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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Alphabetical List of Idioms - O

(Idioms O, page 1 : odds and ends  →  can't make an omelette)

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.
at odds 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.
off colour If you are off colour, you look or feel ill.
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 or preparation.
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 publicly.
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 completely crazy.
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 difficult task.
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.
 
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  alphabetical lists O ... 

O1 O2 O3 O4 O5 O6

  more alphabetical lists ... 
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Y-Z