English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - F
|put a finger on something||If you are able to
identify or understand something such as the
cause of a problem or the solution to it,
you put your finger on it.
The atmosphere at the meeting was strange, but Marie couldn't put a finger on the cause of it.
|finger on the pulse||If you keep
your finger on the pulse, you are
constantly aware of the most recent events
A successful investor keeps his finger on the pulse of international business.
|all fingers and thumbs||If you are
all fingers and thumbs, you are awkward
and clumsy and do things incorrectly.
Would you mind wrapping this for me? I'm all fingers and thumbs!
|let slip through fingers||If you let
something slip through your fingers,
such as a good opportunity, you fail to
obtain it or keep it.
He should have accepted the job when it was offered. He let the opportunity slip through his fingers.
|work fingers to bone||A person who
works their fingers to the bone is
He deserves his success; he worked his fingers to the bone when he started the business.
|fit to be tied||If you are fit
to be tied, you are extremely
irritated, upset or angry.
Harry was fit to be tied when his dog dug up the flowers he had planted.
|five finger discount||If somebody gets a
five-finger discount, they take
something without paying; in other words,
"How could he afford that watch?"
"Who knows - perhaps with a five-finger discount?"
|fire away||If you tell someone
to fire away, you encourage them to
begin to talk or ask questions.
If you've got any questions, fire away!
|firing line||Someone who is in
the firing line is in a position to
be criticized because of their
responsibilities or the position they hold.
The managing director of the bank is in the firing line since the fraud was discovered.
|first and foremost||This expression is
used to state what you consider to be more
important than anything else.
First and foremost I want to thank our hosts for their wonderful reception.
|first base||When you get to
(or reach) first base, you make
progress or begin to have success with
someone or something.
If you go to the interview dressed like that, you won't get to first base!
|first come first served||This expression
means that there will be no favouritism or
preferential treatment. People will be
served strictly in the order they arrive.
Tickets for the match will be sold on a 'first come first served' basis.
|(at) first hand||If you experience
something yourself directly, without any
intermediary, you experience it (at)
Getting to see the performance (at) first hand is much better than watching it on television.
|first out of the gate||If
you are first out of the gate, you
are the first to make a start at something
that others have also accepted to do.
Sandra was so enthusiastic about the project that she was first out of the gate.
|in the first place||Something that is
done or said in the first place is done
at the beginning, before anything else.
Why didn't you tell me he was your boyfriend in the first place?
alphabetical lists F ...
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