English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
House, furniture and fittings
|armchair critic||An armchair
critic is someone who gives advice
based on theory rather than practice.
That guy is such an armchair critic - no experience but plenty of advice.
|armchair traveller||Someone who reads
books or watches TV programmes about other
places and countries, but doesn't actually
travel anywhere, is called an armchair
A surprising number of adventure books are bought by armchair travellers.
|basket case||A person whose
agitated mental state leaves them helpless
or unable to cope with things is called a
Jenny will turn into a basket case if this stressful situation continues.
|wet blanket||To refer to someone
as a wet blanket means that they
spoil other people's fun, or make an event
less enjoyable than it could have been.
Come on Mike! Don't be such a wet blanket. You're spoiling the party!
|you 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 into old bottles.
|not the brightest bulb in the box|| ‘Bright’ means ‘clever’ or ‘intelligent’.
This expression is used to say that someone is not very intelligent.
Max has failed the exam for the third time!
He's obviously not the brightest bulb in the box!
|burn the candle at both ends||If you burn the candle at both ends,
you exhaust yourself by doing too much,
especially going to bed late and getting up
Scott looks exhausted - I'll bet he's been burning the candle at both ends lately.
|can't hold a candle to||If one person can't hold a candle
to another, they are much less competent or
do not perform as well as the other.
John is very intelligent but he can't hold a candle to his brother Paul when it comes to sports.
|red carpet||To roll out the
red carpet means to give special
treatment to an important or honoured
The management is going to roll out the red carpet for the visit of the Nobel prize winner.
|glass ceiling||This term refers to
a discriminatory barrier perceived by women
and minorities that prevents them from
rising to positions of power or
Claire knew she would never break the glass ceiling and rise to a senior management position.
|clock in/out||When you clock
in or out, you record the time
you arrive or leave your job by punching a
time clock to the show the number of hours
you have worked.
I'm going to clock out early today. I've got a dental appointment.
|couch potato||If you refer to
someone as a couch potato, you
criticize them for spending a lot of time
sitting and watching television.
Don't be such a couch potato. There are better ways of spending your time than in front of the TV.
|rob the cradle||
If you rob the cradle, you have a
romantic relationship with someone who is
much younger than yourself.
My uncle Ted is dating a twenty-year-old girl. That's really robbing the cradle!
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