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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


from:   'one in the eye'   to:  'look out for number one'

  • one in the eye
    • If an event or development is an unexpected defeat or disappointment for someone, it is one in the eye for that person.
      "My promotion was one in the eye for my ambitious colleague."

  • at/in one fell swoop
    • If something is accomplished at (or in) one fell swoop, it is done in a single action, usually rapidly and ruthlessly.
      "The three houses were demolished at one fell swoop."

  • one foot in the grave
    • A person who is either very old or very ill and close to death has one foot in the grave.
      "It's no use talking to the owner. The poor man has one foot in the grave."

  • one good turn deserves another
    • If someone helps you, it is natural and right to help them in return.
      "We helped Alex and Sara when they moved into their new house, just as they helped us last year; one good turn deserves another."

  • one hand washes the other (and together they wash the face)
    • This expression means that when people cooperate and work well together, there is a better chance of a achieving results.

  • (a) one-horse town
    • A place referred to as a one horse town is a small, boring town where nothing much ever happens.
      "I wish my grandparents didn't live in that one-horse town. It's such a boring place!"

  • 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!"

  • one step ahead
    • When you are one step ahead of someone else, you achieve something faster than they do, or you have a slight advantage over them.
      "The company is successful because they're always one step ahead of their competitors."

  • (a) one-track mind
    • If you have a one-track mind, you have a tendency to think about only one subject.
      "The boy has a one-track mind; all he thinks about is football!"

  • one too many
    • Someone who has hadone too many has drunk too much alcohol.
      "I think Tony's had one too many - he's talking rubbish."

  • one's number is up
    • To say that one's number is up means that either a person is in serious difficulty and something bad is going to happen, or the time has come when they will die.
      "The police have located the escaped prisoner so it looks as if his number is up!"

  • one's own undoing
    • If you do something that is the cause of your own failure, loss or downfall, it is your own undoing.
      "If he continues to gamble like that, it will be his own undoing."

  • one-upmanship
    • This term refers to the art of gaining and keeping an advantage over other people.
      "He's a successful man, but his one-upmanship has left him with few friends."

  • look out for number one
    • If you take care of yourself first, and look after your own interests rather than those of other people, you look out for number one.
      "Andy's father told him that looking out for number one should be his first priority."

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