English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - P
|paper trail||If a person or organisation leaves a
paper trail, they leave evidence in
writing or in document form that will serve
as proof of their actions.
The police found a paper trail which lead to the author of the hoax.
|on paper||To say that an idea, plan or scheme
seems good on paper means that it
looks good in theory or in writing but may
not work when put into practice.
His plan looks good on paper but I'm not convinced it will work.
|par for the course||
If something is par for the course,
it is typical of what to expect in that
I spent the week-end working on the project but nobody showed any appreciation. That's par for the course in this firm.
|part and parcel||Something that is part and parcel
of an activity or role is a key
component or an essential element that
cannot be avoided.
I'm an events manager. Travelling is part and parcel of my job.
|parting shot||A parting shot is a final
remark, often incisive or disparaging, made
just as one is leaving.
He has a way of making parting shots that can be very discouraging.
|partner in crime||A person who helps
you to plan something dishonest or unlawful
is called your partner in crime.
(This expression can be used jokingly as in the example below.)
Sam was my partner in crime. He hid my son's bicycle until his birthday.
|party is over||To say that the
party is over means that a period of
happiness, freedom, enjoyment etc. has come
to an end, and life is going to return to
I had a wonderful time here but the party's over and I must get back to work.
|pass the buck||If you say that
someone is passing the buck, you
are accusing them of not taking
responsibility for a problem and letting
others deal with it instead.
Whenever a customer comes to complain, she always finds a way of looking busy - a great way of passing the buck!
|pass muster||If someone or
something passes muster, they are
considered to be satisfactory or acceptable.
The interview went well. I hope I'll pass muster.
|passing fancy||If you have a
passing fancy for something, you become
fond of it for a short time.
My father started collecting stamps a few years ago, but it was just a passing fancy.
|pat answer||A simplified
response that is memorized or prepared in
advance is called a pat answer.
Many journalists at the press conference found his pat answers totally frustrating.
|have down pat||If you memorize or
practice something until you know it
perfectly or have it exactly right, you
have it down pat.
I rehearsed my presentation until I had it down pat.
|not a patch on||If something or
someone is not a patch on an other,
they are not nearly as good.
His second conference wasn't a patch on the first one.
alphabetical lists P ...
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