English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - B
|beggars can't be choosers||This expression
means that you should not reject an offer if
it is the only possibility you have. You
have no choice.
"Beggars can't be choosers!"
|behind bars||Someone who is
behind bars is in prison.
If you hang around with that gang, you'll find yourself behind bars in
|behind closed doors||If something takes
place behind closed doors, it is
done privately, with no observers or
The matter was discussed behind closed doors.
|behind the times||A person who is
behind the times has old-fashioned
ideas and does not keep up with modern life
Jane doesn't have a mobile phone. She's completely behind the times.
|ring a bell||If something
rings a bell, it is vaguely familar to
you, but you can't remember the exact
John Bentley? The name rings a bell but I don't remember him.
|with bells on||If you go somewhere
with bells on, you are delighted and
eager to go there.
Of course I'll be there - with bells on!
|below the belt||An action or remark
described as below the belt is
considered to be unfair or cruel.
Politicians sometimes use personal information to hit their rivals below the belt.
|tighten your belt||If you need to
tighten your belt, you must spend less
money or be careful how you spend it because
there is less available.
Another bill? I'll have to tighten my belt this month!
|under one's belt||If you have
something under your belt,
you have acquired experience or have
satisfactorily achieved something.
You've got to have some work experience under your belt before you can hope to get a permanent job.
|bend over backwards||If you bend
over backwards, you try very hard to do
something, especially to please somebody.
The manager bent over backwards to try to make Jack stay, but Jack wouldn't change his mind.
|bend the truth||If you bend the
truth, you say something that is not
Ok, I bent the truth a bit. I told him it was my natural colour, but I didn't say that my hairdresser helped me to keep it natural!
|benefit of the doubt||If you give someone
the benefit of the doubt, you
choose to believe that the person is
innocent, honest or telling the truth,
because there is no evidence to the
Although he found it hard to believe Tom's explanation, the teacher decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
|bent out of shape||If you get bent
out of shape, you become annoyed or
upset about something that is usually not
that important or cannot be avoided.
Don't get bent out of shape if you're delayed. We'll wait for you.
|beside yourself||If you are
beside yourself (with an emotion), you
lose your self-control because of the
intensity of the emotion you are feeling.
He was beside himself with grief when he lost his son.
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