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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Alphabetical List of Idioms K, page 3

Idioms K, page 3:  from:   'a kickback'   to:   'kowtow to someone'


  • a kickback
    • The term 'kickback' refers to money paid illegally for favourable treatment.
      "The property developers were accused of giving kickbacks to the local authorities."

  • kill two birds with one stone
    • If you kill two birds with one stone, you succeed in doing two things at the same time.
      "By studying on the train on the way home, Claire kills two birds with one stone."

  • kill with kindness
    • When you are excessive in your efforts to be helpful or generous, you can harm someone, or kill them with kindness.
      "The children are overweight, but their grandmother continues to give them chocolates and cookies - she'll kill them with kindness!"

  • kindred spirit
    • People who have a lot in common and share the same beliefs, attitudes and feelings are kindred spirits.
      "The immediately felt they were kindred spirits and became close friends."

  • kiss goodbye to something
    • If you accept as certain that you will not get something that you want, you kiss (or say) goodbye to it.
      "There will be no bonus this year, so I can kiss goodbye to the new car I wanted!"

  • be on its knees / bring to its knees
    • When something such as a country or organisation is on its knees, or brought to its knees, it is in a very weak situation.
      "The civil war brought the country to its knees."

  • knee-high to a grasshopper
    • This term refers to the height of a very young or small child.
      "Look how tall you are! Last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a grasshopper!"

  • (get your) knickers in a twist
    • If you get your knickers in a twist, you are confused, worried or upset faced with a difficult situation.
      "Don't get your knickers in a twist! Everything is under control."

  • knock sense into someone
    • When you knock sense into somebody, you use strong words or methods in order to get that person to stop behaving stupidly.
      "When Jason announced that he was going to drop out of college, his uncle managed to knock some sense into him."

  • knock your socks off
    • If something amazes you, or impresses you greatly, it knocks your socks off.
      "The magnitude of the project will knock the socks off everyone in the office."

  • knock someone down with feather
    • To say 'you could have knocked me down with a feather' emphasizes the fact that you were extremely surprised.
      "When I heard the name of the winner, you could have knocked me down with a feather!"

  • know better than to do something
    • If you know better than to do something, you are experienced or wise enough not to do it.
      "You should know better than to go sailing in stormy weather."

  • know the ropes
    • Someone who knows the ropes is familiar with the way something is done and/or knows how to do it.
      "Charlie can fill in for Sam. He knows the ropes."

  • know someone inside out
    • If you know someone inside out, you know them very well.
      "Sue and Anne have been friends since childhood. They know each other inside out."

  • know the score
    • When you know the score, you are well-informed about a situation and know what to expect.
      "If Laura damages the car, her dad won't lend it to her again. She knows the score."

  • know your own mind
    • If you know your own mind, you know what you want or like, and are capable of making a decision.
      "I don't want to influence you. You're old enough to know your own mind."

  • know something like the back of your hand
    • If you know something like the back of your hand, you are very familiar with it or know it in detail.
      "Of course I won't get lost. I know London like the back of my hand!"

  • (not) know what hit you
    • If you don't know what hit you, you are so surprised, shocked or confused by something that you do not know how to react.
      "When I was told that I was the winner of the competition, I didn't know what hit me!"

  • know which side your bread is buttered
    • If you know which side your bread is buttered, you know where your interests lie or what will be to your advantage.
      "Jack never argues with his father-in-law. He knows which side his bread is buttered."

  • know which way the wind is blowing
    • This expression means that it is advisable to know how a situation is developing in order to be prepared for any changes.
      "Before we decide on anything, we need to know which way the wind is blowing."

  • knuckle down to something
    • If someone knuckles down to something, they start to work on it seriously.
      "If you want to succeed, you'll have to knuckle down to some serious work."

  • kowtow to someone
    • If you are very respectful and submissive, giving way to the wishes of a person or organisation in authority in order to please them, you kowtow to them.
      "Mark refused to kowtow to the committee and decided to work as a consultant."

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More Idioms: 

 alphabetical lists K:   K1    K2    K3

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