English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - W
|whale of a time||When people have
a whale of a time, they enjoy
themselves a lot.
We had a whale of a time at the party last night.
|what goes round comes round||This
expression means that if you do something
bad, something bad will happen to you
He felt guilty about what he did, feeling that what goes round comes round.
|what makes someone tick||When you try to
understand what motivates someone or makes
them behave the way they do, you want to
know what makes them tick.
He's a strange man. It's hard to figure out what makes him tick.
|whatever floats your boat||Although you don't
quite agree with someone, it's their choice
and you think they should so whatever makes
You're going to spend your honeymoon in Alaska? Well, whatever floats your boat!
|fifth wheel||This expression
refers to a person who find themselves in a
situation where their presence is
unnecessary and as a result they feel
Everyone seemed to have a specific role except me. I felt like a fifth wheel
|wheeling and dealing||Someone accused of
wheeling and dealing is thought to be
involved in complicated, if not dishonest,
deals in business or politics.
Since the beginning of the election campaign, there's been a lot of wheeling and dealing going on.
|wheels fall off||When a situation
gets out of control and everything starts to
go wrong, the wheels fall off.
The wheels fell off her career when she started taking drugs and cancelling concerts.
|when the going gets tough, the tough get going||When faced with a
difficult or dangerous situation, and
the going gets tough, strong people
take action to solve the problem.
Tom has a positive attitude. He often says 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going!'.
|when the rubber hits the road||The
moment when you put a theory into practice,
or actually apply what you have learned, is
when the rubber hits the road.
The plan sounds good. I'd like to be there when the rubber hits the road.
|while the going is good||If you take action
while the going is good, you do
something before the situation changes and
it is no longer possible.
There's a 50% discount on subscriptions this month. I think I'll subscribe while the going is good.
|whistle in the dark||If you whistle
in the dark, you try to hide your fear
and pretend to be brave
in a scary or dangerous situation.
Bob looks confident but he's just whistling in the dark; he knows he's going to lose his job.
|whistle-blower||If you report an
illegal or socially harmful activity to the
authorities, and give information about
those responsible for it, you are a
The poor working conditions were reported by a whistle-blower.
|white Christmas||A white
Christmas is when it snows at Christmas
and the ground is white.
We haven't had a white Christmas in twenty years.
|white elephant||If you call
something a white elephant, you
consider it useless although it may have
cost a lot of money.
The new cultural centre is a real white elephant. It's so isolated that nobody goes there!
|white as a ghost||A person who is
as white as a ghost looks very pale and
She went as white as a ghost when she saw the gun.
|white lie||If you tell a
white lie, you say something which is
not true in order to protect someone or to
avoid hurting their feelings.
Some parents prefer to tell their children a white lie rather than announce bad news.
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