Idioms title

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

"household items" idioms...

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

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

" A drop in the bucket (or ocean) "
Meaning:
A very small part of a bigger whole.
Example:
The country’s debt has risen to a trillion pounds. Paying off a billion is just a drop in the bucket.
Where did it originate?:
The Bible.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   biblical  
" A flash in the pan "
Meaning:
Something that fails to deliver long-term benefit after an initial success.
Example:
Ricky Valance was a one-hit wonder. Pretty much a flash in the pan you might say.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 17th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" A foot in the door "
Meaning:
An initial inroad that may lead to greater influence in future.
Example:
I convinced them to start displaying my artwork. I’m making a loss on it but it’s a foot in the door.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   america  
" A skeleton in the closet (or cupboard) "
Meaning:
A secret and possibly ruinous source of shame.
Example:
No one in the family ever talked about Grandad being convicted of child abuse. It was the skeleton in our closet.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, although the British now use ’cupboard’ and the USA still uses ’closet’.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   secrets  
" Bucket list "
Meaning:
A list of things you plan to do before you 'kick the bucket' (die). Often a list of fanciful ideas rather than of concrete plans.
Example:
I've always wanted to go to Japan. I guess I'll add that to my bucket list.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 20th century - popularized by the title of the film The Bucket List (2007).
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   death   america  
" Caught between two stools "
Meaning:
Finding it difficult to choose between two alternatives.
Example:
I'd like to go to the game and stay in for the birthday party. I'm between two stools.
Where did it originate?:
14th century Britain.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but less commonly so that in the past.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   number  
" Chaise Lounge "
Meaning:
The American spelling for the piece of furniture known elsewhere as a chaise longue.
Example:
You must be tired. Why don't you lie down on the chaise lounge?
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 19th century. The misspelling of 'chaise longue' causes some amusement in France.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   language   america  
" China plate "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for mate.
Example:
We've been friends since school, haven't we my old china?
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Duvet day "
Meaning:
A work day which an employee is allowed to spend at home relaxing.
Example:
We'd all worked so hard getting the latest design out on time the boss rewarded us with a duvet day to do whatever we wanted.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 1990s.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   work   relaxation   date  
" Everything but the kitchen sink "
Meaning:
Everything imaginable.
Example:
I said she could stay for a few days but there's hardly room. She brought everything but the kitchen sink.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late-19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   excess  
" Get out of the wrong side of the bed "
Meaning:
Be grumpy because you are having a bad day.
Example:
He shouted at me for nothing. Must have got out of the wrong side of the bed.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Going to hell in a handbasket "
Meaning:
Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster.
Example:
When the British went over the top at the Somme the soldiers didn't realise they were headed for hell in a handbasket.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   religion   hyperbole   america  
" Greasy spoon "
Meaning:
A small cheap cafe selling fried food.
Example:
We had been driving all night. A fried breakfast in a greasy spoon was just what I fancied.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   food   slang   america  
" Kick the bucket "
Meaning:
Die.
Example:
Grandad kicked the bucket last week. No real surprise - he was 96.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 18th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   death   euphemism   slang  
" Mrs Mop "
Meaning:
traditional English name for a cleaning woman.
Example:
I just don't have time to work full time, look after the kids and keep the house clean - perhaps I should get a Mrs. Mop.
Where did it originate?:
Britain. First used in the 1940s radio show ITMA.
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   name  
" The empty chair "
Meaning:
The perceived absense of someone who is recently deceased.
Example:
Some days I can forget about Jim's death for a while, then I see the empty chair and the grief comes back.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   death  
" Throw the towel in "
Meaning:
Give up, especially to avoid further punishment when facing certain defeat.
Example:
AltaVista tried to hang on and compete with Google, but eventually they just couldn't compete and were forced to throw the towel in.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1910s. The allusion is to a boxing match where throwing the towel in indicates a concession
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   conflict   sport   america  
" Wardrobe malfunction "
Meaning:
Referring to an item of clothing slipping out of place to expose part of the body.
Example:
Her top slipped down in front of the boys. She said it was a wardrobe malfunction but I think it was deliberate.
Where did it originate?:
USA. First said by Justin Timberlake to explain the inadvertent exposure of Janet Jackson's breast during the half-time show at the 2004 Super Bowl.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   clothes   slang   america  

 We are also on Facebook

 Copyright Gary Martin, 2018