English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - O
|odds and ends||Odds and ends
are small articles, or bits and pieces of
all sorts, usually of little value.
I keep my odds and ends in this drawer.
If one person is
at odds with another, they disagree
with each other.
Sam is at odds with his father over the purchase of a new tractor.
If you are off colour, you look or
What's the matter with you Tom? You look a bit off colour today.
|off the cuff||If you speak off the cuff, you
say something without any previous thought
He handles off-the-cuff interviews very well.
|on the off-chance||If you do something on the off
chance, you think there might be a
slight possibility of success.
I went into the supermarket on the off chance that I would find a map.
|off the peg||Clothes that are bought off the peg
are purchased in a standard size in a shop
and are not made specially for you.
He can't afford to have his suits made to measure so he buys them off the peg.
|off the record||If you say something off the record,
you do not want anyone to repeat it
His comment was made off the record, and shouldn't have been published.
|off your rocker||If you tell someone that they are
off their rocker, you think they are
You're going to give all your money away? You're off your rocker!
|off the top of your head||To say something
off the top of your head means that
you are giving an immediate reaction, and
not a carefully considered opinion, so it
might not be correct.
"How much do you think it will cost?" "Off the top of my head I'd say around $1000."
|in the offing||Something that is in the offing
is likely to appear or happen soon.
Apparently a new law on minimum wages is in the offing.
|pour oil on troubled waters||If a person pours oil on troubled
waters, they do or say something to
calm a tense situation.
James is a good negotiator, and is always able to pour oil on troubled waters.
|old dog for hard road||This expression means that experience is
invaluable when one is faced with a
The case calls for an experienced lawyer, an old dog for a hard road.
|old wives' tale||A traditional belief or idea which has
been proved wrong by science is called
an old wives' tale.
The belief that chocolate causes acne is an old wives' tale.
|oldest trick in the book||A well-known and much-used trick, which
is still effective today, is called the
oldest trick in the book.
He made a noise to attract my attention while his accomplice stole my wallet - the oldest trick in the book!
|olive branch||If a person or organisation holds out
an olive branch to another, they
show that they want to end a disagreement
and make peace.
The protesters finally accepted the olive branch extended to them.
|can't make omelette||This expression means that it is
impossible to make important changes without
causing some unpleasant effects.
Some people will lose their jobs after the merger but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
alphabetical lists O ...
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