English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - B
|beat a hasty retreat||Someone who
beats a (hasty) retreat runs away or
goes back hurriedly to avoid a dangerous or
The thief beat a hasty retreat as soon as he saw the security officer.
|beat/knock the (living) daylights||If a person
beats the (living) daylights out of
another, they hit them very hard and
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
Ross was determined to be the first to arrive. He managed to beat the others to the draw.
|it beats me!||This expression is
used to express surprise at something that
you find difficult to understand.
It beats me how he can live in that horrible apartment!
|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.
|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.
|bee's knees||To say that
someone/something is the
means that the speaker thinks they are exceptionally
If you say "Chloe thinks she's the bee's knees" you mean that
Chloe has a high opinion of herself.
|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
He arrived in a car that looked as though it had been through the wars.
|been there, done that||The expression 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, and 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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