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Idioms based on buildings

Here is a list of idioms based on buildings. Each idiom is followed by its meaning / definition. Example sentences are also given.

An ivory tower

An ivory tower is a place of privileged seclusion. People living in ivory towers do not have to deal with the harsh realities of life.

  • Even in democracies, it is hard to find leaders who remain constantly in touch with the people. Most of them live in an ivory tower just like the kings they replaced.
Chickens come home to roost

An idiom used to mean that you will always have to face the consequences of your bad actions.

  • Bad deeds are like small children. They always come home to roost.
Hit the roof

To hit the roof is to lose oneís temper and show their anger.

  • Dad hit the roof when he discovered that I had dropped out of school.
Hold the fort

To hold the fort is to look after a business or home when the person who normally takes care of these things is away.

  • My boss is away on a business trip. Presently I am holding the fort.
Nothing to write home about

Used to refer to something that was not as good as expected.

  • I watched that film yesterday after reading all of those five star reviews, but it was nothing to write home about. (= It was a mediocre film.)
Put your own house in order

If you ask someone to put their own house in order, you want them to solve their own problems before telling you how to solve yours.

  • Donít you think you should put your own house in order, before giving me advice?

If something is run-of-the-mill, it is quite ordinary.

  • I am tired of watching the same run-of-the-mill shows on television.
The writing on the wall

Used to refer to the chances that something bad will happen.

  • Good leaders should be able to see the writing on the wall.
  • If the administrators were efficient, they should have seen the writing on the wall and come up with an effective strategy to deal with the menace called terrorism.
Waiting in the wings

If you are waiting in the wings, youíre waiting for a chance to take over a new role.

  • Rahul is waiting in the wings but he wonít get a chance until a member of the cricket team drops out.
  • We have millions of youngsters waiting in the wings for an opportunity.

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