Idioms title

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

"nature" idioms...

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

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

" 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.
Example:
The questions in the final round looked hard so we opted out of the big prize and took the smaller $2,000 second prize. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush you know.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
One of the most widely used proverbs throughout the English-speaking world.
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More idioms about:   animals   proverbial   risk  
" A thorn in my flesh "
Meaning:
A persistent and difficult to ignore annoyance.
Example:
The anti-capitalist campaigners turned up at every political meeting. They were are real thorn in the flesh for the government.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   religion  
" Al fresco "
Meaning:
In the open air.
Example:
The weather’s lovely, let’s have our lunch al fresco on the terrace.
Where did it originate?:
Britain adaptation of an Italian expression
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   language  
" All at sea "
Meaning:
In a confused, disordered state.
Example:
He dropped his notes just before the interview and panicked. You could say he was all at sea.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   nautical  
" Barking up the wrong tree "
Meaning:
Responding to something which isn't the important issue.
Example:
The government is blaming the immigrants for the banking crisis, but they're barking up the wrong tree there.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   animals  
" Beat around the bush "
Meaning:
Avoiding the main topic.
Example:
If you want Jill to go out with her, don't beat around the bush - ask her.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 1400s. One of the oldest non-Biblical phrases in the language.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   biblical  
" 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?:
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More idioms about:   cliche   america  
" Big fish in a small pond "
Meaning:
An important person but only so within a small area of influence.
Example:
Alison is the queen of the post room. She's a big fish in a small pond though - no one in the rest of the company knows who she is.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   animals   water   america  
" Blood is thicker than water "
Meaning:
Family loyalties are stronger than those to other people.
Example:
It was just me and his son in the job interview. I had no chance, blood is thicker than water you know.
Where did it originate?:
Britain. Probably coined by Sir Walter Scott, 1815.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   family   aphorism  
" Come hell or high water "
Meaning:
Despite any great difficult or obstacle.
Example:
I'm going to get to Cornwall by nightfall, come hell or high water.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   religion   america  
" Daisy roots "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for boots.
Example:
I can't get them on. Either my feet have got bigger or these daisies have shrunk.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
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More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   clothes  
" 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?:
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More idioms about:   cliche  
" Factory farming "
Meaning:
Rearing livestock under industrial conditions.
Example:
I'm dead against factory farming of pigs. I prefer to see them out in the open air, rooting about for their food.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid-20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   animals   business   america  
" Feeding frenzy "
Meaning:
A frantic competition or exploitation - like a group shark attack.
Example:
When Princess Diana was killed there was a feeding frenzy of journalists trying to get the story.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   food   excess   america  
" Field day "
Meaning:
A day noted for remarkable or exciting events.
Example:
When my daughter was married everyone had a real field day.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   sport  
" 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?:
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More idioms about:   luck   cliche   america  
" Hit the hay "
Meaning:
Retire to bed.
Example:
I'm exhausted. Do you mind if I hit the hay.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Mostly USA.
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" Knock on wood "
Meaning:
Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid bad luck or to continue having good luck.
Example:
I have never broken a bone - touch wood.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century. Other variants, like 'touch wood' are earlier.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   luck   america  
" Level playing field "
Meaning:
Fair competition where no side has an advantage.
Example:
There were six of them and only four of us, so it wasn't really a level playing field.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   sport   america  
" Little fish in a big pond "
Meaning:
Someone considered unimportant compared to their more significant peers.
Example:
Jimmy's first school only had seven pupils and he was the star, but when he got to high-school he was a little fish in a big pond.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   animals   water   america  
" Magic mushroom "
Meaning:
A type of mushroom with hallucinogenic properties - sometimes known as 'shrooms'.
Example:
Henry's turned into a real dope head - stoned every night. If it's not the wacky backy it's the magic mushrooms.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1950s, although the plants themselves have been used for centuries.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Nest egg "
Meaning:
Savings set aside for future use.
Example:
That pension will keep building until I'm 65. Its a good little nest egg.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   money  
" Once in a blue moon "
Meaning:
A rare occurrence.
Example:
West Bromwich Albion have won the cup. but only every once in a blue moon.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   colour   luck   number  
" Steal someones thunder "
Meaning:
Take the credit for something someone else did.
Example:
Joseph Swan had the first working lightbulb but Edison filed the first patent and effectively stole Swan's thunder.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, early 18th century. From a reference to the machines used in theatres to make the sound of thunder.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   theatre  
" The Big Pond "
Meaning:
Nickname of the Atlantic Ocean between the UK and the USA.
Example:
London's getting boring - I'm planning to hop the big pond and have a weekend in New York.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1840s. Previously called, in both UK and USA as 'The Great Pond'.
Where is it used?:
Mostly USA and Britain.
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More idioms about:   location   america  
" The fog of war "
Meaning:
Confusion caused by the chaos of battle.
Example:
After the bombing raid we had no idea where the enemy were of what was going to happen next - that's to be expected in the fog of war.
Where is it used?:
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" The sound of leather on willow "
Meaning:
The sound of the ball on the bat in cricket.
Example:
There's nothing more English than this - sitting in a deckchair at the Worcester county ground, watching the match and the sound of leather on willow.
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More idioms about:   sport  
" Up shit creek without a paddle "
Meaning:
In serious difficulty, with no hope of respite.
Example:
We were halfway across the Australian outback when we realised our water bottle had leaked. We really were up shit creek.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1890s. Note: Shit creek isn't a real place.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   misfortune   slang   america  
" Water under the bridge "
Meaning:
A past experience that you prefer not to affect your current life.
Example:
Losing my wife and my job was difficult at the time but I've moved on. Its all water under the bridge now.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   emotion  

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