English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - C
|change of heart||If someone has a
change of heart, they change their
attitude or feelings, especially towards
greater friendliness or cooperation.
He was against charity, but he had a change of heart when he saw the plight of the homeless.
|change horses in midstream||If you change
horses in midstream, you change your
plan, or choose a new leader, in the middle
of an important activity.
Let's go through with the original plan; it's risky to change horses in midstream.
|chapter and verse||This term refers to
word-for-word details, or very specific
facts, especially the exact place where the
information can be found.
The phrase is attributed to Oscar Wilde, although I can't give you chapter and verse.
|chase rainbows||Someone who is
chasing rainbows is trying to get
something they will never obtain.
She's trying to get into Oxford, but I think she's chasing rainbows.
|chase you (own) tail||Someone who is
chasing their (own) tail is spending a
lot of time and energy doing many things but
achieving very little.
He's been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready.
|cheap shot||A cruel, unfair or
unwarranted comment or verbal attack is
called a cheap shot.
Referring to Tom as an 'unqualified speaker' was really a cheap shot.
|cheek by jowl||When people are
cheek by jowl, they are crammed
uncomfortably close together.
The refugees are living cheek by jowl in a temporary camp.
|cheesed off||If someone is
cheesed off with something, they are
annoyed, bored or frustrated.
Jenny is absolutely cheesed off with her job.
|cherry pick||When you cherry
pick, you choose something with great
care and select only the best.
Top university graduates are often cherry-picked by large companies.
|get a second bite/two bites at the cherry||This expression
means that you get a second opportunity to
do or try something.
He was eliminated in the semi-finals, but he'll get a second bite at the cherry next year.
|old chestnut||A story, joke or an
idea that has been repeated so often that it
has lost its novelty is referred to as an 'old
The story about his boat capsizing has become an old chestnut!
|chew the fat||If you chew the
fat with somebody, you chat in an
informal way about unimportant things.
It's amazing the amount of time my grandparents can spend chewing the fat with their neighbours.
|chicken feed||An amount of money
considered small or unimportant is called
I got a job during the holidays but the pay was chicken feed.
|chicken out||If you chicken
out of something, you decide not to do
something because you are afraid.
He decided to join a karate class, but chickened out at the last minute.
|(no) spring chicken||To say that someone
is no spring chicken means that
they are quite old or well past their
"How old is the owner?" "I don't know, but she's no spring chicken!"
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