Phrases, Expressions & Sayings

What phrase is guaranteed to wake up an audience?

Have you ever wondered where some of the phrases, clichés, expressions & sayings used in everyday language come from?  Many of the words and phrases common in daily English originate from a wide variety of sources - folklore, history, literature, mythology, language & culture of other countries, old customs & practices, religion, science, and superstition. Here you will find the Main Index for alphabetized pages of many common phrases, clichés, expressions & sayings, with explanations of their meanings and where they originated. In some instances, we've provided examples for same... some are waiting for your feedback!

~  Main Index  ~
Use this index if you want to separate browse Phrase pages by letter
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Use this index if you want to view all Phrases by letter (listed below)
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

~ A ~

A Bird In The Bush
A Bitter Pill To Swallow
A Cat Has Nine Lives
A Little Bird Told Me
A Watched Pot Never Boils
Above Board
Ace Up Your Sleeve
Achilles Heel
Acid Test
Add Some Fire To The Curry
Albatross Around Your Neck
All Of A Sudden
All Over But The Shouting
All Right
All Wet
An Old Chestnut
Annus Horribilis
Apple Of Your Eye
Apple Pie Bed
Armed To The Teeth
At Large
At Loose Ends
At The Double
At The Drop Of A Hat
At The End Of My Rope
At The Eleventh Hour
Axe To Grind

~ B ~

Back Handed Compliment
Bag Lady
Baker's Dozen
Balls To The Wall
Bandy Words
Bang For The Buck
Barefaced Liar
Barge In
Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Baron Of Beef
Bat An Eyelid
Battling Windmills
Bean Feast
Bear Garden
Beat Around The Bush
Beat Him By A Long Chalk
Beat The Rap
Beef About Something
Bee's Knees
Beggars Can't Be Choosers
Belch Smoke From The Seven Orifices
Best Bib And Tucker
Bet Your Bottom Dollar
Between A Rock And A Hard Place
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
Beyond The Pale
Big Bang Theory
Big Cheese
Big Wig
Birds Of A Feather Flock Together
Bite The Bullet
Bite Your Tongue
Black Ball Someone
Black Box
Black Sheep Of The Family
Bleed Like A Stuck Pig
Blow Off Some Steam
Blow The Gaff
Blowing Smoke
Blow Smoke Up One's Ass
Blue Moon
Bob War
Bob's Your Uncle
Bone Up
Boot Camp
Bootleg Liquor
Boot's On The Other Foot
Born With A Silver Spoon In Your Mouth
Botch A Job
Bottom Of The Barrel
Bought The Farm
Box And Cox
Box Your Ears
Brand Spanking New
Brass Monkeys
Break A Leg
Brew Tea From Dirt Under ...
Brown Nosing
Brownie Points
Bull In A China Shop
Burn The Candle At Both Ends
Bury The Hatchet
Bust Your Balls
Busting Your Chops
Butt Of A Joe-k
Buy A Pig In A Poke
By George
By Hook Or By Crook
By The Short Hairs

~ C ~

Caesar Salad
Caesarian Section
Called On The Carpet
Can It
Can Of Worms
Can't Get A Word In Edgewise
Can't Hold A Candle To
Carry The Can
Cat Bird Seat
Cat Has Nine Lives
Cat Nights Begin
Catch 22
Catherine Wheel
Cat's Out Of The Bag
Caught Eavesdropping
Caught Red-handed
Caught With His Pants Down
Chaise Lounge
Champ At The Bit
Chapter And Verse
Charity Begins At Home
Charm The Pants Off
Charmed Life
Cheap At Half The Price
Chew The Fat
Chink In The Armor
Chip On His Shoulder
Chock Full
Choke Someone Off
Christmas Tree
Clapped Out
Clean As A Whistle
Clean Bill Of Health
Cleaner Than A Frog's Armpit
Clear As A Bell
Clear The Decks
Climb On The Bandwagon
Close But No Cigar
Cock And Bull Story
Cock Up
Cockles Of Your Heart
Cold Enough To Freeze The Balls Off A Brass Monkey
Cold Turkey
Come A Cropper
Con Artist
Cook One's Goose
Cook The Books
Cooking With Gas
Cool As A Cucumber
Copper Bottomed Guarantee
Cotton On To Someone
Counting Dukes
Cracker Jack
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Criss Cross
Crocodile Tears
Curate' s Egg
Curry Favour
Cut And Run
Cut From The Same Cloth
Cut No Ice
Cut Out For You
Cut The Mustard
Cut To The Chase
Cut To The Quick

~ D ~

Dark Horse
Dead As A Door Nail
Dead Ringer
Deep Six
Devil To Pay
Devil's Advocate
Dicey Situation
Dick Head
Dirt Poor
Do Something Gingerly
Dog Days
Dog In A Manger
Dog Tired
Dog Watch
Dog's Breakfast
Donkey's Years
Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch
Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth
Don't Poke The Bear
Don't Pull My Leg
Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water
Dot Your I's And Cross Your T's
Doubting Thomas
Down In The Mouth
Down The Hatch
Down To The Gnat's Ass
Down To The Short Strokes
Down To The Wire
Dragging Your Feet
Draw The Line
Dressed To A Tea
Dressed To The Nines
Drive Carefully
Drive Someone Doolally
Drop A Dime
Drop The Hammer
Drum Up Support
Ducking In And Out Of Traffic
Ducks In A Row
Dutch Treat
Dyed In The Wool

~ E ~

Earmark Something
Earn One's Stripes
Easy As Pie
Eat One's Words
Eat Your Heart Out
Eating Crow
Eating Humble Pie
Egg On Your Face
Eleventh Hour
Even Steven
Every Tom, Dick, And Harry
Everything But The Kitchen Sink
Everything's Jake

~ F ~

Face The Music
Fair Game
Fair To Middling
Fat City
Feather In Your Cap
Fifth Beatle
Fight Fire With Fire
Find The Pony
First Rate
Fish Or Cut Bait
Fit As A Fiddle
Fit To Be Tied
Flag Something Down
Flash In The Pan
Flotsam And Jetsam
Fly In The Face Of
Fly Off The Handle
Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants
Flying Colours
Fob Off
Foot The Bill
For The Birds
For The Love Of Pete
Frog In One's Throat
From Soup To Nuts
From Stem To Stern
Full As A Tick
Full Gamut

~ G ~

Get A Leg Up
Get One's Goat
Get The Gist
Get The Kinks Out Of
Get Your Dander Up
Get Your Sea Legs
Gift Of The Gab
Give Someone A Break
Giving Someone The Bird
Go By The Board
Go Fly A Kite
Going Nineteen To The Dozen
Going South
Gone To Pot
Gone To The Dogs
Good Bye
Good Ole Boy
Grandfather Clock
Graveyard Shift
Greased Lightning
Grin Like a Cheshire Cat
Gum Up The Works

~ H ~

Had Your Chips
Hair Of The Dog That Bit You
Half Cocked
Ham Actor
Hang By A Thread
Hanky Panky
Happy As A Clam
Hard Lines
Hard Up
Hat Trick
Haul Someone Over The Coals
Have A Screw Loose
Head Over Heels
Heath Robinson Solution
Heavy Dew
Hell Bent For Leather
Hell's Half Acre
Hem And Haw
Here I Raise My Ebenezer
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
High On The Hog
Hit The Books
Hit The Nail On The Head
Hit The Sack
Hobson's Choice
Hog Wash
Hold A Candle To The Devil
Hold Your Feet To The Fire
Holding A Wake
Horse Of A Different Colour
Horse Play
Horse Sense
Hunky Dory
Hurts Like The Dickens

~ I ~

I Don't Give A Fig
I Don't Give A Jot
Icing On The Cake
If Genghis Khan, Why Can't I?
If The Shoe Fits, Wear It
I' ll Give You That To Boot
I'm All In
In A Jiffy
In A Nutshell
In A Pickle
In A Pig's Eye
In Cahoots With
In Fine Fettle
In High Cotton
In Hock
In Jug
In Like Flynn
In The Bag
In The Black
In The Cart
In The Doghouse
In The Doldrums
In The Limelight
In The Nick Of Time
In The Pink
In The Red
In The Same Camp
Irons In The Fire
It Takes Two Fools To Argue
It's A Doozy
It's A Gas
It’s A Long Road Without A Turn
It's All Fiddlesticks

~ J ~

Jig Is Up, the
Johnny On The Spot
Jump On The Bandwagon
Just Deserts

~ K ~

Kangaroo Court
Katy Bar The Door
Keep Danger At Bay
Keep It Under Your Hat
Keep It Up
Keep Your Fingers Crossed
Keep Your Pants On
Keep Your Pecker Up
Keep Your Shirt On
Keeping Up With The Jones's
Kick The Bucket
King Of The Hill
Kiss Of Death
Kit And Caboodle
Kitchen Cabinet
Knock Off Work
Knock On Wood
Knocked Into A Cocked Hat
Knows Which Side Her Bread Is Buttered
Knuckle Down
Knuckle Under

~ L ~

Labor Pain
Lame Duck
Last Suck Of The Mango
Lay An Egg
Lay It Out In Lavender
Lest We Forget
Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
Let Them Eat Cake
Let Your Hair Down
Lily Bellied
Liquor’s Quicker
Living Hand To Mouth
Living The Life Of Riley
Lo And Behold
Load Of Cobblers
Load Of Codswallop
Loaded For Bear
Lock And Load
Lock Stock And Barrel
Long In The Tooth
Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth
Loose Cannon
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Lord Willing And The Creek Don't Rise
Low Man On The Totem Pole
Lucky Stiff

~ M ~

Mad As A Hatter
Make Both Ends Meet
Make Money Hand Over Fist
Make No Bones About It
Making Hay
Making Tea With Your Navel
Man Up
Mark My Words
Mind Your Own Beeswax
Mind Your P's And Q's
Monkey Business
Monkey's Uncle
Moroff Manager
Most Progressive Day
My Giddy Aunt

~ N ~

Naked Truth, the
Name Will Be Mudd
Nine Days' Wonder
Not All It's Cracked Up To Be
Not Enough Room To Swing A Cat
Not Fit To Hold A Candle
Not Up To Scratch
Not Worth A Whistle
Not Worth The Candle

~ O ~

Old Fogey
On A Good Footing
On A Lark
On Cloud 9
On The Ball
On The Dot
On The Fiddle
On The Fly
On The Grapevine
On The Lam
On The Level
On The Wagon
On Your Beam Ends
Once In A Blue Moon
One For The Road
One Red Cent
Onions Should Grow In Your Navel
Out Like A Light
Over A Barrel
Over The Hill
Over The Top

~ P ~

Paint The Town Red
Pan Out
Pap Smear
Pardon My French
Pass The Buck
Pass With Flying Colours
Pay Through The Nose
Peeping Tom
Pidgin English
Pie In The Sky
Piece Of Cake
Pig In A Poke
Piss Like A Racehorse
Play Fast And Loose
Pleased As Punch
Poor As A Church Mouse
Pop Goes The Weasel
Possession Is Nine Points Of The Law
Post Operative
Pot Calling The Kettle Black
Pot To Piss In
Pretty Kettle Of Fish
Pretty Much
Pull Out All The Stops
Pull The Wool Over One's Eyes
Pull Your Chain
Pull Your Finger Out
Pushing The Envelope
Put A Sock In It
Put English On It
Put In The Clink
Put My Two Cents In
Put On Your Thinking Cap
Put The Dampers On
Put The Hammer Down
Put Through The Hoop

~ Q ~

Quick As A Wink
Quick As Greased Lightning
Quid Pro Quo
Quiet As A Mouse
Quit Your Belly Aching

~ R ~

Raining Cats And Dogs
Raise The Roof
Raisin Pay
Read Between The Lines
Reading The Riot Act
Recovery Room
Red Carpet
Red Herring
Red Letter Day
Red Light District
Red Tape
Right As Rain
Ring Of Truth
Ring The Changes
Rings A Bell
Roll With The Punches
Room To Swing A Cat
Round Robin
Round The Bend
Rub It In
Rube Goldberg Contraption
Rule Of Thumb
Run The Gamut
Run The Gauntlet

~ S ~

Salad Days
Saved By The Bell
Scape Goat
Scot Free
Scrape The Bottom Of The Barrel
Screw The Moose
Seamy Side
Second Fiddle
See A Man About A Dog
Sell By The Candle
Sell Yourself Short
Sent To Coventry
Ship Shape
Shoe In
Short End Of The Stick
Short Shrift
Show A Leg
Show Your True Colours
Silly Billy
Sitting Duck
Sitting On The Throne
Skating On Thin Ice
Skeletons In The Closet
Sleep Tight
Slow Poke
Slush Fund
Sly As A Fox
Smart Alec
Smoke And Mirrors
Snake Oil
So Long
Son Of A Gun
Sour Grapes
Spaghetti On The Wall
Speak Of The Devil
Speak Off The Cuff
Spill The Beans
Spin A Yarn
Spitting Image
Square Meal
Stave Off
Sticky Wicket
Stink To High Heaven
Stone The Crows
Straight And Narrow
Straight As An Arrow
Straight From The Horse's Mouth
Strike While The Iron Is Hot
Stump Someone
Sucking Hind Tit
Swing The Lead

~ T ~

Take A Dive
Take A Powder
Take Another Tack
Take By Storm
Take Someone Down A Peg
Take The Day Off
Take The Guilt Off The Gingerbread
Takes The Cake
Tar Arns
Terminal Illness
The Balloon Goes Up
The Big Cheese
The Bottom Line
The Buck Stops Here
The Cold Shoulder
The Fifth Beatle
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword
The Proof Is In The Pudding
The Smoking Lamp Is Out
The Third Degree
The Whole Nine Yards
The World Is Your Oyster
The Writing Is On The Wall
Three Sheets To The Wind
Three Squares
Throw A Monkey Wrench Into The Works
Throw Me A Bone
Thumbs Up
Tie One On
Tie The Knot
Tied To Her Apron Strings
Tilting At Windmills
Tit For Tat
To Be Beside Yourself
To Be Fed Up
To Badger Someone
To Bring Home The Bacon
To Bring The Cat To Water
To Chance Your Arm
To Close Ranks
To Egg On
To Fall Foul
To Feather One's Nest
To Fork Out
To Get Fired
To Go Haywire
To Go The Whole Hog
To Harp On
To Have A Field Day
To Have A Gammy Leg
To Have Cold Feet
To Have One’s Cake And Eat It Too
To Hedge One's Bets
To Hell In A Hand Basket
To Knock The Tar Out Of
To Know Beans
To Lark About
To Play Hookey
To Reheat Cabbage
To Rule Out
To Run Amok
To Save One's Bacon
To Seize The Moon By The Teeth
To Shoot The Crow
To Skin A Cat
To Skylark
To Take Aback
To Talk Gibberish
To The Bitter End
To Undermine
To Wreak Havock
Toe The Line
Tongue In Cheek
Top Dog
Top Drawer
Topsy Turvy
Touch And Go
Trench Mouth
Turkey Shoot
Two Shakes Of A Lamb’s Tail

~ U ~

Under My Wing
Under The Gun
Under The Weather
Up The Creek Without A Paddle
Upper Crust
Upper Hand
Upset The Apple Cart

~ V ~

Very Close Veins
Vested Interest
Vicious Circle

~ W ~

Wake Up Living
Wars of the Roses
Watts You See is Watts You Get
Wearing Your Heart On Your Sleeve
Well You're Not Missing Much
Wet Behind The Ears
What's The Skinny?
When Snakes Wore Vests
When The Chips Are Down
When The Crayfish Sings In The Mountain
Whipping Boy
Whistle Down The Wind
Whistle For It
White Elephant
Widows Peak
Wild Goose Chase
Win Hands Down
Wing And A Prayer
Wing It
With A Grain Of Salt
With Bated Breath
Wool Gathering
Work To A Deadline
Worth Its Salt
Wrong End Of The Stick
Wrong Way Corrigan

~ X ~

X Marks The Spot
Xerxes' Tears

~ Y ~

Yadda Yadda
Yankee Doodle
Yellow Journalism
Yellow Rose of Texas
Yes Man
You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You Can't Make Him Drink
You Can't Take It With You
You're No Spring Chicken
Your Level Best
Your Name Is Mud

~ Z ~

Zero Tolerance
Zigged When He Should Have Zagged

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