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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Alphabetical List of Idioms - I

(Idioms I, page 1 :  : break the ice → in essence)

  • break the ice
    • A person who breaks the ice is someone who does or says something to make people relax in an uncomfortable situation.
      "He started by telling a joke to break the ice."

  • icing on the cake
    • If something is referred to as icing on the cake, it is an extra benefit that makes a good situation even better.
      "Good news! I get the job ... and the icing on the cake is that I get a company car too!"

  • identity theft
    • The crime of using another person's personal information (name, credit card number, etc.) without his/her knowledge, to set up and use bank accounts and credit facilities is known as identity theft.

  • idiot box
    • Some people consider television to lack educational value and refer to it as the idiot box.
      "He spends all his free time in front of the idiot box."

  • if it ain't broke don't fix it
    • This expression means that if a system or method works well, you shouldn't change it.
      "We're not touching our alarm system. As the saying goes : if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

  • if you can't stand the heat (get out of the kitchen)
    • The expression 'if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen' means that if you feel there is too much pressure, you can leave.
      Amid the growing tension the organiser declared : "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!"

  • ignorance is bliss
    • This means that if you don't know about a problem or unpleasant fact, you won't worry about it.
      "I didn't know our neighbour was an escaped prisoner until the police arrived - ignorance is bliss!"

  • ill-gotten gains
    • Money, profit or benefits that are made in a dishonest or illegal manner are called ill-gotten gains.
      "He won money by cheating and is now enjoying his ill-gotten gains."

  • industrial strength
    • This is a humorous way of referring to something which is very strong, powerful or concentrated.
      "I've got an industrial-strength headache this morning!"

  • Infomania
    • If you are constantly checking and responding to email and text messages, you may be the victim of a recent addiction called infomania.
      "The abuse of technology has lead to a state of infomania; employees are becoming addicted to checking email and text messages during meetings."

  • in cahoots (with)
    • If one person is in cahoots with another, they are working in close partnership, usually conspiring to do something dishonest.
      "There was a rumour that the mayor was in cahoots with a chain of supermarkets."

  • in a class of one's own
    • If someone is in a class of their own, they are unequalled and considered better than anyone else of their kind.
      "As a singer, Maria Callas was in a class of her own."

  • in dire straits
    • If a person or organisation is in dire straits, they are in a very difficult situation.
      "The loss of major contracts has put the company in dire straits."

  • in essence
    • The term in essence means 'basically', fundamentally' or 'essentially' and refers to the most important or essential facts.
      "In essence, lightning is a great big spark of electricity."

next page ...

More Idioms: 

 alphabetical lists I...   I1    I2    I3

 more alphabetical lists... 
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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.