English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - L
|laugh off||When you laugh about something that has
upset or hurt you, to make it seem less
important or to try to show that you do not
care, you laugh it off.
She overheard her colleague's critical remark, but she laughed it off.
|laugh up one's sleeve||If you laugh up your sleeve,
you are secretly amused at another person's
problems or difficulties.
Tom felt that his demonstration was confusing and that his colleague was laughing up his sleeve.
|laughing stock||A person who does something stupid or
ridiculous which causes others to laugh
becomes a laughing stock.
If you wear that to school you'll be the laughing stock of the class!
|law of the jungle||A situation in which people are prepared
to use unscrupulous methods in order to
succeed or survive is called the law of
Some businesses today seem to be governed by the law of the jungle.
|law unto themselves||If someone is a law unto themselves,
they do things their own way and ignore what
is generally considered as acceptable.
They're against discipline and allow their children complete freedom - they're a law unto themselves.
|lay it on the line||If
you speak frankly and make something very
clear, you lay it on the line.
The boss laid it on the line and told Jimmy that if he arrived late for work again he would lose his job.
|lay down the law||Someone who lays down the law
tells people very forcefully and firmly what
The volunteers helped in a disorganised way. They needed someone to lay down the law.
|lead up garden path||If someone
leads you up the garden path, they
deceive you by making you believe something
which is not true.
I still haven't got the promotion I was promised. I think my boss is leading me up the garden path!
|lead to a dead end||If a plan or
project leads to a dead end, it
develops no further because it has no
In spite of the scientists' efforts, the research lead to a dead end.
|leaps and bounds||If you do something
in leaps and bounds, you make rapid or
spectacular progress or growth.
The number of subscribers to the newsletter has grown in leaps and bounds.
|learn the hard way||If you learn
the hard way, you learn through your
own experience, good and bad, rather than
from the advice or guidance of others.
His refusal to accept any help meant that he had to learn the hard way.
|learn the ropes||If you learn
the ropes, you learn how to do a
particular job correctly.
He's bright. It won't take him long to learn the ropes.
|learning curve||The length of time
needed to learn something new is called the
The new system has a long learning curve so we'll have to give the staff time to get used to it.
|leave the door open||If you leave
the door open, you behave in such a way
as to allow the possibility of further
Both parties left the door open for further negotiations.
|leave high and dry||If you are left
high and dry, you find yourself in a
difficult situation without help or
When her husband walked out on her, Amanda was left high and dry with two kids to raise.
alphabetical lists L ...
more alphabetical lists ...