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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Alphabetical List of Idioms B, page 5

Idioms B, page 5:  from:   'beat a hasty retreat'   to:   'before your very eyes'


  • beat a hasty retreat
    • Someone who beats a (hasty) retreat runs away or goes back hurriedly to avoid a dangerous or difficult situation.
      "The thief beat a hasty retreat as soon as he saw the security officer."

  • beat/knock the (living) daylights out of someone
    • If a person beats the (living) daylights out of another, they hit them very hard and repeatedly.
      "If I catch you stealing again I'll beat the daylights out of you!"

  • beat someone to the draw
    • If you beat someone to the draw, you react more quickly and manage to do something before they do.
      "Ross was determined to be the first to arrive. He managed to beat the others to the draw."

  • it beats me!
    • The expression 'it beats me' is used to express surprise at something that you find difficult to understand.
      "It beats me how David can live in that horrible apartment!"

  • (be) at someone's beck and call
    • If a person is at someone's beck and call, they are always ready to do things for them or obey orders to please them.
      "Parents should not be at the beck and call of their children."

  • (have a) bee in one's bonnet
    • Someone who has a bee in their bonnet has an idea which constantly occupies their thoughts.
      "She's got a bee in her bonnet about moving to New York."

  • (be the) bee's knees
    • If someone thinks they are the the bee's knees, they have a high opinion of themselves.
      (This comment is made disapprovingly by another person.)
      "Chloe thinks she's the bee's knees since she got her new job.
      Naturally - no other candidate got the job!"


  • beef something up
    • If you beef something up, you improve it by making it stronger or more substantial.
      "You'd better beef up your arguments if you want to defend your case."

  • been in/through the wars
    • If a person or thing has been in or through the wars, they show signs of rough treatment, injury or damage.
      "He arrived in a car that looked as though it had been through the wars."

  • been there, done that
    • The expression 'been there, done that'  is used to indicate that the speaker is familiar with the situation mentioned.
      It can also refer to an attitude which reflects a certain boredom at the idea of repeating an experience that has lost its novelty.
      "His suggestions produced a 'been there, done that' attitude which undermined his enthusiasm."

  • before the ink is dry
    • If people reach an agreement, then change their minds immediately afterwards, the change occurs 'before the ink is dry'.
      "You can never tell when he's serious. He's capable of changing his mind before the ink is dry!"

  • before you know it
    • If something takes place so suddenly that you don't have time to become aware of it, it happens before you know it or before you know where you are.
      "The doorbell rang, and before we knew it a surprise birthday party was under way!"

  • before your very eyes
    • If someone does something before your very eyes, they do it in front of you, without attempting to hide what they are doing.
      "Before my very eyes he took the rubbish and threw it into the neigbour's garden!"

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