English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - U
|ugly as sin||This expression is
used to refer to people or things that are
considered to be very unattractive.
Have you seen the new neighbour's dog? It's as ugly as sin!
If you are in uncharted waters, you
are in a situation that you have never
experienced before, so you don't know what's
going to happen.
In some countries, democracy is an adventure into uncharted waters.
|under one's belt||
If you have something under your belt,
you have acquired experience or have
satisfactorily achieved something.
You've got to have some work experience under your belt before you can hope to get a permanent job.
|under close scrutiny||
Someone or something that is under
(close) scrutiny is being watched or
The police are keeping the suspect under close scrutiny.
|under the knife||If a person goes under the knife,
they have surgery.
I'm not worried about the anaesthetic. I've been under the knife several times.
|under your thumb||If someone is under your thumb,
they are completely under your control or
Nobody ever protests. He has the whole group under his thumb.
|under the weather||
If you are
under the weather, you are not feeling
You look a bit under the weather. What's the matter?
|unmitigated disaster||An unmitigated
disaster is a complete failure or a
The organisation of the tournament was an unmitigated disaster!
|(you can't) unring a bell||This expression means that you cannot undo what has been done, so you must live with the consequences of your actions.|
|until hell freezes over||If you tell someone that they can do
something until hell freezes over,
you mean that they can do it forever but
they won't obtain what they want.
You can ask until hell freezes over; I will not allow you to go bungee-jumping!
|unvarnished truth||If you present someone with plain facts,
without trying to embellish or soften the
reality, you give them the unvarnished
Tell me how the accident happened, and I want the unvarnished truth.
|up and about||If someone is up and about,
they are out of bed or have recovered after
She was kept in hospital for a week but she's up and about again.
|up/down one's alley||If something is (right) up or down
your alley, it is exactly the sort of
thing that will suit your tastes or
Alex loves reading, so a job in a bookshop is right up his alley.
|on the up and up||If you are on the up and up,
you are becoming increasingly successful.
The architect has been on the up and up since he designed a building in Dubai.
|up in arms||If you are up
in arms about something, you are very angry.
The population was up in arms over the demolition of the old theatre.
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