Figures of speech Idioms

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Figures of speech Idioms Powered By Docstoc
					Faculty of Health Sciences

4th Year Student Presentation

Figures of speech: Idioms
IDIOM                                    DEFINITION
To open a can of worms                   To do something that will cause problems
Let the cat out of the bag               To let the secret out
Raining cats and dogs                    Raining heavily
Heart of stone                           A unkind person
Look before you leap                     Think about what you are going to do beforehand
The big picture                          Look at the wider issues involved
Ball park figure                         Guessing an approximate value or number
Under the weather                        Not feeling well
Head in the sand                         Not aware of what’s going on around you
Blind as a bat                           Poor vision
Ahead of the pack                        To be more successful at something than everyone
Busy beaver                              Very busy
As quiet as a mouse                      Very quiet
As sick as a dog                         Very unwell
Bark up the wrong tree                   To choose the wrong approach to a situation
On the other hand                        To consider another perspective/point of view
Pick up (something)                      To collect an item
Rule out                                 To dismiss an idea or person
Hold on                                  To wait
Break down (something)                   To separate into smaller parts (i.e. an idea or a
                                         physical item)
Carry out (something)                    The action of making something happen
Go over (something)                      To look at the finer points of something, or
                                         familiarise with new concepts
Go with (something)                      To use a suggested idea
Look up (something)                      To search for information in a resource
The black sheep                          The unpopular member of the family
Bright eyed and bushy tailed             Alert
Cat’s got your tongue                    An excessively quiet/shy person
Copycat                                  Someone who copies others
Cry wolf                                 To raise a false alarm
Eat like a horse                         To eat great amounts of food
Scaredy-cat                              Someone who is easily scared
Hold your horses                         To wait or stop what you are doing
Horsing around                           To play or mess around
Look like something the cat dragged in   To look shabby
Monkey business                          To be up to no good
Being a guinea-pig                       To be the subject of an experiment
Smell a rat                              To realise deception
Something fishy                          To realise deception
Until the cows come home                 To do something for a long time
Can’t teach an old dog new tricks        Older people have difficulty learning new things
All ears                                 To listen attentively
Chip off the old block                   To possess similarities to a parent
Thick in the head                        Unintelligent
All in the same boat                     Everyone is in the same situation
Start from scratch                       To start from the very beginning
As free as a bird                        The feeling of total freedom
Early bird                               The first to arrive, or to arrive at a location early
Ugly duckling                            Unattractive but with inner beauty
Be in the loop                           To be up to date with current gossip or knowledge
Get into the swing of it/things          To become familiar with a new process
Idioms adapted from:
(Barratt, 2009; Charles Darwin University, 2007; Farlex, 2009; Hampel, 2007; Idiom Connection, 2009; Kelly, 1998; Skwirk, 2009).

Barratt, B. (2009). Figures of speech. Retrieved September 1, 2009, from

Charles Darwin University. (2007). Writing style. Retrieved September 1, 2009, from

Farlex. (2009). Try it out (random idioms). Retrieved September 2, 2009, from

Hampel, T. (2007). Archive for the ‘idioms’ category. Retrieved September 1, 2009, from

Idiom Connection. (2009). English idioms and quizzes. Retrieved August 30, 2009, from

Kelly, L. (1998). Change idioms to plain English. Retrieved August 31, 2009, from

Skwirk. (2009). Simile, metaphor, idioms, personification, extended metaphor. Retrieved August 31, 2009, from