English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - W
|whiz kid||A whiz kid
is someone, usually young, who is very
talented and successful at doing something.
Apparently the new engineer knows what he's doing - a real whiz-kid from what I've heard.
whole kit and caboodle
expression means 'everything'.
They provided everything we needed, tables, chairs, cutlery ... the whole caboodle.
|why buy a cow when you can get milk for free||This
refers to not paying for something that you
can obtain for free.
(Sometimes refers to a decision not to marry when you can have the benefits of marriage without any commitment.)
Rent is high so Bobby is still living with his parents.
He says : why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?
|why keep a dog and bark yourself||This expression
means that if someone or something can do a
task for you, there's no reason to do it
My grandmother has an electric mixer but she continues to make her cakes by hand. Why keep a dog and bark yourself?
|whys and wherefores||To talk about the
whys and wherefores means to
discuss the reasons.
We need to discuss the whys and wherefores of our failure.
|give a wide berth||If you give someone
or something a wide berth, you stay
at a prudent distance from them in order to
avoid unwanted consequences.
The only way to avoid traffic jams is to give the town centre a wide berth.
|wide off the mark||If something is (or
falls) wide off the mark, it is
incorrect or inadequate, or it is not what
The price offered was wide off the mark; it was sold for ten times more!
|widow's peak||A V-shaped point
formed by the hair in the centre of the
forehead is called a widow's peak.
(was believed to be a sign of early widowhood)
|wild goose chase||If someone is sent
on a wild goose chase, they waste
their time looking for something that there
is little chance of finding.
They tried to find out who sent the anonymous complaint, but it turned out to be a wild goose chase.
|at will||When it is possible
to do something at will, you can do
it as and when you please, wherever and
whenever you wish, without limit or
He's so rich, he travel the world at will.
|win by a nose||When
there is a very slight difference between
the winner and the other competitors,
victory is won by a nose.
One second ahead of the others, he won by a nose.
refers to a situation or proposition where
both or all parties benefit from the
There were smiles all round when the contract was signed - it was a win-win situation.
|wind up in the wrong hands||If something
winds up in the wrong hands, it comes
into the possession of someone undesirable,
for example an opponent or a competitor.
Put the plans away carefully. We don't want them to wind up in the wrong hands.
|get wind of||If you get wind of
something, you hear about something you were
unaware of, usually a private or secret
The chairman didn't want the press to get wind of the takeover before the agreement was signed.
|knock/take wind out of sails||If someone or something knocks or
wind out of your sails, they make you
feel less confident by doing or saying
something that you do not expect.
The manager's rejection of our marketing strategy really took the wind out of our sails.
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