiderate and is always (bossing people around).
a)   pushing people around
b)   putting up a good front
c)   playing up to everyone
d)   passing the buck

Your score is: ___  out of 5

P Idioms

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pace oneself

- to adjust one's speed so that you do not become too tired

We tried to pace ourselves during the hike so that we did not become too tired.

pack a lot in

- to do a lot of activities in a short period of time

We were able to pack a lot in during our holiday.

pack a punch/wallop

- to provide a burst of energy or power or excitement

The storm packed a wallop and did much damage to the boats.

pack it in

- to stop working (usually at the end of the day), to leave work

We decided to pack it in early and go home.

pack of lies

- a series of lies, a collection of lies, a completely false story

Everything that the man said was a pack of lies and nobody believed him.

The man's reputation was destroyed by a pack of lies.

pack them in

- to attract a lot of people

The new restaurant is able to pack them in with its new and exciting menu.

packed in like sardines

- to be packed somewhere very tightly

The commuters on the train were packed in like sardines during the morning rush hour.

pad the bill

- to add false expenses to a bill

The salesman often pads the bill when he goes on a business trip.

paddle one's own canoe

- to do something by oneself

I was forced to paddle my own canoe when the rest of the staff went away for a seminar.

pain in the neck/ass/butt

- an annoying or bothersome thing or person

Dealing with my neighbor is always a pain in the neck.

paint oneself into a corner

- to get into a bad situation that is difficult or impossible to get out of

My friend has painted himself into a corner now that he has begun to fight with his supervisor.

paint (someone) with the same brush

- to say that someone or something has the same bad qualities as someone or something else

The school teachers painted the young boy with the same brush as his friends.

The newspaper painted the president of the company with the same brush as the bad managers of the company.

paint the town red

- to go out and party and have a good time

We decided to paint the town red after we passed our exams.

pal around (with someone)

- to be friends with someone

I have begun to pal around with a friend from my evening language class.

pale around the gills

- to look sick

My colleague was looking a little pale around the gills when he came to work today.

pale as a ghost

- extremely pale

My grandfather was as pale as a ghost when he entered the hospital.

pale as death

- extremely pale

The woman in the hospital waiting room was as pale as death.

palm (something) off on (someone) or palm off (something) on (someone)

- to deceive someone by a trick or a lie, to sell or give something to someone by tricking him or her

The man palmed off his old television set as one that was new and reliable.

pan out

- to end or finish favorably, to work out well

"I hope that your plans to go back to school pan out."

paper over the cracks (in/of something)

- to try to hide the faults or difficulties of something

Our boss tries to paper over the cracks in our office and will not deal with staff problems.

par for the course

- to be just what was expected, to be nothing unusual

That was par for the course. My coworker always comes late when there is much work to do.

paradise (on earth)

- a place on earth that is as lovely as paradise

The resort in the mountains was paradise on earth.

part and parcel of (something)

- a necessary or important part of something

The house that we bought is part and parcel of a much larger piece of property.

part company (with someone)

- to leave someone, to depart from someone

The two business partners decided to part company and begin their own businesses.

part with (something)

- to give away something although you would like to keep it, to sell something although you would like to keep it

The young man must part with the car that he loves.

The woman had to part with her book collection when she moved.

The man does not like to part with any of his money.

partake of (something)

- to eat or drink something

I decided not to partake of the large dinner before the golf tournament.

partial to (someone or something)

- to favor or prefer someone or something

Our boss is partial to the new person who recently began to work in our company.

particulars of (something)

- the specific details about something

I have no knowledge of the particulars of my father's business dealings.

parting of the ways

- a point at which people separate and go their own ways

I had a parting of the ways with my friend from high school.

party line

- the official ideas of a group (usually political) that must be followed by all members of the group

The members of the political party were forced to follow the party line on most issues.

party's over

- a happy or good time has come to an end

The party's over and I must now begin to work after my long holiday.

Pass Idioms

pass away

- to die

The man's father passed away when he was 96 years old.

pass for/as (someone or something)

- to succeed in being accepted as someone or something

The young woman was trying to pass for a reporter when she went to the concert.

The man was passing as someone who knew more than he did.

pass muster

- to pass a test or checkup, to measure up to a certain standard

The player was not able to pass muster and was not included on the team.

pass off (something) as (something else) or pass (something) off as (something else)

- to sell or give something by false claims, to offer something as genuine when it is not

The man passed off the watch as a diamond watch and received more money than it was worth.

pass on

- to die

My grandmother passed on when she was 92 years old.

pass on (something) or pass (something) on

- to give away something that you do not use anymore

The girl always passes on her old clothes to her younger sister.

My father always passes his newspaper on to his neighbor.

pass on (something or someone)

- to refuse an opportunity involving something or someone

I was very tired so I decided to pass on going to the restaurant with my friends.

The movie sounds fun but I am busy so I will pass on it.

pass oneself off as (someone or something) else

- to claim to be someone one is not, to pretend to be someone else

My friend passed himself off as a reporter and was able to get into the concert free.

pass out

- to faint

Three teenage girls passed out at the rock concert.

pass out (something) or pass (something) out

- to distribute something

The teacher passed out the exam papers before the test.

pass over (someone or something) or pass (someone or something) over

- to skip or ignore or not give attention to someone or something

The company will probably pass over the employee for a promotion.

The team passed over the young player and chose a veteran player for the team.

Some of the woman's ideas are good but some are quickly passed over by her company.

pass the buck

- to shift responsibility for something to someone else

Our supervisor always tries to pass the buck if someone tries to criticize his work.

pass the hat

- to attempt to collect money from a group of people for some project or special cause

We passed the hat in order to raise money to buy a movie projector.

pass the time

- to fill up time by doing something

My grandfather usually passes the time reading and working in his garden.

pass through (someone's) mind

- to think about something briefly, to remember something briefly

It passed through my mind that I must go to the bank and get more money before my holiday.

passport to (something)

- something that allows something good to happen

A university education is usually a passport to a better job.

past master at (something)

- someone who is extremely good or skillful at something

The chef is a past master at cooking with various kinds of sauces.

past (someone or something's) prime

- to be beyond the most useful or productive period of someone or something

The young skater is past her prime as a figure skater.

pat on the back

- praise

My boss gave me a pat on the back when I finished the project.

patch up a relationship or patch a relationship up

- to repair a broken relationship

The couple wanted to separate but they were able to patch up their relationship and now they are very happy together.

patch up (something) or patch (something) up

- to fix something

I am trying to patch up my differences with my friend.

path of least resistance

- the easiest (but not always the best) way to do something

I took the path of least resistance and quit the class rather than try to pass the course.

pave the way for (someone or something)

- to prepare someone or something for something

The new policy is designed to pave the way for more effective communication in the company.

Pay Idioms

pay a call on (someone)

- to visit someone

I went to the head office to pay a call on the accounting manager.

pay a king's ransom for (something)

- to pay a great deal of money for something

My friend paid a king's ransom for his new entertainment system.

pay an arm and a leg (for something)

- to pay much money for something

I paid an arm and a leg for the new frames for my glasses.

pay as you go

- to pay costs as they occur or as you buy some goods

The small businesses were forced to pay as they go when the bank began to look at their loans.

pay attention to (someone or something)

- to listen to someone with full attention, to look at something with full attention

The man never pays attention to what his supervisor tells him.

pay dividends

- to produce good results and benefits

A good education will always pay dividends for a person.

pay dirt

- a profitable or useful discovery or venture, dirt in which much gold is found

The company hit pay dirt when they published the new computer software.

pay for (something)

- to pay money for something

I paid for dinner for my friends.

pay homage to (someone)

- to praise or respect or honor someone

The entire country paid homage to their dead leader.

pay in advance

- to pay for something before it is received or delivered

I paid in advance for the frames for my pictures.

pay lip service to (someone or something)

- to support someone or something by words but not by actions

The politician paid lip service to the proposal to build a new subway system but he did not really like the idea.

pay off

- to yield good results

My risks in starting the new business finally paid off.

pay off (something) or pay (something) off

- to pay for something completely and be free from a debt

The woman paid off her car loan so she now has some extra money to spend.

a pay-off

- the results of one`s work, a bribe

The young man expects to get a big pay-off from his university education when he begins to look for a job.

pay one's debt to society

- to serve a sentence for a crime (usually in prison)

The young man spent several years in prison in order to pay his debt to society.

pay one's dues

- to earn one's right to something through hard work or suffering

The young athlete paid his dues and became a member of the best team in the city.

pay one's last respects

- to attend the funeral of someone

Our family gathered to pay their last respects to our grandmother.

pay one's (own) way

- to pay the costs for something by oneself

The young man was forced to pay his own way during college.

pay (someone) a back-handed compliment

- to give someone a false compliment that is really an insult

The woman paid her colleague a back-handed compliment when she told her what a good job she was doing.

pay (someone) a compliment

- to compliment someone, to give someone a compliment

My supervisor paid me a compliment for the work that I was doing.

pay (someone or something) a visit

- to visit someone or something

I paid the tax office a visit to try and resolve my tax problem.

pay (someone) off or pay off (someone)

- to pay someone a bribe

The man tried to pay off the customs agent to quickly get his products into the country.

pay (someone) respect

- to have and show respect to someone

The children refuse to pay their teacher respect.

pay the penalty/price (for something)

- to suffer the negative results of something

The company will pay a penalty for their bad business decisions.

pay the piper

- to face the results of one's actions, to be punished for something

The city government was forced to pay the piper after many years of bad management.

The student wasted most of the term playing. He was forced to pay the piper when the professor assigned much work at the end of the term.

pay through the nose (for something)

- to pay a lot of money for something

My uncle always pays through the nose when he buys a new car.

pay to (do something)

- to be beneficial to do something

I decided that it would pay to buy a new car rather than fix my old car.

pay up

- to pay someone immediately

My friend asked me to pay up because he needed the money.

pecking order

- the way people are ranked in relation to each other

The pecking order in my company is very difficult for others to understand.

peeping Tom

- someone who looks in the windows of strangers

The police arrested a peeping Tom near our apartment building last week.

peg away (at something)

- to keep working at something, to keep trying something

My friend has been pegging away at his job for many years now.

a penny for one`s thoughts

- the telling to others of what you are thinking about

"A penny for your thoughts," the girl said as she saw her boyfriend looking out the window.

penny pincher

- a person who is very careful with his or her money - even very small amounts like a single penny

The man is a penny pincher and will never spend any money.

a penny saved is a penny earned

- money saved through being thrifty is the same as money earned by working

A penny saved is a penny earned and trying not to spend a lot of money is as good as trying to earn money.

penny-wise and pound-foolish

- wise or careful in small things or purchases but not wise or careful about bigger things or purchases

The man is penny-wise and pound-foolish and he wastes his money on things that he does not need.

people who live in glass houses should not throw stones

- you should not complain about other people if you yourself are not perfect

"You should not criticize other people. Remember, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

pep (someone or something) up or pep up (someone or something)

- to make someone or something more active and energetic

I drank a cup of coffee in order to pep myself up for my afternoon class.

pep talk

- a speech to encourage people to try harder and not give up

The coach gave his team a pep talk after they lost three games last month.

perfect couple

- two people who appear to get along perfectly

Our neighors seem to be the perfect couple.

perk up

- to become energetic or happy after being sad or tired

My sister began to perk up after she had a chance to rest after her long drive.

persist in (doing something)

- to continue to do something with determination

The young child persisted in making noise that disturbed his father.

persist with (something)

- to continue with something

I am going to persist with my demand that my boss transfer me to another department.

perspective on (something)

- a way of looking at a situation and determining what is important

My friend has a different perspective on what recently happened in his company.

peter out

- to die down gradually, to grow less strong

The large crowd from the football game began to peter out and the streets around the stadium became quiet.

phone around/round

- to phone several people or places to get information or to arrange something

The man phoned around to find the best price for a laptop.

Many workers were sick so the manager had to phone around to find someone to work.

I plan to phone around to get the best price for a ticket.

Pick Idioms

pick a fight with (someone)

- to start a fight with someone (usually on purpose)

The man tried to pick a fight with his old friend.

pick a lock

- to open a lock without a key

The robbers picked the lock and entered the store.

pick a quarrel with (someone)

- to start a quarrel with someone (usually on purpose)

I do not like that woman because she likes to pick a quarrel with other people.

pick and choose

- to choose very carefully from a number of possibilities

The company will pick and choose the best people for the new project.

pick at (someone)

- to be very critical of someone

The woman is always picking at her husband for very small things.

pick at (something)

- to eat only little bits of something

The boy is sick and will only pick at his food.

pick holes in (something)

- to find all the flaws and falsehoods in an argument, to criticize something severely

My supervisor picked holes in my argument to buy a new computer for the office.

a pick-me-up

- food or a drink that one takes when one feels tired or lacks energy

I stopped at the restaurant on my way home for a quick pick-me-up.

the pick of (something)

- the best of a group

The members of the Olympic team are the pick of the best athletes in the country.

pick off (someone or something) or pick (someone or something) off

- to kill with a carefully aimed shot from a gun or other weapon

The police were easily able to pick off the man who was shooting the rifle.

pick on (someone)

- to do or say bad things to someone

The boy always picked on his sister when they were children.

pick on someone your own size

- to abuse or bully someone who is big enough to fight back

The older boy should pick on someone his own size rather than fighting with the smaller boy.

pick one's way through (something)

- to work slowly through written material

I picked my way through the material that I had to study for the exam.

pick out (something) or pick (something) out

- to choose or select something

I tried to pick out a nice necktie for my father.

pick over (something) or pick (something) over

- to sort through something

The customers picked over the best clothes at the department store sale.

pick (someone`s) brain

- to extract ideas or information from someone for one`s own use

My friend is always picking my brain to get new ideas for his business.

pick up a cold/influenza

- to acquire an illness

The boy picked up a cold during the weekend.

pick up a radio wave etc.

- to catch or receive the sound of a radio etc.

We could not pick up any radio stations when we were travelling through the mountains.

pick up a trail/scent

- to recognize the trail of a hunted person or animal

The tracking dogs were easily able to pick up the trail of the criminal.

pick up (someone) or pick (someone) up

- to take someone to the police station, to arrest someone

The police picked up the man for drinking and driving.

pick up (someone) or pick (someone) up

- to take on passengers in a bus or car or train etc.

The bus picked up my mother at six o`clock in the morning.

pick up (something) or pick (something) up

- to get or receive or claim or buy something

I picked up my dry cleaning after I finished work yesterday.

I picked up some milk after work.

pick up (something) or pick (something) up

- to learn something without formal study

I picked up a lot of French when I lived in France for a year.

pick up (something) or pick (something) up

- to take something that has fallen on the floor or ground and put it somewhere else

"Could you please pick up my pen from the floor."

pick up (something) or pick (something) up

- to collect or gather something

We picked up some beautiful seashells on the beach.

pick up speed

- to increase the speed of something

The car picked up speed as it began to go down the hill.

pick up the check

- to pay the bill for someone else

I picked up the check at the restaurant.

pick up the tab

- to pay the bill for someone else

I picked up the tab for the dinner at the restaurant.

pick up where one left off

- to start again after an interruption

It was getting late so we decided to stop work and pick up where we left off the next day.

picked over

- rejected, worn

All of the best shoes were picked over in the shoe sale.

picture of health

- a perfect example of health

The man is feeling very well and is the picture of health.

picture of (something)

- the perfect example of something

My father was the picture of happiness when I saw him.

pie in the sky

- a goal or plan that is too optimistic, a future reward after death

The boy's plans for his summer were pie in the sky. He would never complete them.

piece of cake

- easy

That job was a piece of cake. It was the easiest thing that I ever did.

piece of the action

- a share in a plan or a project

The small company was able to get a piece of the action with the large building contract.

pig in a poke

- something accepted or bought without looking at it carefully

The used bicycle that I bought was a pig in a poke. I do not know if I will like it.

piggy bank

- a small bank (sometimes in the shape of a pig) for saving coins

The girl put all of her spare money into her piggy bank.


- sitting or being carried on one's back and shoulders

The man was carrying his child around the room piggyback style.

pile into (something)

- to climb into something roughly

The teenagers piled into the old car after school.

pile out of (something)

- to get out of something roughly

The passengers piled out of the bus when it arrived at the station.

pile up

- to accumulate, to put things on top of each other

I piled up the magazines on top of the small table.

pillar of strength/support

- someone who provides strong support for someone, a strong or powerful person

The man is a pillar of strength in his community.

pin one's hopes/faith on (someone or something)

- to put one's hope or trust or faith in someone or something

I will not pin my hopes on getting a promotion next month.

pin (someone) down or pin down (someone)

- to keep someone from moving, to make someone stay in one place or position

The wrestler won the match after he pinned his opponent down for almost a minute.

pin (someone) down or pin down (someone)

- to make someone tell the truth or make a commitment

I cannot pin my friend down as to when he will pay back the money that he owes me.

pin (something) on (someone)

- to place the blame for something on someone

My friend tried to pin the blame for breaking the computer on me.

pinch-hit for (someone)

- to substitute for someone

The best batter on the baseball team was asked to pinch-hit for the injured player.

pinch pennies

- to be careful with money, to be thrifty

My friend is pinching pennies in order to save money for his vacation.

pink slip

- a dismissal notice from a job

The man received his pink slip yesterday and no longer has a job.

pins and needles

- a tingling feeling in one's arms and legs, a feeling of excitement

I was on pins and needles all day as I waited to hear the results of the exam.

pipe down

- to be quiet

The teacher asked the children to pipe down in the classroom.

The man told the young man on the bus to pipe down.

We were talking during the movie so the manager told us to pipe down.

pipe dream

- an unrealistic plan

My friend has a lot of pipe dreams about what he wants to do in the future.

pipe up

- to speak louder

We asked the speaker to pipe up so that we could hear him.

pipe up with (something)

- to speak up and say something

The student piped up with a comment from the back of the class.

piping hot

- very hot

The food from the kitchen was piping hot when the waiter brought it to the table.

We were cold so the piping hot tea and coffee were great.

The soup was piping hot.


- a small and unimportant person

The boy called his friend a pip-squeak which made the friend very angry.

pique (someone's) interest/curiosity

- arouse interest or curiosity

The conversation with the filmmaker piqued my interest and I began to watch his movies.

piss (someone) off or piss off (someone)

- to bother or annoy someone, to make someone angry

My supervisor pissed me off when he asked me to work late last night.

pit (someone or something) against (someone or something)

- to set one group or person against another

The fight over the new shopping center pit the property owners against the local businesses.

pitch a tent

- to put up a tent

We pitched the tent in a field beside a stream.

pitch an idea

- to make a proposal or suggestion about something (just as a baseball pitcher will pitch a ball in a baseball game)

I will pitch my idea about a new project tomorrow.


- to be very black

It was pitch-black when we left the restaurant to return home.

pitch camp

- to set up or arrange a campsite

We stopped for the night next to a small river and pitched camp.


- very dark

It was pitch-dark when I took the garbage out to the garbage can.

pitch in

- to give help or money for something

My friends pitched in and helped me finish the job quickly.

pitch (someone) a curve (ball)

- to surprise someone with an unexpected act or event

The lawyer pitched the woman a curve when he began to ask questions unrelated to the court case.

place an order

- to submit an order

I recently placed an order for a new refridgerator.

place (someone)

- to recall someone's name

I could not place the woman at the meeting but I knew that I had met her before.

place the blame on (someone or something)

- to blame someone or something

The teacher placed the blame on the boys for breaking the flower vase.

plain and simple

- absolutely, without further complication or elaboration

It was plain and simple. I decided to buy the car and I did not want to talk about it further.

Play Idioms

play a joke/trick on (someone)

- to do a joke or trick that affects someone

The boy played a trick on his teacher.

play along with (someone or something)

- to agree to cooperate with someone's plan

I decided to play along with my friend and his plan to buy a horse.

play around/about with (someone or something)

- to engage in some play with someone or something

The boy was playing around with the dog when his mother entered the room.

play ball with (someone)

- to cooperate with someone, to join in an effort with others

"If you play ball with the new manager things should go well for you."

play both ends (against the middle/center)

- to scheme in a way that makes two sides fight against each other

The man was trying to play both ends against the middle when he tried to negotiate with the two departments in his company.

play by ear

- to play a musical instrument by remembering the tune and not by reading the music

Although the woman cannot read music she can play by ear and is a very good musician.

play-by-play (description)

- a detailed description of an event (usually sports) as it is taking place

The announcer gave a play-by-play description of the championship game.

play by the rules

- to follow the generally accepted rules of something

The team did not play by the rules so they had to leave the tournament.

The man needs to play by the rules if he wants to be successful in his company.

The news reporter always makes an effort to play by the rules.

play cat and mouse with (someone)

- to tease or fool someone or something by pretending to let them go free and then catching him or her or it again

The boxer was playing cat and mouse with his opponent although he could have won the match easily.

play down (someone or something) or play (someone or something) down

- to give less emphasis to someone or something, to make someone or something seem less important

The politician played down the survey that showed that he was becoming less popular.

play dumb/ignorant

- to pretend to be ignorant about something

I played dumb when my boss asked me if I knew anything about the problems with the printer.

play fair

- to do something by the rules

The politician was not playing fair during the election campaign.

play fast and loose with (someone or something)

- to act carelessly or thoughtlessly or irresponsibly

The witness began to play fast and loose with the facts of his case and was criticized by the judge.

play first chair

- to be the leader of a section of instruments in an orchestra or a band, to act as a leader

The woman plays first chair in an orchestra.

play footsie with (someone)

- to touch the feet of someone under the table while flirting

The couple in the restaurant were playing footsie during dinner.

play footsie with (someone)

- to engage in some kind of collaboration in a political situation

The opposition party was playing footsie with the government in order to try and influence their policy.

play for keeps

- to do something that is permanent and a serious move

My friend was playing for keeps when he refused to give the information to his boss.

play hard to get

- to be coy and shy

The young woman was playing hard to get but actually she wanted to go on a date with the young man.

play hardball with (someone)

- to behave in an extremely determined way to get what you want (hardball and softball are from the game of baseball)

The owners of the football club decided to play hardball when they began negotiating with the star player.

play hooky

- to stay away from school or work without permission

The boy often plays hooky and does not go to school.

play innocent

- to pretend to be innocent and not concerned about something

The little boy played innocent when the teacher asked him about the broken window.

play into (someone`s) hands

- to do something that gives someone else an advantage

The man walked out of the meeting in anger which only played into the hands of the other side.

play it by ear

- to decide to do something according to the situation

"Let`s play it by ear and decide where to eat after we see the movie."

play it cool

- to act calm and not concerned

I tried to play it cool when the policeman stopped me when I was driving my car.

play it safe

- to avoid taking a risk

The father always plays it safe when he goes swimming with his son.

play off

- to settle a score between two teams or contestants by playing another game or match

Our team had to play off against the other team before we went to the championship.

play off (one group against another)

- to match opposing persons or forces or interests for one`s own gain

Nobody likes the supervisor because he is always trying to play off one group of workers against another.

play on/upon (something)

- to cause an effect on something, to influence something

The company played on the feelings of loneliness of some people to get them to buy more products.

a play on words

- a humorous use of a word to suggest a different meaning

Newspaper headlines often use a play on words to give a different meaning to a sentence.

play one's cards close to one's chest

- to be extremely secretive and cautious about something (to hold playing cards close to your chest so the other players cannot see them)

My boss always plays his cards close to his chest when he is negotiating with another company.

play one`s cards right

- to take advantage of one's opportunities

"If you play your cards right you will probably get a promotion soon."

play one's trump card

- to use one's most powerful or effective strategy or device

I played my trump card when I told my boss that I would quit if I did not get an increase in salary.

play politics

- to negotiate politically, to allow politics to control a situation where principle should prevail

The government leaders were playing politics with the tax issue.

play possum

- to pretend to be inactive or asleep or dead

My friend was playing possum and did not respond to the conversation around him.

play second fiddle to (someone)

- to be second in importance to someone

The man has been playing second fiddle to his boss for many years and has finally decided to change jobs.

play (someone) for (something)

- to treat or handle someone as something else

My supervisor was trying to play me for a fool but I could easily see what he was doing.

play (someone) off against (someone)

- to scheme in a manner that pits two of your opponents against each other

Our supervisor is always trying to play one group of employees off against another group.

play the devil's advocate

- to argue against something even if you may agree with it

I was playing the devil's advocate when I asked my friend about his plan to change jobs.

play the field

- to date many different people, to avoid steady dates with the same person

After my sister stopped dating her boyfriend she decided to play the field.

play the fool

- to act like a fool, to act in a silly manner

My friend made me play the fool when he left me waiting in the supermarket for two hours.

play the market

- to invest money in the stock market

My father has been playing the market for many years now.

The woman plays the market but she is very careful about it.

The man likes to play the market although he sometimes loses money.

play to the gallery

- to perform in a manner that will get the strong approval of the audience

The politician always plays to the gallery and tells his supporters what they want to hear.

play tricks on (someone)

- to trick or confuse someone

The little boy likes to play tricks on his friends.

play up (someone or something) or play (someone or something) up

- to call attention to someone or something, to emphasize someone or something

During the job interview I played up my experience with computers.

play up to (someone)

- to flatter or please someone in order to gain his or her favor

The man is always playing up to his boss so that he can get more free time.

play with fire

- to invite danger or trouble

"You are playing with fire if you start that new project. You will lose money."

played out

- to be tired or worn out, to be exhausted

I was played out last night so I went to bed early.

pleased as punch

- to be very pleased with oneself

I was pleased as punch when I learned about the money that I had won.

plenty of something

- much or enough of something

There was plenty of food at the dinner.

I have plenty of time today so I will phone my friend.

Plenty of people are buying the new phone.

the plot thickens

- things are becoming more complicated or interesting

"The plot thickens," I thought as the situation at my company became more and more complicated.

plow into (someone or something)

- to crash into someone or something with force

The truck plowed into the group of people waiting for the bus.

plow into (something)

- to attack or eat or do something vigorously

We plowed into the food as soon as the waiter brought it to our table.

plow through (something)

- to work through something with determination

I had much homework to do but I was able to plow through most of it by early evening.

pluck up one's courage

- to make oneself have courage

The young man plucked up his courage and asked the woman for a date.

plug a product

- to promote or advertise a product

The football player makes much money when he agrees to plug a product.

The singer is often on TV as she tries to plug her new song.

The company is spending much money to plug their new product.

plug away at (something)

- to continue working at something (usually in a serious and determined way)

My friend has been plugging away at his job for several years now.

The boy is plugging away at his essay.

plug in (something) or plug (something) in

- to place a plug into a receptacle

We plugged in the coffee pot before the meeting began.

plug up (something) or plug (something) up

- to stop or fill up a hole or crack or gap

We used some special cement to plug up the leak in the bathtub.

plumb loco

- completely crazy

The man is plumb loco and everybody tries to stay away from him.

poetic justice

- the random but appropriate receiving of rewards or punishments by those who deserve them

It was poetic justice when the man lost the money that he had got illegally.

point of no return

- the halfway point, the point where it is too late to turn back

We reached the point of no return on our journey and decided that it would be impossible to turn back.

point of view

- one's way of thinking or one's opinion about something

I find it difficult to understand my friend's point of view on many issues.

point out (someone or something) or point (someone or something) out

- to explain or call attention to someone or something

My teacher was very kind when she pointed out the mistakes that I had made.

point the finger at (someone)

- to blame someone for something, to identify someone as the guilty person

I did not point the finger at anyone but I wanted to know who broke the computer.

a pointed remark

- a comment or remark that is aimed at someone or something and is used to criticize or to show that you are annoyed

The manager made a pointed remark aimed at everyone in order to get their attention.

My friend made a pointed remark when I was late.

The young woman made a pointed remark about her friend's shoes.

poised for (something)

- to be ready and waiting for something

The army was poised for an attack early in the morning.

poised to do (something)

- to be ready to do something

Our basketball team is poised to win its third championship this evening.

poke about/around

- to look or search for something or just look at things

I was poking about in some antique stores last weekend.

poke fun at (someone)

- to joke about someone, to laugh at someone, to tease someone

The woman is always poking fun at the way her husband plays golf.

poke one's nose into (something)

- to interfere with something

I wish that my neighbor would not always poke her nose into my business.

poles apart

- to be completely opposite, to be very different, to be far from making an agreement

The union and management were poles apart in their attempt to reach a contract agreement.

polish off (something) or polish (something) off

- to finish doing something quickly or completely

We polished off the work early and went to the beach for the day.

polish the apple

- to try to win someone's favor by flattering him or her

The teacher does not like students who try to polish the apple with her.

a political football

- an issue or a problem that causes arguments and disagreement and that different political groups use to gain votes

The increase in university tuition fees was a political football that some groups wanted to use to their advantage.

pony up

- to pay

It is time for my friend to pony up and pay for the exercise equipment that he bought from me.

pooped out

- to be worn out, to be exhausted

We spent all day painting the house so we were pooped out when we arrived home.

pop the question

- to ask someone to marry you

The man finally popped the question to his girlfriend after they had been dating for two years.

pop up

- to appear suddenly or unexpectedly

I had not seen my friend for a year but suddenly he popped up for a visit last week.

pose a question

- to ask a question

The professor decided to pose a question to the class.

The reporter always poses difficult questions to the city official.

I plan to try and pose a question to the speaker.

pose as (someone)

- to pretend to be someone

The man was posing as a reporter in order to get information about the company.

possessed by (something)

- to be under the control of something, to be obsessed with something

The woman was possessed by her desire to be the best actress on the movie set.

possessed of (something)

- to have something

The man is possessed of the ability to clearly understand and repeat what others say.

postage and handling

- the charges for handling and sending something by mail

We bought some books over the Internet but the postage and handling was very expensive.

pot calling the kettle black

- a person who is criticizing someone else may be as guilty as the person who he or she criticizes

It was like the pot calling the kettle black when the woman who is always late for work criticized her coworker for also being late.

pound out (something) or pound (something) out

- to type something on a typewriter or computer keyboard, to play a song on a piano

I spent several hours trying to pound out an essay on my computer.

pound the beat

- to walk a route

The policeman has been pounding the beat for many years now.

pound the pavement

- to look for a job

The man has been pounding the pavement for a few months now but he still has not found a job.

pour cold water on (something)

- to discourage something

My boss poured cold water on my idea to change the time of our coffee break.

pour in/into

- to continue to arrive in great numbers, to flow or flood into something

Complaints about the electric power system are pouring into the city office.

Congratulations to the team are pouring in after they won the championship.

Water poured into the building during the heavy rains.

pour it on thick

- to flatter someone greatly

The man has been pouring it on thick but the woman still does not like him.

pour money down the drain

- to waste money

The city is pouring money down the drain with the new stadium.

My uncle is pouring money down the drain with his crazy ideas.

The car is very old and the man is pouring money down the drain to try and repair it.

pour oil on troubled waters

- to calm down a quarrel, to say something to lessen anger and bring peace to a situation

The teachers tried to pour oil on troubled waters when they saw the fight among the students.

pour out

- to come out in great number or quantity, to stream out of a place

After the football game, thousands of fans poured out of the stadium.

pour out one's heart to (someone)

- to tell everything about something to someone

The girl poured out her heart to her mother when her mother returned home from work.

pouring rain

- very heavy rain

I went outside in the pouring rain and became very wet.

power behind the throne

- the person who controls the person who seems to be in charge of something

The general is the power behind the throne in the small country and he has much influence.

powers that be

- the people who are in authority

The powers that be have decided that the summer festival will not be held this year.

praise (someone or something) to the skies

- to give someone or something much praise

The teachers praised the principal to the skies for the new policies at the school.

preach to the choir/converted

- to praise or speak to those who already agree with you, to recommend something to someone who is already in favor of it

I was preaching to the converted when I told my friend about the new car.

Telling the conservationists about the need to preserve green space is preaching to the choir.

precious few/little

- very few, very little

I had precious little time to prepare for my final exam.

There were precious few people at the concert.

prelude to (something)

- an event that comes before another more important event

The strong wind was a prelude to the large storm that would soon follow.

The introduction by the speaker was a prelude to the main speech.

The soft music was used as a prelude to a big event in the movie.

press one`s luck

- to depend too much on luck, to expect to continue to be lucky

My uncle is pressing his luck if he thinks that he will continue to make a lot of money on the stock market.

pressed for time

- to not have enough time

My boss was pressed for time so I did not speak to him.

The man always seems to be pressed for time.

I was pressed for time and did not phone my friend.

pretty state of affairs

- an unpleasant state of affairs

The mess in the kitchen was a pretty state of affairs which the woman had to return to.

prevail upon (someone)

- to ask or beg someone (for a favor)

I had to prevail upon my friend to lend me some money for my holiday.

prey on/upon (someone)

- to cheat or rob someone

Criminals often prey on people who are the weakest members of society.

prey on/upon (something)

- to catch something for food, to kill and eat something

Cats usually prey on mice and small birds for food.

prick up one's ears

- to listen more closely (like an animal moving its ears to hear better)

I pricked up my ears and listened to what the speaker was saying.

pride and joy

- someone or something that one is very proud of

The little boy is the pride and joy of his parents.

pride oneself on/in (something)

- to take special pride in something

My father prides himself on the fact that he is never absent from work.

prime mover

- the force or person that starts something

The group of executives were the prime movers behind the decision to close the factory in our city.

privy to something

- to be uniquely knowledgeable about something

I was not privy to the decision of my friend to suddenly quit his job.

promise (someone) the moon

- to promise something that is impossible

Before the election the politicians promised everybody the moon but after they were elected they began to talk differently.

prone to (something)

- to be likely to do something

Our manager is prone to saying very strange things.

proof is in the pudding/proof of the pudding is in the eating

- you can only find out if an idea or plan is good by seeing what the results of trying it will be

The proof is in the pudding and if our plan is good then many people will support it. If it is not good then people will not support it.

propose a toast

- to make a toast before drinking

We proposed a toast to our friend who was going away to study for a year.

prove to be (someone or something)

- to be shown or discovered to be someone or something

The problem with the computer proved to be much easier to fix than we had thought.

provided that (something is so)

- on the condition that something is so

We plan to go hiking this weekend provided that the weather is good.

psych (someone) out or psych out (someone)

- to find out the real motives or intentions of someone

I tried to psych out the salesman to see how much he would sell the car for.

psyched out

- to be confused and disoriented

The young man was totally psyched out when the robber entered his apartment.

psyched up (for something)

- to be mentally prepared for something, to be ready or excited for something

Our team was psyched up for the game but we lost anyway.

I have an exam tomorrow but I think I am psyched up for it.

The speaker seems to be psyched up for the event.

publish or perish

- university professors often have to publish books or articles in journals or they will not be successful in their jobs at the university

The professor was forced to publish or perish if he wanted to advance in his university career.

Pull Idioms

pull a boner

- to do something stupid or silly

I pulled a boner when I sent the E-mail message to the wrong person.

pull a fast one on (someone)

- to cheat or deceive someone

They pulled a fast one on me when they sold me the broken stereo.

pull a gun/knife on (someone)

- to bring out a gun or knife quickly so that you can use it against someone

The robber pulled a knife on the woman in the street.

pull a stunt/trick on (someone)

- to deceive someone

If the boy pulls a stunt like he did last weekend he will be in much trouble with his parents.

pull down (someone) or pull (someone) down

- to humiliate someone

The scandal pulled down the politician from his position in the government.

pull down (something) or pull (something) down

- to demolish something

The city will pull down the old office building rather than rebuild it.

pull down (something) or pull (something) down

- to lower or reduce the amount of something (a school grade etc.)

The difficult chemistry course pulled down my grades during the fall semester.

pull one's punches

- to hold back in one's criticism, for a boxer to hit with light punches

The manager was pulling his punches when he began to criticize his workers.

pull one`s weight

- to do one`s fair share of the work

"If everyone pulls their weight we can quickly finish and go home."

pull oneself together

- to recover control of one's emotions

The woman tried to pull herself together after learning about her boyfriend's accident.

pull oneself up by one's bootstraps

- to improve oneself or achieve something through one's own efforts

The boy pulled himself up by his bootstraps and went back and finished university.

pull out all the stops

- to use all of one's energy and effort to achieve something

My mother pulled out all the stops to prepare a great birthday party for me.

pull over

- to drive to the side of the road and stop

I was very tired so I pulled over to the side of the road to rest.

pull over (someone) or pull (someone) over

- to force a car to drive to the side of the road and stop (often used when talking about the police)

The police pulled over the man because he had been drinking and driving.

pull rank on (someone)

- to assert one`s superior position or authority on someone of lower rank in order to get a privilege or favor

The navy officer pulled rank on the other officers and could stay in the best room in the hotel.

pull (some) strings

- to secretly use influence and power

Our boss was able to pull some strings and get his son a job for the summer.

pull (someone`s) leg

- to trick or fool someone in a playful way, to try to trick or joke with someone by saying something that is not true

The man was pulling his friend's leg when he said that he had won much money.

pull (someone's) tooth out or pull out (someone's) tooth

- to take someone's tooth out (usually done by a dentist)

I went to the dentist so he could pull my tooth out.

pull (something) off or pull off (something)

- to accomplish something remarkable

My friend is lucky that he pulled off the new business venture with no problems.

pull (something) out of a hat

- to get something as if by magic, to do something that improves a bad situation

The team was able to pull victory out of a hat and win the tournament.

The food did not arrive for the wedding but we were able to pull something out of a hat and solve the problem.

The business owners will need to pull something out of a hat to make the company survive.

pull (something) to pieces

- to find serious fault with something, to criticize something very severely

The politician tried hard to pull the proposal to pieces.

pull (something) together or pull together (something)

- to organize something, to arrange something

We were able to pull everything together and the convention was a great success.

pull the pin

- to quit a job, to end a project or program or relationship

My friend suddenly decided to pull the pin and quit his job.

pull the plug

- to quit a job, to end a project or program or relationship

The cashier suddenly decided to pull the plug and is no longer working here.

pull the plug on (someone or something)

- to terminate or stop someone or something

The company pulled the plug on the salesman after they learned about his illegal sales activities.

pull the rug out from under (someone)

- to spoil someone`s plans, to withdraw support for someone

Our boss pulled the rug out from under our plans to open a bigger office.

pull the wool over (someone`s) eyes

- to deceive or fool someone

"Don`t let that man pull the wool over your eyes with his excuses."

pull through (something)

- to recover from an illness or misfortune

It looked like my uncle was going to die but he pulled through and is now doing very well.

pull up one`s socks or pull one's socks up

- to make a greater effort than before to do something

"You had better pull up your socks or you will not be able to continue working here."

pull up stakes

- to move to another location

We have decided to pull up stakes and move to London.

punch a hole in (something)

- to make a hole in something

I used a hole puncher to punch a hole in the sheet of paper.

punch a hole in an argument

- to weaken or destroy an idea or belief by proving that parts of it are wrong

The news reporter was able to easily punch a hole in the argument of the politician.

punch above one's weight

- to fight at a level that is above what would be expected of you

The boxer will be punching above his weight if he agrees to the match with the stronger boxer.

The small country punches above its weight in most international conferences.

puppy love

- strong feelings of love (infatuation) between school-age children or teenagers

The two teenagers thought that their love was the greatest in the world. Other people thought that it was only puppy love.

pure and simple

- absolutely, without further complication

It was pure and simple. I did not want to go away for the weekend.

push a product

- to promote a product

The soap company is now pushing their new product.

push off

- to start, to leave

The boat pushed off from the dock and started out to sea.

push one's luck

- to expect to continue to escape bad luck or a negative situation

The woman was pushing her luck to continue to bother her neighbors with her loud music. Someone was going to complain someday.

push (someone) around or push around (someone)

- to make someone do what you want in an unpleasant and unfriendly way

The sales manager is always pushing around his salespeople.

The little boy likes to push the other children around in the school grounds.

push the panic button

- to become very frightened or excited at a time of danger or worry

The man thought that his wallet had been stolen so he pushed the panic button and told everyone that it was missing.

push up daisies

- to be dead and buried

My uncle has been pushing up daisies for several years now.

Put Idioms

put a bee in (someone's) bonnet

- to give someone an idea (about something)

I put a bee in my friend's bonnet with my plans to go to Germany to study.

put a cap on (something)

- to put a limit on something

The university was forced to put a cap on the number of new students that they could accept.

put a damper on (something)

- to discourage something, to spoil a person`s fun

The death of the company president put a damper on the anniversary celebrations.

put a hold on (something)

- to place a restriction on something to show that it is reserved or delayed

I put a hold on several books at the library.

put a product on the map

- to make a product known to the public

We hope that our new advertising campaign will put our product on the map.

put a sock in it

- to stop talking, to be quiet

The man told his friend to put a sock in it.

The teacher told the children to put a sock in it.

put a spin on (something)

- to interpret an event to make it seem favorable to oneself

The politician tried to put a spin on the bad publicity that she had recently been receiving.

put a stop/end to (something)

- to bring something to an end

The company is trying to put an end to the personal use of computers during office hours.

put across (something) or put (something) across

- to make oneself understood, to communicate something

The speaker spends much effort trying to clearly put across what he wants to say.

put all one`s eggs in one basket

- to place all one`s efforts or interests or hopes in a single person or thing

You should not put all your eggs in one basket and invest all of your money in the stock market.

put an end to (something)

- to cause something to end, to terminate something in a clear manner

The police put an end to the loud party in the public park.

put an issue to bed

- to resolve a topic of discussion

We talked for three hours about the problem but we finally put the issue to bed.

put away (an animal) or put (an animal) away

- to put an animal to death, to kill an animal

We put away our dog because he tried to bite the small girl next door.

put away (something) or put (something) away

- to put something in its proper place, to remove something from sight

The little boy put away his toys.

put down (an airplane) or put (an airplane) down

- to land an aircraft

The pilot put down the airplane very gently when they reached the airport.

put down (an animal) or put (an animal) down

- to take the life of an animal that is suffering

The farmer decided to put down the sick horse.

put down (someone) or put (someone) down

- to criticize someone, to make someone feel bad

The boy is always putting down his girlfriend in front of his friends.

put down (something) or put (something) down

- to stop something by force, to crush something

The soldiers easily put down the rebellion by the rebel army.

put down (something) or put (something) down

- to write a record of something, to write down something

The company told the man to put down his request for a transfer in writing.

put forth (an idea/plan/suggestion)

- to propose something, to suggest something

Our teacher put forth a very good idea about the exams.

put forth (something)

- to show or display something, to produce something

The girl put forth much effort in order to do well on her exam.

put ideas into (someone's) head

- to suggest something (often bad) to someone

My mother was angry because I was putting ideas into my sister's head.

put in a good word for (someone) or put a good word for (someone) in

- to say something in support of someone

I put in a good word for my friend when I was meeting with my boss and supervisor.

put in an appearance or put an appearance in

- to appear somewhere for a short time

I put in an appearance at the party although I was very tired.

put in for (something)

- to apply for something

I put in for a transfer to another department of our company.

put in one`s two cents

- to give one`s opinion

The girl likes to put in her two cents when she has a chance.

put in (something) or put (something) in

- to submit something

I plan to put in my job application next Monday.

put in (something) or put (something) in

- to plant flowers or plants or vegetables

We will put in some roses in our garden this year.

put in (something) or put (something) in

- to add to what has already been said

Suddenly, my friend put in that he was tired and wanted to go home.

put in (somewhere)

- to stop at a port on a journey by water

The ship put in at several ports during the cruise.

put in time

- to spend time doing something

The man put in much time fixing his house and now it looks very beautiful.

You need to put in a lot of time to learn a language well.

The players put in time every day in order to improve their performance.

put off (someone or something) or put (someone or something) off

- to cause a bad feeling for someone, to repel someone

The girl put off the other members of her class by complaining all of the time.

put off (something) or put (something) off

- to postpone or delay something

We put off the game because of the rain.

put on a brave face

- to try to appear happy when faced with a bad situation

My friend put on a brave face even though he lost his job.

The girl put on a brave face and made her presentation to the class.

The woman has been putting on a brave face during her illness.

put on a performance/play

- to produce or arrange a play or other performance

My sister helped to put on the school play.

put on airs

- to act superior to others

The girl was accused of putting on airs by her friends.

put on an act

- to pretend that something is different than it really is

The girl was putting on an act when she said that she no longer loved her boyfriend.

put on clothes

- to get into and wear a piece of clothing

I put on my sweater before I went outside.

put on one`s thinking cap

- to think hard and long about something

I will put on my thinking cap and try and decide what to do about the problem.

The teacher told the student to put on her thinking cap to solve the problem.

The sales team needs to put on their thinking caps to try and sell more products.

put on the dog

- to dress or entertain in an extravagant manner

The couple put on the dog for the visit of their old college friend.

put on the feed bag

- to eat a meal

I put on the feed bag as soon as I got home last night.

put on weight or put weight on

- to gain weight

My friend has been putting on weight since he stopped working.

put one through one's paces

- to make someone demonstrate what he or she can do

The coach put the team through its paces as they prepared for the championship game.

put one's best foot forward

- to try and make a good impression on other people, to act one's best

I tried to put my best foot forward during the job interview.

put one's cards on the table

- to be open and honest about one's plans or situation

I put my cards on the table and told my boss about my plan to change jobs.

The two groups put their cards on the table before they began to negotiate.

I decided to put my cards on the table and tell my friend my feelings.

put one's clothes in mothballs

- to put something in storage with mothballs

The woman plans to put her coat in mothballs for the winter.

put one's dibs on (something)

- to lay a claim to something

I put my dibs on the most comfortable chair when I went to my friend's house.

put one`s finger on (something)

- to identify a problem, to locate something precisely, to remember something exactly

I was unable to put my finger on the exact date of my friend's arrival.

put one`s foot down

- to object strongly to something, to take firm action

Our boss put his foot down and did not allow any more money to be spent on entertainment.

put one's foot in one's mouth

- to say something that is the wrong thing to say in a situation

I put my foot in my mouth and said that I did not like fish just before my friend served me fish for dinner.

put one's head on the block for (someone or something)

- to take great risks for someone or something

Our supervisor was always willing to put his head on the block for any member of the staff.

put one's heads together

- to discuss or talk about something with someone or a group of people and try to solve a problem

We put our heads together to try and find a solution to the problem.

put one`s house in order

- to organize one`s own private affairs

My friend should put his house in order before he tells others what to do.

put one's mind to (something)

- to give one's complete attention to something

The boy can do anything if he puts his mind to it.

The young woman will do well in school if she puts her mind to it.

If I put my mind to it, I will finish this job quickly.

put one's money where one's mouth is

- to stop always saying that you will do something but to actually do it

The man always talks about helping other people but he never does anything. He should put his money where his mouth is and do something.

put one's nose to the grindstone

- to keep busy doing one's work

I put my nose to the grindstone and worked all weekend on my history essay.

put one's shoulder to the wheel

- to get busy and start working

I put my shoulder to the wheel and tried to finish my work so that I could go home early.

put one's thinking cap on or put on one's thinking cap

- to start thinking in a serious manner

I put my thinking cap on and tried to think of a name for the student newspaper.

put one's toe in the water

- to slowly start to do something new to see if you like it or to see if other people will approve of it

I plan to put my toe in the water to see if the new job is suitable for me.

put one's two cents (worth) in

- to add one's comments to (something)

I tried to put my two cents in at the meeting but nobody would listen to me.

put oneself in (someone) else's place/position

- to allow oneself to see or experience something from someone else's point of view

It was difficult to put myself in the woman's place after she had lost her only child.

put our/your heads together

- to confer about something, to discuss something

We put our heads together to think of a new name for the football team.

put out a fire or a light

- to make a flame or light stop burning, to extinguish a flame or fire

The citizens were able to put out the fire before the fire department arrived.

put out (about/by/that something)

- to be inconvenienced or irritated about something

My friend was put out that her sister did not call her when she was in town.

put out (some) feelers or put (some) feelers out

- to attempt to find out something without being too obvious about it

I put out some feelers to see if it would be easy to find another job.

put out (something) or put (something) out

- to produce or make something

The company decided to put out a newsletter for the employees.

The band will put out another record soon.

put pressure on (someone)

- to try to get someone to do something, to make demands on someone

The company put pressure on the manager to change his decision.

put some teeth into (something)

- to increase the power of something

The government plans to put some teeth into the new laws against property crime.

put (someone or something) at (someone's) disposal

- to make someone or something available to someone

I put myself at my friend's disposal when he visited me last summer.

put (someone) away or put away (someone)

- to put someone in a mental institution or hospital

The man was doing much damage to himself so the police put him away in a mental institution.

put (someone) down as (something bad)

- to judge that someone is bad or undesirable in some way

The store clerk immediately put the young man down as someone who may steal something in the store.

put (someone) down for (something) or put down (someone) for (something)

- to put someone's name on a list of people who volunteer to do something or give money for something or wait for something

The salesman put me down for one of the new cars that will soon arrive at the car dealership.

put (someone) in his or her place

- to scold someone for rude or bad behavior, to rebuke someone

Our teacher was very angry and put the student in his place for his rude remark.

put (someone) in the picture

- to tell someone what the situation about something is

The supervisor has decided to put me in the picture about the new policy at work.

put (someone) off or put off (someone)

- to make someone feel uneasy, to avoid responding to someone

He put me off with his complaints about our company.

put (someone) on or put on (someone)

- to fool or joke with someone, to tease someone

I think that my friend is putting me on. I do not believe that he will move to Italy.

put (someone) on a pedestal

- to respect or admire or worship a person

My father used to put my mother on a pedestal when I was young.

put (someone) on hold

- to leave someone waiting during a telephone call

I phoned the bank and the receptionist put me on hold.

put (someone) on the spot

- to ask someone embarrassing questions

The teacher put me on the spot with her questions during the class.

put (someone) out or put out (someone)

- to inconvenience or bother someone

I do not want to put my aunt out so I plan to stay in a hotel when I visit her.

put (someone or something) out of one`s head or mind

- to try not to think about someone or something

My friend has been trying to put his girlfriend out of his mind since they stopped seeing each other.

put (someone or something) out to pasture or put out (someone or something) to pasture

- to retire someone or something

We decided to put our old horse out to pasture and stop riding him.

put (someone) through (to someone)

- to transfer someone to someone else's telephone

I waited a few minutes before they put me through to the manager.

put (someone or something) through (something)

- to cause someone or something to succeed or pass

The young man worked hard to put himself through university.

The city government put the new law through quickly.

put (someone) through the wringer

- to cause a lot of stress for someone

The man put his wife through the wringer during their long divorce.

put (someone) to bed

- to help or make someone (often a child) go to bed

We put our child to bed early last night.

put (someone) to shame

- to be much better than someone else, to embarrass someone

The school project of my neighbor's child put our child to shame.

put (someone or something) to sleep

- to cause someone to sleep or die through drugs or anesthesia

The doctor put the woman to sleep before the operation began.

put (someone or something) to the test

- to see what someone or something can achieve or do

I put my boss to the test when I asked him to replace our sales manager at work.

put (someone) up or put up (someone)

- to provide lodging for someone

I usually put my friend up when he comes to visit.

put (someone) up to (something)

- to persuade or cause someone to do something

The young boy's friend put him up to cheat on the examination.

put (something) above (something)

- to regard something as more important than something else

The man puts his family above everything else.

put (something) behind you

- to try and forget about something, to try not to focus on something or think about something

The team lost the game badly but they need to put the loss behind them and practice for the next game.

The woman needs to put the bad memories behind her.

The decision was bad but the company needs to put it behind them and focus on the future.

put (something) down in black and white

- to write something on paper, to write the details of something down on paper, to write down the terms of an agreement/contract

I had to put my proposal down in black and white.

put (something) down to (something)

- to explain something as being caused by something else

The police put the accident down to the bad road conditions at the time.

put (something) forward or put forward (something)

- to state or advance an idea

I put my idea forward at the meeting to see if anyone was interested in it.

put (something) in mothballs

- to put something in storage

The government decided to put the old ferry in mothballs.

put (something) into practice

- to start using a plan or idea

I think that our supervisor should put some of his ideas into practice.

put (something) into print

- to have something printed and published

It was difficult to get the company to put the policy into print.

put (something) into words

- to find a way to express a feeling with words

It was difficult to put my sadness at my aunt's death into words.

put (something) on hold

- to postpone something, to stop the progress of something

We decided to put the weekend trip on hold.

put (something) on ice

- to delay or postpone something

The city put the plans for the new stadium on ice as they tried to get more money for the project.

put (something) on paper

- to write something down

I put my ideas for the new business on paper.

put (something) on the back burner

- to delay or postpone something

We have put our plans for a holiday on the back burner while we do some repairs to our house.

put (something) on the front burner

- to make something a priority

We must put the plans for the new office on the front burner.

put (something) on the line

- to put something at risk or in danger

I put my reputation on the line when I supported my friend and his business proposal.

put (something) on the map

- to make something known and popular

We are trying to put our new restaurant on the map.

put (something) on the table

- to make something the topic of discussion

We put the issue of the new schedule on the table for discussion.

put (something) over on (someone)

- to fool or trick someone

The man was trying to put something over on his boss when he said that he was sick and could not come to work.

put (something) past (someone)

- to be surprised by what someone does (usually used in the negative)

I would not put it past my friend to try and change jobs for the second time this year.

put (something) plainly

- to state something firmly and clearly

My supervisor put his ideas plainly when we gathered for the monthly meeting.

put (something) straight

- to clarify something

I tried to put our communication problems straight when I met my friend last evening.

put (something) to good use

- to be able to use something effectively

We were able to put the new computer to good use when we bought it.

put (something) to rest

- to settle a problem or a dispute, to finish dealing with a problem and forget about it

I want to put the idea to rest that I will soon leave my company.

The two brothers put their problems to rest and now have a good relationship.

The woman went for a long walk to try and put her worries to rest.

put (something) together or put together (something)

- to consider some facts about something and arrive at a conclusion

The police were able to put the boy's story together after they interviewed him.

put (somewhere) on the map

- to make a place well-known

The new museum has put our city on the map.

put the bite on (someone)

- to ask someone for money or favors

The man is always trying to put the bite on his friends to collect money for charity.

put the blame on (someone)

- to blame someone

The teacher put the blame on the young boys for breaking the school desks.

put the brakes on (something)

- to stop or slow down something

The city wants to put the brakes on spending more money.

The company plans to put the brakes on their recent plans.

put the cart before the horse

- to do things in the wrong or usual order

I think that my friend is putting the cart before the horse to talk about remodeling the house before he buys it.

put the finger on (someone)

- to accuse someone, to identify someone as the one who did something

The woman put the finger on the young man and said that he took the DVD player.

put the heat/squeeze on (someone)

- to put pressure on someone

The hospital is putting the heat on the insurance company to make them pay the insurance money.

The bank put the squeeze on the man to make him pay back his loan.

put the kibosh on (something)

- to put an end to something

I put the kibosh on my friend's idea to change our travel plans.

put the record straight

- to correct any false ideas by giving the true facts

The politician tried to put the record straight about the scandal.

put the screws to (someone)

- to try to force someone to do or say what you want

The police put the screws to the criminal to try and get some information from him.

put the words into (someone`s) mouth

- to say or suggest something for someone else, to speak for someone else without his or her permission

My friend always wants to put the words into my mouth before I have a chance to speak.

put two and two together

- to understand or figure something out after learning all the facts

I put two and two together and realized why my boss was absent last month.

put up a good fight/struggle

- to try hard, to struggle hard

Our team put up a good fight but we were unable to win the game.

put up a brave/good front

- to pretend to be happy, to fool people about one`s feelings

My friend always puts up a good front but actually he is very unhappy.

put up at a hotel/motel

- to stay at a hotel or motel

We decided to put up at a hotel and continue driving the next day.

put up money for (something)

- to provide money for something

The telephone company put up much money for the new science center.

put up or shut up

- to prove or do something or stop saying it, to bet money on what one says or stop saying it

The politician was forced to put up or shut up over his plans to build a new convention center.

put up (something) or put (something) up

- to build a building/sign/fence/wall

They are putting up some new apartments near our house.

put up with (someone or something)

- to tolerate or endure someone or something

I was tired and not willing to put up with my friend's excuse for being late.

Our teacher will not put up with late homework.

The man makes a great effort to put up with his wife`s complaints.

put upon by (someone)

- to be taken advantage of

I am always put upon by my boss to do more work than the other members of the staff.

put words in/into (someone`s) mouth

- to say or suggest something for someone else, to speak for someone else without his or her permission

The man always puts words into his wife's mouth which makes her angry.

putty in (someone's) hands

- to be easily influenced by someone else

The children are like putty in the hands of the new teacher.

puzzle (something) out or puzzle out (something)

- to try to figure something out

We spent much time trying to puzzle out a solution to our problem.

pyramid scheme

- a pyramid scheme is a business model where people get money for enrolling other people into the scheme - the people at the top of the pyramid will make much money because the people at the bottom of the pyramid are investing money in the scheme - pyramid schemes are usually illegal and eventually collapse and destroy themselves because they do not provide a service or make a product

Several people went to jail because of the illegal pyramid scheme.

Many people lost money when the pyramid scheme that they had invested in collapsed.