English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - B
|badger someone||If you badger someone into
doing something, you persistently nag or
pester them until you obtain what you want.
Sophie badgered her parents into buying her a new computer.
|bag of bones||To say that someone is a bag of
bones means that they are extremely
When he came home from the war he was a bag of bones.
|bag of tricks||If you use your
(whole) bag of tricks to do something, you
try (all) the clever methods you know in
order to succeed.
Let's call on George and his bag of tricks; maybe he can help us solve the problem.
|in the bag||People use this
expression when it becomes obvious that
success or victory is going to be achieved.
An hour before the polling stations closed, victory seemed in the bag for the Conservative candidate.
|bait and switch||This term refers to
a deceptive commercial practice of
a low-priced item to attract customers, then telling them that the product is out of stock and persuading them to buy a more expensive article.
This store is famous for its bait and switch tactics.
|in the balance||If something is
in the balance, the situation is
uncertain and it is not clear what is going
The future of the company is in the balance while the takeover bid is being examined.
|balancing act||When you try to
satisfy two or more people or groups who
have different needs, and keep everyone
happy, you perform a balancing act.
Many people, especially women, have to perform a balancing act between work and family.
|ball and chain||This term refers to
a burden or problem that ties you down and
prevents you from doing what you want. It
can also refer to one's spouse.
Our holiday home has become a ball and chain - it's too much work!
|ball is in your court||If the ball is
in your court, it is your turn to speak
or act next.
We gave the manager a list of complaints, so the ball is in his court now.
|have a ball||If
have a ball you enjoy yourself
The party was great. We had a ball.
|on the ball||If you are on
the ball, you are aware of what is
happening and are able to deal with things
quickly and intelligently.
We need someone who is really on the ball to head the fund-raising campaign.
|start the ball rolling||If you start
the ball rolling, you begin an activity
in which other people will join.
Let's start the ball rolling by calling on our first speaker.
|that's the way the ball bounces||Things don't always
work out as planned, and there's nothing we
can do about it - that's life.
He didn't get the prize he expected, but never mind - that's the way the ball bounces.
|whole new ball game||To refer to
something as a
whole new ball game means that it
is a completely different situation due to a
new set of circumstances.
Email and text messaging have made communication a whole new ball game.
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