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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Alphabetical List of Idioms - I 

(Idioms I, page 3 : in safe hands → be an item)

in safe hands If something is in safe (or good) hands, it is being looked after by a reliable person or organisation and is therefore at no risk.
I'll look after Jamie while you go shopping.  Don't worry, he'll be in safe hands.
in seventh heaven If you are in seventh heaven, you are extremely happy.
Every time she wins a match, she's in seventh heaven!
in a stew When someone is in a stew about something, they are worried and agitated.
When she was organizing the wedding reception, Laura got into a stew over the seating arrangements.
in trouble with the law If someone is in trouble with the law, they are being questioned by the police in connection with something illegal or criminal.
The suspect has often been in trouble with the law.
in the twinkling of an eye This expression means 'very fast' or 'instantaneously'.
Public opinion can change in the twinkling of an eye.
in two shakes of a lamb's tail To do something in two shakes of a lamb's tail means to do it very quickly or in a moment.
I'll be ready in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
in vino veritas This expression, which in Latin means 'in wine there is truth', is a way of saying that wine makes people less inhibited and leads them to speak more freely and reveal their true feelings.
After a few drinks he told us the whole story - in vino veritas!
in words of one syllable If you explain something in words of one syllable, you use very simple language.
Not so fast!  Say that again in words of one syllable.
ins and outs The term 'ins and outs' of a situation means all the details or facts.
I know he was involved in a car accident, but I don't know the ins and outs of his injuries.
add insult to injury To add insult to injury means to make a bad situation worse by harming or upsetting someone you have already harmed in some other way.
Not only did he steal money from his best friend, he added insult to injury by damaging his car!
iron fist/hand This expression is used to describe someone who, behind an appearance of gentleness, is inflexible and determined.
To impose the necessary reforms, the leader used persuasion followed by force - an iron fist in a velvet glove.
irons in the fire If you have a few, or many, irons in the fire, you are involved in several projects at the same time.
The travel agency is not his only venture - he's got more than one iron in the fire.
itchy feet A person who has itchy feet is someone who finds it difficult to stay in one place and likes to travel and discover new places.
Andrew's got itchy feet again.  He says he's going to teach in China for a few years.
itching (or itchy) palm Someone who has an itching palm is greedy for money, for example tips or commission (as if putting money in the palm of their hand would ease the itch).
He's said to have an itching palm - he does nothing without payment!
it's anyone's call This expression is used when the result of a contest or election is difficult to predict.
"Who do you think will win?"  "It's anyone's call."
it's a small world People use this expression when they are surprised to meet someone familiar in unexpected places.
Wow!  It's a small world.  I never expected to meet a neighbour on a transatlantic flight!
it's no use crying over spilt milk It is useless to complain or have regrets about something that is done and cannot be changed.
Sometimes I regret not accepting the offer, but it's no use crying over spilt milk.
be an item To say that two people are an item means that they are involved in a romantic relationship.
So Sally and Harry are an item, are they?
 
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