1.3: Idioms 21-30

< Back to 1.2
Idioms 11-20
        Next to 1.4 >
Idioms 31-40


Have a mind of one’s own

After fetching him at the creche, Jane took her 2-year old son Johnny to the supermarket on her way back home. She was hoping to keep her stay short but Johnny had a mind of his own. Every time he saw a colorful and sugar-laden package, he would grab it and not let go. After mommy took things away from him a few times, he started screaming and would not stop. To have a mind of one’s own means to be capable of independent opinion or action.


It goes without saying

Burgers, fries and sweets, especially in large quantities, are bad for our health. Research has found that our genes may, to some extent, be responsible for some people indulging in these foods. Certain genetic variations are associated with certain food preferences. Many people are unable to resist certain foods despite being well aware that excessive consumption is bad for their health. It goes without saying that following a healthy diet is easier for some people than others. It goes without saying means that it should be generally accepted or understood.


Keep / maintain a low profile

Pope Benedict XVI did something unheard of. He retired from his position. In the modern era, popes have always held the position from their election until death. In fact, Benedict XVI was the first pope to retire on his own initiative since Celestine V in 1294. After retiring Benedict XVI kept a low profile. To keep a low profile means to avoid attracting attention to yourself.


Know the ropes

Renting a flat is easier said than done. It requires some time and research – online and offline. In some places, the housing market is incredibly competitive and one can be faced with many questions by a property manager or landlord. Once you have passed the interview, there also are black sheep among property management companies that try to trick you with rental contracts that are dozens of pages long. It takes some time to learn the ropes. To know the ropes means to be informed about the details of a situation or task.


Larger than life

Normally you don’t expect a funeral service to turn hilarious even for someone as colorful as Harvey Smith. But when people started telling stories about Harvey, the venue filled with laughter. The stories ranged from his colorful ties and speeches he gave in shorts to protest the dress code dictated by the mayor to his wild ideas such as giving people lifetime bus tickets in exchange for turning in their old cars. Harvey truly was a larger than life character. If someone is larger than life they are exceedingly impressive, imposing or memorable.


Make a move

As John waited for the bus, a beautiful young lady appeared. John glanced at the electronic display and saw that the next bus would arrive in 10 minutes. “I need to make a move now” he thought to himself. “How can I start a conversation with her?” To make a move means to make an advance or leave a place.


Make someone’s day

When Will Slattery went on a skydiving vacation to Costa Rica he did not know what he was in for. On his fourth jump, the plane hit extreme turbulence and crashed in the ocean a few miles off the coast. Will Slattery managed to jump off the plane just in time but soon found himself in the shark-infested ocean. He tried to swim ashore but the currents would pull him back into the ocean. After more than 24 hours at sea, his energy was rapidly fading. When some fishermen found him they really made his day. To make someone’s day means to make someone happy for the rest of the day (or longer).


Many moons ago

As Tim waited for the bus, a beautiful young lady appeared that caught his attention. “Many moons ago, I would have started a conversation with her” he thought. “But now it would be inappropriate and she won’t find me attractive.” Many moons ago means a long time ago.


An oddball

Many moons ago (a long time ago) a woman with piercings and tattoos all over her body would have generally been considered an oddball. Today, it’s becoming commonplace and, even fashionable, in some circles. An oddball is someone who is considered abnormal or strange in their personality or appearance. This person may also be referred to as a non-square, weirdo or freak.


Off the cuff

John got himself into some real trouble when he got into a fight with a bouncer and got kicked out of a nightclub. Instead of just going home, he called the police and claimed to be an undercover officer that was assaulted in the line of duty. Police cars raced to the scene desperate to save one of their own. But John’s flimsy story fell completely apart when the police discovered a few grams of cocaine in his pocket and he was promptly arrested. When questioned in court the following day, John gave an off the cuff speech expressing his heartfelt regret and remorse. The judge took pity on him and spared him further jail. Off the cuff means without preparation.


< Back to 1.2
Idioms 11-20
        Next to 1.4 >
Idioms 31-40