Idioms and Phrases—1 1. the apple of one’s eye
? one’s favorite
A: It seems that Mary’s father gives her whatever she wants
B: Of course. Don’t you know that she is the apple of her father’s eye?
2. dance with the Devil
? to do something evil
A: I am thinking about stealing money from my parents.
B: If you want to dance with the Devil; that’s up to you. But I
don’t want to have anything to do with it.
3. beat the socks off someone
? to defeat somebody by a large margin
A: Did you watch the game last night?
B: Yes, our team beat the socks off the other side, didn’t they?
4. a blow by blow account
? giving all the details of an event
A: Come on! Tell me what’s going on.
B: Don’t worry. I will give you a blow-by-blow account.
5. a flash in the pan
? sudden success that disappears quickly
A: What do you think about the new singing group?
B: They are only a flash in the pan.
6. to fix someone up
? to arrange a date for somebody
A: What are you doing this Saturday, Mike?
B: Nothing. That’s why I’m wondering if you could fix me up
with your sister.
7. to bring home the bacon
? to support a family or earn a living
A: Who brings home the bacon in your family?
B: My brother makes the most money, but we all work.
8. when pigs fly
? things that will never happen
A: Would you go on a date with me?
B: Sure! I’ll go out with you when pigs fly.
9. two sides of the same coin
? two different ways of looking at the same situation
A: Love and hate are two sides of the same coin.
B: Stop being so cynical.
10. Achilles’ heel
? a weak point or a vulnerable spot
A: What is Peter’s Achilles’ heel?
B: His Achilles’ heel is his pride.
? to put a label on someone or something
A: He is just another yes-man in the management department.
B: Well, you shouldn’t pigeonhole people like that.
12. under the weather
? feel slightly ill
A: Where is your wife, John?
B: She is feeling under the weather so she has gone to bed early.
13. Indian summer
? hot weather in autumn
A: Why is it so hot in mid-October？
B: I guess it’s just an Indian summer.
14. keep one’s shirt on
? to remain calm or not to become angry
A: Come on, hurry up! We are going to be late.
B: I’m almost ready. Keep your shirt on. I’ll be only another
minute or two.
15. be at one’s wits’ end ? overcome by problems or difficulties
A: Why don’t you say something to defend yourself?
B: I don’t know what to say. I am simply at my wits’ end over
16. out of the blue
? suddenly and unexpectedly
A: Why are you so busy today?
B: The boss dropped this big assignment on me out of the blue.
17. let the cat out of the bag
? to reveal a secret
A: Have you heard that Fred and Jean are going out?
B: Yes, I Know. But I thought it was a secret. I guess someone
let the cat out of the bag.
18. to jump on the bandwagon
? to do something that many others are doing
A: It seems that everyone is jumping on the Godzilla bandwagon.
B: Yeah, even my grandmother bought a Godzilla model.
19. to wear many hats
? to play several different roles or do many different jobs
A: David wears many hats in the company.
B: No wonder he seems to be busy all the time.
20. to open Pandora’s box ? a source of many unexpected problems
A: What do you think about the plan to build more factories?
B: Environmentally, it’s like opening Pandora’s box.
21. to come under fire
? to be strongly criticized for something you have done
A: I can’t believe Judy made such a big mistake.
B: I’m sure that she will come under fire for it. 22. fall out with someone
? end a friendship with someone
A: Why is Susan so sad?
B: She has just fallen out with her best friend.
23. a slip of the tongue
? to accidentally say the wrong thing
A: “She” is my brother. Oops, I’m sorry! I mean “he”.
B: Don’t worry! It’s just a slip of the tongue.
24. to show someone the door
? to ask someone to leave
A: Gary is definitely not qualified for the job.
B: That’s for sure. Sooner or later, the boss is bound to
show him the door.
25. a knockout
? a very beautiful person or thing
A: Have you seen John’s wife?
B: Yeah, she’s a real knockout.
26. to make a mountain out of a molehill
? to see a small problem as a big one
A: I have asked everyone to stop what they are doing and help me find
my missing file.
B: Come on! Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
27. to have the upper hand
? to be in a superior position
A: The two don’t seem to agree on the matter.
B: Well, let’s see who has the upper hand.
28. to speak the same language
? to have similar tastes and ideas or have a common understanding
A: They seem to cooperate very well on this project.
B: Yes, it’s like they speak the same language.