English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - P
|at a pinch||To say that
something could be done at a pinch
means that it would be possible to do it if
The hall can seat 50 people comfortably, and a few more at a pinch.
|pink elephants||This term refers to
hallucinations or strange imaginary things
seen by people as a result of heavy drinking
or the use of narcotics.
No more drinks for me please, otherwise I'll be seeing pink elephants!
|in the pink of health||If you are in
the pink of health, you are in
excellent physical condition.
Caroline looks in the pink of health after her holiday.
|tickled pink||If you are
tickled pink, you are very pleased
My dad was tickled pink when he was asked to announce the winner.
|have pins and needles||To have
pins and needles is to have a
tingling sensation in a part of the body,
for example an arm or a leg, when it has
been in the same position for a long time.
I lay curled up for so long that I had pins and needles in my legs.
|on pins and needles||If you are
on pins and needles, you
are very anxious or nervous about what is
going to happen.
Scott was on pins and needles while he waited for the result of the exam.
|in the pipeline||If something is
in the pipeline, it is currently in
progress or being organised.
A new talk show is in the pipeline at the moment.
|the pits||If something is
referred to as the pits, it is
considered to be absolutely the worst.
That magazine is the pits!
|place in the sun||If you find a
place in the sun, you reach a position
which provides you with wealth and
happiness, or whatever you have been hoping
to obtain in life.
She finally found a place in the sun with the triumph of her latest book.
|plain sailing||An activity or task
that is plain sailing is without
difficulty or free from trouble.
Once the plans were accepted, it was plain sailing all the way.
|plan B||Plan B is
an alternative solution to be adopted if
one's original plan does not succeed.
The idea is to get a caterer to provide the food. If that's too expensive, plan B is to organise a buffet with the help of friends.
|plastic smile||A person with a
plastic smile is wearing a forced smile
which makes them appear happier that they
A receptionist greeted customers with a plastic smile.
|a lot on your plate||If someone has
a lot on their plate, they are
extremely busy or have several problems to
handle at the same time.
It's not a good time to discuss the problem with David. He's got a lot on his plate at the moment.
|play your cards right||If you play
your cards right, you do all that is
necessary to succeed or to obtain what you
If we play our cards right, we'll get the contract.
|play cat and mouse||To play cat and
mouse with someone means to treat them
alternately cruelly and kindly, so that they
do not know what to expect.
He's difficult to work for, always playing cat and mouse with the employees.
|play by ear||To play by ear means to
improvise or act without preparation,
according to the demands of the situation.
(Music : to play by remembering the tune, without printed music.)
It's hard to know how the situation will develop. Let's just play it by ear.
|play with fire||People who take
unnecessary risks or behave in a dangerous
way are playing with fire.
Driving alone on isolated roads in this weather is playing with fire.
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