English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
|bandit territory||A geographical area where law
enforcement is practically impossible,
because people ignore all rules, is called 'bandit
There are a certain number of bandit territories in the world where travellers are advised not to go.
|beat black and blue||If a person is
covered with bruise marks caused by being
hit, they have been beaten black and
The passenger was beaten black and blue by a gang of thugs.
|beat/knock the (living) daylights||If a person
beats the (living) daylights out of
another, they hit them very hard and
If I catch you stealing again I'll beat the daylights out of you!
|come to blows||If two or more
people come to blows, they start to
The debate was so intense that the participants almost came to blows.
|fight like cat and dog||Two people who
fight or argue like cat and dog
frequently have violent arguments, even
though they are fond of each other.
They fight like cat and dog but they're still together after 30 years.
|fight tooth and nail||If you fight tooth and nail for
something, you fight with energy and
The Transport Minister fought tooth and nail to have the proposed road safety law accepted.
|fight an uphill battle||A person faced with
an uphill battle has to struggle
against very unfavourable circumstances.
After the terrible accident, his recovery was an uphill battle all the way.
|free-for-all||This term refers to
an uncontrolled situation such as an
argument or fight where everyone present can
do what they like.
It started as a serious debate but turned into a free-for-all.
|gloves are off!||
This expression is used when there are signs
that a fight is about to start.
The two candidates are out of their seats. The gloves are off!
|head on a platter||
If someone makes you so angry that you want
them to be punished, you want their head
on a platter.
He was so angry when he read the article about his family that he wanted the journalist's head on a platter.
Aggressive driving habits sometimes
resulting in violence against other drivers
is called road rage.
A number of accidents today are a direct result of road rage.
|take cover||When someone takes cover, they
hide from a danger in a place where they
As soon as the explosion was heard, people ran to take cover.
|tit for tat||This expression
refers to an injury or insult given in
return for one received.
"He kicked me, so I kicked him - it was tit for tat!" said the boy.
|up in arms||If you are up
in arms about something, you are very angry.
The population was up in arms over the demolition of the old theatre.
|in/through the wars||If a person or
thing has been in (or through) the wars,
they show signs of rough treatment, injury
He arrived in a car that looked as if it had been in the wars.
|back to idioms-proverbs|
Alphabetical lists :