English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Actions - Behaviour
|accidentally on purpose||If you do something
intentionally, but pretend it was an
accident, you do it accidentally on
I accidentally-on-purpose erased his email address, so I couldn't contact him again.
|add fuel to the flames||
If you add fuel to the flames, you
do or say something that makes a difficult
situation even worse.
He forgot their wedding anniversary, and his apologies only added fuel to the flames.
|all ears||To say that you are all ears
means that you are listening very
Of course I want to know - I'm all ears!
|answer call of nature nature's call||When a person answers the call of
nature, they go to the toilet.
I had to get up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature.
|backseat driver||A passenger in a car who gives unwanted
advice to the driver is called a
I can't stand backseat drivers like my mother-in-law!
|badger someone||If you badger someone into
doing something, you persistently nag or
pester them until you obtain what you want.
Sophie badgered her parents into buying her a new computer.
|balancing act||When you try to satisfy two or more
people or groups who have different needs,
and keep everyone happy, you perform a
Many people, especially women, have to perform a balancing act between work and family.
|bare your heart / soul||If you bare you soul (or heart)
to someone, you reveal your innermost
thoughts and feelings to them.
Mike couldn't keep things to himself any longer. He decided to bare his soul to his best friend.
|bark up wrong tree||A person who is barking up the wrong
tree is doing the wrong thing, because
their beliefs or ideas are incorrect or
The police are barking up the wrong tree if they think Joey stole the car - he can't drive!
|beat a (hasty) retreat||Someone who
beats a (hasty) retreat runs away or
goes back hurriedly to avoid a dangerous or
The thief beat a hasty retreat as soon as he saw the security officer.
|one's best bet||The action most likely to succeed is
called one's best bet.
Your best bet would be to try calling him at home.
|bide your time||If you bide your time, you wait
for a good opportunity to do something.
He's not hesitating, he's just biding his time, waiting for the price to drop.
|binge drinking||This term refers to heavy drinking where
large quantities of alcohol are consumed in
a short space of time, often among young
people in rowdy groups.
Binge drinking is becoming a major problem in some European countries.
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