English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - S
|smoke like a chimney||Someone who smokes
a large amount of tobacco on a regular basis
is said to smoke like a chimney.
My grandfather smoked like a chimney.
|smoke signals||To say that there
are smoke signals means that there
are indications that something is probably
going to happen.
All the smoke signals seem to indicate that the company is going to be taken over.
|smoke and mirrors||An attempt to
conceal or distort the truth (like a
magician) in order to confuse people is
called smoke and mirrors.
The outgoing president used smoke and mirrors to make the situation look better.
is an action or tactic intended to
conceal or divert attention from your real
intentions or activities.
His travel business was just a smokescreen for his political activities.
|smokestack industry||Industries involved
in heavy manufacturing such as the
production of iron and steel, especially if
they cause a lot of pollution, are called
Smokestack industries are no longer authorized in residential areas.
|smoking gun||A smoking gun
is a piece of evidence or the indisputable
sign of someone's guilt.
The fingerprints left on the door-handle was the smoking gun that enabled the police to arrest him.
|smooth the path||To smooth the
path for something means to make
progress easier or enable it to happen.
Speaking the language smoothed the path for negotiations.
|smooth ruffled feathers||If you smooth
someone's ruffled feathers, you make
that person feel less angry or offended.
Tom took the criticism badly but James managed to smooth his ruffled feathers.
|in smooth waters||A business or
operation that is in smooth waters
is making regular and easy progress.
The company seems to be in smooth waters these days.
|snail mail||This term refers to
the standard system of mail delivery, or
postal service, considered very slow
compared to electronic mail.
More and more people are using e-mail rather than the traditional postal service, snail mail.
|at a snail's pace||If something moves
at a snail's pace, it moves very
The old man was driving along the road at a snail's pace.
|snake in the grass||Someone who
pretends to be your friend while actually
betraying you is a snake in the grass.
I thought I could trust my colleague but he turned out to be a snake in the grass.
|snap decision||A quick decision
based on an impulse, without taking time to
weigh the consequences, is called a snap
Completely overworked, he suddenly turned off his computer and made a snap decision to go swimming.
|snatch victory from the jaws of defeat||If you manage to
win something such as a match or a contest,
when you are on the verge of losing, you
snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
With a last-minute goal, the team snatched victory form the jaws of defeat.
|sneak preview/peek||A sneak preview (or
sneak peek) is a special viewing of a film
or art production given to a select audience
before being shown to the general public.
Television reporters were given a sneak preview of the next episode.
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