English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - D
|disaster written all over||If something, such
as a plan or idea, has disaster written
all over it, it is thought to be
heading for complete failure, or will cause
a lot of trouble.
Mary's idea of a holiday with her in-laws has disaster written all over it!
|dive in headfirst||If you begin
something enthusiastically, without thinking
about the possible consequences, you
dive in headfirst.
Tony accepted the project without realizing the time it would take; he always dives in headfirst!
|do a double take||Someone who
does a double take looks again in
surprise at something unexpected.
He did a double take when he saw his wife in a restaurant with another man.
|do a disappearing act||If someone does
a disappearing act, they simply vanish,
especially if they have done something wrong
Just before the police arrived, the suspect did a disappearing act.
|do a good turn||If you do
someone a good turn, you act in a
Mike is a great guy - always ready to do a good turn.
|(not) do justice to||Something that does
not show the true value of someone or
something does not do justice to
The photograph doesn't do her justice; she's much prettier than that.
|do more harm than good||If the effect of an
action is more damaging than helpful, it
does more harm than good.
Giving him money did more harm than good - he spent it on alcohol.
|do nothing by halves||When a person does
everything they are engaged in completely
and thoroughly, they are said to do
nothing by halves.
When she cooks, it's a four-course meal - she does nothing by halves!
|do someone's dirty work||To do
somebody's dirty work means to do the
unpleasant or difficult work that another
person does not want to do.
Life is easy for Harry. He always finds someone to do his dirty work!
|do the spadework||Someone who
does the spadework does the preparatory
work or the preliminary research.
Although I did all the spadework, my name was never mentioned.
|do the trick||If something
does the trick, it does exactly what is
needed, or achieves the desired effect.
Another coat of paint should do the trick.
|just what the doctor ordered||If something is
just what the doctor ordered, it is
extremely pleasant and will help you feel
A week-end in the sun - just what the doctor ordered!
|a doddle||If a task or
activity is a doddle, it is very
easy to do or perform.
"How did it go?" "No problem, it was a doddle."
|dodge a bullet||If you dodge a
bullet, you narrowly avoid a very
serious problem or a disaster.
I dodged a bullet when I missed the plane. It crashed just after take-off.
refers to intense competition and rivalry in
pursuit of one's own interests, with no
concern for morality.
The business world is tough today. There's a general dog-eat-dog attitude.
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