English proverbs, idioms, popular sayings

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
A bunch of fives
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
A countenance more in sorrow than in anger
A Daniel come to judgement
A diamond in the rough
A diamond is forever
A different kettle of fish
A dish fit for the gods
A dog is a man’s best friend
A drop in the bucket
A drop in the ocean
A fate worse than death
A feather in one’s cap
A fish rots from the head down
A fish out of water
A fly in the ointment
A fool and his money are soon parted
A fool’s paradise
A foot in the door

A foregone conclusion
A friend in need is a friend indeed
A golden key can open any door
A good man is hard to find
A hard man is good to find
A hiding to nothing – On
A house divided against itself cannot stand
A knight in shining armour
À la carte
À la mode
A legend in one’s own lifetime
A leopard cannot change its spots
A little bird told me
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
A little of what you fancy does you good
A load of cobblers
A load of codswallop
A man after my own heart
A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client
A ministering angel shall my sister be
A miss is as good as a mile
A nation of shopkeepers
A nest of vipers
A no-brainer
A nod is as good as a wink
A norange
A penny for your thoughts
A picture is worth a thousand words
A piece of the action
A pig in a poke
A place for everything and everything in its place
A plague on both your houses
A priori
A red rag to a bull
A riddle wrapped up in an enigma
A rolling stone gathers no moss
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
A rose is a rose is a rose
A safe pair of hands
A sea change
A skeleton in the closet
A sledgehammer to crack a nut
A shot in the arm
A sight for sore eyes
A sorry sight
A stitch in time saves nine
A stone’s throw
A thing of beauty is a joy forever
A tinker’s damn
A turn up for the books
A watched pot never boils
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle
A woman’s place is in the home
A word in edgeways
A word in your shell-like
A1 at Lloyds
Abandon all hope ye who enter here
Abide with me
About face
About turn
Above board
Abracadabra
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Absent without leave
Absolute power corrupts absolutely
Accidentally on purpose
Accidents will happen
According to Hoyle
Ace in the hole
Achilles’ heel
Acid test
Acronyms
Across the board
Act of God
Act the giddy goat
Action man
Adam’s ale
Aga saga
Against the grain
Age before beauty
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety
Agree to disagree
Aid and abet
Aide-mémoire
Air kiss

Air quotes
Al fresco
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio
Alike as two peas in a pod
Alive and kicking
All agog
All at sea
All fingers and thumbs
All Greek to me
All in all
All intents and purposes
All of a sudden
All present and correct
All publicity is good publicity
All singing, all dancing
All that glitters is not gold / All that glisters is not gold
All the tea in China – Not for
All things come to he who waits
All things must pass
All you can eat
Alter ego
Amber nectar
An albatross around one’s neck
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
An arm and a leg
An axe to grind
An Englishman’s home is his castle
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
An ill wind
An offer he can’t refuse
An Oxford scholar
Anchors aweigh
Angry young man
Ankle biter
Annus horribilis
Another think coming
Apple of my eye – The
Apple pie order
April fool
Arm candy – see ear candy
Arms akimbo
Ars longa, vita brevis
Arty-farty
Asap – As soon as possible
As X as Y
As alike as two peas in a pod
As bald as a coot
As black as Newgate’s knocker
As brown as a berry
As busy as a bee
As cold as any stone
As cool as a cucumber
As cute as a bug’s ear
As daft as a brush
As dead as a dodo
As dead as a doornail
As different as chalk and cheese
As easy as pie
As fast as greased lightning
As fine as frog’s hair
As fit as a butcher’s dog
As fit as a fiddle
As good as gold
As good luck would have it
As happy as…
As happy as a clam
As happy as a sandboy
As happy as Larry
As high as a kite
As keen as mustard
As mad as a hatter
As mad as a March hare
As nice as ninepence
As old as Methuselah
As old as the hills
As pleased as Punch
As pure as the driven snow
As safe as houses
As queer as a nine bob note
As snug as a bug in a rug

As straight as a die
As the crow flies
As thick as thieves
Thick as two short planks
As white as snow
Ashes to ashes dust to dust
Ask a silly question and you’ll get a silly answer
(Ask not) for whom the bell tolls
(H)asta la vista, baby
At loggerheads
At one fell swoop
At one’s beck and call
At sixes and sevens
Augur well
Auld lang syne
Away with the fairies
Baby blues
Baby boomer
Baby father
Back of beyond – The
Back-seat driver
Back the field
Back to basics
Back to square one
Back to the drawing board
Backroom boy
Bacon – Bring home the
Bad books
Bad egg
Bad hair day
Badger to death
Bag and baggage
Baker’s dozen
Balance of power – The
Balance of trade – The
Bald as a coot
Bale out/bail out
Ball and chain
Bandy words
Bane of your life
Bang on about
Baptism of fire
Barge-pole – Wouldn’t touch with a

Barking mad
Barking up the wrong tree
Barrel of laughs
Basket case
Bated breath
Bats in the belfry
Batten down the hatches
Battle royal
Be afraid, be very afraid
Be enthralled
Be still, my beating heart
Beam ends – On your
Bean counter
Beast with two backs
Beat a hasty retreat
Beat around the bush
Beat swords into ploughshares
Beat the living daylights out of someone
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Beauty is only skin deep
Beck and call
Bed of roses
Bee in your bonnet
Beef and reef
Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard
Been there, done that
Beer and skittles
Bee-line – make a bee-line for
Bee’s knees – The
Beetle-browed
Before you can say Jack Robinson
Beg the question
Beggar belief
Beggars can’t be choosers
Behind every great man there’s a great woman
Behind the eight ball
Bell, book and candle
Bell the cat
Belle of the ball
Below the belt
Below the salt
Bells and whistles
Belt and braces
Belt up
Best bib and tucker
Best laid schemes of mice and men – The
Bet your bottom dollar
Better half
Better late than never
Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
Between a rock and a hard place
Between the Devil and the deep blue sea
Between two stools
Between you, me and the bed-post
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
Beware the Ides of March
Beyond belief
Beyond our ken
Beyond the pale
Biblical phrases
Big Apple – The
Big cheese – The
Big Easy – The
Big fish in a small pond – A
Big wig
(A) bigger bang for your buck
Bill Stickers is innocent
Billy-o – Like
Billy no mates
Binge drinking
Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush – A
Birds and the bees – The
Birds of a feather flock together
Bite the bullet
Bite the dust
Bitter end – The
Black as Newgate’s knocker
Black-on-black
Black sheep of the family
Blast from the past – A
Blaze a trail
Blind leading the blind – The
Blind-man’s buff
Bling-bling
Blonde bombshell
Blood and thunder
Blood is thicker than water
Blood toil tears and sweat
Blood, sweat and tears
Bloody-minded
Blot on the landscape
Blow a raspberry – see raspberry tart
Blow your mind
Blow your own trumpet
Blown to smithereens
Blue blood
Blue moon (Once in a)
Blue-plate special
Bob’s your uncle
Bode well
Bodice ripper
Body – phrases related to the human body
Body surfing
Bog standard
Bolt from the blue
Bone dry
Bone idle
Bone up on
Booby prize
Booby trap
Boogie-woogie
To big for your boots
Booze cruise
Born again
Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
Born within the sound of Bow Bells
Boss eyed
Bottle out
Bottom drawer
Bottom-up
Bought the farm
Bowled a maiden over
Box and Cox
Box-seat – in the
Boxing Day
Brand spanking new
Brass monkey weather
Brass tacks – get down to
Bread always falls buttered side down
Bread of life – The
Break a leg
Break the ice
Bricks and clicks
Bring home the bacon
Broad in the beam
Broke – if it ain’t, don’t fix it
Brook no truck with
Bronx cheer
Brown as a berry
Browned off
Brownie points
Brummagem screwdriver
Brush – As daft as a
Bubble and squeak
Buck stops here – The
Bucket list
Buckle down
Bugger Bognor!
Buggins’ turn
Bullet – Bit the, Bite the
Bums on seats
Bun in the oven
Bunch of fives – A
Bunny boiler
Burn the candle at both ends
Burning the midnight oil
Bury the hatchet
Bury your head in the sand
Busy as a bee
Butt end of the stick – The
Butter no parsnips – Fine words
Butter side down
Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth
Butterfingers
By and large
By dint of
By gum
By hook or by crook
By the board
By the book
By the short hairs
By the skin of your teeth
By your leave
Bygones be bygones – Let
Caesar Salad
Call a spade a spade
Call of the wild – The
Camera cannot lie – The
Can’t be overestimated/can’t be underestimated
Can’t hold a candle to
Canteen culture
Canterbury pace
Carbon-copy
Carbon footprint
Card-sharp
Carey Street – On
Carpe diem
Carry coals to Newcastle
Cart before the horse – Put the
Carte blanche
Cash on the nail
(Ne’er) cast a clout till May be out
Cast the first stone
Cat got your tongue?
Cat may look at a king – A
Cat out of the bag – Let the
Catbird seat – In the
Catch 22
Cat’s Cradle
Caught in a cleft stick
Caught by the short hairs
Caught red-handed
Chain is only as strong as its weakest link – A
Chaise lounge
Chalk and cheese
Champ at the bit
Chance would be a fine thing
Channel surfing
Charity begins at home
Charley horse
Charm offensive
Charmed life
Cheap at half the price
Cheek by jowl
Cherchez la femme
Chew the cud
Chick flick
Chickens come home to roost
Children should be seen and not heard
Chinese whispers
Chinless wonder
Chip off the old block
Chip on your shoulder
Chit-chat
Chock-a-block
Chop and change
Chop-chop
Chow down
Christmas box – A
Christmas card verses
Clean breast – make a
Clear blue water
Cleft stick – In a
Cliff-hanger
Climb on the bandwagon
Cloak and dagger
Clod-hopper
Clog up
Close, but no cigar
Close quarters
Close your eyes and think of England
Cloud cuckoo land
Cloud nine
Clue – don’t have a
Clutch at straws
Coals to Newcastle – Carry
Cobblers – A load of
Cock-a-hoop
Cock-sure
Cock a snook
Cock and bull story
Cock-up
Cockney rhyming slang
Codswallop – a load of
Cogito ergo sum
Coin a phrase
Cold as any stone
Cold comfort
Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey
Cold feet
Cold shoulder
Cold turkey
Collywobbles – The
Colour up
Come a cropper
Come clean
Come on down
Come up trumps
Come what come may
Comes to the crunch – (When it)
(Coming in) on a wing and a prayer
Common sense
Comparisons are odious
Compassion fatigue
Complete shambles
Cook the books
Cookie cutter
Cool as a cucumber
Cool Britannia
Cop an attitude
Copper-bottomed
Cor blimey
Cordon bleu
Cost an arm and a leg
Cotton on to
Cotton-picking
Countenance more in sorrow than in anger – A
Counting sheep
Country bumpkin
Course of true love never did run smooth – The
Crack of doom – The
Crackpot
Crapper – The
Crocodile tears
Crop up
Crown jewels
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war
Curate’s egg
Curiosity killed the cat
Curry favour
Customer is always right – The
Cut and run
Cut of your jib – The
Cut off without a penny
Cut off your nose to spite your face
Cut the mustard
Cut to the chase
Cute as a bug’s ear
Daft as a brush
Damp squib
Dance attendance on
Daniel come to judgement
Darby and Joan
Dark horse
Darkest hour is just before the dawn – The
Dark side – The
Darling buds of May
Dash to pieces
Date rape
Davy Jones’ locker
Daylight robbery
Dead as a dodo
Dead as a doornail
Dead cat bounce
Dead ringer
Delusions of grandeur
Derring-do
Designer stubble
Deus ex machina
Devil and the deep blue sea
Devil Incarnate – The
Devil take the hindmost – The
Devil to pay – The
Devil’s advocate
Diamond in the rough
Diamond is forever – A
Dicky-bird – Not a
Die-hard
Die has been cast – The
As different as chalk and cheese
Different kettle of fish
Differently abled
Dirt bag
Dish fit for the gods – A
Do unto others as you would have them do to you
Dock your pay
Doesn’t know shit from Shinola
Doff your hat
Dog days
Dog in the manger
Dog is a man’s best friend
Dog’s bollocks
Dog’s breakfast
Dog’s dinner
Doldrums – in the
Dollars to donuts
Done a runner
Done to a turn
Donkey’s years
Don’t call us, we’ll call you
Don’t change horses in midstream
Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched
Don’t die like I did
Don’t go there
Don’t have a clue
Don’t keep a dog and bark yourself
Don’t know shit from Shinola
Don’t let the bastards grind you down
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
Don’t try to teach your Grandma to suck eggs
Doom and gloom
Double cross
Double Dutch
Double entendre
Double whammy
Down at heel
Down in the dumps
Down to the wire
Down the pan
Down the tubes
Drag race
Dragged through a hedge backwards
Draw a blank
Draw your horns in
Dreams of empire
Dressed to the nines
Drink like a fish
Driving while black
Drop-dead gorgeous
Drop in the bucket – A
Dropping like flies
Drummed out of the army
Ducks and drakes
Dumb blonde
Dust up
Dutch – My old
Dutch courage
Duvet day
Ear candy
Early bird catches the worm – The
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise
Ear-mark
Easy as pie
Eat drink and be merry
Eat humble pie
Eat my hat
Eaten out of house and home
Economical with the truth
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo
Egg on
Eighty six
Elbow-grease
Elementary my dear Watson
Elephant in the room
Elvis has left the building
Emperor’s new clothes
End of story
Ends of the earth – The
Englishman’s home is his castle
Eponymous Phrases
Et tu, Brute
Ethnic cleansing
Euphemisms

Even at the turning of the tide
Every cloud has a silver lining
Everybody out
Exceedingly well read
Exception that proves the rule – The
Excuse me while I kiss this guy
Excuse my French
Extraordinary rendition
Eye candy – see ear candy
(An) eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog
Face that launched a thousand ships – The
Face the music
Faff about
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Faint-hearted
Fair and square
Fair dinkum
Fair play
Fair to middling
Fairy-tale ending
Fait accompli
Faith will move mountains
Fall from grace
Fall guy
Fall off the back of a lorry
Fall on your sword
Famous for fifteen minutes
Famous last words (dying statements of famous people – a list)
Famous last words (the ironic phrase)
Fancy free
Fancy pants
Fanny Adams – Sweet
Far be it from me
Far from the madding crowd
Farmers
Fashion victim
The word fast, and phrases that derive from it.
Fast and loose
Fast asleep
Fathom out
(The) fat of the land
Fate worse than death – A
Feather in one’s cap – A
Fed up
Feeding frenzy
(It) fell off the back of a truck
Fell swoop – At one
Fellow traveller
Female of the species is more deadly then the male – The
Fend off
Fiddlesticks
Fiddling while Rome burns
Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman
Field day
Fifteen minutes of fame
Fifth column
Fight fire with fire
Fight the good fight
Filthy rich
Finagle’s Law
Fine as frog’s hair
Fine words butter no parsnips
Finger lickin good
Fingers and thumbs
First water
First World
Fish rot from the head down
Fish or cut bait
Fish out of water – A
As fit as a butcher’s dog
Fit as a fiddle
Fifth column
Fifth estate
Fits and starts
Fits to a tee
Five o’clock shadow
Fixer-upper
Flash in the pan
Flat out
Flavor of the month
Flesh and blood
Flogging a dead horse
Floozie in the jacuzzi – The
Flotsam and jetsam
Fly by the seat of one’s pants
Fly in the ointment
Fly off the handle
Fly on the wall
Foam at the mouth
Fobbed off
Folk Etymology – The Nonsense Nine
Fool and his money are soon parted – A
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Fool’s errand
Fool’s gold
Fool’s paradise – A
Foot in the door – A
Foot of our stairs – The
For all intents and purposes
For crying out loud
For ever and a day
For every thing there is a season
For good measure
For keeps
For the birds
For whom the bell tolls
Forbidden fruit
Foregone conclusion
Forewarned is forearmed
Forgive them for they know not what they do
Forlorn hope
Foul play
Four by two
Four corners of the earth
Frailty, thy name is woman
Freeze the balls off a brass monkey – cold enough to
Freezing temperatures
French phrases
Friday afternoon car
Friend in need is a friend indeed – A
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears
Frog in the throat – A
Frog’s hair- as fine as
From pillar to post
From sea to shining sea
From strength to strength
Fruits of your loins
Fuddy-duddy
Full Monty – The
Full of piss and vinegar
Full tilt
Full to the gunwales
Funny farm
Fuzzy wuzzy
Gad zooks (or gadzooks)
Game is afoot – The
Game is up – The
Game of two halves
Gee whiz
Generation X
Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration
Get a word in edgeways
Get down to brass tacks
Get medieval
Get off on the wrong foot
Get off your high horse
Get on my wick
Get one’s dander up
Get over it
Get the pip
Get the sack
Get the upper hand
Get thee behind me Satan
Get underway
Get used to it
Get your dander up
Get your goat
Giddy aunt
Giddy goat
Gild the lily
Gilt off the gingerbread
Ginned up
Ginger
Ginger up
Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day
Give a wide berth
Give no quarter
Give the Devil his due
Give up the ghost
Glass ceiling
Gloom and doom
Go and boil your head
Go berserk
Go by the board
Go by the book
Go Dolally
Go-faster
Go for a burton
Go haywire
Go like the clappers
Go off half-cocked
Go out on a limb
Go postal
Go over like a lead balloon
Going to hell in a handbasket
Go pound sand
Go the whole hog
Go to pot
Go to the dogs
Go to the foot of our stairs
Go to the mattresses
Go whole hog
God is dead
God rot them
Godfrey Daniel
Going for a burton
Golden key can open any door – A
GOLF – Gentlemen only, ladies forbidden
Gone for a burton
Good as gold
Good in parts
Good man is hard to find – A
Good measure – For
Good men and true
Good riddance
Good Samaritan
Goody, goody gumdrops
Goody two-shoes
Gordon Bennett
Got my mojo working
Grace of God – There but for …
(Take with a) grain of salt
Grand slam
Grandfather clock
Granny dumping
Grasp the nettle
Grass up
Graveyard shift
Greased lightning
Great balls of fire
Great minds think alike
Great unwashed – the
Green eyed monster
Gregory Peck
Gridlock
Grind to a halt
Grinning like a Cheshire cat
Grist to the mill
Gry – Words ending in
Guinea pig
Gung ho
Gussied-up
Guts for garters
Hair of the dog that bit you
Hairy eyeball
Halcyon days
Half-cocked
Half-hearted
Half inch
Hand over fist
Handbags at ten paces
Handle with kid gloves
Hands down
Hanged, drawn and quartered
Hanky-panky
Happy as a clam
Happy as a sandboy
Happy as Larry
Happy clappy
Happy slapping
Harbinger of doom
Hard and fast
Hard cases make bad law
Hard cheese
Hard hearted
Hard lines
Hard man is good to find – A
Hark, hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings
Harp on
Harvest moon
Has the cat got your tongue?
Hasta la vista, baby
Hat trick
Have a Captain Cook
Have a dekko
Have an axe to grind
Have an inkling
Have no truck with
Haven’t got a clue
Have your guts for garters
He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches
He who laughs last laughs longest
He will give the Devil his due
Head over heels
Heads up
Hear hear
Heard it through the grapevine
Heart’s content
Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Murgatroyd
Heavy metal
Heebie-jeebies – The
Hedge your bets
Hell in a handbasket
Hell has no fury like a woman scorned
Hell or high water
Helter-skelter
Here lies one whose name is writ in water
Het up
Hiding to nothing – On a
Higgledy-piggledy
High and dry
High and mighty
High as a kite
High five
High-flyer
High horse – get off your
High on the hog
High time
High, wide and handsome
Hissy fit
History is bunk
Hit the ground running
Hit the hay
Hit the nail on the head
Hither and yon
Hobson’s choice
Hobby-horse
Hocus pocus
Hoi polloi
Hoist with your own petard
Hoity-toity
(Can’t) hold a candle to
Hold your horses
Homonyms
Honesty is the best policy
Hooray Henry
Horse and cart
Horse feathers
Horse-sense
Horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse – A
Horse’s mouth – straight from the
Hot-blooded
Hot off the press
Hot on the heels
House divided against itself cannot stand – A
Household words
Houston, we have a problem
How are the mighty fallen?
How do you do?
How now brown cow?
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child
Hugger-mugger
Hung, drawn and quartered
Hunky-dory
Hunt and peck
Hush puppies
I bear a charmed life
I have not slept one wink
I have nothing to declare but my genius
I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat
I haven’t got a clue
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips
I spy with my little eye
I told you is was ill
I will swing for you
I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
Identity theft
(Beware the) Ides of March
If I had my druthers
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
If music be the food of love, play on
If the cap fits
If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain
If the shoe fits
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
If you think that, you have another think coming
Ill wind
I’ll be there with bells on
I’ll go to the foot of our stairs
I’ll have your guts for garters
I’m stumped
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
In a cleft stick
In a pickle
In a pig’s eye
In a quandary
In a nutshell
In a trice
In an interesting condition
In for a penny, in for a pound
In like Flynn
In limbo
In my minds eye
In someone’s bad books
In spades
In stitches
In the bag
In the box-seat
In the buff
In the cart
In the catbird seat
In the club
In the doghouse
In the doldrums
In the limelight
In the nick of time
In the pink
In the same boat
In your face
Indian giver
Indian summer
Infra dig
Innocent until proven guilty
Inside out
For all intents and purposes
Iron hoof
Is the Pope Catholic?
Is the Pope Polish?
Is this a dagger which I see before me?
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings
It came like a bolt from the blue
It is meat and drink to me
It never rains but it pours
It’s all Greek to me
It’s all grist to the mill
It’s better to give than to receive
It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness
It’s not rocket science
It’s that man again
Ivory tower
Jack in the box
Jack of all trades, master of none
Jack Palancing
Jack – phrases that include the name Jack
Jack Robinson – Before you can say
Jack the lad
Jam tomorrow
Jerry built
Jet-black
Jimmy Horner
Jimmy Riddle
Jobs for the boys
Join the colours
Joined at the hip
Johnny on the spot
Jot or tittle
Jump on the bandwagon
Jump the gun
Jump the shark
Jury is still out
Just deserts
Just in time
Kangaroo court
Katy bar the door
Keep a wide berth
Keen as mustard
Keep body and soul together
Keep schtum
Keep a stiff upper lip
Keep at bay
Keep it under your hat
Keep the ball rolling
Keep up with the Joneses
Keep your chin up
Keep your distance
Keep your hands clean
Keep your nose clean
Keep your nose to the grindstone
Keep your pecker up
Keep your powder dry
Keepy-uppy
Kettle of fish
Khyber pass
Kick the bucket
Kick your heels
Kickin’ – Alive and
Kilroy was here
King James’ Version of the Bible
Kiss and tell
Kiss me Hardy
(The whole) kit and caboodle
Knee-jerk reaction
Knick-knack
Knight in shining armour
Knock back
Knock into a cocked hat
Knock off
Knock on wood
Know the ropes
Know your onions
Know which way the wind blows
Knuckle down
Knuckle under
Kowtow to
La-di-da
La dolce vita
Labour of love
Lackadaisical
Ladies’ room
Lager frenzy
Laid out in lavender
La-la land
Lamb to the slaughter
Lame duck
Land of nod – The
Lardy-dardy
Lark about
Last but not least
Last straw – The
Latin Phrases
Laugh like a drain
Laughing-stock
Laurels – rest on one’s
The law is an ass
Lay it on with a trowel
Lead balloon – Go over like a
Lead-pipe cinch
Learn the ropes
Left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing
Left in the lurch
Legend in one’s own lifetime
Leopard cannot change its spots – A
Less is more
Let a thousand flowers bloom
Let bygones be bygones
Let not poor Nelly starve
Let not the sun go down on your wrath
Let or hindrance
Let sleeping dogs lie
Let the cat out of the bag
Let them eat cake
Let there be light
Let your hair down
Let’s roll
Level playing field
Lick and a promise
Lick into shape
Lickety-split
Lie low
Lies, damned lies and statistics
Life begins at forty
Life in the 1500s – folk etymologies
Life of Riley
Life’s not all beer and skittles
Life’s too short
Like a chicken with its head cut off
Like a moth to a flame
Like being savaged by a dead sheep
Like billy-o
Like it or lump it
Like the clappers
Like the Dickens
Like two peas in a pod
Lily-livered
Little bird told me – A
Little knowledge is a dangerous thing – A
Little of what you fancy does you good – A
Lions led by donkeys
Live long and prosper
Living daylights
Living off the fat of the land
Living on borrowed time
Lo and behold
Load of cobblers
Load of codswallop
Loaf of bread
Local derby
Lock stock and barrel
Long in the tooth
Look before you leap
Loose cannon
Loose lips sink ships
Lose face
Lose your marbles
Love is blind
Love that dare not speak its name – The
Loved-up
Lunatic fringe
Mad as a hatter
Mad as a March hare
Magical realism
Main chance
Make a bee-line for
Make a clean breast of it
Make a pig’s ear of
Make a virtue of necessity
Make haste
Make hay while the sun shines
Make him an offer he can’t refuse
Make my day
Make no bones about
Make your hair stand on end
Mal de mer
Man after my own heart – A
Man does not live by bread alone
Man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client – A
A dog is a man’s best friend
Man’s inhumanity to man
Many a little makes a mickle
Many are called but few are chosen
Many happy returns
Many a true word is spoken in jest
‘March’ phrases
Mare’s nest
Marital aid
Market forces
Marry in haste, repent at leisure
May you live in interesting times
McCoy – The real
Mea culpa
Meat and drink
Meat and two veg.
Meet your Waterloo
Men in suits
Mend fences
Ménage à trois
Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water
Merry Christmas
Method in my madness
Mexican wave
Mickey Finn
Middle for diddle
Middle of the road
Might and main
(The pen is) mightier than the sword
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow
Milk of human kindness
Minced oaths
Mind your Ps and Qs
Mind’s ear
Mind’s eye
Ministering angel shall my sister be – A
Mint condition
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows
Misquotes
Miss is as good as a mile
Moaning Minnie
Mondegreens
Montezuma’s Revenge
‘Money’ phrases
Money for old rope
Monstrous regiment of women
Monty – The full
Moot point
Morbid obesity
More bang for your buck
More fool you
More honoured in the breach than in the observance
More light!
Morning person
Mother country
Motley crew
Mouth-watering
Movable feast
Movers and shakers
Moving finger writes – The
Moving the goalposts
Much Ado about Nothing
Much of a muchness
Mud – your name is
Multitude of sins
Mumbo jumbo
Mum’s the word
Murphy’s Law
Music has charms to soothe the savage breast
Mutt’s nuts – The
Mutt and Jeff
Mutton dressed as lamb
My bad
My better half
My cup of tea
My cup runneth over
My giddy aunt
My husband and I
My mind’s eye
My old china
My old Dutch
My salad days
My stars and garters
Nail your colours to the mast
Namby-pamby
Name and shame
Name is mud
Nasty, brutish and short
Nation of shopkeepers – A
Nautical phrases
Necessity is the mother of invention
Ne’er cast a clout till May be out
Ne’er do well
Needs must
Neither a borrower nor a lender be
Neither fish nor flesh, nor good red herring
Neither here nor there
Nest-egg
Nest of vipers – A
Never give a sucker an even break
Never knowingly undersold
Never look a gift horse in the mouth
Never-never land
Never the twain shall meet
New kid on the block
Nice as ninepence
Nice kettle of fish
(In the) nick of time
Night owl
Nine days’ wonder
Nip and tuck
Nip in the bud
Nitty-gritty
No-brainer
No dice
No holds barred
No laughing matter
No man is an island
No more cakes and ale?
No names: no pack-drill
No quarter given
No rest for the wicked
No room to swing a cat
No truck with
No way, Jose
Nod is as good as a wink – A
Nod – The land of
Norange – A
Nosy parker
Not a dicky-bird
Not my cup of tea
Not for all the tea in China
Not playing with a full deck
Not rocket science
Not tonight Josephine
Not worth a plugged nickel
Not worth the candle
Nothing is certain but death and taxes
Nothing succeeds like success
Now is the winter of our discontent
Nth degree
Nul points
Nutshell – In a
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
O ye, of little faith
Odds bodkins
Off his own bat
Off the record
Off with his head
Offing – In the
Oh, my stars and garters
Oh, they have slain the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen
Okay
Okey-dokey
Old as Methuselah
Old as the hills
Old chestnut
Old codger
Old hat
Old lang syne – see auld lang syne
On a hiding to nothing
On a wing and a prayer
On Carey Street
On cloud nine
On queer street
On tenterhooks
On the ball
On the bubble
On the button
On the dole
On the fiddle
On the pig’s back
On the QT
On the shoulders of giants
On the wagon
On the warpath
On with the motley
On your beam ends
On your tod
Once in a blue moon
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
One-hit wonder
One fell swoop – At
One for the road
One foot in the grave
One over the eight
One sandwich short of a picnic
One small step for man
One stop shop
One swallow doesn’t make a summer
One’s heart’s content
Oops-a-daisy
Open season
(The) order of the boot
Ough – the many ways to pronounce
Out of sight
Out of sight, out of mind
Out of sorts
Out of the jaws of death
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings
Out on a limb
Over a barrel
Over the moon
Over the top
Overpaid, oversexed, and over here
Oxo cube
Ps and Qs – Mind your
Packed to the gunwales
Paddle your own canoe
Paint the town red
Panic stations
Paper tiger
Parting shot / Parthian shot
Pass over to the other side
Pass the buck
Paying guest – A
P.D.Q. – pretty damn quick
Pearls before swine
Pears for your heirs
Peeping Tom
Peg out
Pell-mell
(The) pen is mightier than the sword
Pennies from heaven
Penny dreadful
(The) penny drops
Penny pinching
Penny for your thoughts – A
Penny saved is a penny earned – A
Penny wise and pound foolish
Pester power
Peter out
Petty cash
Physician heal thyself
Pick ‘n’ mix
Picture is worth a thousand words – A
Picture-perfect
Pie – as easy as
Pie in the sky
Piece of cake – A
Piece of piss
Piece of the action
Pig in a poke
Pigeon-chested
Pig’s back – on the
Pig’s ear
(In a) pig’s eye
Pig and whistle
Piggyback
Pigs might fly
Pin money
(Take with a) pinch of salt
Pip – Get the/got the /have the
Pipe down
Pipe dream – A
Piping hot
Piss and vinegar – Full of
Pitch black
Pitch dark
Place for everything and everything in its place – A
Plague on both your houses – A
Plain sailing
Plates of meat
Play by ear
Play Devil’s advocate
Play ducks and drakes
Play fast and loose
Play it again Sam
Play second fiddle
Play silly buggers
Play the giddy goat
Play the race card
Pleased as Punch
Plug-ugly
Plugged nickel
Poetic justice
Point-and-click
Point Percy at the porcelain
Politically correct
Point-blank
Point to point
Pommy bashing
Pomp and circumstance
Pond life
Pony and trap
Pony up
Pop goes the weasel
Popular fallacies – The Nonsense Nine
Pork pies
POSH – Port out, starboard home
Pot calling the kettle black – The
Take potluck
Pound of flesh
Pour oil on troubled waters
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely
Power dressing
Powers that be – The
Praying at the porcelain altar
Preaching to the choir
Preposterous
Press into service
Pretty kettle of fish
Pretty penny – A
Prick up your ears
Prime time
Primrose path
Procrastination is the thief of time
Proof of the pudding is in the eating – The
Proverbs – A list of
Pull in your horns
Pull out all the stops
Pull the other one, it’s got bells on
Pull the wool over your eyes
Pull up stakes
Pull your horns in
Pull your finger out
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps
Pulling one’s leg
Punch above one’s weight
Pure as the driven snow
Purple patch
Push the boat out
Push the envelope
Put a damper on
Put a sock in it
Put a spanner in the works
Put on the wooden overcoat
Put on your thinking cap
Put paid to
Put the cart before the horse
Put the mockers on
Put the wood in the hole
Put up your dukes
Put your back up
Put your best foot forward
Put your nose out of joint
Pyrric victory
Quality time
Quarter – Give no
Queer as a nine bob note
Queer Street
Queer the pitch
Quick and the dead – The
Quicker than lager turns to piss
Quid pro quo
Quotations
Rabbit and pork
Rack and ruin
Rack your brains
Rag, tag and bobtail
Raining cats and dogs
Raining stair-rods
Raise Cain
Rank and file
Raspberry tart
Raze to the ground
Rat arsed
Read between the lines
Read the riot act
Real McCoy
Red-handed (caught)
Red herring
Red in tooth and claw
Red-letter day
Red rag to a bull – A
Red sky at night …
Red tape
Reduplicated phrases
Religion is the opium of the people
Rest on his laurels
Revenge is a dish best served cold
Rhyme nor reason
Rhyming slang
Richard of York gave battle in vain
Richard the Third
Riddle wrapped up in an enigma – A
Riding shotgun
Riff-raff
Riley – the life of
[That] Rings a bell
Ring a ring o’roses, a pocketful of posies, atishoo, atishoo, all fall down
Ring down the curtain
Ring-fencing
Ring the changes
Rinky-dink
Rise and shine
Road less travelled – The
Road apples
Road rage
Roasted to a turn
Rob Peter to pay Paul
Rock and roll
It’s not rocket science
A rolling stone gathers no moss
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Rose by any other name would smell as sweet – A
Rose is a rose is a rose
Rosie Lea
Rough diamond
Round Robin
Route one
Rub of the green
Rule of thumb
Rum do
Rumpy-pumpy
Run a mile
Run amok
Run of the mill
Run out of steam
Run rings around
Run the gauntlet
Sacred cow
Safe as houses – As
Safe pair of hands – A
Safe sex
Salad days
Salt of the earth – The
San fairy Ann
Sandwich short of a picnic
Save face
Save one’s bacon
Saved by the bell
Savoir faire
Say cheese
Say goodnight Gracie
Scapegoat
Scarper
Scot-free
Scott (Sir Walter – phrases coined by)
Screw your courage to the sticking place
‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy
Sea change
Sealed with a loving kiss
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Second-guess
Security blanket
See a pin and pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck; see a pin and let it lie, bad luck you’ll have all day
See red
Seen better days
Send packing
Senior citizen
Sent to Coventry
Separate the sheep from the goats
Set one’s cap at
Set your teeth on edge
Sex and shopping
Seven-year itch
Sexton Blake
Shebang – The whole
Shaggy dog story
Shake a leg
Shakers and movers
Shakespeare (phrases and sayings of)
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Shambles
Shanks’ mare/shanks’ pony
Share and share alike
Shilly-shally
Ship shape and Bristol fashion
Shit end of the stick – The
Shit for brains
Shiver my timbers
Shoddy
Short end of the stick – The
Shot across the bows
Shot heard ’round the world – The
Shot in the arm
Shot in the dark
Shoot through
Short shrift
Show a leg – see shake a leg
Show your mettle
Shrinking violet
Shuffle off this mortal coil
Shut your cake-hole
Siamese twins
Sick puppy (A)
Sight for sore eyes (A)
Silly Billy
Silly season
Silver lining – every cloud has a
Sir Walter Scott (phrases coined by)
Silence is golden
Silver bullet
Similes
Sitting pretty
Sixes and sevens – At
Skeleton in the closet
Skid row
Skin and blister
(By the) skin of your teeth
(The) sky’s the limit
Sledgehammer to crack a nut – A
Sleep like a top
Sleep on a clothesline
Sleep tight
Sleeveless errand
Sloane Ranger
Slush fund
Smallest room in the house – The
Smart casual
Smoke and mirrors
Snug as a bug in a rug
So sue me
Soap-dodger
Sod’s Law
Sold down the river
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em
Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men, have mediocrity thrust upon them
Someone is walking over my grave
Something for the weekend sir?
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Son of a bitch
Son of a gun
Sorry sight
Sound bite
Sound out
Sour grapes
Space, the final frontier
Spare the rod and spoil the child
Speak of the Devil
Speak softly and carry a big stick
Special relationship
Spelling-bee
Spend a penny
Spick and span
Spill the beans
Spin doctor
Spitting feathers
Spitting image
Spoonerisms
Spring forward, fall back
Spruce-up
Square meal
Squeaky bum time
Stand and deliver
Stand up guy
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Star-crossed lovers
Stark, raving mad
Stars and garters – My
Start from scratch
Steal a march
Steal my thunder
Stick in the mud
Sticks and stones may break my bones
Sticky wicket
Stiff upper lip
Stiffen the sinews
Stinking rich
Stitch in time saves nine – A
Stone the crows
Stone’s throw
Stony-hearted
Stool pigeon
Storm in a teacup
Straight as a die
Straight from the horse’s mouth
Strain at the leash
Strait-laced
Strait and narrow
Stranger danger
Stranger than fiction – Truth is
Strike while the iron is hot
Stuff and nonsense
Stump up
Such is life
Surf and turf
Surfing the Net/surfing the Internet/surfing the Web
Survival of the fittest
Suspension of disbelief
Swan song
Sweet Fanny Adams
Swing for you
Swing the lead
Tail wagging the dog – The
Take a back seat
Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves
Take down a peg or two
Take potluck
Take the bit between your teeth
Take the cake
Take the gilt off the gingerbread
Take the Mickey
Take the upper hand
Take umbrage
Take with a grain of salt
Taken aback
Talk of the Devil
Talk the talk
Talk through one’s hat
Talk to the hand
Tall story
Tanstaafl – (there’s no such thing as a free lunch)
Tattoo phrases and sayings
Tawdry
Tea leaf
Technicolor yawn
Tell it to the marines
Tempest in a teapot
Test your mettle – see show your mettle
That’s all folks!
That’s all she wrote
That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind
The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind
The apple of my eye
The back of beyond
The balance of power
The balance of trade
The bane of my life
The bee’s knees
The belle of the ball
The best laid schemes of mice and men
The Big Apple
The Big Easy
The birds and the bees
The bitter end
The blind leading the blind
The bread of life
The buck stops here
The call of the wild
The camera cannot lie
The chickens come home to roost
The collywobbles
The course of true love never did run smooth
The crack of doom
The Crapper
The customer is always right
The cut of your jib
The dark side
The darkest hour is just before the dawn
The Devil Incarnate
The Devil is in the details
The Devil take the hindmost
The Devil to pay
The die has been cast
The early bird catches the worm
The elephant in the room
The emperor’s new clothes
The ends of the earth
The exception which proves the rule
The face that launched a thousand ships
The fat of the land
The female of the species is more deadly then the male
The fifth estate
The floozie in the jacuzzi
The fly in the ointment
The full monty
The game is afoot
The game is up
The great unwashed
The hair of the dog that bit you
The hairy eyeball
The heebie-jeebies
The jury is still out
The land of nod
The last straw
The law is an ass
The life of Riley
The living daylights
The love that dare not speak its name
The monstrous regiment of women
The moving finger writes
The mutt’s nuts
The nth degree
The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings
The pen is mightier than the sword
The pip – Get/got/have
The pot calling the kettle black
The powers that be
The proof of the pudding is in the eating
The quick and the dead
The real McCoy
The road less travelled
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
The salt of the earth
The seven-year itch
The short end of the stick
The shot heard ’round the world
The sky’s the limit
The smallest room in the house
The straw that broke the camel’s back
The tail wagging the dog
The toast of the town
The third degree
The triumph of hope over experience
The upper hand
The usual suspects
The whole kit and caboodle
The whole nine yards
The whole shebang
The writing is on the wall
The year dot
The Yellow Peril
There is more than one way to kill a cat
There are three kinds of lies…
There but for the grace of God, go I
There is no alternative
There’s an R in the month
There’s method in my madness
There’s no such thing as a free lunch (Tanstaafl)
There’s no such thing as bad publicity
There’s one (a sucker) born every minute
They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance
Thick and thin
As thick as thieves
Thin air – Vanish into
Thing of beauty is a joy forever – A
Things that go bump in the night
Think outside the box
Thinking cap
Third degree – The
Third time lucky
Thomas Paine – The writings of
Thorn in the flesh
Thou shalt not kill
Though this be madness, yet there is method in it
Three score and ten
Three sheets to the wind
Three strikes and you are out
Through thick and thin
Throw in the towel
Throw your hat into the ring
Thumbs up
Thus far into the bowels of the land
Ticked off
Tickle the ivories
Tickled pink
Tide over
Tie the knot
Till the cows come home
Time and tide wait for no man
Tinker’s dam
Tilting at windmills
Tissue of lies
Titfer
Tit for tat
Tits up
To a T
To all intents and purposes
To be or not to be, that is the question
To beggar belief
To boldly go where no man has gone before
To boot
To cast the first stone
To err is human; to forgive divine
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub
To the manner born
To the nth degree
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive
Toast of the town
Toe the line
Toe-curling
Toffee-nosed
Tommy Atkins
Tomorrow is another day
Tomorrow is another day
Tongue in cheek
Too big for your breeches
Too much of a good thing
Toodle-oo
Tooth and nail
Top dog
Top drawer
Top notch
Topsy-turvy
Total shambles
Touch and go
Touch with a barge-pole – Wouldn’t
Touch wood
Touchy-feely
Tout de suite
Tower of strength
Train surfing
Trick or treat
Trip the light fantastic
Trouble and strife
True blue
Truth is stranger than fiction
Truth will out
Tuckered out
Turn a blind eye
Turn of phrase
Turn the tables
Turn up for the books
Turn up trumps
Twelve good men and true
Twenty three skidoo
Twenty four seven
Two cents worth
Two heads are better than one
Two peas in a pod
Under the thumb
Under your hat – Keep it
Under the auspices of
Get – underway
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown
Union Jack
The great – unwashed
The – unkindest cut of all
Up a blind alley
Up a gum tree
Up shit creek without a paddle
Up the apples and pears
Up the duff
Up the pole
Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire
Up to snuff
Upper crust
Upper hand
Up in arms
Ups-a-daisy
Upset the apple-cart
Upside down
Urban myth
Use your loaf
Usual suspects – The
Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut
Valentine’s Day Poems and Sayings
Van surfing
Vanish into thin air
Veg out
Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things
Vice versa
Vicious circle
Vis-a-vis
Visit the ladies’ room
Vorsprung Durch Technik
Walk free
Walk the walk
Walk the plank
Walter Scott (phrases coined by)
Warts and all
Watch the birdie
(A) watched pot never boils
Watching brief
Wave a red rag to a bull
Wax lyrical
Wax poetic
We are a grandmother
We are not amused
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
We have seen better days
We know where you live
Weakest link – A chain is only as strong as its
Wear the trousers
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Weasel words
Wee-wee
Well heeled
Well read
Wet behind the ears
What a piece of work is man
What are you like?
What football is all about
What God has joined together let no man put asunder
What part of no don’t you understand?
What you see is what you get – wysiwyg
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
What’s not to like?
What’s up Doc?
When in Rome, do as the Romans do
When it comes to the crunch
When pigs fly
When the shit hits the fan
Where there’s muck there’s brass
Whet your appetite
Which is which?
Which witch is which?
While you live, tell truth and shame the Devil!
Whip round
Whipper snapper
Whipping boy
Whistle and flute
Whistle blower
Whistle down the wind
White as snow
White bread
White elephant
Whole kit and caboodle – The
Whole-hearted
Whole nine yards – The
Whole shebang – The
Whoops-a-daisy
Why does bread always fall butter side down?
Wick – you get on my
Wide berth – Keep a
Wild and woolly
Wild goose chase
Willy nilly
Win hands down
Win one for the Gipper
(On a) wing and a prayer
Wing it
Winter drawers on
Wish you were here
With bells on
Without let or hindrance
Without so much as a by your leave
Woe betide you
Woe is me
Wolf in sheep’s clothing
Woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle – A
Woman’s place is in the home – A
Women and children first
Wooden hill to Bedfordshire
Word association football
Word for word
Word in edgeways – A
Word in your shell-like – A
Words ending in gry
Worse for wear
Worth one’s salt
Wotcher
Wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole
Wreak havoc
Writing is on the wall – The
Wrong end of the stick – The
Yada yada
Year dot – The
Yellow-belly
Yellow Peril
You are what you eat
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink
You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think
You can’t get blood out of a stone
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
You get on my wick
You look as if you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards
You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent
Young turk
Your money or your life
Your name is mud
You’ve never had it so good
Zero tolerance
Zig-zag

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