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2,500 English Phrases and Sayings - each one explained

2,500 English Phrases and Sayings - each one explained

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

A bolt from the blue

A bunch of fives

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

A change is as good as a rest

A country mile

A countenance more in sorrow than in anger

A Daniel come to judgement

A diamond in the rough

A diamond is forever

A different kettle of fish

A dish fit for the gods

A dog is a man's best friend

A drop in the bucket / a drop in the ocean

A fate worse than death

A feather in one's cap

A fish rots from the head down

A fish out of water

A fly in the ointment

A fool and his money are soon parted

A fool's paradise

A foot in the door

A foregone conclusion

A friend in need is a friend indeed

A golden key can open any door

A good beginning makes a good ending

A good hiding

A good man is hard to find

A hard man is good to find

A hiding to nothing - On

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse

A house divided against itself cannot stand

A house is not a home

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

A knight in shining armour

À la carte

À la mode

A legend in one's own lifetime

A leopard cannot change its spots

A little bird told me

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

A little of what you fancy does you good

A load of cobblers

A load of codswallop

A man after my own heart

A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client

A millstone around one's neck

A ministering angel shall my sister be

A miss is as good as a mile

A nation of shopkeepers

A nest of vipers

A no-brainer

A nod is as good as a wink

A norange

A penny for the guy

A penny for your thoughts

A picture is worth a thousand words

A piece of the action

A piece of cake

A pig in a poke

A place for everything and everything in its place

A plague on both your houses

A priori

A red rag to a bull

A riddle wrapped up in an enigma

A rising tide lifts all boats

A rolling stone gathers no moss

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

A rose is a rose is a rose

A safe pair of hands

A sea change

A shot in the arm

A sight for sore eyes

A skeleton in the closet

A sledgehammer to crack a nut

A sorry sight

A stitch in time saves nine

A stone's throw

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

A tinker's damn

A turn up for the books

A watched pot never boils

A wolf in sheep's clothing

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle

A woman's place is in the home

A word in edgeways

A word in your shell-like

A young man's fancy

A1 at Lloyds

Abandon all hope ye who enter here

Abide with me

About face

About turn

Above board

Above my pay grade


Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Absent-minded professor

Absent without leave

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Accident of birth

Accidentally on purpose

Accidents will happen

According to Hoyle

Ace in the hole

Achilles' heel

Acid test


Across the board

Across the pond

Act of God

Act the giddy goat

Action man

Actions speak louder than words

Adam's ale

Adversity makes strange bedfellows

After the fact

Aga saga

Against the clock

Against the grain

Age before beauty

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety

Agree to disagree

Aid and abet


Air kiss

Air quotes

Al fresco

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio

Alike as two peas in a pod

Alive and kicking

All agog

All and sundry

All at sea

All fingers and thumbs

All Greek to me

All in all

All intents and purposes

All hat and no cattle

All mouth and no trousers

All of a sudden

All present and correct

All publicity is good publicity

All singing, all dancing

All systems go

All that glitters is not gold / All that glisters is not gold

All the tea in China - Not for

All things come to those who wait

All things must pass

All you can eat

All's fair in love and war

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Alter ego

Amber nectar

An accident waiting to happen

An Aladdin's cave

An albatross around one's neck

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

An arm and a leg

An axe to grind

An Englishman's home is his castle

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

An ill wind

An offer he can't refuse

An Oxford scholar

Anchors aweigh

Angry young man

Ankle biter

Annus horribilis

Another day, another dollar

Another think coming

Apple of my eye - The

Apple pie order

April fool

Arm candy - see ear candy

Arms akimbo

Ars longa, vita brevis


Asap - As soon as possible

As X as Y

As alike as two peas in a pod

As bald as a coot

As black as Newgate's knocker

As bold as brass

As brown as a berry

As busy as a bee

As busy as a one-armed paperhanger

As cold as any stone

As cool as a cucumber

As cute as a bug's ear

As daft as a brush

As dead as a dodo

As dead as a doornail

As different as chalk and cheese

As easy as pie

As easy as taking candy from a baby

As fast as greased lightning

As fine as frog's hair

As fit as a butcher's dog

As fit as a fiddle

As good as gold

As good luck would have it

As happy as...

As happy as a clam

As happy as a sandboy

As happy as Larry

As high as a kite

As keen as mustard

As mad as a hatter

As mad as a March hare

As merry as the day is long

As nice as ninepence

As old as Methuselah

As old as the hills

As pleased as Punch

As pure as the driven snow

As queer as a nine bob note

As safe as houses

As sick as a parrot

As snug as a bug in a rug

As straight as a die

As the crow flies

As thick as thieves

As thick as two short planks

As white as snow

Ashes to ashes dust to dust

Ask a silly question and you'll get a silly answer

(Ask not) for whom the bell tolls

(H)asta la vista, baby

At loggerheads

At one fell swoop

At one's beck and call

At one's wit's end

At sixes and sevens

Attack is the best form of defence

Augur well

Auld lang syne

Away with the fairies

Baby blues

Baby boomer

Baby father

Back of beyond - The

Back-seat driver

Back the field

Back to basics

Back to square one

Back to the drawing board

Backroom boy

Backward in coming forward

Bacon - Bring home the

Bad books

Bad egg

Bad hair day

Bad money drives out good


Badger to death

Bag and baggage

Baker's dozen

Balance of power - The

Balance of trade - The

Bald as a coot

Bale out/bail out

Ball and chain

Balling the jack

Ballpark figure

Bandy words

Bane of your life

Bang on about

Baptism of fire

Barge-pole - Wouldn't touch with a

Barking dogs never bite

Barking mad

Barking up the wrong tree

Barrel of laughs

Basket case

Bated breath

Bats in the belfry

Batten down the hatches

Battle royal

Be afraid, be very afraid

Be enthralled

Be still, my beating heart

Beam ends - On your

Bean counter

Beast with two backs

Beat a hasty retreat

Beat around the bush

Beat swords into ploughshares

Beat the living daylights out of someone

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Beauty is only skin deep

Beck and call

Bed of roses

Bee in your bonnet

Beef and reef

Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard

Been there, done that

Beer and skittles

Beer goggles

Bee-line - make a bee-line for

Bee's knees - The


Before the fact

Before you can say Jack Robinson

Beg the question

Beggar belief

Beggars can't be choosers

Behind every great man there's a great woman

Behind the eight ball

Bell, book and candle

Bell the cat

Belle of the ball

Below the belt

Below the salt

Bells and whistles

Belt and braces

Belt up

Best bib and tucker

Best laid schemes of mice and men - The

Bet your bottom dollar

Better half

Better late than never

Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all

Between a rock and a hard place

Between the Devil and the deep blue sea

Between two stools

Between you, me and the bed-post

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Beware the Ides of March

Beyond a shadow of a doubt

Beyond belief

Beyond our ken

Beyond the pale

Biblical phrases

Big Apple - The

Big cheese - The

Big Easy - The

Big fish in a small pond - A

Big fleas have little fleas upon their back to bite 'em

Big wig

(A) bigger bang for your buck

Bill Stickers is innocent

Billy-o - Like

Billy no mates

Binge drinking

Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush - A

Birds and the bees - The

Birds of a feather flock together



Bite the bullet

Bite the dust

Bitter end - The

Black as Newgate's knocker


Black sheep of the family

Blast from the past - A

Blaze a trail

Bless you! (after a sneeze)

Blind leading the blind - The

Blind-man's buff


Blonde bombshell

Blood and thunder

Blood is thicker than water

Blood toil tears and sweat

Blood, sweat and tears


Blot on the landscape

Blow a raspberry - see raspberry tart

Blow the gaff

Blow your mind

Blow your own trumpet

Blown to smithereens

Blue blood

Blue moon (Once in a)

Blue-plate special

Bob's your uncle

Bode well

Bodice ripper

Body - phrases related to the human body

Body surfing

Bog standard

Bold as brass

Bolt from the blue

Bone dry

Bone idle

Bone up on

Booby prize

Booby trap


(Too big for your) boots

Booze cruise

Born again

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth

Born within the sound of Bow Bells

Boss eyed

Bottle out

Bottom drawer


Bought the farm

Bowled a maiden over

Box and Cox

Box-seat - in the

Boxing Day

Boys will be boys

Brand spanking new

Brass monkey weather

Brass tacks - get down to

Bread always falls buttered side down

Bread of life - The

Break a leg

Break the ice

Bricks and clicks

Bring home the bacon

Broad in the beam

Broke - if it ain't, don't fix it

Brook no truck with

Bronx cheer

Brown as a berry

Browned off

Brownie points

Brummagem screwdriver

Brush - As daft as a

Bubble and squeak

Buck stops here - The

Bucket list

Buckle down

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door

Bugger Bognor!

Buggins' turn

Bullet - Bit the, Bite the

Bums on seats

Bun in the oven

Bunch of fives - A

Bunny boiler

Burn the candle at both ends

Burning the midnight oil

Bury the hatchet

Bury your head in the sand

Busy as a bee

Butt end of the stick - The

Butter no parsnips - Fine words

Butter side down

Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth


By and large

By dint of

By gum

By hook or by crook

By the board

By the book

By the short hairs

By the skin of your teeth

By your leave

Bygones be bygones - Let

Caesar Salad

Call a spade a spade

Call of the wild - The

Camera cannot lie - The

Canting Crew - phrases published in

Can't be overestimated/can't be underestimated

Can't hold a candle to

Canteen culture

Canterbury pace

Captain Francis Grose - phrases first recorded by.


Carbon footprint


Carey Street - On

Carpe diem

Carry coals to Newcastle

Cart before the horse - Put the

Carte blanche

Cash on the nail

(Ne'er) cast a clout till May be out

Cast the first stone

Cat burglar

Cat got your tongue?

Cat may look at a king - A

Cat out of the bag - Let the

Catbird seat - In the

Catch a crab

Catch 22

Cat's Cradle

Cat's pajamas - The

Caught in a cleft stick

Caught by the short hairs

Caught red-handed

Chain is only as strong as its weakest link - A

Chaise lounge

Chalk and cheese

Champ at the bit

Chance would be a fine thing

Channel surfing

Charity begins at home

Charley horse

Charm offensive

Charmed life

Cheap at half the price

Cheek by jowl

Cherchez la femme

Chew the cud

Chick flick

Chickens come home to roost

Children should be seen and not heard

Chinese whispers

Chinless wonder

Chip off the old block

Chip on your shoulder



Chop and change


Chow down

Christmas box - A

Christmas card verses

Clean breast - make a

Cleanliness is next to godliness

Clear blue water

Cleft stick - In a


Climb on the bandwagon

Cloak and dagger


Clog up

Close, but no cigar

Close quarters

Close your eyes and think of England

Cloud cuckoo land

Cloud nine

Club sandwich

Clue - don't have a

Clutch at straws

Coals to Newcastle - Carry

Coat of many colours

Cobblers - A load of

Cockney rhyming slang

Codswallop - a load of

Cogito ergo sum

Coin a phrase

Cold as any stone

Cold comfort

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey

Cold feet

Cold shoulder

Cold turkey

Collywobbles - The

Colour up

Come a cropper

Come clean

Come on down

Come to a sticky end

Come up trumps

Come what come may

Comes to the crunch - (When it)

(Coming in) on a wing and a prayer

Common sense

Comparisons are odious

Compassion fatigue

Complete shambles

Concrete overcoat

Cook the books

Cookie cutter

Cool as a cucumber

Cool Britannia

Cop an attitude


Cor blimey

Cordon bleu

Cost an arm and a leg

Cotton on to


Count your chickens before they are hatched

Countenance more in sorrow than in anger - A

Counting sheep

Country bumpkin

Course of true love never did run smooth - The

Crack of doom - The


Crapper - The



Crocodile tears

Crop up

Crown jewels

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war

Curate's egg

Curiosity killed the cat

Curry favour

Customer is always right - The

Cut and run

Cut of your jib - The

Cut off without a penny

Cut off your nose to spite your face

Cut the mustard

Cut to the chase

Cute as a bug's ear

Daft as a brush

Damp squib

Dance attendance on

Daniel come to judgement

Darby and Joan

Dark horse

Darkest hour - The

Darkest hour is just before the dawn - The

Dark side - The

Darling buds of May

Dash to pieces

Date rape

Davy Jones' locker

Daylight robbery

Dead as a dodo

Dead as a doornail

Dead cat bounce

Dead in the water

Dead ringer

Delusions of grandeur


Designer stubble

Deus ex machina

Devil and the deep blue sea

Devil Incarnate - The

Devil take the hindmost - The

Devil to pay - The

Devil's advocate

Diamond in the rough

Diamond is forever - A

Dicky-bird - Not a


Die has been cast - The

(As) different as chalk and cheese

Different kettle of fish

Differently abled


Dirt bag

Dish fit for the gods - A

Do unto others as you would have them do to you

Dock your pay

Doesn't know **** from Shinola

Doff your hat

Dog days

Dog in the manger

(A) Dog is a man's best friend

Dog's b*******

Dog's breakfast

Dog's dinner

Doldrums - in the

Dollars to doughnuts

Done a runner

Done to a turn

Donkey's years

Don't call us, we'll call you

Don't cast your pearls before swine

Don't change horses in midstream

Don't count your chickens before they are hatched

Don't die like I did

Don't get mad, get even

Don't get your knickers in a twist

Don't go there

Don't have a clue

Don't keep a dog and bark yourself

Don't know **** from Shinola

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Don't let the cat out of the bag

Don't let the grass grow under your feet

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

Don't shut the stable door after the horse has bolted

Don't throw good money after bad

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

Don't try to teach your Grandma to suck eggs

Don't wash your dirty linen in public

Doom and gloom

Double cross

Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble

Double Dutch

Double entendre

Double standard

Double whammy

Down at heel

Down in the dumps

Down to the wire

Down the pan

Down the tubes

Drag race

Dragged through a hedge backwards

Draw a blank

Draw your horns in

Dreams of empire

Dressed to the nines

Drink like a fish

Driving while black

Drop-dead gorgeous

Drop in the bucket - A

Dropping like flies

Drummed out of the army

Ducks and drakes

Dumb blonde

Dust up

Dutch - My old

Dutch courage

Duvet day

Ear candy

Early bird catches the worm - The

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise


East, west, home's best

Easy as pie


Eat drink and be merry

Eat humble pie

Eat my hat

Eaten out of house and home

Economical with the truth

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

Egg on

Eighty six


Elementary my dear Watson

Elephant in the room

Elvis has left the building

Emperor's new clothes

End of story

Ends of the earth - The

Enough is as good as a feast

Enough is enough

Englishman's home is his castle

Eponymous Phrases

Et tu, Brute

Ethnic cleansing


Even at the turning of the tide

Every cloud has a silver lining

Everybody out

Exceedingly well read

Exception that proves the rule - The

Excuse me while I kiss this guy

Excuse my French

Extraordinary rendition

Eye candy - see ear candy

(An) eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog

Face that launched a thousand ships - The

Face the music

Faff about

Failing to plan is planning to fail


Fair and square

Fair dinkum

Fair exchange is no robbery

Fair play

Fair to middling

Fairy-tale ending

Fait accompli

Faith will move mountains

Fall from grace

Fall guy

Fall off the back of a lorry

Fall on your sword

Familiarity breeds contempt

Famous for fifteen minutes

Famous last words (dying statements of famous people - a list)

Famous last words (the ironic phrase)

Fancy free

Fancy pants

Fanny Adams - Sweet

Far be it from me

Far from the madding crowd


Fashion victim

The word fast, and phrases that derive from it.

Fast and loose

Fast asleep

Fathom out

(The) fat of the land

Fate worse than death - A

Feather in one's cap - A

Fed up

Feeding frenzy

(It) fell off the back of a truck

Fell swoop - At one

Fellow traveller

Felt his collar

Female of the species is more deadly then the male - The

Fend for yourself

Fend off


Fiddling while Rome burns

Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman

Field day

Fifteen minutes of fame

Fifth column

Fight fire with fire

Fight the good fight

Filthy rich

Finagle's Law

Fine as frog's hair

Fine words butter no parsnips

Finger lickin good

Fingers and thumbs

First dibs

First water

First World

Fish rot from the head down

Fish or cut bait

Fish out of water - A

As fit as a butcher's dog

Fit as a fiddle

Fifth column

Fifth estate

Fits and starts

Fits to a tee

Five o'clock shadow


Flash in the pan

Flat out

Flavor of the month

Flesh and blood

Flogging a dead horse

Floozie in the jacuzzi - The

Flotsam and jetsam

Fly by night

Fly by the seat of one's pants

Fly in the ointment

Fly off the handle

Fly on the wall

Foam at the mouth

Fobbed off

Folk Etymology - The Nonsense Nine

Fool and his money are soon parted - A

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Fool's errand

Fool's gold

Fool's paradise - A

Foot in the door - A

Foot of our stairs - The

For all intents and purposes

For crying out loud

For ever and a day

For every thing there is a season

For good measure

For keeps

For the birds

For whom the bell tolls

Forbidden fruit

Foregone conclusion

Forewarned is forearmed

Forgive them for they know not what they do

Fork out

Forlorn hope

Forty winks

Foul play

Four by two

Four corners of the earth

Frailty, thy name is woman

Francis Grose - phrases first recorded by.

Freeze the balls off a brass monkey - cold enough to

Freezing temperatures

French phrases

Friday afternoon car

Friend in need is a friend indeed - A

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears

Frog in the throat - A

Frog's hair- as fine as

From pillar to post

From sea to shining sea

From strength to strength

Fruits of your loins


Full Monty - The

Full of **** and vinegar

Full tilt

Full to the gunwales

Funny farm

Fuzzy wuzzy

Gad zooks (or gadzooks)

Game is afoot - The

Game is up - The

Game of two halves


Gee whiz

Generation X

Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration

Get a word in edgeways

Get down to brass tacks

Get medieval

Get off on the wrong foot

Get off your high horse

Get on my wick

Get one's dander up

Get over it

Get the pip

Get the sack

Get the upper hand

Get thee behind me Satan

Get underway

Get used to it

Get your dander up

Get your goat

Giddy aunt

Giddy goat

Gild the lily

Gilt off the gingerbread

Ginned up


Ginger up

Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day

Give a wide berth

Give no quarter

Give the Devil his due

Give up the ghost

Giving me gyp

Glass ceiling

Gloom and doom

Go and boil your head

Go berserk

Go by the board

Go by the book

Go Dolally


Go for a burton

Go haywire

Go like the clappers

Go off half-cocked

Go out on a limb

Go postal

Go over like a lead balloon

Go pound sand

Go the whole hog

Go to hell in a handbasket

Go to pot

Go to the dogs

Go to the foot of our stairs

Go to the mattresses

God bless you! (after a sneeze)

God is dead

God rest ye merry, gentlemen

God rot them

Godfrey Daniel

Going for a burton

Golden key can open any door - A

GOLF - Gentlemen only, ladies forbidden

Gone for a burton

Good as gold

Good in parts

Good man is hard to find - A

Good measure - For

Good men and true

Good money after bad

Good riddance

Good Samaritan

Good things come to those that wait

Goodnight Vienna

Goody, goody gumdrops

Goody two-shoes

Gordon Bennett

Got my mojo working

Grace of God - There but for ...

(Take with a) grain of salt

Grand slam

Grandfather clock

Granny dumping

Grasp the nettle

Grass up

Graveyard shift

Greased lightning

Great balls of fire

Great minds think alike

Great unwashed - the

Green eyed monster

Gregory Peck


Grind to a halt

Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Grist to the mill

Grose - Captain Francis - phrases first recorded by.

Grub Street

Gry - Words ending in

Guinea pig

Gung ho


Guts for garters

Hair of the dog that bit you

Hairy eyeball

Halcyon days

Half a loaf is better than no bread



Half inch

Hand over fist

Handbags at ten paces

Handle with kid gloves

Hands down

Hanged, drawn and quartered


Happy as a clam

Happy as a sandboy

Happy as Larry

Happy clappy

Happy slapping

Happily ever after

Harbinger of doom

Hard and fast

Hard cases make bad law

Hard cheese

Hard hearted

Hard lines

Hard man is good to find - A

Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings

Harp on


Harvest moon

Has the cat got your tongue?

Hasta la vista, baby

Haste makes waste

Hat trick

Have a Captain Cook

Have a dekko

Have an axe to grind

Have an inkling

Have no truck with

Haven't got a clue

Have your guts for garters

Have your work cut out

He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches

He who laughs last laughs longest

He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon

He will give the Devil his due

Head over heels

Heads up

Heads will roll

Hear hear

Heard it through the grapevine

Heart's content

Heavens to Betsy

Heavens to Murgatroyd

Heavy metal

Heebie-jeebies - The

Hedge your bets

(Go to) Hell in a handbasket

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned

Hell or high water

Hell's bells

Hell's half acre


Hem and haw

Here lies one whose name is writ in water

Het up

Hey presto

Heywood, John - Proverbs collected by

Hiding to nothing - On a


High and dry

High and mighty

High as a kite

High five


High horse - get off your

High jinks

High on the hog

High time

High, wide and handsome

Hissy fit

History is bunk

Hit for six

Hit the ground running

Hit the hay

Hit the nail on the head

Hither and yon


Hobson's choice


Hocus pocus


Hoi polloi

Hoist with your own petard


(Can't) hold a candle to

Hold your horses

Home is where the heart is


Honesty is the best policy

Honey catches more flies than vinegar


Hooray Henry

Horse and cart

Horse feathers


Horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse - A

Horse's mouth - straight from the

Hostage to fortune


Hot off the press

Hot on the heels

House divided against itself cannot stand - A

Household words

Houston, we have a problem

How are the mighty fallen?

How do you do?

How now brown cow?

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child


Hung, drawn and quartered


Hunt and peck


Hush puppies

I bear a charmed life

I have not slept one wink

I have nothing to declare but my genius

I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat

I haven't got a clue

I see no ships

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips

I spy with my little eye

I told you is was ill

I will swing for you

I will wear my heart upon my sleeve

Identity theft

Idioms quiz

(Beware the) Ides of March

If I had my druthers

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

If music be the food of love, play on

If the cap fits

If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain

If the shoe fits

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas

If you think that, you have another think coming

Ill wind

I'll be there with bells on

I'll go to the foot of our stairs

I'll have your guts for garters

I'm stumped

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

In a cleft stick

In a pickle

In a pig's eye

In a quandary

In a nutshell

In a trice

In an interesting condition

In for a penny, in for a pound

In like Flynn

In limbo

In my minds eye

In someone's bad books

In spades

In stitches

In the bag

In the box-seat

In the buff

In the cart

In the catbird seat

In the club

In the doghouse

In the doldrums

In the limelight

In the nick of time

In the pink

In the red

In the same boat

In the sticks

In your face

Including, but not limited to

Indian giver

Indian summer

Infra dig

Innocent until proven guilty

Inside out

For all intents and purposes

Iron hoof

Is the Pope Catholic?

Is the Pope Polish?

Is this a dagger which I see before me?

It ain't over till the fat lady sings

It came like a bolt from the blue

It is meat and drink to me

It never rains but it pours

It's all Greek to me

It's all grist to the mill

It's better to give than to receive

It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness

It's not rocket science

It's that man again


Ivory tower

Jack in the box

Jack of all trades, master of none

Jack Palancing

Jack - phrases that include the name Jack

Jack Robinson - Before you can say

Jack tar

Jack the lad

Jam tomorrow


Jerry built



Jimmy Horner

Jimmy Riddle

Jobs for the boys

Join the colours

Joined at the hip

John Heywood - Proverbs collected by

Johnny on the spot

Jot or tittle

Jump on the bandwagon

Jump the gun

Jump the shark

Jury is still out

Just deserts

Just in time

Kangaroo court

Katy bar the door

Keel over

Keep a wide berth

Keen as mustard

Keep body and soul together

Keep shtum

Keep a stiff upper lip

Keep at bay

Keep it under your hat

Keep the ball rolling

Keep up with the Joneses

Keep your chin up

Keep your distance

Keep your hands clean

Keep your nose clean

Keep your nose to the grindstone

Keep your powder dry

Keeping up with the Joneses


Kettle of fish

Khyber pass

Kick the bucket

Kick your heels

Kickin' - Alive and

Kilroy was here

King James' Version of the Bible

Kiss and tell

Kiss me Hardy

(The whole) kit and caboodle

Kith and kin

Knee-jerk reaction


(Don't get) your knickers in a twist

Knight in shining armour

Knock back

Knock into a cocked hat

Knock off

Knock on wood

Know the ropes

Know your onions

Know which side your bread is buttered

Know which way the wind blows

Knuckle down

Knuckle under

Kowtow to


La dolce vita

Labour of love


Ladies' room

Lager frenzy

Laid out in lavender

La-la land

Lamb to the slaughter

Lame duck


Land of nod - The



Lark about

Last but not least

Last straw - The

Latin Phrases

Laugh like a drain


Laurels - rest on one's

Lay it on with a trowel

Lead balloon - Go down like a

Lead-pipe cinch

Learn the ropes

Left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing

Left in the lurch

Legend in one's own lifetime

Leopard cannot change its spots - A

Less is more

Less or fewer?

Let a thousand flowers bloom

Let bygones be bygones

Let not poor Nelly starve

Let not the sun go down on your wrath

Let or hindrance

Let sleeping dogs lie

Let the cat out of the bag

Let them eat cake

Let there be light

Let your hair down

Let's roll

Level playing field

Lick and a promise

Lick into shape


Lie low

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Life begins at forty

Life in the 1500s - folk etymologies

Life of Riley

Life's not all beer and skittles

Life's too short

Like a butcher's dog

Like a chicken with its head cut off

Like a moth to a flame

Like being savaged by a dead sheep

Like billy-o

Like it or lump it

Like the clappers

Like the Dickens

Like two peas in a pod

Like turkeys voting for Christmas


Little bird told me - A

Little knowledge is a dangerous thing - A

Little of what you fancy does you good - A

Little pitchers have big ears

Lions led by donkeys

Live long and prosper

Living daylights

Living off the fat of the land

Living on borrowed time

Lo and behold

Load of cobblers

Load of codswallop

Loaf of bread

Local derby

Lock stock and barrel

Long in the tooth

Look before you leap

Loose cannon

Loose lips sink ships

Lose face

Lose your marbles

Love is blind

Love that dare not speak its name - The



Lunatic fringe

Mackerel sky

Mad as a hatter

Mad as a March hare

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun

Magical realism

Main chance

Make a bee-line for

Make a clean breast of it

Make a pig's ear of

Make a virtue of necessity

Make an ass of yourself

Make haste

Make hay while the sun shines

Make him an offer he can't refuse

Make my day

Make no bones about

Make your hair stand on end

Mal de mer

Man after my own heart - A

Man does not live by bread alone

Man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client - A

A dog is a man's best friend

Man's inhumanity to man

Many a little makes a mickle

Many are called but few are chosen

Many happy returns

Many a true word is spoken in jest

'March' phrases

Mare's nest

Marital aid

Market forces

Marry in haste, repent at leisure

May you live in interesting times

McCoy - The real

Mea culpa

Meat and drink

Meat and two veg.

Meet your Waterloo

Memory lane

Men in suits

Mend fences

Ménage à trois

Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water

Merry Christmas

Method in my madness

Mexican wave

Mickey Finn

Middle for diddle

Middle of the road

Might and main

(The pen is) mightier than the sword

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Milk of human kindness

Minced oaths

Minced words

Mind your Ps and Qs

Mind's ear

Mind's eye

Ministering angel shall my sister be - A

Mint condition

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows


Miss is as good as a mile

Moaning Minnie


Montezuma's Revenge

'Money' phrases

Money for old rope

Monstrous regiment of women

Monty - The full

Moot point

Morbid obesity

More bang for your buck

More fool you

More haste, less speed

More honoured in the breach than in the observance

More light!

Morning person

Mother country

Motley crew


Movable feast

Movers and shakers

Moving finger writes - The

Moving the goalposts

Much Ado about Nothing

Much of a muchness

Mud - your name is

Mull (something) over

Multitude of sins

Mumbo jumbo

Mum's the word

Murphy's Law

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast

Mutt's nuts - The

Mutt and Jeff

Mutton dressed as lamb

My bad

My better half

My cup of tea

My cup runneth over

My giddy aunt

My husband and I

My mind's eye

My old china

My old Dutch

My salad days

My stars and garters

My way or the highway

Nail your colours to the mast


Name and shame

Name is mud

Nasty, brutish and short

Nation of shopkeepers - A

Nature versus nurture

Nautical phrases

Near the knuckle

Necessity is the mother of invention

Ne'er cast a clout till May be out

Ne'er do well

Needs must

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Neither fish nor flesh, nor good red herring

Neither here nor there


Nest of vipers - A

Never give a sucker an even break

Never knowingly undersold

Never look a gift horse in the mouth

Never-never land

Never the twain shall meet


New kid on the block

Nice as ninepence

Nice kettle of fish

Nicholas Udall - phrases collected by

(In the) nick of time

Night owl

Nine days' wonder

Nip and tuck

Nip in the bud



No dice

No holds barred

No laughing matter

No love lost

No man is an island

No more cakes and ale?

No names: no pack-drill

No quarter given

No rest for the wicked

No room to swing a cat

No truck with

No way, Jose

Nod is as good as a wink - A

Nod - The land of

Norange - A

Nosy parker

Not a dicky-bird

Not by a long chalk

Not by a long shot

Not my cup of tea

Not for all the tea in China

Not playing with a full deck

Not rocket science

Not tonight Josephine

Not worth a plugged nickel

Not worth the candle

Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Nothing succeeds like success

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Noughts and crosses

Now is the winter of our discontent

Nth degree

Nul points

Nutshell - In a

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

O ye, of little faith

Odds bodkins

Off his own bat

Off the record

Off with his head

Offing - In the

Oh, my stars and garters

Oh, they have slain the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen



Old as Methuselah

Old as the hills

Old chestnut

Old codger

Old fogey

Old hat

Old lang syne - see auld lang syne

On a hiding to nothing

On a wing and a prayer

On Carey Street

On cloud nine

On queer street

On tenterhooks

On the ball

On the bubble

On the button

On the dole

On the fiddle

On the pig's back

On the QT

On the shoulders of giants

On the side of the angels

On the wagon

On the warpath

On with the motley

On your beam ends

On your tod

Once bitten, twice shy

Once in a blue moon

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

One-hit wonder

One fell swoop - At

One for the road

One foot in the grave

One good turn deserves another

One hand washes the other

One over the eight

One sandwich short of a picnic

One small step for man

One stop shop

One swallow doesn't make a summer

One's heart's content

Oompa Loompa


Open season

(The) order of the boot

Ough - the many ways to pronounce

Out of sight

Out of sight, out of mind

Out of sorts

Out of the blue

Out of the frying pan into the fire

Out of the jaws of death

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings

Out on a limb

Over a barrel

Over-egg the pudding

Over the moon

Over the top

Overpaid, oversexed, and over here

Oxo cube

Ps and Qs - Mind your

Packed to the gunwales

Paddle your own canoe

Paint the town red

Panic stations

Paper tiger

Parting shot / Parthian shot

Pass muster

Pass over to the other side

Pass the buck

Paying guest - A

P.D.Q. - pretty damn quick

Pearls before swine

Pears for your heirs

Pecking order

Peeping Tom

Peg out


(The) pen is mightier than the sword

Pennies from heaven

Penny dreadful

(The) penny drops

Penny pinching

Penny for the guy - A

Penny for your thoughts - A

Penny saved is a penny earned - A

Penny wise and pound foolish

Pester power

Peter out

Petty cash

Phrases and sayings quiz

Phrases that people get wrong

Physician heal thyself

Pick 'n' mix

Picture is worth a thousand words - A


Pie - as easy as

Pie in the sky

Piece of cake - A

Piece of p***

Piece of the action

Pig and whistle

Pig in a poke


Pig's back - on the

Pig's ear

(In a) pig's eye



Pigs might fly

Pin money

(Take with a) pinch of salt

Pip - Get the/got the /have the

Pipe down

Pipe dream - A

Piping hot

P*** and vinegar - Full of

Pitch black

Pitch dark

Place for everything and everything in its place - A

Plague on both your houses - A

Plain sailing

Plates of meat

Play by ear

Play Devil's advocate

Play ducks and drakes

Play fast and loose

Play gooseberry

Play it again Sam

Play second fiddle

Play silly b*****s

Play the giddy goat

Play the race card

Pleased as Punch


Plugged nickel

Poetic justice


Point Percy at the porcelain

Politically correct


Point to point

Pommy bashing

Pomp and circumstance

Pond life

Pony and trap

Pony up

Pop goes the weasel

Pop your clogs

Popular fallacies - The Nonsense Nine

Pork pies

POSH - Port out, starboard home

Pot calling the kettle black - The

Take potluck

Pound of flesh

Pour oil on troubled waters

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely

Power dressing

Powers that be - The

Praying at the porcelain altar

Preaching to the choir

Prepositional phrases


Press into service

Presto chango

Pretty kettle of fish

Pretty penny - A

Prick up your ears

Pride comes before a fall

Prime time

Primrose path

Procrastination is the thief of time

Proof of the pudding is in the eating - The

Proverbs - A list of

Pull in your horns

Pull out all the stops

Pull the other one, it's got bells on

Pull the wool over your eyes

Pull up stakes

Pull your horns in

Pull your finger out

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Pulling one's leg

Punching above your weight

Pure as the driven snow

Purple patch

Push the boat out

Push the envelope

Put a damper on

Put a sock in it

Put a spanner in the works

Put on the wooden overcoat

Put on your thinking cap

Put paid to

Put the cart before the horse

Put the mockers on

Put the wood in the hole

Put up your dukes

Put your back up

Put your best foot forward

Put your nose out of joint

Put your oar in

Put your shoulder to the wheel

Pyrric victory

Quality time

Quantum leap

Quarter - Give no

Queer as a nine bob note

Queer Street

Queer the pitch

Quick and the dead - The

Quicker than lager turns to p***

Quid pro quo


Rabbit and pork

Rack and ruin

Rag-and-bone man

Rack your brains

Rag, tag and bobtail

Raining cats and dogs

Raining stair-rods

Raise Cain

Rank and file

Raspberry tart

Rat arsed

Raze to the ground


Read between the lines

Read the riot act

Real McCoy

Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic

Red-handed (caught)

Red herring

Red in tooth and claw

Red-letter day

Red rag to a bull - A

Red sky at night ...

Red tape

Reduplicated phrases

Religion is the opium of the people

Rest on his laurels

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Rhyme nor reason

Rhyming slang

Richard of York gave battle in vain

Richard the Third

Riddle wrapped up in an enigma - A

Riding shotgun


Riley - the life of

[That] Rings a bell

Ring a ring o'roses, a pocketful of posies, atishoo, atishoo, all fall down

Ring down the curtain


Ring the changes


Rise and shine

Road less travelled - The

Road apples

Road rage

Roasted to a turn

Rob Peter to pay Paul

Rock and roll

It's not rocket science

A rolling stone gathers no moss


Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Rootin' tootin'

Rose by any other name would smell as sweet - A

Rose is a rose is a rose

Rosie Lea

Rough diamond

Round Robin

Route one

Rub of the green

Rule of thumb

Rum do


Run a mile

Run amok

Run of the mill

Run out of steam

Run rings around

Run the gauntlet

Sacred cow

Safe as houses - As

Safe pair of hands - A

Safe sex

Sailing close to the wind

Salad days

Salt of the earth - The

San fairy Ann

Save face

Save one's bacon

Saved by the bell

Savoir faire

Say cheese

Say goodnight Gracie




Scott (Sir Walter - phrases coined by)

Scraping the barrel

Screw your courage to the sticking place

'Scuse me while I kiss this guy

Sea change

Sealed with a loving kiss

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness


Security blanket

See a man about a dog

See a pin and pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck; see a pin and let it lie, bad luck you'll have all day

See red

Seek and you shall find

Seen better days

Selling like hot cakes

Send packing

Senior citizen

Sent to Coventry

Separate the sheep from the goats

Set one's cap at

Set your teeth on edge

Seven-year itch

Sexton Blake

Shebang - The whole

Shaggy dog story

Shake a leg

Shakers and movers

Shakespeare - Phrases coined by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare - Words coined by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?


Shanks' mare/shanks' pony

Share and share alike


Ship shape and Bristol fashion

**** end of the stick - The

**** for brains

Shiver my timbers


Short end of the stick - The

Shot across the bows

Shot heard 'round the world - The

Shot in the arm

Shot in the dark

Shoot through

Short shrift

Show a leg

Show your mettle

Shrinking violet

Shuffle off this mortal coil

Shut your cake-hole

Siamese twins

Sick puppy (A)

Sight for sore eyes (A)

Silly Billy

Silly season

Silver lining - every cloud has a

Sir Walter Scott (phrases coined by)

Silence is golden

Silver bullet


Sitting pretty

Six ways to Sunday

Sixes and sevens - At

Skeleton in the closet

Skid row

Skin and blister

(By the) skin of your teeth

(The) sky's the limit

Sledgehammer to crack a nut - A

Sleep like a top

Sleep on a clothesline

Sleep tight

Sleeveless errand

Sloane Ranger

Slush fund

Smallest room in the house - The

Smart casual

Smoke and mirrors

Snug as a bug in a rug

So sue me


Sod's Law

Sold down the river

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em

Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men, have mediocrity thrust upon them

Someone is walking over my grave

Something for the weekend sir?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Something nasty in the woodshed

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Son of a *****

Son of a gun

Sorry sight

Sound bite

Sound out

Sour grapes

Space, the final frontier

Spare the rod and spoil the child

Speak of the Devil

Speak softly and carry a big stick

Special relationship


Spend a penny

Spick and span

Spill the beans

Spin doctor

Spitting feathers

Spitting image


Spring forward, fall back


Square meal

Squeaky bum time

Stand and deliver

Stand up guy

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Star-crossed lovers

Stark, raving mad

Stars and garters - My

Start from scratch

Steal a march

Steal my thunder

Step up to the plate

Stick in the mud

Stick your oar in

Sticks and stones may break my bones

Sticky wicket

Stiff upper lip

Stiffen the sinews

Stinking rich

Stitch in time saves nine - A

Stone the crows

Stone's throw


Stool pigeon

Storm in a teacup

Straight as a die

Straight from the horse's mouth

Strain at the leash


Strait and narrow

Stranger danger

Stranger than fiction - Truth is

Strike while the iron is hot

Stuck fast

Stuff and nonsense

Stump up

Such is life


Surf and turf

Surfing the Net/surfing the Internet/surfing the Web

Survival of the fittest

Suspension of disbelief

Swan song

Sweet Fanny Adams

Swing for you

Swing the lead

Tail wagging the dog - The

Take a back seat

Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves

Take down a peg or two

Take potluck

Take the bit between your teeth

Take the cake

Take the gilt off the gingerbread

Take the Mickey

Take the upper hand

Take umbrage

Take with a grain of salt

Taken aback

Taken for a ride

Talk of the Devil

Talk the talk

Talk through one's hat

Talk to the hand

Tall story

Tanstaafl - (there's no such thing as a free lunch)

Tattoo phrases and sayings


Tea leaf


Technicolor yawn

Tell it to the marines

Tell me about it

Tempest in a teapot

Test your mettle - see show your mettle

That's all folks!

That's all she wrote

That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind

The ants are my friends, they're blowing in the wind

The apple never falls far from the tree

The apple of my eye

The back of beyond

The balance of power

The balance of trade

The bane of my life

The bee's knees

The belle of the ball

The best defense is a good offence

The best laid schemes of mice and men

The Big Apple

The Big Easy

The birds and the bees

The bitter end

The blind leading the blind

The bread of life

The buck stops here

The call of the wild

The camera cannot lie

The Canting Crew - phrases published in

The chickens come home to roost

The child is father to the man

The collywobbles

The course of true love never did run smooth

The crack of doom

The Crapper

The customer is always right

The cut of your jib

The dark side

The darkest hour is just before the dawn

The Devil has all the best tunes

The Devil Incarnate

The Devil is in the details

The Devil makes work for idle hands to do

The Devil take the hindmost

The Devil to pay

The die has been cast

The early bird catches the worm

The elephant in the room

The emperor's new clothes

The empire on which the sun never sets

The ends of the earth

The exception which proves the rule

The face that launched a thousand ships

The fat of the land

The female of the species is more deadly then the male

The fifth estate

The floozie in the jacuzzi

The fly in the ointment

The full monty

The game is afoot

The game is up

The great unwashed

The hair of the dog that bit you

The hairy eyeball

The heebie-jeebies

The jury is still out

The land of nod

The last straw

The life of Riley

The living daylights

The long arm of the law

The love that dare not speak its name

The monstrous regiment of women

The more the merrier

The moving finger writes

The mutt's nuts

The nth degree

The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings

The pen is mightier than the sword

The pip - Get/got/have

The pot calling the kettle black

The powers that be

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

The quick and the dead

The real McCoy

The road less travelled

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

The salt of the earth

The seven-year itch

The shoemaker always wears the worst shoes

The short end of the stick

The shot heard 'round the world

The sky's the limit

The smallest room in the house

The straw that broke the camel's back

The tail wagging the dog

The toast of the town

The third degree

The triumph of hope over experience

The upper hand

The usual suspects

The whole kit and caboodle

The whole nine yards

The whole shebang

The writing is on the wall

The wrong side of the blanket

The year dot

The Yellow Peril

There is more than one way to kill a cat

There are three kinds of lies...

There but for the grace of God, go I

There is no alternative

There's an R in the month

There's method in my madness

There's no fool like an old fool

There's no place like home

There's no such thing as a free lunch (Tanstaafl)

There's no such thing as bad publicity

There's one (a sucker) born every minute

There's one law for the rich and another law for the poor

They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance

Thick and fast

Thick and thin

(As) thick as thieves

(As) thick as two short planks

Thin air - Vanish into

Thing of beauty is a joy forever - A

Things that go bump in the night

Think outside the box

Thinking cap

Third degree - The

Third time lucky

Thomas Paine - The writings of

Thorn in the flesh

Thou shalt not kill

Though this be madness, yet there is method in it

Three score and ten

Three sheets to the wind

Three strikes and you are out

Through thick and thin

Throw in the towel

Throw good money after bad

Throw your hat into the ring

Thumbs up

Thus far into the bowels of the land


Ticked off

Tickle the ivories

Tickled pink

Tide over

Tie the knot

Till the cows come home

Time and tide wait for no man

Time's winged chariot

Tinker's damn

Tilting at windmills

Tissue of lies

To a T

To all intents and purposes

To be or not to be, that is the question

To beggar belief

To boldly go where no man has gone before

To boot

To cast the first stone

To err is human; to forgive divine

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub

To the manner born

To the nth degree

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive

Toast of the town

Toe the line



Tom, Dick and Harry

Tommy Atkins

Tomorrow is another day

Tongue in cheek

Too big for your breeches

Too much of a good thing



Tooth and nail

Top dog

Top drawer

Top notch


Total shambles

Touch and go

Touch with a barge-pole - Wouldn't

Touch wood


Tout de suite

Tower of strength

Train surfing

Trick or treat

Trip the light fantastic

Trouble and strife

True blue

Truth is stranger than fiction

Truth will out

Tuckered out

Turkeys voting for Christmas

Turn a blind eye

Turn of phrase

Turn the tables

Turn up for the books

Turn up trumps

Twelve good men and true

Twenty three skidoo

Twenty four seven

Two cents worth

Two heads are better than one

Two peas in a pod

Udall, Nicholas - phrases collected by

Under the thumb

Under your hat - Keep it

Under the auspices of

Get - underway

Under wraps

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

Union Jack

The great - unwashed

The - unkindest cut of all

Up a blind alley

Up a gum tree

Up in arms

Up the creek without a paddle

Up the apples and pears

Up the duff

Up the pole

Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire

Up to snuff

Upper crust

Upper hand

Up in arms


Upset the apple-cart

Up the ante

Upside down

Urban myth

Use your loaf

Usual suspects - The

Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut

Valentine's Day Poems and Sayings

Van surfing

Vanish into thin air

Veg out

Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things

Vice versa

Vicious circle


Visit the ladies' room

Vorsprung Durch Technik

Walk free

Walk the walk

Walk the plank


Walter Scott (phrases coined by)

Warts and all

Watch the birdie

(A) watched pot never boils

Watching brief

Wave a red rag to a bull

Wax lyrical

Wax poetic

We are a grandmother

We are not amused

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

We have seen better days

We know where you live

Weakest link - A chain is only as strong as its

Wear the trousers

Wear your heart on your sleeve

Weasel words


Well heeled

Well read

Wet behind the ears

Wet blanket

What a palaver

What a piece of work is man

What are you like?

What football is all about

What God has joined together let no man put asunder

What part of no don't you understand?

What the dickens

What you see is what you get - wysiwyg

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

What's not to like?

What's up Doc?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

When it comes to the crunch

When pigs fly

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

When the **** hits the fan

Where there's muck there's brass

Whet your appetite

Which is which?

Which witch is which?

While you live, tell truth and shame the Devil!

Whip round

Whipper snapper

Whipping boy

Whistle and flute

Whistle blower

Whistle down the wind

White as snow

White bread

White elephant

Whole kit and caboodle - The


Whole nine yards - The

Whole shebang - The


Why does bread always fall butter side down?

Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?

Wick - you get on my

Wide berth - Keep a

Wild and woolly

Wild goose chase

Willy nilly

Win hands down

Win one for the Gipper

(On a) wing and a prayer

Wing it

Winter draws on

Wish you were here

With bells on

Without a shadow of a doubt

Without let or hindrance

Without so much as a by your leave

Woe betide you

Woe is me

Wolf in sheep's clothing

Woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle - A

Woman's place is in the home - A

Women and children first

Wooden hill to Bedfordshire

Word association football

Word for word

Word in edgeways - A

Word in your shell-like - A

Words ending in gry

Worse for wear

Worth one's salt


Wouldn't touch with a barge-pole

Wreak havoc

Writing is on the wall - The

Wrong end of the stick - The

Wrong side of the blanket - The

Yada yada

Year dot - The


Yellow Peril

You are what you eat

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink

You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think

You can't get blood out of a stone

You can't have your cake and eat it too

You can't hold with the hare and run with the hounds

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

You can't teach an old dog new tricks

You get on my wick

You look as if you've been dragged through a hedge backwards

You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent

Young turk

Your days are numbered

Your money or your life

Your name is mud

You've never had it so good

Zero tolerance


Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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