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 English Idioms and Expressions  

Alphabetical List of Idioms A,
from:  'abbreviated piece of nothing'   to:  'hold all the aces'

  • abbreviated piece of nothing
    • This slang expression refers to someone who is considered to be insignificant or worthless.
      "Bob doesn't think much of his new colleague. He calls him an abbreviated piece of nothing."

  • to the best of one's ability
    • When someone does something to the best of their ability, they do it as well as they possibly can.
      "I felt nervous all through the interview, but I replied to the best of my ability."

  • (of) no fixed abode
    • A person of no fixed abode has nowhere permanent to live.
      "A 30-year-old man of no fixed abode was charged with the burglary."

  • about turn/about face
    • This term refers to a complete change of opinion or policy.
      "The ambassador's recent declarations indicate an about turn in foreign policy."

  • above all
    • This term means most importantly, before anything else.
      "Good health is important, above all."

  • above and beyond the call of duty
    • If a person does something which is above and beyond the call of duty, they show a greater degree of courage or effort than is usually required or expected in their job.
      "The fire-fighter received a medal for his action which went above and beyond the call of duty."

  • above board
    • If a situation or business is described as above board, it is open, honest and legal.
      "There are not secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board."

  • accident waiting to happen
    • The term 'accident waiting to happen’ refers to a potentially disastrous situation, often caused by negligence or insufficient precaution.
      "According to those who lived nearby, the explosion in the warehouse where the gas cylinders were stocked was an accident waiting to happen."

  • accidentally on purpose
    • If you do something intentionally, but pretend it was an accident, you do it accidentally on purpose.
      "I accidentally-on-purpose erased his email address so I couldn't contact him again."

  • more by accident than (by) design
    • Something that happens more by accident than (by) design is done without deliberate intention.
      "I became an interpreter more by accident than design; nobody else could speak the language of the refugees."

  • an accomplished fact (also 'fait accompli')
    • Something that has been done or completed before those affected by it can intervene or change it, is called an accomplished fact.

  • of your own accord
    • If you do something of your own accord, you do it spontaneously or willingly, without being influenced or forced by anyone.
      "The boy went of his own accord to see the owner and admitted breaking the window."

  • no accounting for taste
    • This expression is used to indicate surprise at another person's likes or dislikes.
      "She fell in love with a guy who is short, fat, bald and poor ... there's no accounting for taste!"

  • ace a test
    • If you obtain a very high score or an excellent result, you ace a test or exam.
      "Maria's parents said she could go to the party if she aced her English test."

  • ace in the hole
    • A poker term wihch means an advantage or resource kept hidden until needed.
      "Our candidate has an ace in the hole that will ensure victory ... you'll see!"

  • have an ace up your sleeve
    • "If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something in reserve with which you can gain an advantage."
      "I'm well prepared for the negotiations. I've got an ace up my sleeve."

  • hold all the aces
    • A person who holds all the aces is in a very strong position because they have more advantages than anyone else.
      "Given the high unemployment figures in some countries, employers hold all the aces."

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