English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - T
|(fight) tooth and nail||If you fight
tooth and nail for something, you fight
with all your energy.
The Transport Minister fought tooth and nail to have the proposed road safety law accepted.
|top dog||To say that a
person, group or country is top dog
means that they are better or more powerful
She's top dog in cosmetics today.
|top of your lungs||If you shout at
the top of your lungs, you shout as
loudly as you possibly can.
The place was so noisy that I had to shout at the top of my lungs to be heard.
|top notch||To say that
something is top notch means that
it is of the highest possible quality or
The hotel was wonderful and the service was top notch.
|on top of the world||If you feel on
top of the world, you are extremely
happy because everything is going well for
It's been such a good year for Amy that she feels on top of the world.
|toss up||When there are two
options or possibilities to choose from, and
both are equally good, the choice between
the two is called a toss-up (like
tossing a coin).
Both boxers are in excellent condition. It's a toss-up which of them will win.
|touch base||If you touch
base with someone, you make contact or
renew communication with them.
I'll try to touch base with you next week in London.
|(at the) touch of a button||If you can do
something at the touch of a button,
you can do it very easily, often thanks to
From now on the nursing staff can be alerted at the touch of a button.
|touch wood / knock on wood||This humorous
expression, based on superstition, is used
to avoid bad luck, often while touching
something made of wood.
The order will be confirmed shortly - touch wood!
|(not) touch with a ten-foot pole||If
you decide not to touch something with a
ten-foot pole, you prefer to stay far
away from it.
I wouldn't touch politics with a ten-foot pole!
|touch and go||If something is
touch-and-go, the outcome or result is
Dave's life is out of danger now, but it was touch-and-go after the operation.
|tough as old boots||If something,
specially meat, is (as) tough as old
boots, it is hard to cut and difficult
to chew. (This can also refer to a person
who is strong either physically or in
I was served a steak as tough as old boots.
|tough cookie||A person who is a
tough cookie is one who is
self-confident and ambitious and will do
what is necessary to get what they want.
I'm not worried about Jason's future - he's a tough cookie!
|tower of strength||The term tower
of strength is used to describe a
person who is very helpful and supportive
during difficult times.
All during my illness, my sister was a tower of strength.
|toy with the idea||If you consider
something without giving it serious thought,
you toy with the idea.
Sally has often toyed with the idea of moving abroad, but she's still here!
alphabetical lists T ...