10:20 pm - Thursday August 17, 2017

Idioms and their meanings

Idioms

Alphabetically

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J

a jack-of-all-trades

– a person who can do many things

We gave the man a job because we needed a jack-of-all-trades to look after the building repairs.

jack up (something)

– to raise prices, to raise something with a lifting device

The gas station jacked up their gas prices during the storm.
We jacked up the car so that we could change the tire.

jam on the brakes

– to quickly put the brakes on to stop a car or truck etc.

I jammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the child.

jam-packed

– crowded, full

The train this morning was jam-packed with people.

jazz up (something)

– to brighten up something, to add more noise or movement or color to something

They jazzed up the community center for the party last night.

Jekyll and Hyde

– someone with both an evil and a good personality

My co-worker is like Jekyll and Hyde. One minute he is very friendly but the next minute he is angry.

jet lag

– to be tired because you have travelled a long distance in an airplane and have crossed many time zones so your body cannot adjust

I had jet lag for several days after my long trip.

jockey for position

– to try to push one’s way into an advantageous position

Several of the salesmen began to jockey for position when they learned that the director of sales was leaving.

jog (someone’s) memory

– to stimulate someone’s memory to recall something

The questions that the police officer asked helped to jog the man’s memory.

John Doe

– a name used for an unknown or average person

The application form uses the name “John Doe” as the name of a person who is applying for something.

John Hancock

– one’s signature

I wrote down my John Hancock and bought the car.

John Henry

– one’s signature

“Please sign your John Henry here and we will process your order immediately.”

Johnny-come-lately

– a new-comer

The man is a Johnny-come-lately and does not really know what he is talking about.

Johnny-on-the-spot

– someone who is at the right place when needed or is right on time

The caretaker is always Johnny-on-the-spot. Just when we need him he arrives.

join forces (with someone)

– to unite or join with someone

The two high schools joined forces to try and raise money for the city library.

join hands

– to hold hands with other people

Everybody in the group joined hands at the end of the meeting.

Join the club!

– an expression used when another person is in the same situation (usually bad) as the speaker

“Join the club. None of us have enough money to go on a holiday.”

join the fray

– to join a fight or argument

I did not want to join the fray and argue with the other members of the group.

jolt to a stop

– to stop moving suddenly which causes a jolt

The train jolted to a stop when the engineer put the brakes on.

joker in the pack

– someone or something that is likely to change a situation in an unexpected way (the joker is one of the cards in a deck of cards that can be used as any card that you want in some games)

The small company was almost bankrupt. However, their new product was the joker in the pack that could save their business.

jot (something) down or jot down (something)

– to write something down quickly

I usually jot down telephone numbers in my notebook.

judge (someone or something) on its own merits

– to judge or evaluate someone or something on its own good points and achievements

Our company always judges each employee on his or her own merits.

judging by (something)

– considering something

Judging by the weather, I do not think that we will be able to go to the festival today.

jump all over (someone)

– to criticize or scold or blame someone

My boss jumped all over me when I began to talk about my plans for the summer.

jump at (something)

– to seize the opportunity to do something

I jumped at the chance to go to France on company business.

jump bail

– to run away and fail to come to trial and therefore give up the money that you have already paid to the court

The man jumped bail and went to live in a foreign country.

jump down (someone`s) throat

– to criticize or become angry with someone

When I reached the office my boss jumped down my throat for being late.

jump off the deep end

– to take immediate and drastic action

It is time for me to jump off the deep end and quit my job and go back to school.

jump off the shelves

– to sell very well

The new children’s toy is jumping off the shelves.

jump on (someone)

– to scold or criticize or blame someone

Everybody jumped on the supervisor because they were angry about the new work schedules.

jump on the bandwagon

– to join a popular activity or campaign

Everybody jumped on the bandwagon to try and stop smoking in the workplace.

jump out of one`s skin

– to be badly frightened

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the man at the window.

jump the gun

– to start before you should

The man jumped the gun and began selling the tickets before he should have.

jump the track

– to jump off the rails (usually used for a train), to change suddenly from one thing to another

The train jumped the track near the edge of the town.
The whole project jumped the track and we had to stop it.

jump through a hoop

– to do whatever one is told to do, to go through a long process in order to do something

The man is always ready to jump through a hoop for his boss.

jump to conclusions

– to make a quick conclusion about something without thinking about it

“Please don`t jump to conclusions about who broke the computer.”

jumping-off place/point

– the starting place of a long trip, the start of something

We gathered early in the morning at the jumping-off place for our hike in the mountains.

junk-food junkie

– a person who likes junk food (unhealthy food such as candy and cookies and fast food

The woman is a junk-food junkie and never eats healthy food.

the jury is still out (on someone or something)

– not decided about something

For myself, the jury is still out on whether or not I should look for a new job.

just about

– nearly, almost

I waited just about one hour before the concert started.

just in case (something happens)

– if something happens

I plan to take my umbrella just in case it rains today.

just now

– this very moment, almost at this moment

The accident happened just now. The police have not even arrived yet.

just one of those things

– something that you really cannot do anything about

The fact that I failed the driver’s test is just one of those things and there is nothing that I can do about it.

just so

– done with great care, done very carefully

My mother always makes sure that her hair is just so before she goes out.

just the same

– nevertheless

I told my friend not to come early but just the same she came early anyway.

just what the doctor ordered

– exactly what is needed or wanted

Having the extra day off from work is just what the doctor ordered and I can get many things done.

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