English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - L
|live a lie||If you spend your
life hiding something important about
yourself, or inventing something which is
not true, you live a lie.
To hide his humble origins, he told his wife he had no family and spent
his life living a lie.
|live beyond means||If someone
lives beyond their means,
they spend more money than they earn or can
The cost of living was so much higher in New York that he was soon living beyond his means.
|live from hand to mouth||If you live
from hand to mouth, you don't have any
money to save because whatever you earn is
spent on food and other essentials.
Most families in that area live from hand to mouth.
|live high off the hog||Someone who
lives high off the hog has a lot of
money and a very comfortable lifestyle.
Now he's wealthy and living high off the hog.
|live in an ivory tower||A person who
lives in an ivory tower has a lifestyle
that preserves them from the problems and
difficulties experienced by others.
You're completely out of touch - it's time to come out of your ivory tower and see what's going on!
|live in clover||Someone who
lives in clover has enough money to
lead a very comfortable life.
I dream of making an enormous amount of money and living in clover for the rest of my life!
|live on borrowed time||
This expression refers to a period of time
after an illness or accident which could
have caused death.
After heart surgery, many patients feel that they're living on borrowed time.
|live on the breadline||People who
live on the breadline have a very low
income or barely enough money to survive.
Due to the recent crisis, there are more people on the breadline than ever before.
|live on the edge||
If you live on the edge, your lifestyle involves dangerous or risky activities.
Extreme sportsmen or gamblers are examples of people who live on the edge.
|live out of suitcase||Someone who
lives of a suitcase travels a lot,
moving from place to place, and is therefore
restricted to the contents of their
Sarah's job involves so much travelling that she lives out of a suitcase.
|live the life of riley||A person who
lives the life of Riley has a
comfortable and enjoyable life, without
having to make much effort.
He married a millionaire, and since then he's been living the life of Riley!
|live to fight another day||This expression
means that even though you have had a
negative experience, you will have another
chance in the future to try again.
He was defeated in the final match but he lived to fight another day.
|live to a ripe old age||This expression
means to live until you are very old.
"If you lead a healthy life you'll live to a ripe old age." said the doctor.
|live to tell the tale||
Someone who lives to tell the tale
survives a terrible experience.
Only two members of the expedition lived to tell the tale.
|live up to reputation||If someone or
something lives up to its reputation,
it is as good,
or as bad, as people say.
The guesthouse lived up to its reputation; the owners were as friendly and hospitable as we had been told.
|live wire||Someone who is
highly vivacious, energetic and full of
enthusiasm is a live wire.
Things have brightened up since Charlie arrived. He's a real live wire!
|lo and behold!||This term is used
to express surprise, especially at a sudden
or unexpected appearance.
I was watering the flowers when, lo and behold, there was the watch I'd lost!
|load/weight off your mind||If something takes
a load off your mind, it brings
great relief because a problem has been
When the company closed down, finding a new job took a load off Tom's mind.
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