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Thành ngữ tiếng Anh thông dụng – Popular English idioms and slangs

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CRUNCH TIME

the period of time just before a project has to be completed and everyone has to work hard.

Examples:

  • I’m not getting enough sleep these days. It’s crunch time at work.

 

LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY

to let others see your uniqueness

Examples:

  • My colleagues were surprised at the Christmas party- I let my freak flag fly and showed them a break dance routine.

PULL A RABBIT OUT OF A HAT

to do something unexpected that may have seemed impossible

Examples:

  • I thought we were going bankrupt, but my partner pulled a rabbit out of his hatand we landed a major contract.

 

GET OUT OF HAND

when you lose control of things, they get out of hand

Examples:

  • The party got out of hand and the guests started to throw bottles at each other.

 

GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT

to understand something

Examples:

  • I just can’t get my head around the fact that Joe is leaving us.

 

DIG IN YOUR HEELS / STICK TO YOUR GUNS

to refuse to compromise or change your mind

Examples:

  • My parents wanted me to give up writing, but I dug in my heels and went on to become a famous writer.
  • My parents wanted me to give up writing, but I stuck to my guns and went on to become a famous writer.

 

POUND THE PAVEMENT

to walk the streets looking for a job

Examples:

  • I’d been pounding the pavement for months before I found a job in a fast food restaurant.

 

LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED

to do everything you can to achieve your goal

Examples:

  • I’ll leave no stone unturned until I find out who did this.

 

BY THE SKIN OF YOUR TEETH

when you do something by the skin of your teeth, you only just succeed/ nearly fail

Examples:

  • I hadn’t studied much, but passed the test by the skin of my teeth.

 

GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM

to do something you’ve wanted to do for a long time and don’t want to postpone any longer

Examples:

  • I wasn’t sure how she was going to react, but I had to get it out of my system, so I told her I had found another woman.

 

GO THE EXTRA MILE

to make a special effort/try very hard to achieve your goal

Examples:

  • If you want to become proficient in English, you’ll have to go the extra mile and start learning idioms.
  • My English class was great, we learnt so much because our teacher was the best, she always went the extra mile for us.

 

STEP UP YOUR GAME

to start performing better

Examples:

  • If you want to win this competition, you’ll have to step up your game.

 

PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER

to calm down and behave normally

Examples:

  • I understand you’ve had a bad day, but pull yourself together and get on with your job, will you?

 

SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT

either start performing better or leave

Examples:

  • This is the last time I’m telling you to arrive on time. Shape up or ship out.

 

CUT SOMEBODY SOME SLACK

to give somebody a break/ not to judge somebody severely

Examples:

  • I was extremely busy last week. Cut me some slack and I’ll finish the report by tomorrow morning.

 

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

when something rarely ever happens

Examples:

  • We used to see him all the time, but now he just visits us once in a blue moon.

 

GO DOWN IN FLAMES

to end or fail suddenly and spectacularly

Examples:

  • She’d wanted to become Managing Director, but her career went down in flames when they found out she’d been leaking information to our competitors.

 

TAR SOMEONE WITH THE SAME BRUSH

to believe that someone has the same bad qualities as others in a group

Examples:

  • I don’t think much of that band, but the singer shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush. She’s got a fantastic voice.

 

COME OUT SWINGING

to be confrontational and strongly defend yourself at the beginning of a debate

Examples:

  • Our local MP came out swinging against the current leadership and demanded that the government resign.

 

CRY WOLF

to call for help when you don’t need it

Examples:

  • Do you think Peter is in trouble or is he just crying wolf?

 

HANG IN THERE

wait and be patient

Examples:

  • I know you’d really like to call him, but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do now.Just hang in there and he will call you.

 

SHOOT FROM THE HIP

to speak directly

Examples:

  • If you want to get on well with your boss, try not to shoot from the hip next time. You don’t want to offend him, do you?

 

LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY

to let something happen, no matter what happens next

Examples:

  • I must tell John how I feel about him, let the chips fall where they may.

 

RUNNING ON FUMES

to continue to stay awake when feeling exhausted

Examples:

  • I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go home now. I haven’t slept for twenty hours and I’m running on fumes.

 

SOLD ME OUT

to snitch on someone, or let their secret out

Examples:

  • I asked you to keep it to yourself! I can’t believe you sold me out, I trusted you!

 

YOU SOLD ME (ON SOMETHING)

you convinced me of something, because you were persuasive

Examples:

  • OK, you’ve sold me. I’ll go to the match with you.

 

YOU ROCK

you are great

Examples:

  • Thanks for the tickets, Rob. You rock!

 

BLEW ME AWAY

when something blows you away, you’re extremely impressed by it

Examples:

  • The exhibition just blew me away. I’d never seen so many beautiful paintings before.

 

BLOW SMOKE

to exaggerate or say things that aren’t true to make you seem better/ more knowledgeable than in reality

Examples:

  • I’m not blowing smoke. I have honestly read War and Peace by Tolstoy.

 

COULDN’T CARE LESS

used to express total lack of interest in something

Examples:

  • That man stole a bottle of wine from the shop.
  • Oh, really? I couldn’t care less.

 

BE CHUFFED TO BITS

to be pleased and happy

Examples:

  • Hey, thanks for the present! I’m chuffed to bits.

 

FEELING UNDER THE WEATHER

to be ill or unable to do regular activities

Examples:

  • I think I’m going to have to take the day off work. I feel quite under the weather today.

 

BE TICKLED PINK

to be excited and happy

Examples:

  • She was tickled pink by all the compliments she’d received.

 

A BAKER’S DOZEN

thirteen

Examples:

  • Check out our baker’s dozen language learning tips.

 

COMFORT FOOD

Food that makes you feel better, because it reminds you of your childhood

Examples:

  • After a tiring day, it’s so nice to make some comfort food and settle down with a good book.

 

SKELETON CREW

the minimum number of people needed to keep a service/office operating

Examples:

  • Can you come back after the holidays? We’re operating with a skeleton crew at the moment.

 

NO-BRAINER

an easy decision

Examples:

  • Do you think I should propose to Judy?
  • Come on, it’s a no-brainer. She’s such a fantastic woman!

 

A STONE’S THROW

very near

Examples:

  • The hotel  was a stone’s throw from the beach. I loved it.

 

HEAR ON THE GRAPEVINE

to hear a rumour or unconfirmed story

Examples:

  • I heard on the grapevine that Charlie and Sarah are dating at the moment.

 

SIT ON THE FENCE

to stay neutral and not take sides

Examples:

  • Well don’t you think I’m right, he’s been acting differently hasn’t he?
  • I’m sitting on the fence with this one, you’re both my good friends.

 

TAKE WHAT SOMEONE SAYS WITH A PINCH OF SALT

regard something as exaggerated, or only believe a part of something

Examples:

  • Did you hear what Tina said happened in the office yesterday?
  • Oh, I would take anything she says with a pinch of salt.

 

FREAK OUT

to become very angry, scared or excited

Examples:

  • Mum, don’t freak out! I married a guy in Las Vegas.

 

BE A CATCH

be someone worth marrying/having

Examples:

  • John is taking me out tonight. He’s such a catch, I hope he’ll propose.

 

PIECE OF CAKE

When something is extremely easy to do

Examples:

  • Do you think you could beat him in a race?
  • Yeah, piece of cake. I’m definitely a lot faster than him.

 

HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD

used if something someone says, is precisely correct

Examples:

  • My doctor hit the nail on the head. He knew exactly what was wrong with me!

 

COSTS AN ARM AND A LEG

when something is very expensive

Examples:

  • My son wants that mountain bike for his birthday, but it’ll cost an arm and a leg!

 

HIT THE BOOKS

to study very hard

Examples:

  • Do you want to go for lunch somewhere nice?
  • No thanks, I’m going to hit the books. I have an exam coming up soon.

 

BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW

to take on something that is too much for you to handle

Examples:

  • He recently got promoted and took on some new responsibilities, but he’s just too busy. He bit off more than he could chew, and I don’t think he can handle it anymore.

 

WHEN PIGS FLY

this means that something will never happen

Examples:

  • Aren’t you going to buy that dream house you told me about?
  • Ugh, I will when pigs fly. It’s just so expensive, I don’t think it’ll happen.

 

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

this means don’t make a decision based on a brief impression or outward appearance

Examples:

  • I don’t like our new neighbours very much, they’re quite strange.
  • Hey, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Give them a chance, I think they’re just a bit quirky but really nice!

 

MISS THE BOAT

when someone has missed their opportunity to do something

Examples:

  • Have you applied for that job yet?
  • No, I think I may have missed the boat. I should’ve done it last week.

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