English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - C
|chickens come home to roost||If you say that chickens have come
home to roost, you mean that bad or
embarrassing things done in the past by
someone are now causing problems for that
As tenants the couple were noisy and disorderly. Now they can't find a place to rent. The chickens have come home to roost!
|too many chiefs, not enough indians||This expression
refers to a situation where there are too
many people giving instructions and not
enough people doing the work.
The business wasn't successful. There were too many chiefs and not enough indians.
|child's play||If something is
referred to as child's play, it is
considered to be simple or easy to do.
Using this new computer is child's play compared to the old one.
|chill out||When people
chill out, often after a period of
heavy work or nervous tension, they do
something that helps them to calm down and
relax for a while.
After a week of exams, the students needed to go and chill out.
|chill wind||If you face or feel
the chill wind of something, you
are beginning to encounter the problems or
trouble it causes.
Many building companies are facing the chill wind of the recession.
|chime in||If you chime in,
you interrupt or join a conversation,
especially to repeat or agree with
As I explained to the bus driver what had happened, the other passengers chimed in and gave their version.
|Chinese arithmetic||If something is
very complicated or difficult to understand,
it is said to be like Chinese
When he tried to explain the rules of the game to me, it was like Chinese arithmetic!
|Chinese whispers||This expression refers to a process by which a message or piece of information (especially gossip, rumours or scandalous news) is passed on from one person to another, and changes along the way, so that the final version is often very different from the original.|
|chink in someone's armour||If
someone has a chink in their armour,
they have a weakness that other people can
take advantage of.
The candidate's opponents are busy looking for chinks in his armour.
you have a chinwag with someone,
you have an opportunity to chat with each
"How about having lunch together on Friday?"
"OK, good idea, we can have a good old chinwag!"
|chip on your shoulder||If someone has a
chip on their shoulder, the feel
resentful because they feel they are being
treated unfairly, especially because of
their background, their sex or their colour.
He's got a chip on his shoulder because he's from a working-class family.
|chip off the old block||A
person who is a chip off the old block
resembles one of their parents in
appearance, character or behaviour.
James is a chip off the old block - he reacts the same way as his father.
|had one's chips||To
say that someone has had their chips
means that they have completely failed in
what they set out to achieve.
After the second round, it looked as though Watson had had his chips.
|chips are down||This
expression refers to people's behavior in a
difficult or dangerous situation when action
must be taken.
It's when the chips are down that Jack is at his best.
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