English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - S
|scarce as hen's teeth||To say that
something is as scarce as hen's teeth
emphasizes that it is extremely rare, to the
point of non-existence.
Take enough supplies. Water is as scarce as hen's teeth where you're going!
|scare out of one's wits||If something
scares you out of your wits, it makes
you very frightened or worried.
The feeling that a house is haunted can scare people out of their wits.
|scare the daylights out of||If something
scares the (living) daylights out of
you, it terrifies you.
The sudden screaming scared the daylights out of me.
||Someone who is
scared stiff is so frightened that they
are unable to move.
My mother is scared stiff of heights.
|school of hard knocks||Someone who goes
through the school of hard knocks
learns through the positive and negative
experiences of life rather than through a
formal classroom education.
He never went to college but the school of hard knocks made him a shrewd businessman.
|get off scot-free||Someone who
gets off scot-free escapes the
punishment they deserve.
We were all punished except James who managed to get off scot-free!
|scrape the bottom of the barrel||If you scrape
the bottom of the barrel, you use the
worst or the least satisfactory ideas,
things or people because you have no choice.
When they started to recruit, they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel because the best people has already found jobs elsewhere.
|scratch the surface||When you only
scratch the surface of a problem or
subject, you deal with only a small part of
Some countries are only scratching the surface of their environment problems.
not up to scratch
||Something which is
not up to scratch fails to reach
the expected standard.
The quality of the material is not up to scratch. We'll have to change our suppliers.
|scream blue murder||People who
scream blue murder shout or complain
very loudly as if something very serious has
The crowd started screaming blue murder when the football match was interrupted.
|screw loose||If someone has
a screw loose, their behaviour is
strange and they appear slightly mad.
She wears a fur coat in the summer - she must have a screw loose!
|scrimp and save||If you scrimp
and save, you spend as little as
possible over a certain period of time in
order to save money.
The parents scrimped and saved for years so that their children could have a college education.
|under (close) scrutiny||Someone or
something that is under (close) scrutiny
is being watched or examined carefully.
The police are keeping the suspect under close scrutiny.
|sea legs||A person who
has sea legs is used to walking on a
moving ship, or has the ability to adjust to
a new situation.
It takes a while in a new job to find your sea legs.
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