English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Descriptions of places - things - events
|act of God||This term refers to
an natural event or accident, for which no
person is responsible (such as an
earthquake, lightning and similar acts of
The insurance company refused to pay for the damage because it was caused by an act of God.
|been through the wars||
If something has been in or through the
wars, it show signs of rough treatment
He arrived in a car that looked as though it had been through the wars.
Something which is beyond recall is
impossible to retrieve, cancel or reverse.
I'm afraid we can't recover the pictures - your camera is beyond recall.
|beyond redemption||If something is
beyond redemption, it is in such a poor
state that there is no hope of improvement
With the latest scandal, his reputation is now beyond redemption.
|bodice-ripper||A novel, usually on a historical theme,
with a plot that involves romantic passion
between a vulnerable heroine and a rich,
powerful male character, is called a
The novel is a bodice-ripper set in the French revolution.
|broad strokes||If something is described or defined
with/in broad strokes, it is
outlined in a very general way, without any
In a few broad strokes he summed up the situation.
|clean as a whistle||Something as clean as a whistle
is extremely clean.
This can also mean that a person's criminal record is clean.
Bob spent the afternoon washing and shining his car until it was as clean as a whistle.
|collecting dust||If something is
collecting dust, it hasn't been touched
or used for a long period of time.
My dad doesn't play golf any more. His clubs are collecting dust now.
|come in handy||To say that something may come in
handy means that it may be useful some
time or other.
Don't throw away those old shelves; they may come in handy one day.
|copper-bottomed||To describe something such as a plan, a
contract or a financial arrangement as
means that it is completely safe or
He signed a copper-bottomed agreement with a distributor.
|creature comforts||This expression refers to modern
conveniences (such as hot water or central
heating) that make life comfortable and
I need my creature comforts. I don't know how I'd survive without air-conditioning in this climate!
|(a) cut above||Something which is a cut above
everything else is better or of higher
The articles in this magazine are a cut above the others.
|cut and dried||If you refer to a situation, problem or
solution as cut and dried, you mean
that it is clear and straightforward with no
When the new manager arrived, he didn't find the situation as cut and dried as he had expected.
|dead as a dodo||To say that something is (as) dead
as a dodo means that it is
unquestionably dead or obsolete, or has gone
out of fashion.
(A dodo is a bird that is now extinct.)
The floppy disk is an invention that is now (as) dead as a dodo.
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