Idiom in U – Upper Hand

Hello dear students! We are getting close to the end of this series with only 5 more weeks left.

And today we have a look at the letter U with Upper Hand.

What it means:

If you have the upper hand, you have the advantage.

How to use it:

  • One of the most common situations when this idiom is used is during a sporting even. If a team or player is in a winning position, they have the upper hand.
  • If a business has an advantage over another business, they also have the upper hand.

Other interesting idioms:

U-turn – It is when somebody changes their opinion on an issue radically, especially when they have promised not to do so.

Ugly duckling – An ugly duckling is a someone shows little promise, but who develops later into a real talent or beauty.

Under fire – If someone is being attacked and cricitised heavily, they are under fire.

Up for grabs – If something is up for grabs, it is available and whoever is first or is successful will get it.

 

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Idiom in T – Think Outside the Box

What it means:

If you think outside the box, you think in an imaginative and creative way.

How to use it:

People tend to use this idiom as a way to encourage others to be creative. It does not only refer to arts and crafts but anything that might be done in a non conventional way.

  • People who live in extremely small apartments have to think outside the box to make a comfortable living space.
  • You could be trying to solve a riddle and someone tells you to think outside the box. This means do not do what seems obvious, think further.

Other interesting idioms:

Take a nosedive – When things take a nosedive, they decline very quickly and head towards disaster.

Take by storm – To take by storm means to captivate- eg. A new play that took New York City by storm.

The ball’s in your court – If somebody says this to you, they mean that it’s up to you to decide or take the next step.

The grass is always greener – This idiom means that what other people have or do looks preferable to our life. The complete phrase is ‘The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

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Idiom in S – Safety in Numbers

Welcome to 2018 first blog post! Christmas and New Year’s Eve are long gone and have left me with quite a few extra kilos on my hips…How bad is it for you?

Let’s tackle our weekly idiom!

What it means:

If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.

When to use it:

Let’s have a look at some examples of when this idiom could be used.

  • It is commonly used with animals. Gazelles stay in packs as a defense mechanism against predators. Lions are less likely to attack an animal in a group, than one which is isolated. The groups can also come to the rescue of the lone animal. Safety in numbers…
  • Your parents probably used this idiom very often when you were a teenager. It still applies no matter what your age is though. When you go out, you should never have to walk alone outside in the street. Having someone, or even better a group, with you is the best protection as people are more likely to be intimidated and leave you alone.

Other interesting idioms:

Scaredy-cat – It is a person who gets scared easily by very little.

Safe and sound – If you are safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you.

Salt in a wound – If you rub salt in a wound, you make someone feel bad about something that is already a painful experience. (similar to add insult to injury)

Same old, same old – It means that something is the same, it does not change.

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in R – Red Carpet

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And here is the last post of the year.  Next one in 2018!

What it means:

If you give someone the red-carpet treatment, you give them a special welcome to show that they are important. You can roll out the red carpet too.

How to use it:

  • You might be invited somewhere and they treat you well.
  • Companies otfen give the red-carpet treatment to important clients

Other interesting idioms:

Rack your brain – If you rack your brain, you think very hard when trying to remember something or think hard to solve a problem, findf and answer and so on (‘Rack your brains’ is an alternative.)

Raise eyebrows – If something raises eyebrows, it shocks or surprises people.

Read between the lines – If you read between the lines, you find the real message in what you’re reading or hearing, a meaning that is not available from a literal interpretation of the words.

Recharge your batteries – If you recharge your batteries, you do something to regain your energy after working hard for a long time.

Red tape – This is a negative term for the official paperwork and bureaucracy that we have to deal with.

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in Q – Quiet as a Mouse

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We are so close to Christmas! Are you excited?

Tomorrow night, if you are as quiet as a mouse you might be able to hear the bells on Santa’s sledge.

What it means:

If somebody is as quiet as a mouse they make as little noise as possible.

When to use it:

  • In any situation when someone is trying to be unnoticeable. The person often acts a lot more quietly as well, avoiding rapid movement and sometimes remaining still.
  • It could be someone trying to hide to surprise a friend, a child trying to be forgoten after bringing home bad grades or even a shy person being very quiet.

Other interesting idioms:

Question of time – If something’s a question of time, it’s definitely going to happen but you just don’t know when.

Quick fix – A quick fix is an easy (usually temporary)  solution.

Quiet before the Storm – It is when you know that something is about to go horribly wrong, but hasn’t just yet.

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in P – Page-Turner

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Another week, another idiom. We tackle number 16 of our weekly post. Last time it was letter O so we covered ‘Off the Grid’ so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

What it means:

A very exciting book.

How to use it:

  • It is used to describe a book that is so interesting that you cannot stop reading page after page.

Example: The name of the wind is my favourite book. It is such a page-turner.

Other interesting idioms:

Packed like Sardines – If a place if very crowded you can say that you are packed like sardines (ex: We went to the club like night but left very quickly. We were packed like sardines so it was very unpleasant).

Pay on the nail – It means to pay quickly and it cash (ex: I don’t mind lending Jack money. He always pays it back on the nail).

Penny pincher – A penny pincher is either a mean person or someone who really doesn’t like to spend money (ex: She always goes for cheap products…even when the quality is bad. She is a reall penny pincher).

Pep talk – It is a conversation usually given to motivate or boos someone’s confidence (ex: When I was a teenager, my dance teacher used to give us a pep talk before every show. It always motivated us to do our best).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in O – Off the Grid

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The 15th idiom of the series! Have you ever heard of this one? Well, sometimes it is good to get off the grid for a while.

What it means:

To make it simple it means “not connected”.

How to use it:

It can be used in many different ways. Here are just a few:

  • Not connected to social media or internet.

I tried contacting Pepe via Whatsapp but I just remembered that he is on a retreat so he will be off the grid for a while.

  • Not connected to services (water, electricity…):

Once our solar panels generate enough power, we’ll be able to go off the grid.

  • Not under governmental control:

The inventor of the Bitcoin currency is still unknown to this date. He is completely off the grid.

Other interesting idioms:

On a roll – If someone is on a roll they are experiencing good luck and success (ex: So, you found a ten pound note on the floor this morning and your boss gave you a day off? You’d better play the lottery today because you are on a roll).

On board – To be on board means that you are willing to do something (ex: I asked Mark if he wanted to come with us to Madrid this weekend and he said that he was on board).

Open book – If a person is an open book they are easy to understand and to know (ex: I know you like that boy, it is obvious. You are like an open book).

Open secret – Something that is supposed to be a secret but that everyone knows (ex: Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy had a relationship. It was an open secret).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in N – Nick of Time

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Because Taylor Swift used this expression in one of her songs, you have to learn it.

What it means:

If something is done in the nick of time it is done last minute. It could also mean that it was done just in time.

When to use it:

Let’s have a look at some examples.

  • A TV game show contestant could answer in the nick of time. The person used all the time available and answered at the last minute.
  • You need to go buy bread but are worried the bakery might already be closed. When you arrive just before they close and manage to buy your bread. You got there in the nick of time.
  • You had an essay due at midnight for university and sent it at 11h59…You handed in your essay in the nick of time.

Other interesting idioms:

Needle in a haystack – when you are looking for something difficult to find because of the surrounding it is like looking for a needle in a haystack (ex: looking for a particular person in a big crowd).

Nerves of steel – a person with nerves of steel does not get frightened easily.

Never a rose without a prick – it means that something good comes with something bad (ex: you find the perfect job which is very interesting and is well paid but you have a longer commute everyday).

No pain, no gain – Success comes with sacrifices (ex: if you want to lose weight, you have to exercise a lot. No pain, no gain!).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in M – Make Someone’s Day

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It’s official! I am committing to posting a new idiom for this series every week. So make sure to follow the blog and you’ll receive a notification as soon as it is out every week.

What it means:

If something makes your day, it makes you very happy. I also feel that you need an element of surprise for someting to make your day. It is not just happiness, it is unexpected happiness.

When to use it:

You can use this idiom whether it is something or someone that makes you happy.

Receiving a message from a friend, finally finding that top you have been looking for, finding a 5 euro note in one of your pockets or even realising a new episode of your favourite TV show is out are all things that could make your day.

Other interesting idioms in M:

  • Make ends meet – If it is hard to make ends meet, it is difficult to live with the money you earn.
  • Make someone’s blood boil – Something that makes your blood boil makes you angry.
  • More than one way to skin a cat – This means that there is more than one way to achieve the same result.

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in L – Learn the Ropes

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New entry in the series, letter L.

What it means:

If you are learning the ropes of something, you are learning how to do it.

When to use it:

There are millions of ways and situations when you can use this idiom. When I started teaching, I had to learn the ropes of teaching, become familiar with what to do.

It is often associated to starting a new job and getting used to the new tasks it involves.

Here are 2 synonyms of learn the ropes:

  • get the hang of something
  • get the knack of something (the -k- is silent here, like in ‘know’)

Other Interesting Indioms in L:

Last laugh – to finally be more successful than someone who was unpleasant to you or finally succeed after experiencing setbacks.

Lay down the law – give instructions or orders in an authoritarian way (ex: when a mother tells you to clean up your room)

leading edge – sometimes cutting edge – refers to the most advanced position in a field (ex: leading edge technology)

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.