Expressions & Sayings

Have you ever wondered where some of the expressions and sayings used in everyday language come from? In fact, many of the words and phrases common in daily English originate from a wide variety of sources such as mythology, folklore, literature, religion, science, history, superstition, old customs and practices, the language and culture of other countries, and many more. The following alphabetised pages contain many of common expressions and sayings you may well have used yourself, along with explanations of their meanings and where they originated.

~ Main Index ~

Use this alphabet if you want to simply browse through the pages of this collection:
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


If you prefer to go directly to the meaning and origin of a specific expression,
click on its relevant entry in the alphabetical list below.

Use this alphabet to speed up your search:
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 ~
A1
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here
Above board
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
According to Cocker
According to Gunter
According to Hoyle
Ace up one's sleeve
Achilles' heel/tendon
Acid test
Across the board
Action stations
Adam's ale
Adam's apple
Add insult to injury
Ad hoc
Ad-lib
Affluent society, the
After due consideration
Against the grain
Age before beauty
Agony column
Aladdin's cave
Albatross round one's neck
Alive and kicking
All and sundry
All at sea
All good things come to an end
All hell broke loose
All in a day's work
All my eye (and Betty Martin)
All over bar the shouting
All-singing, all-dancing
All that glitters is not gold
All things to all men
All to pot/Gone to pot
Alma mater
Alpha and omega
Also-ran
Am I my brother's keeper?
American dream, the
Angry young man
Annus mirabilis
Answer to a maiden's prayer
Any Tom, Dick or Harry
Anything for a quiet life
Apple of discord
Apple of one's eye
Apple-pie bed
Apple-pie order
Argus-eyed
Armed to the teeth
Arms akimbo
Artful dodger
As every schoolboy knows
As old as Methuselah
As rich as Croesus
As sure as eggs is eggs
As the actress said to the bishop
As the bell clinks, so the fool thinks
As the crow flies
Asked/given no quarter
At a loose end
At death's door
At full blast
At loggerheads
At one fell swoop
At one fell swoop
At sixes and sevens
At the drop of a hat
At the eleventh hour
At the eleventh hour
At the end of one's tether
Augur well/ill
Aunt Sally
Axe to grind
... ~ B ~
Back number
Back of beyond, the
Back to basics
Back to square one
Back to the drawing board
Back to the wall (have one's)
Backroom boys
Bad books
Badger, to
Bad hair day
Bag and baggage
Baker's dozen
Bald as a coot
Ball is in one's court, the
Balloon goes up
Ballpark figure
Balls to the wall
Banana republic
Bandy words, to
Bandy-legged
Bank on
Baptism of fire
Bark up the wrong tree
Bats in the belfry
Battle-axe
Battle royal
Be-all and end-all
Bean-feast
Bear garden
Beard the lion in his own den
Beat a (hasty) retreat
Beat about the bush
Beat hollow
Beat the rap
Beauty and the beast
Beaver away
Beck and call, at one's
Bed of roses
Bee in one's bonnet
Bee's knees, the
Before the flood
Beggar description, belief, etc.
Beggars can't be choosers
Believe that all one's geese are swans
Bells and whistles
Bell the cat
Below the belt
Below the salt
Bend over backwards
Best bib and tucker
Best laid plans of mice and men
Best of British luck
Between a rock and a hard place
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
Between you, me and the gatepost
Beware Greeks bearing gifts
Beyond the pale
Big Apple, the
Big Brother (is watching you)
Big cheese
Bigger they are, the harder they fall, the
Birds of a feather
Bite off more than one can chew
Bite the bullet
Bite the dust
Bite the hand that feeds one
Bite the hand that feeds one
Black hole of Calcutta
Blackball, to
Black sheep
Blaze a trail
Blaze of glory
Blind leading the blind
Blood is thicker than water
Bloody but unbowed
Blot one's copybook
Blow a raspberry
Blow hot and cold
Blow one's own trumpet
Blow the gaff
Blows great guns
Blue-blooded
Blue-chip
Blue Ribbon
Blue-rinse brigade, the
Bob's your uncle
Bold as brass
Bolt from the blue
Bolt upright
Bone of contention
Bone up on
Boot is on the other foot, the
Born-again Christian
Born on the wrong side of the blanket
Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth
Bottom line
Bottomless pit
Bounden duty
Box and cox
Brand name
Brand new
Brand spanking new
Brass neck
Brave new world
Bread and circuses
Break a leg
Break one's duck
Break the bank
Break the ice
Breathe/Preach fire and brimstone
Bridge too far
Bring home the bacon
Bring to heel
Broad in the beam
Broken reed
Brownie points
Buck stops here, the
Buck the system
Bucket shop
Buggin's turn
Bulldog breed
Bum's rush
Bun-fight
Burn one's boats/bridges
Burn the candle at both ends
Burn the midnight oil
Bury the hatchet
Busman's holiday
Buy the farm
By a long chalk
By a long shot
By and by
By and large
By hook or by crook
By jingo
By Jove
By the seat of one's pants
By the skin of one's teeth
... ~ C ~
Cack-handed
Cadmean victory
Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
Call a spade a spade
Call off all bets
Call one's bluff
Camp-follower
Carry coals to Newcastle
Carry the can
Carte blanche
Cash on the nail
Cast aspersions
Cast pearls before swine
Cast the first stone
Cat among the pigeons
Cat's-paw
Cat's pyjamas
Cat's whiskers
Catch-22
Catch red-handed
Catch out
Caviare to the general
Century of the common man, the
C'est la guerre
Chalk and cheese (different as)
Chalk up
Chance one's arm
Change/Swap horses in midstream
Chapter and verse
Charity begins at home
Chattering classes, the
Cheap at half the price
Cheap jack
Cheek by jowl
Cheesed off
Chew the fat
Chew the rag
Chickens will come home to roost, one's
Chinese fire drill
Chip in
Chip off the old block
Chip on one's shoulder
Chock-a-block/Chock full
Chop and change
Circle the wagons
Clapped out
Clean as a whistle
Clean bill of health
Clean slate
Clean sweep
Clean the Augean stables
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Clear the decks (for action)
Clip one's wings
Cloak-and-dagger
Clockwork orange
Close one's eyes and think of England
Cloud-cuckoo-land
Clutch at straws
Coast is clear, the
Cobbler should stick to his last, the
Cock-a-hoop
Cock a snook at (someone)
Cock and bull story
Cold as charity
Cold-blooded
Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey
Cold feet
Cold shoulder
Cold turkey
Come a cropper
Come hell or high water
Come home to roost
Come out of one's shell
Come up to scratch
Come up trumps
Come within an ace of
Confusion worse confounded
Cook one's goose
Copper-bottomed
Copybook
Corridors of power
Cost an arm and a leg
Cotton on
Could sleep on a clothes line
Counsel of perfection
Course of true love never did run smooth, the
Cover a multitude of sins
Cover ones' ass
Crack of doom
Credibility gap
Criss-cross
Crocodile tears
Cross one has to bear, the
Cross the Rubicon
Cry all the way to the bank
Cry havoc
Cry wolf
Cuckoo in the nest
Cup that cheers, the
Curate's egg, like the
Curry favour
Curtain lecture
Customer is always right, the
Cut and dried
Cut and run
Cut and thrust
Cut no ice
Cut the mustard
Cut to the chase
Cut to the quick
... ~ D ~
Damn with faint praise
Dance attendance on
Daniel come to judgement, a
Daniel in the lion's den
Darby and Joan
Dark horse
David and Goliath
Davy Jones's locker
Day of Judgement
Days are numbered, one's
Dead as a dodo
Dead as a door-nail
Dead duck
Dead in the water
Dead ringer
Dead Sea fruit
Dead to the world
Dear-John letter
Derring-do
Devil to pay, the
Devil's advocate
Die-hard
Die is cast, the
Discretion is the better part of valour
Dish one's chances
Divide and rule
Do as you would be done by
Dog-days
Dog in the manger
Dog's life
Donkey's years
Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth
Doolally tap
Doss-house
Dot the i's and cross the t's
Double Dutch
Double quick/At the double
Double whammy
Doubting Thomas
Down at heel
Down in the dumps
Draw a blank
Draw one's horns in
Draw the line
Draw the short straw
Dreaming spires
Dressed to the nines
Drive a coach and horses through
Drop a brick
Drum up
Dunkirk spirit
Dutch courage
Dutch treat
Dutch uncle
Dyed-in-the-wool
... ~ E ~
Eager beaver
Eagle-eyed
Ear to the ground
Ears are burning, one's
Eat, drink and be merry
Eat humble pie
Eat your heart out
Egg on
Elephant never forgets, an
Eleventh hour
Elvis has left the building
Elysium/Elysian Fields
Éminence grise
Emperor's new clothes, the
Englishman's home is his castle, an
Enter the lion's den
Ethnic cleansing
Every cloud has a silver lining
Every jot at tittle
Every man jack
Exception proves the rule, the
Eye for an eye, an
... ~ F ~
Face the music
Fag-end
Fagged out
Fair and square
Fair game
Fair to middling
Fall foul of
Fall from grace
Fall guy
Fall of man
Fall on deaf ears
Fall on stony ground
Far cry from, a
Fat is in the fire, the
Feather in one's cap
Feather one's nest
Feeding frenzy
Feet of clay
Ferret (out)
Few and far between
Fiddle while Rome burns
Field-day
Fifth column
Fight like Kilkenny cats
Fill/Fit the bill
Filthy lucre
Fingers crossed
Firing on all cylinders
First-rate
Fit as a fiddle
Flavour of the month
Flea-bite
Flea market
Flea in one's ear, (get) a
Flog a dead horse
Flotsam and jetsam
Flutter the dovecotes
Fly a kite
Fly-by-night
Fly in the face of
Fly in the ointment
Fly off the handle
Flying saucer
Fool's gold
Fool's paradise
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Foot the bill
Footloose and fancy free
For the high jump
Forbidden fruit
Foregone conclusion
Fork out/up
Forlorn hope
Forty winks
Four-flusher
Fourth Estate, the
Fred Karno's Army
French leave
Fresh as a daisy
Fresh fields
Freudian slip
Friendly fire
From pillar to post
From the sublime to the ridiculous
Full Monty
Full of beans
... ~ G ~
Game for
Game is up, the
Game not worth the candle, a
Game plan
Garbage in garbage out
Get down to brass tacks
Get down to the nitty-gritty
Get it in the neck
Get one's back up
Get one's dander up
Get one's goat
Get out of bed on the wrong side
Get/Give the bird
Get the bit between one's teeth
Get the sack

...G - continued >>>
... G: (continued):-
Gift of the gab
Gild the lily
Gilt-edged
Gird up one's loins
Give a dog a bad name
Give a wide berth
Give one a break
Give one's right arm for
Give the thumbs up/down
Give up the ghost
Gives one the willies
Gnashing of teeth
Go AWOL
Go back to the drawing-board
Go bald-headed
Go berserk
Go by the board
Go Dutch
Go for broke
Go great guns
Go haywire
Go off half-cocked
Go/Put through the hoop
Go to hell in a handbasket
Go to the wall
Go west
Golden age
Golden calf
Gone for a Burton
Gone to pot
Gone to the dogs
Good books
Good/Bad/Lucky break
Good innings (have a)
Good riddance to bad rubbish
Good Samaritan
Good wine needs no bush
Goody two-shoes
Gordian knot
Gordon Bennett
Grand Guignol
Grand Poo-Bah, the
Grasp the nettle
Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, the
Grass roots, the
Grass widow
Gravy train
Great I am, the
Great Scott!
Great unwashed, the
Great white hope
Green-eyed monster
Green with envy
Grin like a Cheshire cat
Grind the faces of the poor
Grist to the mill
Grub Street
Guinea-pig
Gung-ho
...~ H ~
Hack-work
Hack writer
Hail-fellow-well-met
Hail from
Hair of the dog
Hair-raising
Halcyon days
Half-seas-over
Ham actor
Hamlet without the prince
Hammer and tongs
Hand over fist
Hang by a thread
Hang in the balance
Hang fire
Hang on like/for grim death
Hang out
Hangdog look
Hanged, drawn and quartered
Hanky-panky
Happy as a sandboy
Happy as Larry
Hard and fast
Hard-boiled
Hard lines
Hard up
Hark back (to)
Hat trick
Hatchet job
Hatchet man
Haul over the coals
Have a bone to pick with someone
Have a few tricks up one's sleeve
Have a nice day
Have one's chips
Have one's work cut out for one
Have the ball at one's feet
He who laughs last laughs longest
He who pays the piper calls the tune
Head in the sand
Head on a platter/plate
Head over heels
Heap coals of fire (on someone's head)
Heath Robinson
Hell for leather
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
Hewers of wood (and drawers of water)
Hide a multitude of sins
Hide one's light under a bushel
High and dry
High dudgeon
High jinks
Hit and run
Hit/knock for six
Hitch one's wagon to a star
Hobson's choice
Hocus-pocus
Hoi polloi
Hoist by one's own petard
Hold forth
Hold the fort
Hold the purse-strings
Holier-than-thou
Holy Grail
Holy of holies, the
Home straight/stretch
Home sweet home
Hook, line and sinker, (swallow)
Hop the twig
Hope springs eternal (in the human breast)
How the other half lives
Hue and cry
Hydra-headed
... ~ I ~
If the cap fits
Idol with feet of clay
Ignorance is bliss
Ill-gotten gains
Ill-starred
In a cleft stick
In a nutshell
In a pickle
In bad odour
In clink
In cold blood
In extremis
In fine fettle
In like Flynn
In limbo
In lumber
In one's black books
In one's heart of heart
In one's true colours
In purdah
In the bag
In the cart
In the doghouse
In the doldrums
In the lap of the gods
In the limelight
In the melting pot
In the offing
In the pink
In the pipeline
In the red
In the swim
In the twinkling of an eye
Indian giver
Indian Summer
Iron curtain
Iron fist/hand in the velvet glove
It takes all sorts to make a world
It's all Greek to me
It's an ill wind
It's not over until the fat lady sings
Ivory tower
... ~ J ~
Jack of all trades
Jam today
Janus-like
Jekyll and Hyde
Jerry-built
Job's comforter
John Bull
John Doe
Journey's end
Jump on the bandwagon
Jump the gun
... ~ K ~
Kangaroo court
Keep at bay
Keep mum
Keep one's pecker up
Keep one's powder dry
Keep posted
Keep the wolf from the door
Keep up with the Joneses
Keep your shirt on
Kick against the pricks
Kick one's heels
Kick over the traces
Kick the bucket
Kick up a shindy
Kill the fatted calf
Kill the goose that lays the golden egg
Kilroy was here
Kingdom come
Kiss of death
Kiss the Blarney Stone
Kith and kin
Knight in shining armour
Knock into a cocked hat
Knock spots off
Knock the gilt off the gingerbread
Know how many beans make five
Know one's beans
Know/Learn the ropes
Knuckle under/down
Kowtow to
... ~ L ~
La-di-da
Lady Bountiful
Laissez-faire
Lamb to the slaughter
Lame duck
Land of Nod
Lark (about)
Last ditch (effort)
Last laugh, (the)
Last/Final straw
Last trump
Laugh up one's sleeve
Law is an ass, the
Law of the jungle
Law unto oneself
Lay it on with a trowel
Lead by the nose
Lead on, Macduff
Lead up the garden path
Leading question
Leap in the dark
Leave in the lurch
Leave no stone unturned
Leopard can't change his spots, a
Let the cat out of the bag
Let the dead bury their dead
Level best
Lick and a promise
Lick into shape
Like a cat on hot bricks
Like a house on fire
Like billy-o(h)/billio
Like Caesar's wife
Like the Marie Céleste
Like Topsy
Lily-livered
Lion's share
Lip service
Lips are sealed, one's
Little bird told me, a
Live off the fat of the land
Live the life of Riley
Live to fight another day
Load of cobblers, a
Load of codswallop, a
Load the dice against (someone)
Lock, stock and barrel
Long in the tooth
Long shot
Long time no see
Look as though one has stepped out of a bandbox
Look to one's laurels
Loose cannon
Lose one's bottle
Lose one's rag
Lotus-eater
Lynch law
... ~ M ~
Mad as a hatter
Mad as a March hare
Maddening crowd
Made of sterner stuff
Mailed fist
Make a beeline for
Make a hash of
Make a mountain out of a molehill
Make a pig's ear of
Make assurance doubly sure
Make bricks without straw
Make do and mend
Make ends meet
Make hay while the sun shines
Make no bones about
Make one's blood boil
Make one's hackles rise
Make one's hair stand on end
Make short shrift of
Make the fur fly
Make the grade
Man of straw
Man of the world
Man on the Clapham omnibus, the
Manna from heaven
Man's inhumanity to man
Mare's nest
Mark, learn and inwardly digest
Mark/Brand of Cain
Mata Hari
Matinée idol
Mealy-mouthed
Meet one's Waterloo
Mend fences
Mentioned in dispatches
Method in one's madness
Mickey mouse
Midas touch
Middle of the road
Midsummer madness
Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb
Milk and honey
Milk of human kindness
Millstone round one's neck
Mind one's p's and q's
Miss is as good as a mile, a
Miss the bus
Moaning Minnie
Molotov cocktail
Moment of truth
Money is the root of all evil
Moot point, a
More honoured in the breach than the observance
More sinned against than sinning
More than one string to one's bow
Mountain will not come to Mohammed, if the
Movable feast
Mrs Grundy
Much of a muchness
Mumbo-jumbo
Mum's the word
Murphy's Law
... ~ N ~
Nail one's colours to the mast
Namby-pamby
Name is mud, one's
Navel gazing
Near the knuckle
Neck and neck
Neck of the woods
Neck or nothing
Needle in a haystack
Neither rhyme nor reason
Nelson touch
Nest-egg
New broom
New Jerusalem
Nine day's wonder
Nineteen to the dozen
Nip in the bud
No flies on ...
No great shakes
No holds barred
No love lost
No-man's-land
No names, no pack-drill
No news is good news
No one can serve two masters
No respecter of persons
No strings attached
Nod is as good as a wink, a
Nodding acquaintance
Nose to the grindstone
Nosey parker
Not a cat in hell's chance
Not a dog's chance
Not a patch on
Not a sausage
Not as black as one is painted
Not care/give a rap
Not cricket
Not enough room to swing a cat
Not fit to hold a candle to
Not on your nellie
Not one's pigeon
Not set the Thames on fire
Not to be sneezed at
Not to mince matters/one's words
Not worth a plugged nickel
Not worth a tinker's damn/cuss
Notch up (a score, etc.)
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink
Number is up, one's
... ~ O ~
Odour of sanctity
Oedipus complex
Of the first water
Off beam
Off one's own bat
Off the beaten track
Off the cuff
Old Adam, the
Old bat
Old Bill, the
Old-boy network
Old chestnut
Old Spanish custom, an
Old warhorse
Old wive's tale
Olive branch
On a shoestring
On a sticky wicket
On a wing and a prayer
On cloud nine
On one's beam-ends
On one's high horse
On/Riding one's hobbyhorse
On one's tod
On one's uppers
On tenterhooks
On the ball
On the breadline
On the cards
On the grapevine
On the horns of a dilemma
On the nail
On the right/wrong tack
On the side of angels
On the slate
On the spur of the moment
On the stocks
On the wagon
On the warpath
On tick
Once in a blue moon
One man's meat is another man's poison
One over the eight
One swallow does not make a summer
Open sesame
Original sin
Ostrich-like
Other irons in the fire
Ours is not to reason why
Out for the count
Out-Herod Herod
Out of the ark
Out of the blue
Out of the frying pan into the fire
Out of the running
Out on a limb
Over a barrel
Over-egg the pudding
Over the moon
Over the top
Own goal (score an)
... ~ P ~
Paddle one's own canoe
Paint the town red
Painted Jezebel
Palm off
Pan out
Pandora's box
Paper tiger
Par for the course
Pardon my French
Parkinson's law
Part and parcel of
Parthian shot
Parting of the ways
Parting shot
Pass muster
Pass round the hat
Pass the buck
Past master
Pastures new
Patience of Job
Pay on the nail
Pay through the nose
Pear-shaped
Pearly gates
Pecking order
Peeping Tom
Peg away
Peg out
Pell-mell
Penny has dropped, the
Philosopher's stone
Phoenix from the ashes
Picture paints a thousand words, a
Pidgin English

...P - continued >>>
... P: (continued):-
Pie in the sky
Pig in the poke
Pigeon-hole
Piggy in the middle
Pin money
Pine away
Pipe down
Pipe dream
Piping hot
Pitched battle
Place in the sun
Plain as a pikestaff
Plain sailing
Play ball
Play by ear
Play ducks and drakes with
Play fast and loose
Play havoc
Play one's ace
Play one's cards close to one's chest
Play possum
Play second fiddle
Play the fool
Play to the gallery
Pleased as Punch
Ploughman's lunch
Plumb the depths
Poetic justice
Poetic licence
Point-blank
Poisoned chalice
Poker-faced
Politically correct
Pontius Pilate
Pooh-Bah
Pooh-pooh
Possession is nine points of the law
Post-haste
Pot calling the kettle black, the
Pound of flesh
Pour cold water on
Pour oil on troubled waters
Power corrupts, (all)
Powers that be
Press-gang
Pretty/Fine kettle of fish
Pride goes before a fall
Prima donna
Primrose path
Prodigal son
Promised Land
Pros and cons
Pull one's chestnuts out of the fire
Pull one's leg
Pull one's weight
Pull out all the stops
Pull strings
Pull the wool over one's eyes
Pull one's finger out
Purple patch/passage
Push the boat out
Push the envelope
Pussyfoot around
Put a sock in it
Put a spoke in one's wheel
Put on ice
Put on one's thinking cap
Put on the back burner
Put on the slate
Put one's back up
Put one's foot in it
Put one's oar in
Put one's shoulder to the wheel
Put paid to
Put the cart before the horse
Put the dampers on
Put the kibosh on
Put the screws on
Put through the mill
Pyrrhic victory
... ~ Q ~
Queer one's pitch
Queer Street, in
...~ R ~
Rack and ruin
Rack one's brains
Radio ham
Rain cats and dogs
Raise Cain
Rank and file
Rap one's knuckles
Rat race
Rats leave a sinking ship
Read between the lines
Read the riot act
Real McCoy, the
Red herring
Red letter day
Red rag to a bull
Red tape
Rest on one's laurels
Revenons à nos moutons
Rich as Croesus
Ride roughshod over
Rift in the lute
Right as ninepence
Right-hand man
Ring a bell
Ring the changes
Ring true/Have the ring of truth
Rip van Winkle
Rise to the bait
Road to Damascus
Rob Peter to pay Paul
Robin Hood
Rome was not built in a day
Root and branch
Rope in
Roses all the way
Rough-and-tumble
Round-robin
Round the bend
Rub it in
Rub salt in the wound
Rub up the wrong way
Rule of thumb
Rule the roost
Rule with a rod of iron
Run amok
Run for one's money (have a [good])
Run of the mill
Run the gamut
Run the gauntlet
Run to earth
... ~ S ~
Sacred cow
Sadder but/and wiser
Safe pair of hands
Sail close to the wind
Sail under false colours
Salad days
Salt away
Salt of the earth, the
Sands of time (running out)
Save for a rainy day
Save one's bacon
Saved by the bell
Saving grace
Scarlet woman
Score a duck
Scot-free
Scotch mist
Scrape the (bottom of the) barrel
Scylla and Charybdis
Sea-change
Sea-lawyer
Seal of approval
Seal one's fate
Seamy side
Second nature
Second string
See a man about a dog
See the big picture
See the error of one's ways
See the light
Sell down the river
Sell one's birthright for a mess of pottage
Send to Coventry
Separate the sheep from the goats
Separate the wheat from the chaff
Sere and yellow, the
Set off on the right/wrong foot
Set the seal on
Settle a score
Settle one's hash
Seven years' bad luck
Seventh heaven
Shake a stick at
Shake the dust off one's feet
Shanks's pony
Shape of things to come, the
Sheet anchor
Shell out
Shell-shocked
Shilly-shally
Ships that pass in the night
Shipshape and Bristol fashion
Short shrift
Shot across the bows, a/in the arm/dark, a
Shoot one's bolt
Show a leg
Show the white feather
Sick as a parrot
Sign the pledge
Silly Billy
Silly season, the
Sir Galahad
Siren voices/song
Sisyphean task
Sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question, the
Skeleton at the feast
Skeleton in the cupboard
Skid Row, on
Slap up meal
Sleep like a top
Sleep tight
Sling one's hook
Slough of despond
Slush fund
Small beer
Smart Alec
Smell a rat
Smoking gun
Snake/Viper in one's bosom
Snake in the grass
Snug as a bug in a rug, as
So near and yet so far
Soap opera
Sodom and Gomorrah
Soft pedal
Soft soap
Sold a pup
Sold for a song
Son of a gun
Sour grapes
Sow one's wild oats
Sow the dragon's teeth
Spanish Inquisition
Spare the rod and spoil the child
Speak of the devil
Sphinx-like
Spick and span
Spike somebody's guns
Spill the beans
Spin doctor
Spirit is willing, the
Spitting image
Splice the mainbrace
Spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar
Square meal
Squeaky clean
Stalking horse
Stamping ground
Start from scratch
Start the ball rolling
Start with a clean slate
Steal a march on
Steal someone's thunder
Sterling qualities
Stick in the mud
Stick one's neck out
Stick to one's guns
Stiff upper lip
Still small voice
Sting in the tail
Stony broke
Stool pigeon
Storm in a teacup
Straight and narrow
Straight from the horse's mouth
Straight from the shoulder
Straight-laced
Strain at a gnat
Straw poll
Straw in the wind
Straw that broke the camel's back
Streets paved with gold
Strike while the iron is hot
String along
Stuffed shirt
Stumbling block
Stump up
Suffer fools gladly
Survival of the fittest
Swallow the bait
Swan-song
Sweep the board
Sweet Fanny Adams/Sweet FA
Sweetness and light
Swing the lead
Swings and roundabouts
Sword of Damocles
... ~ T ~
Tabloid journalism
Take a back seat
Take a dekko
Take a leaf from/out of someone's book
Take a rain-check
Take a rise out of someone
Take aback
Take an early bath
Take down a peg
Take (someone) for a ride
Take one's hat off to someone
Take one's hook
Take pains
Take pot-luck
Take the bit between one's teeth
Take the bull by the horns
Take the cake/biscuit
Take the gilt off the gingerbread
Take the mickey
Take the rap
Take the wind out of one's sails
Take time by the forelock
Take to task
Take to the cleaners
Take umbrage
Take under one's wing
Take up the gauntlet
Take with a pinch of salt
Taken for a ride
Talk gibberish
Talk the hind legs off a donkey
Talk turkey
Tall-poppy syndrome
Tammany Hall
Tarred with the same brush
Teach one's grandmother to suck eggs
Teddy-bear syndrome
Tell it to the Marines
That's (just) the ticket
That's your pigeon
There but for the grace of God (go I)
Thereby hangs a tale
There's more than one way to skin a cat
There's no place like home
There's no such thing as a free lunch
There's nothing new under the sun
There's the rub
They also serve who only stand and wait
Thick as thieves
Thin end of the wedge
Third degree
Third world
Thirty pieces of silver
Thorn in the flesh
Thrash out
Three Rs, the
Three score and ten
Three sheets to the wind
Throw down the gauntlet
Throw in the towel/Throw up the sponge
Throw one's hat in the ring
Throw the book at
Thumbs up/down
Tie the knot
Tie up the loose ends
Tilt at windmills
Time immemorial
Tit for tat
Tittle-tattle
To a T
To boot
To the bitter end
To the manner born
To the nth degree
Toe-rag
Toe the line
Tongue in cheek
Tooth and nail
Top brass
Top drawer
Touch and go
Touch wood
Tower of Babel
Tower of strength
Trim one's sails
Trip the light fantastic
Trojan horse
Trump card
Trump one's ace
Turn a blind eye
Turn over a new leaf
Turn the other cheek
Turn the tables
Turn turtle
Turn-up for the books, a
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Twinkling of an eye
Two bites at the (same) cherry
Two-faced
...~ U ~
Ugly duckling
Unacceptable face of
Uncle Sam
Uncle Tom
Under the aegis of
Under the auspices of
Under the weather
Unkindest cut of all
Until the cows come home
Unvarnished truth
Up a gum-tree
Up one's sleeve
Up the pole
Up the spout
Up to scratch
Up to the ears
Up to the mark
Upset the apple-cart
... ~ V ~
Vaulting ambition
Vested interest
Vexed question
Vicar of Bray
Vicious circle
Viper in one's bosom
Voice crying in the wilderness
... ~ W ~
Wages of sin
Walked over one's grave, someone has just
Walls have ears, the
Walter Mitty
Warm the cockles of one's heart
Warning shot
Warp and woof
Warts and all
Wash one's dirty linen in public
Wash one's hands of
Weakest to the wall
Weapon of mass destruction
Wear one's heart on one's sleeve
Wearing/in sackcloth and ashes
Weasel words
Well-heeled
Welsh Rabbit
Wet behind the ears
Wet blanket
What the dickens
Wheel has come full circle, the
Wheeler-dealer
Wheels within wheels
When one's ship comes home
When the chips are down
Whip round
Whipping boy
Whistle for it/for the wind
White elephant
White Knight
White lie
Whited sepulchre
Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?
Whole caboodle, the
Whole new ball-game
Whole nine yards, the
Wide of the mark
Widow's peak
Widow's weeds
Wild-goose chase
Will o' the wisp
Willy-nilly
Win at a canter
Win hands down
Win one's spurs
Wind of change
Winter of discontent
Wipe the slate clean
Wisdom/Judgement of Solomon
With a straight bat
With bated breath
With flying colours
With knobs on
Within an ace of
Wolf in sheep's clothing
Wooden horse
Wooden spoon
Wool-gathering
Work like a Trojan
World is one's oyster, the
Worth one's salt
Would not say boo to a goose
Would not touch with a barge-pole
Writing is on the wall, the
Wrong side of the tracks
... ~ X ~
X marks the spot
... ~ Y ~
Yellow press
Young Turk
... ~ Z ~
...(None known)
.........

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