English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - C
|cross the Rubicon||If you cross
the Rubicon, you make an irreversible
decision or commit to a course of action
that cannot be changed.
After careful consideration, he decided to stop teaching and open an art gallery, knowing that he was crossing the Rubicon.
|as the crow files||This expression
refers to distance measured in a straight
It's two miles from here to the station as the crow flies, but of course it's much further by road.
|crux of the matter||The main point or
the most vital element of a discussion or
argument is called the crux of the
The crux of the matter is that he's too old to live alone in that big house.
|cry one's eyes out||If you cry your
eyes out, you cry a lot and for a long
My son cried his eyes out when he discovered his bike had been stolen.
|cry wolf||To cry wolf
is to call for help when you are not really
As a result, nobody believes you when you really need help.
There's Mary screaming again! Does she really have a problem or is she just crying wolf again?
|far cry from something||If one thing is a
far cry from something else, they
are very different from each other,
especially in quality or size.
My tiny apartment in New York was a far cry from my parents' spacious house.
|crying need||When there is a
great lack of something which is urgently
needed, there is a crying need for
Hospitals claim that there is a crying need for nurses.
|crying shame||If something is a
crying shame, it is very sad or
It's a crying shame that some families cannot afford lunch for their children.
|for crying out loud||This expression is
used to show irritation, exasperation or
For crying out loud, turn that television off!
|no use crying over spilt milk||This expression
means that it is useless to complain or have
regrets about something that is done and
cannot be changed.
Sometimes I regret not accepting the offer, but it's no use crying over spilt milk.
|crystal clear||A statement or
expression that is easy to understand or has
an obvious meaning is crystal clear
or as clear as crystal.
There was no need to repeat the instructions. They were crystal clear.
|on cue||If something
happens on cue, it happens at
exactly the appropriate or expected moment.
My grandmother was blowing out the candles on her birthday cake when, right on cue, the flowers arrived.
|off the cuff||If you speak
off the cuff, you say something without
any previous thought or preparation.
He handles off-the-cuff interviews very well.
|on the cusp||On the cusp
refers to a point in time that marks a transition or the beginning of a change.
Some people think the world is on the cusp of a new era.
|a cut above||Someone or
something that is a cut above the
others is better or of higher quality.
The articles in this magazine are a cut above the others.
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