A bad hair day.
Meaning: A day on which everything seems to go wrong.
Use in sentence: I missed the bus and was late on the one day the boss was early and now i have laddered my tights! Talk about a bad hair day.
A bad workman always blames his tools.
Meaning: A proverb that suggests a poor workman tends to look for an excuse for his poor work.
Use in sentence: It was really Andy s fault that the wall he built fell down but he tried to claim that the cement mixer was faulty.
A big ask.
Meaning: A favor which is a lot to ask of someone.
Use in sentence: Tod had only just got home from his overnight flight when his boss told him to get back to the airport and fly to Sydney that was a big ask.
A bigger bang for your buck.
Meaning: Better value for your money.
Use in sentence: Those Chinese fireworks are so cheap we literally get a bigger bang for our buck.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Meaning:: It's better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.
Use in sentence: The questions in the final round looked hard so we opted out of the big prize and took the smaller $000 second prize a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush you know.
A bite to eat.
Meaning: A small meal possibly taken quickly when time is short.
Use in sentence: We won’t have time for a meal after the concert finishes so let us get a bite to eat now before we go in.
A blessing in disguise.
Meaning: An apparent misfortune that works to the eventual benefit of the recipient.
Use in sentence: Breaking my arm was a blessing in disguise i married the nurse.
A bull and cow.
Meaning: Cockney rhyming slang for a row or argument.
Use in sentence: They were shouting and screaming at each other a real bull and cow.
A bunch of fives.
Meaning: A fist as used in a fight.
Use in sentence: Punch me would you? How’d you like a bunch of fives in your eye?
A chip on your shoulder.
Meaning: A sense of inferiority characterized by a quickness to take offence.
Use in sentence: He's the only cabinet minister that didn’t t go to Eton and it's given him a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
A diamond in the rough.
Meaning: A person or thing having good underlying qualities while appearing to be coarse and unpolished.
Use in sentence: He'd been in jail several times for fraud but when he found my lost wallet he returned it a rough diamond if there ever was one.
A dime a dozen.
Meaning: So commonplace as to be of little consequence.
Use in sentence: Red buses in London they’re a dime a dozen.
A doubting Thomas.
Meaning: A sceptic who won’t accept a widely believed truth until seeing the evidence in person.
Use in sentence: I told him he would need a raincoat but doubting Thomas that he is he had to check the forecast for himself.
A drop in the bucket.
Meaning: A very small part of a bigger whole.
Use in sentence: The country’s debt has risen to a trillion pounds paying off a billion is just a drop in the bucket.
A feather in one’s cap.
Meaning: A symbol of achievement.
Use in sentence: Getting nominated for an Oscar is the biggest feather in a film actor’s cap.
A fish out of water.
Meaning: Someone in an unfamiliar circumstance.
Use in sentence: He's a fine golfer but in this dance competition he's a fish out of water.
A flash in the pan.
Meaning: Something that fails to deliver long-term benefit after an initial success.
Use in sentence: Ricky valance was a one-hit wonder pretty much a flash in the pan you might say.
A fly in the ointment.
Meaning: A small flaw that spoils the whole.
Use in sentence: It was good to win the gold but not being able to attend the ceremony to collect it was the fly in the ointment.
A fly on the wall.
Meaning: An unperceived observer able to see and hear but not be seen or heard a form of cinema in which events are recorded without direction.
Use in sentence: 1 I wish i could have been a fly on the wall when Putin met Obama these reality shows are just the same as the old fly-on-the-wall documentaries.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
Meaning: A foolish person is very likely to lose his money.
Use in sentence: He's off to the casino again a fool and his money i say.
A fool s paradise.
Meaning: A state of euphoria with no basis in reality.
Use in sentence: He thinks he is going to get the top job but there’s no chance of that he's just living in a fool’s paradise.
A foot in the door.
Meaning: An Initial Inroad that may lead to greater influence in future.
Use in sentence: I convinced them to start displaying my artwork I’m making a loss on it but it's a foot in the door.
A golden key can open any door.
Meaning: Money always has a telling influence.
Use in sentence: He's not really good enough to be an f1 driver but he got in the team because he brought a major sponsorship deal with him as they say a golden key can open any door.
A hot potato.
Meaning: A current issue which many people are talking about and which is controversial.
Use in sentence: The bombing of Syria is a political hot potato.
A house divided against it cannot stand.
Meaning: Failure is certain if those on the same side argue amongst themselves.
Use in sentence: The tory party can't stop arguing over Europe don t they know that a house divided cannot stand.
A knight in shining armor.
Meaning: A person who comes to the aid of another when other hopes have faded like the knights in romantic stories.
Use in sentence: She was stuck out of petrol in the middle of the moors at night when the repair man turned up she called him her knight in shining armor.
A leopard can't change his spots.
Meaning: You cannot change your innate self.
Use in sentence: He was a bully at school and he's a bully now a leopard can't change its spots.
A little bird told me.
Meaning: I was told by an undisclosed source.
Use in sentence: How do I know it's your 5th anniversary? Well a little bird told me.
A load of cobblers.
Use in sentence: He says he has invented a perpetual motion machine which is clearly a load of cobblers.
A load of codswallop.
Use in sentence: You can't keep champagne fresh by putting a spoon in the neck of the bottle that’s a load of codswallop.
A lot on your plate.
Meaning: Having many responsibilities.
Use in sentence: Your mom dying just when you were moving house and being made redundant you certainly have a lot on your plate.
A man after my own heart.
Meaning: A kindred spirit someone who thinks as I do.
Use in sentence: We've both supported Manchester united since we were kid s you could say he was a man after my own heart.
A miss is as good as a mile.
Meaning: Some endeavors either succeed or they don t to miss narrowly is still failure.
Use in sentence: He came within a millimeter of breaking the high jump records sadly a miss is as good as a mile.
A penny for your thoughts.
Meaning: A way of asking what someone is thinking.
Use in sentence: You've been gazing out the window with a wistful look for ages a penny for your thoughts?
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Meaning: Anything you save has the same effect as adding to your income.
Use in sentence: I put all my small change into a jar every day it's not much but a penny saved is a penny earned.
A picture paints a thousand words.
Meaning: Pictures are far more descriptive than words.
Use in sentence: I tried to describe that fantastic sunset and then she just showed them a photo you know it's true a picture paints a thousand words.
A piece of cake.
Meaning: A task that can be accomplished very easily.
Use in sentence: jumping that two-foot fence? No problem a piece of cake.
A pig in a poke.
Meaning: A commodity that is bought without first examining it.
Use in sentence: Jim said that car was a good buy so I bid for it on eBay and it turned out to be a real rust bucket that’s what you get for buying a pig in a poke.
A place in the sun.
Meaning: An idealistic dream of a sunny hideaway.
Use in sentence: We've been lucky we managed to buy ourselves a place in the sun for our retirement.
A red rag to a bull.
Meaning: A deliberate provocation.
Use in sentence: Telling Putin that he is macho as a response to being small in stature was like a red rag to a bull.
A safe pair of hands.
Meaning: A reliable person who can be trusted not to fail in a task.
Use in sentence: When Margaret thatcher passed the prime minister ship to john major she thought he would be a safe pair of hands.
A sea change.
Meaning: A radical change.
Use in sentence: When Obama came in after George bush there was a real sea change in us foreign policy.
A sight for sore eyes.
Meaning: A welcome sight that you weren’t expecting.
Use in sentence: Wow you’re a sight for sore eyes they told me you were abroad and would miss my wedding.
A skeleton in the closet.
Meaning: A secret and possibly ruinous source of shame.
Use in sentence: No one in the family ever talked about granddad being convicted of child abuse it was the skeleton in our closet.
A shot in the arm.
Meaning: A boost or encouragement.
Use in sentence: I was out on my feet after ten miles running but seeing the kids cheering me on was a real shot in the arm.
A slap on the wrist.
Meaning: A mild rebuke of ten given when a more severe punishment might be expected.
Use in sentence: Those muggers should get a jail term but these days they'll probably just get a fine and a slap on the wrist.
A sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Meaning: The use of excessive resources to overcome a small problem.
Use in sentence: Using the air ambulance to get granny to hospital was a sledgehammer to crack a nut she could walk perfectly well and we only live 00 yards away.
A sorry sight.
Meaning: Something sadly neglected a person or thing of untidy appearance.
Use in sentence: The se Georgian town houses were beautiful when they were built but they make a sorry sight now they've been left unoccupied and vandalized since Jim hit the bottle after Joan left him he s not been taking care of himself he looked a sorry sight today just dressed in old clothe s and slippers.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Meaning: A small effort made at the right time might save a calamity later on.
Use in sentence: Fixing that frayed rope was a real stitch in time it would probably have snapped when the wind got up later if we hadn’t.
A stone's throw.
Meaning: A short distance.
Use in sentence: Number ten Downing Street is just a stone’s throw from Parliament the Prime Minister can walk there in no time.
A taste of your own medicine.
Meaning: Mistreatment you receive in retaliation to that you gave to others.
Use in sentence: You always made me work on Christmas day when I was the junior now I’m in charge of the holiday Rota and you can take a dose of your own medicine.
A thorn in my flesh.
Meaning: A persistent and difficult to ignore annoyance.
Use in sentence: The anti-capitalist campaigners turned up at every political meeting they were are real thorn in the flesh for the government.
Meaning: The flip of a coin to decide on something a result usually between two courses of action which is uncertain and could go either way.
Use in sentence: Before the game we tossed up to decide which direction we would be playing who will win the premiership this year? It looks pretty even I’d say it's a tossup.
A wolf in sheep s clothing.
Meaning: Someone who uses the pretense of kindliness to disguise their evil intent.
Use in sentence: He was 38 but tried to pass himself off as a thirteen year old in order to get a date with a schoolgirl a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Meaning: A military command to turn when on parade a change from ones previous position.
Use in sentence: Stand to attention! Present arms! About face! Winston Churchill joined parliament as a conservative and then did an about face and changed to the liberals before going about face again and re-joining the conservatives.
Meaning: Almost time high time.
Use in sentence: Hurry up it's about time for the game to start these running shoe s are worn through it's about time I got a new pair.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Meaning: Our feelings for people and things grow when we are apart from them.
Use in sentence: I enjoyed visiting Italy but after a few weeks I couldn’t wait to get home to my wife as they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Meaning: A more emphatic version of absolutely.
Use in sentence: Would I like to borrow your new Maserati for a day? Abs-bloody-lately I would!
Ace in the hole.
Meaning: A saved hidden advantage that can supply a victory when revealed.
Use in sentence: Pete Townshend thought I can see for miles was a sure-fire hit and he saved it as an ace in the hole until he needed to boost the group’s success.
Meaning: A fatal weakness in an otherwise strong person or thing.
Use in sentence: JFK's Achilles heel was his inability to ignore the charms of a long-legged blonde.
Across the board.
Meaning: Applying everywhere and to all classes of thing.
Use in sentence: Everyone has to pay value-added tax it's an across the board levy.
Act your age.
Meaning: Behave in a manner appropriate to your stage in life.
Use in sentence: Granddad is doing his jazz dancing again so embarrassing I wish had act his age.
Actions speak louder than words.
Meaning: Actions show ones character more than what you say.
Use in sentence: She spoke up for the immigrants but he gave them a bed in his house actions speak louder than words.
Meaning: A reference to water of ten used to emphasize the purity of water compared to other drinks.
Use in sentence: I didn't want a beer when I finished the Marathon Adams Ale was all I needed.
Add fuel to the fire.
Meaning: Make a bad situation even worse than it is.
Use in sentence: Going into that race riot and telling them to get back to Africa was really adding fuel to the fire.
Add insult to injury.
Meaning: To further a loss to make a bad situation worse.
Use in sentence: She jilted him at the altar but to add insult to injury she later married his brother.
Against the clock.
Meaning: In a great hurry to complete something before a set deadline.
Use in sentence: Sorry no pub lunch for me today I’m up against the clock this reports got to be done by 6pm or I’m dead.
Aren’t my first Rodeo.
Meaning: Said by someone who has experience of a situation.
Use in sentence: You don't need to show me how to peel the potatoes this aren’t my first rodeo you know.
Meaning: In the open air.
Use in sentence: The weathers lovely let's have our lunch Al-Fresco on the terrace.
Meaning: Eating ones lunch while still working (a pun on al fresco).
Use in sentence: I'm too busy to come to the cafe this lunchtime I’ll be lunching Al Desko.
All at sea.
Meaning: In a confused disordered state.
Use in sentence: He dropped his notes just before the interview and panicked you could say he was all at sea.
All kidding aside.
Meaning: Said when you want people to realize you are speaking seriously when they might otherwise think you were joking.
Use in sentence: I know I’m dressed as a circus clown for the party but believe me the kitchen is on fire.
All bark and no bite.
Meaning: Having lots to say but not willing to engage in a fight.
Use in sentence: There's always one loud guy at the back who dis-appears when trouble starts all bark but no bite.
All Greek to me.
Meaning: Incomprehensible as Greek is to someone who cannot speak it.
Use in sentence: He says that Quantum Physics isn't so difficult but it's all Greek to me.
All in all.
Meaning: On the whole when everything is considered.
Use in sentence: We've had some bad times in our marriage but all in all the past thirty years have been happy.
All in a day s work.
Meaning: Typical; A normal set of circumstances.
Use in sentence: Screaming through red lights to find a house burning down all in a day’s work if you are a fireman.
Meaning: Ready to go.
Use in sentence: We're all packed tickets checked the kids are in the card you could say that we are all set to go.
Meaning: Clumsy or physically inept.
Use in sentence: Clumsy or physically inept.
All to cock.
Meaning: Ruined or shambolic.
Use in sentence: I put in tablespoons instead of teaspoons and my cake recipe has gone all to cock.
All together now.
Meaning: Invitation to join in communal singing.
Use in sentence: Come on all of you let us have a sing-song ill count you in all together now.
Meaning: An ambitious mother who aims to excel at work while raising children.
Use in sentence: She has two kids and is desperate to get the top job to save to get them into private school a real alpha mom.
Meaning: A jumble of words or letters of ten referring to organizations known by their initials like CIAO and BBC.
Use in sentence: All those institutions of the European parliament are confusing a real alphabet soup.
Meaning: A slang term for lager.
Use in sentence: I’ve been in the outback all day rounding up sheep and my throats as dry as a Pommies towel I’m just about ready to sink a few tinniest of the amber nectar.
Meaning: Excited and ready for action.
Use in sentence: He's been training for today all year now the big day has come and he’s amped up and ready to go.
An act of God.
Meaning: Some event that is considered to be outside human control commonly used in insurance policies to refer to events that the insured cannot be held responsible for.
Use in sentence: The insurance company had to pay up for the lightning strike damage after all it wasn’t my fault it was an act of god.
An arm and a leg.
Meaning: very expensive a large amount of money.
Use in sentence: That new lawnmower is top of the range it cost me an arm and a leg.
An axe to grind.
Meaning: A dispute with someone.
Use in sentence: Hey I’ve an axe to grind with you didn't I hear you calling my sister a slag?
An open and shut case.
Meaning: A straight-forward legal case in which the outcome is clear.
Use in sentence: He was caught with the stolen money and the police had his picture at the crime scene on CCTV it was an open and shut case.
Apples and Pears.
Meaning: Cockney rhyming slang for stairs.
Use in sentence: Time for bed jimmy get yourself up the apples and pears.
At the drop of a hat.
Meaning: With no delay.
Use in sentence: They were always ready to help just say the word and they’d be there at the drop of a hat.
Away with the fairies.
Meaning:Not facing reality; in a dream world.
Meaning: She says she is going to star in Johnny Depp’s next movie if you ask me she's away with the fairies.