English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - P
|power behind the throne||Someone with no
apparent authority who has great influence
over the person officially in charge is said
to be the power behind the
It's essential to be on good terms with his wife. Apparently she's the power behind the throne.
|preaching to the converted||A person who
preaches to the converted is
encouraging people to support an idea that
they already agree with.
Talking to athletes about the virtues of sport is preaching to the converted.
|pregnant pause||A pregnant
pause is a moment of silence full of
There was a pregnant pause before the president answered the journalist's question.
|prepare the ground||When you
prepare the ground, you try to make it
easier for a future event or action to
happen or be accepted.
The two foreign ministers prepared the ground for negotiations.
|press home||If you press
something home, you insist on a point
in a discussion or argument.
Her lawyer kept pressing home the fact that she was a single mother.
|pressed for time||If you are
pressed for time, you have hardly
enough time to do something, so you must
Sorry, I can't talk to you now. I'm a bit pressed for time.
|pretty as a picture||
Someone who is (as) “pretty as a picture’ is
very attractive or appealing in appearance.
The young bride looked (as) pretty as a picture in her beautiful dress.
|cost a pretty penny||If something
costs a pretty penny, it costs a lot of
Steve's new car must have cost a pretty penny!
|prey on your mind||If something
preys on your mind, it troubles you so
much that you keep thinking about it.
The vision of the house on fire kept preying on her mind.
|price oneself out of the market||If you price
yourself out of the market, you charge
such a high price for your goods or services
that nobody wants to buy them.
He was so eager to make money that he priced himself out of the market.
|price you have to pay||The price you
have to pay is what you have to endure
in return for something you gain or achieve.
Lack of privacy is the price you have to pay for being a celebrity.
|prick up one's ears||If you prick up
your ears, you suddenly pay attention
to what is being said.
The children pricked up their ears when they heard the word 'ice-cream'.
|prime of one's life||The
prime of one's life is the time in
a person's life when they are the most
successful, or in their best physical
At the age of 75, the singer is not exactly in the prime of his life!
|get your priorities right/straight||If you put things
in the right order of importance, you
get your priorities right.
Dad! Your health is more important than the state of the garden.
You must get your priorities right!
|prod into (doing)||If you prod
someone into doing something, you make
a hesitant person do something that they are
reluctant to do.
She was ideal for the job, but I had to prod her into applying for the position.
|low profile||A person who keeps
a low profile tries not to attract
The investor is a discreet man who keeps a low profile.
|prolong the agony||If someone
prolongs the agony, they make an
unpleasant or tense situation last longer
Please don't prolong the agony. Just tell me whether I've been accepted or not.
|proof of the pudding||This expression
means that something new can only be judged
after it has been tested.
I'm going to try out my new DVD player. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as we all know!
|proper 'do'||This expression
refers to a social event with formal clothes
and top-class catering, organised to
Bob says he'd be happy with a civil wedding and a drink afterwards, but Maggie wants a proper do.
alphabetical lists P ...
more alphabetical lists ...