English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - S
|since time immemorial||If something has
existed since time immemorial, it
has been there for such a long time that
nobody can recall a time without it.
I don't know when that bridge was built. It's been there since time immemorial.
|sing a different tune||If somebody
sings a different tune, they change
their opinion about something, or their
attitude towards something.
He had no sympathy for people out of work until he lost his own job;
now he's singing a different tune.
|sink or swim||If someone has to
sink or swim, they have to do
something alone, and their success or
failure depends entirely on their own
The sink-or-swim attitude in the company can be very difficult for young recruits.
|sink one's differences||If people or
organisations sink their differences,
they decide to forget their disagreements.
We must sink our differences and build a peaceful community.
|sink your teeth into||If you sink
your teeth into something, you do it
with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
When Julie got promoted, she immediately sank her teeth into her new job.
|siphon off||If someone
siphons something off, they transfer
something from one place to another, often
It was discovered that he had siphoned off money from the business into an account in a tax haven.
|sit on the fence||If you sit on
the fence, you avoid taking sides in a
discussion or argument.
It's an important issue. You can't continue to sit on the fence!
|sit up and take notice||A person who
sits up and takes notice become alert
The announcement of the winner made everyone sit up and take notice.
|sitting duck||To refer to someone
as a sitting duck means that they
are an easy target to criticize, attack,
The young actress was a sitting duck for the reporters.
|sitting pretty||Someone who is
sitting pretty is in a good or
fortunate situation, especially compared to
others who are not so lucky.
He sold his shares at a good time so he's now sitting pretty and enjoying life.
|six of one and half a dozen of the other||This expression
means that there is no real difference
between two choices; both are equally good
or equally bad.
I didn't know who to vote for. It was six of one and half a dozen of the other!
|at sixes and sevens||If someone is
at sixes and sevens, they are in a
state of confusion or not very well
The managers were at sixes and sevens when they were informed of the Chairman's visit.
|skating on thin ice||If you are
skating on thin ice, you are doing or
saying something risky, or something that could cause
Don't mention that subject during the negotiations or you could be skating on thin ice.
|skeleton staff/crew||If a business or
organisation works with a skeleton
staff, it is run with the smallest
number of people necessary.
The office is closed the week after Christmas but there will be a skeleton staff to handle essential operations.
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