English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Politeness - Manners
|black tie event||This expression
refers to a formal event at which men are
required to wear a dinner jacket, or tuxedo,
and a black bow tie.
I need to know if it's going to be a casual get-together or a black tie event.
|bow and scrape||To say that someone
is bowing and scraping means that
they are being excessively polite or
The President was greeted with much bowing and scraping.
|the done thing||The
correct way to behave in a particular social
situation is called
the done thing.
Wearing jeans to play golf is not the done thing in this club.
|excuse/pardon my French||
This expression is used as an apology for
using crude or offensive language.
He's a bloody nuisance, if you'll excuse my French.
|gatecrash||If someone gatecrashes, they
attend a private social event without being
We need volunteers to keep an eye out for gatecrashers tonight.
|mind/watch your language||This is said to warn someone to be
careful what they say so as not to upset or
Your grandfather doesn't tolerate rudeness, so mind your language when we go to visit him!
|mind your Ps and Qs||If you tell someone
to mind their Ps and Qs, you are
advising them to be careful about how they
behave and what they say.
Politeness is very important to my grandparents, so mind your Ps and Qs.
|overstep the mark||If you overstep the mark, you
go too far and upset someone by saying
something or behaving in a way that is
Jenny is angry with her son. He overstepped the mark when he called his grandfather an 'old fool'.
|speak out of turn||If someone
speaks out of turn, either they
intervene at the wrong moment or they say
something tactless or inappropriate.
At the first meeting I was afraid of speaking out of turn.
|stand on ceremony||When people
stand on ceremony, they behave in a
very formal way.
We'd be delighted to come and see you but please don't stand on ceremony.
|take French leave||If you leave an official or social event
without notifying the person who invited
you, you take French leave.
Is Bill coming back for the closing speech or has he taken French leave?
|time-honoured practice||A custom that is
universally respected, or a traditional way
of doing something, is called a
Guests were greeted according to a time-honored practice.
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