English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - B
|in the same boat||If two or more
parties are in the same boat, they
are in the same unpleasant or difficult
When the factory closed down, the workers all found themselves in the same boat.
|miss the boat||If you miss the
boat, you fail to take advantage of an
opportunity because you don't act quickly
I managed to get my order through before the end of the special offer - but I nearly missed the boat!
|bodice-ripper||A novel, usually on
a historical theme, with a plot that
involves romantic passion between a
vulnerable heroine and a rich, powerful male
character, is called a bodice-ripper.
The novel is a bodice-ripper set in the French revolution.
|the mind boggles||The expression 'the
mind boggles' is used as a reaction to
something you find amazing or difficult to
She crossed the Atlantic alone - can you imagine? - the mind boggles!
|boil the ocean||To “boil the ocean” means
to waste time on a task or project that is unnecessary,
not worth doing or impossible to achieve.
“I expect you to do the job well but don’t try to boil the ocean!”
|bold as brass||Someone who is as
bold as brass behaves without shame or
Bold as brass, he refused the gift and handed it back to his mother-in-law.
|bolt from the blue||To refer to
something as a bolt from the blue
means that it happened totally unexpectedly.
The chairman's resignation came as a bolt from the blue.
|bone of contention||A bone of
contention is a matter or subject about
which there is
a lot of disagreement.
The salaries have been agreed on, but opening on Sundays is still a bone of contention.
|bone to pick with someone||If you have a
bone to pick with someone, you are
annoyed with them and want to talk to them
Mark wants to see the boss. He says he's got a bone to pick with him.
|make no bones about it||If you make no
bones about something, you don't
hesitate to say something in a frank and
I made no bones about it. I told him his offer was unacceptable.
|you can't judge a book by its cover||This expression
means that you should not form an opinion
about something from its appearance only.
He leads a very simple life but in fact he's an extremely rich man. - you can't judge a book by its cover.
|in someone's good/bad books||If you are in
somebody's good or bad books, you have
their approval or disapproval.
I'm in my wife's bad books at the moment because I forgot our wedding anniversary.
|lick somebody's boots||To say that one
person licks another person's boots
means that they are trying to please that
person, often in order to obtain something.
There's no need to lick the manager's boots. Just do your job!
|too big for one's boots||A person who is
getting too big for their boots is
behaving as if they were more important than
they really are.
Tom's really getting too big for his boots since he got a promotion - he hardly says hello any more!
bored to tears
|If you find
something so dull and uninteresting that it
makes you sad enough to cry, you are
bored to tears.
I could see that my son was bored to tears by the historical documentary.
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