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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Alphabetical List - N

(page 5 :  not in the same league → nuts and bolts)

not in the same league If something is not in the same league, it is of much lower standard than something else.
He had a good voice but he wasn't in the same league as Pavarotti.
not in one's right mind Someone who is not in their right mind is not behaving in a logical or sensible way.
Julie wasn't in her right mind the day she bought that outfit.  It doesn't suit her at all!
not let grass grow under your feet If someone does not let the grass grow under their feet, they do not delay in getting something done.
As soon as he received the permit, he started to build.  He never lets the grass grow under his feet!
not a patch on If something or someone is not a patch on an other, they are not nearly as good.
His second conference wasn't a patch on the first one.
not have a stitch on Someone who does not have a stitch on is wearing no clothes and is therefore completely naked.
When the doorbell rang, he didn't have a stitch on!
not the only pebble on the beach To say that someone is not the only pebble on the beach means that they are not the only person worth considering.
He thinks his refusal to join the team will cause problems, but there are other alternatives ...he's not the only pebble on the beach!
not the brightest bulb in the box

not the sharpest knife in the drawer

not the sharpest tool in the shed

‘Sharp’ and ‘bright’ both mean ‘clever’ or ‘intelligent’.
These are a few of the expressions used to say that someone is not very intelligent. There are many others.

Max has failed the exam for the third time!
He's obviously not the brightest bulb in the box!


Nobody was surprised when Johnny misunderstood the message.
We all know he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer!
not up to scratch Something which is not up to scratch fails to reach the expected standard.
The quality of the material is not up to scratch.  We'll have to change our suppliers.
a notch above Something that is a notch above something else is a little better in every way.
His rendering of the song was a notch above the others.
strike right note If you strike (or hit) the right note, you say or do something suitable or appropriate
He struck the right note with his future mother-in-law when he brought her a book on gardening - her favourite hobby!
nothing doing This term means that there is no way you would accept to do what is proposed.
Work on Sunday?  Nothing doing!
nothing succeeds like success This expression means that success often leads to further successes.
The success of my first book encouraged to continue writing.  Nothing succeeds like success!
nothing to write home about To say that something is nothing to write home about means that it is not of great interest or importance.
Okay, she's written a couple of books, but nothing to write home about.
nothing ventured, nothing gained You cannot expect to achieve anything is you risk nothing.
He's going to ask his boss for a promotion even though he has little chance of obtaining satisfaction.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
now you're talking! This expression is used to show encouragement or agreement with something that has just been said, for example a good idea.
"If we take the underground we'll avoid the traffic" "Now you're talking!"
nowhere to be found If something is nowhere to be found, even after a thorough search, it is impossible to find it.
We looked everywhere for the cat but it was nowhere to be found.
null and void Something which is null and void has no legal force or is invalid.
The contract was declared null and void.
number cruncher This is a humorous way of referring to someone who is an accountant or who is very good at working with numbers and calculations.
She's a number cruncher who perfectly understands the organisation's financial situation.
go nuts To say that a person has gone nuts means that they have become completely foolish, eccentric or mad.
I think the old lady has gone nuts!  It's very hot today and she's wearing a fur coat!
nuts and bolts The nuts and bolts of something are the detailed facts and the practical aspects.
We need to discuss the nuts and bolts of the proposal before going any further.
nutty as a fruitcake Someone who is (as) nutty as a fruitcake is insane or crazy.
Don't pay attention to what the old man says; he's as nutty as a fruitcake!
   
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