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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


from:   'back-of-the-envelope calculation'   to:  'at all costs'

  • back-of-the-envelope calculation
    • This expression refers to a quick approximate calculation done informally, as on the back of an envelope.
      "They ..."

  • 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."

  • bet your bottom dollar
    • If you bet your bottom dollar on something, you are absolutely certain of it.
      "Jack is very punctual. You can bet your bottom dollar he'll be here at 9 o'clock on the dot."

  • tighten your belt
    • If you need to tighten your belt, you must spend your money carefully because there is less available.
      "Another bill?  I'll have to tighten my belt this month!"

  • born with a silver spoon in your mouth
    • A person who is born with a silver spoon in their mouth is born into a very rich family.
      "Jessica never has to worry about money; she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth."

  • on the breadline
    • People who live on the breadline have a very low income or barely enough money to survive.
      "Due to the recent crisis, there are more people on the breadline than ever before."

  • burn your fingers / get your fingers burnt
    • If you burn your fingers (or get your fingers burnt), you suffer financially as a result of foolish behaviour.
      "Jack got his fingers burnt playing on the stock market."

  • (a) cash cow
    • A product or service which is a regular source of income for a company is called a cash cow.
      "Tony's latest invention turned out to be a real cash cow."

  • cash in your chips
    • If you cash in your chips, you sell something, especially shares, either because you need the money or because you think the value is going to fall.
      "Andy cashed in his chips as soon as business started to slow down."

  • chicken feed
    • An amount of money considered small or unimportant is called chicken feed.
      "I got a job during the holidays but the pay was chicken feed."

  • (the) other side of the coin
    • When you want to mention a different or contradictory aspect of a situation, you refer to the other side of the coin.
      "The house is lovely and spacious, but the other side of the coin is that it is far from shops and schools."

  • cost an arm and a leg
    • If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive.
      "The house cost us an arm and a leg, but we have no regrets."

  • cost the earth
    • If something costs the earth, it is very expensive indeed.
      "Amanda wears designer clothes that must cost the earth!"

  • at all costs
    • If you are determined to obtain or achieve something at all costs, you want it regardless of the expense, effort or sacrifice involved.
      "The journalist was determined at all costs to get a report from the war zone."

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