English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - N
|not in the same league||
If something is not in the same league,
it is of much lower standard than something
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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!
alphabetical lists N ...
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