Idioms You Must Know


Here are some common idiomatic expressions in English.

Meet someone halfway

To meet someone halfway is to reach an agreement with them by making a few compromises.

Meet trouble halfway

To meet trouble halfway is to worry about something that hasn’t even happened.

Put someone on their mettle

To put someone on their mettle is to test their ability to face challenges.

Of a piece (with)

If something is of a piece with something else, it is very similar to it.

Be worth one’s salt

If somebody is worth their salt, they are very competent and deserve what they earn.

Make both ends meet

To make both ends meet is to earn enough to make a living.

Set one’s face against

To set one’s face against something is to resist it with determination.

Within an ace of

If you are within an ace of something, you are very close to it.

Rest on your laurels

To rest on your laurels is to be satisfied with what you have already achieved without making any effort to do anything more.

Win / gain your spurs

To win your spurs is to do something that proves that you are capable of doing something really well.

With open arms

To receive someone with open arms is to receive them with pleasure.

Play fast and loose with somebody

To play fast and loose with somebody is to treat them without respect or care.

Hold water

If an argument holds water, it sounds logical or true.

By hook or by crook

For / to all intents and purposes

An expression used to say in the most important ways:

Hang together

To hang together is to stay together

Your flesh and blood

An expression used to refer to someone from your family.

Make an exception

To make an exception is to not treat someone according to the usual rules.

Take exception to something / somebody

To take exception to something is to be offended by it.

To a fault

This expression is usually used with an adjective referring to a positive quality and has a negative meaning. So, for example, if you are generous to a fault, you are so generous that your generosity does you more harm than good.

Gain ground

If a belief or an idea gains ground, it becomes more acceptable or popular.

Settle old scores / settle a score

To settle old scores is to punish someone for something they did to you in the past.