English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - S
|seal of approval||If a project or
contract receives a seal of approval,
it receives formal support or approval from
We can't conclude the deal without the director's seal of approval.
|come apart at the seams||To say that someone
is coming apart at the seams means
that they are extremely upset or under
severe mental stress.
Bob has had so many problems lately, he's coming apart at the seams.
|seamy side of life||This expression
refers to the most unpleasant, disreputable
or sordid aspects of life that we normally
do not see (just as the stitched seams of
clothes are generally not seen).
Social workers really see the seamy side of life.
|play second fiddle||If you play
second fiddle to another person, you
accept to be second in importance to that
person, or have a lower position.
John resented having to play second fiddle to the sales manager when the company was restructured.
|second a motion||During a meeting,
if you second a motion, you
formally agree with a proposal.
She seconded the motion to introduce flexible working hours.
|second nature||If something you do
is second nature to you, it is
something that you do easily or
automatically because you have done it so
often or for so long.
Skiing is second nature to Harry. He grew up in a ski resort.
|second to none||
Something that is second to none is
excellent or much better than any other.
The service was perfect and the food was second to none.
|on second thoughts||'On second
thoughts' means that after giving the
matter more thought, you have changed your
My idea was to move to an apartment, but on second thoughts, I'd rather have a garden.
|see the colour of money||If you want to
see the colour of somebody's money, you
want to be sure that the person in question
has enough money to pay you before you
accept to do something.
I want to see the colour of his money before shipping the goods.
|see the error of ways||When someone
sees the error of their ways, they
understand that what they are doing is wrong
and accept to change their behaviour.
He talked to a counsellor who tried to make him see the error of his ways.
|see eye to eye||If you see eye
to eye with somebody, you agree with
I'm glad we see eye to eye on the choice of colour scheme.
|see light at end of tunnel||If you see light at the end of the
tunnel, you see signs of hope for the
future after a long period of difficulty.
Sales dropped heavily last year but we're beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
|see in a new light||If you see
something in a new light, you view it
in a way that makes you change the opinion
you had before.
After listening to my colleague, I began to see things in a new light.
|see red||If someone sees
red, they suddenly become very angry or
Discrimination of any kind makes me see red.
|seeing is believing||This expression
means that when you see something you can be
sure it exists, or that what you have been
told is really true.
Mark says bananas grow in his garden, but seeing is believing!
|seen better days||If something has
seen better days, it has aged visibly
in comparison with when it was new.
My much-travelled suitcase has seen better days!
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