English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Numbers - Quantities - Amounts
All told means the final number, when
everything has been counted.
The number of visitors to the exhibition, all told, was 2543.
If someone gives a
ballpark figure, they give an
approximate number or a rough estimate of
the cost of something.
I don't know exactly how much it will cost, but a ballpark figure would be around $100 000.
|in dribs and drabs||If something comes
in dribs and drabs, it arrives
little by little, in small amounts or
Instead of the crowd expected, people arrived in dribs and drabs.
|have one over the eight||If a person has had one over the
eight, they are slightly drunk.
Don't listen to him! Can't you see he's had one over the eight!
|at the eleventh hour||If something happens at the eleventh
hour, it happens when it is almost too
late, or at the last possible moment.
Our team won after they scored a goal at the eleventh hour.
|fifth wheel||This expression refers to a person who
find themselves in a situation where their
presence is unnecessary and as a result they
Everyone seemed to have a specific role except me. I felt like a fifth wheel
|first and foremost||This expression is
used to state what you consider to be more
important than anything else.
First and foremost I want to thank our hosts for their wonderful reception.
|first base||When you get to
(or reach) first base, you make
progress or begin to have success with
someone or something.
If you go to the interview dressed like that, you won't get to first base!
|first come first served||This expression
means that there will be no favouritism or
preferential treatment. People will be
served strictly in the order they arrive.
Tickets for the match will be sold on a 'first come first served' basis.
|(at) first hand||If you experience
something yourself directly, without any
intermediary, you experience it (at)
Getting to see the performance (at) first hand is much better than watching it on television.
|first out of the gate||If
you are first out of the gate, you
are the first to make a start at something
that others have also accepted to do.
Sandra was so enthusiastic about the project that she was first out of the gate.
|in the first place||Something that is done in the first
place is done at the beginning, before
Why didn't you tell me he was your boyfriend in the first place?
|first water||Something that is
of the first water is of the finest or
most exceptional quality (like being
compared to a diamond).
The violinist gave a performance that was of the first water
|five finger discount||If somebody gets a
five-finger discount, they take
something without paying. In other words,
How could he afford that watch? Who knows - perhaps with a five-finger discount!
|five o'clock shadow||This expression
refers to a patch of stubble on the face of
a man who hasn't shaved for at least a day.
He looked tired and had a five o'clock shadow.
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