English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - S
|go spare||If you go
you lost your temper completely.
Lea's dad would go spare if he found out how much she had spent in London!
|spare-part surgery||Spare-part surgery refers to surgery in which a diseased or non-functioning organ is replaced with a transplanted or artificial organ.|
|spare tyre||If a person has
a spare tyre, they have a roll of flesh
around the waist.
I'd better go on a diet - I'm getting a spare tyre!
|speak ill of someone||If you speak
ill of someone, you say bad or unkind
things about them.
He's very loyal man who refuses to speak ill of his colleagues.
|speak off the cuff||If you say
something off the cuff, you say it
spontaneously, without previous thought or
Politicians are usually careful not to speak off the cuff.
|speak out of turn||If someone
speaks out of turn, either they
intervene at the wrong moment or they say
something tactless or inappropriate.
At the first meeting I was afraid of speaking out of turn.
|speak softly and carry a big stick||If you speak
softly and carry a big stick, you
express your views in a quite non-aggressive
manner, but you make it clear that you are
in a position to use force if necessary.
As a leader he recommends the 'speak softly and carry a big stick' method.
|speak same language||If two or more
people speak the same language,
they have similar opinions or ideas, so they
understand each other very well.
We work well together because we speak the same language.
|speak volumes||If something
speaks volumes, it expresses a reaction
or opinion very clearly, with no need for
The happy smile on the child's face when he opened the box spoke volumes about my choice of gift.
|speed networking||This term refers to a relatively new urban trend which consists in making a potential business contact by briefly talking to a series of people at an organised event and exchanging contact details.|
|spell trouble||If something
spells trouble, it signifies possible
problems in the future.
The prolonged cold weather spells trouble for this year's harvest.
|spick and span||To refer to
something, usually a place, as spick and
span means that it is very clean, neat
The apartment must be spick and span before our guests arrive.
|spill the beans||If you spill
the beans, you reveal a secret or talk
about something private.
Come on! Spill the beans! What did he say?
|spin doctor||A spin doctor
is a press agent or a public relations
officer employed to promote a favourable
interpretation of events in business or
For a long time spin doctors lead us to believe that the situation was under control.
|spin a yarn||If you spin a
yarn, you tell a story, usually a long
improbable one, with distorted truths.
He failed the exam and spun a yarn about the exam papers being stolen.
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