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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Alphabetical List of Idioms T, page 5

Idioms T, page 5:  from:   'run a taut ship'   to:   'text-walking'


  • run a taut ship
    • When a group or organisation is run in a well-ordered and disciplined manner, the person in charge runs a taut (or tight) ship.
      "The director of the scout camp runs a taut ship."

  • not for all the tea in China
    • To say that you would not do something for all the tea in China means that you would not do it under any conditions.
      "I wouldn't live there for all the tea in China."

  • teach someone a lesson
    • If you teach somebody a lesson, you do something to punish them for behaving badly and make them understand that they should not do it again.
      "The next time she arrives late, she'll find the door closed. That'll teach her a lesson! "

  • (you can't) teach an old dog new tricks
    • This expression means that someone who is used to doing things in a certain way will find it difficult to change their habits.
      "Your grandfather will never use a smart phone. You can't teach an old dog new tricks!"

  • tear one's hair out
    • If someone is tearing their hair out, they are extremely agitated or distressed about something.
      "I've been tearing my hair out all morning trying to find the error!"

  • tear a strip off
    • If you tear a strip off someone, you reprimand them severely for doing something wrong.
      "The teacher tore a strip off Charlie for not doing his homework."

  • tech savvy
    • People who are tech savvy have sufficient technical knowledge and skills to be comfortable using computers and other electronic devices.
      "Many students are more tech-savvy than their teachers."

  • by the skin of one's teeth
    • If you manage to do something by the skin of your teeth, you succeed in doing it but you almost fail.
      "The traffic was so heavy I thought I'd miss the train, but I caught it by the skin of my teeth."

  • sink one's teeth into (something)
    • If you sink your teeth into something, you do it with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
      "When Julie got promoted, she immediately sank her teeth into her new job."

  • teeth chattering
    • If your teeth are chattering, you are extremely cold.
      "Was I cold? My teeth were chattering!"

  • teething problems
    • The difficulties encountered during the initial stage of an activity or project are called teething problems.
      "We had some teething problems when we first opened the bookshop, but now everything is okay."

  • tell someone a thing or two
    • If you tell someone a thing or two, you express you thoughts (usually criticism) very clearly.
      "'Let me tell you a thing or two about your son's behaviour' said John to the boy's father."

  • on tenterhooks
    • A person who is on tenterhooks is in a state of anxious suspense or excitement.
      "The candidate were kept on tenterhooks for hours while the panel deliberated."

  • test the waters
    • If you test the water(s), you try to find out how acceptable or successful something is before becoming involved in it.
      "You should go to a gym class to test the water before enrolling."

  • text-walking
    • This term refers to a recently-developed and somewhat dangerous habit of walking while texting a message on a mobile phone, completely unaware of what is happening around you.
      "In recent months there has been an increase in the number of serious accidents involving text-walkers."

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