English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - B
|bite the dust||The expression
'bite' or 'hit the dust' is a
humorous way of referring to death.
It's a story about an old cowboy who hits the dust during a train robbery.
|bite off more than you can chew||If you bite off
more than you can chew, you try to do
something that is too difficult for you, or
more than you can manage.
As soon as I started to translate the report, I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew.
|get a second bite at the cherry||This expression
means that you get a second opportunity to
or try something.
He was eliminated in the semi-finals, but he'll get a second bite at the cherry next year.
|bite the hand that feeds you||If you bite the
hand that feeds you, you are unfriendly
or do harm to someone who is kind to you.
If you say bad things about the person who gives you a job, you bite the hand that feeds you.
|bite someone's head off||If you bite
someone's head off, you criticize them
strongly (and perhaps unfairly).
I worked 10 hours a day all week and my boss bit my head off for not doing my share of the work!
|bite one's tongue||If you bite
your tongue, you try not to say what
you really think or feel.
It was difficult for me not to react; I had to bite my tongue.
|bitten by the bug||If you develop a
sudden interest or enthusiasm for something,
you are bitten by the bug.
My dad decided to take up golf and was immediately bitten by the bug.
|once bitten twice shy||This is said by
someone who has had an unpleasant experience
which has made them more cautious.
I'm never going to get married again. Once bitten, twice shy!
|bitter pill to swallow||Something very
unpleasant or difficult to accept is a
bitter pill to swallow.
Losing his job after organizing the merger was a bitter pill to swallow.
|black market||The black
market refers to the illegal buying and
selling of goods or currencies.
Be careful of what you buy on the black market - it's not always good quality.
|black out||If you black
out, you lose consciousness.
When Tony saw the needle, he blacked out.
|black sheep||The black sheep
is one who behaves very differently or
badly, and is considered disreputable by the
other members of the family.
Joe was the black sheep of the family, always getting into trouble.
|black tie event||This expression
refers to a formal event at which men are
required to wear a dinner jacket, or tuxedo,
and a black bow tie.
I need to know if it's going to be a casual get-together or a black tie event.
|in black and white||To say that
something is in black and white
means that there is written proof of it.
It's an obligation. It's in black and white in your contract.
|blamestorming||A discussion among
a group of people who try to determine who
or what is to blame for a particular mistake, failure or wrongdoing, is called 'blamestorming'.
A blamestorming session took place following the unfavourable reviews in the press.
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