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Idioms L - Z

Idioms are non-literal expressions. This means that the meaning that you are expected to understand is different from what the words should mean. For example when we say that it's "raining cats and dogs" what we are really saying is that it is raining very hard.

Idioms are widely used in conversational English. In this section you will have an opportunity to hear, see and practice the pronunciation of a few idioms.

I was trying to keep the party a secret, but Jim went and let the cat out of the bag.

let the cat out of the bag: let information out prematurely.

Lighten up, Maria. Try to see the humor in life.

lighten up: relax, do not be so serious.

Before you log off, be sure to save the work you completed.

log off: exit from a computer system or web site.

I'm sure Katie will be here soon; please don't make a fuss.

make a fuss: cry or complain.

Street vendors should make a killing today selling flags.

make a killing: make a lot of money.

My wages were so low that I had to take a second job just to make ends meet.

make ends meet: able to pay your bills, meet financial requirements.

So they're opening a new museum? That's music to my ears.

music to my ears: good news, a message that makes me happy.

Don't spend too long on a sale. Try to nail it down quickly.

nail it down: complete it, finalize it, close a deal.

I'm surprised to see you in this neck of the woods. What brings you here?

neck of the woods: area, part of the country.

It just didn't work out. No hard feelings.

no hard feelings: no feelings of anger or resentment, no grudges.

John's nobody's fool. He's never going to believe that excuse.

nobody's fool: wise or intelligent person.

You're way off base if you think that teaching the speaking skills is a waste of time.

off base: incorrect, not appropriate.

Barbara and Martin haven't been on speaking terms since the divorce.

on speaking terms: friendly enough to exchange superficial remarks.

Most of Paul's criticisms were on target but others were not fair.

on target: correct or accurate.

The teacher gave Tom a couple of extra things to do just to keep him on his toes.

on his toes: ready, alert.

The math required to complete these figures is way over my head.

over one's head: too difficult or complicated for someone to understand.

The soldiers zeroed in on the target and began to fire their guns.

zero in on: adjust a gun so that it will hit a target, aim at.

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