Know your idioms & phrases

Idioms to express anger/annoyance/frustration:


Fed up I’m fed up with living with such a disorganized person.

Throw a fit:  Your mother will throw a fit if you go out dressed like that.

Go off the deep end: The Manager went off the deep end when he found out about the missing files.

Hit the roof/blew off the handle: The manager hit the roof/blew off the handle as soon as the union leader made his demands.

Had it up to here: I’ve just had it up to here with this organization! I just want to quit now.

At (my) wit’s end:  Lisa was at her wit’s end trying to manage the chaos that the children made at the party.

After someone’s blood: (to be used when you’re after someone to hurt or punish them): After the shoot-out, the gangster is now after the police officer’s blood.

Out for blood: (to be used when you are determined to find someone to attack or blame for something bad that has happened): After the unfortunate incident of losing his entire family in the riot, Mohan is out for blood.

Drive someone up the wall: The officer’s arrogance in dealing with the matter simply drove me up the wall.

Rub someone up the wrong way: Despite good intentions, he somehow always manages to rub his boss up the wrong way.

Ruffle someone’s feathers: In the board meeting, Ravi made some comments that ruffled the director’s feathers.

Put the cat among the pigeons: He put the cat among the pigeons by suggesting that the company should go for some redundancies.

Give someone an earful: My mother gave me an earful for disobeying her.

Give someone a piece of (your) mind: This was the fifth day in a row that she turned up late at work and the annoyed manager gave her a piece of his mind.

On edge: She’s been on edge all day, having heard rumours of lay-offs in the office.

Had (my) fill: I’ve had my fill of babysitting as a part-time job. I don’t think I’ll do any more baby-sitting the rest of my life!

At the end of (my) tether: I don’t know what to do with my 7 year old’s video games addiction any more. I’m at the end of my tether.

Sick and tired of: I’m sick and tired of this 9 to 5 job. I have to look for a change.


Idioms expressing happiness:


Thrilled to bits: My brother is thrilled to bits at the prospect of meeting his favourite film star personally at the award ceremony.

On top of the world: With the Champion’s Trophy in her hands, Archana felt on top of the world.

On cloud nine / over the moon / in seventh heaven: The proud grandparents were on cloud nine/over the moon/in seventh heaven with the birth of their first grandchild.

Make (my) day: I got an unexpected email from my manager this morning, appreciating my efforts in a recent project and commending my work. It certainly made my day!

Jump for joy: She jumped for joy when she learnt that she had won the first prize.

Walking on air: Helen has been walking on air ever since she got engaged to Bob.


Idioms expressing sadness:


Out of sorts: Robin has been somewhat out of sorts ever since he found out that his best friend was dying of cancer.

Down in the dumps: I’ve been down in the dumps lately and didn’t feel like attending any of the parties at my friends’ places.

Put a damper on: Sonia put a damper on today’s get-together by digging up past incidents of misunderstandings and tension among us.


Idioms to talk about dealing with problems:


Make do: (managing with something that isn’t as good as you would like it to be): All the stores are closed now. For tonight, you have to make do with whatever food we have at home.

Give it a shot: (try): Here’s a new diet plan claiming to make you lose weight without sacrificing the essential nutrients. Why don’t you give it a try?

Get to grips with: (make an effort to understand or to deal with a problem or situation) Even before he could get to grips with the problem of hacked accounts, another problem surfaced.

To be on the safe side: (to protect oneself though it may not be necessary) To be on the safe side, I’ve already purchased an insurance that covers all accidental damages caused by fire, flooding etc.

Get to the bottom of: (try to discover the truth about something): The investigating team can’t get to the bottom of this matter until they get more information on the minister’s dealings with the gangster.

Shed light: (help people understand a situation) Perhaps the investigating officer can shed some light on this issue.

Bring to light / come to light: (unknown facts becoming known): The issue of officers misusing their power was brought to light by an exasperated citizen.

In the bag: (certain to get or achieve something): Don’t you worry! We’ve got the contract in the bag this time.

Tie up some loose ends: (deal with the last few things that need to be done before something is completed): I can’t leave yet. I need to tie up some loose ends for the presentation tomorrow.

Fall into place: (you understand something that you did not understand before): Everything fell into place as I listened to the evidence at the court.

Pick up the pieces: (try to return to normal): After the disaster, it took her some time to finally pick up the pieces and carry on with life.