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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Alphabetical List - O

(page 3 :  one good turn ... →  open secret)

One good turn deserves another This expression means that when somebody helps you, you should do something helpful in return.
one hand washes the other (and together they wash the face) This expression means that when people cooperate and work well together, there is a better chance of a achieving results.
one horse town A place referred to as a one horse town is a small, boring town where nothing much ever happens.
I wish my grandparents didn't live in that one-horse town.  It's such a boring place!
one over the eight If a person has had one over the eight, they are slightly drunk.
Don't listen to him!  Can't you see he's had one over the eight!
one step ahead When you are one step ahead of someone else, you achieve something faster than they do, or you have a slight advantage over them.
The company is successful because they're always one step ahead of their competitors.
one track mind If you have a one-track mind, you have a tendency to think about only one subject.
The boy has a one-track mind; all he thinks about is football!
one too many Someone who has had one too many has drunk too much alcohol.
I think Tony's had one too many - he's talking rubbish.
one's number is up To say that one's number is up means that either a person is in serious difficulty and something bad is going to happen, or the time has come when they will die.
The police have located the escaped prisoner so it looks as if his number is up!
one's own undoing If you do something that is the cause of your own failure, loss or downfall, it is your own undoing. You can blame nobody but yourself.
If he continues to gamble like that, it will be his own undoing.
one-upmanship This term refers to the art of gaining and keeping an advantage over other people.
He's a successful man, but his one-upmanship has left him with few friends.
only to be expected If an event or outcome is only to be expected, it is most likely to happen.
The teacher was angry because you cheated at the exam?
That was only to be expected!
open doors to/for If something opens doors, it provides opportunities or possibilities for the future.
A degree from a top university generally opens doors to major companies.
open the floodgates If someone or something opens the floodgates, they release something that had previously been held under control.
It is feared that easing price controls will open the floodgates to inflation.
open the kimono If a person or organisation opens the kimono, they reveal something previously hidden.
It's time to open the kimono and explain that we cannot meet the deadline.
open/reopen old wounds If you open or reopen old wounds you revive memories of an unpleasant event, situation or dispute that took place in the past.
He carefully avoided the subject so as not to open old wounds.
open secret A fact that is supposed to be a secret but is actually widely known is called an open secret.
It's an open secret that Paul and Emily are living together.
   
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