W Idioms and Quizzes

W Idiom Quiz #1

letter w

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. It is time to (finish) the job so we can return home.
a)   wink at
b)   work out
c)   wind up
d)   wipe off

2. You should (think carefully) before talking to your boss about the problem or you will make it worse.
a)   weigh your words
b)   wear your heart on your sleeve
c)   wait in the wings
d)   wait with bated breath

3. We went on a (search with no results) after we were told about the cheap apartment to rent.
a)   wet blanket
b)   wild goose chase
c)   white elephant
d)   wait-and-see attitude

4. The man is (wealthy) and never has to work.
a)   worthy of the name
b)   well up in years
c)   well-off
d)   wet behind the ears

5. The football player was (finished) several years ago and should have quit then.
a)   weighed down
b)   washed up
c)   wound up
d)   well and good

Your score is: ___  out of 5

W Idiom Quiz #2

letter w

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. The boy could not (solve) the mathematics problem.
a)   water down
b)   work out
c)   wind up
d)   wear out

7. If you make a request that is (sensible) your boss will probably agree with it.
a)   within reason
b)   a word to the wise
c)   water under the bridge
d)   well-heeled

8. You will only (waste your time) if you try and talk to my friend because he never listens.
a)   wash your hands of him
b)   waste your breath
c)   win him over
d)   wheel and deal

9. I heard about the concert (from friends) and not in the newspaper.
a)   when hell freezes over
b)   by word of mouth
c)   by willpower
d)   when the chips were down

10. The man has been (working very hard) since his father gave him the restaurant to manage.
a)   wetting his whistle
b)   whetting his appetite
c)   watching his step
d)   working his fingers to the bone

Your score is: ___  out of 5

W Idiom Quiz #3

letter w

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. The man decided to (not go to bed) until his wife came home.
a)   be wishy-washy
b)   wrap things up
c)   wait up
d)   wing it

12. The girl (takes advantage of) her mother and never does any work around the house.
a)   wears the pants in the family of
b)   walks a tightrope with
c)   walks all over
d)   would just as soon be

13. My coworker has begun to (change his attitude) about the new company policy.
a)   whistle a different tune
b)   watch his p`s and q`s
c)   walk on air
d)   use word of mouth

14. I spent all morning (getting rid of) the old clothes that I never wear.
a)   whipping up
b)   wiping out
c)   weeding out
d)   working in

15. My sister passed her math exam (with great success).
a)   word for word
b)   with open arms
c)   within an inch of her life
d)   with flying colors

Your score is: ___  out of 5

W Idiom Quiz #4

letter w

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. My estimate of the number of new students was (incorrect).
a)   wide of the mark
b)   with the best of them
c)   worked up
d)   wanting for nothing

17. My interest in basketball seems to (increase and decrease) every season.
a)   whoop it up
b)   wax and wane
c)   warm the bench
d)   work wonders

18. My friend (has more than one set of responsibilities) at her company.
a)   would give her right arm
b)   won by a nose
c)   wiped her slate clean
d)   wears more than one hat

19. We went to the funeral of our boss (feeling very sad).
a)   with a heavy heart
b)   with a vengeance
c)   with impunity
d)   with all the fixings

20. The truck in front of us was (moving in and out of) the traffic.
a)   a whole new ball game in
b)   weaving in and out of
c)   wiping the floor with
d)   within a stone's throw of

Your score is: ___  out of 5

W Idiom Quiz #5

letter w

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. My father gave me the money (with no obligations attached).
a)   without batting an eye
b)   without rhyme or reason
c)   with no strings attached
d)   within calling distance

22. I always (watch my backpack very carefully) when I am downtown.
a)   watch my step with my backpack
b)   walk a tightrope with my backpack
c)   weasel out of my backpack
d)   watch my backpack like a hawk

23. "(What have you been doing?)," I said to my partner at work.
a)   What's keeping you?
b)   What's the big idea?
c)   What have you been up to?
d)   What are you driving at?

24. (When you really think about it,) it is not possible for five people to travel a long distance in our small car.
a)   When it comes right down to it,
b)   When one is good and ready,
c)   When the time is ripe,
d)   When least expected,

25. We wished our boss good luck (very sincerely) when she left for her new job.
a)   with relish
b)   with all our heart and soul
c)   without further ado
d)   with ease

Your score is: ___  out of 5

W Idioms

letter w

wade into (something)

- to attack something, to join in something

The player waded into the fight to help his teammates.

wait-and-see attitude

- an uncertain attitude where you wait and see what will happen

We decided to take a wait-and-see attitude regarding what our new boss was going to do.

wait for the other shoe to drop

- to wait for something bad to happen, to wait for something to happen after already knowing that something is going to happen

Our company announced that many people would lose their jobs. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop in order to learn more details of this announcement.

wait in the wings

drawing of a bird

- to be ready to be used or employed instead of someone or something else

The vice-president of the company is waiting in the wings to help the president.

wait on (someone)

- to serve someone in a store or restaurant

We waited a long time but finally the waitress came to wait on us.

wait on (someone) hand and foot

- to serve someone in every possible way, to do everything for someone

The man always waits on his wife hand and foot.

wait tables

- to serve food (in a restaurant etc.)

My friend spent the summer waiting tables at the resort.

wait up (for someone)

- to not go to bed until someone arrives or something happens

The woman always waits up for her daughter when she comes home late at night.

wait with bated breath

- to feel excited or anxious while waiting

I waited with bated breath for the results of my exams.

wake the dead

- to be very loud and be able to wake even those who have died

Our neighbors told us that our stereo was so loud that it would wake the dead.

wake up

- to arise from sleep, to awaken

I usually wake up early in the morning.

Walk Idioms

walk a tightrope

- to be in a situation where you must be very cautious

The Prime Minister is walking a tightrope regarding the international trade deal.

walk all over (an opponent)

- to win a game easily

We walked all over the other team at the soccer tournament.

walk all over (someone)

- to treat someone badly

My coworker tried to walk all over me when I began working but he soon stopped.

walk arm-in-arm (with someone)

- to walk with one's arms linked with someone else

The two girls walked arm-in-arm down the street.

walk away with (something)

- to take something and go away with it, to steal something

Somebody walked away with the computer from the library last night.

walk down the aisle together

- to get married (in this case in a church where the bride walks down the aisle to the altar)

The couple have decided to walk down the aisle together and begin their new life.

walk hand-in-hand (with someone)

- to walk while holding hands with someone

The couple walked hand-to-hand down the street.

walk of life

- occupation, social rank

People from every walk of life came to the concert in the park.

walk off with (something)

- to take something and go away with it, to steal something

I walked off with the wrong backpack by mistake.

walk on air

- to feel happy and excited

The girl has been walking on air since she passed her exams.

walk on eggshells/eggs

- to be very cautious and careful around someone so that he or she does not become angry

I always walk on eggshells when I meet my neighbor.

walk out

- to go on strike

Most of the workers at the factory decided to walk out on strike this morning.

walk out of (something)

- to leave suddenly

Three people walked out of the meeting yesterday.

walk out on (someone)

- to abandon your partner and end a relationship

The man walked out on his wife.

walk the floor

- to walk back and forth across the floor

The man spent the night walking the floor in the hospital while waiting for his wife to have a baby.

walk the plank

- to be forced to resign from a job

The vice-president was forced to walk the plank when the new president joined the company.

walk the plank

- to be forced by pirates to walk a long plank from the ship out over the water to your death

The pirates captured the small ship and forced the captain to walk the plank.

walk up to (someone or something)

- to approach someone or something

The man walked up to the policeman and asked him a question.

walking papers

- a statement saying that one is fired from his or her job

My friend was given his walking papers from his company last week.

waltz off with (something)

- to take something, to get or win something easily

My favorite team waltzed off with the championship last night.

want for nothing

- to have everything that one needs or wishes

My sister and her husband both have good jobs and they want for nothing.

warm one`s heart

- to make one feel warm or excited

The sight of the small boy helping the old woman warmed the heart of the people on the street.

warm the bench

- to sit on a bench and not play during a game

The young player spent most of the game warming the bench.

warm the cockles of one's heart

- to make someone feel warm and happy

The care and attention of the nurse when I was sick warmed the cockles of my heart.

warm up

- to get ready for a game or other event with exercise or practice

We spent two hours warming up for the game on Saturday.

warm up to (someone or something)

- to become friendly or interested (in someone or something)

The woman finally warmed up to the idea of going to Italy for a holiday.

warts and all

- including one's bad points

The man likes to be able to relax, warts and all, with his friends.


- clothing that you can wash and it does not need to be ironed before you wear it

My uncle always likes to buy wash-and-wear clothes.

wash one`s hands of (someone or something)

- to abandon someone or something, to refuse responsibility for someone or something

The manager washed his hands of the problem after the others refused to help solve it.

The project is a disaster and I plan to wash my hands of it.

Our friend will make no effort to improve his situation so we have washed our hands of him.

wash (someone's) dirty linen in public

- to talk about someone's private or embarassing matters in public

The man began to wash his friend's dirty linen in public.

washed up

- to be no longer successful or needed

The boxer was washed up and had to retire last year.

waste one`s breath

- to speak pointlessly about something without the desired results

My boss is very stubborn and you are wasting your breath to argue with him.

watch from the sidelines

- to watch something that you are not actively involved in

The young player watched from the sidelines as the other players played.

Watch it!

- be careful (usually used as a command)

"Watch it! That truck is going very fast and may hit you."

watch one's mouth

- to not say something, to not be rude

The girl has bad manners and should watch her mouth.

watch one`s p`s and q`s

- to be well-behaved, to be careful

The boy had to watch his p`s and q`s after he caused many problems at school.

watch one's step

- to act cautiously so that you don't make a mistake or anger someone

You should watch your step when you complain to the manager.

watch one's tongue

- to not say something, to not be rude

The boy was told by his teacher to watch his tongue.

watch out for (someone or something)

- to watch over and care for someone, to watch for the arrival or approach of someone

Please watch out for my friend at the airport.

I watched out for my friend's son while my friend was away.

watch over (someone or something)

- to monitor or guard (someone or something)

I watched over the class while the teacher was at a meeting.

watch (someone or something) like a hawk

- to watch someone or something very carefully

The mother always watches her daughter like a hawk when they go to the park.

water down (something) or water (something) down

- to make something weaker, to dilute something

The university will water down the new rules because they are too strict.

The juice was very sweet so we decided to water it down.

The city will water down the plans for the new road system.

water under the bridge

- something that happened in the past and cannot be changed

It was terrible that your house was robbed but it is water under the bridge now and you must move forward.

wave the flag

- to show a strong sense of nationalism or patriotism

The man loves to wave the flag and loves his country very much.

wax and wane

- to increase and decrease (like the moon)

The boy's interest in soccer is always waxing and waning.

way the wind blows

- the direction that something may go, what may happen

We will have to see which way the wind blows to see if we can go to London or not.

a way with words

- the ability to speak a language and use words in a beautiful and persuasive and creative way

The sports announcer has a way with words and everybody loves him.

The woman has a way with words and we all like to hear her speak.

The manager has a way with words and does very well in the company.

ways and means

- the raising of money to pay for something

The woman does not have the ways and means to give her children a good education.

Wear Idioms

wear and tear

- damage that is the result of ordinary use

We put a lot of wear and tear on our car during our long holiday.

wear away

- to disappear little by little by use or time or weather

The paint on the table is wearing away.

wear down (something) or wear (something) down

- to make something become less useful or smaller or weaker because of wear or age

Little by little, the water wore down the beach at the edge of the river.

wear down (someone) or wear (someone) down

- to exhaust or tire someone out

My boss was worn down from the many questions in the meeting.

wear more than one hat

- to have more than one set of responsibilities

Our teacher wears more than one hat. She is the head of the school board as well as the coach of the swim team.

wear off

- to disappear little by little by use or time or weather

The name on the front of my credit card wore off from using it too much.

wear on (someone)

- to anger or annoy (someone)

His constant complaining is beginning to wear on me.

wear one`s heart on one`s sleeve

- to show one`s feelings openly

The man was wearing his heart on his sleeve after the meeting with his boss.

wear out one`s welcome

- to visit someone too long or come back too often so that you are not welcome anymore

My friend has worn out his welcome at our house because he always visits without calling first.

wear out (something) or wear (something) out

- to use or wear something until it becomes old and in bad condition

My shoes wore out during my trip to Paris.

wear sackcloth and ashes

- to behave in a way that shows that you are very sorry for something that you have done wrong - in ancient Biblical times people wore very uncomfortable sackcloth (cloth for sacks) for mourning and also to repent for something that they did wrong

The politician was forced to wear sackcloth and ashes as an apology for his wrongdoing.

wear several hats

- to have more than one set of responsibilities

Our teacher wears several hats. She is the head of the school board as well as the coach of the swim team.

wear the pants in a family

- to be the boss in a family

The woman is very strong and is the one who wears the pants in her family.

wear thin

- to become thin from use or the passing of time

The coin began to wear thin after it was used for many years.

wear thin

- to become less interesting or believable, to become weaker

The woman's excuses began to wear thin after she used them too many times.

The TV drama was interesting at first but now it is beginning to wear thin.

My patience is beginning to wear thin with the loud music.

weasel out of (something)

- to avoid doing something (usually in a tricky way)

(A weasel is an animal with a slender body so it can move through small openings or holes.)

My friend was able to weasel out of going to the store for his mother.

I am going to try and weasel out of the work that I must do tonight.

The woman will try and weasel out of any responsibility that you give her.

weather a storm

- to experience and survive a storm, to experience something bad or difficult and survive it

The company was able to weather the storm during the very difficult situation.

The situation was very bad but we were able to weather the storm and now we are doing well.

weather permitting

- if the weather allows

Weather permitting, we will go to the lake on Saturday.

weave in and out (of something)

- to move or drive or walk in and out of something such as traffic

The man was driving very fast and was weaving in and out of the traffic.

wee hours (of the night/morning)

- the hours immediately after midnight

I read my book into the wee hours of the morning.

weed out (someone or something) or weed (someone or something) out

- to remove something that is unwanted, to get rid of something

I spent the morning weeding out the clothes that I do not wear anymore.

week in and week out

- week after week

Week in and week out the man takes his children to the lake to swim.

weigh down on (someone)

- to worry or depress someone

The man's problems at work seem to be weighing down on him.

weigh in on (something)

- to give your opinion about something during a discussion

Our teacher likes to weigh in on the topic that the students are discussing.

The president of the company does not like to weigh in on the main topic during a meeting.

I do not like my friend to weigh in on the topic that I am discussing with someone else.

weigh on/upon (someone)

- to be a weight or pressure on someone or something, to worry or upset someone

The pressure of exams has begun to weigh upon my sister.

weigh on/upon (someone's) mind

- to be a weight or pressure on someone or something, to worry or upset someone

My mother's illness is weighing on my mind.

weigh one`s words

- to be careful of what one says

You should weigh your words carefully before you tell your boss what you want.

weigh over (something)

- to consider something carefully before you make a decision

The young woman must weigh over which college to attend.

It is difficult to know what to do so I am weighing over the different possibilities.

welcome (someone) with open arms

- to greet someone eagerly

We welcomed my relatives with open arms when they arrived.

welcome to (do something)

- to be free to do something

The apartment manager said that we were welcome to park our car anywhere.

well and good

- good, satisfactory

It is well and good that the employee will go and talk to his supervisor about the problem.


- rich

The man seems well-heeled and is always wearing expensive clothes and driving a nice car.


- wealthy

The girl's parents are well-off and do not need to worry about money during their retirement.


- having lots of money

The boy comes from a rather well-to-do family.

well up in years

- old

My father is well up in years but he is very healthy.

wet behind the ears

- inexperienced, immature

The new employee is wet behind the ears and does not know much about his job yet.

wet blanket

- a person who discourages other people from having fun

The boy is a wet blanket so we never invite him to our parties.

wet one`s whistle

- to have a drink (especially alcohol)

They decided to stop on their way home from work to wet their whistle.

What Idioms

what about

- about or concerned about something

I know that my friend wants to borrow my tent but what about my sleeping bag.

What are you driving at?

- What do you mean?

I really do not understand what my friend is driving at.

What can I say?

- I am at a loss for words.

"What can I say? I made a mistake and I'm sorry."

What have you been up to?

- What have you been doing?

"What have you been up to?," I asked my sister when I saw her.

what it takes

- the ability to do a job, courage

My friend has what it takes to be a success at his job.

what makes (someone) tick

- what motivates or makes someone behave in a certain way

I do not know what makes that woman tick. She is very strange.

What one doesn't know won't hurt one.

- what you do not know will not worry or harm you

What my aunt doesn't know won't hurt her and we don't need to tell her about the broken dish.

what with

- because, as a result of

We wanted to go away for a holiday but what with moving to a new house we are too busy to go anywhere.

What`s cooking?

- What is happening?, What is wrong?

"What`s cooking," he asked his friend.

What's done is done.

- something is final and in the past

What's done is done. Now that the man has quit his job he must find a new one.

What's keeping you?

- What is taking you so long?

"What's keeping you?," the man asked his wife as he waited to go out.

What's new?

- What have you been doing?

"What's new?," I asked my friend after I had not seen him for three months.

What`s the big idea?

- Why did you do that?, What are you doing?

"What`s the big idea? Why are you using my bicycle?"

What's the matter?

- What is wrong?, What is the problem?

"What's the matter with our teacher. She seems to be worried about something."

"I do not know what is the matter with the boy."

"What's the matter? Why are you not at work today."

What`s up?

- What is happening?, What is wrong?

"What`s up," the man said as he entered the room.

what`s (up) with (someone)

- what is happening or wrong with someone, how is everything with someone

"What`s up with the new supervisor? He seems very angry this morning."

what`s what

- things that appear similar but are different

It is hard to tell what`s what at a sale of old furniture.

Whatever will be, will be.

- things will just happen and there is little that we can do about it

Whatever will be, will be and it is not possible to predict what will happen in the future.

wheel and deal

- to take part in political or business dealing

There was a lot of wheeling and dealing going on before they built the new convention center.

When Idioms

when hell freezes over

- never

The man said that he would only come to the office party when hell freezes over.

when it comes down to it

- when one really thinks about something

When it comes right down to it, I do not think that I should quit my job.

when it comes to (something)

- speaking about something, considering something

When it comes to sports, my friend knows a lot.

The man seems lazy but when it comes to sales, he is the best member of our team.

The woman knows everything when it comes to computers.

when least expected

- when one does not expect something

When least expected our secretary always asks for time off from work.

when one is good and ready

- when one is completely ready

I decided not to go and see the supervisor until I was good and ready.

when pigs fly

- something is not likely to happen, never (it is impossible for pigs to fly)

That man will start to manage his money better when pigs fly - basically never.

My friend will be more serious about her job and her life when pigs fly - never.

when push comes to shove

- when a situation becomes more difficult

When push comes to shove my friend's daughter is always able to find a job.

when the cat's away, the mice will play

- when you are not watching someone they may get into trouble, when a person with authority is absent then those below him or her can do whatever they want

When the cat's away, the mice will play and when the teacher left the classroom the students began to play.

when the chips are down

- at the final and critical moment, when things really become difficult

When the chips are down the man will always come and help his friends.

when the dust settles

- after things become calm and settled after a period of excitement

When the dust settles, it will be much easier to talk about the current problems.

We are very busy finishing our project but when the dust settles, I will do other things.

I had a big fight with my friend. When the dust settles, I hope we can be friends again.

when the going gets tough (the tough get going)

- when things become difficult strong people begin to work harder

When the going gets tough our teacher is always there to support and help us.

when the time is ripe

- at exactly the right time

When the time is ripe we will sell our house.

where one is coming from

- one's point of view

I do not understand where the man is coming from when he begins to complain about the noise.

whet someone's appetite

- to interest someone in something and make them want to have or know more about it

The presentation by the mountain climber whet my appetite for more outdoor activities.

while away the time

- to spend or pass time pleasantly

We spent the afternoon whiling away the time by the river.

whip (someone or something) into shape

- to transform or change something that is failing into something that works effectively

The coach worked hard to whip the team into shape after a very bad season.

whip up (something) or whip (something) up

- to make something active, to stir something to action

The union leader whipped up the crowd with his speech.

whip up (something) or whip (something) up

- to make or do something quickly or easily

It was very late when we got home so I whipped up something to eat quickly.

whisper sweet nothings in (someone's) ear

- to say romantic or intimate things to someone

The actor whispered sweet nothings in the ear of the actress.

whistle a different tune

- to change one`s attitude, to contradict previous ideas

The man is whistling a different tune now that he has been promoted and has more responsibility at his job.

whistle in the dark

- to try to stay brave and forget one`s fear

The man felt very frightened and began to whistle in the dark. This helped to calm him down.

white elephant

- a useless possession that is a nuisance and often very expensive to keep

They are having a white elephant sale at the school next week.

white elephant

- a waste of money

The new airport was a white elephant which nobody wanted to use.

white lie

- a harmless lie often told to be polite

I told the woman a white lie when I said that I would be too busy to meet her.

white sale

- selling towels or linens etc. at reduced prices

We went to the white sale at the department store last week.

whittle down (something) or whittle (something) down

two hands carving wood

- to gradually reduce or destroy something, to slowly reduce the amount of something (whittle means to carve wood into an object by cutting small pieces from the wood)

The young woman is trying to whittle down the size of her credit card debt.

Our team tried to whittle down the number of goals of the other team but we were not successful. They won the game.

whole ball of wax

- the whole thing or the whole matter

I want to finish our redecorating project and be finished with the whole ball of wax.

whole new ball game

- a new set of circumstances

The situation became a whole new ball game when the owners decided to sell the team.

whole shooting match

- the whole thing or the whole matter

I wanted to get rid of my videos and DVDs so I gave the whole shooting match to my friend.

whole show

- everything

Our new boss always tries to run the whole show.

whoop it up

- to enjoy oneself in a lively and noisy manner

The fans were whooping it up after they won the basketball game.

wide of the mark

- far from the target, incorrect

The manager's ideas for the company are wide of the mark and different from what everybody expected.

wild about (someone or something)

- to be enthusiastic about someone or something

The boys were wild about the new movie.

wild card

- an extra team chosen to enter a competition without taking part in the regular qualifying method

Our team was able to enter the competition because we were the wild card winner.

wild goose chase

- an absurd or hopeless search

The man led the police on a wild goose chase when he ran away from them.

wildcat strike

- a strike not ordered by a labor union but done without planning by a group of workers

There was a wildcat strike at the factory last night.

will not hear of (something)

- will not allow or consider something

My aunt said that she will not hear of us staying at a hotel when we come to visit her.


- strength of mind

The man has very strong willpower and was able to quit smoking easily.

win back (someone or something) or win (someone or something) back

- to get back something that you have lost

We lost the final game last year but we will try and win back the trophy this year.

The young woman is trying to win back the trust of her friend after she told her a lie.

The young man is trying to win his girlfriend back.

win by a nose

- to win by a small amount

The candidate won by a nose so they had to count the votes again.

win out

- to be successful after some difficulty, to succeed

The book had a contest for their cover and our design won out.

Our idea for the school project won out over the other ideas.

win over (someone) or win (someone) over

- to persuade someone to support you or your idea

We won over our boss with our idea for a new product.

We won the apartment manager over and she will let us have a pet in our apartment.

wind down

- to start to slow and reduce an activity in order to end it

At the end of the summer, the beach shops began to wind down for the winter.

The coach always winds down the practice with some easy stretching.

It was the end of the school term and things were beginning to wind down.

wind things up

- to end, to finish, to settle

"Let`s wind things up now and then we can go home."

wind up (doing something)

- to finally do something, to end in a specific state or situation

We will probably wind up going shopping tomorrow.

I wound up staying home to study last night.

wind up (something) or wind (something) up

- to end or finish something, to come to an end

It is time to wind up our project and go home.

It is becoming late so we should wind up the meeting.

We need to wind up the negotiations before tomorrow.

wind up (something) or wind (something) up

- to tighten the spring of a machine or clock to make it work

Every night before he goes to bed my grandfather winds up his alarm clock.

wind up (somewhere)

- to finally be somewhere

I will probably wind up at my friend's house this evening.

wind up with (something)

- to finally get or have something

Last week, I wound up with a bad cold.

window of opportunity

- a brief time period in which an opportunity exists

I have a window of opportunity in which to visit my friend so I will do it today.

A big storm is coming but we have a window of opportunity to protect our home.

wing it

- to act without preparation

My friend was not prepared for the examination so he had to wing it.

wink at (something)

- to allow and pretend not to know about something (e.g. a law or rule being broken)

The school librarian sometimes winks at the rule about borrowing a maximum of three books.

winning streak

- a series of several wins one after the other

Our baseball team has been on a winning streak for several weeks now.

wipe off (something) or wipe (something) off

- to remove something by wiping or rubbing it, to clean the surface of something

We always wipe off the table before we have dinner.

wipe out (something) or wipe (something) out

- to kill or destroy something completely

The city spends a lot of money every year trying to wipe out the rats near the river.


- a disaster, a calamity

My exams were a wipe-out. I think that I failed all of them.

wipe (someone's) slate clean

- to erase someone's (bad) record

The man had a bad performance record at work but he was able to wipe his slate clean and start over.

wipe the floor with (someone)

- to physically beat someone

The ex-boxer wiped the floor with the man who insulted him.

wise guy

- a person who acts as if he were smarter than other people

The boy always acts like a wise guy when he is in a group.

wise up to (someone or something)

- to begin to understand the truth about someone or something

The man finally wised up to the fact that he was never going to get a promotion in his company.


- a sarcastic or witty remark

The woman made a wisecrack during the speech which caused the audience to start laughing.

wishful thinking

- believing that something is true because you wish it to be true

It is wishful thinking that I can finish my work early.


- to be unable to decide, to have no definite opinion

The man is very wishy-washy and can never make up his mind about what he wants to do.

With Idioms

with a heavy heart

- sadly

It was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to our elderly neighbor.

with a vengeance

- with determination and eagerness

The basketball team played with a vengeance and won the game easily.

with a view to (something)

- with the aim or purpose of doing something

The new transportation policy was made with a view to decreasing car traffic.

with all one's heart and soul

- very sincerely, totally

The woman believed with all her heart and soul that she would recover from her illness.

with all the fixings

- with all the extra things that come with some meals

We ordered the meal with all the fixings.

with an eye/view to (doing something)

- with the intention of doing something

We bought the truck with an eye to using it for our home business.

with both hands tied behind one's back

- easily

My friend can fix bicycles with both hands tied behind his back.

with each passing day

- after each day

With each passing day the price of gasoline was increasing.

with ease

- without effort

We were able to find a parking spot with ease.

with everything (on it)

- a sandwich or hamburger ordered with everything available on it

We ordered a hamburger with everything on it.

with flying colors

- with great or total success

I passed my final exams with flying colors.

with hat in hand

- with humility (usually used when you ask for something from someone who is more powerful than you)

The man came to his boss with hat in hand to ask for a raise in pay.

with hindsight

- the understanding of events after they have happened

With hindsight it was very easy to understand what had happened before the accident.

with impunity

- without risk of punishment

The young boy could do anything that he wanted with impunity.

with it

- alert and knowledgeable

My grandmother was not really with it before she passed away.

with no strings attached

- with no obligations attached

I was given the car to use with no strings attached.

with one hand tied behind one's back

- easily

I can fix the computer problems with one hand tied behind my back.

with one's tail between one's legs

- appearing frightened or cowardly (like a frightened dog)

The man left the store with his tail between his legs when someone saw him trying to steal something.

with open arms

- warmly or eagerly

My aunt and uncle were at the airport to greet us with open arms.

with regard to (something)

- concerning/regarding something, referring to something

With regard to my previous job experience, I decided not to talk about it today.

with relish

- with pleasure or enjoyment

I began my new job and did my work with relish.

with respect to (someone or something)

- referring to something, concerning something

I do not know what the company will do with respect to the old computer system.

with the best of them

- as well as anyone

The boy can play soccer with the best of them when he makes the effort.

within a stone's throw of (something)

- very close (to something)

We could not find the house even though we were within a stone's throw of it.

within an inch of one`s life

- almost dead

The elderly man was beaten to within an inch of his life.

within calling distance

- close enough to hear someone call

We were within calling distance of the men in the boat.

within reason

- being sensible or reasonable about something

Within reason, you should be able to take some time off from work when your mother is sick.

without a hitch

- with no problems

We were able to finish everything without a hitch.

without batting an eye

- casually, without showing any response

The criminal kept changing his story without batting an eye.

without fail

- absolutely, for certain

The postman comes about noon everyday without fail.

without further ado

- without further talk

Without further ado they ended the meeting.

without question

- absolutely, certainly

Without question, the boy was the fastest runner on the team.

without rhyme or reason

- without purpose or reason

Without rhyme or reason the two men started arguing in the bus.

(at one's) wit`s end

- to not know what to do

I was at my wit`s end trying to decide what to wear to the party.

wolf in sheep`s clothing

- a person who pretends to be good but is not

The man is a wolf in sheep`s clothing. You should be very careful when you deal with him.

word for word

- in exactly the same words

I described word for word what happened before the accident.

word of mouth

- orally from one person to another, spoken communication

I heard about the new restaurant by word of mouth.

word to the wise

- a good piece of advice

I gave my friend a word to the wise before he started on his trip.

words to that effect

- something similar to what was just said

The apartment manager said that we could not bring a bicycle into the apartment lobby or words to that effect.

Work Idioms

work around (someone or something)

- to find a way to do something that avoids a problem or person without actually solving the problem

The printer is not working so we will need to work around that problem until the printer is fixed.

Our computer expert is absent this week so we will need to work around that situation.

The information is not correct so we will need to work around that.

work graveyard shift

- to work throughout the night

My friend is working graveyard shift this month.

work in (something) or work (something) in

- to rub something in, to move over something using some pressure

We spent a long time trying to work the softening cream into the leather.

work in (someone or something)

- to insert someone or something (into a schedule)

My doctor was very busy but she was able to work me into her schedule tomorrow.

I will try to work in a meeting with the new manager tomorrow.

work into (something)

- to force something into something (usually with some difficulty)

I was able to work my foot into my boot but it was still very tight.

work like a dog

- to work very hard

The boy worked like a dog on his school project.

work odd jobs

- to work jobs that are not regular and where you do not need special skills

The boy has been working odd jobs since he finished high school.

The man is working odd jobs as he looks for a permanent job.

The man seems to be quite happy to work odd jobs.

work off (something) or work (something) off

- to make something go away (especially by working or exercise)

I was able to work off much weight and am now feeling better.

work on (someone)

- to have an effect on someone, to try to influence someone

I am working on my boss to give me some time off this summer.

work one`s fingers to the bone

- to work very hard

The woman is working her fingers to the bone raising her three children.

work out

- to exercise

The man spends most weekends working out at the health club.

work out (for the best)

- to end successfully, to prove effective or satisfactory

I hope that everything will work out for my friend when she moves to London next week.

work out (something) or work (something) out

- to solve a problem

I could not work out the math problem on the final examination.

work out (something) or work (something) out

- to accomplish something, to arrange something

Recently, we worked out a system for calculating our expenses at work.

work over (someone) or work (someone) over

- to threaten or beat someone

The criminal gang worked over the storeowner in order to get some money from him.

work overtime

- to work beyond one's normal hours

I had to work overtime many days last month.

work through (something)

- to successfully deal with a problem or a difficult situation

The printer and the laptop will not connect. We need to work through this problem until we fix it.

The employee is trying to work through some problems at work.

The coach needs to work through some problems with the team.

work up (someone) or work (someone) up

- to stir up someone, to excite someone

The speaker worked up the crowd with his passionate speech.

work up (something) or work (something) up

- to produce something

I like to work up a sweat when I exercise.

work up to (something)

- to advance to something, to rise to something

The man quickly worked up to sales manager in his company.

work wonders (with/on someone or something)

- to be very beneficial to someone or something

The vacation worked wonders on the mental health of our boss.

worked up

- to feel excited, to be angry, to be worried

My friend is worked up because he was not invited to the party.

world is one`s oyster

- everything is possible for someone

The world is the woman's oyster now that she has received her MBA from Harvard University.

worm one's way out of (something)

- to wiggle out of a problem or a responsibility

I was able to worm my way out of working late last night.

worse for wear

- not as good as new, worn out

I borrowed my friend`s backpack for a month and it is now beginning to look the worse for wear.

(not) worth a cent

- not worth anything (used in the negative)

My old car broke down and is not worth a cent now.

worth its weight in gold

- to be very valuable

The advice of my supervisor is worth its weight in gold.

worth one`s salt

- to be worth what one is paid

The man is worth his salt and is one of our best employees.

worth one's while

- to be worth one's time and trouble

It is not worth my while to go back and get my hat which I left at the restaurant.

It is worth your while to learn the piano.

worthy of the name

- to be good enough to enjoy a specific name

The restaurant is fantastic and worthy of the great chef's name.

would give one's right arm (for something)

- to be willing to give something valuable for something

I would give my right arm to meet my favorite musician.

would just as soon

- to prefer to do one thing rather than another

I would just as soon stay at home as go to a movie.

would rather

- prefer to

I would rather use my computer than watch television.

wouldn't touch (someone or something) with a ten-foot pole

- to not get involved with someone or something for any reason

I would not touch that used car salesman with a ten-foot pole.

wound up

- to be very excited, to be nervous or upset

I was wound up yesterday after work and I could not go to sleep easily.

wrap (oneself) up

- to put on warm clothes, to dress warmly

The woman wrapped herself up in her warm clothes and went outside.

wrap (someone) around one`s finger

- to have complete control over someone and be able to make him or her do what you want

The woman has her boss wrapped around her finger and can do anything that she wants.

wrap up (something) or wrap (something) up

- to finish a task, to bring something to an end

We wrapped up the meeting before dinner and went home.

wrapped up in

- to be thinking about or interested in only one thing

My friend is wrapped up in his school project today.

wreak havoc on/with (something)

- to cause a lot of trouble or damage to something

The hurricane wreaked havoc on the small town.

write off (something) or write (something) off

- to remove an amount of money from a business record, to cancel a debt

The bank was forced to write off a very large loan.

write off (something) or write (something) off

- to accept a loss or trouble and not worry any more about it

The man decided to write off his bad experience at his old job.

write out (something) or write (something) out

- to write something on a piece of paper

I plan to write out the recipe that I saw on television.

write up (something) or write (something) up

- to write something, to describe something in writing (you usually write up something by using your thoughts or some notes that you have written)

After our trip to Russia, I spent a week writing up our story for a travel magazine.

wrong side of the tracks

- the poor side of town

The man married a girl from the wrong side of the tracks because he loved her.