10:21 pm - Thursday August 17, 2017

Idioms and their meanings

Idioms

Alphabetically

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

F

 

face down (someone)

– to confront someone boldly, to defy someone

We decided to face down our competitors and try to stay in business.

face the music

– to accept the consequences of something

The boy must face the music for his actions very soon.

face to face

– in person

I had a face-to-face meeting with my supervisor to talk about my job performance.

face up to (something)

– to accept something that is not easy to accept

My friend must face up to the fact that he will never have enough money to buy a car.

face value

– the value or price printed on a stamp/bond/paper money etc.

I sold the postage stamps at their face value.

face value

– the truth of something on the surface

The woman is a very nice person but you must take what she says at face value.

fact of the matter

– the truth is, the most important thing is

The fact of the matter is that we must finish the project this week.

facts of life

– the facts about sex or marriage or birth that one should know

The boy is too young to know about the facts of life.

facts speak for themselves

– the known facts about something clearly show the answers to any questions about it

The facts speak for themselves and there is no reason to ask any questions about the problem.

fade away

– to gradually diminish in time or distance or color

The words on the book have begun to fade away.

fair and impartial

– fair and unbiased

The criminal was given a fair and impartial trial by the court.

fair and square

– completely fair, honestly

The British team won the game fair and square.

fair game

– someone or something that you feel you can easily attack

Our company is fair game as a takeover target by other companies.

fair play

– justice, equal and fair action

The boy believes in fair play and is a good person to have on our team.

a fair shake

– honest treatment

The woman was not given a fair shake at the inquiry into her behavior.

fair to middling

– a little better than acceptable, so-so

I was feeling fair to middling when my friend asked me how I was.

fair-weather friend

– a person who is a friend only during good times

The man is a fair-weather friend and you cannot rely on him if you have a problem.

fall apart

– to become to not work properly

The equipment fell apart soon after we bought it.

fall apart at the seams

– to separate at the seams (for material that is sewn together), to fall apart

My backpack was falling apart at the seams so I bought a new one.

fall asleep

– to go to sleep

I fell asleep as soon as I went to bed.

fall back

– to move back, to go back

The runner fell back from the other runners during the race.

fall back on (someone or something)

– to seek help when other things have failed

The woman had to fall back on her father when her business began to have problems.

fall behind

– to fail to keep up with work/studies/payments etc.

I fell behind with my homework at the beginning of the term and had problems throughout the year.

fall by the wayside

– to give up or fail before the end of something

The man fell by the wayside and could no longer compete in the design competition.

fall down on the job

– to fail to do something properly

The man fell down on the job so they replaced him with another worker.

fall flat (on one’s face)

– to be unsuccessful, to fail

My attempt at humor fell flat and now the girl does not like me.
I fell flat on my face when I tried to impress the girl with my story.

fall for (someone or something)

– to begin to like or love someone or something

The man fell for the woman at the bank but was afraid to ask her for a date.
We fell for the new apartment when we first saw it.

fall from grace

– to lose approval

The politician fell from grace with the public during the money scandal.

fall head over heels

– to fall down

The little boy fell head over heels down the hillside.

fall head over heels in love with (someone)

– to fall deeply in love with someone

My sister fell head over heels in love with a boy in her English class.

fall ill

– to become ill

My father fell ill with a cold last week.

fall in love with (someone or something)

– to begin to experience feelings of love for someone or something

I fell in love with the girl the first time that I saw her at the restaurant.
We fell in love with the house when we first saw it.

fall in with (a group of people)

– to become associated with a group of people (usually used when you fall in with a bad group of people)

The boy fell in with a bad group of friends and began to have problems at school.

fall into a trap

– to become caught in someone’s scheme

The criminals fell into a trap that the police had prepared for them.

fall into line

– to stand properly in a row (like soldiers)

The soldiers fell into line as they waited for the inspection.

fall into line

– to conform to a certain course of action

The players fell into line after the coach became more strict during practice.

fall into place

– to fit together, to become organized

Everything fell into place and we were able to prepare for our trip to Brazil.

fall off

– to decrease

The number of tourists to the island is falling off.

fall off the wagon

– to return to use alcohol or drugs after stopping for awhile

The man fell off the wagon after he had stopped drinking for three years.

fall on deaf ears

– to ignore something that is intended for you

My complaints to my boss always fall on deaf ears.

fall on hard times

– to meet many troubles

The town fell on hard times after the computer company moved to another town.

fall out of use

– to be no longer used

CD players have fallen out of use recently.

fall out with (someone) over (something)

– to disagree or quarrel with someone about something

I fell out with my roommate over who should clean the bathroom.

fall over backwards (to do something)

– to do everything possible to do something or please someone

The teacher fell over backwards to help his students.

fall over oneself to (do something)

– to be extremely eager to do something or please someone

The couple fell over themselves in their effort to please their host.

fall short of (one`s expectations)

– to be not as good as one expected

The new movie fell short of people’s expectations and attendance is very low.

fall short of (something)

– to not have enough of something

The campaign fell short of the amount of money that it had hoped to gather.

fall through

– to fail, to not happen

My plan to go abroad fell through when my father refused to lend me some money.

fall to (someone) to do (something)

– to become the responsibility of someone to do something

It usually falls to me to tell my roommates to be quiet.

fall upon/on (someone or something)

– to attack someone or something

The wolves fell upon the deer and quickly killed it.

a falling-out (with someone)

– a disagreement or quarrel with someone

We had a falling-out during our holiday and we have not spoken since.

false move

– a movement that someone may see as threatening, a move that can cause trouble or damage

If the driver had made one false move there would have been an accident.

familiar with (someone or something)

– to have knowledge of someone or something

My friend is familiar with the streets in our city.

fan the flames of (something)

– to make a situation worse

The speech by the labor leader fanned the flames of the angry workers.

far and away the best

– without doubt the best

The basketball player is far and away the best player on the team.

far and wide

– everywhere, in all directions

We looked far and wide for the book but we could not find it.

far be it from (someone) to do (something)

– it is not really someone’s place to do something, it is not appropriate for someone to do something

Far be it from me to tell the cleaning lady how to do her job.

a far cry from (something)

– something very different from something

The man’s statement today is a far cry from what he told me yesterday.

far from it

– not at all

“Far from it,” I answered when the supervisor asked me if I was finished my work.

far into the night

– late into the night

I studied far into the night because I had a big test the next day.

far out

– to be strange

The man’s sense of humor was far out and nobody understood him.

farm (something) out or farm out (something)

– to have someone else do something, to send something away to have it done

We farmed out the printing to another company in order to save money.

fast and furious

– very rapidly

The questions were coming fast and furious during the job interview.

fast buck

– money earned quickly and easily

The man is always trying to make a fast buck without working hard.

fast talker

– a con artist, a clever talker who convinces others easily

The man is a fast talker and you should be careful not to believe everything that he says.

fat chance

– little or no possibility, almost no chance

Fat chance that my friend will let me borrow his car. He never lets me borrow anything.

fat of the land

– the best of everything (without having to work for it)

My friend wants to move to the country and live off the fat of the land.

favor (someone) with (something)

– to provide someone with something good

The queen favored the charity workers with her presence.

favorite son

– a political candidate supported by his home area

We voted for the candidate because he is the favorite son of our state.

feast one’s eyes on (someone or something)

– to look at someone or something with pleasure

We stood at the top of the canyon to feast our eyes on the most beautiful scenery in the world.

a feather in one`s cap

– something that you achieve and are proud of

Winning the spelling contest was a feather in the boy’s cap.

feather one`s nest

– to enrich oneself (while holding public office or a trusted job etc.)

The mayor has been feathering his nest for many years and is now very rich.

fed up with (someone or something)

– to be disgusted or bored with someone or something

I think that the worker is fed up with the constant complaints of his boss.

feed one’s face

– to eat

We stopped at the small restaurant to feed our face.

feed (someone) a line

– to deceive someone

The man was feeding me a line about his plans to open the new restaurant.

feed the kitty

– to contribute money to a special collection

Everyone had to feed the kitty to collect money for the coffee fund.

feel at home

– to feel comfortable and relaxed (as if you were at your home)

I always feel at home when I visit my friend.

feel dragged out

– to feel exhausted

I was feeling dragged out so I went home and went to bed.

feel fit

– to feel well and healthy

I feel fit so I plan to go for a long walk this weekend.

feel free to do (something)

– to feel like you are permitted to do something

Everybody felt free to walk around the restaurant after the party began.

feel it beneath oneself to do (something)

– to feel that one would be lowering oneself to do something

The young girl feels it beneath her to help clean the bathroom.

feel like a million dollars

– to feel wonderful

I feel like a million dollars today so I think that I will go for a long walk.

feel like a new person

– to feel refreshed and renewed

I felt like a new person after I had a shower.

feel like doing (something)

– to be in the mood to do something, to want to do something

I do not feel like doing the dishes now.

feel like going (somewhere)

– to be in the mood to go somewhere, to want to go somewhere

I did not feel like going to a movie so I stayed home.

feel like having (something)

– to want to have something

I did not feel like having milk so I had water.

feel on top of the world

– to feel very good

I feel on top of the world and I plan to go dancing tonight.

feel out of place

– to feel that one does not belong in a place or situation

I sometimes feel out of place when I go to an expensive restaurant.

feel out (someone) or feel (someone) out

– to talk or act carefully with someone in order to find out what he or she thinks

I will feel out my boss this weekend about my chance for a promotion.

feel put upon

– to feel that someone is taking unfair advantage of you

My sister always feels put upon when the relatives of her husband come to visit.

feel (something) in one’s bones

– to sense something

I feel it in my bones that I will win the lottery this month.

feel sorry for (someone)

– to pity someone, to feel compassion for someone

I feel sorry for my friend who recently lost his job.

feel the pinch

– to have problems caused by having too little money

The family is beginning to feel the pinch since the husband lost his job.

feel up to (do something)

– to feel healthy enough or rested enough to do something

I do not feel up to going to the game.

one’s feet are on the ground

– one has sensible ideas

My father is a good man and always has his feet on the ground.

fence (someone) in or fence in (someone)

– to restrict someone in some way

I always feel fenced in when I visit my friend on the small island.

ferret out (something) from (someone) or ferret (information or something) out of (someone)

– to get something from someone by being persistent

I tried hard to ferret out the time of the party from my friend.

few and far between

– not many, rare, unusual

The gas stations were few and far between on the mountain highway.

fiddle around

– to tinker with something, to do something in an unplanned way

I tried fiddling around with the computer printer but it still will not work.

fiddle while Rome burns

– to do nothing while a disaster is happening

The economy is becoming worse while the government does nothing. They want to fiddle while Rome burns.

field a call

– to pick up a telephone call

The salesman fielded many calls when the new product appeared.

field questions

– to answer questions

The speaker began to field questions after he finished talking.

fifty-fifty

– equally, evenly

We divided the cost of the trip fifty-fifty.

fight a rearguard action

– to try very hard to prevent something from happening when it is probably too late to prevent it

The government is fighting a rearguard action to try and win the election.

fight against time

– to hurry to do something quickly, a fight to do something quickly

The rescue party was fighting against time to save the men who were trapped in the coal mine.

fight like cats and dogs

– to argue and fight with someone (usually used for people who know each other)

The two children were fighting like cats and dogs when we entered the room.

fight tooth and nail

– to fight fiercely or with all one`s strength

I am fighting tooth and nail to get a transfer to another department.

fighting chance

– a good possibility of success if you try hard

I did not have a fighting chance to get my job application finished on time.

figure on (something)

– to depend on something, to be sure about something

You can figure on many people coming to the party next week.

figure out (someone or something) or figure (someone or something) out

– to try to understand someone or something, to solve something

I finally figured out how to use the new DVD recorder.

fill a prescription

– to get some medicine from a pharmacy (drug store) with the orders from a doctor

The man went to the drug store to fill a prescription.

fill in for (someone)

– to replace someone temporarily

My friend is filling in for the librarian this week.

fill in (something) or fill (something) in

– to write words in blank spaces

“Please fill in this form and give it to the receptionist.”

fill (someone`s) shoes

– to substitute for someone and be able to do a satisfactory job

Although he is a good supervisor, he is unable to fill the shoes of those who came before him.

fill out (something) or fill (something) out

– to write down the facts that are required (in a report or form etc.)

We must fill out the forms before we can have an interview for the job.

fill (someone) in or fill in (someone)

– to tell someone the details about something

“I will fill you in later about our plans for the weekend.”

fill the bill

– to be suitable for what is required

I think that the new equipment should fill the bill for us.

filled to the brim

– to be filled up to the top edge (brim) of something

The coffee cup was filled to the brim.

find fault with (someone or something)

– to criticize someone or something, to complain about something

My boss finds fault with everything that I do.

find it in one’s heart to (do something)

– to have the compassion or courage to do something

I could not find it in my heart to tell the little boy about his dead dog.

find one’s feet

– to become used to a new situation or experience

My uncle is finally finding his feet in his new job.

find one’s own level

– to find the position to which one is best suited

The teacher helped the child find his own level in the reading class.

find one’s tongue

– to be able to begin to talk

I could not find my tongue when I stood in front of the crowd of people.

find one’s way

– to discover the route to a place

We were lost for over an hour but we finally found our way.

find oneself

– to discover what one’s talents and preferences are, to find one’s purpose in life

The woman went to Europe to try and find herself.

find out (something) or find (something) out

– to learn or discover something

The boy’s mother is angry at him because she found out that he had quit his French class.

fine and dandy

– all right, okay

It is fine and dandy that the event will be held next Saturday.

a fine how-do-you-do

– a predicament

We were in a fine how-do-you-do when our car stopped working.

fine kettle of fish

– an unsatisfactory situation

It was a fine kettle of fish when my friend said that he could not come to the wedding.

fine print

– the part of a document that you cannot easily notice because of the small size of the print but which often contains very important information

I read the fine print on the contract before I signed it.

fine state of affairs

– an unpleasant situation

The mess in the bathroom was a fine state of affairs and I had to deal with it quickly.

a fine-toothed/tooth comb

– a very careful check of something

We went over the apartment with a fine-toothed comb but I could not find my keys.

finger in the pie

– a part ownership of something or responsibility for something

My uncle has his finger in the pie of many small companies in our town.

fire a gun

– to shoot a gun

I fired a gun for the first time at my uncle’s farm.

fire away at (someone or something)

– to shoot at someone or something, to ask many questions

The students began to fire away at the speaker after he finished his speech.

firing on all cylinders

– to be working and making every possible effort

We were firing on all cylinders when we began work on the new project.

first and foremost

– the first and most important

First and foremost, we need a new computer for our office.

first come, first served

– the person who comes first will have his turn first, the person who comes to the food first will get served food first

“First come, first served” my aunt called as she put the food on the table.

first of all

– the very first thing

First of all, we prepared the garden and then we planted the seeds.

first off

– the first thing

First off, the policeman told us that we had been driving too fast.

first out of the gate

– the first person to begin a project

The businessman was the first out of the gate in the effort to raise money for the new concert hall.

first-rate

– excellent, superior, of the best quality

The movie that we saw yesterday was first-rate.

first-run

– new, shown for the first time

There are many first-run movies that I have not seen.

first-string

– the best group of players on a team

Our team will use their first-string players for the game today.

first things first

– the most important things must be taken care of first

We did first things first and cleaned the kitchen before cleaning the living room.

firsthand

– directly

I learned the news from my sister firsthand.

fish for a compliment

– to try and get someone to give you a compliment

The girl was fishing for a compliment when she asked her friend about her new dress.

fish for (something)

– to try to find information etc. about something

The woman is always fishing for information when I meet her at work.

fish in troubled waters

– to involve oneself in a difficult or dangerous situation in order to gain an advantage

The politician was fishing in troubled waters in order to gather information about the scandal.

fish or cut bait

– to do something yourself or quit and let someone else do it, to either do something or stop trying to do it

It was time to fish or cut bait – either buy the car or stop asking questions about it.

a fish out of water

– someone who does not fit in

The man was like a fish out of water at the expensive restaurant.

fishy

– to be strange and suspicious

Something is fishy with the man’s excuse for being late for work.

fit and trim

– to be slim and in good physical shape

My sister looked fit and trim after spending six weeks at the resort.

fit as a fiddle

– to be healthy and physically fit

My grandfather is ninety years old but he is as fit as a fiddle.

fit for a king

– to be totally suitable (just like for a king)

The food at the wedding was fit for a king.

fit in with (someone or something)

– to be comfortable or in harmony with someone or something

The new boy fits in with the other children very well.

fit like a glove

– to fit perfectly

My new pair of jeans fit like a glove.

fit (someone or something) in

– to make time for someone or something

I try hard to fit some exercise in every morning.

fit (someone) into a schedule

– to be able to enter someone into a schedule and have the time to see him or her

The doctor was not able to fit me into her schedule.

fit (someone) out with (something)

– to provide someone with something

The store helped to fit us out with camping equipment for our holiday.

fit (someone) to a T

– to suit a person very well

My cousin’s new job fits her to a T.

fit the mold

– to do what you expect, to do what is considered usual (usually used in the negative – does not fit the mold)

Our teacher does not fit the mold of someone who volunteers to help homeless people every weekend.

fit to be tied

– to be very angry or upset

My boss was fit to be tied when he heard that I was going to take a month off from work this summer.

fit to kill

– to be wearing very fancy clothes

The woman looked fit to kill when she went to the restaurant.

fix (someone) up with (someone)

– to help someone get a date by arranging a meeting between the two people

I am trying to fix my sister up with my best friend.

fix (someone’s) wagon

– to punish or get even with someone

I decided to fix the woman’s wagon after she complained to my boss about me.

fix up (something) or fix (something) up

– to repair something, to put something back in good condition

We want to fix up our house this summer.

fizzle out

– to fail after a good start, to end in failure

The party began to fizzle out at midnight after many people went home.

flare up

– to become suddenly angry, to begin again suddenly

The fighting flared up again after the United Nations soldiers left the town.

flash in the pan

– someone or something that makes a flashy start and then fails

The man’s sports career was a flash in the pan. Recently, I have not heard anything about him.

flat broke

– to have no money

I am flat broke now that I stopped working last month.

flat out

– without hiding anything, openly

I told my friend flat out that I would not go to the party with her.

flea in one`s ear

– an annoying hint, an idea or answer that is not welcome

Our boss has a flea in her ear about changing the way that our holiday schedule works.

flea market

– a place where antiques or secondhand goods are sold

We went to a flea market last Saturday to try and buy some dishes.

one’s flesh and blood

– a close relative

The girl is my flesh and blood so I felt terrible when she got into trouble.

flesh (something) out or flesh out (something)

– to make something more detailed or bigger

We worked hard during the weekend to flesh out our agreement.

a flight of fancy

– an idea that is out of touch with reality or possibility

It was a flight of fancy that we would think of trying to climb Mt. Everest.

flip one`s lid

– to become very excited, to lose one`s temper

My father flipped his lid when I told him about the large telephone bill.

flip out

– to go crazy, to become very angry

My friend flipped out when she heard that I had damaged her car.

flirt with the idea of (doing something)

– to think about doing something

We flirted with the idea of buying a new house but we decided not to.

float (someone) a loan

– to loan someone money

I asked the bank to float me a loan so that I could buy a new car.

flora and fauna

– plants and animals

We took some books to the cottage so that we could learn about the flora and fauna of the area.

flunk out

– to fail a course, to fail school

My friend flunked out of his computer course at school.

flush with (something)

– to be even with something

The two pieces of wood were flush with each other so we glued them together.

flush with (something)

– to have lots of something

We were flush with cash so we decided to go on a nice holiday.

fly-by-night

– an unreliable business or person

The new company is a fly-by-night operation.

fly by the seat of one`s pants

– to do a job instinctively rather than by using concrete information

I had to fly by the seat of my pants when my boss left me alone for one week.

fly in the face of (someone or something)

– to disregard or defy someone or something

The demands of the woman were beginning to fly in the face of anything that was reasonable.

a fly in the ointment

– a small thing that spoils one’s enjoyment of something

The problem with the music was a fly in the ointment during the wedding ceremony.

fly into the face of danger

– to take great risks

The pilot was flying into the face of danger when he went to fight the forest fire.

fly off the handle

– to become angry

My friend flew off the handle when he saw the bill for the meal.

fly the coop

– to escape

The prisoner was able to fly the coop when the guard was not looking.

flying high

– to be very happy, to be joyful

My neighbor has been flying high since she won a car.

foam at the mouth

– to be very angry (like a mad dog)

My father was foaming at the mouth when I told him that I had damaged his car.

fogged in

– to have so much fog that traffic (often airplanes) cannot move

The airport was fogged in and we could not leave on our flight .

foist (something) off on (someone) or foist off (something) on (someone)

– to force someone to take something that they do not want

I tried to foist my old bicycle off on my friend but he would not take it.

fold (something) up or fold up (something)

– to put an end to something (a business etc.)

The number of people coming to the exhibition was very low so we decided to fold up our exhibit and go home.

follow in (someone`s) footsteps/tracks

– to follow someone`s example, to follow someone exactly

The boy is following in his father`s footsteps and has decided to work for a bank.

follow one’s heart

– to act according to one’s feelings

The boy will follow his heart and study art rather than computer science.

follow one’s nose

– to go straight ahead, to be guided by instinct

We followed our nose until we found the train station.

follow orders

– to do as one has been instructed

The soldiers were following orders when they attacked the village.

follow (someone’s) lead

– to do as someone else does

Everybody followed my lead and came to work early.

follow suit

– to do as someone else has done, to follow someone`s example, to play a card of the same suit that someone else has put down

I followed suit and left work early on Friday just as my boss had done.

follow the crowd

– to do what everyone else is doing

We decided to follow the crowd and go to the basketball game.

follow through with (something)

– to continue or finish an action that one has started

My neighbor said that he would help me paint my house but he did not follow through with his offer.

follow-up meeting

– a meeting where you discuss previous business

We will have a follow-up meeting to discuss the new product.

follow up (something) or follow (something) up

– to make (one action) more successful by doing something more

The doctor followed up his phone call in the morning with a visit in the afternoon.

fond of (someone or something)

– to like someone or something

Our daughter is very fond of her grandfather.

food for thought

– something worth thinking about, something that provides mental stimulation

I do not agree with the proposal but it does give me food for thought.

fool around

– to spend time playing rather than working, to waste time

If the man would spend less time fooling around he would be able to get more work done.

a foot in the door

– an opening or opportunity to do something

I got a foot in the door when the company accepted my application.

foot the bill

– to pay for something

The company will foot the bill for my move to Paris.

footloose and fancy-free

– to be without responsibilities or commitments

The couple were footloose and fancy-free and they could do whatever they wanted.

for a song

– for very little money, very cheaply

I was able to buy my new car for a song.

for all (something)

– in spite of something, even with something

For all the time that the boy spends studying, his marks are very low.

for all I care

– I do not care if something happens

“For all I care, you do not have to meet me again.”

for all I know

– according to the information that I have

“For all I know, my friend may have already quit his job.”

for all intents and purposes

– practically speaking

For all intents and purposes, the meeting was finished and everybody went home.

for all one is worth

– as hard as one can

“I will try, for all I am worth, to help you get the job at the supermarket.”

for all practical purposes

– for what might be reasonably expected

For all practical purposes, our car was no longer suitable for our large family.

for all the world

– for anything, for any price

For all the world, I do not know what my friend is trying to tell me.

for better or worse

– depending on how one looks at a matter, including both the good or bad effects of something

For better or worse, I have decided to quit my job and move to Brazil.

for certain

– without doubt, certainly, surely

The best player will not be playing in the game tonight for certain.

for crying out loud

– used to show that you are surprised or angry

“For crying out loud, please turn your radio down a little.”

for days on end

– for many days

The man is able to go without sleep for days on end.

for dear life

– as though afraid of losing one`s life

The mountain climber held on to the rock for dear life as he waited for someone to rescue him.

for fear of (something)

– because of the fear of something

We stayed home all weekend for fear of getting hit by the big storm.

for free

– for no charge or cost

We were able to get a television set from our neighbor for free.

for good

– permanently

We have decided to move to Los Angeles for good.

for good measure

– as a little extra, as a little more

The recipe called for one piece of garlic but for good measure we put in four pieces.

for hours on end

– for many hours

The boy often plays video games for hours on end.

for instance

– for example

a) “What kind of food do they serve there”
b) “They have everything. Pasta, for instance and sushi and hamburgers.”

for keeps

– always, forever

I told the boy that he could have the baseball bat for keeps.

for kicks

– for fun

We decided to go to the airport to watch the airplanes for kicks.

for life

– for the remainder of one’s life

They got married last year and they plan to stay married for life.

for love or money

– by any means available

We were not able to get our boss to agree to the proposal for love or money.

for now

– temporarily

I do not plan to buy a new computer for now.

for once

– only one time

For once, my friend listened to what I was saying. Usually he ignores me.

for one’s (own) part

– from one’s point of view

For my part, I do not plan to help with the staff dinner.

for one’s (own) sake

– for one’s benefit

I told my aunt that for her own sake she must stop smoking.

for openers

– to start with

For openers, we decided to start the weekend with a nice meal.

for real

– to be genuine, to be real

The attitude of the woman was not for real and nobody believed her.

for safekeeping

– in order to keep something safe

I put the valuable stamps in the bank for safekeeping.

for sale

– to be available to buy

There was a sign in front of the house that said it was for sale.

for short

– in a short form

The man always uses his nickname for short.

for sure

– without doubt, certainly, surely

I will go to the movie with you for sure next week.

for that matter

– about something, with regard to something

“I do not want to go shopping with you, and for that matter, I do not want to go anywhere with you.”

for the asking

– on request, by asking

We can get a free ticket to the concert for the asking.

for the better

– an improvement

It was for the better that the old hospital was closed down.

for the birds

– something that you do not like, something that is not to be taken seriously

Getting up early every morning is for the birds.

for the duration (of something)

– for the whole time that something continues

We had to use the outside classroom for the duration of the semester.

for the good of (someone or something)

– for the benefit of someone or something

They added the physical fitness class to the school curriculum for the good of the students.

for the heck/hell of it

– just for fun

We went to the river to throw stones, just for the heck of it.

for the life of (someone)

– even if one’s life were threatened (used with a negative and usually used when trying to remember something)

For the life of me I could not remember where I put my house keys.

for the most part

– mostly, in general

For the most part I was finished my work so I decided to go home.

for the record

– a record of a particular fact is made

For the record, I told the police officer about the events of the previous year.

for the sake of (someone or something)

– for the good of someone or something

My father decided to quit his job for the sake of his health.

for the time being

– temporarily, for now, for awhile

We really need a new car but for the time being we will continue to use our old one.

for the world

– under any conditions

I would not sell my car for the world.

 

force (someone`s) hand

– to make someone do something sooner than planned

I forced the manager’s hand and made him tell me about his plans for our company.

force (someone) to the wall

– to push someone to an extreme position

The company forced the union to the wall during the negotiations for the new contract.

force (something) down (someone’s) throat

– to force someone to do or agree to something that he or she does not want

I wish that my friend would not force her ideas down my throat.

a force to be reckoned with

– someone or something that is important and should not be ignored

The young man is a force to be reckoned with in the wrestling world.

a foregone conclusion

– a conclusion that is already decided

It was a foregone conclusion that the opposition party would win the election.

forever and a day

– a very long time, forever, always

It took forever and a day to get the book that we ordered from the bookstore.

forever and ever

– forever

The little boy promised that he would be a good boy forever and ever.

forge ahead (with something)

– to make rapid progress with something (usually against some difficulties)

There are many problems with the project at work but we are forging ahead to try and complete it.

fork out money for (something) or fork money out for (something)

– to pay money for something

I had to fork out much money to have my car fixed.

fork over (something) or fork (something) over

– to hand over something, to give something

The robber told me to fork over my money or he was going to shoot me.

form an opinion

– to make an opinion

Everybody quickly formed an opinion about the new teacher.

forty winks

– a short nap, a short sleep

I grabbed forty winks when I got home from work.

foul one’s own nest

– to harm one’s own interests

The union fouled their own nest with their dishonest behavior.

foul up (something) or foul (something) up

– to do badly, to mess something up

There was a problem with our hotel reservations which fouled up our plans.

one’s frame of mind

– one`s mental state – either good or bad

I made sure that my boss was in a good frame of mind before I asked him for a holiday.

fraught with danger

– to be full of something dangerous and unpleasant

The mountain adventure was fraught with danger.

freak out

– to become angry or lose control of oneself

I freaked out when I discovered that my reservation had not been made.

free and clear

– without owing any money

The couple owns their house free and clear.

free and easy

– carefree, informal

The man’s attitude toward his work is free and easy.

free as a bird

– completely free

We were as free as a bird so we decided to go on a long holiday.

free-for-all

– a disorganized fight or contest involving everyone

The players were involved in a free-for-all during the game and seven players were suspended.

a free hand

– much freedom to do something

We had a free hand to design the sports program for the university.

a free translation

– a translation that is not totally accurate

The newspaper printed a free translation of what the diplomat said.

freeload

– to accept food and housing at the expense of another

The boy was angry at his brother for freeloading and never trying to find a job.

freeze (someone) out or freeze out (someone)

– to prevent someone from getting a share in something by unfriendly or dishonest treatment

The man froze his partner out of the profits from the sale of the land.

fresh out of (something)

– to have used up all of something, to have sold the last of something

The bakery was fresh out of brown bread so we had to go to the supermarket.

frighten (someone) out of his or her wits

– to frighten someone severely

The little boy was frightened out of his wits by the big dog.

frighten (someone) to death

– to frighten someone severely

I almost frightened the woman to death when I met her on the dark stairs.

frighten the living daylights out of (someone)

– to frighten someone very much

The horror movie frightened the living daylights out of the young girl.

fritter (something) away or fritter away (something)

– to waste something little by little

The man frittered away the money that he had won in the contest.

from A to Z

– everything about something

The man knows everything from A to Z about cars.

from cradle to grave

– from birth to death

The government looks after its citizens with good medical care from cradle to grave.

from dawn to dusk

– from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun

The farmworkers worked from dawn to dusk everyday in order to pick the lettuce crop.

from day to day

– one day at a time

We did not know from day to day if the weather would be good for the birthday picnic.

from door to door

– moving from one door to another

The children went from door to door to collect money for the earthquake victims.

from hand to hand

– from one person to another person and then to another

We passed the papers from hand to hand until they were all distributed.

from head to toe

– from the top of one’s head to one’s feet

The boy was covered in mud from head to toe.

from near and far

– from all around

The people came from near and far to see the new stadium.

from now on

– from this moment forward

From now on I will study French every day.

from rags to riches

– from poverty to wealth

The family went from rags to riches when oil was discovered on their farm.

from scratch

– from the very beginning

We decided to build the house from scratch.

from side to side

– moving from one side to the other again and again

The boat was rocking from side to side during the big storm.

from start to finish

– from the beginning to the end

The dinner was a great success from start to finish .

from stem to stern

– from one end to the other, from the front to the back of a ship

The boat was damaged from stem to stern after the big storm.

from the bottom of one`s heart

– with great feeling, sincerely

I thanked the doctor from the bottom of my heart for helping my daughter when she was sick.

from the ground up

– from the beginning (as in building a house or other building or a business)

My uncle built his business from the ground up.

from the heart

– sincerely, honestly

The boy gave his girlfriend some flowers with a message from the heart.

from the outset

– from the beginning

I knew from the outset that the recipe would be very good.

from the top

– from the beginning

“Let’s take it from the top and begin again.”

from the word go

– from the beginning

From the word go, we knew that there would be problems with the new contract.

from time to time

– occasionally

We go to the new restaurant from time to time.

from tip to toe

– from the top to the bottom

We made an effort to clean the statue from tip to toe.

from way back

– since a long time ago, for a long time

I know my friend from way back. In fact, we went to elementary school together.

fruits of one’s labor

– the results of one’s work

We decided to enjoy the fruits of our labor so we went on a long holiday to Europe.

full-court-press

– a total effort or offensive, an all-out effort to put pressure on someone, a basketball tactic in which the defenders put pressure on the opposing team over the entire court and try to disrupt the other team

The company used a full-court-press in order to pressure the manager to resign.

full-fledged

– complete, having everything that is needed to be something

My cousin became a full-fledged accountant last year.

full of beans

– to be in high spirits, to be energetic

My aunt is full of beans today. She must be excited about something.

full of hot air

– to be full of nonsense, to be talking nonsense

I knew that the man was full of hot air when he began to tell us how to make lots of money.

full of it

– to be full of nonsense

I thought that the woman was full of it when she told me that the business was closed.

full of oneself

– to be conceited, to be self-important

The girl was full of herself and would only talk about things that were important to her.

full steam ahead

– with as much energy and enthusiasm as possible

It was full steam ahead with the project to build the new stadium.

fun and games

– a very difficult task (often used ironically)

It was fun and games today when I wrote my two final exams.

funny bone

– the place at the back of the elbow that tingles when hit

I hit my funny bone today and it still hurts.

funny business

– illegal activity

The truck driver was involved in some funny business that was illegal.

funny ha-ha

– amusing, comical

It was not funny ha-ha but it was still rather amusing.

 

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