1.1: Idioms 1-10

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Introduction/ Methodology
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Idioms 11-20


Alive And Kicking

Uncle Joe is a lifelong smoker and drinker. On countless occasions, it was reported that he was gravely ill and dying. In every instance, he was found to be alive and kicking at the local pub. When someone is alive and kicking it means that they are very much active.


(All) Sweetness And Light

Bruce and Veronica are arguing with one another all the time. Their marriage isn’t a happy one but when the neighbors come to visit it’s all sweetness and light. When something is all sweetness and light it is pleasant, sometimes in a way that seems false.


At Great Length

The refund policy is described at great length on the website. In this sense, it’s explaining something in great detail. At great length can mean (1) for a long time; or (2) in great detail.


At Stake

“You’re always late for our appointments!” Jane complained to John. “I’ve warned you about that time and again. Our relationship is at stake.” When something is at stake, it is in danger or may be lost.


At/Until All Hours

“You can’t work at all hours, Jim!” John said. “We have a clear policy and fixed working hours from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday excepting public holidays. This is not a night club.” If something takes place at all hours of the day and night, it can happen at any time (24/7).


Bed of Nails

“We are lying on a bed of nails in this marriage,” John said to Jane. Literally a bed of nails is a long and flat board with hundreds of nails sticking up that is used for acupuncture treatment. Figuratively a bed of nails is a difficult situation.


Blue Monday

“Have you all noticed that our sick rate shoots up by more than 50% on Mondays,” the boss said. One of the employees responded: “That’s normal. After a great time of partying and drinking on the weekends, it always is depressing to go back to work on Mondays.”


By Hook Or (By) Crook

“Will you get married?” Jim asked. “No,” Steve replied. “Suzanne is determined to find a rich man to take care of her – by hook or by crook. She is a real gold-digger. We’re just having a good time right now.” By hook or by crook means in one way or another – by any means necessary.


Cause A Stir

“Hera, down!!!”, we all screamed at once. Our dog caused a stir as she decided to “save” the whole family from the huge monster turkey sitting in the middle of our Christmas table by jumping up, snatching and running off with it. To cause a stir means to shock or alarm people or cause trouble in a group.


Chance One’s Luck

Ashley Revell sold everything he had – his car, his house and even his clothes. For this, he collected 135,000 dollars. He placed all the money on red at a Roulette table at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Revell got lucky and won. To chance one’s luck means to undertake something, although it may be dangerous or unsuccessful.


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Introduction/ Methodology
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Idioms 11-20