English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - P
|if push comes to shove||The expression
'if push comes to shove' refers to what
you will do if the situation becomes
critical and you have to take action.
There should be enough room for everyone, but if push comes to shove we can go to the hotel.
|pushing up the daisies||To say that someone
is pushing up the daisies means
that they are dead.
Old Johnny Barnes? He's been pushing up the daisies for over 10 years!
|put/lay one's cards on the table||If you put your
cards on the table, you speak honestly
and openly about your feelings and
Let's clean the air and put our cards on the table.
|put a damper on||If someone or
something puts a damper on a
situation or event, they do something to
make it less successful or enjoyable.
The party was going great until the neighbours' complaints put a damper on it.
|put a spanner in the works||To put a
spanner in the works (or throw a
(monkey) wrench) means to cause
problems and prevent something from
happening as planned.
A new motorway was planned but a group of ecologists managed to put a spanner in the works.
|put it mildly||If you put it
mildly, you express your opinion or
reaction in a controlled way, without
She's 3 years old and already able to read. That's promising, to put it mildly!
|put on a brave face||When confronted
with difficulties, if you put on a brave
face, you try to look cheerful and
pretend that the situation is not as bad as
Even in the worst of times she put on a brave face.
|put on ice||If a project or
plan is put on ice, all further
action has been suspended or postponed for
an indefinite period of time.
Plans for the nuclear power station have been put on ice.
|put best foot forward||If someone puts
their best foot forward, they do
something as fast as they can.
It's a long way to the station, but if I put my best foot forward I should catch the next train.
|put one's feet up||When you put your
feet up, you sit down and relax.
You must be tired. Come in and put your feet up.
|put one's foot down||To put one's
foot down means to exert authority to
prevent something from happening.
The child wanted to sleep on the sofa but his father put his foot down and sent him to bed.
|put foot in one's mouth||If you put your
foot in your mouth, you say something
that offends, upsets or embarrasses someone.
She really put her foot in her mouth when she mentioned the housewarming party - Andy hadn't been invited.
|put head on the block||If you put yourself
in a dangerous situation where you risk
losing your job or your reputation if things
go wrong, you put your head on the
Jenny asked me to recommend her son for the job, but I'm not putting my head on the block for someone I hardly know.
|put your heart into||If you put your
heart (and soul) into something, you
are very enthusiastic and invest a lot of
energy and hard work in it.
Paul was determined to make a success of the project. He put his heart and soul into it.
|put house in order||If you tell someone
to put their house in order, you
are saying that they should organise their
own affairs or take care of their own
problems before giving advice to other
You should put your house in order before telling me what to do!
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