English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List - W
|touch/knock on wood||This humorous
expression, based on superstition, is used
to avoid bad luck, often while touching
something made of wood.
The order will be confirmed shortly - touch wood!
person who finishes last in a race or
competition receives an imaginary prize
called the wooden spoon.
Our team got the wooden spoon in this year's tournament.
|come out of the woodwork||When things, or
people, come out of the woodwork,
they appear or emerge unexpectedly, as if
from nowhere, and usually in large numbers.
As soon as we added the swimming pool, our children had 'friends' coming out of the woodwork!
|wool-gathering||A person who is
wool-gathering is daydreaming and not
concentrating on what his happening; their
thoughts are elsewhere.
Justin spent the whole afternoon wool-gathering. He must be in love!
|by word of mouth||Information passed
on through conversation is transmitted
by word of mouth.
No announcement was necessary - the news had already spread by word of mouth.
|from the word go||This expression
means from the very beginning of an
Right from the word go he was rejected by the rest of the group.
|(not) get a word in edgeways||During a
discussion, if you can't get a word in
edgeways, you can't say something
because the others are talking so much.
I tried to give my opinion, but I couldn't get a word in edgeways.
|put in a good word||If you put in a
good word for someone, you say positive
things in support of that person in order to
If you apply for the job, I'll put in a good word for you.
|put words in someone's mouth||If you claim that
someone has said something, or suggest what
they should say, you are putting words
in their mouth.
You're putting words in my mouth. I did not say I saw Mr. Brown. I said I saw his car!
|words fail me||This expression is
often used when someone is so shocked,
surprised or touched by something that they
don't know what to say.
"What do you think of Bob's attitude?" "Words fail me!"
|words of one syllable||If you explain
something in words of one syllable, you use
very simple language.
Not so fast! Tell me in words of one syllable!
|have your work cut out||If you have to face
a difficult task or a challenging situation,
you have your work cut out for you.
I've got a month to reorganise the accounts department. I have my work cut out for me!
|work your fingers to the bone||A person who
works their fingers to the bone is
He deserves his success; he worked his fingers to the bone when he started the business.
|work like a charm||If something such
as a product or method works like a
charm, it functions very well or has
the desired effect.
I tried cleaning it with vinegar and it worked like a charm!
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