English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - B
|know which side your bread is buttered||If you know
which side your bread is buttered, you
know where your interests lie or what will
be to your advantage.
Jack never argues with his father-in-law. He knows which side his bread is buttered.
take the bread out of
|If you take the
bread out of somebody's mouth, you take
away their means of earning a living.
The decision to ban street vendors took the bread out of the mouths of many people.
|on the breadline||People who live
on the breadline have a very low income
or barely enough money to survive.
Due to the recent crisis, there are more people on the breadline than
|break your back||If
you work extremely hard, or put a lot of
effort into achieving something, you
break your back to do it.
If you want the job done well, you should accept to pay more. He's not going to break his back for such a low price!
|break the back of the beast||If someone
breaks the back of the beast, they
succeed in overcoming a major difficulty.
After hours of effort, the technicians finally broke the back of the beast and turned the electricity back on again.
|break fresh ground||If you break
fresh ground, you innovate by
introducing or developing a new method or
Scientists have broken fresh ground in their exploration of outer space.
|break a leg!||This is a humorous
way of wishing someone good luck, especially
among stage performers.
So tonight's the opening night? Break a leg!
|break the mould||If you change what
people expect from a (traditional)
situation, especially by doing something
original, you break the mould.
After generations of doctors in the family, he broke the mould by becoming a fashion designer.
|break every rule in the book||If you behave in a
completely unacceptable way, you break
every rule in the book.
Our competitors obtained the contract by breaking every rule in the book.
|break out in cold sweat||If you break
out in a cold sweat, you begin to
perspire a lot, usually from anxiety.
I get nervous at the dentist's and usually break out in a cold sweat.
|breaking and entering||This term refers to
the fact of entering a building or home
illegally by breaking open a window, door,
The two men were found guilty of breaking and entering.
|breathe down someone's neck||If someone is
breathing down your neck, they are
watching you too closely and making you feel
The atmosphere at work is not great; the boss keeps breathing down
our necks all the time.
|a breeze||To say that
something was a breeze means that
it was very easy or that everything went
The interview was a breeze - barely 10 minutes and I got the job!
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