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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Alphabetical List - W

(Idioms W, page 6  :  which way wind blows  →  wise after the event)

know which way wind blows This expression means that it is advisable to know how a situation is developing, or what the tendency is, in order to be prepared for any changes.
Before we decide on anything, we need to know which way the wind is blowing.
wind/wound up If someone is so excited that they talk non-stop, they are wound up.
Claire had so much to tell us after her trip that she was wound up.
window on the world When something provides an opportunity to observe and learn about people and life in other countries, it is called a window on the world.
The internet has become a window on the world.
window shopping When people go window shopping, they look at things in shop windows, without actually purchasing anything.
I haven't been paid yet,  so I can only go window shopping.
go out the window If a quality, principle or opportunity goes out the window, it disappears, is lost or is abandoned.
When the plant closed down, all hopes of finding a job went out the window.
can't put new wine in old bottles This expression means that you should not try to combine new concepts or innovations with an old or long-established framework or system.
You'll never get that program to work on your father's old computer.  You can't put new wine in old bottles!
wing it To wing it means to improvise or to deal with a situation without preparation.
She didn't expect to be interviewed so she just had to wing it.
take under your wing If you offer guidance and protection to someone younger or less experienced, you take them under your wing.
I owe a lot to Tom who took me under his wing when I first arrived.
(not a) wink of sleep If someone doesn't get a wink of sleep, they don't sleep a all.
It was so noisy in the hotel, I didn't get a wink of sleep.
winning ways A person who has winning ways has a charming or persuasive manner of gaining the affection of others or obtaining what they want.
My grandson is hard to resist - he's got such winning ways.
wipe the slate clean If you wipe the slate clean, you make a fresh start and forget all past offences, disagreements or mistakes.
When their father died, Bob and his brother decided to wipe the slate clean and forget the old family quarrels.
wipe that smile off This expression is often used by parents or people in authority to indicate that the situation is not amusing at all.
This is a very serious matter, so wipe that smile off your face!
get wires crossed If people get their wires crossed, they misunderstand each other or are confused about what was said.
We must have got our wires crossed. I thought we were to meet at the hotel.
wise after the event When someone realizes, after something has happened, what could have been done to prevent it from happening, they are wise after the event.
In retrospect, I suppose I should have realized the boy was in difficulty and offered to help, but it's easy to be wise after the event.
wise for one's years
wise beyond your years
Someone who is wise for their years or wise beyond their years has more knowledge and experience that most people at their age.
She's still a child but she's wise beyond her years.
   
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 alphabetical lists W ... 
W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10

 more alphabetical lists ... 
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Y-Z