English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - T
|trade secret||This term refers to
the secrecy of a company's production
methods but is often used teasingly.
"Can you give me the recipe for your lemon meringue pie?" " No way - that's a trade secret!"
|train of thought||A sequence of
connected ideas is called a train of
I was considering the different options when the noise outside broke my train of thought.
|travel light||When you travel
light, you travel with as little
luggage as possible.
If you intend to go trekking, you'd better travel light.
|tread water||If you are
treading water, your situation remains
stationary in spite of your efforts, with no
sign of any progress.
I've been treading water for the past year hoping to find a better job.
|trial and error||Attempting to
achieve a satisfactory result by testing and
eliminating various methods until the best
one is found is called trial and error.
Some of the best cooks learn by trial and error.
If you test something such as an idea, a
project or a product, to see how people
respond to it, you send up a trial
The idea seemed excellent but when they sent up a trial balloon the reaction was very negative.
|tricks of the trade||This term refers to
a clever or expert way of doing things,
especially in a job.
He's a tough negotiator; he knows all the tricks of the trade.
|tried and tested||If a method has
been tried and tested, it can be
trusted because it has been used
successfully in the past and is known to
There's no risk involved. The method has been tried and tested.
|trilemma||This term is used for a situation which is even more difficult than a dilemma, because a choice must be made between three options that seem equally undesirable.|
|wear the trousers||The partner who
wears the trousers (or pants)
is the one who makes the important
The salesman hesitated. It was difficult to see who wore the trousers in the couple.
|come up trumps||To say that someone
has come up trumps means that they
have achieved unexpectedly good results.
Against all expectations, our team came up trumps in the cup final.
|truth will out||This expression
means that despite efforts to conceal the
facts, the truth cannot be hidden forever.
I don't know if the police gave the full details, but inevitably truth will out.
|try someone's patience||If you find it
difficult to be patient with someone because
of their irritating attitude or behaviour,
you can say that they are
trying your patience.
His constant interruptions began to try the teacher's patience.
|tug at the heartstrings||Something or
someone who tugs at the heartstrings
causes others to feel a great deal of pity
The hospital's plea for donors tugged at the heartstrings of millions of viewers.
|tunnel vision||If a person has
tunnel vision, they focus on only one
aspect of something, or they are unable to
see more than one way of doing things.
Our manager has tunnel vision. He sees no reason to change anything.
alphabetical lists T ...