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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Alphabetical List of Idioms - A

(Idioms A page 2:  Achilles heel → alarm bells)

Achilles heel This expression refers to a vulnerable area or a weak spot, in an otherwise strong situation, that could cause one's downfall or failure.
He's extremely intelligent, but his inability to speak in public is his Achilles heel.
acid test To refer to something as' the acid test' means that it will prove how effective or useful something is.
The training course was very interesting but the acid test will come when I start my new job.

acquired taste
Something that you dislike when you first taste it, but begin to like after trying it several times, is an acquired taste.
Tony has always loved olives, but for me it was an acquired taste.
act of God This term refers to an natural event or accident, for which no person is responsible (such as an earthquake, lightning and similar acts of nature).
The insurance company refused to pay for the damage because it was caused by an act of God.
get your act together If you tell someone to get their act together, you mean that they need to organise their affairs more effectively in order to be more successful.
You'd better get your act together if you want to find a job!
add fuel to the flames If you add fuel to the flames, you do or say something that makes a difficult situation even worse.
He forgot their wedding anniversary, and his apologies only added fuel to the flames.
much ado about nothing When people make much ado about nothing, they make a lot of fuss about something which is not important.
There was a meeting to discuss the name for the new playground.
"Much ado about nothing" said my Dad!
afraid of one's own shadow A person who is afraid of his/her own shadow is very nervous or easily frightened.
I've never seen anyone so easily scared. She's afraid of her own shadow!
after the fact If something is done after the fact, it done too late, after something  has actually happened, especially a crime or an accident.
He said he realized he had put people in danger, but that was of no help after the fact.
against one's better judgement If you do something, even though you feel it is not a sensible thing to do, you do it against your better judgement.
Bob persuaded her to go by car, against her better judgement, and she regretted it as soon as she saw the heavy traffic.
against the clock If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
They are working against the clock to have the presentation ready for Monday.
ahead of the pack If a person or organisation is ahead of the pack, they are better or more successful than their rivals.
Our products will have to be more innovative if we want to stay ahead of the pack. 
set the alarm bells ringing /
alarm bells start to ring
If something sets the alarm bells ringing, it makes you begin to worry, because it shows that there may be a problem.
Alarm bells started to ring when the old lady next door didn't open her
shutters all day and didn't answer her phone.
   
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 alphabetical lists A ... 

A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6

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