English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - B
|ballpark figure||If someone gives a
ballpark figure, they give an
approximate number or a rough estimate of
the cost of something.
I don't know exactly how much it will cost, but a ballpark figure would be around $100 000.
|(load of) baloney||This term refers
to idle talk, or pretentious, untrue or
insincere statements that nobody can
That's a load of baloney! I don't believe a word of it!
|bandit territory||A geographical area
where law enforcement is practically
impossible, because people ignore all rules,
is called 'bandit territory'.
There are a certain number of bandit territories in the world where travellers are advised not to go.
|jump on the bandwagon||If a person or
organisation jumps on the bandwagon,
they decide to do something when it is
already successful or fashionable.
When organic food became fashionable, certain stores were quick to jump on the bandwagon and promote it.
|bane of one's life||To
say that something is the
bane of your life means that it is
the cause of your problems or your
The heating system is always breaking down. It's the bane of my life!
|bang one's head against a brick wall||If you bang or
knock your head against a brick wall,
you continue vainly to try to achieve
something in spite of several unsuccessful
I've been banging my head against a brick wall trying to explain the internet to my grandmother!
|bar fly||A bar fly
is someone who spends a lot of time drinking
in bars and pubs.
You'll find Johnny down at the pub - he's a real bar fly.
|bare one's soul||If you bare you
soul (or heart) to someone, you reveal
your innermost thoughts and feelings to
Mike couldn't keep things to himself any longer. He decided to bare his soul to his best friend.
|barefaced liar||Someone who lies
easily, with a total lack of shame, is a
That barefaced liar stole my watch and said he'd found it!
|barking up the wrong tree||A person who is
barking up the wrong tree is doing the
wrong thing, because their beliefs or ideas
are incorrect or mistaken.
The police are barking up the wrong tree if they think Joey stole the car - he can't drive!
|barrel of laughs||Someone who is
a barrel of laughs is very funny or
Let's invite Johnny. He's such a barrel of laughs!
|basket case||A person whose
agitated mental state leaves them helpless
or unable to cope with things is called a
Jenny will turn into a basket case if this stressful situation continues.
|bats in the belfry||If you say that somebody has bats in
the belfry, you mean that they are
eccentric or crazy.
He comes up with the craziest ideas - he's got bats in the belfry!
If you wait for something with bated breath,
you are both anxious and excited about an
We waited with bated breath for the winner to be announced.
|batten down the hatches||When you batten
down the hatches, you prepare yourself
for trouble or a forthcoming difficult
period, like a ship preparing for a storm.
Here comes that trouble-making guy. Batten down the hatches!
|battle lines are drawn||This expression is
used to say that opposing groups are ready
to defend the reason behind the conflict.
The battle lines have been drawn between those who accept the changes and those who are against the proposed reforms.
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