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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Numbers - Quantities - Amounts

(idioms, page 1 :  all told  →  five o'clock shadow)

all told All told means the final number, when everything has been counted.
The number of visitors to the exhibition, all told, was 2543.
ballpark figure 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 numbers.
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 feel useless.
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) first hand.
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 anything else.
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, they steal.
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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