English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - K
|kangaroo court||A kangaroo
court is an illegal tribunal set up by
a group of people who have taken the law
into their own hands and conduct trials
which deny fundamental justice.
Calm down please! Is this a meeting or a kangaroo court?
|keen as mustard||If someone is
as keen as mustard, they are very
eager, enthusiastic or motivated.
We should ask Emily to join the team. She's as keen as mustard.
|keep at arm's length||If you keep
someone at arm's length, you do not
allow yourself to become too friendly with
It's not easy to become friends with Sophie; she tends to keep everyone at arm's length.
|keep your back covered||
If you do something in case a problem arises
later for which you might be blamed, you
keep your back covered.
You'd better make a copy of that letter to keep your back covered.
|keep body and soul together||If someone is able to keep body and
soul together, they manage to survive.
He was unemployed and homeless, but somehow he managed to keep body and soul together.
|keep a civil tongue||People who keep a civil tongue
express themselves in polite terms.
Don't speak so rudely! You must learn to keep a civil tongue in all circumstances.
|keep your ear to the ground||If you keep your ear to the ground,
you make sure that you are aware of all
that is happening and being said.
We don't know what has been decided, but Jack is keeping his ear to the ground!
|keep one's feet on the ground||A person who keeps their feet on the
ground continues to act in a sensible
and practical way, even if they become
His invention was an instant success but he kept his feet on the ground and invested his money very wisely.
|keep finger on pulse||If you keep a finger on the pulse,
you are constantly aware of the most recent
events or developments.
A successful investor keeps his finger on the pulse of international business.
|keep fingers crossed||If you keep your fingers crossed,
you hope that something will be
I'm doing my driving test tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
|keep head above water||To keep one's head above water
means to try to survive by staying out of
debt, for example a small business.
Business has been slow, but we've managed to keep our head above water.
|keep a level head||If you keep a level head, you
remain calm and sensible no matter how
difficult or distressful the situation may
All through the hijacking the pilot kept a level head.
|keep the lid on||If you keep the lid on something,
you hide it or control it to prevent people
from finding out about it.
The company tried to keep a lid on the negotiations but word got out to the press.
|keep a low profile||A person who keeps a low profile
tries not to attract public attention.
The inventor is a discreet man who keeps a low profile.
|keep your nose clean||A person who keeps their nose clean
behaves well and avoids trouble.
He spent a term in prison a few years ago but he's kept his nose clean ever since.
|keep nose to the grindstone||A person who
keeps their nose to the grindstone is
someone who concentrates on working or
She was so determined to get into the college of her choice that she kept her nose to the grindstone all year.
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