Idioms – F

Here is a list of idiomatic expressions formed around words beginning with F.

Pull a fast one

To pull a fast one is to try to gain an unfair advantage.

Live off the fat of the land

To live off the fat of the land is to have the best of everything.

To a fault – to an excessive extent

  • He is generous to a fault. (= He is too generous that his generosity actually has a negative impact on his life.)

Feast your eyes on

To feast your eyes on something is to look at it with pleasure.

A feather in your cap

A feather in your cap is an achievement you can be proud of.

Feather your nest

To feather your nest is to make money dishonestly.

Get a feel for

To get a feel for something is to get used to it.

  • It took me quite some time to get a feel for the hot climate in Chennai.

Have a feel for

Have a sensitive appreciation of something.

Sit on the fence

To sit on the fence is to avoid making a decision.

Fend for yourself

To fend for yourself is to look after and provide for yourself.

  • After the death of her husband, she had to fend for herself.

Fend off

To fend off is to defend yourself from.

Few and far between

If something is few and far between, it is scarce.

Quite a few / a good few

A fairly large number

Fight your way

To fight your way is to move forward with difficulty.

Figure something out

To figure something out is to understand it.

Find your feet

To find your feet is to become confident in a new situation.

Find someone out

To find someone out is to discover that they have been dishonest in their dealings with you. To find something out is discover information.

Be all fingers and thumbs

When you are all fingers and thumbs you are clumsy.

Lay a finger on

To lay a finger on someone is to touch them with the intention of harming them.

Finish someone off

To finish someone off is to kill them or defeat them completely.

Set fire to something / set something on fire

To set something on fire is to cause it to burn.

Set the world on fire

To set the world on fire is to do something remarkable or sensational.

Under fire

When you are under fire, you are being criticized strongly or you are being shot at.

Of the first order

If something is of the first order, it is of the best quality.

Fish for

To fish for something is to try to obtain a response by indirect means.

  • I am not fishing for compliments.

A big fish

A big fish is an important person.

A fish out of water

This expression is used to refer to a person who feels uncomfortable in their surroundings.

Have other fish to fry / Have bigger fish to fry

When you have other fish to fry, you have more important matters to attend to.

In fits and starts / by fits and starts

With irregular bursts of activity

Old flame

An expression used to refer to one’s former lover.

Flash in the pan

A flash in the pan is a sudden but brief success.

Fall flat

To fall flat is to fail to produce the intended result.

  • The joke fell flat.

Flavour of the month

An expression used to refer to a person or thing that has become very popular recently.

Your flesh and blood

A close relative

A fly in the ointment

This expression is used to refer to a minor irritation that spoils something.

A fly on the wall

A fly on the wall is an unnoticed observer.

Fly into a rage

To fly into a rage is to become angry suddenly.

Fly off the handle

To fly off the handle is to lose your temper suddenly.

Not have the foggiest idea

When you don’t have the foggiest idea, you have no idea at all.

Follow your nose

To follow your nose is to trust your instincts.

Follow suit

To follow suit is to do the same thing as someone else.

Have your feet on the ground / keep your feet on the ground

To have your feet on the ground is to be sensible and practical.

Get a foot in the door / have a foot in the door

To get a foot in the door is to gain a first introduction to an organization or a trade.

Land on your feet / fall on your feet

To land on your feet is to have easy success or good luck.

Put your best foot forward

To put your best foot forward is to begin with as much determination and effort as possible.

Put your foot down

To put your foot down is to be firm when you are faced with criticism or opposition.

Put your feet in it

To put your feet in it is to say or do something tactless.

Put a wrong foot

To put a wrong foot is to make a mistake.

Follow in someone’s footstep

To follow in someone’s footstep is to do as another person did before.

A small fortune

A small fortune is a large amount of money.

Forty winks

Forty winks is a short daytime sleep.

Freak out

To freak out is to react in a wild, excited or shocked way.

Freeze someone out

To freeze someone out is to make them feel unwanted by treating them in a hostile way.

Out of the frying pan in to the fire

From a bad situation to one that is worse.

Full off yourself

When you are full of yourself you are too proud of yourself.

Full steam ahead / full speed ahead

When you proceed full speed ahead, you proceed with as much energy or speed as possible.


Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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