Idioms title

The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

"cliche" idioms...

See also, the Phrase Thesaurus list of phrases that contain the word cliche

and, a list of phrases that relate in some way the word cliche

" A bigger bang for your buck "
Meaning:
Better value for your money.
Example:
Those Chinese fireworks are so cheap. We literally get a bigger bang for our buck.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but overused to the point of cliche.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   money   america  
" A piece of cake "
Meaning:
A task that can be accomplished very easily.
Example:
Jumping that two-foot fence? No problem - a piece of cake.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Very widely and commonly used, to the point of being considered a cliche.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   food   america  
" As high as a kite "
Meaning:
1. Very high up in the sky. 2. High on drugs or excitement.
Example:
1. The Petronas Tower is as high as a kite. 2. She was ecstatic that she won the gold medal. She was high as a kite afterwards.
Where did it originate?:
1. Britain - 17th century. It probably refers to Red Kites, birds that were common in the UK in the 17th century, rather than children's kites. 2. USA.
Where is it used?:
1. In the UK. 2. Worldwide.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   medical   animals   happiness   america  
" Back to the drawing board "
Meaning:
Said when a plan fails and it's time to start again and make a new plan.
Example:
That battery hovercraft was a nice idea but it just didn't work. I guess it's back to the drawing board.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   work   america  
" Between a rock and a hard place "
Meaning:
Between two unwelcome options.
Example:
The only choices I have are poverty or a boring job - I'm between a rock and a hard place.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century. Sometimes mistakenly thought to come from Homer's Odyssey.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   nature   america  
" Bite the dust "
Meaning:
Die, especially in a violent or sudden way.
Example:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid bit the dust at the end of the movie.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century. Probably influenced by a biblical passage.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   death  
" Cross that bridge when you come to it "
Meaning:
Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.
Example:
My pension might not be enough to live on when I'm retired, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   location   patience  
" Curiosity killed the cat "
Meaning:
Being inquisitive can lead you into a dangerous situation.
Example:
I heard a noise outside and went to have a look. It turns out I should have ignored it, it was a bear. Curiosity killed the cat they say.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 19th century. Probably deriving from a much older British phrase - 'care killed the cat'.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   animals   proverbial   america  
" Dead ringer "
Meaning:
An exact duplicate.
Example:
I can't tell the twins apart. They're dead ringers of each other.
Where did it originate?:
American, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Most common in the USA, but used worldwide too.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   death  
" Don't cry over spilt milk "
Meaning:
Don't fret pointlessly about some mistake or loss when it can't be remedied.
Example:
Well, the vase is smashed. There's no point crying over spilt milk.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century proverb.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   food   drink   proverbial  
" Every cloud has a silver lining "
Meaning:
An encouragement to be optimistic. Even bad events have a good side to them.
Example:
Okay he wasn't faithful but at least you found out now rather than after the wedding - every cloud has a silver lining.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century. From a poem by John Milton.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   nature  
" Go out on a limb "
Meaning:
Take a risk to support someone or something.
Example:
He knew his boss was an army man, so saying that he was against the war was really going out on a limb.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   nature   luck   america  
" In the bag "
Meaning:
Something that is secured.
Example:
I knew when they sent all the other interviewees home that my job application was in the bag.
Where did it originate?:
USA,, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   business   america  
" Know the ropes "
Meaning:
To understand how to do something.
Example:
I'm being supervised by Jim for now, but as soon as I know the ropes I'll be working on my own.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century. Possibly of nautical origin.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   work   education  
" Practice makes perfect "
Meaning:
Diligent practice leads to expertise.
Example:
10,000 hours needed to make a top class pianist. Keep going - practice makes perfect.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century proverb.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   patience  
" Saved by the bell "
Meaning:
Saved by a last minute intervention.
Example:
That solar panel scheme was just about to be cancelled, then an environmentalist minister came in and it was saved by the bell.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century. Not connected, as is often thought, to bells attatched to coffins.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   sport  
" The apple of my eye "
Meaning:
Someone who is cherished above all others.
Example:
She's my only child - the apple of my eye.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 9th century - making it one of the oldest phrases in the language that is still in regular use in its original form.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   food   fruit   the_human_body  
" Zip your lip "
Meaning:
Say nothing; keep your mouth shut. Often shortened to 'zip it'.
Example:
I saw Kevin put sneezing powder in the staff room but he told me to zip my lip about it or it would spoil the joke.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1940s. Deriving from the allusion to closing a garment with a zipper.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but most common in the USA.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   clothes   america  

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