English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - O
|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
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
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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