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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Alphabetical List of Idioms - P

(Idioms P, page 1 :  put through paces  → paper tiger)

put through their paces If you put someone or something through their paces, you test their ability to do something by making them perform certain actions.
During the presentation, the machine was put through its paces.
pack of lies A large number of untruthful statements is referred to as a pack of lies.
The story about her unhappy childhood turned out to be a pack of lies.
ahead of the pack If a person or organisation is ahead of the pack, they are better or more successful than their rivals.
Our products will have to be more innovative if we are to stay ahead of the pack.
pack something in If you pack something in, you abandon it or give it up.
She found city life so stressful, she decided to pack it in and move to the country.
packed like sardines If a group of people are packed like sardines, they are pressed together tightly and uncomfortably because there is not enough space.
The bus was very crowded - we were packed like sardines!
pad the bill If someone pads the bill, they add false items to a bill or invoice in order to increase the total amount.
Check the invoice carefully before paying - he tends to pad the bill!
paddle own canoe If you paddle your own canoe, you do what you want to do without help or interference from anyone.
He decided to paddle his own canoe and set up his own business.
paid peanuts If you are paid peanuts, you have a very low salary.
Jenny has a very interesting job, but she's paid peanuts. 
paint the town red If you paint the town red, you go out and enjoy a lively evening in bars, night-clubs, etc.
To celebrate the victory, the team's supporters painted the town red.
paint into a corner If you paint yourself into a corner, you put yourself into a situation that restricts what you can do or say.
Carole told her boss she was busy on Friday evening. She realized she had painted herself into a corner when he said : 'Too bad! I was going to give you two tickets for the opera."
(press) panic button If you hit or press the panic button, you raise the alarm too quickly or react too hastily in a difficult or stressful situation.
Calm down! There's no need to press the panic button yet!
(caught with) pants down If you are caught with your pants down, you are caught doing something bad or forbidden.
Our neighbours were caught fiddling with the electricity meter - caught with their pants down!
paper over cracks To say that someone is papering over the cracks means that they are concealing a problem rather than dealing with it effectively.
The measures taken to reduce unemployment are just paper over the cracks.
paper tiger This term refers to a person, organisation or country that is less powerful or threatening than they appear to be.
He threatens to take strong action but he's just another paper tiger.
 
 next...

 alphabetical lists P ... 

P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12 P13

 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